Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
[DVD Buffy]

In all the years we've been offering up Staff Recommendations here on the BookGuide site, I can't believe nobody has recommended the DVDs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! This being October, it seems only appropriate to recommend this incredibly iconic seven-season fan-favorite supernatural show. Joss Whedon took the idea he'd introduced in an unsuccessful 1992 movie (starring Kristy Swanson as Buffy), and turned it into a weekly television series in 1997. Sarah Michelle Gellar starred as Buffy Summers, latest in a long line of mystically empowered "vampire slayers", whose mission is life was to hunt down not only vampires but all of the other supernatural menaces that threatened mankind. Problem was -- she just wanted to be a normal high school student, without all the carnage and mayhem. Paired with her "Watcher", the somewhat stuffy high school librarian Giles, Buffy quickly makes friends at her new high school is Sunnydale, CA -- which sits on a gateway into Hell (The Hellmouth), and the supernatural proves unwilling to let her live a normal lifestyle. Breaking with centuries of tradition, which state that the Slayer's life is a solitary one, Buffy and her friends...the Scoobies...proceed to go through three years of high school and four years of college, battling the threats to humankind. Filled with snappy dialog, absolutely terrific performances from the main cast (Giles, Xander, Willow, Angel, Cordelia, Oz, Faith, Tara, etc.) and each season's "big bad" villain, cool effects and make-up, and great music, Buffy is a pop culture treasure. Whedon and company manage to use a wild and crazy concept of a teenaged demon fighter to tell emotional tales about the "real world" and what it takes to survive adolescence and young-adulthood. Three key episodes stand out above and beyond all the others: "Hush" (season four) is almost complete dialog-free as a group of demons steal everyone's voices and float menacingly down the streets at night harvesting victims' hearts; "The Body" (season five) features some of the cast members' best performances, as Buffy finds the body of her mother, who has died unexpectedly but of natural causes; and "Once More, With Feeling" (season six), in which a visiting demon forces everyone to experience key emotional moments in the form of song and dance - all of the cast turn in bravura musical performances in an emotionally-wrenching storyline. Each of the seven seasons features an over-all story arc, with a primary villain that Buffy and company have to fight against in the season finale. Personally, I found certain seasons stronger than others -- Season Two features Buffy's vampire boyfriend Angel turning into the darker Angelus. Season Three features the Mayor of Sunnydale building up to a demonic "ascension" and also sees the destruction of the high school in the final episode. Season Six features a resurrected Buffy (killed at the end of season five) coming to terms with having been brought back to life, and shows gal-pal Willow (a witch) going to the dark side when her love is killed. the series wraps up many of its overall plots at the end of the seventh season, but leaves several plot threads dangling, which have been picked up in official "season 8" and "season 9" comic-book/graphic-novel follow-ups. Happy Halloween! [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the spinoff series Angel.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [Subscribe to Scott's monthly booklist newsletter It's All Geek to Me! - on the Books, Movies & More newsletter sign-up page]
[ Internet Movie Database entry for this series ] | [ Wikipedia entry on this series ] | [ Detailed episode guide at epguides.com ]

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