I have recently decided that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the best TV show I have seen. I had always heard about how good the writing and acting was from people whose opinion I respect on such things, but due to circumstances beyond my control I was not able to catch the first or second season when they first aired. After that I watched a few episodes here and there but never really got into it because of all the back-story I knew I had missed. Then, last year after getting my computer->TV hookup all set up I was looking for DVDs to get and decided to pick up Buffy season one. After a marathon viewing weekend (or so I considered at the time) of all 12 episodes I ordered the second season. The next weekend I watched all 22 of those in an even more marathon session. At the time that was all the DVDs that were available so I set out to collect season 4-7 by other means by the time the season 3 DVDs came out in January.
When my season 3 set came in early January I had succeeded in my quest and over one weeks time I watched seasons 3 through the current episode of 7. I am now thoroughly convinced that good shows should be watched in the same manner as a good book is read, all at once with as few interruptions as possible.
Joss Whedon has managed to create something totally unique and absorbing from elements that seem boring and clichÃ© when laid out without context. Somehow he balances the Comedy, Drama, Action, and Horror elements perfectly.
Buffy does have its problems, after season 3 the dynamic greatly changed when the main characters left High School and the show changed to accommodate this. Seasons 4-6 were much weaker when looked at individually than any of the first seasons. I think this is partly because of the fact that Joss was spread thinner working on more projects and partly because of the issues the show was exploring. If you take the whole show as one long continuous story, the unhappy depressing parts are far more bearable. I think this is more visible to me than some of the fans that have been watching for seasons because I would probably be unhappy too if I had been watching for years and had 3 years of things looking continually grimmer. It is looking like season 7 is going to be the end, at least of the show in its current form, and hopefully he will be able to pull off a fitting ending.
I can say that season 1-3 taken together is the best story ever told on TV. The writing on the episodes is consistently amazing and just when you think it canâ€™t get better; it does, again and again. The pacing is nearly perfect and there is continuity like no other show on the air. The characters are constantly referring back to previous events and foreshadowing future ones.
I will end this rambling post with what I think is probably the best delivered line in the whole series from episode 2×06 Halloween which captures the essence of BtVS:
Spike: “Well, this is just… neat!”