Monday, July 16, 2007

Buffy Season Four Begins

Season Three ended a whole week ago, and I'm already tired of Season Four.

Well, that may not be true, but I am tired of blogging about it.

Thankfully, I only have one episode to write about. I'll try and muster some energy to get it done.

This one episode, written and directed by Mr. Joss Whedon, was called "The Freshman."
I just realised that I've never talked about the "Buffy" theme song or opening titles. I'll have to do that sometime.

So, the summer after high school has passed, and I sure would've enjoyed seeing what went on then. Willow's got an awful new haircut, and college is starting. Oz also goes there, and knows his way around. Buffy finds herself totally lost, and feeling confused, alone, and in over her head.

Buffy goes to a class where the teacher is a giant tool and throws her out. She makes one friend . . . and the poor guy is "disappeared" by vampires, who leave a phony goodbye note.

Our villains this episode are a really modern cadre of vampires, including a stoner, a fat girl, and a sarcastic blonde chick (their leader). Wow, I'm not sure if I've ever met a "Buffy" villain I've more wanted to see turn into dust.

Buffy is living in a dorm, with a Celine Dion-loving hearts-and-posies girl, which is amusing. Oh, and Buffy meets a handsome T.A. of her Psychology class, taught by a bear of an instructor, played by Lindsay Crouse. If I look him up, I can tell you the name of the handsome boy. But I won't.*

We find out that Giles is living the bachelor's lifestyle (complete with bedmate) and has retired from Watchering. Xander was going to travel the country, but his car broke down and he has to come crawling back (sounding once again, like a certain Rish Tobias Outfield I know). But hey, due to the stresses in her life, Buffy is happy to see him (score 1 for Xander, zero for Mr. Outfield).

So, Buffy runs into the vampires and is completely and totally humiliated by them. Their evil blonde leader taunts our girl and breaks/dislocates her arm. Like I said, grrr.

I wondered how she could possibly be stronger than Angel (who has to be the toughest vampire we've seen) or The Master or Faith, buttyranist's theory was that Buffy has lost her mojo (or was it her groove?), and is fighting well below her game. Alright, I can accept that.

Buffy goes back to her dorm and finds all of her belongings gone (including her slaying weapons) and a fake goodbye note. It was personal before, but now . . . well, it's personal.

Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Oz track down the baddies at their abandoned frathouse lair (Buffy gets in through their skylight . . . which probably should've been boarded up, but hey, they're slackers), and they fight.

Their leader makes the mistake of smashing the umbrella Buffy received in "The Prom" . . . and well, she gets hers. I was so pleased when she staked that bitch (sorry about the language,Granmama) that I may have applauded. Maybe Buffy's gonna be okay in college.

At the very end, one of the vampires escapes, but is captured by some mysterious organisation.

So, we've started Season Four, and you know, this wasn't the greatest of episodes. I don't want to make any snap judgments, since I've only seen this one (and two "Angel"s), but it may be that by splitting the "Buffy" staff for two shows, the quality had to drop at least somewhat. Maybe it will continue, maybe not (after all, Joss wrote and directed both first episodes of this season, so when others are writing and directing them, they may have more time to really finesse things). And
don't get me wrong, there were still laughs, and still surprises, and I still love the characters (and "The Freshman" was easily up there with the very best first season episodes), so I'm in it for the long haul.

Time will tell whether that'll be uphill or down.

Rish "The Glass Is Half" Outfield

*Okay, his name is Finn Riley. What an annoyingly cute made-up name. I'm wishing I had left well enough alone.

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