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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 1 (Disc 3 of 3) back to product details

"Buffy" season 1, disc 3
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written by Saroz November 19, 2004 - 10:31 AM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
The third disc of "Buffy" season one contains these episodes:

"The Puppet Show"

Ah, Principal Snyder makes his presence immediately felt. Between his oozing malevolence and Giles' amusement, this episode has one of the funniest teasers of the series. On the whole, actually, this is the funniest show of the season, and very good in the character department; everyone gets something significant to do and their share of funny lines to say. The actual plot is quite creepy, for a nice counter-balance, by playing on the old fear of living ventriloquist dummies. Sure, the concept of Sid is more than a little hokey, but it somehow manages to work. The twist towards the end of the show is unexpected and clever, and the end credits sequence is a blast. An oddity, but a highly entertaining one at that. 8.5/10

"Nightmares"

This episode would rate a little higher if Joss Whedon hadn't tackled the world of dreams again, much more successfully, with the season four finale "Restless." As it is, what we have here is a very nice little collection of set pieces that never quite feel connected. All of the regulars get some good material to work with, and Xander's nightmares are especially fun, but the end result is stretched a little too long and, worse, the solution is far too quick. How and why dreams start to come real on this particular day, sparked by this particular source, is never quite explained - except to say, in typical season one style, that it's something to do with the Hellmouth. The Master and his Anointed One seem thrown in entirely as a bit of filler; having Angel show up with nightmares of his own would have been more interesting. 8/10

"Out of Mind, Out of Sight"

Finally, after little more than cameos since the two-part premiere, Cordelia actually gets to be the focus of an episode. Though she hasn't developed into the more consistent character of seasons two and three, it's nice to see her first few steps towards character development. Like "The Pack," this is another high-school metaphor story, and as such it works very well; since the identity of the culprit is given away in the second act, and we know what their motivation is, it becomes more a case of "What will happen?" than "Whodunnit?". That allows the story to be tense, and at the same time, quite sad as well. Unfortunately, the final ten minutes cheat on our earlier emotional investiture, rendering the whole thing much more simplistic and over-the-top than it ever should have been. 7.5/10

"Prophecy Girl"

The first half of this episode is the best writing and acting the show has seen yet, and the best for some time; Buffy's breakdown in the library and Willow's massacre aftershock are particular highlights. When the focus shifts back to the Master, though, things start to go a little silly. It doesn't help that he's hardly the most frightening enemy to begin with; the Anointed One is even goofier, and now we're asked to be monumentally afraid of both. As a result, then, what should be quite tense and scary never quite manages to get beyond...well...oddly out-of-character for the villains. The victory march to the theme tune is just about the final straw in cheesiness - thankfully, though, the quality of the side-plots just about keeps everything afloat. It's a good finale, but in too many ways, it doesn't gel together quite right. 8/10

Finally, the disc includes biographies for the main cast, and - culled from the VHS release - brief comments from series creator Joss Whedon on "Angel" (from disc two) and "The Puppet Show."


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