Customer Reviews: 2008 PaleyFest: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Reunion
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on March 8, 2009
In March 2008, to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the first broadcast of the 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' television show, a Cast Reunion Panel Discussion was held at the Paleyfest Festival. With the majority of the main cast members, Joss Whedon and some of the creative team in attendance, a lively and informative discussion of the show, the memories and the legacy of Buffy were discussed at length. The buzz, both before and after the event, was intense and over the last few months snippets of the discussion have appeared on the internet posted by fans who were in the audience. Now the entire Cast Panel Discussion on has been released on DVD.
An era came to a close with the broadcast of Chosen, the final episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Fans (myself included) experienced emotions ranging from feelings of completion and of things coming full circle through to a sense of grief at the loss of a dear friend. Those same fans have devotedly kept the show in the media consciousness ever since, which resulted in Buffy being given an Emmy award in 2008 for Most Memorable Moment in a TV Drama (for the Season 5 finale episode The Gift) - quite an achievement for a television series which had ended a full five years earlier. Since then it has seemed unlikely that the cast and the show's makers would get together in a group again, but in March 2008 it finally happened - at Paleyfest. Following a screening of Once More With Feeling, the majority of the main cast members (apart from Alison Hannigan and David Boreanaz), along with Joss Whedon, Marti Noxon and David Greenwalt, participated in a panel discussion of the show, hosted by Matt Roush (TV Guide's television critic who has championed the cause of Buffy since the very first episode). The overall feeling that the DVD of the discussion gives is that the cast really miss working together, and working on the show, and it is clear that in watching the panel discussion viewers are actually witnessing friends catching up on old times. Among the subjects covered are the darkness of Season 6 and the difficulties which that brought to both cast and crew (Sarah Michelle Gellar notes that at one point she felt that she had "lost the hero" with regard to where the storylines were taking the character of Buffy), how Christophe Beck's music actually caused certain storylines to be built (and how he lost the 'r' from the end of his name), Joyce Summers' death and Sarah Michelle Gellar's ability to play almost an entire script without a break and hit every line flawlessly - leading Joss & Co. to dub her Jimmy Stewart (Sarah's reaction to hearing this is very sweet, warm and funny - it's worth getting hold of this DVD just for that moment). Note is also made of Sarah's work with the charity Care and her forthcoming film Veronika Decides To Die. The only criticism of the Panel Discussion is that the audience, when given the chance to ask the panel questions, really make next to no effort to pose anything thought-provoking and we're left with audience questions that anyone could find the answer to in 5 minutes on the internet (what is on your iPod etc). Thankfully the audience questions take up only a few minutes and don't detract from the overall event.
Lasting more than an hour, and with insightful information throughout, this DVD really is "something to sing about".
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on November 9, 2009
I loved the Paley Fest with the Buffy cast. If you are a Buffy fan and if you are a Sarah Michelle Gellar fan especially then you should get this. Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn't always on every panel discussion so this is a treat to get her view on being on the show and her behind the scenes observations. She's really funny and tells great stories. It's short on Charisma Carpenter and Emma Caulfield comments, but they are there and they do say a few things. Seth Green was HILARIOUS as was Nicholas Brendon. Allison Hannigan wasn't there, but she could have been busy. All in all a great DVD
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on June 11, 2009
Well, obviously this DVD could have more special features, but it contains the most important thing - Buffy Reunion 2008, five years after the show ended its run on USA. I'm a Portuguese fan and I must say that it really makes me happy watching this DVD. The reunion even show sarah michelle gellar, which is somthing that we are not used to see in Buffy reuniona. So, What more do you want? Its a cast reunion, with the actors that played our favourite character, the genious behind all this Joss Whedon and the producers who also made this dream come true! Spectacular DVD. A must see and buy!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon March 7, 2011
A-ha! I knew PaleyFest was good for something. It's cool that those still suffering from Buffy withdrawal can get a 74-minute respite. On March 20, 2008 the Paley Center featured a reunion of the BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER cast (excepting David Boreanaz,.Alyson Hannigan, Eliza Dushku, and Anthony Stewart Head). For those who are all Adrian Monk-y about this stuff, this event takes place on the 6th evening of the 2008 25th annual Paley Festival. This DVD kicks off with the near nine-minutes-long "Intro" segment which has Paley Center director Barbara Dixon and host/moderator Matt Roush (the TV Guide guy) saying some blah blah and BUFFY writer/producer Marti Noxon then presenting the musical episode "Once More, With Feeling" (which the DVD then skips). The DVD next cuts away to the main feature as, one by one, the cast is introduced for the onstage panel discussion and then it's on to Matt Roush and his list of fan-friendly queries. And, thankfully, the ensuing jibber-jabber right away grabs you. This program really is as terrific and as funny as Buffy fans could have hoped for. Practically giddy, I was.

Matt Roush awesomely introduces Sarah Michelle Gellar as "the only one here who has been in two Scooby gangs." I'm so glad that Sarah Michelle - lookin' mighty fine - is so engaged in the discussion, and she offers wonderful, well-thought-out insights. She really contributes to the conversation. I get the sense that Joss Whedon took a step back so as to give his actors more of the spotlight. Seth Green ad-libs some hilarious lines, as does Nicholas Brendon to lesser effect. It's freaky how Brendon and his character Xander seem to inhabit the same personality. Charisma Carpenter and Amber Benson come off as sweet and shy. I love that Emma Caulfield and James Marsters attended, as Anya and Spike are two of my most favorite characters in BUFFY. Marsters even basks in a "Take that, Angel!" moment when Sarah Michelle informs him that Buffy and Spike's tear-the-roof-off sex scene was ranked by TV GUIDE as the steamiest ever on television. Michelle Trachtenberg has grown up, by the way. And executive producers Marti Noxon and David Greenwalt round out the panel.

Plenty of back-and-forth banter, some of it disarming, some of it juuuust a bit racy. We're in for some revealing anecdotes and reflections and deconstructing of the show. Just a whole lot of feel-good nostalgia. A huge chunk of the program features the cast expressing their thoughts on the show's best episodes ("Once More, With Feeling," "Hush," and "The Body"). It's particularly interesting to listen to Sarah Michelle as she talks about the very dark Season 6 and how that season's bleak tone impacted her. There are some cool reveals, such as that Sarah Michelle hadn't been keeping up with Joss's BUFFY Season 8 comic book series and so had no clue that Buffy had macked with a fellow Slayer. We even find out why Whedon and Greenwalt referred to Sarah as "Jimmy Stewart." I loved Sarah Michelle's heartfelt explanation of why she prefers fan awards over the more prestigious accolades. It all ends with an audience-participatory Q & A session. Probably the evening's most awkward moment concerns an audience member asking Amber to elaborate on some past comment she made about not wanting to come back to BUFFY. Amber seems a bit flustered in her response, although I liked her Marlon Brando excuse. By the way, I'm sort of discounting those awkward moments in which Nicholas Brendon's jokes fell flat.

So this is the critique paragraph, and I do have some nitpicks. I would've loved to have heard more from Emma Caulfield and Charisma Carpenter - as I didn't feel that Matt Roush involved them enough. And I love Xander but I wish there were less of Nicholas Brendon whom I felt imposed himself on several occasions. It quickly got old for me. Brendon was trying too hard, and he offered hardly any insight. It's frustrating that, at times, Brendon and Green's periodical jokey interruptions ended up cutting into what probably would have been more in-depth (and relevant) responses from the other panelists, because there were some pretty intriguing questions being lobbed by Roush. 74 minutes isn't that long a window, and the conversational segues - which I would've appreciated more if the panel had been on longer - resulted in precious time being wasted. And I wish someone had socked that first audience member who asked the panelists to share their favorite film and what songs are on their iPods. This sequence sucked the energy out of the room and it dragged for almost ten minutes (but I did enjoy Sarah Michelle Gellar's answer for favorite film). With all those nitpicks aside, this DVD is a must-have for fans of BUFFY, surely one of the most trend-setting, game-changing, and best shows ever. Just seeing the cast together one more time, it made my day.

The DVD has pretty shabby bonus stuff: the afore-mentioned "Intro" segment; A photo gallery; the "Backstage Video" - essentially, a photo op for the Paley Center and the BUFFY cast with the (off-screen) press photogs directing the actors to pose and turn willy-nilly (00:03:52 minutes); and the "About Paley Center" segment which is pretty self-explanatory (00:01:56 minutes).
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VINE VOICEon March 23, 2010
I was ecstatic when I saw this. A cast reunion that actually featured Sarah Michelle Gellar who almost never appeared in panels about the show, plus a large majority of the cast. While we get much of the cast, including Joss and Marti, the large ensemble actually works against itself since one of the questions presented to them was a long "What is on your ipod and what's your fave movie?" That's not a fault of the panel, but c'mon. That question took forever. Yes, I'm nitpicking but this was actually ind of boring. Perhaps the chemistry of the audience and the panel was bad, since it really seemed to "drag".

I know this wasn't a convention audience but, without Seth Green making jokes this would have been quite a boring disc which is surprising because I've seen these people in "fun" panels. Heck, the special DVD that was included with the Buffy complete boxset with Joss and a few of them was entertaining. I'm a collector and got it for completist sake but, it really is a weak session. I love Buffy, so this was a disappointing pick for me.
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on December 19, 2013
I found Buffy the Vampire Slayer a couple of years ago thanks to Amazon Prime where it is available for free as is its sister show Angel. Both shows remain a staple on my watch list all of the time. I have watched the entire series multiple times now and always find new things that I missed before. It was really interesting to hear the cast answer questions about different episodes and listening to the humorous exchanges between themselves and the moderator was very enjoyable. The moderator did an excellent job and it was obvious that he was a big Buffy fan too. If you are a Buffy fan then I highly recommend this DVD for your collection.
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on April 9, 2010
If your a die hard fan of the series, you need to pick this up. It's great to see everyone together again including Sarah Michelle Gellar who is missing for most of the dvd seasons extras. I only gave 4 stars since it would have been nice to see Anthony Head, Alyson Hanigan and maybe David Boreanaz as well. I imagine they are all busy after all Anthony lives in England and Alyson and David both have thriving series of their own now. It was great to see everyone else back together again and there were some very interesting conversations. Some of the fan questions were a little out there but for the most part I thought they were interesting. One of my favorite parts was the interaction between Amber Benson (Tara) and Seth Green (Oz) who were only on the show together for one episode but had both been significant others to Alyson Hangigan's character Willow. Made for some very witty moments. Great stuff.

Hope this helps.
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on July 2, 2014
I thought it started out bad talking about the musical episode which I hated and the season 8 comic book. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Charisma Carpenter, and Michelle Trachtenberg looked great. James Marsters was cool but Seth Green kind of carried away and it got to be annoying. Charisma Carpenter didn't get to talk very much. I really liked Buffy but the last two seasons were almost unwatchable. Some of it was interesting but it ended with the audience questions which were mostly lame. I recommend this to Buffy fans but it's something you will probably only watch once.
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What you have here is what happened on March 20, 2008 when eleven members of the cast and creative team of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" attended Paleyfest, which is a yearly eventat the Paley Center for Media that connects fans with the casts and creators of their favorite series. The moderator for the proceedings is Matt Roush of "TV Guide," who is pretty much an idea choice, having been a big fan of the show from Day 1 and an equally big advocate for the series as well. On the one hand you get Joss Whedon talking about his show and also Sarah Michelle Gellar saying more about the character than you have actually heard coming from her lips, so that alone is worth the price of admission. I particularly like hearing what Marti Noxon has to say and Michelle Trachtenberg had some interesting things to say as somebody who was a fan of the show before she spent her formative teen years on it as a character. There is an introduction section separate from the actual panel discussion, because in between those two parts there was a screening of the Buffy music, "Once More, with Feeling." That episode is not included on the DVD, but I have to believe anybody who picks up this up is already in possession of the complete "BtVS" on DVD and therefore can certainly switch discs, screen the episode (presumably singing along), and then get back to the proceedings.

On the one hand anything with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in it pretty much qualifies as "must have" for fans of the show, but I have to admit I put this on my Amazon wish list in the weeks before my birthday because I was not sure I wanted to pay this much for what is, all things considered, this little. One of the problems is that there are too many people on stage so Emma Caulfield and Charisma Carpenter, for example, get asked one question each by Roush. Their answers are revealing and memorable, but who wants to stop at just one? So on the one hand you lament the gaps in the reunion, with Anthony Stewart Head, Alyson Hannigan, and David Boreanez not in attendance, but then that would have meant even small slices of pie for everybody. Then you have the competition for comic relief between Nicholas Brendon (who throws a wicked Susan Lucci comment Gellar's way) and Seth Green, who get plenty of laughs but scarcely have a serious word to say during the session. James Marsters is also willing to go for the joke, but also speaks to several of the topics as one of the few panelists who would add to the discussion.

Then there are the questions from the audience, which suffer from a general desire to praise the cast rather than question them, and from the grave misfortune of a first question that requires everyone to answer without having to reference "BtVS." There are several minutes of this panel that you would want everybody to get back. Of course, there is no way anything on this DVD is going to be enough to satisfy any "BtVS" fan, but still, you have to want a little less fat and a lot more meat. The only real DVD extras are some photos from the day and film of almost everybody being shot backstage by the paparazzi, which is interesting if you like watching dozens of cameras flashing repeatedly at high speed (it is amazing any of the photos end up with decent lighting). Final note: there is something of a "spoiler" here if you have not been reading the "Season 8" Whedon is overseeing with the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" comic book. My daughters are woefully behind in reading the issues I have been purchasing for them and were stunned to hear what Buffy has been up to. Of course, this should be an incentive for them to get up to speed.
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on January 20, 2014
I'm one of those fans who really enjoy discussions with the cast and crew on bonus discs and whatnot.... when it turns out well with a sense of who the cast is, and good discussions on what the creators may or may not of had in mind for the series and why. With Paleyfest dvds, the quality of these shows are often mixed, depending on how forthcoming (and/or entertaining) the people onstage are. Here, nice to say that just about everyone on this panel had something interesting to say. One of the most entertaining Paleyfests I've seen in awhile.
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