Having battled a hellish vampire master, an evil boyfriend, a rogue slayer, a giant man-eating demon-snake thing, and a particularly nasty high school principal, Buffy Summers embarked on one of her biggest challenges in the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
: college. With boyfriend Angel out of the picture (and on his own show
) and Sunnydale High destroyed, new horizons were to be tackled for Buffy and the rest of the Scooby gang. There were cute guys (Buffy's new boyfriend Riley), cute girls (Willow's new girlfriend Tara--yes, Willow's gay!), frat parties, irritating roommates, harsh professors, and, oh yes, a secret military initiative that was experimenting on the demon population (Riley's part of it).
Buffy truly hit its golden years in the fourth season--just when you thought this show couldn't get any better, Joss Whedon and his creative team pulled out all the stops and took Buffy and co. into rich new territory. By far, the highlight of the season (and the entire series) was the Emmy-nominated "Hush," a nearly dialogue-free episode in which the creepy "Gentlemen" rob Sunnydale of its collective voice, and Buffy and Riley finally come face to face with each other's hidden identities. While Frankenstein-esque monster Adam wasn't the show's best villain (you'll have to wait until next season's Glory for that), he was a worthy adversary for the biotech age, and the military milieu was a nice contrast to Buffy's previous gothic outings. Season 4 also marked the return of blond vampire Spike (who developed a crush on Buffy), the ascension of vengeance demon Anya to full-time cast status, and the brief return of bad slayer Faith (in a fab two-part body-switching episode). Throughout, the entire cast, headed by the unparalleled Sarah Michelle Gellar, worked television magic of the kind rarely seen on the small screen. This is Buffy at its best. --Mark Englehart
Buffy begins college feeling completely overwhelmed. But once the monsters show up, its just like old times. Then she strats dating Riley, a handsome commando battling the same monsters. Hes part of a secret organization called The Initiative and Buffy is all too happy to join the team. But she soon suspects The Initiative may be more dangerous than the monsters they are supposed to be battling . . .