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146 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The fifth season is as stunning and original as any
One of the most extraordinary things about BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is that in Season Two they managed to produce one of the greatest seasons in the history of television, and then managed to pretty much equal it for the entire run of the show. Amazingly, each year they did this by taking the show in completely different directions. In the season opener Buffy meets and...
Published on August 30, 2003 by Robert Moore

3.0 out of 5 stars The begining of the end of the show that I loved, and the begining of something else..
This was the begining of the end of the show that I loved, here is when the subtle writing style changed from entertaining to making it edgier to get that later nighttime slot. sorry but it's true it only surprises me that more people did not see it for what it was.
I know let the fanboys and girls bash on me but it's true and deep down they know it's true...
Published 23 days ago by buffalo1a

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146 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The fifth season is as stunning and original as any, August 30, 2003
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One of the most extraordinary things about BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is that in Season Two they managed to produce one of the greatest seasons in the history of television, and then managed to pretty much equal it for the entire run of the show. Amazingly, each year they did this by taking the show in completely different directions. In the season opener Buffy meets and defeats the most famous of all vampires, Dracula, but the show demonstrated its willingness to take extraordinary risks by ending the episode with the startlingly revelation that Buffy has a sister. Buffy, of course, is an only child, but the brilliant thing was the way the show continued for several episodes as if Dawn, Buffy's new sister, had always been a part of the family. Moreover, Dawn isn't just a part of her immediate family: all Buffy's friends have their own relationship with Dawn, and she is clearly completely integrated with everyone in the community.
There are Buffy fans who like and dislike nearly every aspect of BUFFY. Some did not care for the addition of Dawn to the cast, but I loved it, partly for the virtuosic manner in which they integrated her in the cast, and partly for the astonishing story line that developed out of who she truly was. Dawn, an entity of pure energy that is a key to a demon portal, was created by monks as a real human being, a real sister to The Slayer, in order to guarantee that Buffy would protect her with her life. I love the way that all the Scooby Gang completely accepts her, and the profound questions it raises in Dawn herself, as she desperately attempts to come to terms with the knowledge that she isn't who she remembers herself to be.
Old subplots are resolved and new ones emerge. Buffy's romance with Riley, nearly universally loathed by Buffy fans, thankfully ends. Giles takes over the ownership of The Magic Box and Anya becomes his enthusiastic assistant. Spike, still harmless due to his implant, is horrified to realize that he is in love with Buffy. Joyce is stricken with a brain tumor and eventually dies of a brain aneurysm, which leads to what is in many ways the most remarkable episode in the entire history of the show, "The Body." Most of Buffy is shot employing a quick, fast moving pace. But this episode intentionally slows down time, intensifying and emphasizing every nuance of Buffy's overwhelming grief and panic at discovering her mother's body. In my opinion, it is the single best representation in either film or TV of human reaction to the death of a loved one.
Season Five's primary story arc is, however, that of the hell goddess Glory and her attempt to recover The Key (Dawn) that will allow her to reenter her hell dimension. Glory is, with the possible exception of Angelus, the best villain in the history of BUFFY and ANGEL. She is a goddess portrayed as super consumer (her nice shoes and pedicures causes Dawn to remark, "She has really nice feet"), going on spending sprees to placate her sorrows at being trapped in a dimension not her own. Her whacky wit and (for a goddess) naive stupidity combined with her considerable power creates excitement nearly every second she is onscreen. In a season of many highlights, I especially love the episode where Glory's minions wrongly assume that Spike is The Key, and bring him to Glory, who tortures him to find out who The Key truly is. Despite beating him badly, he refuses to tell. Buffy's intense and heartfelt gratitude signals a change in attitude on the part of the Scoobies, and hints that behavior and compassion are as much a mark of someone becoming good (despite being a vampire) as having a soul (in the case of Angel). The final episode, "The Gift," is one of the truly epic moments in the entire series, and yet another of the classic moments that BUFFY left us. The final shot of the season is simply heartbreaking.
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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great show at its very best, May 1, 2006
This review is from: Buffy the Vampire Slayer : Season 5 (Slim Set) (DVD)
Although spoiler warnings are not normally required by Internet etiquette for shows that ended several years ago, let me offer one anyway. In other words, Spoilers ahoy!

Although Season Five of BUFFY isn't considered by most to be the shows best year (Season Two probably would get the nod by more), I personally consider it to be the most impressive of the seven seasons of the show. This was a season with few or no weak episodes, the most unified central story line, a host of superb lesser plot lines, several brilliantly written episodes, and an absolutely stunning season finale. When I saw Season Two I was convinced that it would long stand as the single finest season of any show I knew, but Season Five changed my mind.

By Season Five BUFFY was a mature show. It never achieved a large audience, and much of the early hype had started to fade, though critics and fans continued to celebrate it as one of the most brilliantly written shows in the history of TV. Had it ended at the end of its fourth season, its status as one of the most crucial shows in the history of the medium would have been assured. But no one familiar with the show was surprised when they pulled out all the stops and somehow, improbably managed to top all that had gone before.

Season Five begins with a doubt planted in Buffy by none other than the most famous vampire of them all, Dracula, who had traveled to Sunnydale to meet the Slayer. Although in many ways the weakest episode of the season, the Count's encounters with Buffy caused her to question who she was and what she was all about. Season Four had ended with the great episode "Restless," in which Buffy in a dream sequence had encountered the First Slayer, who told her that the kill was all, implying that her rich social circle and group of friends interfered with her being the Slayer. Dracula tells her that she is a hunter and that she thrives on the thrill of the hunt. In a way, the question raised in Buffy's mind is whether she is good, whether being the Slayer is compatible with being a decent human being. For the whole season Buffy will ponder questions of friends, family, death, and love. And for her everything will be clarified in a single moment of great self-sacrifice.

At the end of the first episode, after having dispensed with Dracula and asking Giles to once again be her watcher (she even agrees to read books in order to become more proficient, though she typically asks if any of them are on tape read by George Clooney), Buffy tells her mother that she is going to meet Riley. Buffy walks into her bedroom, where a girl we have never seen before is standing. Joyce then calls out to Buffy that if she was going to meet Riley, she should take her sister, to which both Buffy and this strange girl turn and irritatingly yell, "Mom!" It was an astonishing plot development, the literary equivalent of a skater announcing that they were about to perform a quadruple axle with back flip. They created a plot twist that seemed almost impossible to resolve in any satisfying kind of way. Any fan of BUFFY knows at least one thing: Buffy is an only child. She has no sister, no brother, no half-brother or half sister, no adopted sibling. There is ONLY Buffy and her mother. To make things even more bizarre, for the first four episodes of the season things proceed as if Dawn, her sister, had always been a part of the show. She was known and loved by the other permanent characters of the show, shared their memories, and apparently had always been there. Only gradually do we come to learn the truth. Dawn is a newly created human being. She is, in fact, a mystical key to a hell dimension who had been magically transformed into the sister of the Slayer by a group of monks in order to try and hide her from a hell god who was intent on using her to open the door between this world and hell. The monks had created Dawn as the Slayer's sister because they believed that she could best help protect her. They made her a real girl, unaware of her metaphysical reality, and had "built" the memories of all those connected with the Slayer in order to hide the Key as well as possible. It was an outrageous thing to attempt. The miracle is that they were amazingly successful. Many don't care for Dawn because they see her as whiney, but few dislike her because they find her hard to accept as The Key. Gradually, of course, first Buffy, then Giles, then Joyce, and finally the Scoobies and Dawn herself come to understand who she is.

Meanwhile, the hell god is searching for The Key. Being a subversive show, BUFFY was always intent to take some new slant on the traditional villain, and so here. Glory, or Glorificus to give her full name, may be a hell god, but visually she looks like a very beautiful, vain, pampered (you know she gets regular pedicures and waxings), somewhat ditzy fashion plate. Physically Buffy is no match for her and is only saved in their first encounter when Glory causes a building to collapse on her when she has a temper tantrum after breaking a heel. That sums up about all one needs to know about Glory. From the 5th episode until the finale, the narrative for the season was structured around the attempt to protect Dawn/The Key from Glory.

The existence of Dawn raises a host of questions, none more important to Buffy that who Dawn really is. She has memories of Dawn as her sister, remembers growing up with her, but she knows that Dawn isn't "really" her sister. So who is she? The first episode following Buffy's discovery of the truth about Dawn is "Family," in which Tara's family comes to Sunnydale to take her home. The Maclay family has come to get her because, they claim, the Maclay women assume their demon form when they turn a certain age. When Tara shows some reluctance to go with them, her father declares that she should be with her family. Although none of the Scoobies have ever been particularly close or even accepting of Tara, upon learning that Tara doesn't want to go with her father Buffy declares that they can take her, but that they have to go through her to do so. Mr. Maclay then points out, "We're her blood kin. Who are you?" To which Buffy responds, "We're family." This is crucial for understanding not just Buffy's subsequent decision to accept Dawn fully as her sister, but for understanding the workings of the Scoobies as a whole. Not just Buffy and Joyce, but Dawn, Willow, Tara, Xander, Giles, and Anya form a family. Even Spike eventually assumes the position of the family's black sheep. So gradually, in answer to the doubts raised by Dracula as to who Buffy truly is, she is first and foremost a part of a community. And to the First Slayer, who insisted there was only the kill, Buffy could assert that there was the family. And to the idea that a Slayer was essentially a killer, she eventually learns that above all else she is a lover.

The rest of the season more or less is a gloss on this idea of family and unity in the face of outside danger. There are a host of subplots, including the building relationship between Xander and Anya, Anya's growth from former vengeance demon to avid capitalist, Giles purchase of the Magic Box, and Riley's departure from the show. The most entertaining subplot was unquestionably Spike's horrified realization that he was in love with the Slayer, which resulted in a Slayer fixation. Eventually, his desire to be respected by Buffy leads to something of a moral transformation, so that even before he acquired a soul at the end of Season Six he had more or less acquired one by his actions.

This season depended less on outstanding individual episodes than previous (or subsequent) ones, mainly because the season as a whole holds together so well. But there were nonetheless some great individual ones. I loved "No Place Like Home" in which we meet Glory for the first time, Anya becomes an avid money maker, and Buffy discovers the truth about Dawn. "Family" I've mentioned. "Fool for Love" is a Spike-centered episode in which he explains to Buffy not only how he killed two previous Slayers but what it was that made it possible. "Blood Ties" is a very intense episode in which Dawn discovers who she is and has more than a little trouble coming to terms with it. "I Was Made to Love You" is a wonderful episode about relationships and blaming oneself for the failures of another to be in a relationship, structured about a beautiful young woman who comes to Sunnydale looking for who she takes as her boyfriend, but who is in reality her maker. She is a robot. The builder, Warren, becomes an important character in Season Six. The last several episodes are so good that it is difficult to consider them apart from one another, but I will merely say that the final episode, "The Gift," rivals Season Two's "Becoming" and Season Seven's "Chosen" as the best BUFFY finale.

One episode, however, stands out even among these. "The Body" is arguably the best episode in the history of the show and one of the most brilliant individual episodes in the history of television. Buffy comes home to discover her mother Joyce dead on a couch. What follows is the most realistic, palpable, and believable representation of what it feels to lose a loved one not merely in the history of TV, but in the history of visual media. Certainly no movie feels as convincing as this episode. That "The Body" did not win the Emmy for best writing that year is an indictment of the silliness of the Emmys. It is an almost impossibly well done episode.

The season ends with Buffy with the help of her friends defeating Glory, but not before Dawn's blood has been used to open the door between dimensions. The door can only be closed by the blood that runs through Dawn, but since she was created from Buffy's blood, to be the sister of the Slayer, Buffy realizes that her blood also can close the path through the two dimensions. In a vision, the First Slayer has told Buffy that "Death is your gift." In one of the great visual images in the run of the show, Buffy dashes down the platform on which they are standing and dives into the dimension gate. The season ends with a shot of a gravestone engraved with the name "Buffy Anne Summers" and below that the words, "She saved the world. A lot."

There are those who wish that the show had ended there. BUFFY is widely regarded as one of the very best shows ever made (TV critics almost routinely in trying to gauge how good a current show is by comparing it to BUFFY-for instance, in the past month I have read a discussion of the best Season Two's in TV history, with BUFFY and THE SOPRANOS identified as perhaps the two best, while I read a review of the final episode of SIX FEET UNDER, with the reviewer comparing it to other great series finales but mentioning only BUFFY's by name), but, they argue, the final two seasons represented a decline in quality. While I somewhat agree about the decline in quality, I think the decline can be exaggerated. It also changes what became the final story. In the series as we have it, Buffy was given her life back with the activation of all the Potentials. While self-sacrifice is always great on a screen, ending the series with her death would have left it pure tragedy. Also, there were a host of great seasons in the final two seasons. Would any BUFFY fan really want to have missed "Once More With Feeling" or "Tabula Rasa" or "Conversations with Dead People" or "Lies My Parents Told Me"? Still, I will agree that BUFFY, though still good and frequently brilliant, would never be this perfect again. Season Five of BUFFY truly is television has it can possible get.
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95 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difference between boxed sets, June 16, 2006
This review is from: Buffy the Vampire Slayer : Season 5 (Slim Set) (DVD)
Hi there, I own this slim boxed set and it has:

6 DVD in 3 boxes (i've shared images of this)

subtitles and spoken in spanish, english and french

It also contains closed Caption.

No cuts from the original boxed set. IT'S THE SAME!!! but in other package.
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135 of 161 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Buffy Season, July 23, 2003
"luiginadi" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
I'm a huge fan of this show and have watched it since the very first episode aired and in my opinion season five of Buffy is the best season of the series. As a whole, the show has had a lot of fine moments and many of them have been in season five. This is the season where Dawn is introduced as Buffy's sister, Riley leaves, Glory is the Big Bad (one of my fav's) and Spike falls in love with Buffy. The scoobie gang experiences a lot of loss in this emotional and heartbreaking season,(episodes The Body and The Gift, trust me have a box of kleenex by your side for these episodes). The episodes in this very powerful season are:
1. Buffy .vs. Dracula: 9.5/10
2. Real Me: 9.5/10 (Harmony is back)
3. The Replacement: 9/10
4. Out of My Mind: 8/10
5. No Place Like Home: 9/10
6. Family: 9/10
7. Fool For Love: 10/10 (watch with Angel's "Darla" episode)
8. Shadow: 8/10
9. Listening to Fear: 8.5/10
10. Into the Woods: 8.5/10 (Riley leaves)
11. Triangle: 8/10
12. Checkpoint: 8.5/10
13. Blood Ties: 9/10
14. Crush: 10/10 (Harmony and Drusilla are back)
15. I was made to love you: 8/10
16. The Body: 11/10
17. Forever: 9.5/10 (Angel pays a visit to Sunnydale)
18. Intervention: 9/10
19. Tough Love: 9.5/10
20. Spiral: 10/10
21. The Weight of the World: 10/10
22. The Gift: 11/10
...."you think you know what's to haven't even begun."
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "All Praying...No Slaying", November 22, 2003
I'm surprised at the number of reviews I've read here that have discussed problems with season 5 of BtVS; I suppose this is exactly why you should buy decide for yourself. I have been one of those avid Buffy fanatics since season 1, episode 7, and in my opinion, season 5 is the crescendo of the series. Sure, season 2 may match it in terms of scope of the story arch, but season 5 finally has the strong production values the stories deserve.
Season 5 is departure childhood for Buffy. There is no parent, boyfriend, or educational institution to guide her; she is left to set her own moral compass. And even though she is surrounded by friends who love her, her burden is still one that she cannot share. This is the year when Buffy proves why she was ever chosen to be The Chosen One in the first place. In a later episode, Buffy tells Dawn that "it's about power...who's got it, and who knows how to use it." In season 5, Glory, and even Willow, may have more power than Buffy, but she has more heart.
I can't even begin to get into individual episodes of season 5, because there is a 1000 word limit to these reviews and I would need at least three times that to do them justice. But let me just say that the writers hit and maintained their stride all season long- the arc is solid, the comedy relieves, and the characters have never been more fully realized.
Without going into too much detail, here are the highlights of season 5, and the reasons why its getting no Emmy awards, although always a crime, was a capital offense this year:
1. The undemonization of Spike and the beginning of his transformation into becoming a good man.
2. Riley's descent into uselessness and fetishism... sometimes, the humans are darker than the monsters.
3. The death, by natural causes, of Buffy's mother, showing Buffy that there are some things even she can't fight.
4. Buffy stands up to those grumpy men of the Watcher's Council, and wins.
5. Glory. Say what you will about the actress portraying her, Glory is the most threatening villain and, in fact, bested Buffy in terms of strength.
6. The way Buffy learns, at the last possible moment, that her true power isn't in her fist, it's in her heart, and makes a sacrifice that trumps everyone.
Whether you are one of those people for whom Tuesday nights were a set appointment for seven years, or one of those people who came into the show late and are only still discovering it, season 5 is the one that proved the show's street cred... and it's the one that we all earned the right to have. So just go cut one of those fringe kids or cousins off your Christmas list this year, and spend the $40 to get this for yourself. Please!!!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death was her gift in the BEST season of BtVS ever, September 1, 2003
"gnarl" (Pennsylvania) - See all my reviews
Please show your support for the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be released on DVD. Right now, 20th Century Fox has delayed production of this season on DVD as well as the Firefly collection. You can vote for it on by submitting your email address at the top of this page. And you should. Buffy's fifth season is, in my opinion, the best season in the show's seven season run. It was the most consistently well plotted, written, directed and acted twenty-two episodes. Season five of Buffy was epic. It was mythic. Beginning with an encounter with Dracula, the tone of the season is set up with Buffy wanting Giles to become her watcher again and searching for knowledge about the history of the Slayer line. As other reviewers have pointed out, fans had really mixed feelings about the sudden addition of Dawn, Buffy's little sister to the cast. I, for one, think it was yet another stroke of Joss Whedon's genius. I will also have to add that the season's big bad, Glory, has been the most formidable villain the Slayer has ever faced. The season's theme is about loss. Buffy loses everything she cares about until in the huge, huge season finale, the Gift, she doesn't "know how to live in this world if these are the choices...if everything just gets stripped away." And we all know how that turned out for her. All the other subplots are great to watch unfold as well-Giles' Magic Box, Anya and Xander's growing romance, Joyce's illness, Tara and Willow's trust and relationship, Willow's growing magic, Xander's finding success, Buffy and Riley's "implosion", and of course, Spike's revelation of his love for the Slayer. I could go on and on about the greatness of the fifth season of Buffy, but in conclusion-vote for it. buy it when it comes out. love it. watch it over and over. and over. I've watched since season two first aired through the end on May 20, 2003, and have always said that this is the best show on television.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BUFFY SEASON 5 -- MY FAVORITE OF THEM ALL!!!!, July 22, 2003
Jeffrey Matthew Cohen (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
Season 5 of Buffy is one of those amazing examples when all the story-telling elements come together to create a unified and explosive plotline arc. This season has everything: a deposed God, mideval knights, the watchers council, monks, lots of dark witchcraft, Dracula, two Xanders, the newly arrived little sister that turns out to be timeless destructive energy, Spike fighting for the good guys, the First Slayer, crazy robots, brain-sucking, aliens from outerspace, a really cute doctor, and the deaths of two main characters!!
Glory is by far (in my opinion) the best big bad ever! She's fantastically powerful, but at the same time really ditzy. She fits perfectly into the Buffy-verse: scary & funny, but believable all at the same time. This season also cements in Tara and Spike as scoobies. And it introduces Warren for the first time (who will figure largely into the plot of Season 6).
The highlights of the Season: Fool for Love (Spike's past), The Body (realistic look at death), Tough Love (first glimpse at Dark Willow), and The Gift (my favorite season finale & the death of another main character).
And as with all good things, there are some low points. Listening to Fear (alien is summoned to kill crazy people), and Family (Tara's creepy family arrive) aren't the best, but they're still better than most of what's on TV. Bad Buffy is a lot like bad pizza: even when it's bad, it's still pretty good! OK--corny, I know, but it makes a point! Also, I'm a huge Riley (Marc Blucas) fan, and was sad to see him go this season (he goes on to make a guest appearance in Season 6).
In conclusion, buy Buffy Season 5 on DVD!!! Buy several--buy them as holiday presents!! People will be glad you did!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Season, September 24, 2003
Eric Gehrke (Des Moines, IA) - See all my reviews
The Fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the best. Not only does it introduce Buffy's little sister, Dawn, it also gives the Slayer, finally, a strong female villain to spar against. Not only is she bad, she's a God. Glorificus. Glory. The season starts off with a fun episode pitting Buffy against the king of vampires, Dracula. It also introduces a recurring theme in the fifth season. Darkness. While, Buffy is good, darkness still resides within her. At the end of the episode, we are introduced to Dawn. In the next few episodes, Dawn is revealed to be the Key, a device Glory can use to get back to her Hell dimension and destroy the world unless Buffy can stop her. This season sees the departure of Buffy's boyfriend Riley, the furthering of Willow's relationship with Tara, and the start of Spike's infatuation and future love affair with the Slayer. The two best episodes of the season, are "The Body" and "The Gift". ... It is an amazingly written ep filmed with no soundtrack. The final ep is "The Gift". If you haven't seen it I won't ruin the surprise, but it is in the top five best ep's ever. The fifth season cements "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" as one of TV's finest dramas with an exceptional cast. It is a worthy addition to anyones DVD collection.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another day older and deeper in the doogie..., November 26, 2003
frank (Massachusetts) - See all my reviews
Perhaps you can or cannot believe you're eyes, but 5 Stars is exactly what this season deserves. And weather you listen to what James Brunner wrote earlier or not you should be able to see why may reviews are so positive. From the lame `Buffy vs. Dracula' to the spiritual `The Gift' this inventive and amazing TV program deserves 5 stars.
Now I am not one of those folks who've watched Buffy since Season 1. In point of fact I used to date a Buffy-fan who could not get me to take the show seriously (to her dismay). But one day, about a year and a half ago, I was looking for something to background my poster making (the poster's not important, but thanks for asking) and I was sick of all my music. So `on' went the t.v. and I fell upon one of the many times a day that FX plays episodes of Buffy. It seemed as likely candidate for background noise, and I was already somewhat familiar with the characters. But by the end of that hour my poster lay very undone I felt just about as sad and moved by a fictitious program as I can ever remember. The episode was `The Body' and to this day I cannot believe it took me until Season 6 to start watching Buffy. But on the plus side I had only to watch FX to catch up on what I had missed. All seasons no waiting ;)
I'm not here to say that this, or any other, season of is perfect. I can't say that johngift's review and insight was any truer then nat9761's or the anonymous writer of "The sharks are in the water..." But I do know that I have found precious little Mutant Enemy productions that were not simply great TV. And I'm a TV-Head from way back. But WOW! Buffy is somethin' else, and to think I used to think that Moonlighting was the best thing to have happened to TV.
Heck I can't say I love all the seasons equally (the 7th had some disappointingly lame moments) but that, I think, is one of the reasons that Buffy is such a good show. It's very natural in it's evolution. It moves and changes not just from season to season, or episode to episode, but within a single scene. And watching the cheese of Dracula can be as much fun as the hardcore emotional wrenching that "The Body" gives you. It's simply one of the Best TV shows ever made. Don't take my word on it; watch it for yourself. Laugh, cry, and walk away knowing that there are heroes out there and they are just like the rest of us: Doing our best not to be sucked into the Hellmouth.
And just wait, if u thought the 5th was interesting the 6th might just make u reevaluate the whole shebang. My favorite of the seasons is different, dark, and beautifully uncomfortable. With episodes that can only come from likes of Mutant Enemy.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I need a new word for "wow". Anyone? A little help here?, November 18, 2004
M J Heilbron Jr. "Dr. Mo" (Long Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
The season 5 DVD box needs another review like Giles needs another book, but there's no way I can resist putting a few thoughts down.

This season made me feel like I need to stand on the top of a tall building and yell to the world that every single person on this planet needs to see this show.

Seriously, has there ever been another hour-long drama that has maintained this sort of quality over five consecutive seasons? Yes, shows like "NYPD Blue" and "ER" have remained remarkably consistent, but they're pinnacles of a genre. They elevate a stereotype into art.

There has never been anything like "Buffy". Those who scoff have not seen "Hush", or "Graduation Day" or this year's "The Body".

Besides, what sort of TV show can be referenced, without sounding too-too fanboy-ish, by their episode titles?

When people refer to the show as dark, it meant (in previous years) usually in terms of cinematography, in tone, in it's "supernatural" emphasis...

...but this fifth year was dark. Dark as in death. Agony. Pain. Probably the least numbers of laughs per episode, but an excruciating amount of anguish. Real tears will be shed watching this season.

Oh sure, there were all sorts of little giggle-fests sprinkled throughout the 22 shows. Glory's infectious maniacal glee, the duplicate Xanders, the progressively-more-reliable Emma Caulfield as Anya, Spike's asides...

...but the list of unforgettable heart-wrenching moments is almost too painful to recount.

First and foremost is I believe the single most exquisitely painful depiction of a loved one's death I've ever seen on television. It is unflinching. Horrifying. Oh so real. What sort of genius can fill 90 episodes of death and destruction on an epic basis, yet make one single intimate death inflict such emotional damage? On the viewers, not just the characters, mind you.

Before I go any further, bravo Miss Gellar. Three words I'll never forget:

"Mom? Mom? Mommy?"

As a trauma surgeon, I'm prepared for pretty much anything that rolls through my doors.

I was not prepared for this. I was bewildered. I was shocked. I was involved in a TV show the way no grown, married man should...yet there I was, hand over mouth, mewing out the word "No" to my television set.

You know everytime you see somebody die on TV it's fake. I'll tell you this didn't feel "fake" at all.

Then there's the Buffy-Riley break-up. Yes, we all knew it was inevitable, but then why were we all yelling at our TV sets when the helicopter took off?

How about Tara's dementia? And how Willow cares for her? Or earlier in the season, when the Scoobies demonstrate the true meaning of family towards Tara? How can that possibly be effective, and not in the least bit hackneyed? Or Spike's unrequited yearning? The ending of the "Buffy-bot" episode was a master class of screenplay and acting.

I can and should but will not go on and on and on.

I simply felt the need to add my voice to the appreciation of this unexpectedly overwhelming show.
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer : Season 5 (Slim Set)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer : Season 5 (Slim Set) by Michael Gershman (DVD - 2006)
$39.98 $13.49
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