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"Buffy" Comes Of Age,
This review is from: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Second Season (DVD)
With the features-packed DVD of "Buffy" Season 2 due to hit our mailboxes any month now, it's time for a look back at the episodes that arguably turned the show from closet-watching fascination to cult phenomenon.
Season 2 was "Buffy"'s first full-length run of 22 episodes, up from 12 the previous spring. David Boreanaz (Angel) joined the cast full-time, and in his first episode, "When She Was Bad", it's clear that his feelings for Buffy have not gone away during the season hiatus. The romantic tension between the leads is intense in the season premiere, with Buffy challenging Angel to a fight (which would come back to be very important later), and Xander and Willow nearly kissing.
"School Hard" introduced the season's recurring villains, Spike and Drusilla, the "Sid and Nancy" of the vampire world. Spike hunts down Buffy through dark school characters, and Principal Snyder drops the first hint of the dark Sunnydale conspiracy of silence.
"Inca Mummy Girl" and "Reptile Boy" are two fun monster shows. David Greenwalt, later the driving force behind the "Angel" show, will give audio commentary to the latter story, and this is anticipated to provide a great glimpse of how he's influenced both shows.
"Halloween", "Lie To Me", and "The Dark Age" explore the characters of Giles, Angel, Spike and Drusilla much more thoroughly, each showing scary glimpses of their dark pasts. The first of these stories introduces the recurring warlock Ethan Rayne, an old "friend" of Giles. The second features Jason Behr, who appeared in every WB teen series ever.
"What's My Line?", a two-parter, here with audio commentary by executive producer Marti Noxon (another huge cog in the "Buffy" wheel), introduces the notion of the "second slayer", sends the Buffy/Angel romance to a new level -- and features a surprising coupling between two other regulars. It's the first of the season's three two-parters, and you'll be impressed to know that this is the weakest of the three.
"Ted" is notable for Special Guest Star John Ritter. At the time, this bit of casting was seen as a triumph for the show, just getting attention in the national media. He's a great psychopath, Jack Tripper-style.
"Surprise"/"Innocence" is the next two-parter, presented with Joss Whedons commentary. "Innocense" moved "Buffy" from Monday nights to Tuesday, getting out of the "Seventh Heaven" shadow and anchoring its own night on the WB. Buffy and Angel have their moment of true happiness; Xander and Cordelia give Willow a moment of true unhappiness, and suddenly Spike and Drusilla are no longer the only villains. These two hours are among "Buffy"'s greatest achievement.
"Phases" is a funny werewolf show, moving Seth Green's popular Oz into the inner-circle Scooby Gang. "Bewitched, Bothered and Wildered" is Xander's comic Valentine's Day nightmare, with another appearance by Amy the teen witch.
"Passion" revels again in "Buffy"'s ability to kill off regular characters. Many BtVS fans name this their favorite episode of all time.
The season ends with a final two-parter, "Becoming", and when part two aired, the four-month hiatus until Season 3 began, became unbearable. These two hours show, via flashback, the origins of Drusilla, Angel, and Buffy. The Buffy/Angel "forbidden romance of all time" comes to a shocking conclusion, and Spike comes to a sudden decision about his loyalties. Pay special attention to his fight with Buffy at the beginning of Part Two. Five years gone by, he's still with us.
The final episode changes every basic premise of the show, and if you haven't seen it before, you'll be left stunned. Indeed there's barely a rotten episode in the bunch, with only a couple of the 22 hours you won't watch more than once. With a sixth disc full of production featurettes, and hours of commentary from the production time -- and at an extremely reasonable price for a 6-disc set -- this is the must-buy DVD set of the year.