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Buffy The Vampire SlayerBuffy Season 7 - Boxofficeprophets.com Review
Wednesday 24 November 2004, by Webmaster
For five seasons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of the most inventive, imaginative and intellectual shows on television. Sporting a caustic wit and a never-ending drive to surprise, the tales of a do-gooder crew of demon fighters fronted by a cheerleader named Buffy never failed to entertain. Then, show creator Joss Whedon, one of the most talented people in all of entertainment, made a pair of simultaneous missteps. The first was to move the show from its home network to UPN, a competitor willing to pay more for the same series. The other was to launch a third series while already juggling Buffy and its spinoff, Angel.
The result was that Angel’s quality grew inconsistent, Whedon’s new baby, Firefly, received heinous treatment from its exhibitor, Fox, and Buffy went to hell. Ignoring a sensational musical episode in season six, the body of the two seasons on UPN were disasteriffic.
Season six was so unfocused as to have the Big Bad be a trio of sci-fi/fantasy freaks. Coming on the heels of notable villains such as The Master, the Mayor, a two-time slayer named Spike, and a goddess named Glory, the trio were a stillborn story that never could have developed anyway.
Seeking to change all of this, the final season offers a mystical enemy known as The First. The shape-shifting entity was able to assume the form of anyone who had died, even the titular heroine herself (who has died twice). As the story unfolded, an event unrelated to the Buffyverse liberated the show from its storytelling morass. Firefly was creating a fledgling superstar in Nathan Fillion, who portrayed the captain of a ship named Serenity. When Fox pulled the plug at mid-season, Joss Whedon found himself with a rising talent in need of work in Fillion and a show in need of salvation in Buffy. He deftly combined the two, allowing Fillion to show up for the last quarter of Buffy’s season as an sadistic preacher who seemed to be ripped straight out of the pages of a comic book named...well....Preacher.
The presence of Nathan Fillion alone is enough to recommend the final season of Buffy albeit with a caveat. His arrival is not enough to save the show from an absurdly self-indulgent finale which attempts to celebrate sexual empowerment . Instead, it winds up being a mess of ill-conceived zeitgeist and displays more than a little bit of pettiness to an actress who had become a problem child on the set (no, not the one you would expect). Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of the finest shows in the history of television, went out with a whimper instead of a bang.
The development of an inscrutable villain played by a tremendous talent is enough to redeem its last season in my eyes, but your mileage may vary.
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