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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy The Chosen Collection DVD Review

Saturday 3 December 2005, by isa

Double Dip Digest: Buffy A sanguine collection or money-sucking set? by Peter Schorn

December 1, 2005 - I was an extreme latecomer to the "Buffyverse" - the world depicted in Joss Whedon’s wonderful shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff, Angel - only discovering it after playing the eponymous Xbox game and being taken by the offbeat humor of the dialogue. Having heard the buzz on this show for years, I picked up the first season box set to see what it was all about.

Then I bought another. And another. And so on...

I even converted my girlfriend from someone who was teasing me about watching the DVDs at home to someone who was demanding that I start bringing them over to watch with her and then asked, "You’re going to buy Angel, too, aren’t you?" (Of course I did.) While some fans disliked one season or another for various reasons, I liked it all and the overall killer-to-filler ratio was great. (Except for Riley - I never liked him.)

A year after picking up the seventh and final season of Buffy, it figures that 20th Century Fox would bundle the whole shebang and come out with the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Chosen Edition - for a very reasonable price, particularly considering it’s a forty-disc set! You read that right: Forty - as in 4-0 - DVDs of pure Buffy satisfaction!

The first 39 discs contain all 144 episodes of the series and they’re the same discs as were previously released - no changes to the extras that were originally included have been made. What is of interest is the last disc, which features new content made for the set, but unfortunately, it’s not very interesting at all.

Kicking off with An Intro from Joss Whedon (:43) which is just a general greeting to the purchasers of the set, the menu leads to the featurettes proper.

Back to the Hellmouth: A Conversation with Creators and Cast (54:32) has a puckish Whedon hosting a semi-circular roundtable with actors Charisma Carpenter, Nicholas Brendon, Emma Caulfield, Danny Strong - apparently Sarah Michelle Gellar was too busy or good to participate - writer-producer Marti Noxon, and writers Doug Petrie, David Fury, Jane Espenson and Drew Goddard. While there are some laughs, the overall pace is slow and there are too many people to allow for much discussion and so it’s only a few questions bandied up and down the line.

Buffy Cast and Crew: Favorite Episodes (10:59) is cool because it makes you want to go and watch the featured episodes again immediately. Fortunately, they’re right there in the box! Marti Noxon reveals that she still has people coming up to her and singing the parking ticket song from the classic Once More, With Feeling episode. (Her young child also wants to know, "Why no underwear?")

Buffy: An Unlikely Role Model (10:32) is a somewhat over-analytical segment about how meaningful the show was to young people and also branches into how Willow and Tara’s relationship helped gay youths come out.

Breaking Barriers: It’s Not a Chick Fight Thing (9:13) is an interview with stunt double Sophia Crawford and the show’s stunt coordinator with plenty of behind-the-scenes footage of the fights being filmed.

Love Bites: Relationships in the Buffyverse (11:01) talks about all the sexuality represented on screen, including more about Willow’s checkered love life. It also points out that in later seasons, the metaphors were dispensed with and it was all about the sex with Buffy and Spike and that it was more explicit.

Evil Fiends (7:19) discusses how the demons were used to illustrate the metaphor du jour of the story, like the kids possessed by the evil hyena spirits in The Pack that represent teen cliques. It’s another so-so piece.

What makes this bonus disc not-so-bonus is the total absence of the show’s big stars outside of the roundtable. There’s nothing from the actors who played Buffy, Giles, Willow, Dawn, Faith, Oz or Spike. (Imagine a Seinfeld disc in which the only people heard from are Newman and the Soup Nazi and you’re in the ballpark.) This show made their careers and they couldn’t sit down for a quick trip down Memory Lane?

On balance, the content here is not much different from the featurettes on the existing DVDs and not worth going out of your way to get.

If you already own four season sets or fewer of Buffy then you’ll definitely want to pick up The Chosen Collection to complete your library because the cost of the remaining seasons individually is about the same as what this uber-box costs and you’ll have the whole darn shooting match in one tidy box.

If you own five or more seasons, then the math makes it better to purchase the rest separately and for those fans like me who already own the whole series, skip this one because the 40th disc simply isn’t worth the cost of rebuying the series, unless you want to save some shelf space with the smaller package.