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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy episode "Restless" ranks in USA TODAY Pop Candy’s five best dream sequences

Barry Wetcher

Tuesday 28 March 2006, by Webmaster

Attack of the TV dream sequences

Plenty of you will disagree with what I’m about to say, but here goes:

I like Tony Soprano’s dream sequences.

Tony Soprano/Kevin Finnerty: That gum he likes is going to come back in style.

That’s right — Kevin Finnerty, the monks, the Jersey-free accent — I’m digging the whole shebang this season. Some fans have criticized The Sopranos’ surreal turn, but I haven’t minded a break from the bloody action. Tony’s dreams have stimulated the clue-seeking Lost lover in me (what does it all mean, anyway?), while providing much-needed comic relief from the sixth season’s somber storylines.

Of course, dream sequences are nothing new to series television: Back in 1963, The Dick Van Dyke Show dazzled viewers with Rob Petrie’s bizarre vision of walnuts, aliens and absent thumbs. Below is a quick take on my five all-time favorite TV dream sequences. I know I’m leaving out a bunch — Roseanne, Scrubs, Moonlighting and Absolutely Fabulous come to mind — so feel free to chime in with more dreams in the comments section:

1. Twin Peaks. Even if you never watched the David Lynch drama, the words "red curtains" and "dancing dwarf" probably bring this series to mind. Like The Sopranos, Lynch used Agent Cooper’s bizarre night visions to provide hints about future episodes and deepen the mystery. To this day, I’m still pondering the meaning of "That gum you like is going to come back in style." 2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Restless. The fourth-season finale featured not one, but four interlocking dreams from Buffy, Giles, Willow and Xander. Each one provided hints about future episodes, not to mention a cameo by a man who proclaimed to "wear the cheese." This kept fans guessing for episodes — heck, even years — to come.

3. The Cosby Show, The Day the Spores Landed. One of the funniest eps late in the series’ run involved Cliff Huxtable dreaming he, Theo, Elvin and Martin become pregnant. The patriarch proceeded to give birth ... to a giant sandwich and a soda.

4. Newhart (finale) and Dallas (Blast from the Past). Both of these shows used small dream sequences in very big ways: In Newhart’s case, the final shot of Bob Newhart’s TV wife on The Bob Newhart Show explained his entire second sitcom as a dream. In Dallas, a season-ending dream explained Bobby Ewing’s death as a figment of Pam’s imagination.

5. Six Feet Under, Ecotone. The best of Six Feet’s scattered dreams came in the last season: After climbing into a groovy van with his father and brother, Nate heads to a beach and leaps into the ocean. Seconds later, we learn it was his final swim.

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