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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVD : The Chosen Collection - Ugo.com Review

Brian Tallerico

Monday 21 November 2005, by Webmaster

Are we at a point yet where we can safely call Buffy the Vampire Slayer one of the best programs in television history without fear of ridicule? When the show started, if you told people you loved a WB series about high school students and their fang-toothed foes, you were often met with a sneer and a giggle. But, as the show progressed, most of the snobs even came around (too bad the Emmys never quite did). Now, all seven seasons of the brilliant adventures of Buffy and the gang are available in one gorgeous box set, appropriately dubbed The Chosen Collection. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for any good TV fan out there. As creator Joss Whedon says in the introduction to the bonus features that are exclusive to this new set, "clear your schedule for about 140 hours."

Now we know what you’re saying - "Um, UGO, I already spent a whole lot of my allowance on all seven seasons of the show." So, as most of you are Buffy fans already (or should be) and probably bought a season or two, you’re probably asking what’s new with The Chosen Collection. Bad news, residents of Sunnydale - there’s not much bite to this vamp. The key to the set is still the episodes themselves, and having them in one place with a showcase package for your Sarah Michelle Gellar shrine could be incentive enough. But if you’re preparing to dive into a treasure trove of Buffy greatness this weekend, slow down. This coffin’s half full.

The bloody heart of the new extras has to be "Back to the Hellmouth" - where Whedon and a few cast and crew discuss the show for a little under an hour. Very casual, almost too free-form, the new feature offers a glimpse into the personalities that made the show so great. Well, some of the personalities. Sarah, Alyson, James, David, Eliza, Seth and Anthony are all missing in action. Some have distanced themselves from the show and some were probably just busy making CBS sitcoms, but the lack of participation is frustrating. Sure, it’s cool to hear how Marti Noxon got involved, but don’t you want to know how the whole team got there? OK, you couldn’t get Buffy or Willow, but were Marc Blucas, Juliet Landau and Michelle Trachtenberg really too busy? Most of the round table participants, plus a few other faces like Amber Benson and Adam Busch, show up on the rest of the extras - a quintet of ten-minute looks at different elements of the show, including "Cast & Crew’s Favorite Episodes," "An Unlikely Role Model," "Breaking Barriers: It’s Not a Chick Fight Thing," "Love Bites: Relationships in the Buffyverse" and "Evil Fiends."

All of the extras are enjoyable, light and entertaining, but is this all that’s in the Buffy crypt? Danny Strong brings up the fact that he auditioned for Xander. Where’s the tape? There are no more deleted scenes, gag reels, commercials, still galleries - anything? Even a documentary about the obsessive cult following behind the show might have been interesting. Let’s face it - the people most likely to buy The Chosen Collection have probably bought a season (or all seven) already. So, if they’re replacing them, they want it to be for the last time.

The Chosen Collection should have been definitive and it’s not. As the cast and crew get further away from the experience, maybe more players will be enticed into coming back for stuff like ten-year reunions or the oft-rumored straight-to-DVD movies continuing the Buffyverse. Perhaps Fox should have waited for that day to release The Chosen Collection (and probably will when the show is rereleased on HD-DVD). If this set shows one more of those TV snobs how wrong they were in the series’ prime, then it’s been worthwhile - but true fans, the ones who knew all along that they were right, may want to wait for the next resurrection.