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From Nydailynews.com

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

These DVDs’ll slay ya - Buffy & Firefly Dvd Review

Thursday 11 December 2003

These DVDs’ll slay ya!

Two terrific and very different DVD boxed sets from Joss Whedon hit the street today - the fifth season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and the one and only season of "Firefly." By broadcast TV’s standards of mass-media audience response, "Firefly" was a failure. The 2002 series, a bizarre hybrid of sci-fi futurism and anachronistic Western, was mistreated by Fox, then canceled halfway through its first season.

The four-disc DVD "Firefly: The Complete Series" ($49.98), on the other hand, is an unqualified success.

Like the A&E/NBC Home Entertainment set for "Homicide: Life on the Street," these "Firefly" episodes are shown, almost defiantly, in their originally intended order.

For "Firefly," this is especially significant, because on Fox the original two-hour movie pilot wasn’t shown until months after the premiere, and several other episodes were shown jarringly out of sequence.

In addition, three never previously aired episodes are presented as complete and polished extra treats. One of them reprises Christina Hendricks’ feisty character of the manipulative opportunist Saffron; another features Melinda Clarke, now on Fox’s "The O.C.," as a bordello madam requesting help in defending against a local despot. The episode with Saffron is one of the series’ best.

The extra features include a gag reel of miscues, Whedon’s original demo performance of the "Firefly" theme song, and a documentary on the making of the series, in which Whedon and company are surprisingly kind to Fox.

Other tidbits of information: The stunning and talented Morena Baccarin, as professional concubine Inara, was a last-second replacement for Rebecca Gayheart - and Inara’s hourglass - with which she timed her clients - was adorned with a Chinese symbol meaning "short interval."

Whedon’s alternate-audio commentary is too jokey, rambling and uninformative. It’s the only subpar part of an otherwise superlative DVD set.

Fox Home Entertainment’s season five of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (six discs, $59.98), on the other hand, contains must-hear commentary by Whedon, who dissects his writing and directing choices regarding "The Body," one of 22 episodes in this last season before "Buffy" moved from The WB to UPN.

"The Body," the episode in which Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy discovers, and reacts to, the death of her mother, is one of the best-written, best-directed and best-acted TV episodes of the past decade.

To see it on DVD, in crisp transfer and without commercials, is impressive enough. To have Whedon explain himself amounts to a one-hour master class in creative writing.

The whole season, though, was of high quality, and concludes with another remarkable hour, "The Gift," in which Buffy sacrifices herself to save her sister, and the world. Fans of this show will want to save this set - and the one for "Firefly" as well.

From Nsnlb.us.publicus.com :


Life for Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and the gang turns sad and somber as the show takes major dramatic twists, including the death of Buffy’s mom in a starkly realistic (and virtually monster-free episode). Meantime, the mysterious arrival of a kid sister targeted by a demon god leaves Buffy toppling into her own grave to save her sibling in the season-ending cliffhanger.

The six-disc set has 22 episodes as well as some commentary from series creator Joss Whedon and others.

FIREFLY: THE COMPLETE SERIES 20th Century Fox; DVD set, $49.98.

Also from “Buffy” creator Joss Whedon comes this clever mix of deep-space science fiction and Old West adventure. Set 500 years in the future, the short-lived series from 2002 follows the exploits of a rickety transport ship whose crew scratches out a living doing dirty deeds under the radar of an oppressive interstellar government.

The four-disc set has all 14 episodes, including three that never aired. Whedon and others provide commentary on seven episodes, and the set has deleted scenes and two making-of featurettes.