Buffy the Vampire Slayer: season two

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“Possibly the slayer’s finest hour…all 24 of them.”

While there have been stand-out Buffy episodes since, season two perhaps ranks as the most consistently high in quality. There’s hardly an episode that ranks as less than excellent, and the writing is sparklingly witty, with more eminently quotable lines than you can shake a stake at.

The big bad in this series is Angel, and he is far better as a villain than the drippy, mopey good guy he seemed in series one. By sleeping with Buffy, and thereby knowing true happiness (hmmm, so sex = happiness, does it, Joss?), he loses his soul. If this story arc has a weakness, it’s that it is spread over about nine episodes. In most of these he just pops in, torments Buffy and leaves, when it would have packed more wallop to cover the entire thing in three or four hours. However, even the less significant episodes are great, and the transformation of Spike from villain to Buffy’s unwilling accomplice is fabulous.

Other highlights include the Judge, a demon that can’t be killed by human weapons (or at least, couldn’t last time he was incarnated), Kendra the West Indian slayer (and her stake, Mr. Pointy), and the growing relationship between Giles and computer teacher Miss Calendar (about which the words “oh, dear…” come to mind). There is a certain feeling of rehash to some of the episodes – yet again, Xander falls for the wrong girl, making Inca Mummy Girl too close to Teacher’s Pet – but the actors have really grown into their parts and the results still seem fabulous and fresh.

Star: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendon, James Marsters

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