Buffy the Vampire Slayer: season six

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Slaybours, everybody needs good Slaybours…”

Season Six was in trouble from the start, with the titular heroine (literally) dead and buried. Bringing Buffy back from beyond was a problem always likely to perplex, because once you start resurrecting characters, nothing is a threat any more. Although this was handled moderately well, the show really started to fall apart after the musical episode. This demonstrated one thing beyond all reasonable doubt – why the cast are actors. From then on, most of the stories seemed to have been cribbed from daytime soaps. Buffy has sex with Spike, feels bad about it, then does it again. Xander and Anya’s on-off-off-on-off wedding and relationship. Willow and Tara were no more solidly committed, and the clumsy “magic=drugs” story arc was the sort of thing I’d expect to see on Charmed. In addition, the main bad guys for 90% of the series were a trio of geeks, minor bit players from previous episodes, who were about as threatening as flies, albeit rather more annoying.

I will confess to having lost a few episodes in the middle – here in Phoenix, it kept getting pre-empted for even more sucky local basketball – but it was hard to care. When things settled back down (the Suns having failed to make the playoffs), there were only three weeks to go, and after an episode in which Willow and Tara might as well have been saying “Look at us! We’re lesbians!” every line, I was ready to write the series off. Then a misaimed bullet took out Tara and Willow went berserk – black magic, apocalyptically berserk. It was quite, quite fabulous, despite a “love conquers all” ending which while well-handled, still remained cliched. Those two episodes, if not quite redeeming the dreck that had passed before, at least renewed my interest in season 7. Will Willow go straight? Is Spike now all Angelus i.e. mopey, pouty and deeply uninteresting? Time will tell…

Star: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendon, Michelle Trachtenberg

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