Bye-Bye Buffy

Season 3 DVD

Well, it's over.

It's a rare show that knows when to call it quits. With Chosen, :Buffy: joins the ranks of M*A*S*H and Deep Space Nine in bowing out with grace and dignity, not lurching ahead as such shows as The X-Files or the most recent versions of the Star Trek franchise.

Please note that this review contains spoilers.

Yes, if you looked closely at Chosen, you would have seen logical flaws. Did anybody care to explain Buffy and Wood's magically healing mortal wounds? (A single line would have taken care of that; say, coming out of the Hellmouth's influence.) And for all of the themes developed through this season about not fighting fire with fire and evil with evil, the end just comes down to a bunch of Slayers, a spread-around Slayer power, some self-sacrifice and a whole lot of fighting.

But, you know what? It doesn't matter. On an emotional level, Chosen worked. Whatever the writing flaws, this episode was a triumph of Joss Whedon's directoral skills, as he carefully manipulated the visuals to produce in us sadness, anger, hope, joy, completion and (er) incompletion. Anya's death gets glossed over in terms of writing, but in terms of direction it's a shock to the system, a message to our heart rather than our minds that things might not turn out all right. Then, to end the show with the complete destruction of Sunnydale (the "Welcome to" sign falling into the pit at the end was a nice touch), tells the heart more than the mind that the show is over. Buffy's slayerhood is at an end. And even though everybody must be asking "where do we go from here", we all know in our hearts that our characters can sleep in tomorrow, and worry about mundane things later.

And so Buffy closes, and we walk away, with the sense that we've witnessed something special. Hats off to you, Joss Whedon.

:Buffy:'s finale offers up some interesting ideas for :Angel:, if they decide to take them up. So, now we have hundreds of full-fledged Slayers across the world? That's got to be felt over at Wolfram & Hart. And while the message in Chosen was all about female empowerment and self esteem, I only have to point to Faith as an example of where that sort of power can go wrong. So, how many of these new Slayers are mini-Buffies? And how many are mini-Faiths?

Also, did you notice Giles line that there was a hellmouth in Cleveland (a nice tip of the hat to the second season episode The Wish where alternate timeline Buffy was sent to Cleveland instead)? Do you think, even though Eliza Dushku's been accepted at another Fox show, they were setting up the parameters of a Faith spinoff anyway?

Other assorted good moments: Dawn kicking Buffy in the shin for sending her out of danger. Buffy's retort "if you get yourself killed, I'm telling" was just icing on the cake. This scene coupled nicely with Buffy's scene earlier where she turned down Angel's help. I don't think we've seen Buffy as mature as she was there.

I also liked Faith's banter with Principal Wood and the beginnings of a relationship there. Another setup for that Faith spinoff perhaps?

The moment when Buffy, Xander, Willow and Giles are together in the school, and start to discuss what they'll do tomorrow, assuming they live that long. Giles' line: "the Earth is doomed!"

Oh, yeah, and nice bit of misdirection suggesting to us that Spike is going to be on :Angel: in its fifth season. Hah! You had us fooled there, Mr. Whedon. Although, I guess Spike could show up... In an urn perhaps?

I'm betting no, folks. Especially since James Marsters is a native Californian, loves the sun, and hasn't been able to get a decent tan in six years. He's going to take his time coming back, if he ever does.

Eliza Dushku's new series is called Tru Calling; Eliza's character is named Tru, so thus the punny title. Buffy Spoiled Rotton has a copy of the following Fox press release:

TRU CALLING: What would you do if you could relive a day? If you're TRU DAVIES (ELIZA DUSHKU, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), you'd save lives. Tru is a smart, sexy recent college graduate who -- when her high-powered medical internship falls through -- finds herself working the midnight shift at the New York City morgue. One night, Tru questions reality when she thinks she hears a beautiful murder victim asking for her help. But the next morning, our heroine wakes up to find that she is back at the beginning of that very same day -- twelve hours before a murder that only she knows about is set to take place. With the clock ticking, Tru is compelled to traverse the city of New York over those next twelve hours to prevent this wrongful death, while at the same time rescuing members of her own family from their dangerous and self-destructive lives. Directed by renowned filmmaker PHILLIP NOYCE ("The Quiet American"), TRU CALLING combines the sexiness and speed of "Alias" with the procedural crime format of "CSI." TRU CALLING is from 20th Century Fox Television and Original Television and comes from executive producer/writer JON FELDMAN ("American Dreams," "Roswell," "Dawson's Creek").

Things were actually going quite well until they brought in her own family with their "dangerous and self-destructive" lifestyles. It's not enough that the girl's psychic, but she has a "dangerous and self-destructive" family? Only in television.

I might give the series a chance, though. And I wish Eliza well in it.

So, now it's time to assess the seventh season. Many reviewers online expressed a lot of disappointment over it, suggesting that the show was tired or had lost its focus. I have to agree that the show isn't as quick on its feet as it was in seasons two and three, but disappointment is way too harsh a reaction.

I agree that :Angel:'s season four was much better, with all its twists and turns, and that Buffy's season seven was a one note song, but I can't be disappointed in a season when I'm served up such gems as Conversations With Dead People", Storyteller, The Chosen, Him (the women in love with the high school jacket) and Selfless (Anya's powers episode). Indeed, as with previous seasons of Buffy, there are no episodes which come to mind as being wastes of an hour.

In my opinion, Buffy chose the right time to bow out. It did not disgrace itself with its final season.

Farewell, Buffy. Television will be a lot more boring without you.

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