Monday, May 18, 2009

Buffy Season 4

Season 4 is where some Buffy fans claim Buffy went downhill. The gang left high school, and were going to college, there was no more Angel, and soon no more Oz. I rather have a soft spot for it, however. It's true that the main plot doesn't quite work- the Initiative is a little bit amateur for a government organisation, and Maggie Walsh would have made a much better long term villain than Adam did. Still, this season contains some of the best and funniest episodes Buffy ever created, with some decent insight into the characters. I never particularly missed Angel, who felt out of place in the third season, and quite enjoyed Riley, a character who admittedly does not have much to work with (people like to blame Mark Blucas, but there's really not much going on- the only time Riley gets to be funny is in season 5..), and in many ways is very similar to Tara- someone who exists to be the partner rather than a character in their own right.

Tara, of course, brings another daring move from Buffy, a gay character, but not only that, making one of the main cast gay. How it happens feels entirely natural, despite some baffling claims that Willow can't be gay because she was with Oz (because there exist no gay people who initially enter into straight relationships. Or even get married). I really love the Willow Tara relationship, and the cutesy magic=sex metaphor that is used to get round bizarre American standards (no, it's ok they're orgasming from the spell... it's fiiine).

Tara isn't the only new character here- Spike and Anya become very interesting in this series. Spike absolutely shines here, as a soulless creature forced to do good, he consistently makes you laugh, and his character gets a lot of development ready for the next season. Anya meanwhile enters an amusing and awkward relationship with Xander, that grows into something very strong.

So, funniest episodes? Well theres a lot to choose from. Most episodes are infused with humour- the hilarious denouement of Fear Itself, the otherwise rather poor Beer Bad. Episodes that consistently bring the funny are Pangs, a New Man, Superstar AND Something Blue. My personal favourite is probably Pangs, as this is one of the first episodes that has Spike interacting with everyone else.

The best episode is a hard pick here- I'm going to say Hush, because it's such a wonderful episode, Joss Whedon proving the beauty of Buffy is not just about the dialogue, as he strips the words away and still crafts an amazing episode. Honourable mention must be given to Who Are You, an episode all about who Faith is, and her learning about who Buffy is as well.

Worst episodes? Thats not hard- Where the Wild things Are really is a filler episode that adds nothing (unless Buffy Riley sex counts), and Beer Bad's moral screams itself out from the fricking title.

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At 10:52 pm, Blogger Nicholas said...

Can't say I disagree - and Giles witha guitar was awesome. Taken individually, there are a lot of good episodes in season 4, it's just the long term plot and the feeling that they no longer know what they're doing that make me dislike the season as a whole.

At 9:36 am, Blogger Mr K said...

Yeah, I can understand that, there was a bit of lack of direction in 4. Ah, singing Giles. That freaked me out first time I saw it!

At 7:50 pm, Blogger Kate said...

I'm afraid I agree with the majority on this one - no Angel, Riley kind of sucked and that Adam was a rubbish baddy. Only good thing was Spike made a come back :)


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