20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Panel Discussion, Featurette, Outtakes, Overview, and much more
After 5 years at the WB, executive producer and creator Joss Whedon moved Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies over to the UPN. At the conclusion of season five, Whedon decided to take advantage of the network changes and kill Buffy off in the fifth season finale. To the shock of many fans, myself included, we waited impatiently over the course of the summer to see if and how the Slayer would return in the upcoming season. What fans would have to endure was a darker, more mature show than previous ones. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) does indeed come back from the dead with some serious issues that unveil during the course of the show, most involving Spike (James Marsters). Willow’s (Alyson Hannigan) ever increasing sexual romance with Tara (Amber Benson) causes uproars with fans. Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Anya (Emma Caulfield) move closer to their marriage after their engagement announced in season five. And Dawn’s (Michelle Trachtenberg) beginning to feel more and more like one of the family.
Season Six’s 22 episodes continued the tradition of excellent writing. The one episode in particular was the brilliantly shot musical episode, "Once more with feeling." Other shows have tried to follow off the success of this episode and have failed miserably. With Joss Whedon’s amazing writing ability and the even more shocking realization that most of the crew could sing extremely well, the episode became an instant success. Another interesting note was that this was the only episode shot in the wider 1.78:1 film aspect similar to Josh’s other series, Angel. Other episodes that stand out over the course of the season were, "Bargaining," "Tabula Rasa," "Wrecked," "Hell’s Bells," "Normal Again," the shocking "Seeing Red," and finally the closing 3 part finish, "Villains," "Two to Go" and "Grave."
If you’re a fan of the series you most likely have seen the previous season Fox released earlier in the year. The image quality is pretty much exactly like that, which is that is has a nice clean look to it. Being that the show is shot for Television and HD cameras weren’t really in the budget, the show has a slightly soft look to it. Daylight sequences look quite nice. But what is more important is how the darker scenes turn out. Black level is nice and consistent. Comparing this set for instance to the first 2 seasons of Buffy you really do see a huge improvement in shadow gradation. I’ve always liked how the sets look in this show and the DVD helps show off a lot of the attention to detail that is invested in creating them
Similar to what was mentioned above, audio is identical to the previous season. Dynamic range is limited a lot with the show only being recorded in <$DS,Dolby Surround>. When we have other series such as 24 being given Digital soundtracks, comparing Buffy to those other television sets makes it kinda pale in comparison. But for what it’s worth this is still a nice sounding set overall. Fans and myself crave a theatrical Buffy film. Not the original Joss created back in 92’. The wonderfully composed scores would really sound impressive with a bigger budget.
Well let’s just say that this is the best season yet for the extra features. Not only do we get select Commentaries and the season overview like in previous sets. But we also get to see a great "Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Panel Discussion" which has most of the cast and crew being interviewed through a Q & A session they back at the end of season six. I really enjoy listening to and watching long unrehearsed featurettes like this. It’s a nice change over the typical marketing sludge that plagues most sets. There’s also a behind the scenes featured for "Once more with Feeling". And the last big extra is "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Television with a bite" documentary that was shown on A&E. It’s a really interesting look on the history of the show from film to TV. DVD-Rom content, outtakes and a Karaoke track (which I know is the reason everyone’s going to buy this set, wink, wink) rounds out the rest of the set.
In the end any Buffy fan will buy this set whether I recommend it or not. Being that I’m a fan I’m already anxiously awaiting the next. The only complaint I can have about Season six was the lack of screen presence from Anthony Stewart Head. Giles is one of my favorite characters and he’s an incredible strength to the show so much that I was saddened he wasn’t in it more. Also the villains in this season were the weakest of all. The Trio weren’t very good, but then again the season had more to do with the personal struggles the main characters had to endure. Now let me go finish my Double Meat Burger. It’s a meat process you know.