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Season 6 Review
Review by Mikelangelo Marinaro (MikeJer)
Posted on January 22, 2009 / Last Updated on January 30, 2014
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Spoiler Warning!
This is a retrospective review and may contain spoilers from anywhere in the series. Read at your own peril.

Sometimes I think about what my life would be like had I been completely happy in each and every moment leading up to the one now. Would I be a happier person because of it? Well, it's hard to say. I suppose I'd need to quantify what "happy" really meant to me. Too much of a good thing can eventually become boring. Without the struggles I've had throughout my life (which, to be clear, are nothing compared to some), I can say with confidence I wouldn't be the person I am today. I wouldn't have the drive and determination that I do. I wouldn't have the need to create that I do. I also think I wouldn't be a very useful person to have around. Sure, I want to be "happy," but I can't help but think being satisfied is something much more difficult to attain and much more rewarding to experience. The road to satisfaction is often riddled with struggle -- that's what makes the end so satisfying!

This thought brings me to the oft deplored sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I know there are many people out there who hate this season, and for a myriad of reasons: too much darkness, claims of poor writing, lack of humor, mishandled characters, and more. Some of these complaints have a bit of merit, but I feel that most of them do not. I'm not going to lie to all of you: this is a flawed season of television. That being said, it might just be the most daring and risky I've ever seen. Never before or since have I seen a show willing to go so far, so realistically far, to show the depths of depression to a group of established, likeable characters. I can sympathize with those who say that it can be depressing to watch, because it can be. This is definitely best viewed in a condensed time period.

However, I feel this is the perfect season to explore much darker themes, as we've got an established group of innately moral (besides Spike, but he's moving towards the light) and likeable, yet complex characters. This means there's little risk of having the audience unsympathetic to the characters' plight, while being able to explore the established flaws of these people in great depth. The tone of the season feels very naturally placed to me within the overall schema of the show.

When I first saw the season, it brought me to tears at several key points, but I was also literally filled with hope and a renewed sense of excitement for the characters and the series as a whole by the end of it. I've mentioned this before in a couple of my episode reviews, but without the contrast between light and dark, it becomes impossible to differentiate between them. Translated into TV terms, without showing the reality of darkness in our world and occasionally in our souls, we cannot possibly appreciate the beauty that stands in opposition of it. To show anything different sums up to television that feels fake to me. Additionally, television that doesn't have extremely well-developed and at least relatively entertaining characters always struggles to find a place in my heart. The characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer have always had my heart. I care for them, I like them, and I'm rooting for them.

Season 6 contains quite a few episodes with troubled plots, yet I must cheer for these same episodes because they still generally give me a lot to think about. This has caused me to have a much more difficult time awarding appropiate scores. I can't give the season full marks because it just doesn't put the complete package together, like S5 did, but I am utterly thrilled to have witnessed it and to have seen these writers go where few have gone before. I would always rather watch a show that's aiming for something huge and only partially succeeding at it over a show that aims for nothing, and succeeds completely at it (the vast majority of television, people). With this in mind, this is the season of Buffy I have the most respect for, and it may be my favorite season for it.

To further what I've already said, S6 is also the most complex of the entire series' run. The gray areas explored through Spike and Buffy's relationship were expertly crafted -- intelligent, riveting, challenging, sad, and emotional. However, where Spike and Buffy's journey wildly succeeded, Willow's unfortunately did not. What started out as an extremely promising continuation of her development got led wildly astray, and easily represents one of the biggest mistakes of the entire series.


S6 opens with an utterly riveting three-part opener that climaxes in "After Life" [6x03] -- a darkly quiet and sad piece that kicks off the themes of the season. "Flooded" [6x04] through "All the Way" [6x06] deal with the reality of the young adult world of rules and responsibilties that everyone wants to avoid. It's in the famous musical, "Once More, with Feeling" [6x07], where what's been secretly burning away Buffy's soul bursts out into the open. Spike is the one that gives Buffy a reason to stay alive with a spark of emotion: lust.

This lust boils over in "Smashed" [6x09] when Giles is gone and a fight with Spike leads to something destructively more. In "Wrecked" [6x10] we see Willow go off the deep end with her apparent "addiction" to magic overriding everything else in her life. in "Gone" [6x11] Willow realizes she has a hope of recovery and Buffy comes to learn that she really doesn't want to die. That discovery, though, doesn't address the new fractures that have been opened by her conduct with Spike. These fractures are brought to light in a revealing manner with the psychologically rich "Dead Things" [6x13], which also reveals an emerging villain in Warren.

With Buffy now beginning to recognize the damage her relationship with Spike is causing her, she struggles to put a stop to it, but finally does in "As You Were" [6x15]. Although she's taken the right step forward, her wounds are still open and her depression still something weighing heavily on her. This feeling isn't helped when her "light at the end of the tunnel," Xander and Anya's on-the-surface great relationship and near marriage, doesn't pan out due to a far too delayed vital moment of self realization from Xander.

Finally, in "Normal Again" [6x17], Buffy must directly face her depression by deciding to painfully turn down a world inside her own head that is so much brighter and hopeful than her real life. This incredibly painful decision allows Buffy to completely return to reality, pull out of her depression, and begin to repair the relationships around her. Although this process begins in "Entropy" [6x18], tragedy soon interrupts her in "Seeing Red" [6x19] as Warren flips out, shoots Buffy, and murders Tara.

This act causes Willow to ditch everything she's been holding back and entirely integrate herself with black magic. Feeding off rage and hate, Willow literally tears Warren apart ("Villains" [6x20]) and begins to lose it. Her targets shift to Jonathan and Andrew, followed by Buffy and a returned Giles, who are standing in her way. Giles' last hope works, as he lets Willow suck his borrowed power dry. This natural magic acts as a catalyst of Willow's emotions, which gives Xander -- lifelong best friend to Willow -- the opportunity to either save her or die by her. Fortunately, it's the former. As Willow finally begins to grieve for Tara's death and for what she's done, Buffy pulls herself out of the ground again, but this time to the dawn of a new day and a renewed sense of joy and purpose in life. In the season of darkness, love prevails.

  • Willow's inconsistent character arc.
  • The significant mid-season quality drought.
  • Too many sub-par plots.
  • Dawn. I like the character, but the writers gave her next to nothing to do but justifiably complain.

Although S6 doesn't have the overall quality problems people tend to claim, I can understand the feeling that there are. This season took a lot of risks -- many of which paid off. Some of them, though, did not. As much as I applaud the risks some of the mid-season episodes took with the characters, they just didn't come together as a whole very well. The biggest problem of the season by far, though, is the mishandling of Willow's multi-season character arc.

The Willow "magic as drugs" slip-up really brings down what otherwise would have been an extremely stellar season character-wise. Throughout the entire series, Willow's biggest character flaw had always been her hunger for power and knowledge. Here in the middle of S6, though, we're told it's something entirely different. This hurts so much because the one aspect of this series I treasure the most -- and is most important to me, by far -- is the consistent and intimate evolution of a wonderful group of characters. When the writers' slip in this area, I really feel it. I'll get into the specifics of this large mistake when I talk about Willow down below. In short: it single-handedly costed the season an A-range grade.

The other thing of note is the odd concentration of overall mediocre episodes containing some fairly dire plots. Although you're not going to see me complain about an episode's plot too often (because I just don't care about plot when compared to the characters), episodes like "Older and Far Away" [6x14] and "As You Were" [6x15] really don't inspire my good graces. I really believe the writers could have and should have thought some of these mid-season plots through a little better. With that said, I'd like to point out something frequently overlooked about this season. Are there some mediocre episodes? Yep. But how many are there really? When I first looked at the season breakdown I was a little taken back by how few C-range grades there were compared to how many I felt there were. Was my perception that far off?

This season feels like it has a ton of mediocre episodes, while in reality this is an illusion created by the fact that nearly all of these episodes are clustered around the middle of the season. Being so close together tends to amplify their effect, but if we take a step back and realize this, the truth is that this season has a lot more overall consistency than its given credit for. That being said, the middle of this season is the worst episode drought since S1! Without "Dead Things" [6x13] breaking all these episodes up, the middle of the season would be nearly a complete loss.

If there's one character besides Willow this season that I felt wasn't handled right, it was Dawn. Well, let me partially take that back. It's not that I felt Dawn was handled poorly, but much more so that I felt she wasn't utilized as much as she could have been. I've always had sympathy for Dawn, and I still do in this season. However, Dawn's lack of action to solve her problems -- while relatively understandable -- ended up making it difficult to root for her. It really didn't help that the writers didn't seem to have any real arc for her this season either, aside from "Dawn is lonely, Dawn's in pain, and Dawn wants to be treated like an adult." I did love Buffy's realization about her in "Grave" [6x22], but it was too little too late for this season.

One last thing that also gives me a little pause about this season is that the character arcs -- aside from Buffy and Spike -- just weren't quite as fluid and tight as they were in S5. It's really hard to ascertain any particular start or end point for the arcs of Xander, Anya, Tara, and Dawn. While I think all of the characters besides Dawn and Willow got very solid development, it just didn't feel well structured within the season. This isn't a major complaint as much of a small quibble, but I think it's worth noting.

  • Buffy's return from heaven into living hell.
  • Buffy seeking out Spike for a spark of feeling.
  • Buffy's rediscovery of herself, and the beauty of life.
  • "After Life" [6x03], "Once More, with Feeling" [6x07], "Dead Things" [6x13], and "Normal Again" [6x17].
  • An intense, emotional, and fascinating psychological exploration of the characters.
  • The writers taking risks left and right, many of which paid off.

There's no doubt in my mind that the major highlight of this season is everything involving Buffy and Spike's journey and overall development. The season opens with a Buffyless Scooby gang that is doing a surprisingly good job at not only fighting the forces of evil, but also making everyone believe Buffy's still alive (via the Buffybot). "Bargaining Pt. 1" [6x01] had me completely hooked with Willow's determination, leadership, and impending darkness. I think I would have even enjoyed seeing more episodes explore the other characters with Buffy out of the picture. That's not the direction the writers wanted to go though, which is alright by me considering what we got.

When Buffy returns from the dead, we thankfully don't return to the status quo in a matter or a few episodes or, for that matter, one episode (oh other shows and how you disappoint me). "After Life" [6x03] provides us with a dark, depressing, somber, and painful look into Buffy's wandering meaningless-feeling renewed life. This isn't someone who's been saved from an eternity in hell, like the Scoobies foolishly convince themselves of, but rather someone who's been pulled out of a blissful heaven, where "I was happy. At peace. I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time... didn't mean anything... nothing had form ... but I was still me, you know? And I was warm... and I was loved... and I was finished. Complete." This emotionally heart-breaking speech sets up the season's focus and themes.

What is that theme, you may ask. Well, I believe it to be what happens when you've experienced the final blow to childhood innocence ("The Gift" [5x22] for the Scoobies). When Buffy says she was "complete," I can't help but think of the feeling when you just get done with school and are dumped out into the real workforce for the first time. Many people end up in places where they have no friends, no family, no strong relationships to speak of, and just a general aimlessness on what the meaning of life is and what they should be doing with it. Although Buffy's entire situation is fantasy, the brilliance of this show is that the fantasy plays as an allegory and a metaphor of real life situations. This is what I believe Joss Whedon has always meant when told us the show was about "rocket launchers [the fantasy] and emotional resonance [the reality]."

Buffy's depression is in full force all the way until "Once More, with Feeling" [6x07], where she makes a decision that allows her to feel something, despite any consequences it may cause down the line. This decision was, of course, initiating a largely sexually-charged relationship with Spike. Without getting into the details too much here (I will in Buffy's section below), I'll just say that their journey led Buffy down the path of self-loathing, neglection of others, and a whole lot of pain and confusion. While this did help her start to move past her raw depression, what replaced it wasn't much better.

Through all this hardship, though, Buffy thankfully finally makes the extremely difficult decision to break off her tie to Spike and reclaim her life. All this culminates in the emotional and character-driven "Normal Again" [6x17], an episode I really love for not shying away from some extremely dark and difficult subjects and emotions while simultaneously developing Buffy in the process. Buffy's arc this season is definitely the big pull for me and was executed with near-perfection.

Woven throughout the season at critical points were also some of the best episodes of the entire series. It comes as no surprise that these episodes largely focused on the major turning points in Buffy's near season-long arc. "After Life" [6x03] is quiet darkness at its best, "Once More, with Feeling" [6x07] speaks for itself (although if you want more evidence, read my review of it), "Dead Things" [6x13] is one of the most psychologically complex and intense episodic pieces I've ever witnessed, and "Normal Again" [6x17] puts me into an emotional tailspin -- all episodes very deserving of their perfect scores.

This brings me to a general praise I have that even goes beyond Buffy's arc, and that's the sheer undiluted emotion that's poured into the scripts and then onto the actors' faces. Watching this season, especially in quick-succession, often leaves me with a very wet face afterwards. Through those tears comes the big smile and hope I feel when the end arrives and I see Xander hugging Willow for dear life along with Buffy reaching for the daylight again, filled with a renewed sense of excitement and purpose in life. I'm not one to easily get emotionally invested with television (or movie) characters, but this series, like no other, has the ability to emotionally bring me to my knees. This ability is on display this season like no other.

The final thing I want to touch on is the risks the writers took with the direction they went this season. A realistic depiction of depression focused on the main character of the show? Yup. Spending an entire season dealing with the fallout of Buffy's death in the previous season's finale? Yep. Seeing around four seasons of character build-up hit an emotionally arousing climax? Yep! Seeing all the characters move completely past their years as children and move full-on into adulthood? Yes, indeed. Having a side villain consisting of mere delusional human geeks desiring control and power? Oh yeah. Seeing Xander's multi-season insecurities bite him in the ass? Uh huh. Seeing Buffy finally taken off Xander's pedestal? Yes. Seeing another main character permanently killed off? You better believe it. In summary: wow.

Season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer really does have a lot to admire. Although I sympathize with some of the people who have problems with it, some of which are valid, I simply can't contain my respect for a show that has run this long and is still willing to take big risks; still willing to challenge its audience; still willing to explore territory the show has never explored before. Whether you love the season or hate it, I hope I've made the initial case to allow you to at least respect it. Now, though, it's time for me to present the rest of my case: character development.


Would Buffy's death at the end of "The Gift" [5x22] have been a great ending to the series? Although no doubt a tremendously poignant end to S5, I don't feel "The Gift" [5x22] was the perfect end to the series. I feel, metaphorically at least, "Chosen" [7x22] actually accomplishes this better. One reason why is because by the end of S7 Buffy is a much more mature, smart, and experienced individual. She is also a much more well-rounded and complex character. The pain she experiences throughout S6 helps build her into the person we see in S7 that is strong enough to lead a small army. In the end, I feel her journey here is a valuable one, and one that is complemented by S7 very nicely.

Buffy goes through a heart-wrenching journey this season, consisting of resurrection, failed reintegration, revelation, addiction, dispair, reflection, change, and rejuvenation. This whole experience was brought on by her well-meaning but short-sided friends, who far too casually decided to bring her back from the dead. Only Willow really knew the extent of what they were doing, but already her growing abuse of magic was blinding her better judgement.

Although resurrection from the dead is obviously a fantastical concept for all of us, the metaphor at which it is getting at is very real. As pointed out earlier, I believe the true intent of the season is to give us viewers a window into which we can observe the loss of innocence at he hands of the tumultuous transition from childhood to adulthood. Some individuals are able to handle this transition in our lives with relative ease (e.g. me), while others burgeon into adulthood subconciously kicking and screaming. But, as Whedon himself describes the season, "Oh, grow up!" Easier said than done, big guy, especially when you're a vampire slayer that's just been pulled out of Heaven! Although this theme is very relevant to every character this season, Buffy's arc is, by far, the most defined, complex, and engaging implementation of it.

When Buffy rises from her own grave in "Bargaining," there's already no doubt that she left a piece of herself behind. What immediately follows her is shock, confusion, and then finally overwhelming sadness. Buffy's response to being alive again is excellently summed up by her facial response to Dawn's opposing excitement at the very end of "Bargaining Pt. 2" [6x02]. In fact, Buffy initially thinks this world -- our world -- is Hell itself. I guess in contrast to where she's been, it may seem pretty close, but it's a startling acknowledgement nonetheless.

This daze that Buffy's in lingers through the opening arc, and gets the spotlight in the wondrous "After Life" (6x03), which intimately explores the psychological state Buffy is now forced to deal with. As she comes back into contact with the life she left behind, the pain she feels only begins to mount. This culminates into a pretty substantial depression and a lack of a will to live. This feeling is derived from multiple sources: the fact she's spent a long time in a much happier place, being reminded that her original biological family is now non-existent, and having absolutely no guidance as to what her purpose is anymore. Although Giles can offer her a little help in these troubled times he, nor anyone else, can fill that hole where Buffy's innocence once was. Only time and the understanding of a new purpose can truly guide Buffy to salvation now.

Over the next couple of episodes, we see Buffy valiantly attempting to reintegrate into the world around her, desperately trying to recapture her sense of purpose and normality. "Flooded" [6x04] tackles the mundane realities of adult living that no one enjoys dealing with, such as house repairs, insurance, loans, etc. while "Life Serial" [6x05] takes on Buffy's attempt to get the money to actually allow her to deal with them. Unfortunately, her quick attempts to solve these problems don't really work out for her -- only a long-term solution will. It's actually somewhat ironic that Buffy yearns for the "normality" of her previous life, despite the fact that while living that life, it didn't seen normal at all to her. For the first three seasons of the show, Buffy frequently complained about the lack of a normal life due to the burden of her calling. I guess this just goes to show that we should all try to appreciate what we have in life, because it can be quickly and easily taken away from us.

It's not until the amazing "Once More, with Feeling" [6x07] that Buffy fully realizes the full extent of her depression. Sweet is able to easily ensnare her in his songs, using her lack of desire to live and growing anger about her situation to consume her. This episode really covers a lot of ground, as it not only allows Buffy to finally burst out with what she's been trying to keep inside since the moment of her resurrection, but it also excellently sets up what's to come. Even though Spike saves her from doing herself in, Buffy is still filled with a tremendous apathy for life. In light of this, she searches for a scapegoat -- a distraction -- for her misery, so she capitalizes on her predominantly lusty feelings for Spike. "Tabula Rasa" [6x08] futhers this agenda even further. Unfortunately, letting herself 'go' with Spike leads to a much different kind of pain: addiction and self loathing.

"Smashed" [6x09], in what's somewhat of a microcosm of the entire season, touches on many aspects of Buffy's journey all at once. Things move along when Spike realizes he can hurt Buffy without his head exploding. At first glance, you'd think that this would concern Buffy and cause her to be even more wary around him. Instead, mostly due to the state she is in, the fact he can hurt her actually turns her on. So she takes the initiative and, appropiately, in the middle of a fight, jumps Spike's bones (much to his surprise). This begins a mini-arc with a central theme of addiction that spans "Smashed" [6x09] to "Doublemeat Palace" [6x12].

We can see very early on in "Wrecked" [6x10] that her sexual attachment to Spike is forming into this addiction. Here she's simply cold and cruel to Spike, even going as far as telling him "A vampire got me hot. One. But he's gone. You're just... You're just convenient." "Wrecked" [6x10] is an episode with addiction very much on its mind. We see Willow get completely lost in her addiction to magic, which parallels Buffy's situation. These are both friends that can't see each other anymore; friends that are only bound at this point by their problems. Although Willow recognizes she's on the wrong path and makes an attempt to alter her course, Buffy's nowhere close to the point of even trying -- in fact, she's just getting started. As Buffy points out to Giles in "Grave" [6x22], "She was [abusing the magics] - and I barely even noticed." This is on full display in "Wrecked" [6x10].

Still working through her addiction, we see Buffy make another attempt at escaping from her feelings, friends, and, well, life. Although not technically being suicidal, Buffy's desire to be "Gone" [6x11] certainly reminds us that this girl hates her life, is now ashamed of her actions, and wants to escape from it. This temporary gig quickly doesn't work out the way she hoped it would, as real life and real people catch up to her. Dawn is shocked by her cavelier attitude towards serious matters. It takes a message on the answering machine telling her she could die from this invisibility to shock her into realizing that she truly doesn't want to be dead anymore -- an important realization, but still by no means the cure to her current woes. I did genuinely appreciate this closure to the suicide thread running through the first part of the season. I also applaud the writers' gusty move to realistically persist it for this long. These feelings don't just go away after a week.

Although Buffy thinks she's still having a great time using Spike to work out her sexual fantasies, even that appears to be wearing thin on her in "Doublemeat Palace" [6x12]. This episode does an excellent job using working at a fast food joint as a metaphor for her more systemic depression, which is beginning to really weigh heavy on her. Buffy's job at the Doublemeat Palace, especially in her current situation, is soul crushing. With Spike beginning to lose her interest as a glorified sex toy, her true emotions start to become unmasked to her. This is the moment when she begins to loath herself and her behavior, and falls into the pit of dispair.

Although I feel, as a moment in time, Buffy disposing of her antidote in "Normal Again" [6x17] is where she hits rock bottom, the period of time in which she hits rock bottom is definitely the entirety of "Dead Things" [6x13]. This episode is an extremely compelling and complex look into the psychological motives that are fueling Buffy's angst. Although wanting to turn away from Spike ("no"), she continues to let him in anyway. At Buffy's lowest moment -- beating Spike to a bloody pulp in a rage over how much she hates herself -- I can see flashes of Faith circa S3-S4.

The parallel continues when Buffy thinks she killed a human, only instead of acting out in a murderous rampage, as Faith did, Buffy goes inside herself and tries to lock herself up and wallow in herself for eternity. Fortunately for her, and us, Spike slows her down enough to let luck or some force of good allow her to overhear that tidbit about Katrina from the police. This leads to the heart-breaking final scene of the episode in which Buffy confesses to Tara and completely breaks down. Although painful, this open admission of her behavior and actions is the first step in her recovery.

Although a flawed episode, I enjoy watching "As You Were" [6x15] for the well-timed effect it has on Buffy. It's very much an episode of reflection for Buffy in that she sees the success Riley's made for himself and is briefly reminded of what she used to feel. Riley is precisely the jump-start she needed to begin to take charge of her situation instead of allowing it to continue. When she respectfully breaks it off with Spike at the end of the episode, I can't help but cheer for her. That relationship was only hurting both her and Spike -- it wasn't fair to the both of them, whether they realized it at the time or not. I also appreciate Riley for his very respectful and non-judgemental comments to Buffy over what he's seen. This is precisely the motivator Buffy needed to make a change.

All of this development beautifully sets up the emotional climax of the season, where Buffy is given one last "out" in "Normal Again" [6x17] -- a permanent retreat into her own mind, where she envisions both of her parents as still alive, happy, and together (we know early in the series that their divorce really hurt her). At first, she is torn between what is reality and what is not. All it takes, though, are some brought up memories of her painful past and a poorly timed ultimatum from Spike to make her decision to inhabit the world inside her own mind. It's devastating to see someone prefer to be a sick girl in a mental institution over having to face her actual life, day in and day out. That's the burder of life, though, isn't it? Whether we're living happy lives or sad lives, we have to go on living. Spike's words from "Once More, with Feeling" [6x07] seem to resonate now more than ever: "Life's not a song/Life isn't bliss/Life is just this/It's living."

Although Spike's words were the savior of Buffy then, it's Buffy's memories of her mother that are her savior now. Joyce tells Buffy the exact thing she needed to hear at this moment in time, from the only person who could say it: "Be strong, baby, okay? I know you're afraid, I know the world feels like a hard place sometimes, but you've got people who love you. Your dad and I we have all the faith in the world in you. We'll always be with you. You've got a world of strength in your heart, I know you do. You just have to find it again. Believe in yourself." Beautiful! I'm also a big fan of how we can see and feel the relief Buffy experiences after this breakthrough in the surprisingly strong "Entropy" [6x18].

Although the end of the season predominantly features Willow, I found myself very pleased with the coda to Buffy's arc we got in "Grave" [6x22] that is the literal resurrection of herself. This plays as a wonderful book-end to the resurrection of her body in "Bargaining Pt. 2" [6x02]. Buffy's overall S6 arc is very powerful and moving, along with being incredibly well designed, developed, and directed. This is the one area of the season I feel is utterly flawless. This arc succeeds so much for me not only because of how well done it is, but also because of how not stylized it is. What we have on display here is very realistic, raw, and sad, but by the end is optmistic, empowering, and exciting. This arc is yet another example of Buffy's willingness to take risks and break out of its own parameters.

I sympathize with the complaints that this season is very difficult to watch... because at times it is. It's difficult for me, too, to see Buffy in depression and pain. But I can't deny that it makes me cheer that much louder when she -- sans flashiness -- realistically works through her pain to regain that excitement and purpose in life she once had. That purpose being a renewed sense of dedication to the Scooby family along with, more importantly, an epiphany about Dawn's potential in her life. It's in this moment that she fully regains the connection she felt to Dawn when sacrificing herself in "The Gift" [5x22] and begins to see the potential for the lasting satisfaction that life can still bring her. Buffy's truly back, only now she's a fully realized adult!


One of the overall themes of this season is addiction, which is most evident in regard to Willow's arc. The concept of a Willow being "addicted" to magic is an excellent one, and is one that is built upon through "Tabula Rasa" [6x08]. Where this arc goes awry is when the writers decide to slam us over the head with a blatant metaphor of magic subbing in for drugs. This begins to be obvious in "Smashed" [6x09], really falls off the rails in "Wrecked" [6x10], and doesn't recover until the end of the season. I don't have an inherent problem with the writers wanting to explore drug addiction, but I really dislike the idea and implementation of it here. Plus I'd still have rather seen a more broad study of addiction in general, keeping Willow's character flaws (i.e. "power hungry") in close context -- look at the brilliant Requiem for a Dream for a great example of the approach I'd have preferred here in S6.

The season opens with a Willow who's fully in command of the group. There are several moments in the three-part season opener ("Bargaining Pt. 1" [6x01] through "After Life" [6x03]) that remind us that her confidence in this role is largely based around her magical abilities -- not her core personality. I still maintain that Willow's salvation lies in looking back at the small but vitally important growth she had way back in S2's excellent "Halloween" [2x06]. This episode proves that Willow is fully capable of being the leader, being helpful, and being vital to the group without the use of magic. But, as we see later in S2, this is not the path she starts on -- magic was simply too alluring in its outright power and accessibility. This makes me appreciate how well the writers have naturally evolved Willow's flaws over the years, as she likely wouldn't be as exciting of a character to watch had she grown in the healthy way from the start. Magic took over, and what we're left with is here. The sad truth about entertainment is that sometimes what's best for the show isn't what's best for the character.

Some early S6 moments that excellently set the tone for Willow's arc include how she hides the details of Buffy's resurrection from Tara and the entire group ("Bargaining Pt. 1" [6x01]), the resurrection spell itself, selfishly wanting thanks from a newly resurrected Buffy who clearly isn't at all right, and abruptly breaking away from a combined spell with Tara because she was being slowed down by the 'help' ("After Life" [6x03]). I also feel the need to make note of the balance provided in Willow's characterization here. She is not yet completely consumed with her magic, and still cares deeply for Buffy along with those around her. The proof of this is when she breaks down in tears when she believes all hope of bringing Buffy back is lost ("Bargaining Pt. 2" [6x02]).

This perfect setup is adeptly developed in "Flooded" [6x04] where we find a Willow who snaps at Giles for insulting her magical prowess. It's really at this moment when Giles, and the audience, realizes just how scary she's truly gotten. Willow quickly defuses this argument, trying her best to backstep the outburst so Giles doesn't get too concerned -- but the damage is already done. This moment is an important setup for what comes next: the selective memory wipe of a fight Willow has with Tara in "All the Way" [6x06]. This is the first intentional act of violence on her friends, and is a shocking one at that. As Tara will thankfully point out in "Tabula Rasa" [6x08], "How could you Willow? You could you after what Glory did to me? ... To violate my mind like that." Tara's pain comes from not only the memory wipe, but also in what she has to do because of it.

Now, with Tara out of her day-to-day life, Willow completely loses control of herself. It's at this point in the season when Willow's arc begins to head in the wrong direction. The silly magic antics in "Smashed" [6x09] really get the sour train rolling, which is a shame because otherwise it's a very good episode. The writers could have gone in a whole myriad of directions at this point in the season. Why they those a long-winded drug metaphor is beyond me. I really would have preferred to have seen Willow continue to gradually lose sight of who she is, tyring to control the Scooby Gang with a self-justified sense of superiority. With a Scooby Gang increasingly getting less and less tolerant of her behavior, she could have left the group entirely and had a branch of the season off to herself.

What if Willow tried to use her power to control an army of her own -- one that's ambiguous in nature and only superficially built out of Willow's desire to "do good." This, later in the season, could have been used to cause a clash with Buffy that leads to someone important to get seriously hurt or killed. All of this potentially could have made the end of the season that much more powerful, with Xander still saving the day. Additionally, this would have created more opportunites to interact with Buffy's arc, and also have interesting connotations in regard to the leadership role Buffy plays in S7.

Rather than seeing something like I just described, we instead get "Wrecked" [6x10]: the low point of the season due to how it takes Willow's character development in the wrong direction and taints the next five or so episodes because of it (with the exception of "Dead Things" [6x13]). This is not only the cold turkey phase of Willow's "magic" addiction, but sadly of her arc as well. A large reason why many of the mid-season episodes (mostly "Wrecked" [6x10] through "As You Were" [6x15]) struggled to keep afloat -- besides the obviously troubled plots -- was due to Willow acting like someone trying to recover from a drug addiction... and that's pretty much it for her arc. Willow is not the focus of any of these episodes and all the tension built up from earlier in the season is simply lost to the void. Thankfully we had Willow's interactions with Tara to keep an inkling of interest around.

The only thing remotely interesting to begin to happen as the season passes its mid-way point is Willow's gradual reconnection to Tara. We see them bump into each other in "Dead Things" [6x13], and it's clear they both really want to reconnect. This then eventually leads to a coffee date and then back to full-on reconnection in "Entropy" [6x18]. Of course all of this goes to hell in "Seeing Red" [6x19] when Tara gets murdered by Warren.

These final episodes, fortunately, abruptly grabbed my attention and got me really interested in what was happening with Willow again. What transpires at the end of this season is a flood of emotions. Just in "Villains" [6x20] alone we see complete shock, anger, and then an icy cold detachment from herself. By the time Warren is disposed of -- her emotions not sated -- "Two to Go" [6x21] gives her rage an outlet as she wrongly goes after Jonathan and Andrew. At this point Willow just wants to hurt people. Finally, in "Grave" [6x22], Xander is able to tap into what's left of her humanity thanks to a booster shot of light magic from a newly returned Giles, which allows her to finally let all that buried pain be released thereby allowing the grieving process to truly begin.

As a whole, S6 offers Willow a superb beginning and a highly entertaining end, but the writers really dropped the ball on the middle of the season in what should have been one of the most potent section of episodes in the entire series. So while this fact hurts the season a lot more than I'd have liked, there's still a lot of great material for Willow in S6 -- just look around the edges.


Early in "Bargaining Pt. 1" [6x01] we get caught up on the state of Xander's marriage proposal to Anya at the end of S5. Although still planning to get married, Xander's essentially forced Anya not to tell anyone else about it. Although I can sympathize with his desire not to be inappropiate in a time of great loss, by time "Bargaining Pt. 1" [6x01] rolls around, a summer later, I think I side with Anya in that "Happy news in hard times is a good thing." Xander's not postponing the announcement because of Buffy's death and pending resurrection -- these are all just excuses to buy himself more time from truly being stuck. Having all of his friends hold him to that commitment is clearly a factor here.

Anya is surprisingly patient and is able to contain her excitement for their marriage all the way until, well, "All the Way" [6x06]. One of the highlights of this episode was Xander's spur-of-the-moment announcement to the entire group that he and Anya were getting married. But, really, who wouldn't fall for Anya's dance of capitalistic superiority? Although definitely coming as a bit of a shock to everyone, they are all very supportive of and excited for the both of them.

It's just a shame that both his proposal to Anya in "The Gift" [5x22] -- which was a very genuine moment -- and his announcement to the group here were both wrong decisions. Although it's certainly possible the two of them could have made it work, I'm pleased the season didn't just conveniently forget about all of Xander's established issues from years past. I have a hard time blaming Xander for wanting to take his relationship with Anya to the next level; wanting to be ready for everything marriage should be. But wanting to be ready for something doesn't mean you are ready for it, not by a long shot. This is one thing Xander and Dawn actually have in common this season.

"Once More, with Feeling" [6x07] takes a decent stab at starting to get the two of them talking about this out in the open. Some of these insecurities, from both of them, burst out into glorious song. What's interesting is that Anya pretty much shoves off these worries as not much of a big deal, while it feels like it has more of an effect on Xander. Unfortunately, instead of dealing with these thoughts and feelings right here, Xander instead just wants to kill the demon so that no more of his thoughts will come pouring out to Anya. He boxes up those concerns for a later time. Although it would be painful to deal with this now, we all know "Hell's Bells" [6x16] is the alternative.

Leading up to "Hell's Bells" [6x16], there were a number of subtle moments that continue to foreshadow the inevitable. One in particular I tend to remember is a moment at the beginning of "Doublemeat Palace" [6x12]. Anya is rambling on about money, as usual, and Xander responds to it with, "Welcome to today's episode of 'Go Money Go!' I hear it daily." Willow then chimes in with the zinger: "Yep, for the rest of your life." The look on Xander's face as he's chewing his popcorn is both very funny, very informative, and, in retrospect, quite sad.

When Xander breaks off their engagement at the last second in "Hell's Bells" [6x16], it's painful for everyone involved. Although I feel Xander is completely at fault for not confronting his inner demons earlier, when the signs were evident to him, I still feel he made the right decision to not get married when it finally sunk in that he wasn't ready. I really wish more people would realize that they really don't have the maturity to make marriage work. I think there'd be a lot more long, happier marriages if that were the case. So I respect Xander for his decision, but I abhor him for his timing -- waiting to the last second is never the way to go.

After this painful break-up, we see a Xander who is genuinely lost yet still very much cares for Anya. He really learned something about himself in this process, but it will take some time for all of it to fully sink in. One immediate benefit of this gained self-awareness is that it ties in with his other thread this season: taking Buffy off the pedastal he's had her on since well, frankly, "Welcome to the Hellmouth" [1x01]. Although he gets to this point with some big revelations about Buffy in the underrated "Entropy" [6x18], I'd like to take a few moments first to look at how bad his blind eye to all things Buffy had gotten.

Although Xander did, to his credit, have qualms about Willow's plan to resurrect Buffy, we see shortly afterwards that he's glad they did it. From this point on he actively turns a blind eye (no pun intended there) towards the suffering Buffy is in, which is obvious from anyone who looks hard enough for it. All the Scoobies were so blinded in their belief that they pulled her out of a hell dimension that it even informed the way they viewed her mental state. Spike at least had a little intuition to know that something was off, but the rest didn't even want to consider the opposite.

What's amazing to me is that, even when they all find out about the truth of what's going on with Buffy, Xander still tries to shirk the blame. He makes his views extremely clear in "Tabula Rasa" [6x08]: "Maybe we were [selfish]. I just feel weird feeling bad that my friend's not dead. It's... too mind-boggling. So I've decided to simplify the whole thing. Me like Buffy. Buffy's alive, so, me glad." This sentence informs how Xander approaches Buffy from that point on.

In "Gone" [6x11], Spike and Buffy are getting a little heated in the kitchen as Xander walks in on them. Xander just assumes Buffy wanted nothing to do with Spike's advances and that "Only a complete loser would ever hook up with [Spike]. Well, unless she's a simpleton like Harmony, or a, or a nut sack like Drusilla-" Later (in the same episode) in Spike's crypt, Xander doesn't put the pieces together because his mind just isn't going there. Buffy's beyond anything like this to him, so the thought that she may actually be fooling around with Spike literally doesn't even cross his mind.

This goes on until "Entropy" [6x18], in which Spike succinctly reveals everything to Xander (and Anya). The realization that Buffy is not the saint he's always made her out to be, but rather a human being who can make big mistakes like the rest of us, is utterly crushing to him. This, as I mentioned, completely ties in with his overall growth as a person and as an adult. In "Seeing Red" [6x19], we see a Xander drained of much of the life and fun he once possessed, even resorting to wasting away the moning with a handful of beer cans.

It's only after Xander sees the pain Buffy's relationship with Spike has caused her -- seing the aftermath of Spike's attempted rape -- that he begins to realize the situation's much more complex than he ever realized. They have a great discussion about this at the end of "Seeing Red" [6x19], and are thankfully able to reconcile with each other and move past their respective wounds. Now, more than ever before, do these two have a real connection and adult understanding of each other. This new foundation of maturity very much sets up where they start in S7.

I would be remiss if I didn't discuss the fact that Xander saved the world this season! Go Xander! I think this ending works on several levels. First, despite everything that's happened, Xander and Willow's friendship is the longest-running in the series. Second, I feel that everything Xander learned this season, as detailed above, and the maturity he gained throughout these experiences, very much contributed to why he had to be the person up on that cliff to save Willow from herself. I feel this is an inspired end to the season, and an inspired end to Xander's growth this season. Xander ends the season a real superhero, and I'm very happy about it. Although I definitely would have appreciated even a little bit more insight from Xander's point of view throughout the season, I am still quite pleased with what is there.


Giles doesn't really have much of an arc in S6, which doesn't really come as a big surprise considering he's only in a handful of episodes. One thing I occasionally think about is if Giles' leaving the Scoobies was the right decision (putting aside the fact that the actor likely wasn't available). I will say that it was definitely in character, as I've made the case for in some of my episode reviews, and I found his absence did allow for a lot of relatively quick character maturity that otherwise would have taken much longer if he was around to always deal with messy situations.

So that leaves us with the development Giles did get in the time he had. In S5, we saw him return to his roots and re-devote his life to helping Buffy become a better slayer. With Buffy now dead, we see him in a little bit of anguish over the decisions he made that, regardless of his best effort, ended in Buffy's death. In a poignant conversation with the BuffyBot, the big questions of "why I am still here?" and "do I still have a life to go back to?" are more relevant than ever. "Restless" [4x22] showed us that there's a divide in Giles between wanting to take control of his life again and his steadfast devotion to Buffy. With Buffy gone, Giles' choice seems pretty clear. This is why he leaves in "Bargaining Pt. 1" [6x01].

When he returns to Sunnydale in "Flooded" [6x04], he's initially shocked but still obviously pleased to see Buffy alive again. This joy very quickly mutates into caution and then concern and worry. Willow's actions aren't fooling him one bit, and he calls her out on the possibilities of what Buffy might be dealing with. The predominant theme for Giles over the next four episodes is how he is very torn in deciding how he can best help Buffy in her struggling situation. The end of "Life Serial" [6x05] reminds us just how wonderful of a man Giles can be. After Buffy struggles to fit into a regular job on her first attempts (the Trio's tests make her feel worse than she should), Giles gives her a check to allow her to be able to take a little bit of time to get herself together. In addition to that, he's there for her and actively trying to help.

"All the Way" [6x06] is really an eye-opening experience for Giles though. Dawn gets herself into trouble on Halloween night and, naturally, Giles expects Buffy to make sure Dawn learns from this experience. The problem here is that Buffy isn't really interested in disciplining Dawn anymore, so she leaves it to Giles to take care of. Giles is both disappointed with Buffy and a little angry at Dawn.

It's this moment where he realizes Buffy will not live up to any of her responsibilities as long as he is around to deal with them for her all the time. And, clearly, Giles can't just ignore these things while waiting for Buffy to snap out of it. He gets the final confirmation on his feelings in "Once More, with Feeling" [6x07] when Buffy just tells him, in regard to Dawn's Halloween adventures, "Oh, I thought you took care of that." The song Giles sings, "Standing" (or "standing in the way") is very much about the tough decision he has to make -- leaving Buffy so she can grow. In "Tabula Rasa" [6x08], he leaves, and Buffy is not happy about it.

Flash forward now to "Grave" [6x22] where Giles has returned to deal with the Willow situation. Buffy and Giles have a great conversation in the back training room in which they come to a mutual understanding about each others' mistakes. Clearly, Giles now has some reservations about the decision he made. He tells Buffy "I should never have left." She responds, "No... you were right to leave. We're just... stupid." Giles amusingly comes back, "I know you're all stupid. I should never have abandoned you ... Sometimes the most adult thing you can do is ask for help when you need it."

Although Giles didn't develop much this season, his (lack of) presence had a huge impact on the rest of the characters, and the audience. I think that his absence for a good part of the season made for more of an interesting ride than if he had stuck around during all that happened. With that said I think, on a personal level, that he probably made a mistake by leaving, as he freely admits now in "Grave" [6x22]. An unfortunate side-effect of his departure is that his relationship with Buffy is never again as tight as it was, which is very sad indeed. This change in the nature of their relationship will play a large role in S7.


Spike grew as a character a ton during S5, and S6 doesn't appear to even be trying to top it. Instead, the season stops Spike in place and explores the heck out of him through his responses to Buffy's troubles over the course of the season. Due to this exploration, Spike learns a lot of fundamentally troubled things about who he is right now -- things that lead to changes that will forever effect him. Want specifics? Read on! :)

In "Bargaining Pt. 1" [6x01] we see a Spike who is still beating himself up over what happened on the tower in "The Gift" [5x22]. It's clear he still hasn't emotionally recovered from Buffy's death. Spike made a promise to Buffy that he would protect Dawn no matter what happened, so here he is, true to his word. Spike tells Dawn, "No. I'm not leaving you... to get hurt. Not again." He's always been a bit of a romantic at heart, so seeing him essentially babysitting Dawn full-time doesn't come as a surprise to me in the least, although that shouldn't lessen how awesome it is.

The problem with this cozy little set up is that, in "After Life" [6x03], Buffy returns. Now what!? Spike is expectedly surprised, supportive, and then eventually a little concerned. Buffy's revelation about her other-worldly whereabouts blindsides Spike -- he hasn't the slightest clue how to respond to it. Despite that, he tries to respond nonetheless, even evoking a rare chuckle out of her in "Flooded" [6x04].

It's in "Life Serial" [6x05] that Spike starts trying to get Buffy to indulge in her darker side. He enourages her to leave her old life behind and not hold herself to those standards anymore. Spike's always seen this side of her, but he uses this opportunity to push this side of her out and to the surface. He tells Buffy, "You're not a schoolgirl. You're not a shop girl. You're a creature of the darkness. Like me. Try on my world. See how good it feels." Although I'm sure Spike thinks he's doing a great thing by doing this, he obviously doesn't have the moral capacity to know how wrong he is. "Life Serial" [6x05], although fairly innocuous in of itself, is what plants the initial seeds of their impending twisted sexual relationship.

Spike only has to wait until "Once More, with Feeling" [6x07] to get the beginning of what he's wanted for over a year now, although it's not under the circumstances he would have ever imagined or even realizes now. The sexual tension building up explodes in "Smashed" [6x09] where a huge, violent fight between them ends with the two of them rolling around together. This big turning point was only made possible by the revelation that Spike can now hit Buffy without his head exploding -- a side-effect of the resurrection spell used to bring Buffy back. Knowing that Spike can hurt her actually turns Buffy on, an effect Spike also did not expect.

A moment that turns out to be signifant in the scope of Spike's journey this season is when, in "Smashed" [6x09] Spike, thinking he can kill again, tries to murder a young girl. Although the chip fires off, we can see that he still would have done it if he wasn't stopped! To his credit, he did have to work himself up to bite the girl, but he went for her nonetheless. At several points in the season, the writers go out of their way to make sure we remember that Spike is still a soulless being capable of great evil.

I think what makes us need to be reminded of this is what makes Spike such a wonderfully complex character. He's not a straight-up villain, but he's not a straight-up good guy either. Living in this gray area eventually starts to drive Spike insane by the end of the series -- he needs clarity in nature and purpose, even if the struggle between both sides will always be a part of him. His lack of a soul prevents him from obtaining redemption and forgiveness, while the chip prevents him from being a monster again. Either way, he's not being allowed to make choices completely of his own will.

It's never more obvious than in "Wrecked" [6x10] that Buffy's just using Spike to scratch an itch, and not much more. Although over the course of their time spent together Buffy will, indeed, grow more attached to Spike, I don't believe she loves him at any point during this season. This creates a fascinating situation where Spike is increasingly getting fed-up with the way Buffy is treating him, but yet would still take the abuse just because he likes the sex and wants to be with her in any way he can.

As "Dead Things" [6x13] shows us, though, Spike's not the only one being abused here. Knowingly or not, Spike is not doing much to help Buffy out of her struggles. He keeps trying to pull her further into darkness at a time when she desperately needs to be shown the light again. At one point Spike even tells her to just forget about all her friends so she can join him in the dark. Not exactly a healthy approach to the situation! By the time "As You Were" [6x15] rolls around, Riley shows Buffy a glimpse of that light she so desparately needed to see, so she respectfully breaks it off with Spike, even going as far as calling him "William" -- a nice little reminder of Spike's soul and a hint of what's to come.

The break-off really throws Spike for a loop. He genuinely doesn't fully understand why Buffy broke it off and why there was any problem with their relationship. When Buffy starts hallucinating she's in a mental instituion in "Normal Again" [6x17], Spike -- not taking her condition remotely seriously -- gets completely fed up with the entire situaiton and throws an ultimatum at her: if she doesn't tell her friends about their involvement together, he will. Of course, this causes Buffy to want to retreat into fantasty even further. Spike is really not helping anyone at this point. In his confusion and pain, he goes to Anya for a numbing spell and instead gets solace sex.

I found the move to have Spike and Anya briefly get it on in "Entropy" [6x18] extremely inspired. It totally made sense based on where the characters were at this point in the season but, more importantly, it makes complete sense based on the amicable conversations they've had in the past. I always remember a particular moment between them in "Where the Wild Things Are" [4x18] where Anya discusses relationships. She says to Spike, "Seen a thousand relationships. First there's the love, and sex, and then there's nothing left but the vengeance. That's how it works." Talk about foreshadowing!

This encounter obviously causes a whole slew of problems, most of which involve Buffy and Spike's relationship being made public to the Scoobies. This sends Spike into a tailspin leading him to a desperate attempt to physically connect with Buffy again. He confuses himself into an attempted rape, which obviously completely destroys any chance he may have ever had with her. The scene that most effectively translates Spike's neverending frustrations is towards the end of "Seeing Red" [6x19], in which he tells a visiting Clem, "Everything always used to be so clear. Slayer, vampire! Vampire kills slayer, sucks her dry, picks his teeth with her bones ... But with Buffy... it isn't supposed to be this way! It won't let me be a monster. And I can't be a man. I'm nothing."

The only source of action left for Spike is a staking or change. Spike, ever the fighter that he is, chooses change in "Grave" [6x22]. And what crazy change he gets! Although he knows he's fighting for his soul, he doesn't really have any idea what that truly means yet. That's what makes this decision so powerful and unbelievable. For a soulless creature to change to the point of wanting to fight for his soul is simply incredible. The Spike we see in S7 is not the same being as the Spike of before. What an amazing journey this character has been on!

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with what we got from Spike this season. Although I have a hard time picking favorites on this series, Spike has definitely got to be one of my favorite television characters ever. I also need to mention that this character would not be as awesome as he is without the phenomenal acting pouring out of the wonderful James Marsters. Fantastic work!


I like Dawn. There, I said it! Wow, what a relief to be out in the open with that! Wait... I hear the Buffy fanbase arriving. Shit! So... the more and more I've attempted to be involved in the Buffy fandom over the last few years, the more and more I've wanted to run away from it. With the exception of a handful of smart and kind individuals (and most of the people that visit this site), the ruckus people cause over Dawn has frustrated and annoyed me to the point where I really do want to become completely anti-social and return to playing Counter-Strike for five hours a day (you didn't read that). At least in Counter-Strike there's a button you can click on to mute all the annoying screeching coming from the players shooting at you... on your own team. I hate to break it to all of you, but Dawn is not that annoying! Hating on this character has become a verifiable fad in the Buffy fandom, and I'm really sick of it.

So those of you expecting to read a several page rant, with caps-lock on, about how much Dawn needs to "shut up" can stop reading this right now. Instead, you'll get from me what you've always gotten from me: a level-headed look at a character's season-long journey. That journey begins in "Bargaining Pt. 1" [6x01], where we see a very lonely, sad Dawn. The scene where she crawls into bed with the BuffyBot and hugs it is very moving, and speaks volumes to what Dawn's going through.

Buffy obviously returns to her, but she soon realizes that while Buffy may be back in body, she's certainly not back in spirit. This leads Dawn to seek out connection on her own, which leads us to "All the Way" [6x06]. This episode tackles Dawn's growing interest in becoming an adult of her own, even though she's clearly not ready for all that that entails. It's somewhat ironic that she's so oblivious to the fact that the pain she sees in the friends around her is stemming from being swamped by the adult world.

In "Once More, with Feeling" [6x07], Sweet's sensual dance with her runs with this, as he knows precisely what she's feeling inside. Although she has feelings that are wanting to burst out into the open, she in no way has the maturity yet to deal with the result of acting on those feelings. The fact all these other people are bursting into flame because of their emotions goes to show many adults can't even handle it. What's also problematic here is that a demon has a better grip on what Dawn's feeling right now than her own friends and family. Not good.

So, as an outlet for her frustration, she decides to steal things. "Older and Far Away" [6x14] takes a look at how everyone around Dawn is so caught up in their own crap, they can't hear Dawn's cries of loneliness and pain. While true, Dawn's not seeing the reverse either. With all that said, I have a lot of sympathy for the girl. Take a moment to consider everything that's happened to her in the last year. That's enough to traumatize anyone, let alone a young teenage girl. This is why, when Buffy finally makes the decision to start including Dawn in her entire life in "Grave" [6x22], slayer duties included, I jumped for joy. This sets up Dawn's S7 arc and gives her something big to share with her sister and Scooby friends. I just think this development was long overdue.

This leads me to some complaints I have about how Dawn was written this season. Instead of being flushed out as a character of her own, we instead see her used as a device to show how much trouble other characters are in. Besides tickling the surface of Dawn as a person, all we got is her being used as a piece on a game board. This is what's truly a shame. I like Dawn, but I believe the writers failed at making me love her, like I do with all the other characters. Thankfully, S7 is an improvement for her. All I ask is that everyone please stop the hate on Dawn. If she's not your favorite character, so be it, but don't have an aneurysm everytime she speaks.


Tara has always been a character I've enjoyed watching. I have to admit, though, that she hasn't been one of the better developed characters. To S6's credit, Tara gets the most development she's ever gotten. Her death in "Seeing Red" [6x19] angered a good many fans, and I understand why. Even though Tara's not the only character I love (as it is for some people in the fandom), I still felt the pain of her death as well. This brings us to the question of why Whedon likes to kill off so many of his beloved characters. This topic warrants its own article, so all I will say now is that, at least in Buffy, I feel most of the character deaths served a greater purpose in the story, Tara included. Could Whedon have found a way to get Willow to the place she went without this happening? I really don't know, but what transpires is largely effective. If all the characters we love couldn't die, then what are the stakes? What are the Scoobies even fighting for?

It's interesting that the bulk of Tara's development comes as a result of her separation from Willow, who has been abusing magic and is crossing important lines. The creepy moment when Willow breaks away from a joint spell with Tara in "After Life" [6x03] leads to a scene when Tara confronts Willow, in "All the Way" [6x06], about how Willow thinks all her problems can be solved with magic now. This results in a fight between them. Working through problems like this is normal in a relationship. Wiping the memory of the fight from your partner's mind is not normal in a relationship though! That Willow would do this to Tara after what Glory did to her in "Tough Love" [5x19] -- something Tara points out later -- is shocking.

After Tara finds out about this violation of her mind in "Once More, with Feeling" [6x07], she confronts Willow about it in "Tabula Rasa" [6x08], giving her one last chance to prove she can let the magic go. Less than a day after Willow promises to stop, she breaks her promise, which leads to another magic-related disaster involving memory loss. This is justifiably the last straw for Tara, so she leaves Willow.

While Tara is on her own, though, a lot of interesting things happen. She makes some new friends, strengthens her bond with Dawn even more ("Wrecked" [6x10]), is there for Buffy who is in desperate need of a real friend ("Dead Things" [6x13]), and even defends a Willow who is later on the mends ("Older and Far Away" [6x14]). During all of this season, but even more so towards the end, we see a Tara with complete confidence in herself that is willing to speak up even when it might be painful. This newfound strength in herself is what, I feel, gives her the ability to forgive Willow in "Entropy" [6x18] and reconnect.

In addition to all that I've already mentioned, Tara's sense of humor really started to come out of its shell this season. I think Tara had some of the funniest moments of the season. One moment in particular that always gives me a smile when I think about it is in "Older and Far Away" [6x14]. She asks Spike, "A muscle cramp? In your... pants?" and then later follows up and asks, "How's that cramp Spike? Still bothering you? ... Maybe you, uh, wanna put some ice on it." Although I enjoyed Tara when she was introduced in S4, I didn't come to love her until S6. So, while Tara didn't get some huge arc of her own, she came a long way... and I will most definitely miss her. Goodbye, Tara!


As should be no surprise to anyone at this point, I think Anya rocks. With that said, this is probably her worst year in terms of both character development and humor. Anya's character threads can pretty much be summed up by two things: the build-up to the marriage followed by the vengeance that follows it not happening.

Right from the get-go, in "Bargaining Pt. 1" [6x01], we can see that Anya is frustrated by Xander's inability to tell everyone about their engagement. Athough Anya is largely oblivious to the internal demons Xander has up his sleeves, these lurking problems become more and more obvious as the season progresses. Anya really has learned how to love, as shown by the years of experience as a vengeance demon no longer being relevant to her relationship.

By the time "Hell's Bells" [6x16] rolls around, Anya is still quite surprised by Xander's actions. Even though Xander knows the visions he saw were a concentrated nightmare version of what his life with Anya could have ended up like, it's enough to force him into realizing he's not ready to take that risk yet. He's simply too young, and still has issues to work out. As much as I was rooting for the two of them to make this work, I always kind of knew there was no way it was going happen. Also of no surprise to me is Anya's attempt to return to the vengeance fold after this happens. I say "attempt," because very soon afterwards we find out that Anya really can't fully be who she was before -- she's changed. "Entropy" [6x18] takes a direct look at Anya's pain and her attempt to get back at Xander. After an episode's worth of trying, Anya finally gets her literal wish (from Spike) and turns it down. This is definitely still Anya we're dealing with, not Anyanka.

A conversation in "Two to Go" [6x21] sums up where Anya and Xander stand with each other now. Anya tells Xander she can't hurt him, to which he responds, "Right, 'cause you varnishing the table with Spike -- how could that possibly have hurt?" Anya quietly replies, "That wasn't vengeance. It was solace. Look, I really can't hurt you, so I'm just gonna have to settle for hating you." The good news in all of this is that the two of them do find a way to work through this in S7.

Speaking of S7, it begins with an Anya continuing to have issues getting back into the swing of her vengeance gig. "Selfless" [7x05] then goes on to confront all of the issues surrounding her, and then some.

The Trio

Almost every season of Buffy has a villain that is tailored to themes of the season and often acts as a counterpoint to what's going on with the Scoobies. Season 6 is no different in this way, with the Trio being perfectly placed as a group of male young adults who are acting anything but adults. While the Scoobies are struggling accepting themselves in the adult world, the Trio's solution to the pain is to completely avoid it. Why work for something when you can get it for free? Why ask for something when you can take it? These are the central ideas in the Trio's scheme to "take over Sunnydale." I feel that the Trio definitely work as the best thematic villain in the entire series, and are only hampered by a few overly silly moments and the extremely long wait to see what they're really capable of -- which happens in "Dead Things" [6x13].

"Flooded" [6x04] introduces the Trio as a group of comic book geeks bent on not actually working and moving on with their lives post high school. Their self proclaimed "mission statement" consists of the following: "Control The Weather, Miniaturize Fort Knox, Conjure Fake I.D.s, Shrink Ray, Girls, Girls, The Gorilla Thing, and Workable Prototype Jetpacks." In "Flooded" [6x04] they're able to successfully con a brute demon into robbing a bank for them. One thing to note is that, even in this introduction episode, there's a sense that Warren is different than the others -- he doesn't have a problem with Buffy ending up dead.

What's funny to me is that the Trio's undoing is essentially outlined in "Life Serial" [6x05]. At the end of this episode, they genuinely believe they easily threw Buffy off her game with their little tests, even though they have no clue what's actually going on in her life right now. Underestimating Buffy is always a poor move, and the Trio will find this out later in the season.

Although, as already pointed out, there's definitely something different about Warren right from the start, it's not until "Gone" [6x11] when he officially starts to become creepy. What starts off as a fairly innocuous plan to make themselves invisible so they can check out naked girls turns into something much more complicated when Buffy instead gets hit by their invisibility ray. Both Jonathan and Andrew (entertainingly referred to as "what's his name" throughout the season) don't want to hurt Buffy, but Warren goes around their backs and tries to get Buffy killed. This plays as a nice setup to what happens next.

"Dead Things" [6x13] represents a huge turning point for the Trio and fully outs Warren as the only real villain in the group. Although Warren's definitely a secondary villain, taking back seat to the Scooby Gang's own personal troubles, he gets credible here as both a misogynist and a murderer. What Warren does to Katrina is not only awful for her, but it also betrays Warren's own growth at the hands of that relationship. As I pointed out in my review, "Warren has just turned Katrina into the very thing he ran away from: the AprilBot from "I Was Made to Love You" [5x15]. This robs him of the very reason why he ditched the bot: Katrina's life and personality." If the Trio wasn't interesting enough before, this episode made me start to care about what they were up to. They had my full attention now.

The fallout from the murder of Katrina turns out to be from within the group, not outside of it. We can see, in "Normal Again" [6x17], that Jonathan is traumatized by what he's been a part of, and desperately wants to get away from a dangerous Warren and a complicit Andrew. Although he tries to sever his ties with the others, he's too scared to actually make a move. Jonathan finally makes his decision when it counted, and helped Buffy defeat a suped-up Warren in "Seeing Red" [6x19]. Unfortunately, Warren returns to Buffy's house later with a gun and shoots up the place. This leads to a lot of skin loss for Warren, as we actually witness in "Villains" [6x20]. With Warren, a villain to the end, out of the picture, Jonathan sticks to his morals and does everything he can to help the Scoobies now, while Andrew keeps making bad calls. It's clear that Jonathan has finally grown as a person, but Andrew still has a ways to go and isn't yet much of an individual.

We leave the Trio, now the Duo, running off to Mexico in fright. All in all, I have to admit that Warren turned out to be a pretty effective villain, much to my surprise. In the end, I really enjoy the Trio's antics and find them to be an extremely effective villain for this particular season. At times they entertained me, while at other times they creeped me out. They also had quite the little season-long arc of their own, and each of the three characters grew in a unique way. Plus... "Timothy Dalton should get an Oscar and beat Sean Connery over the head with it!"


I love S6. Being as objective as I can, though, I realize that it has some notable flaws and does not deserve an A-range grade. The direction they took Willow mid-season really changed the course of what could have been one of the best seasons of the series. I still maintain that S6 is the most daring season, containing many of the riskiest moves the series ever made along with some of the most deeply probing episodes.

I'm discovering more and more that I have a love for shows that dig into characters' minds and explore the psychological aspects of what makes them who they are. This season is practically a treasure chest filled with episodes that do just that, with "After Life" [6x03], "Once More, with Feeling" [6x07], "Dead Things" [6x13], and "Normal Again" [6x17] leading the charge.

What defines the best aspects of the season for me is really everything surrounding Buffy's return from a heavenly place and subsequent rediscovery of herself. This leads her through a lot of confusing times, including being depressed enough to have no will to live, submitting herself to a largely lust-filled relationship with Spike, and not being there for Dawn or for any of her friends really, who could have also used a helpful hand this season.

S6 is an important journey for the characters; a journey of discovery about themselves. All the characters ended the season in a much more mature place, now ready to tackle bigger challenges than they would have ever been prepared to face before. When the end of "Grave" [6x22] arrives, it's like being baptized of pain -- I feel rejuvenated again. It is with this exciting feeling that I am going into S7. Although S7 is not one of my very favorites seasons, I hope to make a case for it being still a very good season, with many of the series' best episodes in it. So join me as I walk into S7. All I ask is for all of you to keep an open mind! :)

    • A+ (): 4 episode(s)
    • A (90-99): 5 episode(s)
    • B (75-89): 7 episode(s)
    • C (60-74): 6 episode(s)
    • D (50-59): 0 episode(s)
    • F (0-49): 0 episode(s)

    Average Episode Score





    Season Score





    Comments (292)
    All Comments | Link1 | CharliJan 22, 2009
    Good to see another season review :)
    All Comments | Link2 | CharliJan 22, 2009
    Definitely my favourite
    All Comments | Link3 | Suzanne BJan 22, 2009
    I'm so excited to see another review! Bring on season 7!
    All Comments | Link4 | Tom_Jan 22, 2009
    I also love season 6. As you said, many of the risks the writers took paid off. As a TV season, I would say Buffy season 4 is more entertaining than season 6. But season 6 has more depth. It's flawed, but at the same time, brilliant. I love it!!!

    I was disappointed with your [double] choice for Surprise Hit. I would go with Tabula Rasa, or maybe Hell's Bells. Agreed with all the other awards.

    Also, you said "The characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer have always had my heart." Really? They lost me during season 7. Specially Spike. OK, they won me back around Touched, but still. Watched in a condensed time or not, season 7 is mostly painful with people being mediocre.
    All Comments | Link5 | SanjuroJan 22, 2009
    Season 6 is my absolute favorite season, but objectively I'd have to put it at least third behind S5 and 3. But I think it took all the emotion of the end runs of S2 and 5 and spread them out over a whole season. It was ballsy and beautiful and (apart from that ridiculous drug metaphor) real. I won't hear a word against it. Unless that word is about As You Were.
    All Comments | Link6 | Ryan-R.B. | WRITERJan 22, 2009
    Season Six is the worst television ever produced, Marti Noxon is a harlot, your grammar is questionable and I don't like your hair.
    All Comments | Link7 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITERJan 22, 2009
    Your site is comin' off my Links page because of that! :p
    All Comments | Link8 | JoshJan 22, 2009
    I'm also a Season 6 lover. It and Season 5 are my absolute favorite seasons. This review was really really good, and I totally agree with the score. I also loved your suggestions for different directions they could've taken Willow's story... the Willow's army thing would've been awesome to see.

    Love, love, love this site.
    All Comments | Link9 | PaulaJan 23, 2009
    Very thoughtful and thorough season review! I've yet to re-watch S6 in its entirety, but for the sheer guts it's pretty close to my favorite season.

    And it may be because I first watched the show when I was already over 30 (and went quickly through the whole show, thanks to DVDs), but I have about as little time for Dawn haters as you. (Most fandoms are pretty scary if you look into them deep enough, but stuff like this is IMO sheer childishness.) She's not my favorite character and she could have gotten more thorough character arches, but as a teenager and a little sister and someone going through the sort of scary things and losses that Dawn encounters, she's well written and acted.
    All Comments | Link10 | buffyholicJan 23, 2009
    Thanks for this amazing review, mike. It was well worth the wait! You pinpointed exactly what I love and dislike in S6. Two of my main reasons why I love it is Buffy and just the path they chose, daring risks.
    Your review also illustrates my love for the season and characters. I gotta admit that we have similar tastes in some episodes and characters.

    All Comments | Link11 | DigificWriterJan 23, 2009
    Great review. S6 is and will forever remain my favorite season of the series, and your review does a great job of illustrating why.

    I do have a question, though: where did you get the idea that Willow's character arc and her addiction to magic is based on a hunger for power? There is nowhere - that I can find, anyway - in any of the previous seasons where this is even implied. The one defining factor in Willow's arc in this season and in previous seasons is insecurity, not some suppressed desire for power.
    All Comments | Link12 | AimeeJan 23, 2009
    Wow, I hadn't been to this site before, but your review was very well written and thought out, and I think I'm going to have to go look at the rest of your stuff when I have time.

    And for the record, I LOVE Dawn! :-P
    All Comments | Link13 | BigBad47Jan 23, 2009
    I'm sorry...I have to disagree.

    You're review was thorough, and while I disagree with some of it, I'm not going to discuss some of your opinions, because each of us has a right to our opnions and there's no sayin who's right or wrong.

    The problem with S6 is simply the uneven nature of the overall season arc, and specifically with some individual episodes.

    Let me try to explain:

    In S6 we, the audience, are given many tough issues to deal with, i.e. Drug Addiction, Shop Lifting, The Death of a Loved One, The End of a Engagement, Suicide (Buffy's attemtp to kill herself in OMWF). While trying to digest these heavy issue, we are then presented with the patently ridiculous, i.e. The Doublemeat Palace, Kitten Poker and a Loan Shark Demon with an actual Shark's Head.

    Think about...

    The auience is unable to put thier feet securely down in one "world" as they are always being ripped from the solemn and disturbing and stuffed into silly humor and slapstick.

    One of the best things about BtVS was the humor, so I'm not suggesting that it should not be there. I'm only saying that the flavor of humor did not mix with the depth of seriousness that we're asked to travel down into as an audience.

    Take "Tabula Rasa" for example. In his episode we are asked to trust Buffy's realization that slaying isn't so bad (she comes to this conclusion while fighting Vampires as Joan the Super Hero). This is a serious moment and important moment because it's one that starts Buffy's turn from hopelessness back to normal. In the same episode theaudience is then given the worst villain (next to 'Wig Lady', another bad choice in S6) ever on Buffy -- The Loan Shark Demon. He's chasing Spike, who owes him...not money but kittens. Funny yes...well placed within an episode and storyline...no.

    Even the villains can be looked at through this light. The Trio starts off as a goofiing, roleplaying (I'm a gmaer myslef, so no insult meant), free-porn searching group of misfits. By the end of the season we are asked to take Warren seriosuly as a threat to Buffy. It's a stretch, a tough one.

    So, in my opinion, it's not the dark nature of S6 that makes the audience uncomfortable. It's the subconscious unevenness that keeps the audience off-blance and unable to connect as they did in previous and future seasons.
    All Comments | Link14 | DolorosaJan 23, 2009
    This is a fantastic review of an unjustly underappreciated season. I rewatch S6 the least of any season because it is so unremittingly grim. (I can hardly bear to watch 'Normal Again', it breaks my heart so much.) However, for all its bleakness, season six is one of the most beautifully life-affirming seasons of Buffy, and you've done an excellent job of articulating this here.
    All Comments | Link15 | IanGJan 23, 2009
    I hope you don't take offense at this but IMHO you make the same mistake many do in your analysis of Willow's arc in S6. IMHO the addiction mini arc was actually a bait and switch which covered up her actual psychological problems which re-emerged at the end with Tara's death. The fact that the characters (as well as many viewers) thought her problems were a physical addiction led to them treating it as such, but this was a mistake because overall her problem wasn't physical but psychological. Therefore their efforts in helping her didn't take and she exploded at the end. I admit it could have been executed better because its obviously not clear.
    All Comments | Link16 | saltyweeksJan 23, 2009
    Great review, I always love to read them from you.

    S6 has always been my favorite, and you touched on all the points why. But truly, I recognized from the start that it is a season heavily geared toward character development fans (especially those who like likable characters thrust into dark places) and less toward plot-oriented folks or those who prefer their favorite characters to remain static amid chaotic and/or depressing times.

    I think Alison did a great job (taking such an established character and turning her completely into an addict is hard to do with any credibility) but I also agree that the simplicity of the "magic is heroin" journey would have been better handled if the real theme was "magic is power, and power is addicting." The first theme is not clearly established in the Buffyverse (otherwise there would be magic addicts aplenty throughout Buffy and Angel) while the second idea is often shown in the Buffyverse with the unintended consequences magic and its power can have (heck, even young Giles went through that trip).

    You can see, and will probably touch on, some of the problems the writers had dealing with this in S7. Since it has NOT been established in Buffy that magic is a powerfully intoxicating drug just as dangerous as abused substances, they have to backtrack. By the beginning of S7 the magic is suddenly "in" Willow-- Giles even tells her directly that she does NOT have an addiction-- so that she doesn't have to make the difficult choices involving such and the character gets to remain involved in the plot.

    She does, however, still have to deal with the consequences of power in S7 which is likely where they should have stayed in S6. After all, if "magic is heroin" then S7 is unrealistic and sends a dangerous message, since few people come half-way back from being total addicts and none of them come out the other side enlightened by using the substance itself (as Willow does at the end of the series).

    Still, I think the fact that it is as effective as it is (as far as emotional moments in the series go) can be attributed to the strength of the Willow character, Joss' overall approach to her, and good acting.

    I, too, like Warren as a villain. A realistic, human-type villain in several seasons would not have worked, but having just the one and associating him with gun violence was pretty effective.

    Thanks for the review!
    All Comments | Link17 | dimancheJan 23, 2009
    It's so neat to see a new review up and, as per usual, it's a great one. I LOVE that you appreciate After Life as much as I do; a very underrated episode. In fact, I think it might currently be my favorite. This season is my second favorite as it thoroughly explores two of my three favorite characters in the Buffyverse: Buffy and Spike (the third would be Wesley). I'm so proud of both of them at the end of Grave; Buffy, for being such a strong, brave and inspiring person, and Spike, well, for the same reasons, really.
    I agree that by the middle of the season some things start to go wrong but I've noticed that I still seem to enjoy it more than most people. I actually quite like Older and Far Away; although it's a less than stellar episode, it doesn't bore me.
    I'm glad you took a moment to defend Dawn, as I too feel that her character doesn't nearly deserve all the criticism thrown at her. She is often compared to Connor, who is an even more loathed character, but I've always sympathized with both of them. With the kind of stuff they went through (and I think a lot of people fail to really grasp this), how could I not?

    Can't wait for the s7 reviews!

    Oh, also, you've been linked over at Whedonesque:

    Congrats :)
    All Comments | Link18 | ErmineJan 23, 2009
    Thanks for the great review! It's obvious that you 'get' the season and understand what makes it unique when compared to the rest of the series. However, I just don't see what the problem with the drug metaphor is -- your suggestion for an alternative arc sounds like boring superhero posturing to me. Could it be that as a Northern European, I've simply heard fewer lectures of the "kids, don't smoke pot" kind and, as a consequence, don't feel lectured to here?

    To me, it seems natural that after a tough breakup an insecure person would 'hit the bottle', so to speak, rather than lash out. I think that Willow's low self-esteem is a much more dominant characteristic of hers than her lust for power, and it feels perfectly plausible that only a cataclysmic event such as Tara's death could make her power-hungry id come out on the open.

    Not trying to pick a fight, just curious -- am I missing something here?
    All Comments | Link19 | MarshalJan 23, 2009
    Hey Mike, I haven't read your season review yet, I will soon when I have adequate time, but I just wanted to say congrats for getting on Whedonesque!
    All Comments | Link20 | MrBJan 23, 2009
    My main problem with S6 was always a story-structural one. The end of the season seemed tacked on because there was no build-up to it. There was NO indication that Willow was going to be the bringer of the apocalypse.

    It felt cheap and "gotcha" to me. Even the very poor handling of Adam as bringer was better than this.

    The world didn't have to almost end this season. As the danger was personal, so could have been the resolution of the season. But it is BtVS, and as such, I guess it does need its' "Rocket Launchers".

    This may have been a worse plot problem than the dreaded magic as drug thing.

    All Comments | Link21 | JavJan 23, 2009
    Another excellent season overview. I love your thoroughness in continuing to look at all the characters through each season, and also love the discussion you continue to generate with your reviews, because I always find some excellent, different perspectives in these comments. I'll probably have more to say when I get around to re-watching the season myself, since I always find it too easy to agree with an analysis/review without remembering how I really feel as I actually view it.
    All Comments | Link22 | AdamJan 23, 2009
    You're totally right that this season is best watched in a condensed time frame. Watching it over the course of the year, I really struggled to enjoy it. But when I got the DVD and watched it all at once, I finally got it. I'd disagree with your "Worst ep" award. The worst ep in the season is easily "As Your Were." It deserves at least a D and perhaps an F on your scale.

    Thanks for the cool website!
    All Comments | Link23 | KevinJan 24, 2009
    This is a terrific, subjective look at one of the show's best seasons. A lot of people can't get past the things that dragged it down - Willow's mid-season arc, Dawn's lack of development - but there's so much good stuff going on that it's a mistake to underrate it. I think you gave it a perfect score. Thank you for thinking about this more clearly than most.
    All Comments | Link24 | SivJan 24, 2009
    I don´t like season six.The worst season of the series.
    All Comments | Link25 | meliJan 24, 2009
    I finally got into Buffy _way_ after it ended, and I loved season six. I was surprised and confused to hear, in the DVD commentaries and interviews, people referring to it much more negatively than I felt about it. I guess I wasn't around for all the criticism when it was airing, and didn't have the downtime between episodes. My experience may support your point about watching them in quick succession (Of course I watched the whole box set manically-- talk about addiction!)
    It's refreshing, then, to read your review and know that I'm not totally weird in my opinion, and I appreciated your insights. It makes me curious about the other Buffy reviews you've written...

    oh saturday, the plans I had for you may be waylaid...
    All Comments | Link26 | Ryan-R.B. | WRITERJan 24, 2009
    Siv: The clarity and depth of your parsimony, sir, is matched only by the quality of your hair.
    All Comments | Link27 | llinnaeJan 24, 2009
    Great review, Mike, once again! I, as a huge season 6 fan, agree with most of what you said and just want to say thanks for taking the time and energy to write this. I havent found a site that even compares to the level of analysis your site brings us Buffy fans! Look forward to season 7!
    All Comments | Link28 | SaroJan 24, 2009
    That was a fantastic review. Season Six is easily my favorite season and is one of the most daring seasons of television ever. I also admire you for fighting on the behalf of Dawn, the most under-appreciated character of the Buffyverse. But a few things I disagree with, even though I fully understand your reasoning and respect your opinions.

    - Dawn's arc is frequently criticized as being underutilized by the writers but I really think it was done right. After her being central to the arc in S5, this year had to bring Dawn down to earth. The fact is Dawn is useless (in terms of the scoobies, not the show) and doesn't even have the inherent importance of being the key anymore so her arc keeps in the season's theme of "you have to go on living". Her lack of an arc is really her arc because she has no sense of place, no purpose and is frankly a burden to everyone around her as sad as it is to say. This is all rectified in Season Seven of course in Potential when it's realized that she is not to inherit Buffy's place in the group but actually Xander's.

    - I am also alone in thinking that the drug arc was actually used quite well and that Wrecked was a pretty decent episode. The reason for this is that her power-lust was taken as far as it could go. If it was pushed any further it would have just been out of character so it was put down for a second and picked up at the end of the season when Tara died which is the only thing that could really push her over the edge that much. What happened mid-season is that her magic began to overtake her identity. She began to feel that she was nothing without her magic which cut her off from Tara and her friends. This is where the drug-metaphor came from because drug addiction is something that takes over a person and strips them of their own sense-of-self until it's the drug dependance talking not the person. This was a natural continuation of what was happening to Willow already. It did jump ship metaphor-wise but I think it did so successfully and placed the right explorations in the right places.
    All Comments | Link29 | SeleneJan 25, 2009
    I can't condemn 'Two To Go' as the worst episode of the season because in one brief exchange between Willow and Buffy, we not only get a clear delineation of the the character of Willow, but also the revelation of how Willow truly thinks of herself:

    WILLOW: (scoffs) Let me tell you something about Willow. (advancing toward Buffy) She's a loser. And she always has been. People picked on Willow in junior high school, high school, up until college. With her stupid mousy ways. And now? Willow's a junkie.
    BUFFY: I can help.
    WILLOW: The only thing Willow was ever good for...

    She pauses, drops the bitter sarcasm and grows pensive.

    WILLOW: ...the only thing I had going for me ... were the moments - just moments - when Tara would look at me and I was wonderful. (grimly) And that will never happen again.

    That exchange and Alyson Hannigan's delivery of it brings me to tears every time.

    We discover that Willow's seeming confidence because of her magickal abilities is just a shell, a mask covering her lack of self-confidence and her continued dislike of herself. It shows and integral part of the character of Willow; that she tended to define herself by her relationships with others. Her 'addiction' to power is only a cover for the general powerlessness she'd been subjected to all her life (i.e. her parents' general neglect of her, her inabaility to get Xander to love her, her inability to make Oz stay...) Willow is the most intelligent of the Scoobies, with the exception of Giles, yet she is in many ways the most emotionally damaged. Aside from s3's fluking with Xander (which I felt wildly out of character, even with her lifelong crush on him) she's always done the right thing, yet never gets the credit or any form of reward for it. So it's no real surprise that she would become addicted to power and go over the edge because of it. She's 'given' all her life; the magick finally allows her to 'take.' The one thing I never understood was why no one ever called Giles to tell him of Willow's addiction. Everyone was aware of his dealings with dark magicks in his past; you would have thought that Tara or Xander would have at least called him to discuss how to help her. But no one did. He knew nothing about it until the coven told him about her total meltdown. Did no one think that he might have been able to help her?
    All Comments | Link30 | Darth BunnyJan 25, 2009
    Selene, excellent thoughts, but first, a few corrections.

    1. 'Two to Go' isn't listed as the worst episode; that goes to 'wrecked'. 'Two to Go' is listed as the Biggest Disappointment, in that there were high exceptions for it, especially after the brilliant 'Villains', but 'Two to Go' failed to live up to those exceptions. That one portion of the episode you mentioned is great, but everything after that fails to deliver (according to Mike). I can't go into detail, but just read Mike's review of the episode to understand why 'Two to Go' didn't get a higher score.

    2. What you say about the others contacting Giles is true, and something I honestly haven't thought of. However, I can say it was a two-way street; Giles is just as much to blame.

    "He knew nothing about it until the coven told him about her total meltdown." Not true; throughout the series Giles was the one person to tell Willow to slow down. 'Becoming part 1', 'Faith, Hope and Trick', 'Something Blue', leading up to 'Flooded' where Willow threatens Giles. I'd say, aside from Tara, Giles was the one person who could have put the brakes down. Granted, he left for Buffy's sake, but before he did, he should have warned Buffy, Xander, Tara, anyone, about the argument in 'Flooded'. His failure to do so despite the fact he knew what was occurring with Willow was a major factor in Willow's decent.
    All Comments | Link31 | SeleneJan 26, 2009
    I agree that Giles shoulders some of the blame, but what I meant is why didn't someone call Giles after "Wrecked" when Willow decided to go cold turkey. He knew she was getting in over her head, but was unaware she was off on a 'binge' with Amy. Giles undoubtedly would have known that stopping completely the way Willow did was the wrong way to go; possibly even brought her to the coven then and prevented the events of the last 4 episodes. Of course, that wouldn't have worked storyline-wise, but it would have made sense for Tara or Xander or even Dawn to call Giles.
    All Comments | Link32 | PaulaJan 26, 2009
    One may argue that Giles should have at least had another serious talk with Willow before he left (maybe he counted on Tara leaving her to wake her up), but as to why no one consulted him later on, I'd like to make a few points:

    * Giles had very much said it aloud that he was leaving because the Scoobies needed to learn to tackle their problems on their own.
    * Both Buffy and Xander were more than a bit in denial about Willow having a serious problem with magic in the first place until "Wrecked". Which was when Willow herself acknowledged the problem and decided to quit magic, which she stuck to, too. From "Gone" until the end of "Seeing Red", she's getting better all the time, and I don't think anybody thought she particularly needed Giles's help with it.
    * Both Buffy and Xander were occupied by problems of their own, and Buffy in particular had a guilty secret she probably didn't want even Giles to discover - she probably felt she wasn't handling her life at all so well as Giles expected her to be able to, and so wasn't too keen to get him back in Sunnydale or get in touch with him, even.
    * All the bad stuff following the end of "Seeing Red" happened in a very quick succession. This might have been the time to alert Giles, all right, but if the Scoobies thought about it they probably also thought that the situation was so acute that it would take him too much time to get back to be particularly useful.
    All Comments | Link33 | RichieJan 26, 2009
    Nice review, agree with all of it, but still wish they had kept Anya and Xander together, not meant to be though...

    Buffy's season arc was brilliant as you said, only I didn't really realise this was the highlight of the season till you pointed it out, so well done! Not to mention lusty - cold showers all round after some of those Buffy/Spike scenes!

    I'm at a bit of a loss as to why some people on this site seems to think this is the best season though - yeah, it's dark and daring, but come on, watch this back to back with season 5 like I just have and there is no competition. Yes it pushes the TV boundaries, but superior, a big NOPE!

    Anyway, mike, judging by the number of comments in the last few days, I'd like to take this opportunity to say -

    *** ROLL ON SEASON 7! ***

    I never liked it when it was first broadcast, but I hope your reviews can make me appreciate it a bit more.

    All Comments | Link34 | RosieJan 28, 2009
    The Willow "magic as drugs" slip-up really brings down what otherwise would have been an extremely stellar season character-wise. Throughout the entire series, Willow's biggest character flaw had always been her hunger for power and knowledge. Here in the middle of S6, though, we're told it's something entirely different. This hurts so much because the one aspect of this series I treasure the most -- and is most important to me, by far -- is the consistent and intimate evolution of a wonderful group of characters. When the writers' slip in this area, I really feel it. I'll get into the specifics of this large mistake when I talk about Willow down below. In short: it single-handedly costed the season an A-range grade.

    I don't think many fans truly understood what addiction was really about. Also, I feel that your judgement of Willow's character and Season 6 character arc was really off the mark.

    I get the feeling that you had adopted the Scoobies' assessment of Willow's addiction of magic. They had assumed - quite wrongly - that Willow's use of magic was some kind of addiction that had sprung up from no where. They felt that as long as Willow stopped using magic, everything would be hunky dory. As Whedon proved at the end of S6 and later S7, Willow's magic addiction was a product of her own personal insecurities. This has been obvious since S1, when she latched herself onto helping Buffy fight supernatural bad guys.

    Willow was always using something or someone to hid from her insecurities - whether it was her role as a Scooby, her computer skills, her romances with Oz and Tara, and Xander's views of her. If there is one thing she used more to hide from her insecurities - and upon which she became addicted to - it was her role as a witch and use of magic. This was especially apparent since S3 and it finally blew up in her face in S6.

    I'm only surprised that you had never noticed this.

    All Comments | Link35 | Suzanne BFeb 2, 2009
    I've always loved season 6. I believe almost everyone goes through a dark place in their life, usually when they grow up (or in some cases, are FORCED to grow up). I have been there myself. So to see someone as strong as Buffy get pulled into darkess (pulled out of heaven), struggle to find meaning and feeling (her 'relationship' with Spike), then go towards the light and get through it (breaking it off with Spike and reconnecting with Dawn and her friends) really spoke to me. It told me these writers really understand how we humans work, what makes us tick, and how we hurt. It's painful to watch sometimes, but it works.

    I'm really looking forward to the season 7 reviews. I didn't feel the season was very strong, and I'm anxious to see your take on it. I love to watch an episode, then come read your review. You usually point out at least one thing I missed, and that just makes the show all the better for me. So I'm hoping you help me appreciate season 7 more.

    Thanks for these reviews!

    All Comments | Link36 | LeeluFeb 7, 2009
    Hey, you aren't alone in your affinity for Dawn. I always liked her, too. She's bright, energetic, spunky, and fun. Yes, she whines and bitches a bit, but that's what normal teenage girls do. No one seemed to mind much when Buffy would act like a bitch, etc., so why all the complaining about Dawn?

    Oh, just on a quick side note: does anyone else feel that "Real Me" reminded them of "Harriet the Spy"? Not that that's a bad thing. I thoroughly enjoyed that episode. It just really made me think of that movie (and yes, I know she was Harriet).

    I also firmly agree with you about the handling of Willow's "addiction." It never really felt right to me. I know they've been heavily foreshadowing serious trouble for her in this area for quite some time now, but the way they finally carried it out was kind of a surprise to me (not the Dark Willow stuff, but the "Wrecked" type stuff, I mean). Honestly, it kind of felt a bit heavy-handed, preachy, and cliched to me.

    I'm very glad we both agree on how awesome Anya is. She absolutely tickles me pink. I actually like Cordelia, as well, though she's much more intentionally mean, etc. I think both kind of remind me of myself. haha I don't really always have much of a "filter" when I speak. I often end up being more blunt, and perhaps callous, than I mean to be.
    All Comments | Link37 | UrsusFeb 25, 2009
    I loved the "High School Geeks Gone Bad" theme of Season 6, and how both Warren and WIllow had at their very core a need for control that was manifested through technology and magic, respectively. Buffy has always been and always will be on some level about power, I think, and for one season at least we got to see characters other than Buffy dealing with power or the lack thereof. That this is tied to emotional maturity as well is beautiful.

    The problem with Season 6, as has been stated, is the at times poor execution of the main theme. I agree that the "addiction" theme and its recovery sapped the life out of several episodes and detracted from what could have been a better season.

    Nonetheless, penetrating character insights are always better than random Monster of the Week episodes, and we had plenty of the former in this season. I like this season better than season 5, and possibly better than season 4.
    All Comments | Link38 | BethMay 13, 2009
    First of all, I LOVE your reviews and your analysis, even when I don't agree with them, I can understand where YOU are coming from.

    In any case, I love Season Six more each time I watch it, which is only three times, but still. The first time was when it aired, and yes, it was painful to watch. I almost gave up on the show when "Wrecked" aired, I hated the magic/drugs metaphor with a passion and still do. The second time was last year when I watched all the seasons in a row, and I realized that the season wasn't as bad as I remembered, especially if you watch the episodes close together. Finally, I just finished watching Season Six again over a couple of days - I started with just wanting to watch Bargaining Part 1 and 2 and then got so involved in the season again I couldn't stop.

    This season is extremely hard to watch at times, especially if you love the characters. Their pain is intense and the empathy you feel for them can make you depressed as well. Also, you get angry at the characters for their actions like you would if your friends did the same things. Buffy especially angered me during the season, way more than Willow or Xander - her self-absorption and self-destruction was so painful to watch. I'll admit that part of this is because I love Spike as a character and, even though intellectually I know he's a terrible choice for Buffy, emotionally I want them together and the way she approaches their "relationship" sets it up for failure. I admire the writers for sticking to her journey and making the viewers uncomfortable and emotionally "wrecked" a little.

    Thankfully, the cast is superb and is great at playing sadness, anger and despair. Alyson Hannigan as usual can break your heart in an instant - even her reaction to Buffy's revalation at the end of "Once More With Feeling" breaks me up. Emma's performance in "Hell's Bells" and "Entropy" was also devastating. And don't get me started on Tony's performance of "Rest in Peace" and the airport scene when he's leaving. Sob! (I do tend to get weepy with this show - even hearing the music from "The Gift" puts tears in my eyes, and I'm a blubbering mess at the end of "Becoming Part 2".)

    A shout out to one of my favorite episodes of the series, "Tabula Rasa." I admit, as you said, it was slow in the middle quarter, but I don't think there is a funnier episode and the ending is very sad. I do like the funny, though!

    Anyway, thanks for this review and I look forward to your Season Seven review - I still am not sure what I think about that season.
    All Comments | Link39 | BethMay 14, 2009
    Oops, I meant Tony's performance of "Standing"
    All Comments | Link40 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITERMay 16, 2009
    Thanks to everyone who has commented on this review! All your comments are interesting and appreciated.

    Beth, thanks for the kind words and for sharing your opinion. :)
    All Comments | Link41 | GrahamOzJun 4, 2009
    First post here. Love reading your reviews, especially the sense of connection to others admiring the brilliance at work (well, mostly brilliance). Watching Buffy for the 3rd time, just finished S6.

    You bring up a great point about this show: "I'm not one to easily get emotionally invested with television (or movie) characters, but this series, like no other, has the ability to emotionally bring me to my knees. This ability is on display this season like no other."

    There are other brilliant shows, and dramas out there (see HBO), but none have come close to Buffy in the ability to draw me in. I discovered Buffy first on DVD (after Firefly which prompted me to buy Buffy), and the emotional turmoil (and general emotional torture of Buffy) from mid S5 through S6 are almost unparalleled - especially watching them the first time over the course of a few days was as emotionally draining experience as I've ever had from TV (or film).

    I do like season 6, probably because I watched it first on DVD as a whole, but I really understand why people don't. Season 6 drops all pretense of being "the Vampire Slayer" show - about supernatural nasties and big bads - and really intensely concentrates on everyone battling *personal* demons. It is certainly not light entertainment. If I was watching Buffy just as a fantasy/supernatural/action TV with witty/funny dialogue I'd be disappointed with Season 6 as well. You really need to have an emotional connection to the characters as more than just story telling devices.

    The most common dismissal I read about BtVS S6 is as one big "drugs are bad, ok, we get it already!" morality tale - the biggest flaw of the season. I completely agree with the 'magic junkie' theme feeling so wrong. Magic (in Buffy) isn't bad or wrong - it was never suggested that Tara's use/study of magic was bad (and certainly good witches/covens are mentioned) - but where you derive the power from and how you use it IS important and can be very wrong. I kept wondering why no one, especially Tara, talked about this - it was always 'using too much', not 'using it the wrong way'. It seems like such a basic concept to completely overlook/disregard.

    Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. A theme replayed throughout human history. This would have been the perfect continuation of the meek/powerless to confident/powerful Willow arc we've seen throughout the series. Leading to the somewhat cliched but appropriate "with great power comes great responsibility", rather than "power/magic is bad" (which doesn't fit in with the series). This also really ties in to the (excellent) Faith arc - where she is corrupted by power.

    I don't mind Dawn as a character - a plus being her helping to keep Buffy 'grounded' - but I think the biggest problem is that the character feels discordant in relation to the rest of the cast & show. A whiney, bratty teenager in a show thats never been about whiney, bratty teenagers (nor teenage shenanigans). She was introduced as a plot/story device, and it seems like the writers wouldn't, or couldn't, fully go past that. Dawns rather large emotional problems weren't treated/explored very well (by the writers).

    The Buffy depression and Buffy/Spike arc(s) was mostly fantastically (and convincingly) done. When Buffy tells spike she was in heaven, and describes it, was one of those real 'wow' moments (and emotional gut punches).

    I know BtVS generally avoids religion/spirituality (exception being crosses and holy water), but I thought a major topic that wasn't explored properly was Buffy having been IN heaven (not just being pulled of it).

    Surely if anything can give real affirmation to Buffy & the scoobies, it was Buffy being in heaven. It feels natural (without religion coming into it), to them and to us the audience, that Buffy/Scoobies are on mission, are fighting for good, 'fighting the good fight' as it were. It was just somewhat surprising that Buffy being in heaven (and pulled out) was only used to depress the hell of out everyone. This is a 'meaning of life' deal, a possible 'ultimate question' answer - and it was basically ignored.

    I could go on, but that'll do for now. Really look forward to you finishing S7.
    All Comments | Link42 | EvilMemoryJun 12, 2009
    I agree with BigBad47, the mood of the season was kinda hard to take. The characters would be making jokes while some really serious stuff was happening to them and it would make them come across as exuberant and obnoxious (especially with Xander and Willow, even at times when they were drop dead pathetic they were still being funny). I have to say, they felt allot more like "adults" in the 2nd season than the 6th.
    All Comments | Link43 | endive3Jul 1, 2009
    i love season 6 with a burning passion.
    it is hands down my favorite season. i have a hard time with people saying that they hate it.
    i watch it again, and again, and again.
    you review is amazing.
    All Comments | Link44 | forthesafetyofpuppiesFeb 11, 2010 @ 3:15am
    I applaud your lauding of the sumptuous S.6 (and the associated supporting comments).

    Some of the lambasting of the Willow/drug metaphor is definitely warranted. However, the other central metaphor; Buffy viewing Earth as Hell (as spelt out in soliloquy at the end of After Life), is the most beautifully desperate metaphor the show ever found. Whereas circa Seasons 1-3, Hell was merely that dullful teacher-infected building she has to chew on a her pencil in for 7 hours each day, it's now everyone and everything around her. It's a metaphor they also dabble with over on Angey, right before he slips between the sheets with Darla.

    Tisn't without it's flaws, of course; Noxon's metaphor-to-the-bollocks approach, some gruesomely grimace-inducing lines ("Woah, whose your dealer?" springs sickeningly to mind), several week mid-season eps, a slight dip in production value, a Joss-free finale, the absence of Giles' grounding presence (although necessary); also, Season 7 suffers. The writers carved themselves a mammoth task, recovering characters from such dark, plundered depths whilst stretching interweaving stories onto such an elongated canvas (as a 22 ep season) is borderline impossible.

    To sturdily surmise, S.6 is the finest and most devastating depiction of utter and abject existential breakdown as has ever been crafted for film or TV (or literature, Dostoyevsky & Kafka aside). :)
    All Comments | Link45 | MaxApr 17, 2010 @ 8:03am
    The absence of Giles for large chunks seriously hurts this series and in my opinion, Giles as we know him, never returned after Buffy died (and even slightly before that). Admittedly, I may be a little biased as an Englishman.

    S6 is still a good/great season in my opinion. No episodes that score below a C- and it has one of the best episodes (if not the best) in the entire show with OMWF. I'm not very sentimental and have never cried at the movies and never really understood it when people have. But, I watched OMWF with my girlfriend and when Buffy revealed to the crowd that she may have been in "heaven" I choked up. ermm....time to go drink some beer and hammer up some drywall...lol

    You realise what a great show Buffy was when a season like this can be slated!
    All Comments | Link46 | G1000May 31, 2010 @ 6:20am
    I'd rank this as the second-best of th first six seasons, behind season 5 and slightly ahead of seasons 3&4. I really fail to get how this gets a B+, while season 2 (with an average episode grade lower than the average episode grade of this season) gets an A-. I realize that season concluded with a bang ("Passion", "Innocence", both parts of "Becoming"), but there were a lot of really bad episodes (particularly in the first half). I can't see giving that season anything higher than a B. This one was really good, though. The only terrible episode was "Doublemeat Palace".
    All Comments | Link47 | Sam LMay 31, 2010 @ 7:50am
    Dear Rosie and G1000,
    Both of you seem to disagree with MikeJer pretty frequently. Why don't you guys start your own Buffy review websites, since both of you clearly seem to know much better than "the fans" do -- i.e. the rest of us (which includes Mike, apparently). Maybe your enlightened viewpoints will show us the errors of our ways.
    All Comments | Link48 | ShannonJun 2, 2010 @ 5:33pm
    Sam, buddy, chill - let's not be one of those sites where people can't disagree with the reviewer/author. I've been finding G1000's progress through the series and opinions on the episodes to be good reading; plus it's nice to get some differing opinions around here. I do, however, happen to agree with his/her comment here - I don't think Season 2 deserves all the accolades it gets, and do think that both S5 and S6 surpass S2. S2 had some wonderful episodes, and arguably the best arc in the whole series, but there were also A LOT of clunkers in that season - I think G1000 has a valid point here, although I know that Mike is taking more into account in his overall season grades than just the average episode grades.
    All Comments | Link49 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITERJun 2, 2010 @ 7:18pm
    Shannon's right. Everyone should feel absolutely free to disagree with me (or anyone else here) without any pressure. I only ask that when you disagree with someone's substantiated opinion of an episode (or a particular topic), please back it up with a counter-argument so we can actually have a debate. Just saying "I can't believe you rated this an 'A' and that a 'B'" doesn't contribute anything to the discussion. However if you debate particular points I've made and offer justification for your opinions, then that's great!

    It's always a little bit frustrating to have someone disagree with you by making blanket statements about the topic without actually debating the specific points being made. It leaves you wondering if the person even read your point of view, or if they're just stating theirs with nothing to back it up.
    All Comments | Link50 | MerryJun 4, 2010 @ 6:31pm
    Not gonna lie, I wasn't a huge fan of S6 the first time I viewed it (my favorite part of the season was seeing Spike walking around without a shirt half the time). I missed the lighthearted funny BtVS, and allowed myself to overlook all the great stuff that went on in S6 outside of the mediocre plots and lack of humor. Sometime after my first viewing of the series I found this website, so on the second viewing of the series I read each review after I viewed each episode. There was a lot of deeper stuff going on in S6 that I hadn't appreciated the first viewing, and having it pointed out made me LOVE S6. Still not my favorite (will always be S2) and I only hate Dawn a little bit less than before, but it's definitely moved up a few slots on my list.
    All Comments | Link51 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITERJun 4, 2010 @ 7:35pm
    Thanks for sharing your story, Merry. I'm so glad that I was able to help someone come to appreciate such an under-appreciated season. Besides filling my own need to organize my thoughts, stories like yours are part of what make reviewing so rewarding. :)
    All Comments | Link52 | Sam LJun 6, 2010 @ 8:20am
    Shannon & Mike, you're both right and I didn't really take the time to articulate my point. Oops. Mike did it pretty well (as he always does), with the point about just saying "I can't believe you graded this episode like that" without backing it up. That's what I'd been noticing but I didn't point it out. Look, I'm a First Amendment freak and totally believe in open discourse; I just find it a tad disrespectful to the person running the site when someone says something along the lines of "You're crazy, you don't know what you're talking about" to the moderator, and then refuses to back it up with evidence.

    Anyway, I've gone on long enough so I'm going to drop this now... and chill, as Shannon suggests.
    All Comments | Link53 | G1000Jun 8, 2010 @ 7:49pm
    Sam, if you're interested, I did review every episode of "Buffy" on my blog at ramblingsofg1000.blogspot.com/

    They're not nearly as detailed as mikejer's reviews. I really don't know how he is able to analyze a series with this much depth and detail. It's pretty amazing (the review of "Restless" in particular is something remarkable). But I do have reviews up, and they're not bad (if I do say so myself).

    Note: my grading scale doesn't assign perfect scores. So an A is as high as it gets.

    And Saro, you're not alone in thinking Willow's "addiction" doesn't really deserve all the hate it gets. I too think it was a necessary part of Willow's seven-year journey. This is my second-favorite season overall, after the brilliant season 5. It's incredibly consistent (apart from the awful "Doublemeat Palace") and contains some of the best episodes in the series (including the immortal "Once More, with Feeling"). I really loved the shift from "Big Bads" to a more intimate focus on the characters.
    All Comments | Link54 | Big Time JamesSep 15, 2010 @ 1:45am
    S6 was awful. Simply awful. I have been rewatching it with my son the last couple of months, and it is truly a chore now for us to get through each episode (we're only halfway done... that's how slow it's going).

    The hamhanded magic-as-drugs thing (with a dealer and tripping on the ceiling and etc.) was just laughably idiotic. And of course, it did not fit seasons 1-5 and their presentation of magic AT ALL. Senseless.

    The cliche leave-her-at-the-altar melodrama was an eye-roller, and also not believable (at least as presented). It sure happens in soap operas a lot though. And I guess that's what Buffy became.

    The cliche of having Tara get back with Willow JUST IN TIME to be killed. Embarrassing writing.

    Riley married someone 8 months after leaving Buffy?!?!? And his wife says about getting over Buffy: "It took time..." And the thing is, it was not intended as a comedic line (though I laughed quite a lot when she said it).

    That entire Riley episode served no other purpose than to drag Buffy through the mud of humiliation. As most of the season did.

    "Daring"? "Risky"? Sure. But. Here's the problem... if I want to see a depiction of depression and humiliation, "Buffy" is not where I come, and these writers (let alone the directors and editors) are incapable of doing it well anyway. If you like this sort of thing, let me recommend "Breaking the Waves" (a masterpiece), "The Sweet Hereafter", "Dogville," "Leaving Las Vegas." All great movies.

    Marti Noxon and crew trying to pull it off? A complete joke.

    "Once More With Feeling" is one of the highlights of the entire series. But the rest of season 6 was terrible television, and the death knell of the series.
    All Comments | Link55 | Big Time JamesSep 15, 2010 @ 1:50am
    About Dawn:

    This character and their writing of her is simply indefensible. You spend a lot of time "defending" her without giving one solid reason to do so.

    You write: "Instead of being flushed out as a character of her own, we instead see her used as a device to show how much trouble other characters are in. Besides tickling the surface of Dawn as a person, all we got is her being used as a piece on a game board. This is what's truly a shame. I like Dawn, but I believe the writers failed at making me love her, like I do with all the other characters."

    So you admit she is poorly written. Not delivered by the writers as a person. So what is it, exactly, that you "like" about her? The actress? Her wardrobe? Her hairdos? Or just the fact that she is a character on a show you fetishize?
    All Comments | Link56 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITERNov 30, 2010 @ 1:14pm
    James, I think you need to calm down a bit.

    If you read my entire text on Dawn, I never said that the material she got was poorly written. I said she was under-utilized within the season and served more as a function of those around her rather than getting enough focus on her own issues. Dawn still had a story of her own in the season, which I outlined in the review, but I agree that it was sketched a little broadly and without the kind of attention it probably deserved.

    The initial two-paragraph defense of Dawn was more a response to how annoying it is to have people yelling "shut up Dawn" at the screen (when watching with them) even when she's not talking, rather than as a direct assessment of her character arc within the season, which I then go on to analyze.

    With that said, I do find Dawn to be a very sympathetic character because when I put myself in her shoes I honestly don't think I would have handled all that she went through all that much better at that age. I like the character's personality most of the time and that's ultimately a product of the writers. There's a difference between a character who is well drawn and one who is actually evolved. It's the latter I had some problems with in S6, not so much the former.

    My review is pretty comprehensive in terms of outlining what I felt worked and didn't work in the season. In the end I found myself overall impressed with the results, flaws and all. I respect that the season didn't work for you, but it most certainly did for me for all the reasons I outlined in the review itself.

    This site exists as an extension of my appreciation and enjoyment of this series. I strongly advise you to refrain from personal attacks. I welcome good debate on the points I've made, but I don't welcome being attacked for simply offering my own analysis on something I enjoy. No one's forcing you to read these reviews.
    All Comments | Link57 | JonnyDec 22, 2010 @ 2:22am
    I like Dawn a lot but agree with Mike that she was let down by what she was given to do this season. And yet some of the small scenes she does get I found so beautiful, like the scene Mike mentions in Bargaining Pt 1 where she curls up with the Buffy Bot. She is just a kid who has lost the two most important people in her life - 3 if you count her missing father. I can't imagine what that would feel like to a 15 year old. Tara is probably the only person who really has time for Dawn this season, and then Dawn has to deal with coming across Tara's body on her own. All that would be enough to put me in therapy for years but instead Lessons shows she has become a bright, bubbly, resourceful young woman.

    I thought I hadn't enjoyed this season much the first time around but re-watching I realise how many episodes are among my favourites: Normal Again is my second favourite episode after The Body. I still have problems with my least favourite all-time episode (As you were) but I even appreciate this a bit more after reading Mike's review. Thanks for the great reviews Mike.
    All Comments | Link58 | CoyoteBuffyFanDec 30, 2010 @ 10:39pm
    Great review! I probably don't rate S6 as highly as you do but I did like it overall.

    I really agree with something that you said at the beginning of the review. The reason that the writers could take these characters on such a journey for this season is because we are so attached to them after the first 5 seasons. We are able to see some huge flaws from them now and still love them. They could not have tackled such things earlier because of this.

    I also like Dawn (although I admit she does annoy me at times).

    I also agree with most of your episode "awards" with some exceptions:

    Worst: As You Were - Sam---ugh!

    Most Disappointing - Again, I'd have to go with As You Were. The return of Riley could have been so much better! I almost said Hells Bells here because I would have loved for Anya and Xander to actually get married but upon further reflection, I love the "Anya as Vengeance Demon again" angle.

    Most Boring - (I actually liked Older and Far Away!). I'd have to go with Doublemeat Palace. Pretty ho hum episode if you ask me.SV
    All Comments | Link59 | CoyoteBuffyFanDec 30, 2010 @ 10:41pm
    Oh, and Season 7 was easily my least favorite season. There are still some very good episodes and some really great scenes but just overall it was really disappointing for me. I can't wait to see if my perspective on this changes after reading your reviews!
    All Comments | Link60 | JohnnyWJan 1, 2011 @ 11:38pm
    Great season review, I think you really nailed what was successful, and what wasn't so successful. It's so nice to see it broken down so perfectly. Well done!

    One thing: I do think your review reads a little defensively, and possibly is tainted towards pre-empting a negative response, or factoring in what you imagine to be "other people's" opinions to be, rather than just stating your own. I think it's perfectly ok to complain about the things that didn't work, instead of trying to defend the better moments to what you imagine the average Buffy fan to be. (I, for example, agreed with you almost completely!)

    Buffy's arc was definitely the strongest thing in the season. I too, really felt for Dawn (the poor girl was practically neglected). I didn't hate her, I hated the other characters for talking down to her constantly. It was such an odd choice by the writers considering how wonderfully NON-patronizing the show was to its teenage audience when it first aired. In Season 1, Buffy is the same age as dawn, and it's wonderful how capable and intelligent the gang are shown to be. But when it came to Dawn's turn, everyone talks down to her and mistreats her horribly... and they're never really taken to task for it, either. As you say, she made no progress herself towards rectifying these issues, and her kleptomania sub-plot went nowhere. I really felt like there was a big, important scene missing where Dawn finally got through to someone. Instead it was left to Buffy, in the Season's final moment, to finally acknowledge all of Dawn's issues with her. It was a joyous moment, to be sure, but it was left far too late in the show.

    I also think it was really perceptive of you to pick up on the fact that the middle episodes are the ones that bring it down. I, too, felt confused when thinking back over the season: There were some really great moments, but also a general sense that it wasn't as good, and not much happened. It was an odd situation, remember great moments, but feeling there weren't enough of them. I think your explanation is most probably right.

    I totally agree with your assessment of Willow's arc, too. Why oh why they went for something as uninspired, two-dimensional and overly-simplistic as drug addiction, I'll never know. It was a GIGANTIC misstep and became laughable in some episodes. So sad. There was little or no emotional reason for her addiction, and her "highs" seemed to be completely unrelated to the magic we saw her use. They were literally "gee, I feel-good" highs, not a craving for power being sated. She wasn't even using these highs to escape from pain, so it made little sense that she would chase them, and just felt like a cheap cop-out way of getting her "into magic". Her few words about "power feeling good" did nothing to justify her desire for it.

    I think your suggestion of her trying to do a Paul McCartney and take control over everyone (for their own sake, of course) would have been a much better motivation to get more power. A desire to do good and learn more feels a lot more like Willow, and it could have easily spiralled out of control in the same excellent way that it did in her relationship with Tara.

    Of course, this would have made for some extremely tricky writing: Willow affecting all of the other character's lives, so it probably couldn't have worked.

    What could have worked better, perhaps, could have been a slow erosion of her own personal morals and conscience, as she made excuses for doing things in order to learn more. I digress, this isn't place to spitball ideas, but needless to say, the one they went with was far, far too simplistic.

    The sad fact of the matter is, even if they were still convinced that an "addiction"/"drug" allegory was what they wanted to go for, they still utterly failed by even simplifying _addition_ itself. It became a bundle of cliches, instead of offering any genuine insight into how someone could fall into drug addiction, and still justify it to themselves. Even the world of addition was nothing but well-trodden and unrealistic tropes. It could have been The Corner, or Trainspotting, or The Basketball Diaries, or Requiem for a Dream, but instead the whole thing felt like poorly researched drivel (much like the exploration of Gunn's "gang culture" in Angel).

    This part of the season is so utterly heart-breaking because it could have been done a million times better (and interestingly, I think Joss Whedon might be attempting to do something similar with Season 8 and 9 in the comics).

    Interestingly, I have to agree with Sarah Michelle Gellar's assessment of the season too. Buffy was not herself, and the show _was_ extremely different. Yes, I applaud them for being so daring, but there is no escaping the fact that Buffy no longer felt like Buffy... there was no silver lining anywhere to be found. No wry moments of realisation. Yes, I applaud them for being brave to show desperation so realistically (and it's something I've experienced myself -- and it is horrible), but the function of art is not to document, it's to HELP.

    None of the characters, including Buffy, showed any progression towards dealing with or overcoming their problems... That is, until the very final episode. As you succinctly put it: This was too little, too late -- even if it did feel absolutely, completely joyous when it finally happened. The audience was not offered any tools or ways of coping with these problems, even if they related to them, and I think it's really too easy to capture pain and suffering and not offer a solution.

    People complain about films like Requiem for a Dream for this very reason, but those that love that particular film acknowledge that there _are_ solutions offered in it. In even something as depressing, desperate and unrelenting as that, the audience can learn something about dealing with their own problems by watching it: We all have to experience pain, but it's only when we fight it that we have to experience suffering. If there wasn't this insight then I don't think the story would be worth much at all, to anyone... and in many ways I think the writers on Season 6 almost forgot this until it was too late.

    The one thing I would disagree with in your assessment is The Trio. They were, to me, an incredibly ill-conceived "Big Bad". I remember thinking during some of the earlier episodes, "When does the big bad appear? They're leaving it a little late, aren't they? No wait a minute, these three guys can't actually be the baddie this season... Can they?!". Thankfully they eventually showed their "darker" side, and became more of an actual threat, but they were nothing short of an absolute joke at the beginning. And I have to say, the clunky "geek speak" they injected them with, for comedy purposes, really didn't work for me. (Note to writers: Dropping Star Wars terms into dialogue doesn't make it "geek speak".) Also, there were times when I got SO tired of Andrew being the "cute geek".

    Of course, by the end, things had turned much darker and more in line in the with rest of the season, but boy, was it a misfire at the beginning.

    Still, the season is not a failure, as you point out. There are some incredible moments. The things is: Even when you factor them in, you cannot escape the simple fact: The show has changed a LOT. Buffy was no longer Buffy (both the show and character), and that's a pretty significant flaw, for all its bravery. I think they still could have delved the same depths, but still maintained what made the show "Buffy". Sadly, that didn't happen.

    Of course, you can justify this to yourself by saying that Buffy came back as a different person after her death. So maybe the old show died in Season 5! :)
    All Comments | Link61 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITERJan 2, 2011 @ 11:03pm
    JohnnyW, thanks for the comment. Your point about the review reading on the defensive side is fair, as I had read so much negativity regarding the season coming into the review that it probably tainted it more than I would have liked. When I polish up the review again at some point, I'll take another look at that.

    As for the season not being the same show as it was, I think that's quite true. The thing is, I can say that about every season of the show. Each season felt entirely unique to the others, which is actually one of the qualities I appreciate the most about it. The character development, however, is (Willow problems aside) quite consistent and probing. It may be an exploration of the darkest aspects of the characters, but it's one that largely stems from what was already hinted at before.

    If you're looking for a single marker that defined a definite change in tone for the show, I'd say that "The Body" is the event that marked the arrival of the final act; the final act being: 'hello, adulthood.'
    All Comments | Link62 | JohnnyWJan 4, 2011 @ 2:55pm
    Thanks for your response, I can see exactly what you mean in regards to 'The Body'. (I consider it the greatest episode of TV ever created, but that's by the by) but let me throw this theory at you, and see what you think: The difference is that Buffy was always about 'coping' (whereas Angel was about 'pushing on'). It was about coping through the hell of high school, coping with responsibility and finally, coping with adulthood... except in Season 6 nobody was coping.

    'The Body' (and the subsequent episodes) are great examples of extreme hardship, with the trademark Buffy 'coping'. They are rough, difficult times, that are not made any less difficult to watch, or heart-rendering, by showing the characters finding ways to cope. (Anya's final speech at the end of 'The Body' is some fans favourite moment of the entire show.)

    In Season 6, people stopped coping. There was no silver lining. Just pain, pain, and more pain. SMG said in her post-Buffy interview that this was what killed Buffy for her, and I have to say, watching it (long before reading her comments), I totally agree. Buffy was no longer the survivor she had been in all the previous seasons.

    In Angel, the equivalent would be either that, a) The team just gave up, or b) They vanquished ALL the bad guys ("job done!"). It just wouldn't BE Angel anymore if either of those things happened, because Angel's primary metaphor what about pushing on through everything (as perfectly exemplified by the show's final scene).

    Still, I do take on your point that, taken as part of a larger story, Season 6 of Buffy does explore the darkest areas of the characters in a very indepth way. I just wish it hadn't felt as if someone had lost track of the ball while they were doing it.
    All Comments | Link63 | NathanJan 14, 2011 @ 2:04pm
    Just wanted to say season six is (along with season five my favourite season) my favourite season. i to don't understand why people had such a problem with it.
    All Comments | Link64 | JaredFeb 11, 2011 @ 12:40am
    Having just finished Season 6 last night, I'd like to quickly add on to a few things you've said here...

    I absolutely agree that the inconsistencies in Willow's arc really hurt it, and was perhaps what hurt the season the most for me. The drug addiction metaphor was, for lack of a better word, lame, and the execution was extremely heavy handed and over-the-top. It would've been fine if it was a bit more subtle, but the way they portrayed it was far too blatant and uninspired for my liking. I would have preferred they spent more time exploring Willow's motivations than using an 'addiction' cop-out.

    As unpopular as my opinion here will be... In Season 5, I found that Dawn quickly became one of my favourite characters. I found the story of her entire life being a lie to be really sad, and I honestly thought all her 'annoying' moments were really cute and funny, although I must admit that the writers did a poor job of characterizing a girl her age, as she behaves a fair bit younger than she's supposed to be, particularly at the start of Season 5.

    Anyway, my point is, I came in to Season 6 as a fan of the character with no idea why she was hated, and left the season completely understanding why the fanbase tends to reject her. Although I could sympathise with her problems, the way the writers had her express them made her seem selfish and immature rather than genuinely hurting. She felt very 'tacked on' in the majority of her appearances and was given little to no direction throughout the 22 episodes of season 6. Extremely disappointing, and I really hope they fix this in Season 7 (which I've yet to see) following her promising finale scene with Buffy.

    Those two character complaints aside, I really enjoyed most of this season. I appreciated the risks they took to keep the show fresh and I very much enjoyed the direction they took Buffy's resurrection, which wasn't at all glossed over like I expected it to be. The Trio also ended up being much better than expected, particularly towards the end of the season. I can understand why some people would find the season too 'depressing' compared to the previous 5, but I think it was an important step in continuing the growth of the characters and showing new sides to them rather than re-treading old ground. The season is definitely flawed but it was far from bad in my mind. I agree with your B+ rating and would rank the seasons as 2, 5, 3, 6, 4, 1 at this point in time.

    Enjoy your reviews btw, they've made me appreciate several episodes a lot more than I did when I first watched them. :)
    All Comments | Link65 | JaredFeb 11, 2011 @ 12:44am
    Oh, one last thing... I think this season is much better watched on DVD than on television. The weak stretch of episodes in the middle can be rushed through in a couple of days rather than being disappointed for a month or more in a row. I think anybody who disliked it when it first aired might gain a better appreciation of it if they re-watched it already knowing the direction it goes and without having to wait so long for the episodes to pick up in quality.
    All Comments | Link66 | fray-adjacentFeb 16, 2011 @ 2:38pm
    Jared: agreed about Dawn in S6. When I discuss her character with friends (most of whom hate her), I always have to remind them that in the course of one year she learned her entire history (a history which included being abandoned by a parent) was a lie and she experienced the death of *two* mother figures. Then a few months later yet another mother figure (Tara) leaves, and Buffy is ignoring her. Like Joss once said, "her abandonment issues have abandonment issues." But you make a great point that the writers don't portray this in a way that makes her sympathetic, instead she comes off as whiney. My personal experience being that real people complain as much about traffic jams as Dawn does about these deep personal traumas, I don't mind so much, but I think that's in spite of the writers' portrayal.
    All Comments | Link67 | firstMar 6, 2011 @ 5:01pm
    I hated S6. I never liked the human villains (the trio). I'd have preferred more supernatural villains. Moreover, Warren was a very annoying character. One more reason to hate S6 is how they had to kill Tara. Although I understand the logic behind it, I still hate it very much.
    All Comments | Link68 | rebeccaSep 10, 2011 @ 4:56pm
    I enjoy this site very much. I watched Buffy here and there when I was in high school - no DVR back then so i missed many episodes, but i always loved the show. I recently got back into it because I started DVR recording the reruns and decided to buy Season 6 and Season 7 because those were the ones I missed all of the episodes. I owe that to this site because when I read the Season 6 review from Mike, it made me want to go out and see it right away!

    I agree with basically everything you write! BUT the one thing many people don't like is the Willow and drug metaphor and that's where I disagree the most. ANYONE can get addicted to drugs. It isn't "out of character" for her at all. The magic thing had been growing and growing through seasons. Then it became something she seemed like she couldn't do without - Tara noticed that. She would use magic so many times a day - to change clothes and put on makeup, the computer - everyday little things that slowly throughout the years became a routine for her. That's how drug addiction starts - it begins as something you do here and there, then you enjoy it and start doing it more and more slowly during a time period.

    When Tara gave her the ultimatum of sorts that she had do stop magic for a certain amount of time, of COURSE willow said that would be easy! She doesn't think she had a problem yet, just like anyone who has gone too deep without even noticing with drugs. She can't even go ONE DAY without doing some magic. That's exactly how it gets for someone who has become addicted to something. So when Tara breaks up with her - well then there's the PERFECT opportunity to dive in deeper! She's so upset and in despair - that's when you make even more bad decisions.

    When someone is addicted to drugs, when something bad happens like a breakup, they do more and more to numb the pain. So willow going with Amy and diving deeper into the dark stuff is COMPLETELY realistic!! Tara is gone and Buffy is oblivious because of her issues, so there's no one to suspect anything and no one to keep an eye on her. Going to the invisible drug den/crack house to get so high and happy is totally plausible when someone is knee deep in addiction. She is in so much hurt and pain that she wants the euphoric feeling of the magic/drugs to numb it.

    I know all this because Im a recovering drug addict. I was a great student, goodie goodie type like willow. I barely drank or did drugs. It started out innocent, once every few months doing pain pills and long story short, after a couple years it grew into an addiction. I know EXACTLY what Willow felt like. The withdrwals (mentally and physically), thinking you're fine and you don't have a problem, wanting to escape FEELING anything...

    Anyway, for "normies" like you, maybe you dont get the Willow thing this season. But for anyone who has had an addiction - to see the progress to where she got seems completely plausible. Hopefully maybe this could change your view on it. Thanks!
    All Comments | Link69 | x factorDec 6, 2011 @ 3:33am
    I've been very critical of the show after season 3. There is a huge drop in quality after season 3 in terms of story/character development.

    I find that the only reason why I rewatch seasons 4-7 nowadays is to admire the acting (primarily SMG but also the others) and savor the moments when the writers overcome their serious errors in story/character development with spectacular scenes (such as the ending scene in Forever) or episodes (such as OMWF).

    The show jumped the shark with the ridiculous insertion of Dawn, a character that was forced on to fans - we were TOLD by the writers that we should care about Dawn. No. The writers have to EARN our investment in the characters, like they did in season 1 with Buffy, Willow, Giles, Xander, etc.

    I like MT and i enjoy certain individual scenes with her. But she cannot overcome the fundamental flaw of her existence.

    And coming right on top of this shark jump is the second shoe to drop - the utterly ridiculous Buffy/Spike affair. I dont care if Buffy came back from heaven or hell or lost everyone she loved. Buffy would never ever have a "relationship" with a serial killer, or even slept with one. If Buffy felt needy or needed to feel alive, there were a MILLION other guys who arent mass murderers held back by a computer chip to sleep with.

    That is what Spike was, until season 7 when he finally got his soul. We all know the real reason for the B/S stuff had nothing to do with artistic integrity - it had everything to do with $$$. Two amazing actors with sizzling onscreen chemistry = saving the jobs of the actors and crew of Buffy. There were some outstanding scenes related to the B/S drama, but it cost this show its soul. SMG pretty much lays it out there herself with her comments.

    Season 6 would work for another show but not for Buffy. The show showed its frayed edges in season 4, then lost its direction in season 5, and season 6, it lost its soul.
    All Comments | Link70 | Gemma Dec 20, 2011 @ 2:24pm
    Please don't be offended but X Factor i 100% disagree with your comments regarding season 4-7. They are starting to encroach on being a little rude. I value your having an opinion but there maybe a better way to put them across.

    I personally enjoyed Season 4; the humour and the growing of the characters, going to college or getting a job. The characters were searching for direction. I felt the same when i was at university. I grant you the main plot was flawed as there wasn't a great deal of development with the initiative, i think Mike mentions this in his review.
    Season five i liked albeit not as much as the others; i am in a minority on this with a lot of fans. Its just my personal preference. Dawn though was a character i came to like after some time, especially watching the shows retrospectively. Dawn was a poignant character and plot device for season 5, she did resonate with me after the episode Blood Ties. I find your comment about the show being about money deficient and unfounded. As for Buffy being with Spike, yes the Buffy from season one would never had done it, nor would the Buffy in season three but what needs to be made palpable is that Buffy is never the same Buffy after season 1 she has lost her naivety about morality and then likewise when she kills Angel, she changes again. Buffy finds a connection with Spike, both in dark places, both the darker side to the world, Both crawled from their own graves.
    All Comments | Link71 | AlexDec 21, 2011 @ 2:34am
    Gemma, your comments are always a pleasure to read but I really feel the need to thank you for this one. You've summed up my own feelings more eloquently than I ever could!

    I think you've completely nailed it with the last part about the differences between Season One Buffy and Season Six Buffy. No, the 16 year old Buffy from Season One would not have slept with Spike. But by Season Six she had changed and grown up. Even your average 20-something is very different from their 16 year old self, and your average 20-something hasn't been through even a tenth of what Buffy has been through during the last six years. To me, the Buffy/Spike relationship makes absolutely perfect sense for both parties, and I really welcome it. And no, x-factor, before you say it, that's not because I'm a 'B/S shipper who enjoys watching characters drown in their own filth'.
    All Comments | Link72 | Gemma Dec 21, 2011 @ 2:49am

    Thank you for the compliment.

    I too am in favour of the B/S relationship. I think the reason being is that at the time it starts up Buffy is alone although she is surrounded by all her close friends and sister; no one has gone through the things she has, she literally died and her feelings of being cut off are justified. She can't alleviate her pain but finds a sort of kinship with Spike. His escalating feelings for Buffy is something that she needs.

    I particularly liked the episode Buffy went to Tara, she has encroaching feelings of dirtiness and wrong behaviour. In my opinion was hoping that she had come back wrong and then the decisions she had been making could be accounted for and that she wouldn't be responsible for them, Buffy is amenable for such explanation.
    The final scene of that episode i really resonate with Buffy and the conversation she has with Tara is conducive for her to take some responsibility to know that she has done these things with her own will. It helps her to move on and i think plants the seed for As You Were when she finally ends things with Spike.

    I think in all honesty i am much more in favour in the B/S relationship than the B/A one. Purely for the character development we get with both Buffy and Spike. Not that i don't like the earlier relationship but one vampire being constantly introspective about things is enough!
    All Comments | Link73 | x factorDec 28, 2011 @ 2:50pm
    Sorry, Alex, I stand by my comments. Saying that people "change" is just a copout and an excuse for storylines and character developments that make no sense.

    People who are depressed don't seek out things to make themselves feel alive, especially rough, violent sex with psychopaths. One of the trademark symptoms of severe depression is LACK OF INTEREST IN SEX. People who are depressed can barely get out of bed in the morning - now, we're supposed to believe that Buffy is actively seeking out this completely out of character rough sex that she would never actually engage in even when she was NOT depressed??? lol. I dont know what hack psychiatrist Noxon and Joss hired to consult on this issue but that man should have his medical license revoked!!

    In addition, people who seek out rough degrading violent sex with psychopaths, people filled with that much selfloathing and self hate, are people who've been chronically abused, molested, people with extremely low self-esteem. Have we had any evidence at all to indicate that Buffy suffered from this kind of abuse in the past?

    Then let's look at it from another level. Let's assume there are some individuals who freely choose to live a very promiscuous lifestyle, or who are into S&M or public exhibitionist sex. That's fine too. They dont do it because they feel degraded or want to feel degraded like Buffy implies. So given all this, has Buffy ever done anything in the past to indicate that she would ever be into this kind of sex? Of course not. Whether healthy or depressed, Buffy getting involved with a psychopathic monster would never ever happen.

    You know what actually is believable? Buffy acting out of grief with Angel in Forever. Now that moment was utterly and completely natural and extremely realistic. That is how Buffy would respond to emotional trauma - seek comfort in someone she "loves more than anything in this world".

    This podBuffy of season six just is NOT believable in the slightest when it comes to Spike.
    All Comments | Link74 | keekeyDec 28, 2011 @ 10:46pm
    Hi x factor, For me the Buffy/Spike relationship is understandable in that (in my opinion) Buffy isn't simply depressed after her return from death, she's really, really ticked off too. She's mad that her friends ripped her out of heaven, she's mad that she just had a ton of financial problems dumped in her lap, she's mad that Giles is leaving Sunnydale, etc.

    In Flooded, there's a scene where Willow gets excited because Buffy finally expresses an emotion and, significantly, the emotion Buffy has just expressed is anger. When Willow points this out to Buffy and tries to get Buffy to open up more (by jokingly suggesting things that would involve Buffy being angry with HER), Buffy immediately shuts back down. I think Buffy's afraid and ashamed of how mad she actually is with Willow and her other friends because she knows they thought they were helping her. She also feels that she has to protect them from the truth of what they actually did, which further upsets her. And so, she has a lot of bottled up anger in early Season 6 that she doesn't want to unleash on her friends.

    But she can unleash it on Spike. Buffy's grown increasingly friendly with him but their typical interaction has always been conflict so he's also a comfortable target to vent at. He's soulless and still essentially evil and Buffy probably should have staked him years ago so she can justify to herself that he really deserves worse treatment than anything she's going to dish out. I guess I don't find their rough treatment of each other all that out of character (like it would be for, say, Xander and Cordelia or Willow and Tara)--Spike and Buffy both enjoy fighting, there have been previous references to each of them finding fighting to be an aphrodesiac, and they obviously each have a pretty high pain threshold. So, yes, I think their Season 6 relationship is unhealthy but not really out of character. And I think there are a lot of other factors that go into their relationship--I think there's real attraction and affinity between the two--but I definitely see a lot of their Season 6 relationship on Buffy's part as a way to work through her anger issues post-being ripped out of heaven.

    For me the scene that sums up Buffy and Spike in Season 6 is the one towards the end of Smashed where they're yelling at each other about who's more pathetic and confused. Spike's a vampire with a chip (and an inappropriate crush) who can't be a "real" vampire anymore and Buffy's a human who's a Slayer and so can't be just a normal human. They're both very, very dissatisfied with their situations at that point. I like how the rest of Season 6 and 7 shows each of them gradually accepting and eventually embracing the hand they've each been dealt (and, in the process, developing a real relationship based on love and respect for each other).

    That said, even though I liked Season 6 a lot, I understand why it's a polarizing season. There are episodes in Season 6 that even I probably won't re-watch because they're just too depressing--and I don't know that I would say that of any other season (except for The Body in Season 5).
    All Comments | Link75 | AlexJan 5, 2012 @ 2:50am
    x factor, I really object to your sweepting generalisations about 'people with severe depression'. Of course I don't know anything about you, and maybe you actually have some kind of professional psychiatric expertise, but either way I kind of find them to be in pretty poor taste, and actually bordering on offensive.

    I'm no doctor or psychiatrist but I have known enough people with severe depression (including immediate family members) to know that you can't make such generalisations. Yes, loss of libido is ONE OF the possible symptoms of depression. This, however, does not mean that EVERYONE with depression will lose interest in sex. I have known 'people with depression' who have cheated on their partners or made other bad choices in their sex lives, but according to you that just 'wouldn't happen' because 'people with depression' don't like sex.

    Similarly, not everyone who suffers from depression 'can barely get out of bed in the morning'. It takes many, many forms and just because SOME person experience particular symptoms does not mean that you HAVE to have those symptoms to be suffering from depression. Can we get that straight, please?

    In addition, comparing Buffy's situation to that of other 'people who are depressed' is a little redundant anyway. How many of those people have super powers and a lifelong duty to go out and kill things every night? How many of those people have died, gone to heaven and been resurrected months later? To me, Buffy's dissatisfaction with the world that she's come back to, combined with her inherantly violent way of life, do go some way towards explaining her actions in Season Six. Disagree if you want to, but please don't try to tell me that 'she's depressed so she wouldn't act like that'.

    Now, if you want to argue that you think Buffy's behaviour is out of character based on what you've seen of her in earlier seasons, then that's fine and I can respect that. But personally, I think we HAVE seen hints that Buffy might be interested in this kind of sexual relationship. Remember the whole 'hungry and horny' thing, which related slaying to sex? And in 'Buffy vs. Dracula' we saw her lying in bed with Riley, but unable to sleep until she'd gone out and killed something, suggesting (to me, anyway) that she needs something more from her relationship. In any case, Buffy's still very young and has pretty limited sexual experience - who knows what she might or might not decide that she's into? Of course, eventually she decides that the relationship with Spike is unhealthy, and calls it off, but that doesn't mean that it was OOC for it ever to have happened in the first place.

    After that incredibly long rant, all I'm asking of you really is just to respect that other people have opinions too, and just because they aren't the same as yours doesn't simply make them 'wrong'. Can you at least try to understand that?
    All Comments | Link76 | x factorJan 5, 2012 @ 12:20pm
    Alex...Look, I know you want to believe that B/S season 6 is "believable" but it's just factually not.

    You will never find "bizarre, completely out of character rough S/M exhibitionist sex with psychopath" in any list of symptoms that doctors will watch for when it comes to depression.

    You COULD argue that a person who actually WAS into that kind of sex with psychopaths when he/she was not depressed may not completely lose interest in it when he or she falls into depression. But has Buffy EVER been shown to be interested in this? Ever?

    B/S sex as a result of her depression is not believable on any level, whether medical or storyline-wise.
    All Comments | Link77 | AlexJan 5, 2012 @ 2:05pm
    Excuse me, I don't WANT to believe anything, I DO believe it. And you don't. And that's fine with me, but for some reason you are determined to keep telling me I'm wrong. I am being completely respectful of your opinion but you are being downright rude now, and to be honest I don't think I can be bothered to argue with you much more. But, here goes nothing...

    Firstly, your descriptions of Buffy and Spike's sexual encounters as 'bizarre' and 'out of character' are pretty darned subjective, don't you think? I've already made it clear that I don't find them 'bizarre' or 'out of character', and many people here seem to agree (and I'm sure just as many people don't). If you can't see that YOUR opinion on a matter is not the ONLY opinion then personally I don't think there is any point in me, or anyone else, having a discussion with you. Which would be a real shame, because there's usually a lot of great discussion and debate on this site.

    Secondly, I find your suggestion that it's somehow abnormal for people to enjoy 'rough sex' or S&M downright naive, to be honest. It's something that plenty of people enjoy, and they don't have to have been molested or abused in order to want such a thing! I've asked you before to explain why you have such a problem with it. I'm sure Anya and Xander say something about using 'chains' during sex at some point - do you think they're twisted, abused freaks for doing so too?

    Thirdly, you ask 'has Buffy EVER been shown to be interested in this? Ever?' Well, frankly, I wouldn't claim to know what she's into in bed. Before Spike, we saw Buffy in how many sex scenes? And how many of those were 'first time' sex with a new partner? How do we know what she and Riley might have been doing a year into their relationship? Just because she doesn't walk around in spiked heels carrying a whip doesn't mean that she can't enjoy a little kink behind closed doors.

    Finally, to repeatedly refer to Spike simply as 'a psychopath' is to ignore a good 5 seasons' worth of careful character development! It's clear you don't like the character (and that you really like Angel), but please stop completely shutting your eyes to everything that people DO like about Spike. I think you have me pegged as a B/S shipper or a big Spike fangirl, and believe me I'm not. But with all characters and story lines on the show, I try to approach them fairly even if I'm not immediately their biggest fan. And, whether you like it or not, this one works for me.

    I'll say that again. Buffy and Spike's relationship in S6 is believable FOR ME. You don't buy it? Cool. But there is no way you are going to 'factually' stop me from relating to and appreciating that relationship.
    All Comments | Link78 | x factorJan 6, 2012 @ 4:57pm
    It's not abnormal to enjoy bizarre rough or S&M type sex. I never said that. You should read more carefully - i said its completely OUT OF CHARACTER for BUFFY to enjoy that kind of sex. When has there ever been even the slightest bit of evidence to contradict this statement?

    In fact i went out of my way to state that kinky sex is FINE if folks want to do it. lol. Gotta read more carefully, bro.

    And no, I am not a b/a shipper. I was a B/X shipper in the beginning though that faded away. The only ship that i ship is C/A, yet I am objective enough to admit that turning Cordy into Saint Cordy of late season 3 was not the right way to get the two of them to become attracted to each other.

    And I am also objective enough that despite my B/X and C/A leanings, I would have no problems with a B/A reunion if that ever happened. Especially when compared to the ridiculous, asinine, completely unrealistic relationship that was B/S in season 6.

    See, I am not infatuated with Spike like you and others are. I actually really enjoy his character most of the time, and i even loved watching him and Buffy doing the liplock in Something Blue, for example. But the absurd relationship that was portrayed in season 6???? lol. No. And the way Spike was used by the writers in season 7??? Another big fat no.

    For me, what's most important are the characters and their characterizations. If the writers had ever LAID THE FOUNDATION for B/S in season 6 (by showing us a Buffy that had suffered from abuse in the past, or a Buffy that was into rough sex with soulless psycopaths) then it could have worked - except that you run into the massive problem of how the writers actually set up B/S - that Buffy was depressed, distant, and cutoff after being ripped out of heaven and she needed Spike to "feel alive" - which doesnt jibe at all with what a depressed person is really like.

    So no matter which way you cut it, Spike and Buffy would have never had that relationship. Joss and Noxon did a terrible job setting it up and so what results is something totally unbelievable.
    All Comments | Link79 | OdonJan 6, 2012 @ 10:51pm
    Buffy has always had to restrain herself with past lovers, who don't match her stamina or ability to heal (except Angel, but that was her first time) but with Spike she can afford to let herself go sexually, not least because she's not worried about keeping his good opinion the morning after. There's been more than enough evidence in past episodes to show that violence turns Buffy on (see the Buffy/Riley combat scenes in "The I in Team" and "Where The Wild Things Are") and their sexual relationship starts in the middle of them fighting each other. The one thing that's new is the bondage aspect, but it's hardly strange that Buffy might experiment, and notable that it's this experience that causes her to ask Tara if she's "come back wrong", showing that she's not entirely comfortable with it.
    All Comments | Link80 | x factorJan 7, 2012 @ 11:00am
    Slaying most likely does make her horny as implied by season 3. But concluding from that that it leads to the kind of violent sex, SM, exhibitionism, and cycle of sexualized selfhate and degradation that Buffy went through in season 6 is extremely erroneous logic. lol. Getting horny from slaying means you want to **** - where does it imply anything more than that?

    Buffy has always been portrayed as fairly conservative when it comes to sex. When has it ever been stated that she had to restrain herself with past lovers? Or that she was interested in experimenting? I'm definitely not a Riley fan but has it ever been implied that she wasnt satisfied sexually by him?

    And then add to all this the actual extremely flawed rationale that the writers used to justify b/s was that Buffy was depressed and distant and cutoff and wanted to "feel alive" - had nothing to do with experimentation or restraining herself from past lovers. I've already explained why this rationale fails as well.
    All Comments | Link81 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITERJan 7, 2012 @ 11:38am
    x factor, Alex's opinion is that it wasn't out of character because Buffy went through traumatic experiences over the years and changed. Spike is also not the same character that enters the show in Season 2 -- he's also changed. You have a different view, and there's no problem with that. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. It's in how strong our arguments are that determines which opinion has more credibility than another. The problem here is why you have such a difficult time understanding this.

    Just about everything you blame Alex for in your last comment is completely contradictory to what Alex just said. It's extremely ironic for you to tell someone else that they need to read more carefully considering your habit of ignoring what people have written.

    Here's the bottom line: If you don't stop being so antagonistic with just about every single person that disagrees with your opinion, then I will be forced to take action. I've put up with your tone thus far only because I'm not in the habit of removing comments, but you have had many opportunities across several different reviews to cool things down a notch and listen to what people are telling you, and you haven't changed a bit. Start being more respectful of opposing opinions or I'll be forced to remove your comments from here on out. Consider this a warning.
    All Comments | Link82 | AlexJan 8, 2012 @ 3:08am
    Mike, thank you. I was starting to wonder if I was just expressing myself very badly. It's good to know that someone at least is reading what I actually said.

    x factor, I think I'm done with this. You make the same point over and over, and when I actually take the time to respond and put across a different point of view you completely ignore it and just re-state your own opinion. For example, in your last comment you asked 'When has it ever been stated ... that she was interested in experimenting? I'm definitely not a Riley fan but has it ever been implied that she wasnt satisfied sexually by him?', both points which I already answered in my comment beforehand and which you totally ignored. I now feel like it's a total waste of my time to try and have a discussion with you, because you don't seem to want to discuss anything at all - you just want somewhere to vent your own views to anyone who'll listen.

    I also explicitly said that I am not a big Spike fangirl (and please note, that's fangirl, so stop calling me 'bro') but you're just sticking to your own assumptions nonetheless. And I'm done with it.
    All Comments | Link83 | fray-adjacentJan 8, 2012 @ 6:30pm
    To chime in, one of the great aspects of this site is its ability to maintain a culture of healthy and respectful debate. People disagree, sometimes quite strongly, but don't resort to name-calling and psychoanalysing someone they've never even met in order to express that disagreement. So thanks to Mike and Alex for trying to maintain that culture here and in other comment threads. :)
    All Comments | Link84 | AlexJan 9, 2012 @ 1:20am
    Well said, fray! It really just comes down to the difference between saying 'I disagree' and 'you're wrong'. People might think that's just semantics, but it really is important to recognise that differing opinions don't mean that one of those opinions is wrong.

    I've seen plenty of disagreements on this site, and been involved in a few myself. But few, if any, of the people involved ever came out with a statement like 'look, I know you want to believe that, but you're just wrong', or accused someone else of being 'infatuated' with a character they'd barely written two sentences about.
    All Comments | Link85 | AlexJan 9, 2012 @ 5:01am
    Anyway, I’d like to respond to something different now. Rebecca, sorry I’m so late to respond to your comment – I hope you’re still reading!

    Firstly, thank you for sharing your personal experience with us. I can imagine it may not be the easiest thing to talk about, but I’m glad you did because it’s really interesting to hear from someone who’s actually been in that situation, and to hear that you find Willow’s story so believable.

    Personally, I do have a bit of a problem with the way this storyline is handled, although I don’t hate it as much as others seem to. I don’t have a problem with the idea of Willow becoming addicted, though. I agree that her downward spiral in this season is very believable and makes sense in the context of who she is and what she’s been through. I do find it slightly odd that the idea of getting addicted to magic is never raised in the previous seasons, where magic was often used as a metaphor for Willow’s sexuality, but I’m happy to go along with it.

    What I do find harder to stomach is the way the ‘drug metaphor’ is actually handled. Rather than simply being able to draw parallels between magic and drug addiction, it often feels like Willow is actually being portrayed as a drug addict, in ways which don’t always make a lot of sense to me. The ‘rush’ she gets from magic is a fairly new concept, and it’s taken to extremes when she starts acting like she’s drunk or high as a result (e.g. the car crash). She experiences a physical ‘hangover’ after a night of magic use, and her ‘withdrawal’ is characterised by shaking, sweating and constant thirst. None of these things have ever been alluded to before as consequences of using magic, and they kind of make me feel like I’m being beaten over the head with this so-called metaphor. It really doesn’t need to be so unsubtle! And then we have the ‘magic junkies’ queued up outside Rack’s door, desperate for a ‘fix’... does ‘magic = drugs’ really need to be spelled out so obviously?

    There are many others scenes, particularly the ‘intervention’ scenes, which could almost have been taken word-for-word from another TV show featuring a drug addict. But I think that some of these actually make an effective point: addiction is addiction, and ultimately leads people down the same path no matter what its subject actually is. So while I think I understand what they were trying to do here, I think they could have trusted us to get the point without being so heavy-handed, and without resorting to quite so many TV clichés.

    In summary, I pretty much agree with Mike, although I’d perhaps argue that the problem is not so much in Willow’s characterization but in the portrayal of the addiction itself. Willow’s addiction to magic is a great idea for a storyline, but the execution is horrible and really not what I’d expect from BtVS as a show.
    All Comments | Link86 | XavierMay 2, 2012 @ 9:15pm
    S6 is pretty much one of my favorites. It's sooo dark, I love it! Also, I connected to it on such a personal level, and that's why I admire it so much. Dark Willow was such a great addition to the Big Bads of BtVS that it left me wanting more of her. Like the reviewer said, the writers took great risks, and many of them paid off.
    All Comments | Link87 | NewSpockAug 19, 2012 @ 3:20am
    Agree with most of this review, although I would rate it lower because of its one big problem:

    The biggest problem of this season is as stated Willow's magic/addiction-lame-copout. It really ruined the whole Willow-story-arc that was built up from season 1 on, the arc that shows Willow striving for knowledge and ever more power. It was really heartbreaking to see it completely ruined with that analogy in the mid of season 6.

    The other problem I saw was that Buffy continued this sex-based relationship with Spike for too long. She really should have come out of it earlier.

    Then there are of course some episodes that we could completely have lived without.

    And the starting-episodes had the problem with the demon-gang publically wreaking havoc in Sunnydale which was imho completely idiotic to do considering the police- and military-force they would have drawn in.

    But then we have this imho awesome third episode where this ghost-demon came along with Buffy from the beyond, and the magical "Once more with feeling"-episode.

    So yes, it's a mixed bag but still managing to be on the good side of things overall.
    All Comments | Link88 | TheShanshuProphecyOct 18, 2012 @ 4:27am
    What a great summation of a great season - beautifully written - thanks for taking the time to do this (ok, i'm a few years late but the sentiment remains).

    Season 6 has always been my favourite season since my first slayerfest many years ago - mainly because of the reason/s you state - it's daring and dark and allows the light (when it comes) to shine a bit more brightly. I love the complexity of character and relationship development and devolving that happens and that many aspects of previous seasons finally come to a head - it's great writing and great viewing & I am always so confused by those who don't like it.

    People watch Whedon shows because they are innovative TV & then complain when they are indeed innovative and daring.

    I also son't take as much umbrance with the Willow/magic metaphor as others do - yes it could have been more subtle and/or insightful but I don't have a problem linking the magic to issues of power as Willow uses the magic to be(come) powerful so, on that level, for me, it works.

    Thanks again.
    All Comments | Link89 | LouisaOct 18, 2012 @ 2:43pm
    I don't agree that Willow's hunger for knowledge and power were her biggest character flaw. I think her biggest character flaw was her out of control need for a quick fix to anything she didn't like. She wanted unpleasant emotions to go "poof." When Tara left her, she wanted that pain to go "poof." But the same magic that brought Buffy back couldn't bring Tara back. I think the bad Willow lasted too long. It bothered me that Buffy was as reactive but ineffective as she was, making the odd coincidence of Giles + Xander the thing that saves the world, while Buffy's stuck in a hole with Dawn. I suppose the point is that slaying Willow was never going to be the solution. I didn't find the new day at the end very satisfying as a conclusion to this very dark season. I did like Spike getting his soul. Great twist. But for all it's problems, it's still Buffy. Seasons 6 and 7, whatever my complaints, I'm glad they figured out a way to destroy the hellmouth and let (most of) the characters live on with something like a future. I'm glad it didn't end with season 5. So I guess that means I should stop griping.
    All Comments | Link90 | TheShanshuProphecyOct 19, 2012 @ 3:37am
    Replying to Louisa (#89)
    "I don't agree that Willow's hunger for knowledge and power were her biggest character flaw. I think her biggest character flaw was her out of control need for a quick fix to anything she didn't like. She wanted unpleasant emotions to go "poof." "

    This is an issue of power/control - ie Willow wanted to control these things/have power over them
    All Comments | Link91 | Ryan ONeilNov 19, 2012 @ 10:16am
    Dawn/Willow connections

    Dawn curls up with the BuffyBot, Willow inflates some clothing Tara left behind
    Willow steals Buffy's sacrifice, Dawn starts stealing almost anything

    (and they both get poisoned in S7)
    All Comments | Link92 | HAJan 7, 2013 @ 7:32am
    Found this site after a recent rewatch of the series, and just want to say that I love it. I've been going back through and rewatching a few episodes before moving on for a bit (I'm sure I'll come back to it because it is Buffy and well, I love it), so I'm glad I found this site, as it is really interesting to see the viewpoints of others.

    I actually really liked season 6. As someone who went through a period of severe depression after a traumatic life experience, where even the people who I loved the most had no idea how bad it was, I found the Buffy story line to be extremely believable. I also made choices that were extremely out of character in an effort to "feel" something. When those closest to me found out, they thought I had lost my mind and berated me, rather then trying to be there and help/understand. None of them could understand because they had never experienced the numbness/inability to feel that I was experiencing. I hated myself for what I was doing, but couldn't stop because it was, in a way, addicting to feel that spark of feeling again. While I was able to finally pull myself out of it, it was quite a difficult process and of course, I couldn't undo the stuff I had done. I still don't like to think/talk about it (which is why I find the fact that Buffy never really wants to go in to details with her friends about how abusive her relationship with Spike was believable). I think this season really accurately showed how some people can act when they are severely depressed, and found the Buffy/Spike relationship to be completely in character with where Buffy was at that moment in time.

    I think it was hard for people to watch, and I also think it was hard for the actors at points to agree with the story line (SMG in particular, after reading some of her comments about how she felt it was out of character for Buffy to do some of the things she did...when you are severely depressed, it is "normal" to do things that are WAY OOC, but since she hasn't really been there, she wouldn't know), but, I can't think of a more realistic portrayal of someone struggling with severe depression then this. I guess that is why I appreciated this season so much.

    Anyway, I feel I am repeating myself and not making much sense, so I'll end there, but just wanted to add why it resonated with me so much. Thanks for the great site Mike.
    All Comments | Link93 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITERJan 7, 2013 @ 3:51pm
    Replying to HA (#92)
    Thanks for the comment!

    I totally agree with you. Though, at least in Buffy's case, I'd be hesitant to actually call it "OOC" -- that implies poor character writing. So here's a clarification: knowing Buffy's history, struggles, and underlying psychology that had been explored up until Season 6, I think it's apparent that she is capable of this kind of behavior under the right circumstances. Being yanked abruptly out of Heaven, and back into this tumultuous world? Yikes! Circumstances! That kind of trauma (metaphorical for being abruptly/prematurely thrown into adulthood) would be/is enough to throw most people into depression.

    Buffy definitely wasn't acting normal during Season 6, but it's certainly within the bounds of characterization. I just wanted to make that subtle distinction. But I get what you were trying to say, and agree. :)

    Thanks again!
    All Comments | Link94 | ArachneaMar 19, 2013 @ 4:33am
    I had forgotten to take a look at your season review and I enjoyed your analysis.

    By reading your episodes reviews, I thought you had totally rejected the idea of addiction for Willow and now I see we're not in total disagreement: the symptoms of her addiction to magic were very well portrayed, "smashed" included, in the first third of the season. Then came "Wrecked" that ruined the wonderful arc that was building: when you are on the path of curing addiction, the product is not the focus (it can be physically, but that's not the core of the problem), the reasons for becoming an addict in the first place should be the focus: in this case, self-deprecation, self-loathing, cravings for control, power, a way to escape pain (conflicts, mourning) and need for recognition. So, the message sent to the viewers is badly portrayed, because the writers chose to focus on the magic, not on Willow's true problem.

    Again, thank you for bringing Dawn into the light. I really believe that she was one of the strongest persons on the show: yes she whines (for good reasons), yes she steals (to get attention) but those are really lesser crimes ! Nobody in the usual fanbase seem to realize how awful Dawn's life has been. From the realisation that she was not born "real" and that everything around her is a lie, she still has the memories of a divorce and living in the shadow of her sister. Then, she's the target of a Goddess and nearly dies. Her mom dies, her sister dies, her father is nowhere to be seen. Her sister comes back and she realizes Buffy doesn't give a damn about her since her return. The only adult male figure in her life leaves. Her new mother figure (Tara) dies. Her second mother figure (Willow) tries to kill her, Buffy tries to kill her. Before that, she relives the divorce of her parents with the separation of Tara and Willow. Her first crush (Xander) leaves her wife-to-be at the altar. I mean, she had all the reasons in the world to go into depression, have a breakdown or worse.
    Instead, she will have the heart to forgive everyone and take them back in her heart. We'll see later that she will mature and learn, she will accept to be just human: if that's not strength, I don't know what is. That's why I love Dawn, even though I would have liked a better writing about her suffering and how she coped.

    Some things I didn't like were some contrived scenes showed to make Buffy's ordeal even more gruesome. Although it works on a level, because usually, when you get to a real state of depression, things around you have a tendency to go wrong. That's why the Trio worked most of the time: they weren't the big bad, they were factors in an equation to make things worse. They wouldn't have lasted one episode in previous seasons: here, it emphasize the depth of the confusion within the group.

    Now, about the core of the Season, Buffy and Spike.
    First, I'd like to state this in reaction to some comments: Buffy/Spike relation was not, in any way, a SM relation. The basis of SM is based on trust, with consenting parties who usually sign a contract. The objective of practicing SM is pleasure. If one of the parties doesn't trust the other to respect the contract, then it becomes abuse. Those who enjoy this practice come from very different backgrounds, but the majority haven't lived through abuse (actually, you won't find many formerly abused taking pleasure in SM). Most of them live very ordinary lives, enjoying now and then a particular form of entertainment.

    Now, what is depicted in the Buffy/Spike relation is totally different: it's related to a dysfunction in behaviour due to depression, usually more seen in borderline pathologies. This particular illness - as opposed to feeling low or light depression - doesn't necessarily lead to apathy. In some cases, it's the contrary, like over-working. But the important point is, it can lead to auto-mutilation, which means hurting oneself to feel something, usually to make you remember that you're alive. Sometimes you even "black-out" and don't remember how or why you physically hurt yourself. The only thing that disturbed me was Buffy's oblivion for those she used to care about: a long-time depression (as opposed to a short-term crisis in which you're completely closed) doesn't necessarily make you blind. Actually, it usually makes you more aware of your friends' sufferings.

    In this season, Buffy lacks some of the most basics in life: emotions and purpose. The only person capable of partially giving her that is Spike: she's physically attracted, he gives her lust; He loves her or more accurately, he craves her, looks for her, wants her. She feels needed, accepted and wanted even if it's in a twisted way for both of them. She keeps going to him not because she's addicted, but because he's the only person to fill some of her basic needs, including the sense of danger (adrenaline) and equality (strength). He's also the only one she feels she can use without consequences for him, she despises what Spike represents, thus he can be used as a convenience.

    It's also interesting to see that the moment she realizes she doesn't want to die (even though she's still afraid of living), she starts to realize that what Spike gives her is not enough, but she's still drawn to him because she hasn't found an alternative yet. Also, when you're that far gone, getting out of a twisted pattern that gives a sense of normality (routine), it takes time to recover. So, "As You Were" wasn't the best of episodes, but was the necessary slap (check on reality) to make Buffy snap out of the pattern.

    I'd also like to mention that it isn't OOC, because in the first seasons, Buffy's ways to cope with her problems have never been well-thought or down-to-earth, plus she's not fond of asking for help. But what made this terrible relation so interesting was the opposite reasons Spike and Buffy had to thrive in it. It led them both to do horrible actions, but also to self-realization that built their story-arcs to their path to redemption and to healing.

    In conclusion, it's not my favorite season but it fits the progression and pattern of the show with themes like transition, changes, powerlessness, obstacles in life, with powerful messages in the end. Love in all its forms can open your eyes to the beauty of what's around you; all the characters finally decide to take the bridle and be in charge: be the master of their own lives as opposed to let events be in charge of them.
    I'm sorry, this was a long comment and I could have been even longer, but this season is often misunderstood because it taps into dark emotions/behaviors and I wanted to state why I love it, despite some of its flaws.
    All Comments | Link95 | Mott1Apr 9, 2013 @ 11:09am
    Let me just state I love this site, agreeing with most of the The odd thing I found about watching s6 again (I'm enjoying watching s1 through to s7 in chronological order) is the amount of humour in it, in comparison to the more mature themes of s5, which though compelling had a grimness almost from the beginning. The ghost of Joyce Summers seemed to hang over the whole season, and it's very heavy-going after the often-farcical s4.

    If s5 was about family, illusion and loss, s6 is much more melodramatic and is clearly concerned with unhealthy addictions, be they narcotic (magic) or sexual. But despite the gloom and doom of the ultimately doomed Buffy/Spike, Anya/Xander and Tara/Willow relationships, I thought the 1st half had quite a lot of laughs - once the heroine had crawled out of the grave, that is(!) Even Buffy's dead-end jobs provide a more lighthearted continuation of the 'going through the motions' theme.

    'Once More With Feeling' has plenty of giggles and a game cast giving the songs their all, imbuing them with real character despite some of the cast being more gifted vocalists than others (take a bow, Mr Head and Ms Benson!) and 'Tabula Rasa' also has plenty of comedy as the characters forget who they are and start from scratch, whilst throughout the series the Trio - until Warren oversteps the mark - provide lots of mirth too. The 2nd half is more gloomy, granted, with its spiral of violence, spite and malice ending in bloodshed and one of the show's most OTT and heartrending endings. But wasn't BTVS ever thus? :)
    All Comments | Link96 | WaverlyMay 18, 2013 @ 10:15am
    This is a difficult season to rate for me. It's among my least favourite but I admire, and a great deal of the time enjoy, the journey the writers put the characters through. On what seems to be the most contentious point with S6, whether or not Buffy acted out of character, I have to come down on the 'nay' side. I always thought what she'd been through could believably put anyone into a spiral of depression and drive them into an abusive relationship but reading Mike's review of When She was Bad recently made me realise there was definitely precedent for Buffy's actions in S6. If she was ready to fight Angel and get all grindy with Xander after being dead for a few minutes in Prophecy Girl, just think how much more her post traumatic stress will have affected her after being dead for months and being dragged out of heaven.

    That being said, I think there are a few weaknesses which, in my own humble opinion, drag the season to among the show's worst:

    1. Willow turned dark too late. I think this was a missed opportunity as having to face off against Willow for a longer period could have been managed in the same manner that Angel became the Big Bad in mid S2, and could have delivered just as much conflict and emotional resonance. Instead, I think the lack of a major league nemesis (I don't think the Trio counts as such) left the season without the usual structure.

    2. Pacing and balance. This falls under the 'too depressing' complaint, I suppose. I don't have anything against things getting depressing (a good exorcising of emotion through fiction can be extremely rewarding), but I just felt that every character was down at the same time for a large portion of the season when one or two characters remaining light-hearted would have given a bit more balance.

    3. The magic as drugs metaphor. Far, far too on the nose for me.

    4. My final criticism is the worst. I can forgive S6 the former three weaknesses but the fourth is more difficult: season six contains the only episodes in the show's entire run that I think just aren't very good quality, not only measured against other BtVS episodes but also against other shows'. These were also the only episodes in the entire show that I found myself bored during. These would be: 'Gone', 'Doublemeat Palace' and 'All the Way'. I think that feeling of surprise at not actually enjoying an episode of BtVs is what, more than anything else, leaves a not-so-great taste in my mouth from this season.

    All that being said, there is a lot to give credit for and I agree with Mike in most of the points where he does so here. Not one of my faves but still a worthy addition to the canon,, IMHO.
    All Comments | Link97 | WCRobinsonJul 31, 2013 @ 9:32am
    This is my third favourite season after S2 and S5. I love the dark, serious themes and the Trio work brilliantly alongside those themes, as the complete opposites - they don't want to work to make their lives good.

    One thing, Mike: I have realised that if they had got the Willow arc completely right - I still think it was handled quite well, with the final few episodes in particular being thrilling - your scores for this season could have been amazing.

    The middle part of the season could have had several A's with better characterization, and the final 3 or 4 episodes would all be potential P scores. Imagine that! It could have beaten S5 in your scores.
    All Comments | Link98 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITERJul 31, 2013 @ 3:10pm
    Oh, I totally agree! If the mid-season struggles, particularly surrounding Willow, were done much better, this season would have easily been an A-/A and may have competed with Season 5 for the best of the whole show. Season 6 is still one of my favorite seasons, right up there with Season 5, but objectively it's not at the same level as 5, for sure, and probably 2 and 3 as well. Close, but not quite there.
    All Comments | Link99 | LoveroftheBufferJan 2, 2014 @ 4:08am
    I have to agree with the flaws. The 'addiction' arc for willow was (to me) just a cheap metaphor for drugs. Riley's wife has to be the worst character in the Buffyverse, she really wasn't needed in the episode. However, Season 6 has to be my favourite season(along with season 5) because despite its flaws it told some excellent stories practically 'Normal Again' as I found this more heart breaking than Charmed 'Brain Drain'. I really enjoyed this season especially the last three episode arc. Alyson Hannigan showed she can act just as well as Sarah. Sarah was truly amazing this season because even with simple facial expression in the second episode you could feel her pain. I think this was Anyas,Spikes,Dawns and Xanders worst season as they weren't main characters and there presence didn't seem to be needed. I think this was tara's best season even if it was bittersweet. Once again mike great review!
    All Comments | Link100 | LoveroftheBufferJan 2, 2014 @ 4:11am
    One last note. Really enjoyed Buffy and Spike's relationship even if it was just sexual for Buffy, I enjoyed seeing spike get his wish. It got a lot better in season 7
    All Comments | Link101 | ericas623Mar 5, 2014 @ 8:34am
    I noticed some people feel the Trio is not believable and part of the reason they believe this season doesn't work. I just want to point out the placement of the trio was completely intentional and fitting given the other storylines. The idea behind it is that, in a different season, Warren and co. Would never have made it this far in the season, but Buffy and her friends are so distracted with their own problems that it opened a window. That's why the real Big Bad of this season is, not only Dark Willow, but also their inner demons, which is the season's theme.
    All Comments | Link102 | FirewalkwithmeMar 5, 2014 @ 12:48pm
    Yes, season 6 is really about deconstructing our heroic characters that were so uh...heroic in the season 5 finale. Buffy died to save the world and all the other Scoobies threw themselves into battle and played their part.

    In season 6 though they have to deal with their own demons and there is no unifying bad guy that they can all team up against to save the world. It´s almost pathetic that Buffy has to deal with the likes of Andrew, Jonathan and Warren but interestingly enough the latter causes the most damage to the gang with the exception of Angelus. That´s what I love about the trio though. They are all misguided, delusional nerds who aren´t willing to work for their pleasures but rather just enjoy them without caring about the real world implications. But they have the money and the knowledge to get what they want and that idea is kind of terrifying to me. Without Buffy putting an end to their shemes they might have caused even more damage to the population. I mean they already tried to rape a girl and got away with murder. There are many monsters and demons on "Buffy" but I somehow find Warren and his cold-blooded nature, his power over the weak-minded Andrew and (at least in the beginning) Jonathan and his justifications for doing what he does the most scary thing about the show because he´s still a human being with a soul.
    All Comments | Link103 | ericas623Mar 19, 2014 @ 6:15am
    Exactly. While it further emphasizes how off their game the Scoobies are this season, the major threat posed by Warren and the Trio is somewhat pathetic. I feel this is acknowledged by the writers during the season finale in the running joke where Warren alludes to the Trio expecting others have heard of them only to find no one has in fact. In addition to being hilarious, it underscores the importance of the fact that, in any other season, Buffy would have defeated Warren and co.in a single episode.

    This is why season 6 works so well for me. It's also significant that, although Warren is a misogynist creep, Andrew and Jonathan are not actually "evil masterminds," but as Katrina calls it, boys playing as men. Andrew and Jonathan are naively unaware of the destructive implications of their actions, evidenced by their genuine surprise at learning that manipulating Katrina's mind constituted attempted rape.
    All Comments | Link104 | RiderofapcoalypseSep 15, 2014 @ 8:34am
    Hello All,

    Mike, I have to pleasantly disagree with your rating for this season. I think this season is at least an A-. The only thing looking back now is, this season felt like it lacked the supernatural aura of earlier seasons. It's difficult to put into words, but I think this season was a bit to heavy on the 'slice of life/real life' theme. But with that said, I have very little con's/negative things to say about season 6:
    - After seeing Buffy lift that beam which takes two guys to lift while working for Xander's foreman, it shows clearly that she should be in construction/deconstruction and not flipping burgers. (there's also something to be said about mugging vamps before staking them but that's a whole other thing)
    - Although it was the catalyst for 'Sith Willow', I really hated Tara's death. I think that Sith Willow could have worked in a way where Willow went through hell and high water to resurrect Tara. The same book absorbing, axe resistant Sith Willow, doing whatever it takes and going through whomever stands in her way to get Tara back. I was just as excited about Willow and Tara getting back together as Dawn was. And then Tara get's shot...When Willow summoned Osiris I was yelling at my tv in a drunken rage with Willow. "Bring her back you Zordon wannabe! BRING..HER..BACK!".
    - Dark Willow trying to destroy the world...what is it with bad guys and trying to destroy the world? It just doesn't make sense. Why destroy the world when your still in it?
    - Xander's 'Care Bear Stare'. It's the Xander countdown 5,4,3,2,1...Xander saves the world with a hug...actually...that can work. It does seem pretty stupid on paper, but The season did show how Sith Willow was almost possessed by a different entity which controlled her. So Xander showing Sith Willow love to help normal Willow overpower her evil side and emerge...actually makes sense. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Xander Harris saved the world with a hug and it makes sense.

    Now with those small negatives out of the way. This season was amazing. It goes to show that the supporting cast in any group, whether it be on tv or even your own circle of friends, can be your big gun. It also shows that Willow must have incredible amounts of willpower and self control to not have given into magical temptation in the past.

    All Comments | Link105 | Anonymous Oct 11, 2014 @ 12:07pm
    Are there any inappropriate episodes?
    All Comments | Link106 | Freudian VampireOct 11, 2014 @ 12:29pm
    Define inappropriate.
    All Comments | Link107 | Anonymous Oct 11, 2014 @ 1:09pm
    By inappropriate I mean very sexual and just episodes where sex is an issue.
    All Comments | Link108 | Freudian VampireOct 11, 2014 @ 2:07pm
    That's pretty frequent this season. "Smashed", "Wrecked", "Gone", "Dead Things" and "Seeing Red" in particular stand out.
    All Comments | Link109 | Anonymous Oct 11, 2014 @ 2:23pm
    Thank you! Really appreciate it!
    All Comments | Link110 | BNov 2, 2014 @ 4:28pm
    I don't understand the hatred the sixth season of Buffy receives from fans and critics alike. Buffy died and was resurrected by her friends, who had the best of intentions. I would have been disappointed if the writers had resolved her issues sooner. The depth of her depression needed 22 episodes to reaolve . I also don't know why people think Willow's arc was mishandled and one of the biggest mistakes of the seroies. Willow's magic was a metaphor for her desire for power, her sexual relationship with Tara, and eventually a metaphor for addiction because at that point in the series she was addicted to magic. She was using it for selfish reasons like getting dressed and manipulation. The metaphor have have changed and morphed but it did so in a way that made sense to me.
    All Comments | Link111 | BNov 21, 2014 @ 6:17am
    I would love it if you reviewed The Originals and Sleepy Hollow.
    All Comments | Link112 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITERNov 21, 2014 @ 9:46am
    Replying to B (#111)
    Thanks! However, the site only looks at shows that are complete, which is required for a quality retrospective analysis.
    All Comments | Link113 | LouisLittForEmperorJan 26, 2015 @ 12:32am
    It occurred to me recently that we could have Willlow do evil crap in the middle of the season like Mike said and have the bait-and-switch aspect like others have mentioned if it had turned out that Willow was lying about the nature of her addiction the whole time. Maybe she didn't want to be stopped entirely so she lied to Buffy so she could reconnect with her friends but still manage to do her power hungry crap. That way we could have the all the drug metaphors but still make it relevant to the Dark Willow stuff by having it be a ploy on her part. Kinda like Supernatural Season 6 in execution.
    All Comments | Link114 | IdkFeb 15, 2015 @ 3:43am
    I think the writers made a mistake using the drug metaphor to get across what Willow was feeling (especially bashing us over the head with it), however, it doesn't feel unnatural or contrived to me. The way I interpret it as intended by the writers is that Magic is power, and therefore an addiction to Magic correlates with the need to feel powerful or in control. In other words, Willow is addicted to how powerful Magic actually makes her feel and not how "good" it makes her feel.

    The writers, despite all the bashing of heads, simply do a poor job of making this clear. In "Wrecked" it comes across as more a feeling of artificial bliss (the usual reason for using recreational drugs) then a feeling of control. Both work on the "Magic is a drug" level, it's just not all that clearly represented. I think that too is what you really have a complaint about and what I get from reading this review, rather then the use of a drug metaphor in general.
    All Comments | Link115 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITERFeb 15, 2015 @ 11:23pm
    Replying to Idk (#114)
    I agree with that assessment. :)
    All Comments | Link116 | LouisLittForEmperorFeb 16, 2015 @ 3:07pm
    Another thing that kinda sucks about the Willow thing is that there was so much time dedicated to the set-up of her becoming dark and yet the end result is pretty disappointing by comparison. Seeing all the hints in Seasons 3-4 and even some of the stuff pre-Wrecked is pretty fun to watch. But viewed as a whole and retrospectively the drug thing really slowed the momentum down and even when we got actual Dark Willow it wasn't nearly as effective the precursors to it. I think the ultimate problem is that with all that build-up there was just no way the pay off was going to be that great. Honestly while the set-up was probably not as subtle or elaborate as the one found in this show, the similar arcs featured in Supernatural seemed to work a lot better as far as the resolutions are concerned since they didn't spend AS much time on the build-up and thus there wasn't as much disappointment in contrast.
    All Comments | Link117 | KyleFeb 17, 2015 @ 5:11am
    There wasn't much wrong with Willow's arc during season six. For the most part, the writers got it right even though they hit a lull in the middle of the season. Really, the only thing that was off about the arc is the execution. It was not well executed at all.

    Looking at Willow's arc, retrospectively, one can begin to understand what the writers were attempting to do with it, and while it was poorly executed, I think they had the right idea.

    Overall, I just think people are a little too harsh with their criticisms of Willow's arc in season six.
    All Comments | Link118 | LouisLittForEmperorMar 9, 2015 @ 5:26pm
    I'm curious if the lull in Willow's arc this season had anything to do with Buffy's situation. People often say that the Trio are the Big Bads this season since in any other season Buffy would be able to kick their asses. Having a Dark Willow on the side while Buffy was in her funk would have been rather difficult from a writing perspective as you can't realistically have a depressed character deal with such a big thing in her state. I'm guessing this problem is ultimately where the drug thing came in as a means of holding off on Dark Willow until Buffy could reasonably handle it. Maybe her quitting could have worked since she would feel bad that even though she stopped bad crap ended up happening anyway but this probably would have needed to happen a bit earlier in the season to be a bit more effective. Maybe what they should have done is have Willow stop the dark path after Tara's condemning of Willow in Tabula Rasa or something like that then have Tara either leave or die somewhere around the middle of the season and then Dark Willow can take over from there and do some evil crap (maybe in secret so as not to tip anyone off) until Buffy is ready to get out of her funk and deal with the problem. Really the big flaw of the Willow stuff is the pacing and Buffy's arc not really being easily compatible with where Willow was at that point.
    All Comments | Link119 | PathbeyondthedarkMar 9, 2015 @ 10:59pm
    The only things wrong with Willow's arc in this season are the drug analogy being anything but subtle and the writers failing to tie it to the cohesion of her previous ones. The analogy comes across as though Willow has some form of actual physical addiction to magic, when really it's her psyche that believes she needs it. In "Wrecked" especially, it's as though it instills a feeling of bliss or escape from her outside world when in reality it's somewhat the opposite: she uses magic to feel a sense of control within the world rather then to temporarily leave it.

    On the surface, because again I don't think the writers intended it to stray as far as it came across, it doesn't align with the build up that had taken place since season 4. She had always misused magic in an attempt to cease control of a situation that caused her distress (Oz cheating, Oz leaving, Terra's "brain suck," Tera and her fighting). Introducing the blatant and head bashing drug analogy was unnecessary and even if the writers never meant it to come across as a means of escape, the execution was poor and ultimately it should have never been made.

    As far as "Dark Willow" and the pay off after so much build up, I somewhat agree. It deserved something much grander, more shocking (yep fileting a man alive isn't enough, I said it) and appropriate tension. But I don't think that introducing that persona earlier is the answer. I think having Willow conspire behind the scenes would have felt too out of character. She's not "evil" in that sense. All of her actions were dictated by rage and a sense of powerlessness, the last straw being losing Tera (and another being that throughout that day and 1/2 stretch they had mostly refused to leave the room, being the only happy souls after Xander's woe with Anya and Buffy nearly being raped, so I'm sure guilt and a sense of karma played a part but that's never played at significantly by the writers). She needed to go off like she did, it needed to be played out consecutively to feel in character and keep the tension high (just not enough imo).
    All Comments | Link120 | Other ScottMar 10, 2015 @ 6:29am
    I actually think the timing was perfect. The tie-together of the Willow/ Buffy arcs this season is that Buffy is so tied up with her own problems and own depressions that she doesn't have time to deal with Willow basically falling apart around her. It leads to the half-hearted support for the ill-fated cold turkey solution rather than actually getting to the root of the problem.
    All Comments | Link121 | VincentApr 19, 2015 @ 2:49am
    Well, I didn't hate this season, I didn't love it... it's complicated. It was a really deep and mature season, miles away from season 4 for example. I had no problem with the "Willow is a junkie" arc, unlike most of the fans. But it's also interesting to see that she finally accepts magic as a part of herself, at the beginning of season 7. All of this seems logical to me.
    I also enjoyed Buffy's character arc : who has ever written a story about a girl coming back from heaven and having to deal with it ? It was very clever.
    Nevertheless, the Spike/Buffy couple bored me a little ; it was kind of repetitive until, of course, the horrible and poignant rape scene.

    Some episodes are weak, especially, like Mike noticed it, in the middle of the season. It's like if the writers had no inspiration for a while.

    Oh and I'm sorry, but I'm still not a fan of the Trio. I'm sad that's what they made of Jonathan (remember, he's the one who gave Buffy the umbrella at the end of season 3 !), and the whole concept revolving around this group of "villains" was not really convincing to me. I know it goes perfectly with the season theme itslef, but still, after 5 seasons (especially after the mayor or Glory !!!), I tend to find it a bit ridiculous.

    Some episodes are really, really sad and depressing, I sometimes missed the funny side of the show. Even Anya, who is normally always fun, was sad after Xander's flight. But you know, I think they CHOSE to make a sad season, so from that point of view, it's a success.

    I would personally give this season a B+, just like Mike. The whole package is really interesting, really well-written ; there are just too many weak and boring episodes, and too many sadness in the air.
    All Comments | Link122 | CottenJun 10, 2015 @ 11:01am
    Rewatching Buffy/Angel atm (having a craving....what can I say im weak willed...:P)

    Just finished with Dead Things and what has always bothered me about this season is did the Scoobies ever really apologize for what they did to Buffy (Other then maybe Tara...her helping Buffy was maybe her way of saying sorry). Because whenever I view the ending scene with Buffy and Tara (which ofc Im always crying at since Im a "girlie man") Im always thinking that the other Scoobies should have seen it since this what they did to her.

    Ofc I always could never understand why Buffy wasnt getting support from the Council. That has always struck me as one of the things that the writers dropped the ball on.

    But all told I do like season 6. I think it handled the real life issues pretty well. Guess I can relate atm as Im going through a similar kinda of rut myself.

    And again MikeJer I really do like your website. It really made Buffy a better viewing experience for me.
    All Comments | Link123 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITERJun 10, 2015 @ 10:21pm
    Replying to Cotten (#122)
    Thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying it. :)
    All Comments | Link124 | LouisLittForEmperorJul 16, 2015 @ 12:01pm
    From a comment I made on Facebook: i think there is doubt about whether Spike's actions were always consistent. like would he really go after a woman immediately after thinking the chip was broken. would he have done the Doctor thing in episode 15. some could argue that it all makes sense but from another you could see it as being inconsistent and that they were making it up as they went along. though to be fair people have levied similar statements about Crowley and I thought that development was pretty intentional. overall these things are subjective.
    All Comments | Link125 | KrssvenJul 17, 2015 @ 4:48am
    I've always felt that as bad as S6 was, the handling of Spike and Buffy was at least consistent and in-character. Spike is moving toward redemption but is still at his core a normal vampire. He doesn't have the moral compass a soul brings. I always thought however that he needed to 'test' the chip, which is how he realises that it's Buffy that is 'wrong', not the chip. I also think it's entirely in character for Spike to do what he did in 'As You Were'. Spike is at heart always out for himself until he gets a soul. He is on his own side, which fits perfectly with the various alliances and compromises he's made with the good guys over the years. If Angelus, Darla or pretty much any other vampire had been chipped, they'd have gone out of their way to go and find/recruit something that could kill the good guys and got rid of them that way, but that kind of thing isn't really like Spike. If he can't do it himself, he's not going to go and bother convincing someone else to do it for him.
    All Comments | Link126 | LouisLittForEmperorJul 29, 2015 @ 4:48pm
    You claim that Season 4 was the last one with "cheese" but as some have pointed out in the forums and comments this season, despite a lot of the dark stuff, has quite a bit of cheese too. Any thoughts?
    All Comments | Link127 | LouisLittForEmperorAug 2, 2015 @ 4:26pm
    It feels to me like those first 3 pros could have probably been 1 point since they are basically all of Buffy's arc anyway. Also perhaps the dark tone could maybe be a positive though it could be that they were going to dark for their own good sometimes possibly.
    All Comments | Link128 | bennyAug 12, 2015 @ 8:07pm
    I don't remember which episode, but buffy said that willow have an addictive personality.....
    All Comments | Link129 | LouisLittForEmperorAug 26, 2015 @ 1:06pm
    I think it's fair to say that the public would agree that Bojack Horseman might have done the depression thing a bit better than Season 6 possibly.
    All Comments | Link130 | BoscalynAug 26, 2015 @ 3:21pm
    It's sort of amazing how you added no fewer than FOUR mitigating clauses there and still managed to make a statement that no one would ever agree with.
    All Comments | Link131 | LouisLittForEmperorAug 26, 2015 @ 3:33pm
    Replying to Boscalyn (#130)
    Have you even seen the show Bos?
    All Comments | Link132 | Jeremy G. | WRITERAug 26, 2015 @ 5:22pm
    Comparing Buffy Season Six to Bojack Horseman is like comparing a show about a girl who kills vampires to a cartoon about a talking horse with an alcohol addiction.

    ...I'm just saying. That's what it's like.
    All Comments | Link133 | LouisLittForEmperorAug 26, 2015 @ 5:34pm
    Yah but if we're comparing just the depression part of it Bojack possibly goes a bit darker with it as far as how messed up he is, and this seems to be supported by the general public.
    All Comments | Link134 | Jeremy G. | WRITERAug 27, 2015 @ 7:27am
    I haven't heard the general public compare the two in either direction, so who knows.
    All Comments | Link135 | Other ScottAug 27, 2015 @ 8:44am
    Replying to Boscalyn (#130)
    I agree with that statement, no mitigating clauses required.

    And Season 6 is my favourite season of Buffy. But Bojack is a potentially great show about depression, where Buffy is a great show that addresses depression at one point. Bojack just has an advantage in terms of depth of focus.
    All Comments | Link136 | LouisLittForEmperorAug 27, 2015 @ 11:54am
    Not saying there was an actual comparison made between the two but it seems that Bojack may have superseded the title for best portrayal of depression in a show. Also apparently those Mad Men comparisons made in the forums were apparently not without merit as there have been comparisons made elsewhere.

    Granted the term depression is not the thing my mind immediately turns to when thinking of the Bojack character but it's kind of hard not to see it in general.

    Thanks Other Scott. Also are you calling BJ "potentially great" cause it has only two seasons or have you not been THAT impressed with what's been given to us thus far.
    All Comments | Link137 | Jeremy G. | WRITERAug 27, 2015 @ 2:46pm
    There's no question in my mind that Bojack is one of the best shows on TV right now, but its handling of depression is extremely different from Buffy's. The tone and feel of the series are radically diferent, and we've come to know Buffy for five seasons before the show took to exploring depression from her perspective, rather than making that one of the defining traits of her character from the get-go.

    My main problem with your comment is that the only reasoning you used to back it up was "public opinion supports it", which doesn't really strike me as a convincing argument. (Regardless of whether or not it may be true.)

    Also, Mike wrote this review years ago, before Bojack was a twinkle in anyone's eye, so this season of Buffy was a stronger contender for "greatest portrayal of depression on TV". (And Mad Men had only gone a couple of seasons by that point. Were Mike to rewrite the S6 review today, I'm absolutely sure he would take the time to say that Buffy S6 is not as good as Mad Men.)
    All Comments | Link138 | LouisLittForEmperorAug 27, 2015 @ 3:35pm
    Fair enough, though I was making more of a general comment as opposed to a fully detailed analysis and this is mainly coming from me seeing a lot of comments saying "how realistic Bojack's depiction of depression is" which got me thinking to look back at this Season 6 review.

    Regardless of the different styles of the shows the qualification is for "A realistic depiction of depression focused on the main character of the show " and "willing to go so far, so realistically far, to show the depths of depression to a group of established, likeable characters " so I think a comparison could still be made. Granted in Bojack the depression kind of came with the character already (at least the main one anyway) but the point still stands.

    I also get that this was written years ago but that didn't change the fact that he still considered Buffy Season 5 "the best season eva!!!" after all this time so I don't suppose his opinion on this one has changed all that much, especially if he hasn't seen the show yet. I'm going to assume that last sentence was sarcasm, not because Mad Men isn't commendable but because Mike wasn't crazy about that show and ditched it after 4 seasons.

    It's a bit sad that while Buffy Season 6 was probably quite commendable in the past, at least to the people who liked it, that stuff like Bojack Horseman, Supernatural Season 6 and probably Mad Men have pulled off a lot of what it had in it in much better fashion. Frankly the high quality of these things kind of makes the flaws of Season 6 all the more glaring which is a little sad.
    All Comments | Link139 | BoscalynAug 27, 2015 @ 3:44pm
    But S5 is the best season eva!!! (I'm kidding, but not really.)

    No offense meant to Bojack Horseman here, but Bojack wasn't around for five years before he came down with a serious case of depression, which is a pretty huge difference. Also, you are literally the only person in the entire universe who thinks Season 6 of Supernatural is better than Buffy S6.
    All Comments | Link140 | LouisLittForEmperorAug 27, 2015 @ 4:10pm
    Replying to Boscalyn (#139)
    When I was referring to the "Best Season Eva" I was referring to Mike thinking it was the best season in all of television not just of Buffy. The latter is a bit more believable though I personally don't subscribe to that theory since there are things about it that really rub me the wrong way (which makes Season 3 the winner for me personally).

    Well technically in the story of the show Bojack technically was far older than Buffy before he slid into his depression. Though in all seriousness when should it matter when a story about depression is told as long as it's told well.

    As for Supernatural Season 6 and Buffy Season 6 I don't think you can really make such a general statement since B6 isn't the most popular either way and you haven't actually seen S6 to really judge that point. I'm willing to concede that B6 could be better but I thought one element of S6 was done so well and gripped me so much that I give it the lead.
    All Comments | Link141 | MikeJer | CREATOR/WRITERAug 27, 2015 @ 4:16pm
    I still feel that Buffy is more effective at relaying its messages -- to me, personally -- than Mad Men was able to. A lot of that comes down to the characters, I think. The Buffy characters are far more relatable and fun, and they are more actively aware of their flaws and fundamentally trying to be good people, even though they sometimes fail. If anything, Mad Men's characters kind of espouse the very opposite of that.

    With that said, Mad Men is undoubtedly more consistently constructed on an episode-to-episode basis, particularly with regard to plotting, production values, directing, and -- in totality -- probably acting.

    So I'd say that in some ways I find B6 more effective than Mad Men ever was for me, but in other ways Mad Men is certainly the better show. Depends on your criteria and how one determines what is "good".

    Louis: B5 was the best season of TV I'd seen up until that point. That doesn't mean it will remain so forever. But it will be very tough to ever top in terms of how transformative it was for me. Just about everything the show was trying to say that season really landed for me.
    All Comments | Link142 | Other ScottAug 29, 2015 @ 8:30am
    Yeah, it's the two season thing for Bojack. And I havent even seen the entirety of those two seasons.

    I think the thing you said of the Buffy characters is true for the Mad Men characters as well, Mike. The Buffy characters just succeed more often in being good people.
    All Comments | Link143 | Arya StarkAug 29, 2015 @ 7:37pm
    Don't really know what this debate above me is all about, but I've seen a lot of excellent tv shows. The Wire, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and although I wouldn't consider it great tv, I've seen almost 8 seasons of Supernatural. Even after watching all of those shows, I still believe that season 5 of Buffy is one of the greatest seasons of television ever made. Season 3 is almost just as good, but season 5 has much more emotional depth and higher stakes. Season 6 is probably my personal favorite however. It's an excellent season of television as well and can stand w/ many of the seasons of the other shows I mentioned. And tbh the only season of Supernatural that comes close to being as good as Buffy S6 is season 5, but even that season doesn't surpass it.
    All Comments | Link144 | LouisLittForEmperorAug 29, 2015 @ 7:49pm
    Perhaps but I felt Supernatural Season 6 handled the good guy turned evil story far better than Buffy Season 6 (got a whole forum topic for it).
    All Comments | Link145 | Arya StarkAug 30, 2015 @ 3:27pm
    What made Dark Willow awesome was that it was a slow, but steady progression that lead her to that point. It's much more noticeable after you've watched the series multiple times. The first time Willow does a spell Giles warns her that "Channeling powerful magics may open a door you won't be able to close." It turned out to be true, and it got progressively worse with each passing season. We saw Willow slowly gaining confidence and occasionally using her powers for vengeance and personal gain. By season 6 she was full-on arrogant and her addiction to magic was out of control. After Willow went evil, she was never the same Willow she was before. Her character changed permanently. It was a beautiful part of her character development and that's why Dark Willow was such a magnificent payoff.

    Soulless Sam, which I take it you're referring to, came about all of a sudden.
    It was awesome to watch, in fact that was one of the only times where I honestly enjoyed Sam's character (Admittedly I'm not a big Sam fan). But it happened, and then it was over. No character development that led him to that point and no long-lasting repercussions that followed. Plus, Sam didn't go completely evil. He wasn't a villain and he wasn't a big bad. He was mostly just used for comic relief. The storyline didn't come close to fulfilling the awesomeness it could have achieved. It was over mid-way through the season and after it was resolved they moved on to a new plot like nothing happened.

    But evil Sam and evil Willow were both just one aspect of an entire season. S6 of Buffy had this great theme about Life being the Big Bad. They stopped relying on monsters as metaphors and showed life for how scary it can actually be, by exploring the concept of how much life sucks once you're out of school and out in the real world. It portrayed this in a frighteningly accurate way w/ each character fighting their own personal demons throughout the season.

    I couldn't even begin to tell you what the theme of S6 Supernatural was, or what the Sam going evil plot had to do with that over-arching theme. To me, Buffy is just much more organized with it's ideas. I think I'm gonna have to read that forum of yours to understand why you rank SPN so high.
    All Comments | Link146 | LouisLittForEmperorAug 30, 2015 @ 3:30pm
    I wasn't referring to Soulless Sam I was talking about the man who caused him to be. You know who I'm talking about.
    All Comments | Link147 | Arya StarkAug 30, 2015 @ 3:37pm
    Ohhhh. That was interesting as well, but didn't most of his storyline happen in s5?? B/c as I said before s5 of SPN is about up there w/ season s6 of Buffy imo. Oh shoot Maybe I just need to re-watch s6 of SPN again. It's been a long time for sure.
    All Comments | Link148 | LouisLittForEmperorAug 30, 2015 @ 3:42pm
    While a lot of his development to that point is laid out in Season 4 and 5 is where his path to villainy is laid. It works mainly cause of how tight it is, us probably not seeing it coming but it still making total sense and of course the wreckage this causes with him and Dean.
    All Comments | Link149 | Arya StarkAug 30, 2015 @ 4:09pm
    I understand, but I still think Willow's change was much more impactful considering her extreme transformation from S1 to S6. She went from being a sweet, shy, feeble computer geek to an arrogant, powerful, evil witch. I respect your opinion, but I don't think you're going to change my mind, and I don't think I'm going to change yours, so I believe we'll just have to agree to disagree. But thanks for the debate :)
    All Comments | Link150 | Peter LukeNov 30, 2015 @ 9:31pm
    After a lot of thoughts, season 6 is my favorite season. It has a lot of depth and is not afraid to go in darker places. The quality of the show is at the greatest also.
    All Comments | Link151 | Big Time JamesDec 4, 2015 @ 12:24am
    "Wrecked" is my choice for when Buffy "jumped the shark."

    Rolling Stone says that it was first episode of season 6, another reasonable choice: "it started to be less of a tragicomic coming-of-age allegory and more of a supernatural soap opera."

    GreatWhiteSnark.com agrees with Rolling Stone.

    Of course the fanatics will say that it never did jump the shark... yet the audience plummeted with season 6 and never came back.

    I am sure that there are people who think the 3rd season of Veronica Mars was great. The "true believers." They too are wrong.
    All Comments | Link152 | Jeremy G. | WRITERDec 4, 2015 @ 6:18am
    Um, James? How mind-blowing would it be if I told you that Buffy's sixth-season premiere was the second-highest-rated episode in the show's history? Yes, apart from "Innocence", more people watched "Bargaining" than any other episode at the time it aired. Kind of makes it less of a "reasonable choice" for the shark-jumping moment, doesn't it?

    But I digress. Nielsen ratings are not remotely a measurement of quality, even within the confines of a single series. They're just a measurement of how many Neutrogena ads the network will air during the commercial breaks. Quality is measured by factors that actually pertain to the show itself. The hundreds of reviews and thousands of comments on this website actually don't spend an awful lot of time debating the intricacies of the 18-49 demographic.

    Oh, and by the way, the third season of Veronica Mars was actually the highest-rated season of that series. Does that make the so-called "true believers" less wrong? For that matter, were they objectively "wrong" in the first place? So many questions that I have no interest in answering.
    All Comments | Link153 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 4, 2015 @ 7:19am
    Maybe he meant more that people were not in the groove the series was in at this point and that they had lost faith.

    Also I don't think that saying the Season 6 premiere was highly viewed is an indicator that people didn't ditch the series. I mean of course it was going to be highly viewed it was the first episode on a new, presumably less controlling network, people presumably were still on the Buffy high from Season 5 and they would obviously want to see how Buffy was resurrected. That's like saying the Heroes didn't start to go down hill quality or reception wise because the Season 2 premiere was the highest rated episode.

    As for Veronica Mars while S3 ratings were higher than S2 (probably due to the network change and something else) the average doesn't seem to be much different from S1 (You'd probably have to add all the numbers up yourself to be doubly sure.
    All Comments | Link154 | Jeremy G. | WRITERDec 4, 2015 @ 7:41am
    I think you're confusing "people ditching the series" with "quality dropping". These two aspects are not correlated. My comment about the Buffy S6 premiere was actually meant to underscore the pointlessness of making that connection.

    Nielsen ratings come with all sorts of strings attached, and even if they didn't, the number of people who abandon a series doesn't say anything about the quality of the series in general. Nearly every long-running show in existence has lost viewers in its later seasons.

    As for Veronica Mars: There are only two episodes in S1 which cracked 3 million viewers, while there were 5 episodes in S3 that did the same. They may average out more or less equally, but S3 had higher highs.
    All Comments | Link155 | Big Time JamesDec 7, 2015 @ 12:19am
    Jeremy: you are missing the point. The episode of Happy Days when the Fonz jumped the shark, from whence the phrase is derived, was also very highly viewed (I was one of those viewers). Viewership declined after that and Happy Days sank into the abyss.

    High viewership for the Buffy s6 opener only puts a spotlight on the fact that season 6 as a whole declined to 4.3 million, the lowest for any season since the first. Season 7 declined further, to 3.9 million (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer).

    I understand that you contend that changing ratings are of no importance to you when it comes to judging the quality of timepoints in a series, but I merely tell you the above so that you know and understand, because you didn't seem to.

    As to Veronica Mars: I don't know how you don't know this, but here goes: Veronica Mars was a great show that had high ratings season 3 because the buzz kept attracting more viewers. Momentum from the full 2+ seasons of people talking about it. Then season 3 was not as good. Critics didn't like it as well either. Most of us didn't. And here's the real point that you somehow don't know: the ratings consistently dropped all season. Put 'em on a graph and you have a line going down, down, down. From 3.3-3.4 million for the first half of the season to the mid-2s, to the low-2s, and the last 2 episodes netted 1.78 and 2.15.

    Yet all you seem to remember was that it was the "highest rated" season? You must have been completely baffled by its being canceled then.

    Anyway... I think your information on how highly rated the Buffy s6 premiere was is great evidence for Rolling Stone and GreatWhiteSnark being correct, and I am therefore going to switch over and agree with them that that episode is when Buffy jumped the shark.

    But "Wrecked" was definitely one of the most divisive episodes among the fanatics. Lots of arguing about that one in fan chat rooms. Xander leaving Anya at the altar was also very divisive, but I think the event that drove off the most fanatics (as opposed to viewers) was Tara's death. Boy were people pissed about that!

    As for me, I never cared for Tara as a character anyway, so it didn't bother me. But "Wrecked," ugh, was that ever bad...
    All Comments | Link156 | Jeremy G. | WRITERDec 7, 2015 @ 4:40am
    James, why do you keep saying that you "understand" my point that changing ratings do not denote changing quality when pretty much every bit of so-called evidence you bring involves changing ratings?

    The problem is that once you start breaking down ratings, literally every cold, hard fact the Nielsens bring can be argued on its own front. For example, "Once More with Feeling" was less-watched than "Wrecked". Does that affect the superiority of "Once More" over "Wrecked"? Oh, wait... Perhaps good word-of-mouth spread about "Once More", which led to more people tuning in to "Wrecked". Phew. The stars are aligned with perfect human tastes once more.

    Looking at Buffy (or Veronica Mars, or any other show) from the perspective of its viewership is a backwards way of judging it. You're simply looking at how the general public felt about a show at a specific time, and correlate it with how you feel about that show at that time. There's no critical value there. Those two reviewers you say are "correct" have written about the content of the season and thus argued their cases for why they feel it doesn't work.

    For that matter, so have you, to a minor extent: "But "Wrecked," ugh, was that ever bad..." That represents an opinion, which is what this site is here to discuss. Instead of bringing up ratings to back up your opinions, you should bring up points about what you felt didn't work for the season as a whole.

    Finally, since you've made several comments about things I allegedly don't know or understand, I suppose I should just put it in perspective for you: I have studied television. I've studied its history, and its production, and its effect on culture, and, yes, even its Nielsen ratings. So when I call you out for using those Nielsens as a sign of evidence, you can rest assured that I do so simply because I can confidently attest to the complete ludicrousness of judging shows from that perspective.
    All Comments | Link157 | Other ScottDec 7, 2015 @ 7:18am
    I'm going to side with Big Time James a little bit here.

    He's not saying that the quality of an episode is in any way indicated by its rating. That would be dumb. No one knows how good "Once More With Feeling" is going to be before it airs to know whether to watch it or not.

    But there is something to the idea that ratings that drop faster through a season than normal (there's nearly always somewhat of a drop, just due to people getting behind and losing track) can often be attributed to general audience malaise with the show. It's not always the case, and it's not a critical measure, but BTJ never brought up critics, he was talking about the general Buffy viewers.

    Here's the catch though: Buffy's ratings didn't drop more than normal through season 6 at all. Yes, Bargaining got comparatively huge ratings, but after that it dropped to 5.5M viewers and stayed in that 5-5.5 range the rest of the season. Seeing Red was much lower than that, but any number of things can affect the rating of one episode and it's almost never quality of the season to that point. That's pretty good retention. A better argument can be made with Season 7 really.
    All Comments | Link158 | bennyDec 7, 2015 @ 7:36am
    just wondering the chances of this season makes some people realized the errors of their way of life...... compared to the other seasons, too....
    All Comments | Link159 | Jeremy G. | WRITERDec 7, 2015 @ 8:40am
    I think you need to read James' first comment again, Scott.

    - QUOTE -
    Of course the fanatics will say that it never did jump the shark... yet the audience plummeted with season 6 and never came back.

    I'm not saying that ratings don't imply that Buffy lost some of its fandom the later seasons. I'm saying that losing viewership does not in any way support the argument that Buffy went qualitatively downhill.
    All Comments | Link160 | Other ScottDec 7, 2015 @ 9:05am
    His facts are wrong so it doesn't matter, the audience didn't plummet with Season 6.

    It speaks to a bigger question of whether audience opinion matters at all in the qualitative assessment of the show. I would say pure numbers don't, but if you are losing the audience who had been watching your show and had been in tune with your show's rhythms, it's probably not a good sign.
    All Comments | Link161 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 7, 2015 @ 9:27am
    I'd definitely say that audience opinion must matter to some extent as they are ultimately what is going to keep the show around.

    This can even apply to shows that were swiftly cancelled like Firefly since their devotion with the show is ultimately what has made it popular in spite of it's quick death.

    As for shows that last longer than a season or two you want to make sure you don't alienate them too much since if you do it could be akin to ruining what they found appealing about it in the first place. Ultimately it's a balancing act between keeping your viewers satisfied and still managing to venture into new territory. You won't always be able to keep the numbers up (Walking Dead went down a bit this year) but you should always keep the audience in mind, to an extent, when you plan on doing anything since without them you wouldn't be where you are.
    All Comments | Link162 | ZarniumDec 7, 2015 @ 10:40am
    Audience opinion and ratings should matter to the writers to some degree, but it shouldn't have anything to do with an individual viewer's qualitative assessment. Saying that you don't like something without explaining why and then pointing to ratings and reviews as evidence that you're right doesn't actually tell us anything or further the conversation in any way. He hasn't actually told us why he dislikes "Wrecked" and season 6 yet.
    All Comments | Link163 | Jeremy G. | WRITERDec 7, 2015 @ 12:06pm
    Replying to Zarnium (#162)
    Technically, he did, several years ago. (See Comments #54 & 55.)
    All Comments | Link164 | Big Time JamesDec 10, 2015 @ 5:29pm

    Actually, what I said was this:

    In other words, I believe that you believe that. It doesn't mean I agree with you.

    I do agree that ratings-over-time do not necessarily correlate to quality, but I disagree that there is never a correlation, or that ratings-over-time are not evidence of quality. They are one piece of evidence.

    In the end, though, it is a subjective judgement whether Buffy was good or bad season 6 and 7 relative to the rest of the series. One thing we can surely agree on is that the real reason fans were leaving the show is because it was most definitely different s6 and s7 than it had been before. Of that there can be little doubt. As to whether it was worse as well, in my opinion, yes it was.

    The ratings for one episode cannot correlate to the quality of the episode for obvious reasons. There we agree completely.


    I did, five years ago, and those comments are still sitting there up above. But also, when these episodes were first aired, we fans went over all this stuff in great, painstaking detail at the show's official message board, The Bronze-- I mean arguments that went on for weeks-- and it's not so enticing to get into that sort of detail again. In the end, you like it or you don't, right? Just saying "Don't like."

    All Comments | Link165 | Big Time JamesDec 10, 2015 @ 5:33pm
    Jeremy: "James, why do you keep saying that you "understand" my point that changing ratings do not denote changing quality when pretty much every bit of so-called evidence you bring involves changing ratings?"

    Actually, what I said was this: "I understand that you contend that changing ratings are of no importance to you when it comes to judging the quality of timepoints in a series"

    In other words, I believe that you believe that. It doesn't mean I agree with you.

    I do agree that ratings-over-time do not necessarily correlate to quality, but I disagree that there is never a correlation, or that ratings-over-time are not evidence of quality. They are one piece of evidence.

    In the end, though, it is a subjective judgement whether Buffy was good or bad season 6 and 7 relative to the rest of the series. One thing we can surely agree on is that the real reason fans were leaving the show is because it was most definitely different s6 and s7 than it had been before. Of that there can be little doubt. As to whether it was worse as well, in my opinion, yes it was.
    All Comments | Link166 | Big Time JamesDec 10, 2015 @ 5:35pm
    Jeremy: "For example, "Once More with Feeling" was less-watched than "Wrecked". Does that affect the superiority of "Once More" over "Wrecked"? Oh, wait... Perhaps good word-of-mouth spread about "Once More", which led to more people tuning in to "Wrecked". Phew. The stars are aligned with perfect human tastes once more."

    The ratings for one episode cannot correlate to the quality of the episode for obvious reasons. There we agree completely.

    Jeremy: "Looking at Buffy (or Veronica Mars, or any other show) from the perspective of its viewership is a backwards way of judging it. You're simply looking at how the general public felt about a show at a specific time"

    No I am not, because these particular shows did not have much of a casual viewership at all, as their small audience numbers indicate. What these shows were losing were primarily fans of the shows. The "general public" did not watch them in any appreciable numbers at all.

    Jeremy: "'But "Wrecked,' ugh, was that ever bad...' That represents an opinion, which is what this site is here to discuss. Instead of bringing up ratings to back up your opinions, you should bring up points about what you felt didn't work for the season as a whole."

    I did, five years ago, and those comments are still sitting there up above. But also, when these episodes were first aired, we fans went over all this stuff in great, painstaking detail at the show's official message board, The Bronze-- I mean arguments that went on for weeks-- and it's not so enticing to get into that sort of detail again. In the end, you like it or you don't, right? Just saying "Don't like."
    All Comments | Link167 | Big Time JamesDec 10, 2015 @ 5:36pm
    Jeremy: "Finally, since you've made several comments about things I allegedly don't know or understand, I suppose I should just put it in perspective for you: I have studied television. I've studied its history, and its production, and its effect on culture, and, yes, even its Nielsen ratings. So when I call you out for using those Nielsens as a sign of evidence, you can rest assured that I do so simply because I can confidently attest to the complete ludicrousness of judging shows from that perspective."

    No amount of studying TV has anything to do with making a more sound value judgement on the meaning of declining ratings for a show, nor does it lend any credence to your position on such. No one needs to study TV to hold a position on it.

    To be clear, I was mostly saying that you didn't understand what the phrase "jumping the shark" means, as indicated by your presenting the ratings for the episode where it happened. What it means isn't just that it's the point where the quality of a series went downhill, but mostly the point where the ratings went downhill. Which is why, within the context of the "jumping the shark" topic I brought up, ratings are THE point.

    Where the ratings-over-time are questionable is in judging the quality of a show. About that you are correct. I think you are wrong, however, to say that they are not evidence at all. They are evidence. How compelling that evidence is, well that is up to the beholder.
    All Comments | Link168 | Big Time JamesDec 10, 2015 @ 5:43pm
    Other Scott: "His facts are wrong so it doesn't matter, the audience didn't plummet with Season 6."

    Again, my source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer

    season 1: 3.7 million
    s2: 5.2
    s3: 5.3
    s4: 5.1
    s5: 4.6
    s6: 4.3
    s7: 3.9

    "It speaks to a bigger question of whether audience opinion matters at all in the qualitative assessment of the show. I would say pure numbers don't, but if you are losing the audience who had been watching your show and had been in tune with your show's rhythms, it's probably not a good sign."

    Indeed. By the way, s6 started with 7.7 million, held that the episode 2, 3rd highest rated of season was episode 4. Lowest-rated episodes of that season were 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20. Last 2 episodes should have been the peak, but they were lower-rated than all but 1 of the first 10 episodes.
    All Comments | Link169 | Jeremy G. | WRITERDec 11, 2015 @ 6:57am
    - QUOTE -
    I did, five years ago, and those comments are still sitting there up above. But also, when these episodes were first aired, we fans went over all this stuff in great, painstaking detail at the show's official message board, The Bronze-- I mean arguments that went on for weeks-- and it's not so enticing to get into that sort of detail again. In the end, you like it or you don't, right? Just saying "Don't like."

    Part of the joy of debate is getting to reiterate your opinions in detail several different times to several different people and see how you can phrase your feelings. Okay, perhaps I disagree with this person about this season - what, precisely, do we disagree about? With proper debate, you can gain an understanding and better appreciation of what others value in television - perhaps even come to appreciate a couple of things that you didn't think to notice before. All of which is more productive than simply saying "Like" or "Don't like."

    - QUOTE -
    Where the ratings-over-time are questionable is in judging the quality of a show. About that you are correct. I think you are wrong, however, to say that they are not evidence at all. They are evidence. How compelling that evidence is, well that is up to the beholder.

    Highly uncompelling to me, since they get in the way of personal and individual opinion and debate. I've already made that clear.

    - QUOTE -
    No amount of studying TV has anything to do with making a more sound value judgement on the meaning of declining ratings for a show, nor does it lend any credence to your position on such. No one needs to study TV to hold a position on it.

    No, but all the hours I've invest in it means I don't just make dismissive comments about how to properly judge it. If I make comments about the nature and importance of declining ratings, I've got sufficient knowledge to back it up.

    - QUOTE -
    To be clear, I was mostly saying that you didn't understand what the phrase "jumping the shark" means, as indicated by your presenting the ratings for the episode where it happened. What it means isn't just that it's the point where the quality of a series went downhill, but mostly the point where the ratings went downhill. Which is why, within the context of the "jumping the shark" topic I brought up, ratings are THE point.

    That is not what "jump the shark" means. At all.

    When Jon Hein coined the phrase, he was specifically referring to a decline in quality. The phrase has been used many, many times by people to speculate when their favorite shows went downhill. It has nothing to do with ratings. (In fact, Happy Days remained one of the highest-rated shows on TV for three years after the "jump the shark" episode, growing more popular than it was before.)

    The Google definition even takes it a step further: "(To) reach a point at which far-fetched events are included merely for the sake of novelty, indicative of a decline in quality."

    Nielsen got nothing to do with it.
    All Comments | Link170 | Other ScottDec 11, 2015 @ 7:21am
    No numbers you presented there do anything to prove your point. From Season 3, which was the peak of the show, the drop is steady and consistent. As most shows do in their later years. There was a 0.2 drop to Season 4, 0.5 to Season 5, 0.3 to season 6 and 0.4 to season 7. That's typical audience erosion.

    And almost every season of any show follows that shape you presented. High at the start, steadily dropping and reaching it's lowest point at the back middle of the season, then rising slightly for the last few episodes. That's the standard season curve. Things that don't follow that curve are the outlier.
    All Comments | Link171 | ZarniumDec 11, 2015 @ 9:40am
    - QUOTE -
    I did, five years ago, and those comments are still sitting there up above.

    Ok, but I didn't know that until Jeremy pointed it out. I now vaguely remember having read that comment before, but I'd long forgotten the name that was attached to it. It's probably not a good idea to assume that everyone remembers a comment that you made five years ago.

    - QUOTE -
    But also, when these episodes were first aired, we fans went over all this stuff in great, painstaking detail at the show's official message board, The Bronze-- I mean arguments that went on for weeks-- and it's not so enticing to get into that sort of detail again. In the end, you like it or you don't, right? Just saying "Don't like."

    Great, but you're not at The Bronze anymore. If you're going to engage with fans who exist ten years later on a different website, you can't just say "I've talked about all this before, I don't care to go over it again."
    All Comments | Link172 | Jabari JeffersonDec 18, 2015 @ 1:27am
    I don't have as high of an opinion of this season as you do Mikejer. The Trio is the one reason why. Another reason is that the show has had better season (Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 5). The least that can be said is that it is better than Season 4.

    I may go more in-depth, but this where I stand with Season 6.
    All Comments | Link173 | PathbeyondthedarkDec 18, 2015 @ 7:16am
    I honestly see that season 6 is not better than seasons 2,3, and 5. I do not see how it is worse than season 1 but to each his/her own opinion.

    However, some of the reasoning erks me to no end. The Trio is as fine a metaphor as you'll find in any well crafted medium. Their representation of the child that never grew up perfectly intersects with Buffy's drive to become independent the correct and mature way. Buffy can take brutal beatings and stand up on her own two feet without an issue, but the emotional toll these 3 help inflict on her (something only a human being could understand and do) test Buffy's strength to its limit.

    In addition, maybe more so than the metaphor, these three characters are vastly better developed than any other major villain in its entire run save Spike. We've seen what drove Johnathan to this point and can appreciate why he realizes the error of his ways by season 7. We saw why, however irrational, Warren became what he did. And of course, Andrew grows throughout season 7.

    So I have no quarrel with season 6 being on the back end of quality in regards to BtVS. What I do have an issue with is this reasoning and several others. You may not enjoy a particular villain for any reason and that's fine, but I believe you should at least respect how well thought out and crafted they are.
    All Comments | Link174 | Big Time JamesDec 19, 2015 @ 1:16am
    Trio would be pretty far down on my list of what was wrong with s6. I could take 'em or leave 'em. My main complaint as far as they go is that they were around too long and too much for my taste.

    My #1 problem would probably be the severe shift in tone that came with S6. Went from being a fun/funny show to an unfun/unfunny slog through depression and degradation.

    #2 is the writing, which I think was markedly poorer. Certainly less clever, more riddled with cliches.
    All Comments | Link175 | SammDec 19, 2015 @ 1:34am
    Less clever? Not true at all, and you would be surprised at the amount of humor there was in season 6. Yes it was very dark and depressing, but that isn't a criticism. That is personal taste.
    All Comments | Link176 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 19, 2015 @ 1:40am
    The writing is probably the thing to point to with this season, although if you think about it you could blame the writing for any season of any show you don't like if they decided to do something that is dumb or you don't agree with. I mean it's doubtful that the production quality is going to go down overtime (unless there[s budget cuts) and that usually not the thing that people complain about the most.

    Looking back probably the place they screwed up the most was in some of the characterization as they would sometimes have contrived moments to get a certain character where they needed to be. This was especially noticeable with Spike and Willlow, with the former doing things that came out of nowhere or didn't feel earned like in Smashed, As You Were and Seeing Red and the latter having arc being halted by the drug addiction thing and sometimes random spikes in evil.

    It also didn't help that the plot didn't have a lot of progression a lot of the time. Sure there is serialization as people have pointed out but, probably to go along with the depression thing, there's just periods where not a lot is going on mostly in the middle.

    Another thing is this seemed to be the season where the ethics of souls just got all messy. It was pretty cut and dry up til this point but thanks to Angel the ethics around soulless creatures got a lot more grey. That plus the Warren and Spike stuff made things clear that the logic behind whether someone was evil without or with a soul or who deserved to killed and who not just got all screwy.
    All Comments | Link177 | ZarniumDec 19, 2015 @ 5:58am
    The depression-slog really started in season 5 with "The Body." What exactly is different about season 6 compared to 5 that makes it worse?
    All Comments | Link178 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 19, 2015 @ 6:10am
    Replying to Zarnium (#177)
    I'd probably say that there was at least the energy that came from having to fight a God. There was at least something to do so you didn't have to sulk in the misery. Plus the characters hadn't fully succumbed to darkness by that point. Buffy wasn't quite suicidal or depressed yet, Willow hadn't become really dark and you could still get behind Spike's journey to get with Buffy. When Season 6 starts things gradually get more gloomy and the positive energy from the characters starts to get diminished.

    I know Mike likes to have Act III of the show start with The Body but those final 7 episodes are really more a prologue if anything.
    All Comments | Link179 | Jabari JeffersonDec 19, 2015 @ 1:01pm
    You lost me when you said the Trio was better developed than any other villain. And so you know, the main bad guy is what either made or broke the season Season for me, there is a reason why Season 4 is my least favorite season of this show.
    All Comments | Link180 | PathbeyondthedarkDec 19, 2015 @ 2:52pm
    - QUOTE -
    And so you know, the main bad guy is what either made or broke the season Season for me, there is a reason why Season 4 is my least favorite season of this show.

    And so you know, I realize this and even said that's your right. All I said was hopefully you can at least "respect" them even if you don't "like" them. Two very different things. For one, "respect" implies a deeper understanding of their roles and growth while "like" implies an emotional connection to them. So you can "respect" something yet not "like" it.

    - QUOTE -
    You lost me when you said the Trio was better developed than any other villain.

    Legitimate question: do you know what "Characterization" or "character development" is? It's not who's more "likable" or who is more "badass." It's the characters that change in a believable manner. What other villains "change" and are anything beyond a generic villain and/or metaphor? What other villains do you understand and appreciate how they became bad guys? And what other villains are redeemed except again, Spike?
    All Comments | Link181 | BoscalynDec 19, 2015 @ 6:31pm
    - QUOTE -
    What other villains "change" and are anything beyond a generic villain and/or metaphor?

    The Mayor?

    - QUOTE -
    What other villains do you understand and appreciate how they became bad guys?


    - QUOTE -
    And what other villains are redeemed except again, Spike?

    All Comments | Link182 | PathbeyondthedarkDec 19, 2015 @ 7:05pm
    Replying to Boscalyn (#181)
    - QUOTE -
    The Mayor?


    - QUOTE -

    Major (season) villain you technicality... uhh person.

    - QUOTE -

    If you want to be technical that depends on if you consider Angel(us) and Angel separate characters or simply two different personas.

    So, are you on his side or...? Kinda ambiguous there. I don't quite see the necessity for this comment other than to be a technicality... person.
    All Comments | Link183 | BoscalynDec 19, 2015 @ 7:10pm
    I mean, I love the Trio! They're probably my favorite villain. That's certainly not a hands-down thing, though.

    I'm also not sure that Jonathan and Andrew's eventual redemption is the reason they're so great, or even a part of why villains are good.
    All Comments | Link184 | PathbeyondthedarkDec 19, 2015 @ 7:17pm
    Replying to Boscalyn (#183)
    Addressing the mayor: I consider him a fun if not generic villain. He doesn't change (well physically he does, Ms. technicality xD) and his personality, while certainly interesting, is nothing I'd call unique.

    - QUOTE -
    I'm also not sure that Jonathan and Andrew's eventual redemption is the reason they're so great, or even a part of why villains are good.

    Ehh, I suppose. It was mostly to give some extra concreteness to my viewpoint.
    All Comments | Link185 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 19, 2015 @ 7:18pm
    Jonathan is mainly great cause he had years of backstory before he decided to go bad officially and then redeem himself before getting sadly killed.

    Andrew I didn't really give a crap about until Season 7 where he managed to actually shine and give us some effective comedy (not to everyone's tastes but whatever)
    All Comments | Link186 | Big Time JamesDec 20, 2015 @ 1:04pm
    Replying to Samm (#175)
    Samm: "Less clever? Not true at all, and you would be surprised at the amount of humor there was in season 6. Yes it was very dark and depressing, but that isn't a criticism. That is personal taste."

    1) Given that I've seen every episode of s6 more than once, I would not be "surprised" by the amount of "humor" there. Perhaps it is "personal taste," but the lack of humor in s6 relative to the previous 5 seasons is so stark and so clear that in this case, I cannot simply put it down to subjectivity. I don't think a single Buffy writer or cast member would agree that s6 was nearly as funny as s1-5 either, and Whedon and Noxon both addressed the sharp decline in comedy at the time, and they defended it rather than denying it.

    2) Yes it is personal taste, that's why I called it "my problem." This is the debate that people have been having since s6 first aired. Some people liked it, some didn't.

    3) "Less clever" is more a criticism than personal taste, and this is certainly subjective. I will till you that what I mean by "clever" is writing that is: 1) funny, 2) original, 3) surprising, 4) subtle. And I will tell you that I believe these things were in decline s6. Buffy used to be great at surprising twists, whether within stand-alone episodes (Amy's mom took her body!), or within larger arcs (Glory is Ben!). Those declined a great deal s6. Instead, we got cliches: as mentioned, bringing a loved character back JUST in time to be murdered JUST to fuel another character's fury for plot purposes is not just a huge cliche, but lame and banal writing. Someone leaving someone at the altar? Another ridiculous, ancient, hoary cliche.
    All Comments | Link187 | Big Time JamesDec 20, 2015 @ 1:29pm
    Replying to Zarnium (#177)
    Zarnium: "The depression-slog really started in season 5 with "The Body." What exactly is different about season 6 compared to 5 that makes it worse?"

    What I said was "slog through depression and degradation," and that last word is a HUGE difference between last-third-of-s5 and s6. Much of s6 is about dragging Buffy through the mud. Humiliation and self-degradation. I did not enjoy it, and SMG herself hated it so much that she quit the show over it (effective end of s7), which led to the end of the series entirely.

    But even as far as darkness and depression go, I did not find post-Body-s5 to be as relentless as s6. First of all, "The Body" was a great episode, one of the best of the series, so its unfun tone is not a problem for me. Most of the rest of s5 is focused on defeating Glory, not wallowing in depression. It is action-oriented. Even the mourning episode that followed "The Body" packed the mourning into a classic horror story (Monkey's Paw), and I always liked the show's riffs on classic monsters and horror stories. Those stories largely disappeared in favor of soap operatic long-form storytelling s6.

    The monkey's paw episode s5 was directly followed by a hilarious comedic episode (Intervention) that we rarely see s6, except in Once More With Feeling. OMWF, of course, is also one of the greatest episodes of the series, but the episodes around it s6 are completely different in tone. OMWF is the tone I wanted for s6 as a whole. It's the tone that Buffy carried for years, until s6.

    Frankly, I'm surprised that you find the tone of the last 7 episodes of s5 to be the same as s6. I think the "tone shift" post-Body in s5 is much more similar to the tone shift after Angellus returns s2, than it is like s6.
    All Comments | Link188 | Big Time JamesDec 20, 2015 @ 1:42pm
    The Trio isn't the "big bad" of s6. Dark Phoenix... er, Willow... is. The Trio is more akin to Spike and Faith from other seasons. Just some villains along the way to the big bad.
    All Comments | Link189 | Big Time JamesDec 20, 2015 @ 2:17pm
    Another problem I have with season 6 that I haven't brought up here is Giles' departure. Now, I know this isn't the fault of the writers-- the actor wanted a break. And they tried to come up with reasons for him to leave. But I never bought it. It was false.

    I do not believe that Giles would have abandoned her to force her to support herself. And it was absolutely the wrong and stupid thing to do. And it folded into (or led to?) storytelling that was uninteresting to me.
    All Comments | Link190 | Big Time JamesDec 20, 2015 @ 2:29pm
    Giles' departure fits into a larger problem I had with s6: its emphasis on Buffy supporting herself economically (as part of the "growing up" theme of the season). This was incredibly false to me, and I thought it led to stupid "stories" and conflicts that were a waste of time in a genre show.

    This girl is "the chosen one." She "alone" stands between humans and demons as our protector. This is a role that has been forced upon her, and robbed her of a normal life that she craves. The one thing she should NEVER have to do is also support herself with a full time job, and the fact that ANYONE on this show expects this of her, let alone EVERYONE, is not only incredibly stupid, but also absolutely unbelievable.

    The Watchers Council should be supporting her financially. If they don't want to because they don't like her independence, then it falls on Giles to do so. Because THE MISSION. This is what matters. If he doesn't, then her friends should. Or Giles should have given her the magic shop!

    If I-- or any decent person-- existed in this world and was her friend, my emphasis all along would have been on we as a group financially supporting her so she can continue to do her REAL job, upon which the fate of the entire world often hinges. The fact that no one does is false and contrived. The writers forced all this menial job and paying bills plot-age because they thought it was an interesting story to tell. It wasn't, so they had boring storytelling resting on an entirely contrived foundation.
    All Comments | Link191 | ZarniumDec 20, 2015 @ 3:21pm
    - QUOTE -
    This girl is "the chosen one." She "alone" stands between humans and demons as our protector. This is a role that has been forced upon her, and robbed her of a normal life that she craves. The one thing she should NEVER have to do is also support herself with a full time job, and the fact that ANYONE on this show expects this of her, let alone EVERYONE, is not only incredibly stupid, but also absolutely unbelievable.

    This is an issue that goes all the way back to season 1, though. Buffy always had to deal with real-life responsibilities in addition to her slayer duties, with very little help from the Council, Giles, or her friends in terms of mitigating or avoiding them. Maybe the menial job and paying bills plot is new, but it's a natural evolution of the attending high school and keeping decent grades plot.

    This doesn't make much sense when you think about it, especially given how ridiculously powerful the Council turns out to be with world governments, but it's been with the show from the very beginning, and it's central to the show's themes. Remove the real-world responsiblities, and all you have is an urban-fantasy adventure show without the real-world metaphorical relevance. That's fine, but it's not Buffy, and it never was Buffy.

    Besides which, no one in the Scooby Gang is rich, including Giles. Willow's family seems to have some money, but it's not really hers to give out. I doubt they'd actually be able to pool enough money to keep Buffy and Dawn out of poverty long-term without Buffy taking a job.
    All Comments | Link192 | Big Time JamesDec 20, 2015 @ 3:43pm
    The big difference is that the school-related "responsibilities" were things she wanted and insisted upon. She wanted to be "normal," and usually the resulting conflicts were her wishes running up against those of Giles (for whom the whole "student" thing was just a ruse/disguise/convenient positioning Hellmouth-wise). In the s6 case, working and paying bills are not things she wants, they are just more responsibility weighing her down (doubling it, really).

    Furthermore, the Hellmouth was under the school, most of the action was happening within the school, and so it made perfect sense mission-wise for her to be a student at the school. That is not at all the case for the s6 stuff (though the hamburger joint does have one mission for her).

    And of course, the school and being a student opened up terrific storytelling opportunities... indeed, it was the basis for the whole show. Buffy's s6 stuff did not open up interesting storytelling, and that is the whole problem.

    Finally, I am not advocating removing all real-world responsibilities after high school. Only those that make the show less interesting and entertaining.

    Maybe they could have had an episode where she fills out food stamp forms, and tries to dig up all the documents she needs for that. Boring.
    All Comments | Link193 | PathbeyondthedarkDec 20, 2015 @ 9:08pm
    Paralleling real world responsibilities and transitions from stages of childhood into adulthood by utilizing the supernatural as a device is not only Buffy's major draw for most but also its definitive mission statement. You basically stating "it's fine as long as it doesn't interfere with my enjoyment" is asking the series, staff, and fans to take everything that makes this show so beloved and endearing and throw it to the wolves.

    Frankly, if that is your stance then you obviously do not appreciate its goals while preferring to be amused by what is downright terrible on the surface. If there were no real world meaning behind the monsters and the role of a Slayer the series would just be an extremely cheesy, poorly executed, and uninteresting affair (imo).
    All Comments | Link194 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 20, 2015 @ 10:42pm
    That's actual a good point. Why would she need to do all of this if it not only takes away from Slaying but is actively not helping with the depression.

    This fellow seemed to be onto a similar idea there.

    Also path I have doubts that it's really a parallel of real world responsibilities if she actually is doing minimum wage and paying finance, (which would make sense given that the crew talking about this season were saying the metaphors were going away). The Slayer life was originally a job to her in the first place anyway. Plus is it so wrong to ask for having the parallels and morals and stuff and not have that interfere with one's enjoyment of the show.
    All Comments | Link195 | Big Time JamesDec 20, 2015 @ 10:56pm
    Giving Buffy a crap job and bill worries is not "paralleling real world responsibilities and transitions from stages of childhood into adulthood by utilizing the supernatural as a device." There is no metaphor, and no supernatural. It is what it is. That is my point. That's WHY it is boring. So your entire response makes no sense to me.
    All Comments | Link196 | SammDec 20, 2015 @ 11:09pm
    I suppose Buffy going to classes in the first 4 seasons was boring as well. Or her going to the hospital, how pointless and boring that is. It is so annoying knowing Xander has a job that we hear and see about, detracts from the entire show. Sarcasm ended.

    "Giving Buffy a crap job and bill worries is not "paralleling real world responsibilities and transitions from stages of childhood into adulthood by utilizing the supernatural as a device."

    Supernatural no, but it does parallel the transition from childhood to adulthood.
    All Comments | Link197 | Big Time JamesDec 20, 2015 @ 11:09pm
    Louis: Yeah, wasn't even thinking about her obvious severe depression and persistent "jet lag" from traveling heaven > Earth. That makes it doubly irresponsible and inexplicable that everyone in her life just expects her to get a crap job to support she and Dawn AND be the Slayer when not working.

    I don't believe it one bit... and anyone who WOULD allow that to happen is a complete ass.
    All Comments | Link198 | SammDec 20, 2015 @ 11:17pm
    That is the point to a degree, Willow and Buffy had slowly separated ever since season 2 and they fail to see eachothers problems. Not to mention that they failed to know how Buffy was feeling till OMWF, and as everyone is dealing with there own problems, the battle against yourself.

    Giles gave Buffy money as well if you didn't notice. Xander needs to pay his expenses with his apartment, the wedding. Willow is unemployed and struggling massively, Tara is also unemployed but does help Buffy.

    So you just want them to skip over this completely, even though it goes against what the show was about.
    All Comments | Link199 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 20, 2015 @ 11:21pm
    Replying to Samm (#198)
    Yeah but I'm not really sure that excuse works here since they are clearly aware of her money issues and she got the job after OMWF.

    Also as Mike pointed out in the Flooded review it's pretty questionable of Willow and Tara to live in Buffy's house and yet not contribute all that much to the money problems especially when they took on the responsibility of raising Buffy from the dead.
    All Comments | Link200 | SammDec 20, 2015 @ 11:28pm
    That is true, but while Buffy was dead we don't really know what the financial situation was. Willow should have helped out more, but she is a very selfish person but either way if she contributes Buffy still needs to get a job.
    All Comments | Link201 | Big Time JamesDec 20, 2015 @ 11:38pm
    Replying to Samm (#196)

    "I suppose Buffy going to classes in the first 4 seasons was boring as well."

    No, it wasn't, which is probably why thousands of episodes of TV shows have taken place in classrooms. Furthermore, as I said, it makes sense for her to be there for her mission, as that is where the Hellmouth action is. Working a crap job, on the other hand, endangers the mission, and the entire planet as well. It is absolutely idiotic.

    "Or her going to the hospital, how pointless and boring that is."

    It is the opposite of boring, and when was it ever pointless? Going to the hospital is almost always dramatic as hell. Sometimes whole TV shows take place in hospitals, in fact.

    "It is so annoying knowing Xander has a job that we hear and see about, detracts from the entire show."

    Xander is not the Slayer. He should have a job.
    All Comments | Link202 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 20, 2015 @ 11:41pm
    Plus he didn't go to college with the rest of them so either had more requirement in getting said job or more time to kill.
    All Comments | Link203 | Big Time JamesDec 20, 2015 @ 11:58pm
    Replying to Samm (#198)
    Samm: "So you just want them to skip over this completely, even though it goes against what the show was about."

    Who says they have to skip over it completely (though the show skips over all kinds of day-to-day stuff all the time)? All they have to do is have the Watchers Council support her. Done. It's that simple. Or have Giles give her the magic shop. Done. Anya still works there as a paid employee, but Buffy owns it. Buffy can even procure certain hard--to-get items to sell. Demon eggs and whatnot.

    There were literally thousands of paths the writers could have taken if they wanted to pay attention to her finances, and most would have been far more likely than the path they chose. She could have joined the police or become a firefighter-- affirmative action makes it easy for her to get hired, her strength makes the training no problem at all.

    She could have become a hero for hire.

    Notice how all these suggestions so far actually open up storytelling possibilities that dovetail with her being a Slayer?

    At the very least, she could have become a waitress or barista, a job which any young attractive white woman can get with ease.

    They chose the fast food route not because that is what would have happened, but because they wanted to degrade her as much as possible.

    And if they REALLY wanted to "get real," they should have thought about the fact that her fast food job would not have made a dent in her expenses. How did she keep the house, the power on, etc.? How did she afford her wardrobe? Not possible, and it is never explained.
    All Comments | Link204 | SammDec 20, 2015 @ 11:59pm
    That entire first paragraph flew over your head didn't it? I even said sarcasm ended.

    The reason i said it, is because it is exactly the same principle as Buffy having a job, not supernatural, regular human things.

    And especially in the early seasons it is noted that Buffy's duty to school and such isn't exactly great for the mission.

    And thousands of episodes of TV is taken with jobs aswell. Your whole reason of not like Buffy having a job is contradictory from season 1. And you make it seem the doublemeat palace took up the entire season, it had one episode, which was actually funny, then couple scenes here and there.
    All Comments | Link205 | SammDec 21, 2015 @ 12:09am
    Buffy wouldn't know how to run a business, and she had a job at the Magic Box but that wasn't for her.

    In season 2, we literally have an episode about Buffy not wanting to be a person for hire, work for the police (which she wouldn't get in a million years with her record) and doesn't want to charge people for helping them, which was mentioned in doom as a suggestion by Anya.

    So you say you want her to be a waiter? Basically work in the service industry like Buffy was working in.

    So Buffy with no degrees, working experience, takes a job which MILLIONS, MILLIONS MILLIONS MILLIONS MILLIONS of people work in which is the fast food industry. And yes it isn't an appealing job, but it is something a lot of people have to go through. Very few people stay in a fast food industry, it is a job which gets people to move to the next stage of her life, adulthood.

    And we don't know how much money Giles gave her, i presume enough to pay the expenses for the house. While Buffy working at DMP, is to pay for the every day things.

    Also your complaints about the Watcher's, isn;t a season 6 issue, if you want to call it an issue is an entire series issue. The Watcher's Council don't care about the slayers, they never helped out before why should they suddenly with Buffy. They even have that test where they take away her powers and trap her in a house with a vampire. But they will help Buffy out of the kindness of there heart?
    All Comments | Link206 | Big Time JamesDec 21, 2015 @ 12:23am
    Replying to Samm (#205)
    Samm: "Buffy wouldn't know how to run a business, and she had a job at the Magic Box but that wasn't for her."

    Buffy doesn't have to know how to run a business, Anya would be doing that. And Buffy does not have to work there. Buffy working is SO not the point! The point is income to support her so she can be the Slayer. That is the ONLY point.

    Buffy would be the owner. Period. Anya would run it.

    And as I note, Buffy could be doing her part for the business by collecting items. Like every time she killed a demon, she could cut off horns, clip fingernails, whatever. Ingredients. Plenty of story and comedic opportunities.

    This is just one of many routes the writers could have taken, and I have no doubt whatsoever that if the writers had taken this route, you would not find it such a problem. Which is kinda funny.
    All Comments | Link207 | Big Time JamesDec 21, 2015 @ 12:28am
    Replying to Samm (#205)
    Samm: "In season 2, we literally have an episode about Buffy not wanting to be a person for hire, work for the police (which she wouldn't get in a million years with her record) and doesn't want to charge people for helping them, which was mentioned in doom as a suggestion by Anya."

    She doesn't want to work in a fast food joint either. But now she needs money. So whatever she said at 16 is kinda silly to even bring up, and has little to no bearing on what she would be willing to do now that the chips are down.

    Frankly, given that her career test said "law enforcement" back then, I think it would have been funny and serendipitous if that is where she had ended up. And the fact that she didn't think that would ever happen at 16 would make it even better.

    And being a police officer would actually give her a real chance at paying the bills. It would not be possible with a fast food job.

    Again, if the writers had chosen to go this route, I am confident that you would not have complained.
    All Comments | Link208 | Big Time JamesDec 21, 2015 @ 12:41am
    Replying to Samm (#205)
    Samm: "So you say you want her to be a waiter? Basically work in the service industry like Buffy was working in."

    I would not want her to be a waitress, and would not have liked this. I introduced this with "At the very least..." This was just a matter of being realistic: a waitress makes MUCH more than someone in a fast food joint, it is not even close. And in real life, if Buffy were to have gotten a menial job, the fact is that something like waitressing is the job she would have gotten.

    Though here's another idea: bartending at the demon bar. I can see the hilarity ensuing already! But the tips there are probably lousy.
    All Comments | Link209 | SammDec 21, 2015 @ 12:49am
    Buffy can't get a job as a police officer with her record period. So i would have complained big time, and being a police officer is very very time consuming.

    And i would complain at Buffy being essentially the Mafia at the magic Box. Has the owner title, but just taking money away from Anya who doesn't need to give Buffy charity money.

    And taking demon parts is ludicrous, to get the parts which would actually be sellable is farfetched, and Buffy sees a lot of vampires, not as many demons. Whom many wouldn't even be used for stock, or necessarily evil, so it is basically murder.

    The demon bar bartender would have been a great idea, but there is nothing wrong working in fast food, for someone who has no working experience and wants a short term job. Plus getting a job as a waitress in Sunnydale would be very hard given the limited restaurants. And is in no way more realistic than Fast Food, no one likes a fast food job but Millions of people still have them.

    Anyway the point is, it doesn't detract from the season in anyway shape or form, but actually enhances it.
    All Comments | Link210 | ZarniumDec 21, 2015 @ 12:49am
    Ok, point taken. If the writers really wanted to, they could have contrived all sorts of less degrading ways for Buffy to make money. She could have instantly joined the police force, even though I'm pretty sure that takes a lot of time and money for the proper education before you ever see a dime for your efforts. She could charge people money for saving them, even though that would clash with her character and values. (Remember, Anya explicitly mentions this as a possibility and Buffy shoots it down.) She could find a pirate treasure chest full of gold doubloons and never have to work again in her life.

    I'm only being half-sarcastic. Yes, there were other options that the writers could have taken, but the Doublemeat Palace is the one they chose because it's a believable first job for someone with no degree or work experience, the kind of job she could actually acquire and perform without any contrivances. It's relatable and realistic. Other options might have been more exciting and been a more efficient vehicle for getting Buffy to the exciting monster-punching scenes, but they wouldn't be a better framework for showing the realities of having to work a crappy job even when you have a million more important life issues that demand your attention.

    In the early seasons, the writers could have had Buffy go to some sort of Hogwarts-esque magic high school where she only learned how to be a slayer and didn't need to deal with real high school at all. They didn't go that route, and that should tell you a lot about what kind of show Buffy is actually trying to be. It's about the school, not the magic. It's about the work, not the possibilities for action scenes or finding the simplest way to get rid of Buffy's problems. It's about real-world issues, presented through both metaphor and actual representation. It's not about action and excitement and nonstop fun.

    - QUOTE -
    This is just one of many routes the writers could have taken, and I have no doubt whatsoever that if the writers had taken this route, you would not find it such a problem. Which is kinda funny.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that if the writers had had Buffy own the magic shop and get bogged down with all of the difficult and degrading tasks that running a business and dealing with angry customers takes, you would have a problem with it.

    See? I can make completely unfounded suppositions too.
    All Comments | Link211 | Big Time JamesDec 21, 2015 @ 12:59am
    Samm: "Also your complaints about the Watcher's, isn;t a season 6 issue, if you want to call it an issue is an entire series issue. The Watcher's Council don't care about the slayers, they never helped out before why should they suddenly with Buffy. They even have that test where they take away her powers and trap her in a house with a vampire. But they will help Buffy out of the kindness of there heart?"

    I'm not complaining about the Watchers Council. This was just one example of a way the writers could have addressed the financial issue. That is all. I don't find it unbelievable that the Watchers Council wasn't helping out, mostly due to how rebellious she had been with them.

    But if the writers had decided that the Watchers Council financially supported her after her mother's death, perhaps with a trust fund (would have been nothing to them financially, from what I can tell), I would not have found that unbelievable either. And I would have preferred it to the whole "get a job" theme.

    And I believe that you would not have been bothered by that either, in reality.
    All Comments | Link212 | SammDec 21, 2015 @ 1:08am
    Yes i would have been bothered, as it would have been a great cop out. And i am perfectly happy with the DMP and Buffy having a job. Why would i want that to change?

    You just want to skip over this aspect, so you get more funny and less degrading moments which isn't a problem, it is a believable and well done route they decided to take. And it is good that this season is different from the others, very few shows would take a risk like this season on the whole.

    But if i wanted to watch the first 4 seasons, i'd watch the first 4 seasons. Every season offers something unique and different.
    All Comments | Link213 | Big Time JamesDec 21, 2015 @ 1:12am
    Replying to Samm (#209)
    Samm: "Buffy can't get a job as a police officer with her record period. So i would have complained big time"

    Wrong. Maybe you haven't been paying attention, but a lot of the cops that have been getting in trouble over the past year, come to find out, they had criminal records when they were hired (regardless of supposed regulations). So save your complaints for real life.

    And what is Buffy's "record"? Exactly how much jail time?

    Buffy would be an affirmative action goldmine, police departments desperately need that, so short of a conviction for murder or drugs, she'd be hired.
    All Comments | Link214 | SammDec 21, 2015 @ 1:18am
    Burning down buildings, suspect in murder cases, she would be too much of a risk to get a job as a police officer.

    And i don't think you know how much effort is required to get a job as a policeman or the long hours which Buffy doesn't have.

    And watching Buffy work as a police officer would be boring, and would literally turn the dynamic of the show.
    All Comments | Link215 | Big Time JamesDec 21, 2015 @ 1:39am
    Replying to Zarnium (#210)
    Zarnium: "She could have instantly joined the police force, even though I'm pretty sure that takes a lot of time and money for the proper education before you ever see a dime for your efforts."

    Wrong. All she would need to do is pass the exam. She would then be paid and have benefits while at boot camp/police academy.

    "but the Doublemeat Palace is the one they chose because it's a believable first job for someone with no degree or work experience, the kind of job she could actually acquire and perform without any contrivances."

    They chose it because it is classically considered the worst "normal" job you can work. That's what they were going for.

    Fast food in So Cal is not a believable first job for a young attractive white woman who is an adult. Waitressing is. How many aspiring actresses who move to LA do you think waitress, as compared to working at McDonald's? You cannot even support yourself on a fast food job. Have you even ever been to So Cal? Next time you're there, take a good look at the people behind fast food counters, and the people waiting tables, and tell me what you notice.

    "It's relatable and realistic."

    It's not realistic, and it's "relatable" because many of us worked such jobs in high school-- but most of us are not young women who could be models. Which is why most of us did not get high-tip service jobs handed to us as youth, like someone like Buffy could.

    "Other options might have been more exciting and been a more efficient vehicle for getting Buffy to the exciting monster-punching scenes, but they wouldn't be a better framework for showing the realities of having to work a crappy job even when you have a million more important life issues that demand your attention."

    Showing us these "realities" (which are not realistic) holds no value. What is the importance of this? There are probably 120 people in all of the USA who don't understand these realities perfectly and completely already. What are we learning here? Absolutely nothing.

    "Reality" was not the point. Bringing Buffy as low as possible was the point.

    Zarnium: "See? I can make completely unfounded suppositions too."

    That couldn't be more clear.
    All Comments | Link216 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 21, 2015 @ 1:46am
    Given that Buffy was able to get a waitress job in Anne it's not inconceivable that she could do it again.
    All Comments | Link217 | Big Time JamesDec 21, 2015 @ 1:56am
    Replying to Samm (#209)
    Samm: "And i would complain at Buffy being essentially the Mafia at the magic Box. Has the owner title, but just taking money away from Anya who doesn't need to give Buffy charity money."

    The mafia????

    Giles owned the Magic Box. He can do whatever he wants with it. People own businesses, and sometimes other people manage those businesses for them (such as sports stars who own restaurants). It is not a crime, and there is nothing seedy about it. It is, in fact, quite a normal thing.

    "Doesn't need to give Buffy charity money"? She is the Slayer! How do you not get that? Even the most extreme and psychopathic Republican would not think, if this world were real, that the world's protector against armageddon should not be financially supported. It isn't "charity"... she has the most important job on the planet!

    It would be like saying we shouldn't pay the president, he should work a fast food joint 8 hours a day and be president in his spare time. Terrible idea for all of us.
    All Comments | Link218 | SammDec 21, 2015 @ 1:57am
    "Wrong. All she would need to do is pass the exam. She would then be paid and have benefits while at boot camp/police academy."

    When will she have the time to do this, or are we making this show, Buffy the next great Police Officer.

    "They chose it because it is classically considered the worst "normal" job you can work. That's what they were going for."

    And they did it well, and it fit in well with the season and Buffy's character development.

    "Fast food in So Cal is not a believable first job for a young attractive white woman who is an adult."

    So you have never been to a fast food restraunt ever, many attractive people work in fast food restaurants, stop generalizing, especially when it isn't even accurate.

    "It's not realistic, and it's "relatable" because many of us worked such jobs in high school-- but most of us are not young women who could be models."

    Again with the irrelevant generalization

    "Showing us these "realities" (which are not realistic) holds no value. What is the importance of this? There are probably 120 people in all of the USA who don't understand these realities perfectly and completely already. What are we learning here? Absolutely nothing."

    Buffy's current psyche for starters. And the fast food job as Mike said in the review is using "a fast food joint as a metaphor for her more systemic depression" That is the theme of the season, so any other job would really see some poor character devlopment throughout the season.

    So your issue about the job is, your dislike of the dark tone of the season, which again is just personal taste. It isn't poor writing at all.
    All Comments | Link219 | SammDec 21, 2015 @ 2:03am
    What a joke.

    So what if she is the Slayer, does that mean people need to give up there livelihoods to give Buffy money. No it doesn't, that isn't what this show is about, that isn't what any of the characters are about either, you have honestly missed the intentions of the show, just to make season 6, more easy for you to handle.

    And again my point about the "mafia" flew over your head. You want Buffy to be the owner, not doing any work at all, yet reek all the rewards and benefits. That is what the Mafia does, just take money off other people's business's because they can and don't do anything.
    All Comments | Link220 | Big Time JamesDec 21, 2015 @ 2:15am
    Replying to Samm (#209)
    Samm: "And taking demon parts is ludicrous, to get the parts which would actually be sellable is farfetched"

    Taking demon parts is not ludicrous when she kills at least a dozen a year, and you have no idea what parts are sellable in this fictional world, so making a judgement on it is silly. It's whatever the writers want to make it. We've already seen demon eggs as a magical ingredient and a demon heart that cures a demon disease. That seems handy to have on hand.

    It isn't much of a leap to presume, in a world such as this one, that other demon parts (fingernails and hair being already similar to our world's voodoo ingredients) would make good ingredients for magic, and thus good stock for a magic shop.
    All Comments | Link221 | SammDec 21, 2015 @ 2:22am
    And how would that be interesting? We have a MOTW, and Buffy says here have a heart for sale.

    But regardless it would go against the entire point of Buffy having this fast food job in the first place and season 6. It is a way of showing her depression, and nothing does that better than a fast food job.
    All Comments | Link222 | Big Time JamesDec 21, 2015 @ 2:29am
    Samm: "And again my point about the "mafia" flew over your head. You want Buffy to be the owner, not doing any work at all, yet reek all the rewards and benefits. That is what the Mafia does, just take money off other people's business's because they can and don't do anything."

    That's what owners do too! The only point flying was my answer to the first "mafia" comment, and it went over your own head. Again... it is no crime for an owner to reap the rewards of his or her business without actually working on it. Paul Allen owns a lot of businesses, runs none of them. Tom Douglas owns about 21 restaurants now, runs none of them.

    As I said, sports stars frequently own restaurants and bars that they do not run.

    Some people own a lot of rentals, and they have management firms manage them, do nothing.

    They are not criminals, and what they are doing is not unethical (except to anarchists, of course, who would not support Buffy working a fast food job anyway).
    All Comments | Link223 | Big Time JamesDec 21, 2015 @ 2:36am
    Replying to Samm (#221)
    Samm: " It is a way of showing her depression, and nothing does that better than a fast food job."

    I agree, and you could have saved us both a lot of time by starting with this and going no further!
    All Comments | Link224 | SammDec 21, 2015 @ 2:38am
    Uncomparable situations, and what do you think owners do? Come up with the business and do nothing? Large scale organisations are irrelevant in this case as the owner has a different and much more complex job to do.

    Small business owners, don't sit around and do nothing.

    Anyway i think this argument has reached an end point, hope you have a good day.
    All Comments | Link225 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 21, 2015 @ 3:18am
    Still speaking of the Watcher's Council isn't Buffy inherently responsible for getting Giles' pay check back. You'd think that would show some clout and maybe Giles could have spotted her a bit more cash. Plus if she threatened for more cash they might have been willing to concede.
    All Comments | Link226 | ZarniumDec 21, 2015 @ 9:11am
    OK, I'm really not sure why you think Buffy can instantly get all of these supposedly great jobs because "affirmative action" or "she's hot." I had a friend at my old college who was extremely attractive and needed money to support herself through college since her family was broke, but the best job she could find was a part-time office gopher job that didn't pay well and that she hated. She couldn't just magically wish up an ideal waitressing gig that paid huge cash in tips, and she didn't get life handed to her on a silver platter because she was pretty or because there were these mythical insanely powerful affirmative action programs everywhere that handed out top-notch jobs to whatever woman showed up. She had to take a crappy job because it was the only one she could get.

    But I digress. Arguing the merits of all the employment options for Buffy ignores the greater issue that you have with season 6. You're more concerned about the underlying depressing tone and focus of the season than the superficial details, and yes, the writers did have Buffy work at the DMP because it was degrading. This being the case, I have to ask: if you don't want to watch anything that's gritty or challenging or emotionally draining, or where the characters never have to deal with any unpleasant realities of life or do anything degrading, why were you ever watching Buffy in the first place? Buffy is an intentional subversion of typical genre fiction that usually focuses only on the genre elements; showing the harsh realities of life and never giving Buffy a free pass to skip them was always a part of its DNA. Need I remind you about "Anne," where Buffy is depressed and gets a different degrading job to support herself, the ever prestigious waitressing gig? Or "Dead Man's Party," where her friends and family tear her to pieces and give her no slack even though she's the Slayer? Or all those years where she had to do schoolwork, even though the Watcher's Council could have waived it somehow while still giving her an excuse to be on the school grounds? Buffy was never coddled, cut any slack, or given a pass on life responsibilities, neither by the writers or in-universe characters.

    The show isn't about throwing away the common realities of life because there's a halfway logical contrivance for it to do so in order to focus only on witty quips and slaying monsters and keeping the characters happy. If you want that, you can watch any number of other genre shows that don't intend to be genre subversions. There's nothing wrong with making a straight up monster-punching show; I enjoy Lost Girl as much as anyone. But that's not what Buffy is.
    All Comments | Link227 | PathbeyondthedarkDec 21, 2015 @ 5:43pm
    Replying to Zarnium (#226)
    Also @Samm

    Sometimes there's nowhere left to go in a debate/argument and it's obvious that both parties are misunderstanding each other and/or are too stubborn to budge.

    Then there's this argument. One where a single party is not only misunderstanding the views of those opposed to him, but the entire point of the object being argued in the first place.

    His argument in a nutshell: "Buffy can challenge the viewer and tackle real world parallels in its narrative as long as the subtext remains hidden and does not interfere with his wish to (possibly) ignore the metaphors all together and simply enjoy it for its surface value." Now I don't know if he wants to ignore it entirely, thus the "(possibly)," but it's clear to me it's not one of his major concerns.

    So let's address this instead: Why does Buffy suddenly take subtext, blast it to the surface, and make it bare? It's not an unreasonable question actually and James does bring it up rightfully even if it's ultimately not what he has an issue with. It is rather jarring, and indeed I felt that odd transition during my initial viewing of it. This is just one of many problems it has.

    However, we are able to appreciate the approach by the time "Normal Again" rolls around at least. "Normal Again" is actually much more than a bare look at Buffy's supposed fantasy and the ideal reality she wishes she resided in. It's also the point the writers felt they needed to address this clunky transition, at least as I interpret it. The episode makes note of the several issues this season has in terms of not only believability but of consistency. It goes so far as to point out inconsistencies throughout the series.

    Then lets take a look at it from an in universe perspective. Buffy has been spiraling downward for all of this season. The episode challenges us to humor the possibility that the reason the series has gotten "real" is because Buffy's fantasy is indeed unraveling, thus making the season's heavy handedness make that much more sense.

    But not the fantasy she wishes she were in yet the fantasy we've all come to believe in for over six seasons. I truly love that episode and this debate has only made me appreciate it that much more. It's truly a 50/50 ordeal, with neither the argument for or against which reality is the fantasy or vice versa having enough traction or evidence to be unanimously convincing. It truly is "just what you want to believe." But ultimately, in terms of this quarrel here, it is evidence of the writers being self aware as to the problems the series has donned and of an alternate perspective that provides a possible reason for such a jarring change in format.
    All Comments | Link228 | Big Time JamesDec 21, 2015 @ 6:11pm
    Replying to Samm (#224)
    Samm: "Uncomparable situations, and what do you think owners do? Come up with the business and do nothing? Large scale organisations are irrelevant in this case as the owner has a different and much more complex job to do.

    Small business owners, don't sit around and do nothing."

    Wrong. For the third time: sports stars. Many of them own one business, a restaurant, and none of them run it. Like Buffy, they have their "hero" jobs to perform.

    Oh, and Buffy wouldn't be "[sitting] around doing nothing"... she is the Slayer, that is the whole and entire and complete point here. It is IMPERATIVE that she be "free" to do that job, for the sake of the entire planet.

    But this is your third time insisting on this idea that owners don't/shouldn't profit from businesses they don't run themselves... let's go back to your first:

    Samm: "And i would complain at Buffy being essentially the Mafia at the magic Box. Has the owner title, but just taking money away from Anya who doesn't need to give Buffy charity money."

    Now here's the thing... when Giles leaves town, he STILL OWNS the Magic Box! Anya is the manager! Giles owns it and isn't running it! So, what I want to know is, have you complained about this? Do you consider this "poor writing"? Looks like you were kinda wrong about how you would react! But I already knew that.
    All Comments | Link229 | ZarniumDec 21, 2015 @ 7:15pm
    To be fair to James, he's right; people own businesses and reap the profits without contributing any work all the time. It's not necessarily shady.

    I still think the show is way better off for having Buffy perform an unpleasant job of some sort rather than solving her problems by giving her free money, and if you want an in-universe logical justification for this, you can say that either Buffy wouldn't be happy accepting what she views as handouts or you can say that Giles needs it as his primary source of income and isn't financially able to part with it.

    But that's not really important. At this point, arguing about whether or not a given employment makes logical sense or not is just smoke and mirrors hiding a bigger issue; James simply doesn't approve of the direction that the series took after season 5, and thinks it should have been happier, with Buffy's monetary issues and depression getting easily swept away so the show can just be about fighting monsters, even though that's inconsistent with everything that the show has been up to this point. I think he's wrong, but I've said why already.
    All Comments | Link230 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 21, 2015 @ 9:01pm
    Replying to Zarnium (#229)
    Doesn't Giles get some cash from the Watcher's Council at this point.
    All Comments | Link231 | PathbeyondthedarkDec 21, 2015 @ 9:28pm
    There is no logic in BtVS. You can't argue logic when it's not reasonable in a series void of a tight mythology, both within the supernatural and out. Everything, and I mean everything, adheres to necessity in regards to its characterization and themes.

    If you want to attempt to argue logic then at the very least, as I implied several days ago, you must apply said logic to all aspects of the series. No logical reason for Buffy to obtain a degrading job? Okay:

    -What logical reason is there for the entire town sweeping obvious supernatural attacks under the rug?
    -Where's everybody's parents during seasons 1-3? Buffy the only one with a pseudo caring mother? Heck, where the Hell were they during graduation?
    -Why does Spikes chip malfunction conveniently on occasion without the series acknowledging it?
    -Why does no one care to get their true memories back after finding out about Dawn?
    -Why does Sunnydale only have two streets?
    -The Initiative was built how exactly without anyone noticing acres of land being dug up and/or drilled into (especially the Mayor, hello)?
    -For that matter, we saw how terrible their ghost operations were and yet they never revealed themselves in a three year span?
    -Why use a Slayer at all? As we know, powerful wicka are much more efficient then a single super being. The council possesses much more powerful instruments they can utilize.
    -etc. on for eternity.

    Simple answer: there is no logic. Stop trying to use logic as a plausible argument for a series with intentions such as BtVS.
    All Comments | Link232 | ZarniumDec 21, 2015 @ 9:42pm
    - QUOTE -
    there is no logic. Stop trying to use logic as a plausible argument for a series with intentions such as BtVS.

    Or to modify this just a tad, I'd say its fine if someone can't buy into the show because of its logical inconsistencies. Tastes vary. But they shouldn't pretend like season 6 is a special case, as though it's way more illogical than anything before it.
    All Comments | Link233 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 21, 2015 @ 11:02pm
    So basically as the AVGN once said "Logic is for pussies."

    Maybe it's unfair to critique Season 6 for it's lack of logic but then again if the season is making you question the logic more than the first 5 perhaps that's a sign that the season isn't working for you. And you could argue that Season 6 is a bit more guilty of this than other seasons since it was clearly trying to be the most realistic of the bunch and as a result the logical gaps beg more questions.
    All Comments | Link234 | SammDec 21, 2015 @ 11:56pm
    It definitely is unfair, i could critique every season for a lack of logic if i wanted to, and so could everyone. And i didn't notice any more lack of logic than other seasons.
    All Comments | Link235 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 22, 2015 @ 12:18am
    Replying to Samm (#234)
    Well just cause you didn't notice any less logic doesn't mean no one else did. I mean I thought Dexter Season 6 made a fair bit of sense until I read some reviews. At the very least the lack of action in the middle section of the season certainly didn't help people question things. I would argue that there was a lack of logic in regards to character choices and morality but that's a whole other thing.

    Oh and congrats everyone this is now the most commented article on the site. It even beat the Chosen review.
    All Comments | Link236 | Big Time JamesDec 22, 2015 @ 1:36am
    Replying to Zarnium (#229)
    Zarnium: "James simply doesn't approve of the direction that the series took after season 5"


    "...and thinks it should have been happier, with Buffy's monetary issues and depression getting easily swept away.."

    She never should have had "monetary issues" to begin with... the writers contrived them because they thought that would be a good story for 3-4 episodes. Had they not done so, there would have been no such issues to "sweep away."

    Also, if the writers had not created her depression, there would be nothing on that to "sweep away" either.

    Stop me if you've heard this a million times, but I think the big problem with s6 goes back to the very end of s5. As far as I am concerned, the writers should have:

    A) Not killed Buffy in the first place.
    B) Kept the emotional and powerful Buffy death and ENDED THE SERIES.

    That would have meant no OMWF, so my vote is for not killing Buffy. Just ended up being a cheap stunt when they brought her back anyway.

    Heck, kill Dawn instead and you still get some tears, and the show is instantly improved! And you can still play with some depression over that if you're insistent on it.

    "so the show can just be about fighting monsters, even though that's inconsistent with everything that the show has been up to this point. I think he's wrong, but I've said why already."

    Yeah, well, this is a wildly incorrect grasp of what I wanted out of the show. Neither you nor I believe that the show was "just about fighting monsters" s1-5, so let's be real here.
    All Comments | Link237 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 22, 2015 @ 1:41am
    I do think some depression was required for the core of With Feeling to work since her issues and everyone else's being explored was the stuff that was talked about in the songs.

    I don't mind that they went with the depression route given her previous experiences did lend themselves to it but the story itself could maybe have been a bit better told on the whole.
    All Comments | Link238 | Big Time JamesDec 22, 2015 @ 1:46am
    Season 6 review should be most commented on!
    All Comments | Link239 | guttersnipe | WRITERDec 22, 2015 @ 11:30am
    - QUOTE -
    -The Initiative was built how exactly without anyone noticing acres of land being dug up and/or drilled into (especially the Mayor, hello)?


    I remember reading a logic complaint about how the Watchers' Council is based in England despite the fact that Slayers are apparently most likely to be Americans, to which they send off a single Watcher to wherever the Slayer is and the rest seemingly kick back and relax. It doesn't appear that they were monitoring the Hellmouth at all before there happened to be a Slayer in the same State, meaning it must have been Murder City USA beforehand. "This system is centuries old; how on Earth did it function before mass transportation and modern communication?" - given the distance and difficulty of maintaining a dialogue, it probably would have been ages before the Council realised that their field Watcher had been killed, so I'd like to imagine that they relayed information magically like a primitive version of Skype.
    All Comments | Link240 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 22, 2015 @ 11:39am
    I think it's safe to say if the show has taught us anything is that the Watcher's Council suck outside of the ones we get to know personally. They're basically the Buffy equivalent of Supernatural's Angels or the Time Lords, except without the gradually getting less impressive part.
    All Comments | Link241 | guttersnipe | WRITERDec 22, 2015 @ 11:50am
    A friend of mine is a life-long Whovian and was often quick to parallel the Council to the Time Lords.
    All Comments | Link242 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 22, 2015 @ 12:04pm
    At the very least they're fashion sense is more interesting and they got cool tech and writing.
    All Comments | Link243 | Big Time JamesDec 22, 2015 @ 12:50pm
    Replying to Zarnium (#226)
    Zarnium: "The show isn't about throwing away the common realities of life because there's a halfway logical contrivance for it to do so in order to focus only on witty quips and slaying monsters and keeping the characters happy."

    My problem here is with your use of the phrase "halfway logical contrivance." Having the Watchers Council financially support Buffy, or Giles give her the Magic Box, would not have been any kind of contrivance. Would have made perfect sense.

    The contrivance is what the writers did. To put Buffy in that position, they needed to arrange a parade of unlikely situations:

    1) Buffy's father is an EXTREME version of a "deadbeat dad."
    2) Buffy has no grandparents, aunts, uncles.
    3) The Watchers Council doesn't financially support Buffy (though they do pay watchers, and no reason is ever given for their abandoning Buffy now-- we have to assume some reason).
    4) The Watchers Council does not replace Giles as her watcher. This makes no sense, because we have never seen them purposefully leave a Slayer watcherless. No reason is given for this. It is something that ONLY the show's writers wanted, as part of their "theme" for s6.
    5) Her friends, who have been very much about helping her out as part of her "team," have no interest in helping her financially. This also makes no sense to me-- you help with half-assed fighting that puts your life on the line, but you won't help her financially? This could have been the one greatest thing Xander could have done for the team.

    So maybe you liked this s6 subplot, but it was incredibly contrived. Doing otherwise would not have been.

    Zarnium: "If you want that, you can watch any number of other genre shows that don't intend to be genre subversions. There's nothing wrong with making a straight up monster-punching show; I enjoy Lost Girl as much as anyone. But that's not what Buffy is."

    You keep posing this false choice: either they do the job subplot, or the show has no depth. This is ridiculous. I am not advocating a "straight up monster-punching show."

    And it should be noted that Buffy had a helluva lot more monster-punching than Lost Girl did.
    All Comments | Link244 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 22, 2015 @ 1:07pm
    Speaking of the deadbeat dad thing it does kind of bug me a bit that they were apparently willing to let Dawn stay with her dad for a bit while Buffy was dead but not while she was depressed. In fact his turning deadbeat was such a contrivance and wasn't nearly portrayed that way until Becoming 1. Maybe people change (Community claymation episode showed this) but showing him good and then having be bad offscreen feels contrived and cheap to get us more Buffy on her own crap.
    All Comments | Link245 | Jeremy G. | WRITERDec 22, 2015 @ 1:37pm
    - QUOTE -
    Maybe people change (Community claymation episode showed this)

    This has immediately become my favorite example in the "Louis compares Buffy to random shows that do stuff better than Buffy" collection, and I have a hard time believing it'll be topped anytime soon.
    All Comments | Link246 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 22, 2015 @ 1:42pm
    Too be fair I wasn't necessarily saying that it did it better than Buffy it's just one example of how divorced parents end up leaving they're children behind :( . Though thinking about it I could probably rewatch that one this Christmas. Was one of the first I viewed before I decided to watch the whole series (this included the pilot, the second episode I believe, season 2 premiere, the first documentary one, and modern warfare).
    All Comments | Link247 | ZarniumDec 22, 2015 @ 4:08pm
    - QUOTE -
    Yeah, well, this is a wildly incorrect grasp of what I wanted out of the show. Neither you nor I believe that the show was "just about fighting monsters" s1-5, so let's be real here.

    I've straight up asked you before what it is you wanted out of the show and you never answered, so I feel pretty justified in trying to make an educated guess based on various posts of yours that I've read. (And mind you, there's probably several of them that I haven't read.)

    So here's your chance. What is it that you ultimately want out of the show, and why does having Buffy go through financial hardship throw such a monkey wrench into it? You can give some explanation about how illogical and unbelievable you find the plot to be if you must, but please also give a more substantial answer about what kind of show you view Buffy to be and why you think season 6 is a departure.
    All Comments | Link248 | Big Time JamesDec 22, 2015 @ 8:08pm
    Replying to Zarnium (#247)
    Zarnium: "What is it that you ultimately want out of the show"

    What I got out of seasons 1-5.

    Z: "and why does having Buffy go through financial hardship throw such a monkey wrench into it?"

    The job subplot was just one small thing I did not like about season 6. My primary problems with the season are the severe shift in tone and the decline in the quality of the writing.

    "please also give a more substantial answer about what kind of show you view Buffy to be and why you think season 6 is a departure."

    Seasons 1-5, Buffy was primarily a horror/comedy. Season 6, there was less horror (excepting the real-life kind, of course) and drastically less comedy. And the writing was less clever. There was less variety in the storytelling, and, of course, more monotony.

    Note also that there was a very good reason for the show to seem different: Joss Whedon had been running it before, but season 6-7 Marti Noxon was running it.

    The highlight of s6, OMWF, was a months-long project by Joss Whedon.
    All Comments | Link249 | SammDec 22, 2015 @ 8:45pm
    "And the writing was less clever. There was less variety in the storytelling, and, of course, more monotony."

    That is an it is statement

    "Seasons 1-5, Buffy was primarily a horror/comedy." The show never lost its comedy element, or its horror element. Nor would i call Buffy a Horror/Comedy

    "decline in the quality of the writing."

    Another It is statement, how about you back up the statements.
    All Comments | Link250 | ZarniumDec 22, 2015 @ 9:47pm
    - QUOTE -
    The job subplot was just one small thing I did not like about season 6. My primary problems with the season are the severe shift in tone and the decline in the quality of the writing.


    Seasons 1-5, Buffy was primarily a horror/comedy. Season 6, there was less horror (excepting the real-life kind, of course) and drastically less comedy. And the writing was less clever. There was less variety in the storytelling, and, of course, more monotony.

    So, basically, I was right; you want the show to be all cheesy horror and comedy. Monster punching, funny quips, upbeat attitude, wacky supernatural plots. No deeper substance. Well, like I've been saying all along, Buffy as a show was always about way more than that:

    - QUOTE -
    It's about the school, not the magic. It's about the work, not the possibilities for action scenes or finding the simplest way to get rid of Buffy's problems. It's about real-world issues, presented through both metaphor and actual representation. It's not about action and excitement and nonstop fun.

    If you want to watch a show that fits your tastes, then watch one of the many genre shows that play the genre straight. There's a lot of good ones. Don't expect a deliberate genre subversion to bend to your whims, because the whole point of a subversion is that it doesn't play to the standards of the genre.

    Frankly, I've said this all before and we're just going in circles at this point. I'm done.
    All Comments | Link251 | BoscalynDec 22, 2015 @ 10:25pm
    Replying to Zarnium (#250)
    Oh boy, I hope I'm not coming off as overly contrarian. Because I certainly agree that Buffy has plenty of depth compared to similar shows. But

    - QUOTE -
    If you want to watch a show that fits your tastes, then watch one of the many genre shows that play the genre straight. There's a lot of good ones. Don't expect a deliberate genre subversion to bend to your whims, because the whole point of a subversion is that it doesn't play to the standards of the genre.

    What I think you're saying here is that Buffy is subversive because it has depth behind the monsters and not just witty quips. That's objectively wrong-- counterintuitive as it might sound, the first few seasons of Buffy are subversive not for their depth, but because they're witty.

    Yes, there's always an underlying metaphor behind the Big Bad. But is that a new thing? Like, the central subtext of all the monster-of-the-week episodes in S2 is that the blind passion of adolescent romance can be dangerous; put less artfully w/r/t the central Angel arc, "don't throw away your V-card." That's fairy-tale level storytelling, not to mention kind of regressive.

    What makes Buffy special is that it explicitly twiddles with these archetypal monsters and the (typically sexist) morals they represent. "Teacher's Pet" might not be your idea of a good episode. It's not my idea of a good episode. But in many ways, it's more subversive than "Passion." Sure, it's not as artfully directed and it has the subtlety of an afterschool special. But the camp and the irreverence it has towards the base metaphor is deeply, deeply subversive given the regressiveness of what She-Mantis would represent if she was played straight.
    All Comments | Link252 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 22, 2015 @ 10:54pm
    Replying to Zarnium (#250)
    Still just cause he didn't like the genre-subversion stuff doesn't mean he didn't like any of it in the first 5. I got to say this whole debate has become pretty aggressive from both sides of the argument. Feels like you're trying way too hard to defend your points and are taking offence just cause they feel the other side is doing a disservice to the show.
    All Comments | Link253 | ZarniumDec 22, 2015 @ 11:08pm
    Well, maybe I'm trying to juggle so many thoughts that I'm not being as clear as I should.

    You're right in that the show often has depth because it's witty, and it's often subversive because the characters don't take the goofy monster of the week seriously. My disagreement with James is that he seems to only like the wit in and of itself, and not the depth that it can provide. When there's depth without so much wit, he thinks it weighs down the show.
    All Comments | Link254 | ZarniumDec 22, 2015 @ 11:09pm
    *That last post was directed at Boscalyn, but I forgot to click the reply box.
    All Comments | Link255 | SammDec 22, 2015 @ 11:10pm
    It definitely is getting aggressive, but the problem here isn't James disliking season 6 and 7. The reason at least i am arguing is he is saying it is of lesser quality because there is less humor and the show took a darker route.

    I have no problem if anyone dislikes that, but to say it ruined the show is an absurd statement.
    All Comments | Link256 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 22, 2015 @ 11:18pm
    Still I suppose whether a show going more dark is ultimately going to vary depending on the individual.

    I myself really like the X-Files comedy or light-hearted episodes. At there best they were some of the best TV episodes ever. However when they went into Season 8 they took a darker direction than they had recently, obviously because Mulder was gone and Scully had a new partner to deal with which meant the relationship had a lot less humour at this point, and thus the comedy episodes were pretty much gone until Season 9. I was able to accept this change as it made sense from a story perspective. Plus the season had a different means of relaying the mythology episodes which made it kind of interesting. Now a lot of people didn't seem to like that season (and the last) cause of the lack of Mulder but on it's own terms it wasn't too bad, even if a lot of the monster of the weeks in the first two-thirds were pretty meh.
    All Comments | Link257 | Big Time JamesDec 23, 2015 @ 1:59am
    Replying to Samm (#249)
    Samm: "how about you back up the statements."

    Well, there's no point producing "evidence," because any example of bad writing that I bring up, you'll think was great writing.

    However, this much we know:
    S1-3: Joss Whedon 100% on Buffy, rewrote every single script.
    s4-5: Joss Whedon's attentions divided among 2 shows, no longer 100% on Buffy, but still running the show.
    s6-7: Marti Noxon running the show.

    I think it's little coincidence that I liked s1-3 the best, s4-5 next best, and did not like s6-7. One might conclude that I prefer Whedon's writing to Noxon's, and to anyone else on the Buffy staff.

    If you believe that the writing did not decline s6-7, then you also believe that Marti Noxon was as talented a writer as Joss Whedon. Which is very strange, given what each has done post-Buffy.
    All Comments | Link258 | SammDec 23, 2015 @ 2:11am
    "I think it's little coincidence that I liked s1-3 the best, s4-5 next best, and did not like s6-7."

    Your opinion lad, your opinions aren't a judge of quality, just personal opinion. Season 7 i agree wasn't that strong of a season once the potentials came in and the writing seemed to get a tad lazy.

    Season 6, the writing was not weaker, it took a different tone which YOU did not enjoy. The essence of what made the show, did not change.

    And every single season, and every single point you have mentioned, is hypocritical to aspects in season 1-5.
    All Comments | Link259 | Big Time JamesDec 23, 2015 @ 2:11am
    Replying to Zarnium (#250)
    Zarnium: "So, basically, I was right; you want the show to be all cheesy horror and comedy. Monster punching, funny quips, upbeat attitude, wacky supernatural plots. No deeper substance."

    This does not at all follow from what I was saying, because this is not at all a correct description of s1-5.

    "Well, like I've been saying all along, Buffy as a show was always about way more than that"

    I agree. Which is why it was and is my favorite TV series of all time.

    Of course, I view s6-7 as some other spinoff series. Easy to do, since it had a different showrunner, completely different tone, and was moved to a new network.

    "If you want to watch a show that fits your tastes, then watch one of the many genre shows that play the genre straight. There's a lot of good ones."

    Well, as I said, Buffy s1-5 is my favorite show of all time, so needless to say, I have not seen any genre show that is as good (or that is even its ballpark). Not so easy as you make it sound to find one.
    All Comments | Link260 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 23, 2015 @ 2:12am
    I do think Whedon does deserve some blame for how 6-7 turned out though since he clearly seemed to like what was going on in that time and whenever anyone brings up a complaint he seems quick to defend it (Dawn's annoyingess and the Turok Han's strength begin inconsistent).
    All Comments | Link261 | SammDec 23, 2015 @ 2:24am
    "you want the show to be all cheesy horror and comedy"

    "This does not at all follow from what I was saying, because this is not at all a correct description of s1-5."

    "Seasons 1-5, Buffy was primarily a horror/comedy. Season 6, there was less horror "

    "Went from being a fun/funny show to an unfun/unfunny slog through depression and degradation."

    You judge this show as if it is a comedy like Friends, where if you don't laugh a lot it is a poor episode. That is just being shallow in terms of judging an episode
    All Comments | Link262 | Big Time JamesDec 23, 2015 @ 2:29am
    Replying to Zarnium (#253)
    Zarnium: "My disagreement with James is that he seems to only like the wit in and of itself, and not the depth that it can provide. When there's depth without so much wit, he thinks it weighs down the show."

    WRONG. I LOVE the depth! It was there s1-5.

    This is NOT a debate about depth!

    Buffy needing to get a job and pay the bills is not "deep" anyway. It is what it is. You may think it is revolutionary in genre storytelling, but Spiderman had actually covered that ground quite well more than 30 years beforehand, so it was nothing remotely new.
    All Comments | Link263 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 23, 2015 @ 2:33am
    SpiderBuffy. SpiderBuffy. Does what every Spiderman already did.
    All Comments | Link264 | Big Time JamesDec 23, 2015 @ 2:34am
    Replying to Samm (#255)
    Samm: "The reason at least i am arguing is he is saying it is of lesser quality because there is less humor and the show took a darker route."

    No, no, no... these are separate, not cause and effect. I dislike season 6 because:

    1) Less humor and darker tone
    2) Decline in quality of writing
    (there are other reasons, but let's stop there)

    They are each separate reasons that I disliked season 6. One did not cause the other.
    All Comments | Link265 | SammDec 23, 2015 @ 2:41am
    The writing did not decline

    Less humor and Darker Tone doesn't = Bad

    "Buffy needing to get a job and pay the bills is not "deep" anyway."

    You act like this was the entire season, it is added depth, and adds to what the season is about.

    You know what isn't deep, watching Buffy attend some school classes. But does that mean those scenes were bad?
    All Comments | Link266 | Big Time JamesDec 23, 2015 @ 2:43am
    Replying to Samm (#258)
    Samm: "Season 6, the writing was not weaker, it took a different tone which YOU did not enjoy."

    So... you do think Marti Noxon was as talented a writer as Joss Whedon.

    Well, I disagree, as have the 13 years that have followed. Not to mention OMWF, which simply blew the rest of season 6 away. Joss Whedon's primary contribution to it.
    All Comments | Link267 | SammDec 23, 2015 @ 2:47am
    All i care about is what i saw season 6, which Joss had a lot of input too.

    Again, that is not proving it is of lesser quality.
    All Comments | Link268 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 23, 2015 @ 2:50am
    Replying to Samm (#265)
    Isn't the decline a bit more subjective than that? I mean even Mike admitted that parts of the season weren't as good as Season 5 (I'm not the biggest fan of Season 5 but it was stronger than 6 on the whole) so I guess it all depends on how big the issues are for you.
    All Comments | Link269 | SammDec 23, 2015 @ 2:56am
    It is Subjective, that is what i have been getting at, but James keeps going on like it is fact, when it isn't.

    I respect people who don't like a season, but give proper reasons, and understand why many others like it.

    But spouting that it ruined the show is just.....
    All Comments | Link270 | Big Time JamesDec 23, 2015 @ 3:00am
    Samm: "You judge this show as if it is a comedy like Friends, where if you don't laugh a lot it is a poor episode. That is just being shallow in terms of judging an episode"

    It is true that I loved the wit and humor of Buffy under Whedon's watch, it was a big part of the show for 5 years.

    However, there were plenty of Buffy episodes without laughs that I quite enjoyed s1-5, and my favorite series of 2015 is the humorless Jessica Jones, so it's not like humor is mandatory for me in a series.

    I did not watch Friends, but I am sure that if, season 6, they suddenly decided to cut back drastically on the humor and pull a Lars Von Trier for a season, the show's fans would not have been happy.
    All Comments | Link271 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 23, 2015 @ 3:03am
    I'd say JJ had a bit of humour with some of JJ remarks and Kilgrave's Cockney quips and even some humour surrounding the mind control. Though of course it does have a pretty dark core.
    All Comments | Link272 | SammDec 23, 2015 @ 3:09am
    I didn't find myself laughing anymore in season 5 than i was in 6, yes it was lighter in tone but it wasn't a drastic jump like you think it was.

    And it isn't set in high school or college anymore, it turned into for a lack of a better word a more serious show. It is just the show evolving.
    All Comments | Link273 | Freudian VampireDec 23, 2015 @ 3:14am
    - QUOTE -
    my favorite series of 2015 is the humorless Jessica Jones
    I think this should be enough to clue you in that there are irreconcilable differences in how you all approach television and what you want from it.
    All Comments | Link274 | Jeremy G. | WRITERDec 23, 2015 @ 6:29am
    I didn't necessarily want to get involved in the longer discussion here, but this really rubbed me the wrong way:

    - QUOTE -
    So... you do think Marti Noxon was as talented a writer as Joss Whedon.

    Well, I disagree, as have the 13 years that have followed.

    I've made some thoughts regarding Noxon's writing on the "Dead Things" comments section, but let me expand here:

    1) You can't bring up proof as to which writers wrote the best Buffy episodes by talking about the work they've done since. What they've written since Buffy does not affect the quality of their work on Buffy. Aaron Sorkin has written some pretty poor television in the last 13 years, but his more recent work should not be used to judge his writing on The West Wing or Sports Night.

    2) Whedon has obviously had more success than Noxon has in recent years, regardless of the quality of his writing. Not a knock against Joss, but he's been helped greatly by name recognition in association with Buffy (as well as Firefly, which springboarded his career into film). Tim Minear, an Angel writer whom many would consider wrote even better Angel scripts than Whedon did, has not had nearly as much success, instead producing a string of shows that were critically acclaimed but little-viewed and short-lived. Meanwhile, Agents of SHIELD was able to survive long enough to get through its S1 growing pains, thanks in great part to having Whedon's name attached (although admittedly, the Marvel brand didn't hurt, either).

    3) If you want to argue that Whedon has been more successful than Noxon in the last decade or so, you can easily make that case. If you want to argue that the quality of his writing has been far better than hers since Buffy? Yeah, I'll argue against that. Look at this past summer. Whedon wrote and directed The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was a fairly decent superhero flick. Noxon, meanwhile, co-created and produced UnREAL, which was as creative and entertaining as any other show made this year. So I don't think her current work drags down her earlier work. Not at all.

    Side note: If you found Jessica Jones to be "humorless", you were probably watching a different Jessica Jones than I was.
    All Comments | Link275 | ZarniumDec 23, 2015 @ 9:43am
    - QUOTE -
    I got to say this whole debate has become pretty aggressive from both sides of the argument. Feels like you're trying way too hard to defend your points and are taking offence just cause they feel the other side is doing a disservice to the show.

    Eh... in retrospect, you're right, my last couple of posts before "signing off" were a tad more aggressive than they needed to be, even if I still stand by my arguments. For what it's worth, I apologize.

    Also for what it's worth, I'd politely ask James to not make unsubstantiated personal integrity attacks like this in the future:

    - QUOTE -
    This is just one of many routes the writers could have taken, and I have no doubt whatsoever that if the writers had taken this route, you would not find it such a problem. Which is kinda funny.
    All Comments | Link276 | PathbeyondthedarkDec 23, 2015 @ 11:11am
    So this hasn't ended yet?

    - QUOTE -
    Eh... in retrospect, you're right, my last couple of posts before "signing off" were a tad more aggressive than they needed to be, even if I still stand by my arguments. For what it's worth, I apologize.

    Don't apologize, you have a right to be insulted. James is just pushing buttons at this point. No one should honestly be replying when it's clear he's only trying to get a rise out of everyone. It's the only way it will stop.
    All Comments | Link277 | Freudian VampireDec 23, 2015 @ 11:25am
    That is helping less.
    All Comments | Link278 | ZarniumDec 23, 2015 @ 11:31am
    - QUOTE -
    Don't apologize, you have a right to be insulted. James is just pushing buttons at this point.

    Well, you're right, but I usually like to either maintain my cool without making snarky comments or just leave if I find a comment chain too combatitive. I probably should have just made my case once or twice multiple comments ago and left instead of getting increasingly irritated while the discussion clearly wasn't going anywhere, which is partly what made this as drawn out as it is.
    All Comments | Link279 | Jeremy G. | WRITERDec 23, 2015 @ 11:38am
    Replying to Zarnium (#278)
    See, that was why I didn't want to get involved in the longer discussion. And now I'm starting to realize that I should have probably kept to the sideline position.
    All Comments | Link280 | Big Time JamesDec 23, 2015 @ 3:49pm
    Jeremy coming off the sidelines: "If you want to argue that Whedon has been more successful than Noxon in the last decade or so, you can easily make that case. If you want to argue that the quality of his writing has been far better than hers since Buffy? [proceeds to give one example for each]"

    Noxons' post-buffy writing credits of note: Fright Night remake (awful), Grey's Anatomy, Mad Men, Glee, UnREAL
    Whedon's post-buffy writing credits: Angel, Serenity, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible's Singalong, Cabin in the Woods, Avengers.

    No comparison here.

    Jeremy: "Not a knock against Joss, but he's been helped greatly by name recognition in association with Buffy (as well as Firefly, which springboarded his career into film)."

    Hmmm, well, Noxon was the showrunner of Buffy s6-7, head writer above Jane Espenson, and yet Espenson's notable post-buffy writing credits:

    The OC, Gilmore Girls, Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse, Buffy comic books, Game of Thrones, Torchwood, Once Upon a Time.

    Also blows Noxon away, with less "name recognition." It is also interesting to note that Espenson has continued to write for Whedon post-Buffy... and guess who hasn't?

    Jeremy: "Side note: If you found Jessica Jones to be "humorless", you were probably watching a different Jessica Jones than I was."

    Well, sure, it wasn't devoid of "humor," I guess, but I didn't laugh once during the entire series (my daughter did, for the "Murdercorpse" line). The entire series being about an alcoholic abuse and rape survivor with PTSD, I find it strange if you were laughing your way through it.

    It's kind of like a lot of the movie reviews calling "Melancholia" "humorless"-- technically, this isn't true, as there are "funny" scenes in it. Still, overall, I think it is fair to call it "humorless" as a relative term. Overall, the film is about as grim as it gets.
    All Comments | Link281 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 23, 2015 @ 3:59pm
    Not really sure that Buffy comics should really be something you want to put in the positive category given their mixed reception.

    Ironically both the Fright Night remake and Jessica Jones have David Tennant in them. And I guess in both it would be hard not to watch him without thinking of him pulling out a sonic screwdriver.
    All Comments | Link282 | Jeremy G. | WRITERDec 23, 2015 @ 4:34pm
    (instantly rejects earlier sideline-related comment, takes deep breath, smiles politely)

    - QUOTE -
    [proceeds to give one example for each]

    Ah, well-played, James. You're touching upon the fact that I only gave one (1) example of why Martin Noxon's writing should not be unappreciated. And then you go on to list several examples of how underwhelming her post-Buffy writing is, while only giving a one(1)-word opinion on only one (1) of those examples.

    It's a shame, really. It's too bad that I didn't, say, write a more detailed comment just a week ago (in response to another comment that you made on the "Into the Woods" review) going further into depth about why those writing credits actually support Noxon's position as both a great and important writer in her post-Buffy days. It's too bad that I didn't...

    Oh, wait:

    - QUOTE -
    As far as her post-Buffy writing credits go: Those two Mad Men episodes are hardly the sum of her greatness. Her single Grey's Anatomy script ("Some Kind of Miracle") took one of Shonda Rhimes' dumbest story ideas and made it fascinating, and Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce is better than it has any right to be. But most importantly - and you neglected to mention this at all - she is the cocreator and showrunner of UnREAL, which was the best new drama of 2015.

    Noxon has taken a pair of cable networks which were formerly ridiculed as "cheap" and "trashy" (Lifetime and Bravo) and made them home to quality programs with strong and complex female protagonists. So no disrespect to Goddard or Espenson, but she's still one of the best writers to come from the world of Buffy.

    Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Noxon may not have as lengthy a resume as Whedon or even Espenson, but she's produced some great entertainment, and she's done it while keeping the Golden Age of Television as fresh as... well, pretty much anyone else in the business right now.

    Noxon was awesome then, and she's awesome now, and she's done some pretty awesome things in between.

    Oh, and one more thing...

    - QUOTE -
    The entire series being about an alcoholic abuse and rape survivor with PTSD, I find it strange if you were laughing your way through it.

    This is usually the part where you'd expect me to call you out for making what Zarnium referred to earlier as "unsubstantiated personal integrity attacks". But I won't be doing that. I don't think that any harm was done by your comment, because I don't think there's a single person on this website who would consider that I'm the type of guy who would "laugh his way through a show about a rape survivor with PTSD".

    But hey, it was definitely a good attempt at twisting my words in the attempt to make me look like an awful person.
    All Comments | Link283 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 23, 2015 @ 5:01pm
    Haven't seen much of Noxon's work outside those Mad Men episodes (I don't remember the first one but Gypsy + Hobo was pretty good even though it was a group effort) and I'm just gonna say I wasn't crazy about the kind of episodes she was writing on Buffy most of the time. Mainly either heavy handed dramatic, stupid or some combination of the two. There were a few alright ones like What's My Line, Bargaining 1 and Villains that managed to get a good balance (even if they're far from perfect). I'm not as angry with her as I was initially and I suppose having someone writing her kind of episodes wasn't a bad thing but they just didn't click with me as well as some other writers' work. I mean she's know Ben Edlund or Vince Gilligan who managed to do both dramatic and comedic stuff really well while rarely if ever getting over-indulgent in either (don't bring up Ghostfacers or Monster Movie Jeremy those were perfectly fine episodes and were still better than Bad Eggs). Sure Ben Edlund's working on Gotham now which means he's probably not being used to his full potential right now but Gilligan was the Breaking Bad verse on his side so he rules (even if Lone Gunmen was kind of OK).

    To be fair Jeremy I think that last comment was more of a questioning eyebrow raise as opposed to an accusation.
    All Comments | Link284 | Jeremy G. | WRITERDec 23, 2015 @ 5:42pm
    I agree that Vince Gilligan rules.

    I disagree about literally everything else.
    All Comments | Link285 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 23, 2015 @ 5:56pm
    What not even that Gypsy and the Hobo was pretty good?
    All Comments | Link286 | Jeremy G. | WRITERDec 23, 2015 @ 5:58pm
    "The Gypsy and the Hobo" was not "pretty good". It was amazing. There's a difference.
    All Comments | Link287 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 23, 2015 @ 6:06pm
    It's always about semantics with you isn't it. Just note I have a hard time saying a Mad Men episode is amazing not matter how great it is because I have a harder time understanding and connecting to it then I might a Buffy, Supernatural or Star Trek episode. That's not to say Mad Men is doing anything wrong that's just my view of things (and unlike Mike I've actually seen the whole show so you can't use that excuse mister). Plus it's been a while since I've seen it and the only thing I remember is Betty confronting Don and that trick o treat ending where someone asks Don who he's supposed to be. Great stuff.
    All Comments | Link288 | Jeremy G. | WRITERDec 23, 2015 @ 7:20pm
    Oh, yeah, I definitely understand that Mad Men doesn't resonate with everyone. And I certainly won't use that "haven't seen the whole series" excuse against Mike - he's watched the first 3-4 seasons, which means he's seen the majority of the show's best material.

    (Admittedly, Scott won't be too happy with me about that last part.)
    All Comments | Link289 | LouisLittForEmperorDec 23, 2015 @ 7:49pm
    At least those later seasons don't have a debatable attempted rape scene or Potentials.Though it does have someone needing to wear an eyepatch.
    All Comments | Link290 | KrssvenMar 3, 2016 @ 11:47am
    Let's be clear - this is a divisive season. I don't think Season Six suffers because of the quality of the writing, but rather in the choices the writers made along the way. My problems with S6 fall into just two very large categories: Arc problems, and Character problems.

    Arc Problems

    The arc problems in S6 are obvious. While it is true there is a discernible arc in the season, it meanders along in an even worse manner than S3 does, cramming very important events into only a few episodes, mainly because there just isn't enough material to form an arc out of them. The Trio are, bluntly, terrible villains to hang almost an entire season on. The joke of three geeks trying to take on the Slayer wears thin after one episode. It would've been far better to have them pushed aside by a more genuine villain early in the season, or ideally end up as his minions. S6 was a chance to to come down a little from the superpowered villains of the past few seasons and return to Buffy's roots again (something they claimed they would do in S7, but also didn't fully achieve).

    Watching geeks playing at comic-book supervillains is not funny. Their whole interaction is cliched, over the top and actually completely inaccurate. I have met people as shallow as all three of those, but none who were actually that stereotypically 'geeky'. Their stumbling around just makes me bored and a little irritated, though at times it is funny. Warren offers throughout the season a slow-growing glimmer of the true person he is. I agree with many people's assessment that this is one horrible man we're dealing with, one that has very few redeeming qualities. In Dead Things (an overrated on this site but still powerful episode), we see that he considers such things as rape to be perfectly acceptable...he doesn't really believe that Katrina will ever accept him back, so he immediately defaults to what he originally intended: use his 'cerebral dampener' and use her sexually. When Warren finally does get his own genuine powers, he demonstrates he is perhaps the only one of the three that had the intention of true 'super-villainy' - he wanted power and fully intended to use it. For the other two, it was a game.

    This all detracts from there being no true villains in this season. Everything falls into a holding-pattern in terms of arc. For whole swathes of this season we get nothing - even the Trio don't appear in favour of acres of Buffy moping, Buffy and Spike sex, more Buffy moping, Willow moping, Willow being on drugs (sorry, magic). We are eventually rewarded for our extreme patience by a few great episodes at the season's end which finally give us Dark Willow. This 5-6 episode stretch at the end is amazing and highlights that writers weren't really sure how they were getting us to the final episodes of the season. You can see what they were trying to do, but ultimately a Magic = Drugs message was so heavy handed it would make ten-year-olds roll their eyes.

    I accept that Whedon wanted 'real life' to be the enemy this season. He lost sight however of what makes this show tick. It's about people with real-life situations facing problems, primarily VIA METAPHOR. So instead of Angel being a 'regular' jerk after sex, he actually becomes a monster. Instead of kids dying from a terrible disease, it's a monster. Instead of a real paranoid witch hunt, it turns out it's a monster. This show is all about the characters and their journeys. But half of their journeys are only as interesting because of what's happening in the plot.

    In season six, the monster-metaphors largely disappear, though there are still some interesting ones. Buffy for most of the season is depressed...because she's depressed. There's not actually anything wrong with her, just like real depression. This would be ok IF there were some external threat (not three geeks in a basement) to take the heaviness away from Buffy's sad, 'woe is me' attitude this season. Instead, we get meagre 'villains' and primarily an excuse to see Spike with his top off. This is pure, unsubtle fanwanking at its most blatant. With a change in showrunner, I can't help but feel someone wanted Buffy and Spike together, and lots of it: 'What's that? Plot? Oh, we don't need that. More Buffy and Spike bonking! What do you mean, the fans don't like it?'
    So we have a depressed character with no metaphorical reference without an external plot-influenced reason to do much but feel sorry for herself. Of the few metaphors we do get, one is the heavy-handed drug metaphor that simply does not work to a great extent. We know enough about Willow to know that she's interested in power, as in the wielding of it, and how it allows her to counter her true self. In S6, this becomes an addiction, a side of magic that we've NEVER seen before, and won't again after the season ends.

    To sum up S6's arc issues, I'd say this.

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer: this is a show I want to watch. It implies it's about a girl/woman fighting vampires. Maybe she also deals with real life stuff! How will she do it?

    Buffy and her Struggle With Depression
    Buffy and her Struggle to pay the Mortgage
    Buffy and her Meaningless Sex

    These are all shows I wouldn't want to watch, because this is too much like real life on a show that has Vampire Slayer in its title. Whedon is suggesting it's ok to flip from urban fantasy to an almost soap opera tale of a bunch of characters getting their asses kicked by real life. It isn't what this show is about. It isn't why we started watching it.

    Character Problems

    In Buffy season five, they hit a fairly high number of cast members. This gave the show an 'ensemble' feel, better even than the high school years in terms of character interaction. They even manage to semi-integrate Tara into the group!
    This is all rather quickly undone in S6. With Giles out of the way and Riley long gone, the cast becomes hugely lopsided, especially once Tara leaves. We are left with Buffy, Spike, Willow, Xander, Anya and Dawn. Consider that only three of these characters actually get any true focus. Dawn in particular is largely there to complain, loudly, and be annoying. Anya is primarily there for comic relief, and is also annoying. I also take serious issue with Anya's transformation into a near-Giles expert on...well, everything. Magic? She's an expert (even though she couldn't even cast a spell in S3). Demons? She's an expert. Random thing that is referenced or brought up? Anya's probably heard of it. These things aren't unusual for the oldest character to know, but there was no sign of this version of Anya early on in the show. Where was all her knowledge in earlier seasons? None of her expository dialogue, often delivered in a very condescending and unfunny manner, felt earned. The character became a writer vehicle because the actual occultist was long gone. In contrast Tara's magical knowledge is quietly hinted and built on over three seasons. She earned the moment when she confidently tells Buffy there's nothing wrong with her.

    I can deal with Buffy's character in this season - it's actually very well done and it's the plot of the season that lets the character down. With Willow, there was enough plot (if it can be called that in the middle of a plot-starved season), but her character was completely derailed. Instead of subtle power tripping spilling into overt megalomania or magical mistakes, Willow becomes a junkie. Great. 3+ seasons of build-up and we see Willow doing the magical equivalent of shooting up. It's nearly unforgivable what they did to this character in season six. Thankfully, they make up for it with Dark Willow. We finally see what happens when she goes truly off the deep end. It's just a shame it took the death of Tara to do it, but you can't do much better in terms of emotional impact.

    I liked the depiction of Xander in this season. At least with Xander and Spike, they stayed consistent and though he goes off the rails a little after 'Hell's Bells', it was perfect to have him be the one that saves Willow. It really paves the way for his growth into an actual likeable character in S7. By the end of the show, I actually quite like him and agree that he is the one who sees everything. My pet theory is that in decades' time, Xander and Dawn will really be the only ones of the Scoobies left around in any great fashion (Willow will be around a little but still more interested in magic, and Dawn will get to a ripe old age by dint of her never actually doing anything to put herself in danger). Xander will be the one telling kids about the last Lone Vampire Slayer and how she eventually fell, probably saving a bunch of lives in the process.


    Overall, it's the arc and character issues that bring this season down for me. There are decent episodes in it, but no more or less than any other, so it can't really be marked up for having good episodes. ALL Buffy seasons (even S1) have good episodes within and they all have decent character work at some point in there. I'm not convinced, and this season is horrendous proof, that pure character content can carry this type of show. Buffy for five seasons showed that at its core it was a dual show driven by BOTH character and plot. Push things too heavily into character focus at the expense of plot, and you get Season Six. Focus too heavily on plot, and you get parts of the last half of Season Seven. Between the two of them, there's a cracking season of television, but major missteps were made in both. Season Six of Buffy overall gets a big thumbs-down from most fans (this is not an opinion), and I hope people understand why. I place this second-bottom of Buffy seasons, above Season One by default. It simply isn't better than any of the others.

    Season Seven manages to recover from Season Six, thanks to the upswing of the Dark Willow arc and a fantastic first half. It falters later on, but it isn't bad by any stretch.
    All Comments | Link291 | DoydenJun 5, 2016 @ 4:03am
    Replying to x factor (#69)
    Excuse me what about Angel?
    All Comments | Link292 | Freudian VampireJun 5, 2016 @ 10:41am
    That post was from 2011. I wouldn't be too optimistic for a response.
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