Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season
By
Phil Davetas
6/25/2003 9:41:07 PM

It’s to higher learning and fighting some nasty fiendoids and grab-assitic necromancers with the Bad Ass Sister, Buffy Anne Summers, and the rest of the Scooby Gang. This time they face the perils of UC Sunnydale and the pretentious protests of your quibble of the week—gay rights, stopping the evil administration from raising tuition, parking, roommates and not having enough beer. This season’s arc is a disappointment if you’re looking for continuing subplots. Where this season succeeds is in the overall individual episodes and the character growths post-Sunnydale High. Buffy’s banging up with more guys. Willow’s wandering into the wayside woods of wee, wet, Wiccan fingers. Xander juggles several jobs and a relationship with the ex-man-hating vengeful demon, Anya. Giles is crooning it up at the local espresso pub and fulfilling his dreams of becoming the next breakout prophet of freedom rock. Spike’s got an anti-bite V-chip in his cranium that renders him impotent to doing damage to humans. Amy’s still a rat. And when is someone gonna finally kill Buffy’s mom? She must die. Regardless of the mythologies that keep breaking down as the show goes on, the inconsistencies [e.g., How was Willow able to give great lesson plans left on Jenny Calendar’s computer when Angel destroyed it in Season 2?] and the inaccuracies of the military element throughout Season 4-- the show continues to be interesting on the emotional growth of the characters introduced over the years.

Along with the college theme circulating throughout, at least we get out of the lame one-shit wonder high school music of the Bronze’s bands. We get Blink-182, Bif Naked, face to face, Garbage and a list of cooler music. Take heed to the special features on disk three where they chat about the tunes and score, the sets, “Hush,” and particularly two lengthy featurettes on both Spike and Oz and their journeys throughout the series. There is a great and amusing commentary with Marti Noxon, Seth Green and Joss Whedon on “Wild At Heart.” Some of the other commentaries run a little dry, but for all you film and TV students there are some viable bits of knowledge I’m sure your film teachers don’t know about. As Buffy boxed sets go, this would have to be the best on extra stuff—of course Buffy 2 has some really great extras. Buffy 1 has mostly limited gimmicks, but the screensaver is worth it for fanatics. The episodes are better than most of the previous seasons however the overall story with Adam and the Initiative are a bit watered down. This is best viewed side by side with AngelSeason One.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season
NR, 1999-2000, 999 min. (6 Disks), Fox Home Video.

Special Features:

Interviews, Commentary on Selected Episodes, Scripts of Selected Episodes, Still Gallery and Featurettes: “Hush,” “The Sets of ‘Buffy’,” “Spike, Me,” “Buffy, Inside the Music,” “Oz Revelations: Full Moon.”

Other Cooky, Spooky Couch Potato Shows:

Tales From the Darkside, Monsters, Dracula: The Series, Dark Shadows, Night Gallery, Twilight Zone (In the Day, 80s and Now), Goosebumps. The Addams Family, Devil Hunter Yohko, The Munsters, The Munsters Today, Friday the 13th - The Series, Freddy’s Nightmares, Tales From the Crypt, Dr. Who, Read All About It, The Land of the Lost and others if you can find any of the latter… and of course, don’t forget to check out the original 1992 Buffy flick.

Episode List:

The Freshman
Written and Directed by Joss Whedon. Air Date: 10-05-99
Most of the Scoobies decide to enroll at UC Sunnydale, but Buffy’s having a hard time adjusting while getting her ass kicked in her free time by a badass necro named Sunday—after the day of rest.

Living Conditions
Written by Marti Noxon and Directed by David Grossman. Air Date: 10-12-99
Buffy hates her diva-rocking roommate and is convinced that she’s a demon sent to make her life a living hell. Now, Buffy must kill this necro-wench.

The Harsh Light of Day
Written by Jane Espenson and Directed by James A. Contner. Air Date: 10-19-99
Spike’s back in town digging under the town of Sunnydale looking for the Gem of Omara which makes a vampire unkillable. The first crossover with Oz driving to LA and giving the Gem to Angel.

Fear Itself
Written by David Fury and Directed by Tucker Gates. Air Date: 10-26-99
Monsters, zombies and bats, oh my. Now demon that likes to kick it on Halloween that feeds on everyone’s innermost fears?! Rubbish!

Special Feature: Original Script.

Beer Bad
Written by Tracey Forbes and Directed by David Solomon. Air Date: 11-2-99
Xander gets a job as a bartender jerking beer for the local co-eds and looks like Buffy’s discovered the brain-lulling comfort of bad beer which turns people into Neolithic apes who grunt vowels and want to have sex all the time. Wait, this beer is supposed to be bad?

Wild At Heart
Written by Marti Noxon and Directed by David Grossman. Air Date: 11-9-99
Looks like Oz has caught a whiff of the local she-wolf putting his relationship with Willow on the rocks.

Special Feature: Commentary by Joss Whedon, Marti Noxon and Seth Green.

The Initiative
Written by Douglas Petrie and Directed by James A. Contner. Air Date: 11-16-99
Hm, maybe Riley isn’t just an innocent dope after all. But most of all this has the most kick-ass fight sequence in the history of the Buffy show—Xander vs. Harmony!

Special Feature: Commentary by Doug Petrie.

Pangs
Written by Jane Espenson and Directed by Michael Lange. Air Date: 11-23-99
The Thanksgiving episode complete with heart-warming killing and battles over Giles’ dining room table—“Bloody hell!” Spike stays tied to a chair the whole time watching the mayhem and getting shish kabobbed by arrows.

Something Blue
Written by Tracey Forbes and Directed by Nick Marck. Air Date: 11-30-99
Willow’s bumming now, so she conjures up a twisted, little spell that manifests her angst unto her loved ones. Giles goes blind, Buffy and Spike plan their wedding and Xander’s a full-on demon magnet.

Hush
Written and Directed by Joss Whedon. Air Date: 12-14-99
Xander and Spike become roommates. And, oh yeah, the Gentlemen are afoot. They’re stealing people’s voices just so they can get themselves nominated for an Emmy.

Special Feature: Commentary by Joss Whedon.

Doomed
Written by Marti Noxon & David Fury & Jane Espenson and Directed by James A. Contner. Air Date: 1-18-00
A couple of ragamuffin demons feel like re-opening Sunnydale High’s Hellmouth for kicks. And wackiness ensues.

A New Man
Written by Jane Espenson and Directed by Michael Gershman. Air Date: 1-25-00
Ethan Rayne decides to meet up with his old demon-raising friend, Giles, and turns him into a Fyarl demon. Giles raises hell all over town with the Initiative and Buffy on his ass, but the only one that can help him is Spike… for a price that is.

The I In Team
Written by David Fury and Directed by James A. Contner. Air Date: 2-8-00
Well, looks like Buffy’s given absolute power to hang out in the Initiative compound whenever she wants. Think she could get Giles a Hummer or two while she’s down there, but NO.

Goodbye Iowa
Written by Marti Noxon and Directed by David Solomon. Air Date: 2-15-00
Looks like Adam’s finally up.

This Year’s Girl
Written by Douglas Petrie and Directed by Michael Gershman. Air Date: 2-22-00
Faith decides to wake from Season 3’s coma with a hankering for kicking Buffy’s ass again. Funny, I’d just be hungry if I were her… but I’m not five by five.

Special Feature: Commentary by Doug Petrie

Who Are You?
Written and Directed by Joss Whedon. Air Date: 2-29-00
Buffy and Faith swap bodies. Wouldn’t it just suck if the other was on the other’s period?

Special Feature: Original Script.

Superstar
Written by Jane Espenson and Directed by David Grossman. Air Date: 4-4-00
Looks like the all powerful Jonathon and his sidekicks, the Scoobies and the Initiative, are back to fight a demon terrorizing the locals.

Special Feature: Commentary by Jane Espenson.

Where the Wild Things Are
Written by Tracey Forbes and Directed by David Solomon. Air Date: 4-25-00
Looks like Buffy and Riley are going at it like pistons while the world around them is engulfed in peril. The Scooby Gang must stop Buffy and Riley’s orgasms before the frat house of UC Sunnydale is consumed by the ghosts of evil orphans. Interesting. Why hadn’t they shown up at all the other keggers?

New Moon Rising
Written by Marti Noxon and Directed by James A. Contner. Air Date: 5-2-00
Hm. Oz is back in town to sniff out a couple of trees and mark Willow’s territory, but looks like someone’s already beat him to the squirt.

The Yoko Factor
Written by Doug Petrie and Directed by David Grossman. Air Date: 5-9-00
Angel decides to reconcile with Buffy after their run-in on his show, but winds up kicking Riley’s ass instead. Oh yeah, Adam’s got Spike running errands for him to end all humanity… again.

Primeval
Written by David Fury and Directed by James A. Contner. Air Date: 5-16-00
The Apocalypse is near, but the Scoobies decides to kick ass and save the world from total annihilation… again.

Special Feature: Commentary by James A. Contner and David Fury.

Restless
Written and Directed by Joss Whedon. Air Date: 5-23-00
The episode that explores the deeper internal workings of the Scooby Gang while being attacked by the spirit of the original slayer in their dreams. Damn! No one tries to kill Joyce. Maybe next time.

Special Feature: Commentary by Joss Whedon.

Angel – Season Two available September 2, 2003.

Buffy 5 scheduled for some time in 2003. Probably around X-mas.

 

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