Buffy's return takes suspension of disbelief

Today's TV

October 02, 2001

Between the switch from WB to UPN and the season finale that left Buffy six feet under, no returning series has generated a buzz equal to that of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I remember a grown-up critic grabbing me in the hallway the day after the season finale and saying, "But, David, she was dead and buried. How can they possibly bring her back and remain credible?"

I don't think credibility is a big concern for hardcore fans of this remarkable series. I mean, think of all the wild mythology you had to buy into just to get past the pilot.

Given that kind of love and acceptance from Buffy's fans, I think what creator Joss Whedon gives them in tonight's two-hour season premiere will be enough to get most of them back on board.

By now, serious fans know that the first Buffy they see tonight kick-boxing vampires is really Buffybot, a robot created by Willow to keep the Demon Horde from knowing Buffy is dead and Sunnydale is up for grabs. But, when the Demon Horde finds out anyway, only the real thing can save the day.

I like the hero quest mythology in her resurrection a lot more than I do Sarah Michelle Gellar's performance as the born-again Buffy. But then I have never been a lover of all things Buffy.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer returns at 8 tonight on WUTB (Channel 24).- David Zurawik

At a glance

Emeril (8 p.m.-8:30 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) - Despite misgivings about "going Hollywood," Emeril allows Jerry (Robert Urich) to talk him into doing a segment of a primetime magazine show. (Maybe real-life Emeril should have had similar reservations about this sitcom.) NBC.

Jag (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) - To escape questions about her split from Mic, Mac goes aboard a ship in the Indian Ocean to investigate a supposed man overboard. CBS.

Come Together: A Night of John Lennon's Words and Music (8 p.m.-10 p.m., WNUV, Channel 54) - This concert of prayer and healing for New York City, broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall, will benefit relief efforts in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Kevin Spacey is host, and scheduled musical guests include Dave Matthews, Moby, Stone Temple Pilots, Nelly Furtado, Shelby Lynne, Alanis Morissette, Cyndi Lauper, the Isley Brothers, Lou Reed, Marc Anthony and Yolanda Adams. The event will also be broadcast live on TNT. WB.

What About Joan (8:30 p.m.-9 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) - In the season premiere, Jake's unexpected visit to Joan's classroom triggers rampant curiosity among her students about how a mere teacher could snag such a hot boyfriend. ABC.

5 Girls (9 p.m.-11 p.m., MPT, Channels 22 and 67) - Shown as part of the P.O.V. series of independent films, this story of "growing up female in America" was made in Chicago over a three-year period. Filmmaker Maria Finitzo follows five teens and finds that they have much in common despite varying backgrounds. PBS.

Cable

Biography (8 p.m.-9 p.m., A&E) - This profile of Prince Andrew looks at his fairytale wedding to Sarah Ferguson, the scandalous breakup of his marriage and his emergence as a major player on the international party scene.

The Contender (8:30 p.m.-11 p.m., HBO) - The performance of the always-reliable Joan Allen is a highlight of this 2000 movie. She's in line to succeed the deceased vice president, but the nomination is threatened by accusations of past sexual indiscretions that she doesn't want to talk about.

Compiled from wire reports by Sarah Kickler Kelber

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