Critic's Choice : Television

January 20, 2002|By Chris Kaltenbach

It's about time those of you who still think Buffy the Vampire Slayer is some silly kids' show woke up and smelled the coffee (or perhaps blood would be more appropriate). And the recently released DVD collection of the show's 12 first-season episodes is a good place to start the process.

The episodes on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete First Season --beginning with "Welcome to the Hellmouth," in which the newly expelled Buffy moves to a new town, meets new friends and finds her slayer responsibilities never go away, and running through "Prophecy Girl," her final encounter with The Master, in which Buffy dies for the first (but not last) time -- are a blast. Especially given the developments of the show's current sixth season, which has seen Buffy yanked from Heaven, Willow OD-ing on magic and Xander getting ready to marry a former Demon, it's nice to be reminded of the days when these kids were still struggling just to get through high school.

The real treats, however, are the running commentaries from series creator Joss Whedon, whose engaging, off-the-cuff banter both makes it all seem easy and reveals just how tricky putting together a weekly TV show can be. The result is an intimate, fascinating look at a series that has consistently been one of television's best. The Emmy folks refuse to understand, but don't let that stop you.

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