Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 1 DVD Set
Starring:
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, David Boreanaz, etc.
Directed By:
Joss Whedon
Grade
B+

American fans of this series finally can purchase the boxed set of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Picking up where the campy movie left off, Buffy is a girl with supernatural powers and a heritage to rid the world of vampires and monsters of all assortments. With her mother, she moves to Sunnydale to start a fresh new life, only to find out that the high school stands on top of a Hellmouth, a place of evil power which draws vampires and monsters like moths to a candle. She gets some new friends, Willow and Xander, and comes to find out that the librarian is her new Watcher, which is basically her guide and trainer.

The charm of the series is the balance between the characters wit and the fantasy-like action. While the stories are often peppered with a little soap-operaness, they still manage to pit our heroes against forces that might seem unbeatable. On top of the mystical forces that line themselves against our heroes is the day-to-day challenges these teens must face from their own class mates: broken hearts, bullies and crushes. Joss Whedon has managed to create a series where real life does manage to be as much trouble as the supernatural. Even in the first season, the characters grow in depth and character.

The initial 12 episodes available in this set are a good set-up for what's to come. While none of the serious action and lengthy story arcs occur until the second season, the first season of episodes gives the viewer an idea of where Joss Whedon wants to take his characters. The interaction between the characters is good, even if Angel feels a little underplayed initially. Both Xander and Willow, to a lesser degree, will make you laugh out loud on occassion, successfully performing as sidekicks to the often emotionally torn Buffy, who must balance her duties with her desire for a real life.

If you are a fan of the series (which has a die hard fan base) you owe it to yourself to get this set. While the video and audio quality are adequate (not the best in the world, but as good as you get on TV), my only real complaint is the layout of the DVDs. The shows are not strung together, so if you want to just watch all the episodes, you have to play one show and then navigate the menu after it's over to play the next, and so forth. Also, there are a lot of extras, even if they do seem to be hidden (you have to actually pick an episode to watch before you can find where they're at in the menus). If you can look past the shortcoming of the DVDs themselves, you should have a good time with this boxed set.

- - Kinderfeld

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