Victoria Pratt (Mutant X)
Jennifer Sky (Xena)
Elizabeth Hawthorne (Hercules: TLJ)
Latham Gaines (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)
Jack Black (Goosebumps)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Jason Alexander (Seinfeld)
Joe Viterelli (Analyze This)
Tony Robbins (Men In Black)
Bruce McGill (Ali)
Molly Shannon (Never Been Kissed)
Sasha Neulinger (Unbreakable)
Susan Ward (Poison Ivy 3)
Rene Kirby (Stuck on You)
Kyle Gass (Wild Hogs)
Laura Kightlinger (Who’s the Caboose?)
Brooke Burns (Baywatch)
Jennifer Sky (Cleopatra 2525)
Andy Hallett (Angel)
Hal Larson (Jack Black) is a superficial man whose fixation on the physical beauty of women gets in the way of seeing their inner beauty. Hal and his equally shallow friend, Mauricio (Jason Alexander), spend their nights obnoxiously hitting on beautiful women at nightclubs. Hal’s work life is steady, but he is dismayed after being passed over for a long-sought promotion. His love life is non-existent, as we see when he tries to ask his attractive neighbor, Jill; out for a date. Jill isn’t interested; as she finds Hal too shallow.Hal becomes trapped in an elevator with famous American life coach Tony Robbins. While waiting for the elevator to be repaired, Robbins sympathizes with Hal’s disappointment but tries to figure out his ideas about women. He hypnotizes Hal into only seeing a person’s inner beauty. Hal does not realize he’s been hypnotized and later meets Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow), daughter of the president of the company where he is employed. Rosemary is morbidly obese, but Hal sees a slender and beautiful trophy blonde. He is immediately smitten by her. His boss is not certain about Hal dating his daughter, thinking that Hal may be trying to climb to the top of the corporate ladder. Used to being overlooked due to her appearance, Rosemary initially interprets Hal’s interest as mocking, but begins to realize his feelings for her are sincere. After apologizing to him, they begin to date, which includes a bike ride with Walt (Rene Kirby).Mauricio, worried about Hal’s new taste in women, convinces Robbins to give him the trigger phrase to undo the hypnosis. Mauricio phones Hal, who is on a date with Rosemary, and says the trigger phrase, breaking Hal’s hypnosis. While at the restaurant, Rosemary tells Hal she’s signed up with the Peace Corps for a 14-month mission in Kiribati. Mauricio confesses to Hal the truth about Robbins’ hypnotherapy, but Hal does not believe it until he runs into a woman who initially appeared beautiful to him but whom Hal now sees in her true, unattractive state. Hal begins to avoid Rosemary, who becomes melancholic without him around. Distraught that he was not seeing the “real” Rosemary, Hal accepts a dinner invitation from his neighbor, Jill. The two dine together and Jill tells Hal that she has observed him overcoming his shallow nature and is interested in dating him now.Hal realizes his true feelings for Rosemary who has, coincidentally, arrived at the same restaurant with her family and sees Hal and Jill seated together. Assuming the worst, Rosemary leaves in tears. Not recognizing Rosemary, Hal walks right by her on his way to the pay phone to, ironically, reassure her of his feelings, after refusing to date Jill because of his feelings for Rosemary. Confused and distraught, Rosemary calls Hal a “psycho” over the phone and effectively breaks up with him. Five days later Steve informs Hal that Rosemary’s Peace Corps partner, Ralph, wants to be in a relationship with her again. Hal attempts to find Rosemary, but instead encounters a young patient named Cadence at the hospital where Rosemary volunteers. Previously, due to Robbins’ hypnosis, Hal saw Cadence as a perfect little girl; he now sees that there are severe burns all over Cadence’s face. Inspired by Cadence, Hal changes his views on the outer appearances of people in general.Hal, during his search for Rosemary, finds that Mauricio had his own reason for stopping Hal’s hypnosis: He has a vestigial tail, which has prevented him from ever getting close to a woman. Mauricio confesses he was jealous of Hal’s happiness and is afraid to start a relationship with a woman. Hal convinces Mauricio to accept his abnormality, with confidence. Hal makes up with Mauricio and decides to reconcile with Rosemary. He heads to the Peace Corps recruiting office and confronts Ralph, believing he and Rosemary got back together. Ralph informs Hal that he and Rosemary are not together and that Rosemary’s parents are throwing her a farewell party (and Ralph wasn’t invited). Hal, Mauricio, Ralph and Ralph’s friend Leboy arrive at the home of Rosemary’s parents. Rosemary initially rebuffs Hal’s presence, but then accepts his apology when Hal professes his love for her. Rosemary informs Hal she is still leaving on her Peace Corps mission. Hal says he is coming, too, having just been sworn into the Peace Corps right before arriving at the Shanahans’ home. Hal and Rosemary reconcile, cheered by the crowd as they kiss. He tries to carry her bridal-style to the car, but finds he cannot lift her, so she triumphantly carries him instead. As they drive off, Mauricio meets a woman who loves dogs and the two walk off together as he wags his “tail”.Part comedy, drama, and romance this one was a rather good little movie to watch. Black and Paltrow were great and Jason Alexander was hilarious. An excellent comedy.
Sean CW Johnson (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Kris Lemche (Final Destination 3)
Stephen O’Reilly (This Is The Sea)
Laura Regan (Minority Report TV)
Jennifer Sky (Cleopatra 2525)
Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Nick Mennell (Halloween)
Five contestants, Matt (Sean Cw Johnson), Emma (Laura Regan), Charlie (Jennifer Sky), Danny (Stephen O’Reilly) and Rex (Kris Lemche), agree to take part in a reality webcast, where they must spend six months in a house to win $1 million. If anyone leaves, then no one wins the money. Nearing the end of the six months, tension between the contestants rises after Emma finds strange messages she believes are from a man from her past and the food packages arrive containing a letter that claims Danny’s grandfather has died, and a gun with five bullets. One night, a man named Travis Patterson (Bradley Cooper) arrives, claiming he is lost in the woods and that his GPS has died. Despite claiming to be an internet programmer, he claims to not recognise any of the contestants or have ever heard of the show. Later that night, Travis has sex with Charlie, and then secretly talks directly into a camera, to communicate with whoever is watching them. The next morning, Travis leaves and Danny discovers his backpack outside covered in blood and shredded to pieces. The contestants assume he was attacked by an animal but Rex believes Travis works for the people running their show and that it is all a trick to make them leave the house and forfeit the prize money.
Emma discovers her underwear among Danny’s belongings and confronts him, unaware that Travis planted them there the previous night. Danny denies it and attempts to make peace by giving her a crudely carved wooden cat, which Emma and Charlie ridicule, while Danny overhears. The next morning, the group finds Danny has committed suicide by hanging himself from the staircase balcony with a rope. The guests finally decide to leave, but after being unable to contact anyone via radio, decide to wait until the next morning. Rex uses the GPS unit from Travis’ bag and his laptop to gain access to the internet to find out more about the show but is unable any evidence of their show online. He is only able to find a heavily encrypted beta site, that requires a $50,000 fee to access, and displays a web page with their pictures and betting odds. The group decides they will leave the next morning, though Rex and Emma go up to the roof to set off a flare. While Charlie and Matt remain in the house, Matt asks a camera if he should kill her, before suffocating her with a plastic bag.
Later, while Emma is sleeping, Rex comes downstairs and is decapitated with an axe by Matt. Matt awakens Emma and brings her up to the attic, telling her he is being chased and the others are dead. He then makes advances on Emma, who refuses them, causing him to attempt to rape her, before she stabs him in the back and runs off. Emma runs outside and finds a police officer handcuffs her inside the car and enters the house. An injured Matt then crawls out, begging the cop to let him kill Emma, since spent six months in the house with her. Realizing they are working together, Emma escapes the car and tries to run but is shot in the back with a rifle by the cop. Matt and the cop sit in the kitchen discussing the setup they created with Travis for their high paying clients who want to witness the murders. When the cop says there are always “five suckers” to play the game with, Matt corrects him to four, and is then shot in the head. The cop then leaves, talking to Travis over the radio, while Emma is seen locked in a small room, unable to escape. As she collapses screaming, the cameras filming all shut off, one by one.
Its a horror movie that stays with you after you left the cinema or watched it on dvd. On second viewing it didn’t lose its appeal. This is a movie that will be remembered over the years, and deserves every success. Astoundingly brilliant!
Jennifer Sky (Xena)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Victoria Pratt (Mutant X)
Patrick Kake (30 Days of Night)
Elizabeth Hawthorne (Filthy Rich)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Joel Tobeck (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Danielle Cormack (Wentworth Prison)
Daniel Gillies (The Originals)
Kate Elliott (The Locals)
Latham Gaines (Power Rangers Dino thunder)
Jim McLarty (Evil Dead)
Zoe Bell (The Hateful Eight)
Bruce Hopkins (Hercules: TLJ)
Stephen Lovatt (Spartacus: Gods of The Arena)
Rupert Cox (After The Rain)
Chris Graham (Power Rangers Mystic Force)
Josephine Davison (Power Rangers SPD)
Kieren Hutchison (One Tree Hill)
Peter Feeney (Black Sheep)
Marton Csokas (Alice In Wonderland)
The show was released in 2000 by the same folks who made Hercules and Xena. Filmed in New Zealand, the show detailed a dystopian future like that in Rock & Rule where mutations were common and the result of some ecological disaster hundreds of years prior. The series followed the exploits of three attractive rebels, Cleopatra (the lovely Jennifer Sky), “Hel” (the talented Gina Torres), and “Sarge” (Victoria Pratt), in their quest to retake Earth from numerous machines called Baileys.The show opened each week with a revamped, upbeat version of the song In the Year 2525, starting with the episode Quest For Firepower, where Hel and Sarge have come under fire from enemy infiltration units called Betrayers (they look like humans but soon morph into weapon toking terminators that go on rampages to accomplish their goals). Sarge is hurt and in need of a vital organ transplant, stumbling across a mutant medical clinic that has just thawed an attractive young blonde, Cleopatra, from a deep sleep (500 years worth). Essentially an organ harvesting operation, the mutants make a deal and soon enough, the gals are teaming up in one of the most illogical, silly partnerships of television history. I found it interesting that Cleo(patra) was originally frozen in order to have breast augmentation.The series made a lot of how mankind has been forced into a series of underground tunnels due to the threat of the Baileys that hover about with heavy firepower above ground. The origins of the enemy don’t come about until the end of the series. The girls are part of a “Voice” team, guided by an unseen voice (played by Elizabeth Hawthorne), that uses rebel cells comprised of three warriors in an effort to fight battles needed to reclaim mankind’s heritage. They encounter other groups that all have their own agendas, sometimes forming loose knit alliances in the pursuit of uniting the people to pursue the fight as well as establish some form of justice lost long ago.The chief enemy, Creegan (Joel Tobeck), was a clown faced man with superior knowledge of the dynamics of the age, who is found to have worked closely with Voice in the past. His primary goal is to locate Voice and kill her at all costs, using whatever means necessary to achieve his goals. Rounding out the Voice team is a betrayer turned helpful android, Mauser (Patrick Kake), who provides support to the team and is riddled with a few mysteries of his own.Okay, the show was originally part of the “Back to Back Action Pack” with the silly Bruce Campbell series Jack of All Trades, a story about a Revolutionary War spy (Campbell’s fans clamor for that one big time!), with each show lasting the usual 30 minutes. After Campbell’s series was cancelled Cleopatra 2525 was boosted to a full hour, although this was only for the short second season.I wish there could have been better closure since the cliffhanger ending of The Voice made me want that one last episode to tie things up. The campy fun of the series, the over the top action, and the top notch production values all contributed enough to make this series a hit and must see for sci-fi fans.
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Nicholas Brendon (Children of The Corn III)
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
Charisma Carpenter (Scream Queens)
Anthony Stewart Head (The Iron Lady)
Davis Boreanaz (Bones)
Seth Green (Austin Powers)
James Marsters (Caprica)
Marc Blucas (Red State)
Emma Caulfield (Supergirl)
Michelle Tractenberg (17 Again)
Amber Benson (The Killing Jar)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Mark Metcalf (Drive me Crazy)
Brian Thompson (Hired To Kill)
Ken Lerner (The Running Man)
Kristine Sutherland (One Life To Live)
Julie Benz (No Ordinary Family)
Eric Balfour (Skylive)
Persia White (The Vampire Diaries)
Mercedes McNab (The Addams Family)
Elizabeth Anne Allen (Bull)
Robin Riker (The Bold and The Beautiful)
Musetta Vander (Stargate SG.1)
Christopher Wiehl (Cold Hearts)
Geoff Meed (Little Miss Sunshine)
Andrew J. Ferchland (The Last Leprechaun)
Jennifer Sky (Cleopatra 2525)
Chad Lindberg (The Fast and The Furious)
Armin Shimerman (Star Trek: DS9)
Dean Butler (Little House on The Prairie)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Robia LaMorte (Spawn)
Michael Bacall (Django Unchained)
Juliet Landau (Ed Wood)
Ara Celi (American Beauty)
Clayne Crawford (Roswell)
Danny Strong (The Prophecy II)
Kavan Smith (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Sachs (Jurassic Park 2)
Larry Bagby (Walk The Line)
Jason Behr (Roswell)
Will Rothhaar (Kingpin)
Julia Lee (A Man Apart)
Bianca Lawson (The Vampire Diaries)
Saverio Guerra (Becker)
John Ritter (8 Simple Rules)
Jeremy Ratchford (Cold Case)
James Parks (Kill Bill)
Vincent Schiavelli (Batman Returns)
Jack Conley (Fast & Furious)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Meredith Salenger (Lake Placid)
Charles Cyphers (Halloween)
Wentworth Miller (Legends of Tomorrow)
Shane West (Nikita)
Max Perlich (Blow)
Richard Riehle (Office Space)
Carlos Jacott (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Nancy Lenehan (Two Guys and a Girl)
Jason Hall (American Sniper)
K. todd Freeman (The Dark Knight)
Fab Filippo (Guidestones)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Ian Abercrombie (Army of Darkness)
Harry Groener (About Schmidt)
Jack Plotnick (Rubber)
Nicole Bilderback (Dark Angel)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Harris Yulin (Training Day)
Dominic Keating (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
Christian Clemenson (Lois & Clark)
Ron Rogge (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Ethan Erickson (Jawbreaker)
Andy Umberger (Deja Vu)
Katharine Towne (Evolution)
Lindsay Crouse (The Insider)
Phina Oruche (The Forsaken)
Adam Kaufman (Taken)
Walter Jones (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Kal Penn (Van Wilder)
Bailey Chase (Longmire)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)
Andy Hallett (Chance)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)
George Hertzberg (Too Much Magic)
Alastair Duncan (The Batman)
Rob Benedict (Birds of Prey)
Erica Luttrell (Lost Girl)
Kathryn Joosten (desperate Housewives)
Connor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Rudolf Martin (Swordfish)
Tom Lenk (The Cabin In The Woods)
Charlie Weber (Gacy)
Clare Kramer (Bring it On)
Ravil Isyanov (Alias)
Amy Adams (Man of Steel)
Brian Tee (Jurassic World)
Kali Rocha (Buried)
Kevin Weisman (Alias)
Abraham Benrubi (Open Range)
Cynthia LaMontagne (That 70s Show)
Oliver Muirhead (The Social Network)
Shonda Farr (Crossroads)
Adam Busch (Sugar & Spice)
Joel Grey (Cabaret)
Karim Prince (Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers)
Wade Williams (Gangster Squad)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Amber Tamblyn (Two and a Half Men)
Jordan Belfi (Surrogates)
Mageina Tovah (Spider-Man 2 & 3)
Ivana Milicevic (Casino Royale)
Lee Garlington (Flashforward)
Jan Hoag (Scream Queens)
Nicole hiltz (Smallville)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
D.B. Woodside (24)
Zachery Ty Bryan (The Fast and the Furious 3)
Sarah Hagan (Freaks and Geeks)
Jonathan M. Woodward (Firefly)
Stacey Scowley (The Brotherhood 2)
Felicia Day (The Guild)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (Arrow)
Ashanti (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Indigo (Broken City)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Dania Ramirez (Heroes)
Julia Ling (Chuck)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer is one of the wittiest, most well developed, and consistent cult fantasy shows on television. Unlike other shows in the genre, it has been able to showcase a wide balance between fantastic character development, humor, topical plotlines, heart wrenching drama, science fiction, and horror- a horn a plenty of styles all in one 44 min episode. While entertaining, everyone probably can’t relate to the technobabble machinations of a Star Trek episode, or the convoluted paranoia of and X-Files episode, but we all went through high school and whether you were average, popular, or an outcast, we know, we remember, all too well, the emotional highs and lows of growing up. Its something everyone can relate to, and its the central fire that keeps Buffy grounded.
But, Buffy began as a humble mid season replacement on a non entity network, and its early days when it was gaining its footing, starting its mythology, seeing how far they could tweek the drama and the horror with a minuscule budget… well, its not nearly the powerhouse it would quickly become in its second season. There are of course, subtle signs of the drama and humor to come, little hints that it was more than a teen show with vampires. And, honestly, if you were going to try and impress someone who had never seen The X-Flies, you certainly wouldn’t show them the first season without saying, “It gets much better.”
KEY EPISODES ARE –
Episode 1: Welcome to the Hellmouth- Buffy Summers, a high school sophomore, transfers to Sunnydale High. There she meets her “Watcher” and learns she cannot escape her true destiny.— Like most pilots, its all about introductions- Buffy the reluctant Slayer, her pals and soon to be Scoobies, spazz with a heart of gold Xander, shy brain Willow, her stuffy Watcher Giles, the mysterious Angel, and the snobbish beauty queen Cordelia. Also, of course, establishes the first main villain, The Master, and the Hellmouth, the demonic portal that would provide the show with its main mythological device keeping the town of Sunnydale infested with all manner of creatures for Buffy to slay
Episode 2: The Harvest:- A Stranger named Angel tells Buffy that if she does not stop the Harvest, the Hellmouth will open and the Master roam free.— Whereas the first episode was focused on introducing the characters and didn’t have much room for tension or action, The Harvest provides a look at Buffy having to accept her role as Slayer as she realizes the deadly consequences if she abandons her destiny.
Episode 5 : Never Kill a Boy on the First Date:
While awaiting the arrival of a warrior vampire called the Anointed One, Buffy’s big date at the Bronze ends with an assault on a funeral home. — Once again, showing Buffy’s attempts to balance a normal life with her secret life as the Slayer. While a little weak and cornball, it also manages to show the villain thread well, how most main Buffy villains will have some sort of evolution, twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing.
Episode 7: Angel: A moment of passion turns to terror as Buffy discovers Angel’s true identity and learns about the Gypsy curse that has haunted him for almost 100 years.— Probably the most weak, ill-defined character early on, this episode finally showcased more about Angel and gave his character some considerable fleshing out. Taking into account the large part his character would play in the Buffyverse, and the leaps and bounds of change he would undergo, his affect on all the characters, particularly Buffy, in one way or another, it makes this one of the seasons better episodes.
Episode 11: Out of Mind, Out of Sight: As Cordelia prepares for Sunnydale High’s May Queen competition, an invisible force starts attacking her closest friends.— Another of the seasons better episodes, and a clever look an always pertinent issue, showing yet another sympathetic foe, those fringe kids who are always ignored, sometimes until it is too late.
Episode 12: Prophecy Girl:
As the Spring Fling dance approaches, Giles discovers an ancient book foretelling the Slayers death at the hands of The Master.— While a tad abrupt, this finale serves up everything one wants, tension, conflict, and turns you don’t quite see coming. Pivotal in the series for all players, but mainly Buffy, showing that she isn’t just an invulnerable buttkicker able to save the day alone, but through banding together her and the Scoobies will take on many a Big Bad to come.
Season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is quite possibly the best season of the bunch. Season 2 is by definition, where things get darker and more complex, this was the season that really made Buffy an unpredictably smart series.
The season opens with ‘When She Was Bad’ which deals with the fallout of Buffy’s momentary death in the previous year one finale; this episode is appropriately handled and sees Buffy acting rather out of character after returning from her summer away from Sunnydale. The preceding episodes are a fun affair and help the viewer to settle back into the rhythm of the series with various episodes focusing upon certain characters.
The ‘Big Bads’ of the season appear early on and come in the form of Drusilla and Spike, the former being a rather off-her-rocker vampire and the latter a bleached, leather wearing, cocky undead Englishman! As villains they are a lot of fun and help to shape season 2 as something unique and well constructed. However, come the end of the year things are considerably shaken up in terms of ‘the Big Bads’, with the appearance of Angelus.
Willow, Xander and Giles all find themselves venturing into new territory: dating! Cordelia continues to redeem herself and becomes a fully fledged scoobygang member, whilst Buffy and Angel undergo many changes to their relationship which is mostly the driving force of the season. By the middle of the season the episodes gradually become darker and a more coherent storyarc begins to emerge, starting with the events of ‘Surprise (Part 1)’ which culminate in the emotional and incredibly shocking ‘Innocence’ (Part 2). Said episodes are some of the best in the history of the series and set in motion events that help to lead to the end of the season. The circumstances surrounding this two parter does literally change everything once established between Buffy and Angel; and brings into question their future. The continuity, witty one liners, oblique use of language does continue into this season and helps to boost the chemistry between the actors as they discuss, for example the oddness of some TV movies and sore thumbs. These subtle touches give the season a vibrancy and kooky edge; what makes Buffy such an enjoyable show is the warmth and heart it retains, mostly provided by the actors but also by the wonderfully consistent writing.
The two part finale ‘Becoming’ is well set up as a consequence of the episode ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’, which happens to be beautifully moving and tragic respectively. The complexity of the Angelus arc presented here really sets up and supports the actions that lead to the occurrences of the finale. ‘Becoming’ part 1 & 2 with all it’s flashback goodness brings about tumultuous change and throws one through the emotional wringer all the while its still surprising, sad and gut wrenching upon each rewatch. The issues dealt with this season are far more adult and dark than is the usual, and in turn it delivers a wonderfully realized arc which never fails to amaze.
This third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer contains some of my favourite episodes from the entire run of the show and also has the fewest offbeat episodes. This year Buffy and the gang are in their final year of high school but living on the Hellmouth is never easy and in addition to the usual demons and vampires they must deal with the schemes of the Watchers Council, a new slayer and a politician after even more power.
Buffy has really found its feet with this season and I would say that it is this year that the show reaches its peak. All the regular cast members give their usual brilliant performances but the season is really stolen by the new cast members, specifically Eliza Dushku as Faith the new Slayer and Harry Groener as the eccentrically evil Mayor Wilkins, who is probably my favourite of all the Buffy villains.
It is difficult to choose favorite episodes from this season as it includes so many great ones. `Bad Candy’, `Amends’, `Earshot’ and the two part season finally `Graduation’ are all excellent episodes being both funny and enthralling but my favorite episode has to be `Lover’s Walk’ where a lovesick Spike returns to Sunnydale after breaking up with Drusilla in order to find a way to get her back. James Marsters is truly excellent in this episode and livens up the series brilliantly. Another couple of episodes of note are `The Wish’ and `Doppelgangland’ both of which involve a parallel universe where vampires have taken over and feature a vamped up Willow, brilliantly portrayed by Alyson Hannigan who seems to enjoy the role immensely. Although none of the episodes could truly be considered awful, `Gingerbread’ and `The Zeppo’ are the weakest episodes of this season and are slightly painful to watch in places.
Overall this season is truly great, with brilliant writing and a plot that never ceases to be in turns exciting, funny and touching.
With the loss of David Boreanaz and Charisma Carpenter to the spin-off show, “Angel”, there were voids to be filled in this, the first season out of high school, and Marc Blucas and Emma Caulfield suitably obliged. The fragmentation of the Scooby Gang was for many the core reason why Season Four didn’t match the heights of the previous three: nobody seemed to care enough about each other any more. With Giles out of work, Xander flitting from one deadbeat job to another, and Buffy and Willow settling in to life on campus, there was concern that the old gang would never get back together.
A big risk was taken in introducing a more sci-fi element with the arrival of a secret government demon-hunting operation. But there’s a big difference from other genre shows: the Initiative was never in control of its actions. And that’s the gist of the season: that Buffy and her traditional methods will always be superior, and that it’s through her skills and her friends that evil is defeated, not bureaucracy. Which is why there’s no big finish in episode 22 (the grand climax happens in episode 21), because the most important storyline is about the reaffirmation of friendships, demonstrated in the most bizarre way imaginable in an episode composed almost entirely of dream sequences.
There are some classics (the Emmy-nominated “Hush” was possibly the boldest piece of television attempted before “The Body” the following year). And in the final scene of the season, we get a great setting-up of what’s to come, without knowing any specific details. All in all, a season that left a few minor gripes, but which in the overall scheme of things, has continued the journey of life into adulthood. Now they’re all supposed to be grown up, but the future still holds a great deal of uncertainty, and that can only be good for the show.
Although Season 5 still has comedic moments, it also has many more serious moments. Not to spoil it for those who have not seen the series yet, two major deaths rock the Sunnydale Slayage Crew. These are excellently handled, and in no way seem like they are tying off loose ends.
The episodes are excellent. From fighting Dracula, to multiple Xanders. From a new sister, to an old foe swapping sides. This season is excellent. the first disc houses such gems as the introduction of Dawn, without any back story or any clues into why she is there. These facts are revealed slowly through the next disc, with amusing storylines for Spike, clearly an excellent addition to the principal cast. Anya also comes into her own, and becomes revels in the joys of capitalism.
Through the next disc a departure of a relatively new character, Riley, hurts Buffy tremendously, whilst the appearance of a troll lightens the mood considerably. The fourth disc includes the fun episode where the Watcher’s Council return to Sunnydale, and reveal a shocking secret about the main enemy of this series. Spike also has a choice to make, whether to fall back into the arms of his old flame, Drusilla, or to move on and persue his newest conquest, a source of exasperation for Buffy.
The fifth disc is a solemn affair, with the death of a principal cast member, who had been with Buffy from the beginning. As Buffy and her ‘Scoobies’ attempt to cope, the attacks on them by the villain of the series grow more violent and frequent, leaving a dissuaded Buffy sure that she cannot beat the villain. When his new enemy learns of an importance in the Scooby gang, and this member of the gang get captured, Buffy goes into meltdown. With the help of Willow, Buffy recovers and faces the most terrifying villain ever in the history of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, with a conclusion that is heart wrenching.
“The Gift”, the season five finale, ended with Buffy dead and buried after battling deranged fallen goddess Glory. Dying is kind of old hat for Buffy, and I don’t think I’m giving too much away by revealing that the show’s title character quickly gets over the whole death thing. Although the ensuing gang of biker demons is corny, I thought her return from the grave in the feature-length “Bargaining” hit all the right notes. Her reappearance is heartbreaking and almost horrifying, and it avoids undermining the events that concluded the previous season.
Rather than just toss her back in this mortal coil as if she’d never left, Buffy is distant and depressed, not quite the elated response her friends were expecting to see. The opening of the season offers an evenhanded blend of humor and drama, particularly the early escapades of the Troika. The all-nerd supersquad — robotics whiz Warren (Adam Busch), clumsy sorceror-lite Jonathan (Danny Strong), and summoner Andrew (Tom Lenk). They added a well-needed dose of geeky comedy to the season, which made the bitter pill of the agony Buffy and friends endure later on easier to swallow.
The darker spin the three of them eventually take also resonates more having seen several episodes worth of their giddiness at being supervillains. I also thought the aftermath of Buffy’s return, seen in “After Life”, “Flooded”, and “Life Serial”, worked well as she tried to find her place in the world (and her friend’s worlds) after being plucked from the afterlife. These episodes also manage to strike that perfect balance between humor and drama.
Another early highlight is “Tabula Rasa”, where a spell gone awry robs the Scoobies of their memories. Of special mention from this chunk of the season, of course, is the musical episode “Once More with Feeling”. The version presented here is the original broadcast, a few minutes lengthier than your average Buffy installment. Although the concept of characters in an established drama singing and dancing for an hour screams ‘gimmick’, it’s not a standalone episode, tying in heavily to the previous episodes of the season and setting up some of what would soon follow. The songs are surprisingly good, particularly impressive considering that they were written by someone without much of a musical background.
The season closes out with a series of strong episodes. “Hell’s Bells” features the chaos of a wedding between a human raised in a dysfunctional family and his millennia-old former vengeance demon fiancee, the aftermath of which is explored in “Entropy”.
One of the season’s best is “Normal Again”, which questions the reality of what we’ve seen for the past six seasons, and Buffy’s assault on her possibly-delusional friends and family is as chilling as anything seen up to that point on the series. The darkness pervasive throughout much of the season culminates in “Seeing Red”, which has two monstrous turning points. Its fatal closing events lead into the three-episode arc that rounds out the season. Similar to Angelus’ appearances on both Buffy and Angel, the immeasurably powerful antagonist in these final episodes tear down the main characters.
In its final season, Buffy the Vampire Slayer issued a mission statement you might not expect from a series that’s been on the air for seven years: go back to the beginning. After a foray at college and a year spent toiling away in the working world, Buffy’s going back to high school. Several years after its destruction at the hands…or giant coiled tail, whatever…of the ascended Mayor Wilkins, Sunnydale High has been rebuilt from the ground up. The Hellmouth beneath the school happens to lurk directly below the office of Principal Robin Wood (D.B. Woodside), who’s harboring some sort of dark secret that may or may not work to Buffy’s favor. Anyway, Wood continually stumbles upon Buffy as she spirits Dawn off to her first day of school as a freshman and ensuring both Summers girls make the most of the lovingly-crafted Sunnydale High set, Wood offers Buffy a job as a part-time counselor. Holed up in the bowels of Sunnydale High is Spike, who’s been driven mad by a combination of his newly-acquired soul and an entity that’s been haunting him, one that’s soon going to expand its grasp to the rest of the Scooby Gang and the world at large.
These early episodes really do capture the feel of the first few seasons of the series, a very welcome change after the grim year that came before it. This is one of the stronger opening salvos of Buffy. “Him” is played pretty much for laughs, revolving around a football player whose letter jacket makes him irresistible to the fairer sex, compelling Dawn, Buffy, Willow, and Anya to take drastic and wholly over-the-top measures to win his complete adoration.
Three of the season’s best episodes run back-to-back. “Same Time, Same Place” follows Willow’s return to the group, still reeling from the near-apocalyptic events of the previous year and further disheartened when she’s apparently abandoned by her friends. Buffy and company really are there for Willow, but the problem is that there are kind of two separate and distinct “there”s. The cannibalistic Gnarl is one of the most effectively creepy creatures of the show’s entire run, and his confrontation with Willow is unsettling and horrifying…and I mean that in the best possible way. “Help” quickly follows, chronicling Buffy’s quest to save the life of an awkward, introverted poet who foretells her own death.
Although I really like all of the first batch of episodes, this season has two particularly strong stand-outs. Following the excellent “Same Time, Same Place” and “Help” is “Selfless”, which features Anya returning to form as a mass-murdering vengeance demon, a decision that awes her demonic coworkers and conflicts her former friends as Buffy must make a difficult decision. The episode makes use of flashbacks from several vastly different time periods and juggles drastically different tones. We see what led young Aud to become the vengeful Anyanka in a hysterical glimpse back at her life with her wench-drenched, troll-hating brute of a husband, Olaf. There’s also a flashback to “Once More, With Feeling”, complete with a new musical number, followed by a brutal, brilliant cut to the present.
The other standout is “Conversations with Dead People”, an inventively structured episode penned by four different writers. The title is a decent enough synopsis, as a number of characters communicate in varying forms with the dearly departed. Buffy allows herself to be psychoanalyzed by a recently-risen Psych major, Dawn is haunted by a poltergeist that takes on a shockingly familiar image, Willow is delivered a message from a lost love one, Spike goes out on the town, and the remnants of last year’s nerdy Troika return to Sunnydale.
In general, season seven feels like Joss Whedon and company had a clear beginning and a clear ending. The Finale does give the show a nice ending, but is left open should the show ever return in any format.
Lucy Lawless (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Renee O’ Connor (Boogeyman 2)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Jay Laga’ala (Home and Away)
Darien Takle (The Ugly)
Stephen Hall (Get Ace)
Willa O’Neill (The Price of Milk)
Jeffrey Thomas (The Hobbit)
Nathaniel Lees (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Bruce Hopkins (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Simon Prast (Filthy rich)
Latham Gaines (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)
Paul Norell (Power Rangers SPD)
Bobby Hosea (Independance Day)
Stephen Tozer (Young Hercules)
Iain Rea (Shortland Street)
Kevin Smith (Jubilee)
Kevin Sorbo (Julia X)
Michael Hurst (Bitch Slap)
Christopher Graham (Power Rangers Mystic Force)
Kieren Hutchison (Cleopatra 2525)
Erik Thomson (All Saints)
Danielle Cormack (Wentworth Prison)
Alison Bruce (Young Hercules)
Mark Ferguson (Power Rangers Mystic force)
Kevin J. Wilson (Pictures)
Galyn Gorg (Robocop 2)
Scott Garrison (Swamp Thing: The Series)
Cameron Rhodes (Deathgasm)
Dean O’ Gorman (The Hobbit)
David Weatherley (Power Rangers Operation Overdrive)
Peter Daube (Traffic Island)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
Jason Hoyte (Power Rangers RPM)
Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead)
Tim Thomerson (Trancers)
Karl Urban (Red)
Tom Atkins (Halloween 3)
Peter McCauley (The Locals)
Robert Trebor (Universal Soldier)
Ted Raimi (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Hudson Leick (Tru Calling)
David Taylor (Rain)
Mark Ferguson (Power Rangers Operation Overdrive)
Paul Gittins (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Todd Rippon (King Kong)
Antony Starr (Outrageous Fortune)
Anthony Ray Parker (The Matrix)
Peter Vere-Jones (Bad Taste)
Simone Kessell (San andreas)
John Sumner (Power Rangers Dino Charge)
Melinda Clarke (Gotham)
Murray Keane (Power Rangers RPM)
Alison Wall (Funny Business)
Craig Parker (Reign)
Alexandra Tydings (Suncahser)
Craig Walsh-Wrightson (Spartacus)
Jeremy Callaghan (The Great Raid)
John D’Aquino (3rd rock from The Sun)
Rachel Blakely (The Lost World)
Charles mesure (V)
Tony Todd (Chuck)
George Henare (The Dead Lands)
Marton Csokas (XXX)
Meighan Desmond (When Love Comes)
Jennifer Ward-Lealand (Full Frontal)
Grant McFarland (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Jacquelien Kim (Star Trek: Generations)
Daniel Sing (A Soldier’s Sweetheart)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Megan Nicol (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Amy Morrison (Jack of All Trades)
Shiri Appleby (Jack of All Trades)
Patrick Fabian (Veronica Mars)
Stig Eldred (Dick Tracy)
Katrina Browne (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Angela Marie Dotchin (Jack of All Trades)
Jodie Rimmer (Young Hercules)
Victoria Pratt (Mutant X)
Kate Elliott (Power Rangers Samurai)
Sheeri Rappaport (Little Witches)
Claire Stansfield (The Flash 90s)
Kathryn Morris (Cold Case)
Olivia Tennet (Power Rangers RPM)
Timothy Omundson (Human Target)
Mark Hadlow (The Hobbit)
David Franklin (Farscape)
Jennifer Sky (Cleopatra 2525)
John Leigh (Power Rangers Mystic Force)
David de Lautour (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Jay Ryan (Beauty and The Beast)
Antonio Te Maioha (Spartacus)
Jenya Lano (Mutant X)
Mfundo Morrison (Vet)
Marie Matiko (Date Movie)
Anthony Wong (Haywire)
George Cheung (Starsky & Hutch)
Rose McIver (Izombie)
James Gaylyn (Power Rangers RPM)
Geoff Dolan (Jack of All Trades)
Stephen Lovatt (Cleoaptra 2525)
Musetta Vander (Stargate SG.1)
Claudia Black (Farscape)
Morgan Reese Fairhead (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)
Peta Rutter (Young Hercules)
Selma Blair (Hellboy)
Manu Bennett (Arrow)
Miriama Smith (Filthy Rich)
Josephine Davison (Power Rangers SPD)
Paris Jefferson (The Counselor)
Jed Brophy (The Hobbit)
Adrienne Wilkinson (Renegades)
William Gregory Lee (Dark Angel)
Joel Tobeck (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Tsianina Joelson (Bring it On)
Sela Apera (Crooked Earth)
Zeus Mendoza (Port Charles)
Tandi Wright (Black Sheep)
Michelle Langstone (Power Rangers SPD)
Gina Varela (Sione’s Wedding)
Owen Black (Maddigans Quest)
Ian Harcourt (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Brittney Powell (That Thing You Do)
Renato Bartolomei (The Cult)
Alexander Petersons (Redheads)
Luanne Gordon (King Kong)
Alexis Arquette (Pulp Fiction)
Li Ming Hu (Power Rangers RPM)
Elizabeth Hawthorne (Filthy rich)
Katrina Devine (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Michelle Ang (Triple 9)
Mike Edward (Filthy Rich)
Most people have some kind of guilty pleasure they watch on television. I have several. One of my past guilty pleasures was Xena: Warrior Princess (as well as the show that spawned it-Hercules). Seeing a bunch of attractive gals running around, showing ample amounts of cleavage and leg while they went through their paces seemed like such harmless fun. The show developed quite a fanbase over the years and it all began with a few appearances on Kevin Sorbo’s old show, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. In Hercules, Xena played a female warrior who torn through the countryside killing and pillaging as she and her armies went. Hercules stopped her and eventually showed her a different path and the Xena series started off with that premise (hey, it was a cute idea for a spin off and eventually surpassed the parent show in ratings).
Season 1 begun with Xena meeting Gabrielle whilst trying to atone for her past, the rest of the season saw several highlights such as the introduction of Ares (Kevin Smith), Autolycus (Bruce Campbell) and Callisto (Hudson Leick), with each episode the shy got better and better.
The show really kicked into overdrive with Season2, the biggest highlight was Julius Caeser (Karl Urban) who once had a relationship with Xena and betrayed her. Gabrielle became an Amazon Queen and we saw Xena’s arch nemesis Callisto return with a vengeance. It was with Season 2 where the show surpassed Hercules and became the huge it is today.
Season 3 saw the the beginning of The Dahak storyline a story that would dart backwards and forward between the two shows and eventually conclude on Hercules (Season 5). This season also saw what fans refer to as the Rift story where gabrielle and Xena relationship was tested to breaking point eventually sending them to the land illusia where they had to sing. The Xena Musicial was a huge hit and well put together, to this day i smile every time I watch it.
Season 4 saw a new villain introduced, Alti (Claire Stansfield) A sharman who killed a tribe of Amazons, but the main story of this season was about Julius Caeser, his rise to power and Xena trying to prevent the vision of her and Gabrielle’s death from coming true. The Caeser story was excellent and in the episode The Ides of March, everything comes to fruition, we even see the return of Callisto.
The fifth season was written around Lucy Lawless and her real life pregnancy. The Producers decided to write it in to the show making it easier on production. With the birth of Xena’s child brings fourth the twilight of the Gods, the moment Zeus is killed they all come after Xena with a vengeance. Athena was the main antagonist, the show also explored a possible relationship with Ares and Xena. The last four episodes saw a time jump so we get introduced to a grown up Eve/Livia (Adrienne Wilkinson), who ended up on a similar path to her mother.
Season brought the show to an end, six years of action and adventure. Highlights in this season were the Norse trilogy showing Xena as a Valkyrie, Michael Hurst playing a reporter called Nigel, Ares living on an farm and the return of Ares and Aphrodite to godhood. It’s always sad to see a show come to an end, with the shocking finale seeming to be a hard to beat ending it does seem like the show had a satisfying ending.