Bargaining: Part 1
Bargaining: Part 2
All the Way
Once More, with Feeling
Older and Far Away
As You Were
Two to Go
Buffy’s sixth season is one of the most emotionally charged in the show’s history, full of hard-hitting, shocking revelations and some truly incredible episodes. Between a strong opening and end to the series though is a lacklustre middle full of filler and average episodes that bog down the overall quality of the show making this year a bit of a mixed bag. The humour is still there, albeit a little less subtly this year, in a series that visibly seems to be tiring compared to the high standard set in seasons past.
The story begins with Sunnydale overrun with demons after learning the slayer is dead. Willow (Alyson Hannigan) decides to bring Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) back from the dead and upon doing so, leaves the slayer confused, angry and an empty shell of the person she once was. Gone are the powerful villains of past and in its place this year are three humans, Jonathan, Warren and Andrew. The trio does add a different dimension to the show but are largely set pieces for what eventually turns into a much more prominent and dangerous threat late on. The storyline does evolve naturally although the pacing toward the end fires on all cylinders and potentially should have been exploited a little earlier in the season to maximise its effect.
The unchanged cast returns again this year and although the stories are inconsistent in quality, the dialogue and chemistry between characters is not. It’s largely the reason most of the season stays in one piece with the trademark humour and wit still very much prevalent, albeit toned down given the seriousness running through large stretches of this season.
If there’s one thing season 6 gets right, it’s the finale. Yet again Buffy pulls out all the stops and delivers a great final few episodes, rife with emotion. Xander (Nicholas Brendon) has a much more important role this year, allowing some diversity with different characters other than Buffy stopping the final threat in w an ingenious move. It’s a small change but one that reinforces what’s become such a driving force for the series over the years – character relationships.
After the perfect ending to season 5, season 6 just about justifies its existence with a decent, but slightly wobbly, 22 episodes. The beginning and end are excellent, complete with memorable moments and a great musical episode that enhances, rather than detracts, from the overall appeal of the series but there’s no denying that this year features far too much filler. The character chemistry is as strong as its ever been but with a profound lack of threat for most of this season and Buffy’s inner turmoil dominating a lot of the run time, season 6 just doesn’t quite match up to what’s come before. This is still great TV though and fans of Buffy will surely love parts of this season but quality wise, Buffy’s sixth isn’t anywhere near the best this show has been known to produce.
Verdict - 7.5/10