THE VAMPIRE SLAYER - SEASON TWO
David Greenwalt, Bruce Seth Green, etc.
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, David Boreanaz
your minds back to 1998. Cordelia wasn’t yet fully integrated into the
Scooby gang, Spike and Drusilla had yet to cruise into town and Ethan
Rayne was just a name in Giles’ address book. Welcome to the second
series of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
season is a very patchy one: the arc stories are robust, taking great care
to flesh out the regular characters, but many of the self-contained
episodes (Bad Eggs and the Nightmare on Elm Street rip-off
Killed by Death, for example), are derivative and fall well below
standard. To compensate there are several classic episodes: the playful Halloween,
Joss Whedon’s finely balanced Lie To Me, and the sublime ghost
story I Only Have Eyes For You.
six-disc set contains some impressive bonus features, making it a much
more essential purchase than the Season One set. Like the episodes
themselves, these are accessed through Fox’s very elaborate and
atmospheric animated menus. Four episodes come with worthwhile commentary
tracks (Reptile Boy, What’s My Line? and Innocence by
David Greenwalt, Marti Noxon and Joss Whedon, respectively) and attendant
scripts. Some of the commentary tracks are rather perfunctory, but
Whedon’s is a riot, and very entertaining. The sixth disc contains three
behind-the-scenes featurettes that will have fans drooling: Designing
Buffy (13 minutes, on the show’s production design), A Buffy Bestiary
(30m, on the show’s villains and monsters) and Beauty and the Beasts (20m,
on the monster make-up). All feature interviews with cast and crew
members, (and not just the obvious ones: one-off cast members, like What’s
My Line?’s Kelly Connell, too).
the indication on the back of the box set wrapper, the transfers here are
full-frame, as they were apparently originally shot. Picture quality is
about on par with the first set (i.e. dark and rather grainy). The audio
is Dolby Digital 2.0 audio (at 192kbps). Hardcore fans will be justifiably
dismayed to find that the episode recaps (“Previously on Buffy The
Vampire Slayer…”) that were on the VHS versions are missing here.
Fans are likely to be upset since they are usually especially scored, and
act as the perfect appetiser for the episode ahead. Also likely to annoy
is the design of the box: it’s not the same depth or height as the first
season set. Initial copies of the set had a design flaw that mean that the
discs were slotted into tight cardboard pockets, which made them liable to
troublesome scratches. The set was later reissued with modified packaging,
but either version will probably be sufficient, if carefully handled.