Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Seventh Season
with Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan
Created by Joss Whedon
(Fox Home Entertainment)
by Michael McCarthy
I was among the longtime fans who complained profusely about this season when it aired. Everything about it irritated me. I’d cherished the depressed Buffy of season six, and the decidedly upbeat Buffy of season seven seemed fake, if not entirely out of character. She could’ve been the spokesperson for an anti-depressant.
Revisiting the episodes on DVD, now I get it: Season six was Buffy with an imbalance, a depressed I-hate-myself-and-you-should’ve-let-me-stay-dead Buffy. Season Seven wasn’t a suddenly ultra-optimistic Buffy, it was just Buffy, back, free from the depression. Why did so many of us fail to realize that when season seven aired? Perhaps knowing that it was the final season raised our expectations to a level that simply couldn’t be met.
Watching season seven on DVD, having had ample time to accept that the series is over, allowed me to finally appreciate it. How can you not be amused by Buffy the Guidance/Peer Counselor, and seeing Buffy’s younger sister Dawn deal with some of the shit Buffy dealt with years ago? The show’s precious pop culture references remain firmly intact, too. (In “Lessons,” Dawn introduces herself to fellow students, saying that she likes Britney’s early work, before she sold out, namely her finger painting and macaroni art.) The ramifications of Spike having a soul are also rather interesting, as is the dynamic between him and Buffy, since he tried to rape her the previous season.
Of course, season seven still seems far from perfect. The introduction of so many new slayers-in-training is just too much. When the new characters outnumber the old, it’s easy to get them all confused. Besides, every moment they spend on the screen is subtracting from our quality time with the characters we’ve known and loved for years, making them a bit irritating. The main villain, The One, is also lacking. Like Darth Maul, he starts off scary and interesting, but you start to sigh every time he appears after a while.