October 29, 2011 — I owe Mark Beard an apology, wherever he is. Mark was a friend from my college days who kept trying to get me to watch some series called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I refused, citing various legal precedents, but mostly because I couldn’t believe that somebody decided it was a good idea to stretch what was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek, one-off movie gag into a serialized semi-drama on the WB network.
Fast forward a decade or so, and I’m 13 states away from where I went to college, WB has further devolved into the CW, Mark has gone on to whatever fortune that such strong critical insights into teen-marketed television has gotten him, and me and my wife discover that all seven seasons of Buffy were on Netflix streaming and we weren’t dating any other shows seriously at the time.
Oh, and most important, in that intervening decade, we’d watched Firefly, and, as a result, were willing to give any show Joss Whedon put together an honest try.
By the end of that first 11-episode season, we were hooked. Over the course of the next ten months, we watched all seven seasons. It was our go-to when there was nothing else to watch or do. “How about Buffy?” became almost a mantra in our house, and not just in the realm of our television habits. It’s a pretty flexible question.
Anyway, the Buffy era of my life is over, but before completely locking it away in a place I visit rarely and only when I’m alone, I went back a few weeks ago and rewatched its three Halloween episodes.
Season 4, Episode 4: Fear, Itself
And all of us viewers are acutely homesick for the high school library.
Season 6, Episode 6: All the Way
Basically, the three Buffy Halloween episodes form kind of a microcosm of the timeline of the show. In the first, you see the huge potential of it, in the second you’re excited by what seems like a show that’s finally coming into its own, and in the third you stand appalled by how far off the series went.
And I still haven’t watched any episode of Angel. I mean, a spin-off of a semi-drama on the WB network that was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek, one-off movie gag? Please.