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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete First Season

It's not a new idea to take a feature film and turn it into a television series — doing it successfully is another matter. Some concepts translate well on the small screen and have long runs (such as M*A*S*H), while others quickly fade into trivial TV kitsch (think Planet of the Apes). Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon's horror/comedy concoction, can be counted among one of the successes, surpassing the 1992 film's limited popularity. Although set during the teen-angst years of high school, Buffy appeals to a much wider audience than the Dawson's Creek set. Whedon has blended the best of late-night horror flicks with hand-to-hand combat, sardonic to downright campy humor, and a touch of romance that leaves legions of fans wanting more every week. And with a fan-base like that, it's a natural for DVD. Fox's Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete First Season includes all 12 episodes of the first season in a three-disc box set. The collection begins with the two-part pilot episodes ("Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest"), which start the series where the movie left off. Forced to relocate after our heroine was thrown out of her previous high school for getting into fights (um, but they were vampires), and for destroying the school's gym, Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her mom have moved from Los Angeles to Sunnydale, Calif. No longer a member of her popular L.A. high-school crowd, Buffy enters Sunnydale High as the new kid hopeful for a fresh start, and planning to put her slayer duties behind her. If only it were that easy — you see, Buffy actually has relocated to "The Hellmouth," a locale of evil convergence. What's more, Sunnydale High's librarian, Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), knows that Buffy is a slayer and wants to get her into the thick of things. In addition to Giles (whom Whedon considers a classic horror-movie staple — the all-knowing British character), we meet Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon), who learn that Buffy is a slayer and unofficially form her faithful sidekick gang. Season One episodes include "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" (Buffy tries to balance dating with her slayer duties), "Witch" (Buffy tries out for the cheerleading squad, only to enrage a competing witch), and "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" (Buffy fights an unpopular Sunnydale student who has become invisible). Fans also can look forward to seeing Angel and Xander's first meeting ("Teacher's Pet"), Buffy and Angel's first kiss ("Angel"), Buffy fighting a wooden ventriloquist's dummy ("The Puppet Show") and even Buffy's death ("Prophecy Girl"). The plots may be nonsensical or horrific by turns, but if you don't get it, that's your problem — millions of Buffy fans can't be wrong. Along with 12 episodes (beware of a sticker on some boxes that promises 24 episodes), Fox's three-disc Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete First Season includes four brief interview segments with creator/executive producer Joss Whedon; commentary by Whedon on "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest"; the original scripts for "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest"; biographies of Whedon, the actors, and the characters they play; a photo gallery; a promo spot; and DVD-ROM content. Folding DVD digipak in paperboard slip-case.
—JJB



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