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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Third Season

As with that other cultish fan fave The X-Files, Season Three of the teenage horror series Buffy the Vampire Slayer was arguably the best of the show's run. Creator Joss Whedon really hit his stride with the writing, as he penned delightfully inventive situations and sharp, witty dialogue for his characters — characters that had, by this season, come into their own as fully dimensional individuals but were still far from becoming the squabbling, angst-ridden 90210-with-wooden-stakes cartoons that they'd become in the later years of the series. The season kicked off with Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) on the road, trying to escape her destiny while the Scoobies do their damnedest to keep the vamp population down without the help of a Slayer. When she returns, Buffy's a bit put out to find that her pals have continued to have lives in her absence — Willow and Oz (Alyson Hannigan and Seth Green) heat up their romance, as do the improbable duo of Xander and Cordelia (Nicholas Brendan and Charisma Carpenter). But the third episode, "Faith, Hope and Trick" introduced a new villain — the sleazy hipster Mr. Trick (K. Todd Freeman) — and a new Slayer-with-a-dark-side, Faith (Eliza Dushku). Meanwhile, Angel (David Boreanaz) comes back from hell; Willow and Xander agonize over their sudden attraction to each other; the demon Anyanka (who complies to Willow's request that Buffy never exist in "The Wish") becomes the mortal Anya (Emma Caulfielld); and the Mayor makes his preparations for his "ascension" on Graduation Day. The season also included some very fun one-shot episodes, like "Band Candy," in which confections sold as a school fundraiser turn Sunnydale's adults into teenagers, with hilarious results; "The Zeppo," where Xander — fed-up with playing sidekick — hooks up with a gang of new friends who turn out to be undead, sleeps with Faith, and saves the school from a bomb; and the brilliant "Doppelgängland," which brings Willow's evil vamp alter-ego over from another dimension (and offers Alyson Hannigan some of her best moments in the series, as when she remarks, "That's me as a vampire? I'm so evil. And skanky. And I think I'm kinda gay.") Fox's six-disc Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Third Season offers a wealth of goodies: Scripts for "Faith, Hope and Trick", "Band Candy," "The Wish" and "Lover's Walk"; a 20-minute season overview with interviews and an explanation of the major storylines for the season; a short featurette called "Buffy Speak" on how the writers tailor the dialogue to the specific characters; and a still gallery. As with the previous sets, the extras are pretty much spread out across the discs. Disc One includes the script for "Faith, Hope and Trick", while two holds scripts for "Band Candy" and "Lover's Walk." Folding DVD digipak in paperboard slip-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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