Connor Macgregor Reviews...Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Angel


Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American supernatural drama television series based on the 1992 film of the same name.

The series premiered on March 10, 1997, on The WB and concluded on May 20, 2003, on UPN. The series narrative follows Buffy Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar), the latest in a line of young women known as "Vampire Slayers", or simply "Slayers". In the story, Slayers, or the ”Chosen Ones”, are "called" (chosen by fate) to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness. Buffy wants to live a normal life, but as the series progresses, she learns to embrace her destiny. Like previous Slayers, Buffy is aided by a Watcher, who guides, teaches, and trains her. Unlike her predecessors, Buffy surrounds herself with a circle of loyal friends who become known as the "Scooby Gang".
The series received critical and popular acclaim as well as its spinoff series Angel, and extensions thereof, have been collectively termed the "Buffyverse".

Airing on The WB from October 5, 1999, to May 19, 2004, consisting of five seasons and 110 episodes, Angel details the ongoing trials of Angel, a vampire whose human soul was restored to him by a Romani curse as a punishment for the murder of one of their own. After more than a century of murder and the torture of innocents, Angel's restored soul torments him with guilt and remorse. Angel moves to Los Angeles, California, after it is clear that his doomed relationship with Buffy, the vampire slayer, cannot continue. During the majority of the show, he works as a private detective in L.A, where he and a variety of associates work to "help the helpless", restoring the faith and saving the souls of those who have lost their way. While he must also battle his own demonic nature, he typically battles with evil demons or humans allied to them, primarily related to Wolfram & Hart, a law firm supported by occult practices which is an extension of otherworldly demonic forces.

So I thought I would try something a little different on this forum. I've been eager to get into reviewing TV shows on this forum, as I feel reviewing films can be a bit tiresome at times. I watch a lot of TV, like a lot of TV, and know a lot about TV (If your curious, I also work in TV too - Fun fact!). So I figured now's the best time to try and start reviewing TV shows, and I thought I'd start with a biggie....

Joss Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer


Joss Whedon's Angel.

Both of these shows I grew up with and developed an absolute adoration for, particularly Angel. And seeing as I haven't seen them in a long time, I felt it was a good time to rewatch the show and give them a second look.

Hope you'll enjoy the ride, because I certainly will.

Welcome To The Hellmouth (1x01)

WARNING: "Summary" spoilers below
Sixteen-year-old Buffy Summers has moved to Sunnydale from L.A., hoping to leave Buffy's troubled past behind. But Sunnydale High librarian Rupert Giles knows who Buffy is: she is the Slayer, the one girl in all the world with the strength and skill to hunt and kill vampires. He knows about her past because he is her new Watcher -- the person whose destiny it is to train and guide Slayers on their path. Buffy quickly makes two friends: the shy, bookish Willow, and the goofy but lovable Xander, who is instantly attracted to Buffy.

When a student is found dead in a locker -- with bite marks on his neck and completely drained of his blood -- Giles enlists Buffy's help. She resists, trying to get out of the slaying game for good, but Giles insists that a crucial mystical upheaval is about to occur. Unbeknownst to them, a bewildered Xander overhears their conversation -- Buffy's secret is out. Later, in a dark, eerie chamber, we see a vampire who seems to be confirming Giles' prophecy. The vampire, Luke, kneels in front of a pool of blood and says, "The sleeper will awaken. And the world will bleed."

On her way to the Bronze, Sunnydale's hippest (and only) club, Buffy is followed by a handsome, mysterious stranger. He tells her she must be ready for the Harvest, and gives her a small cross. Giles meets her at the Bronze and she tells him about the encounter. Giles convinces her to use her power, and wants her to try to sense if there are any vampires in the room. She does sense one and finds him talking to Willow, but the two have walked away. Trying to catch him unawares, she grabs a makeshift stake, turns a corner and attacks... Cordelia, the snootiest girl in school, who already thought Buffy was a loser for hanging with Willow, and now thinks she’s certifiable. We see Jesse, Xander's buddy, chatting with a girl we saw in vampire garb earlier, but who now appears as a normal student, Darla. Back to the pool of blood, something breaks through the surface and rises: the demonic Master Vampire. He is hungry and weak, and asks Luke to bring him something young.

Outside the Bronze, Buffy enlists Xander's help in finding Willow, who's already been lead to a mausoleum by the vampire. Willow's happy to find Jesse there, until she sees that Darla has already bit him in the neck. Buffy and Xander enter, and Buffy promptly kills the vampire boy. Now Willow is finally in on the secret. While Darla tries to attack Buffy, Xander and Willow lead a weakened Jesse out. Luke joins the battle and throws Buffy across the room

The opening scene really is the perfect way to start the show. Luring the viewer into a false scenario, before jumping them with a cruel twist. It's genius and a great way to get pulses flowing. It really establishes the surprise the show will be famous for in seasons to come.

This episode is also good at establishing the central characters, as well as the style and tone of the show too. Buffy is someone attempting to press the restart button on her life, but fate once again comes calling, and Buffy's instinct gets the better of her. Sarah Michelle Gellar really sells it as Buffy. She's smart, beautiful, and full of personality from the word go. It's perfect casting.

Also well established are Willow & Xander as Buffy's new friends/sidekicks. Both are well placed as social outcasts, who are about to be engulfed in a major new world. Giles & Cordelia are also introduced too and both are great too, especially Cordelia.

The suspense is slow, taking its time to really pick up the pace. The mystery also works and fits well with that late 90s electro tune. A bit outdated now, but still fun to listen too. The climax eventually kicks into full gear and really hooks you onto your seat, with some nice fight scenes, establishing the action portion of the series. The cliffhanger also leaves you wanting more.

Overall, it's a nice strong start to the series, with a hint of what is coming up for the next seven seasons.

Rating - 84% - A-

The Harvest (1x02)

WARNING: "Summary" spoilers below

As Luke tries to bite Buffy in the neck, he burns his hand on her cross, giving her a chance to escape. She finds her friends struggling with several vampires. Buffy impales one and the others flee. Meanwhile, Jesse has been taken to the Master, who hears about Buffy. By her strength, he can tell that she's the Slayer. The Master knows that Buffy will come looking for Jesse, and then she will be his.

Giles enlists Willow to check the internet for more information about the Harvest, while Buffy decides to go look for Jesse. At the mausoleum, she runs into the stranger again, whose name is Angel. He warns that the Harvest will be that night. Then Buffy is shocked to find Xander has followed her. They find Jesse, who tries to lead them out, until he turns to face them and they discover he's become a vampire. More vampires surround and chase them, but they manage to escape to the street through a grating. The Master is furious that the Slayer has escaped. But he allows Luke to feed from him as a way of gaining strength for himself. He dabs some of his blood on Luke's forehead and paints a three-pointed star.
Willow's research explains that on the night of the Harvest, the Master Vampire can draw power from one of his minions while it feeds and then can break through from their reality to ours. The minion is called the Vessel, and bears the symbol we saw painted on Luke.

Xander guesses the vampires will converge on the Bronze, since it's always filled with young people. That night, a newly confident Jesse strides into the Bronze and hits on Cordelia, who actually allows the former loser to dance with her. Soon, a gang of vampires takes over the club, with Luke at the helm. By the time Buffy, Giles, Xander and Willow get there, the suckfest is in full swing, with the Master gaining strength from each victim. Buffy manages to kill a few other vampires, then Jesse winds up impaling himself on a stake a frightened Xander was holding. Buffy breaks a large window, trying to make Luke think the streetlight is daylight, which will destroy him. He buys it for a second, and she takes advantage of his confusion by driving a stake through his back. Now the Master is too weak to break through to the other side, and Sunnydale has been spared.

This time.

We continue where the pilot left us off. Buffy, trapped in a crypt, about to be bitten by a vampire. Knowing our slayer though, she gets out of that predicament pretty easy. The rest of the episode though isn't such a doddle.

This episode keeps developing the central mythos of the show, along with the characters and story. The group is properly assembled for the first time and it works well in a very smooth groove. Known throughout the series as The Scooby Gang (I still think its a dumb name), they continue to fight off The Master's minions as The Harvest fast approaches. Oh and Xander's friend meets a grizzly fate. Not nice.

The highlight of this episode is the fight in the Bronze. Nothing really that spectacular, but still good to watch and Buffy puts up a good fight against that Luke vampire. But better fights will arrive, and compared to this, this opening brawl is a bit of a disappointment. Plus also there really isn't a dramatic reaction to Jessie's death when Xander kills him. Its just "meh, my best friend died, anyway moving on...".

Not much to say really, other than a good but not great second part to the beginning of Buffy.

Rating - 76% - B+

Witch (1x03)

Episode 3 really continues the strong start that Season 1’s opening story initiated. Witch is a non vampire story and really plays with Buffy fighting against something beyond her control. This episode sees the debut of Amy and is a welcome addition to the series. Amy is hard to read at first, and the episode plays with her intentions throughout, leaving you to wonder whether she is good or evil.

This episode sees a cool introduction to witches & magic, which will ultimately play an important theme throughout the series duration. Its also the first episode that sees Xander’s romantic intentions towards Buffy. Its only with the audience, but it allows the dynamic to shake up a bit. Knowing where the series goes, it doesn’t end well.

Additional things to note is the actress who plays Amy’s mother, who is both brilliant at her childlike state (no spoiler there), as well as her villainous self (Slight spoiler there). It all pays out in the finale and sees Buffy get creative when fighting her.

Overall, Witch is a good episode and keeps the strong momentum of Season 1 going.

Rating - 85% - A-

Teacher's Pet (1x04)

To sum this episode up: Never have a crush on your teacher, ever.

This is the first episode to have Xander in the spotlight and its sad to say a bit of a downer unfortunately. The episode was very predictable and not very exciting to watch. Xander behaves like most teenagers when a hot teacher comes in: dweeby and puppy like. So far Xander hasn't fully enticed himself into the gang yet, rather than just being there for quirky one liners and getting his ass kicked so Buffy can swoop in and save him. Its a shame.

The episode overall isn't a massively strong one. As I said, its predictable and not thrilling to watch. By Act four, you're kind of waiting for it to end. Never a good sign in a Buffy episode. David Boreanaz as Angel again makes an appearance, but its a weak one and doesn't really contribute to anything. He definitely needs more episodes to develop.

Overall, A Meh episode that can easily be forgotten.

Rating - 63% - B

I like Teacher's Pet. I agree that it's not the strongest episode, but I like it more than some of the 'better' episodes later on in season 1.
5-time MoFo Award winner.

I dunno. It felt very gimmicky and cliche with the "Hot Teacher" angle. Or maybe it's because I'm not really embracing Xander right now. I'll get further into that later.

maybe you could add a screenshot from the episodes as it would help most remember better which one it is. i remember a few by names,but thats because ive seen the dvds several times-most prob havent

I really like this thread though,my all time favourite show. was never much of a xander fan either

Never Kill A Boy On The First Date (1x05)

I liked this episode more than I was anticipating. For one, Buffy gets a crush on a guy who seems really relaxed and different, yet can be at times awkward and anti-social. Sure, it's a little bit out of the blue right in the middle of the brewing Angel//Buffy romance, but I'll buy it for this episode at least.

For the record, I do like Owen. He's not got an ego or any hidden motive. He's someone who likes Buffy for who she is. And I think Buffy likes that, having something that can be just hers, away from all the responsibility. The actor who played him was really good, especially in the last act when he gets embroiled in all the vampire shenanigans.

The anointed one subplot was really enjoyable, especially with the twist ending. The Master was playing a very cunning game, and managed to score a victory here for once in the series. It'll definitely be interesting to see where this angle takes The Master.

Smaller notes include Angel & Cordelia's first scene together. Its brief, but funny. Cannot wait to see more of them together. The end of the episode also sees Buffy make a small but important sacrifice regarding her work. It's quite a sad moment, but important as Buffy slowly grows into her responsibility as a slayer. Make no mistake though, plenty more harder sacrifices are heading her way.

Rating - 78% - B+

maybe you could add a screenshot from the episodes as it would help most remember better which one it is. i remember a few by names,but thats because ive seen the dvds several times-most prob havent

I really like this thread though,my all time favourite show. was never much of a xander fan either
Thank you. I might go back and edit some pictures in if I can find a site that does them.

The Pack (1x06)

This episode doesn't rank too highly for me. I'm not really a fan of the episode's concept, and I think it can be at times quite awkward to watch. Xander in this really is at his absolute lowest. He's a complete douche to Willow, and really unpleasant to watch. Backed by the awkward weird bullies who come off extremely silly and weird to watch.

All this and we get rid of such a sweet character also...Principal Flutie. Nothing wrong with this character at all. He was pleasant with Buffy, and completely innocent in the grand scheme of things. And the way he went too was horrible. Death by his own students. While comical in text format, the scene when he died was just goofy to watch.

I also predicted the twist coming from a mile off. The Zookeeper coming off as a villain was something I saw coming pretty quickly. The ending with him in costume was slightly intimidating, but could also be seen as quite goofy at the same time.

Overall, not a great episode. Too goofy at times, and could've have been better written me thinks.

Rating - 61% - B

Angel (1x07)

Finally, an episode in this season that is actually really exciting to watch. This is an episode full of major character moments that make the episode stand out above others. It's the episode where you get the sense things are actually moving forward, and some characters such as Angel properly come out of their shell.

David Boreanaz truly shines in this episode. His backstory is outlined, and its played to great effect, particularly with Buffy. I like how Darla manipulates the situation in her favour, especially when a naive Joyce enters the frame. Whilst it is Buffy that makes the save, Angel is the main focus of this episode and the episode's twists & turns make the episode a solid watch. As the episode ends, the romance of Buffy & Angel really kicks off and in quite a neat fashion.

Another thing to note is Xander's jealousy towards Buffy & Angel. It's pretty funny to watch, given how **** he is by trying to woo Buffy. I'm so far still not wooed by Xander at all. I find him a bit of an annoyance and not as witty with the one liners Buffy or even Cordelia comes up with.

But still, Angel is a good strong episode and by far the best of the season so far.

Rating - 92% - A

I Robot, You Jane (1x08)

This episode takes a basic emerging social issue at the time and tries to make it quite fun, but also dark in its own little-twisted way. Whilst not a perfect episode, it's still good to watch at the same time as well.

It tackles the dangers of online chatting and the situation of Willow getting close to someone she really shouldn't be. This could've been played as a serious take, but Buffy being Buffy, it opts for a supernatural twist instead. And it still works, allowing to almost be consumed by an ancient demon with a very unhealthy fixation on her. The episode overall is unremarkable, but not overly boring either. It's just very average with a fun but somewhat rushed climax. That's sometimes the danger of a monster of the week format, some episodes don't get the same talent attached to an idea, and thus it suffers as a result.

This episode sees the debut of Jenny Calendar, who will become very important to Giles and the rest of the scooby gang later on down the line. She's a bit annoying in this episode, and very in your face regarding her IT approach which faces off with Giles's literary background. Still, she's a breath of fresh air for the show, and someone that puts Giles on his feet.

Rating - 73% - B+

The Puppet Show (1x09)

The Puppet Show is quite a decent filler episode for me, even if many fans of Buffy dismiss this episode as pure ****. I found it fun for me. A weak ending, but still a surprising suspenseful episode that reminded me how much the show can really twist some old cliches without knowing.

For starters: Sid The Dummy is actually a really interesting one-off character. Granted, his behaviour and attitude is a bit out there for the scoobies, but it brings a breath of fresh air to the show, a persona of a different era in which the gang are a bit alarmed by. The episode teases him as the villain of the piece, but he turns out to be a handy ally for Buffy. That twist alone was pretty good and was something new to absorb as the mystery continued to deepen.

The talent show angle of the episode was a bit odd to me. I don't know why it had to be a talent show of all things. It could've been perhaps a football game, a parents evening, or something along those lines. I felt the talent show idea didn't really hit with me that well. This episode was also the debut of Principal Snyder. His appearance is quite a creepy one. Lurking in the shadows, springing out on people, and his disgust and distaste of high school students. Good to watch, and certainly becomes a key foil for Buffy in future seasons.

Overall: Good episode, not as bad as people make it out to be.

Rating - 74% - B+

So yeah, I'm going to try and get this back started again due to many other activities in my life taking over. Sorry.

Nightmares (1x10)

This was a very fun episode to watch, seeing the main characters thrown into nightmarish scenarios without nessacary knowing it. It's a very cool concept, the idea of nightmares merging together with reality and seeing whether The Scoobies can actually realise it or not. Some clever and funny moments including Xander's encounter with a clown, Buffy becoming a vampire, etc.

This is also the first time Buffy & The Master meet on screen. It's quite a scary, tense moment and one that puts Buffy very much to the test. Seeing Buffy in vampire form, albeit briefly, was quite cool, and gave us an idea of the potentially dark path Buffy could follow if it all goes terribly wrong. Another thing to add was how funny I found Cordelia's nightmare throughout the entire episode.

Overall: Strong, creative episode with a mixture of humour and horror.

Rating - 87% - A-

P.S. I'll try and add pictures a little later on. Promise.

1x11 - Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight

Feeling invisible is a problem a lot of teenagers face, and in this episode, it's brought to the forefront in a very supernatural way. It's also the first time Cordelia is at the front, and boy does she deliver as she finally becomes aware of the supernatural forces going on in Sunnydale. It's great character development. If you're not aware by now, I'm a big fan of Cordelia and her becoming aware of Vampires & Demons just fills me with excitement at where her story goes next.

The character of Marcie Ross is a sad, yet relatable one. She represents a lot of real life cases of teenagers bullied and isolated in high school, with nowhere to turn. It's a sad story and is played by Clea DuVall very well, and is the type of story many teenagers can draw parallel to their own lives. Also good in this episode is Angel, who has his first meeting with Giles in what will be a crucial development in the season 1 finale. The scene is nice, but is quite possibly one of the few good scenes between Giles & Angel. Future events will take their relationship in a wholly different direction.

Rating - 86% - A-

1x12 - Prophecy Girl

For an introductory season, Prophecy Girl is a damn good finale, and one that solidifies Buffy as a badass superhero that we haven't really seen before: Tough, witty, but still young and vulnerable. And this episode showcased it all in excellent fashion.

However, there were flaws with this episode. I felt The Master's death was a bit too quick and anti climatic for my taste. He dies way too quickly, and too easy in the whole scheme of things. I was expecting something much more grander and better spaced out during the final moments of the episode.

Another crucial turning point was Buffy finally embracing her mantle as The Slayer. Most of the season is her juggling with the responsibility and pressure of being the one prophesied to stop the forces of darkness. But as the events of this episode unravel, she firmly embraces her power and kicks it into high gear.

Last point to note is the final scene of all the main characters gathered round after the fight is won. It's a good moment to see the group of characters, all different and unique, as they finally relax after the long night of fighting. And waiting for the next one to come.

Rating - 89% - A-