THE CHALLENGE: Binge-watch and review every season of Buffy to celebrate Dark Horse Comics' release of "Buffy Season 10" on March 19 and "Angel and Faith Season 10" on April 2. So far we've done:
Buffy Season 1 (and an overview of why we love Buffy)
Buffy Season 2
Buffy Season 3
Buffy Season 4
Angel Season 1
Buffy Season 5
Angel Season 2
And here we are at the penultimate season of Buffy, in which she is menaced by a trio of nerds-- Warren, Jonathan, and Andrew-- and we learn that magic is just as dangerous as drugs. Except no one ever almost destroyed the world on drugs.
This season also marked the first season where Buffy moved from its original home on The WB to UPN, while Angel stayed behind. As a result, there is far less cohesiveness between the two shows, whether that was intentional or not. Regardless, by this point the two shows were establishing a separate identity from one another.
Highlights: Singing and dancing! The lengths to which this season laid bare the violence of misogyny, specifically in the character of Warren, and also manifesting itself in the awful relationship between Buffy and Spike. So much of what happened this season that was great was also tragic: Anya and Xander's wedding, what happens to Tara, what happens to Willow, what Spike tries to do to Buffy. It's hard to watch sometimes. It's even harder to look away.
Lowlights: The return of Riley. Ugh. We might have been better off without knowing. The Doublemeat Palace. Did we really need to torture Buffy like this? The fact that everyone is so tortured and joyless. What happened to that carefree, fun Buffy of yesteryear? Oh, yeah, they all grew up. Life. Tragedy.
"Once More With Feeling" Episode 6.7
A demon is accidentally summoned to Sunnydale and he's making everyone sing and dance their innermost thoughts and feelings. I admit, when this first aired I was less than impressed. It seemed gimmicky and silly, and the music wasn't that great. (I stand by that final statement, as much as it might get me in trouble with Buffy fans. But compared to, say, Doctor Horrible, this is like listening to Hamburg-era Beatles knowing what they're capable of later.) The best part of this episode is we get some reveals of what's going on underneath. We see the cracks in Xander and Anya's relationship. Buffy tells her friends she was in heaven before she was brought back to life. And ultimately, this brought some much-needed levity to an incredibly depressing season overall. While I don't share the opinion that this is one of the best episodes of Buffy ever, it is undoubtedly the best episode of the season.
8 out of 10
Overall rating for Season Six: 6 out of 10. This season is just hard. It's incredibly well put together. And somehow the nerd trio is both the worst and best Big Bad ever. But then the real Big Bad of Evil Willow is so much greater. (It's why she's on the box art) And the seeds of Evil Willow were planted way back when she first floated a pencil, or she and Tara barricaded themselves inside the dorm room in season 4. But ultimately we get only a little of that, and the final three episodes being awesome do not a great season of television make.