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
Buffy Season 6
Angel Season 3
Buffy Season 7
Angel Season 4
Angel Season 5
With the events of the television finales of Buffy and Angel leaving a lot of unanswered questions and potential for more stories, Joss Whedon picked up where he left it and turned to comics to continue the stories of the Scooby Gang. The upside? With no worries about television budgets, he could do whatever he wanted.
Buffy Season 8's storylines become so epic and amazing they make the televised seasons feel small. Because that's really what happened: Whedon propelled this into a larger world.
When we left at the end of Season 7, Buffy and Willow had used ancient magic to turn every potential slayer into an actual slayer. And so now the Scoobies spend their time in groups of ten or so slayers, leading them into killing those things that go bump in the night.
The slayers are viewed as terrorists by the remnants of The Initiative within the US Government, because, seriously, that's what would happen in a world where there were hundreds of slayers worldwide being organized by Buffy. And they've teamed up with incredibly powerful witch Amy (who you may remember attended Sunnydale High and was turned into a rat) and her boyfriend Warren, who she saved after he was skinned by Willow. There are also rogue slayers, British socialites, and other people trying to take Buffy down.
Like I said-- Epic.
But it's revealed that all of these players are, in fact, working for the true Big Bad, named Twilight. Buffy, Willow, and the slayers head to Tibet to try and learn from Oz how to hide their magical abilities, as this is what Twilight and his minions are using to track them. Huge fight ensues.
And that's only halfway through the season. I'll have more in a spoiler-only section because I don't want to give too much away.
Highlights: Dawn being cursed to transform into a giant and a centaur for cheating on her would-be boyfriend. Spike shows up in a spaceship (wtf?) Riley's development and shifting loyalties. Buffy has to kill Dark Willow-- in the future!! Harmony gets famous on a reality show.
Lowlights: Seriously? Your Big Bad's name is "Twilight"? I mean, I recognize that Stephanie Meyer's mopefest of sparkly vamps didn't really hit until the movie came out, by which time Season 8 was almost done, but those books had been around since 2005. Not loving it. Also, I think the "true identity" of Twilight was kind of a cheap ploy. I felt it demeaned characters I really loved, but considering what it set up for Season 9 and Angel and Faith, I can live with it.
Overall rating for Season 8: 7 out of 10. (Yar, thar be spoilers ahead! Be warned!)
This is a great comics series, and one I tried to keep up with as much as I cook when new issues were coming out. Truth, I dropped it when I found out Twilight was really Angel, and then picked up the trade paperbacks when I saw there was going to be an ongoing Angel and Faith series to find out what had happened. I'm still not clear on Twilight's motivations or whether or not that was Angel or Angelus or whatever, but I didn't like it. I didn't like when he killed Giles.
But aside from the negative, what's great about this series was it was really all over the place. Want to send Buffy into the future to fight Dark Willow? Done! Spike shows up on a spaceship to tell Buffy how to defeat Twilight/Angel? Sure! The series got really imaginative and really fun. I liked some of the ridiculous things they did, like Andrew creating mystical armor out of Iron Man's glove, Captain America's shield, and an X-Wing pilot helmet. It's so beyond awesomely hilarious and geeky.
It's what I expect from a comic book. It's what I expect from Whedon. It's what I expect from Buffy. 'Nuff said.