It’s certainly been a season of brave choices for the show as we not only saw the introduction of a major new character in Buffy’s sister Dawn but also the death of her mother both things which on their own could have threatened to derail the show so all the more credit to the show runners for being able to somehow pull them both off.
This season we also saw Buffy tackling her toughest foe to date in the hell god Glory, who not only managed to be both a terrifying challenge for her to battle but also frequently providing some of the funiest moments of the season as she tormented Buffy and belittled the dimwitted and unfaulting devotion of her demonic minions.
If we view the first three season as the golden era, this season brings to a close the silver era for the show and you can in many ways see how they were originally going to end the show on this season, which considering how the next two seasons played out might have debatably been the best decision for the show.
Emotionally this was one of the tougher seasons with a large portion being dedicated to Joyce’s illness and certainly Buffy dealing with the fallout from her death with “The Body” still being as effective now as it was back when it first aired. So many emotionally draining could really have taken away from the enjoyability of the show which somehow it didn’t. Still Buffy being forced to step up as Dawn’s guardian marked another important evolution for her character as we’ve seen her graduate high school and attend college, this season saw her moving into adult responsibilities as she suddenly found herself playing a surrogate mother to her sister.
Of course by the end of the season it wasn’t just Buffy being forced into the role of carer as Glory brain draining Tara forced Willow into the role, while Xander’s relationship with Anya often felt this season like he was equally playing the parent trying to provide a moral compass for her as she continued to adjust to a mortal life.
The real weakness of the season though can be pinpointed to two main factors. The first being Buffy’s relationships which this season saw her relationship with Riley come to a messy end which some fans were certainly happy to see happen, feeling that Riley had always been too nice during his time on the show. Of course his exit only served to pave the way for one of biggest stumbles of the show by having Spike fall in love with Buffy despite her repeatedly rejecting his advances. Now for myself one of the big things which no show should attempt alongside bringing your character into the “Real World” is to turn a decent villain good and have your lead heroine fall in love with him. Alas this is the path we now find ourselves on with Spike whose transition from evil to good was certainly a welcome addition to the show, especially elements such as his unusual bond with Dawn but to watch him mope around, infatuated with Buffy is just so grating to watch not to mention creepy as seen by him commissioning a Buffy-bot. Needless to say this will be something we will be looking at more closely in the next season.
The other major weakness of the series which really came to the front here was Willow, in perticular her use of magic which is certainly something I have highlighted numerous times throughout the season coverage, but to see her using magic with such slap-dash rules, especially in terms of her evolution as a witch just continued to be a grinding point and only made us long for those days of the golden era when she was the awkward funny sidekick.
So what does Season Six hold for us other than being the start of the Bronze era? Well we are no looking at a show resurrected….. Literally seeing how Buffy is still dead at the start but also one whose best ideas have been covered as only further highlighted by the season’s big villains with Buffy this time having to deal with “The Trio” who as their name suggests are a trio of magic and technology proficient nerds who’ve decided to become super villains to take on Buffy. Of course this all about paving the way for “Dark Willow” as Buffy’s best friend goes rogue. We also have he the wedding of Xander and Anya as well as the relationship between Spike and Buffy. Its a season which is certainly not without its problems which we will soon find out next time.