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  Specs
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • French: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, French, Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • 4 Audio commentary - Helpless - writer David Fury; Bad Girls - writer Doug Petrie, Consequences - director Michael Gershman, Earshot - writer Jane Espenson
  • 3 Featurette - Wardrobe, Weapons, Special Effects
  • Animated menus

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 3 - Volume 2

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 470 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

And so to the second glorious feast of Buffy season three. If you haven't read about the first part as yet you may wish to check out Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 3 - Volume 1 first, as it will give you more of an idea as to what's going on.

And if you thought the first eleven episodes were getting full on, just wait 'til you indulge in what's to come...

Helpless
Buffy, Buffy, why' ya wiggin'? Try turning eighteen, having your Dad stand you up (no ice show!) AND kind of losing your Slayerific powers - you would wig too if it happened to you… Ah, but what does have Giles to do with it, what's with the Watchers Council popping up and just what will Giles do with himself after his news? Certain vamps need to know that drugs are bad (m'kay) - as perhaps should some others - and hey, wicked beanie Willow!

The Zeppo
After a devastatingly acidic tongue lashing from Cordelia, Zander is feeling rather superfluous in the whole Scooby-scheme of things. Can the boy that had no cool find its essence in the form of a '57 Chevy, or perhaps some new buds could be the answer? But what a bunch of deadheads! Then again, maybe he just needs to have a little Faith? Bombs, bombshells and gaping Hellmouths - it's all too much - and just why is Buffy checking out Willie's?

Bad Girls
The mayor has a splitting headache - after all, organising an ascension can be SO demanding. Buffy and Faith have their own headaches, there's the arrival of a new watcher, Wesley Wyndham Pryce, who is approximately 9,879,365 times stuffier than his name would suggest, a not quite as dead as he's supposed to be Vogon-like demon named Balthazar, and just a little matter of murder - but watcha gonna do? Oh, and just what makes Xander tic?

Consequences
So what do you do when Faith lets you down? It seems she has quite the superiority complex going on, and could she be looking for new employment? And the job market's such a bitch, too! Why is Willow weeping, and isn’t Xander lucky he has an Angel interceptor? Could this Angel's investigations be a portent for things to come, and will the Watchers Council save the day? What a silly question! Meanwhile, Buffy gets herself into a Tricky situation…

Doppelgangland
Anya's getting antsy, she wants her necklace back from that annoying alternate universe - after all, flunking maths is SO humiliating. Perhaps a touch of temporal folding Will do the trick, then again maybe it will just corset more troubles? Still, Ta-ra! We do kind of get a portent of things to come for Willow, however for now she gets saddled with a jock. Faith has some new digs and there's hugs all 'round. Finished now.

Enemies
Faith shows what an ass-soul she is by trying to get some Angel action, but if all else fails Daddy Mayor may have a sorcery solution. There's a new evil pairing in town that leaves Buffy hanging around - but is Faith the only one who's a tricky little thing? We learn that playing kissy-Faith can cause problems, and that Giles has some friends in dark places.

Earshot
Ewwy! Buffy discovers that scabby demons with no mouths-goo can cause aspects of your life to change for the better, or worse - still, no horns, no tail - it's got to be What Women Want right? But when you can hear the thoughts of others it tends to give them the wiggins, and when plans for mass murder are overheard it can be enough to drive you nuts. Wesley is all Pierce Brosnanny, jello's a saviour and let's just hope Amy doesn’t eat at the school cafeteria…

Choices
That's not a knife - oh wait, yes it is… It's time for Buffy to get down and dirty with the Mayor's plans for ascension, but will it be a choice between the Willow or the box? Then there's the whole Angel conundrum to deal with. Speaking of choices, Will has been accepted by almost every college in the world and it's time for making her mind up, whilst Xander's plans are more traditional - road trip!

The Prom
You know, that end of high school rites of passage thingy? But this is the Hellmouth, so you should expect hellhounds to want to tag along - these ones do at least have a penchant for a nice tux. Can Buffy save the day (yet again), or will she be too preoccupied by stuff with McPlasmas' fave customer Angel? After all, he did use THOSE four words... Will Xander take an older woman? Will Giles wear pink taffeta? And what's with the Buffy meringue?

"Men are evil - will you go with me?"

Graduation Day (Part One)
Up, up and away! When it comes to ascensions, Anya proves quite the girlie swot, as everybody seems to have the big 'A' on his or her minds. Faith is in poisonously distracting form, leaving Angel needing a special bite to cure his ills whilst there's a slayer fight going down. Oh, here's a translation for Buffy - ,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.

Graduation Day (Part Two)
Well gosh! As Angel may say, if at first you don’t succeed, suck someone else… The day of the ascension arrives, oh and graduation too - and guess where the Mayor's making an appearance? Can he be stopped from reaching his goal, or will he prove to be too slippery a customer? Well, there are always things that make you go boom. Meanwhile, what's Faith up to? (Erm, not much actually.) Finally, some parting Buffy advice - fire: bad, tree: pretty...

  Video
Contract

Ooh, yummy! No more hazy, fuzzy Buffy, no siree, for as with the first collection of the third series episodes things are so improved over the first and second season DVD presentations it's startling. Save for a couple of minor instances, grain is as distant a memory as any victim of Mr Pointy, with the only real blemishes being the occasional white specks that pop up intermittently throughout. With so much of the show taking place in rather bleak or simply just plain very dark places, the move to filming on 35mm is an absolute blessing, revealing a detail to things unseen in either of the first two seasons, or indeed in season three when aired on television. I guess it's a big case of "duh", however just so as *everybody* knows this set is also presented in full frame, when season four hits next year sometime is when things will potentially get really interesting.

As for cuts, this collection has been sourced from the European mainland, and as such does not have those bits missing that the BBFC decreed that Giles' and Wesley's countrymen and women were too delicate to see. Oh, and after only two of the Giles purred 'Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer' introductions in the first eleven episodes, we get them on eight of the eleven here - so it looks like things are kosher after the savaging season two episodes received. Yay team!

  Audio
Contract

As with the first set, there are no real issues with sound to bother getting all Wesleyed up about. Sure, it's standard Dolby Stereo (much like almost every other TV show in existence), however it presents no hideously evil stuff as far as synching or clarity of speech is concerned. Once again if you have equipment that will spread things out around all six speakers then you are in for the occasional treat, with even the subwoofwoof getting inspired at times to make like a hellhound and get down and growly with it.

There's more of Christophe Beck's scoring in store, and he most always manages to conjure up particularly apt pieces to accompany the action, often juxtaposing rather nicely with the selection of pop and rock songs scattered throughout the episodes - including the sound of another cash register ringing for Mr Norman Cook. One hit wonders from a few years back K's Choice (remember Not An Addict?) also pop up playing their little hearts out at The Bronze in one episode, and this part of the season sees very little action from Oz's band Dingoes Ate My Baby. Oh well, it gives him plenty more time to be pithy...

  Extras
Contract

Essentially the same simplified (but still animated and sonically enhanced, of course) menus as the first half of the season have a few special bits and pieces hidden away in this second series three set…

4x Audio commentaries - Helpless (writer David Fury), Bad Girls (writer Doug Petrie), Consequences (director Michael Gershman), Earshot (writer Jane Espenson): Yes - you read it right - sadly there is no commentary from Buffy's creator Joss Whedon, so we shall now observe a minute's silence for the omission of something owner's of the first two series' sets will no doubt have been looking forward to with much anticipation…









All is not totally lost however, as there are still four commentaries chock full of often useful, and also useless, stuff about the relevant episodes, as well as the general Buffyverse state of things as of season three. For every echo of what's happening on screen ("Willow is giving Oz a flea bath", "Angel is being broody" etc) there's something insightful added by the mixture of writers and director providing these commentaries, with most of them doing the usual thing we've come to expect from such presentations of starting off kind of nervous, but hitting their stride as things progress (and yes, they all get excited seeing their names in the credits - and face it, so would any of us). Of them all Jane's is probably the most interesting, however PLEASE note that there are quite the few spoilers in relation to later season three episodes scattered throughout, so those watching for the first time would be well advised to view the entire season and then go back for these extras. There, now you can't say you weren't warned…

Featurette - Wardrobe: Another short presentation, this focuses on the furniture used in Buffy... slap! Alright, alright - basically small interview snippets from the usual suspects for this set (Jane Espenson, Marti Noxon and David Fury), plus Harry Groener, Charisma Carpenter and wardrobe supervisor Cynthia Bergstrom populate this sub-seven minute featurette, going through the thoughts behind the dress of the many characters, showing some behind the scenes stuff and crowing about how the show reflects and also influences fashions. (And if anybody reading this wishes to pay me lots of money to buy heaps of gorgeous clothes, then please email me as I'd be more than happy to oblige.)

Featurette - Weapons: Another disappointingly short inclusion (just over five minutes), this races through a look at such weapons used in Buffy as stakes, swords, crossbows, knives, battle axes, the intriguingly titles hunga munga and… a letter opener! The usual suspects (see above) are joined by Douglas Petrie and property master Randy Eriksen (is that Horny Nokia's cousin?), to reveal a few of the devilish secrets as to how they do certain things with lethal objects.

Featurette - Special effects: They really need to use some imagination with these titles! As you just may have surmised, this delves into the special effects used in season three, and as well as THOSE usual suspects interviews are also included with a number of the fabulous techy nerdboys responsible for the funky CG stuff that is on show in Buffy, such as various morphing techniques and looks at specific effects such as lightning, some used on the mayor and also the many saved up for Graduation Day. The 12 minutes and 51 seconds is like totally full of nerdspeak you know, but the gnarly stuff these guys come up with to give us a better Buffy is worth every often curiously unintelligible syllable. Oh, and the segment on the 'dusting' effect makes this worthwhile on its own.

  Overall  
Contract

This is easily the best season to date of a show that continually manages to markedly push the boundaries of entertaining AND intelligent television, so there's not much more that can be said other than "BUY THIS". If you have somehow remained oblivious to Buffy, or have foolishly labelled it as some form of Beverly Hills 90210 type plop with pointy sticks added without ever having seen it then you are REALLY missing out on something truly special and unique.

You'll need to bring the tissues for this collection too - and here's some food for thought as we wait another arduous six months for the next Buffy DVD instalment - as much as the next season introduces hyper-dweeb boy Riley (Boo Hiss!), there's also lots and lots of Spike to look forward to. MMMmmm... Spike!


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      And I quote...
    "Easily the best season to date of a show that continually manages to markedly push the boundaries of entertaining AND intelligent television..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
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    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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