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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The Slayer Collection: Spike DVD Review

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The Slayer Collection: Spike

June 3, 2002

Director: John T. Kretchmer, Joss Whedon, David Semel, Nick Marck, ,
Starring: James Marsters, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Head, Charisma Carpenter, David Boreanaz, Juliet Landau, ,

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DVD Review

Buffy fans will appreciate these new DVDs that showcase selected episodes concentrating on our favourite characters.

Diehard fans will probably already own the full boxsets, but if you haven’t been able to afford a whole season, or are a new devotee to the show, then this is your chance for a piece of the action. 20th Century Fox are releasing a new selection of Buffy with four episodes per DVD. So if your favourite character on the show is, say, Willow, then you can buy the DVD with four of her best storylines. The same goes for Buffy, Angel, Faith and of course Spike, which we’ll look at here.

The Episodes:

School Hard

The arrival of evil vamp Spike and his girlfriend Drusilla causes problems for Buffy, who has to make a good impression on parent night or else she’ll be expelled from school. But Spike shows up at the worst moment and Buffy’s low profile is thown out the window when she has to protect principal Snider and her mother from the attack. Angel arrives, supposedly to save the day, but it turns out he and Spike have quite a history together…

Spike falls into the amusing-villain-you-can’t-help-but-like category, and it’s interesting to see how his character has grown over the six seasons he’s been on the show (this episode is from early in the second season) from a typical Hollywood nasty to a sympathetic guy trying to make up for his mistakes.

Lie To Me

Also taken from season 2, this episode revolves around an old friend of Buffy’s who turns up in Sunnydale with a secret. You see, Billy’s a member of a cult that worships vampires, and he wants to be turned by Spike. Meanwhile Angel smells a rat and gets Willow to check up on Billy, wondering if he’s just being the jealous boyfriend, not knowing that Buffy feels the same jealousy after she sees Angel and Drusilla together.

We get to know a bit more about the history of Angel and his connection to Spike and Drusilla, and there are plenty of plot twists right up until the end. Willow also gets some big laughs when she nervously tries to hide that she’s been working secretly with Angel. “Have you been drinking coffee again?” asks a puzzled Buffy.

Lovers’ Walk

Skipping ahead to season three now, Spike returns with a broken heart after he’s abandoned by Drusilla (played by Martin Landau’s daughter, fact-fans). Determined to win her back, he kidnaps Xander and Willow and plans to make her do a spell that will force Drusilla to fall in love with him again. Things are complicated by the fact Xander and Willow have a thing for each other, and are fighting their own demons when it comes to love. Spike uses Buffy and Angel to protect him as he sets about gathering the ingredients needed for his love spell, using the location of Willow as leverage for their co-operation.

As with any show, secrets have a way of coming out at the worst possible moment, and this is no exception. Xander’s relationship with Cordelia and Oz’s with Willow is ruined when they’re discovered in a compromising way in Spike’s warehouse, opening the door for new relationships in season four.

Fool For Love

Season five saw the mellowing of Spike’s character, but this flashback episode shows us just how bad he used to be. When Buffy is injured while on patrol, she forces Spike to recount how he previously killed two slayers in the hope it will shed some light on her mistake. We see that the evil Spike actually began life as a sissy toff who wrote bad poetry. He was rejected by the woman he loved so when Drusilla comes along, offering him a new life, he accepts. Hooking up with Angelis and Darla, the foursome travel through the middle-ages leaving death and destruction in their wake.

Spike kills a slayer and, getting a taste for it, ends up killing another in New York during the 70’s. Meanwhile Buffy and Riley are growing apart and Joyce has to go into hospital for some tests…

Special Features:

Just a short character profile for Spike, with input from Marsters and the writers on the show, and a Buffy/Angel DVD promo trailer. There are some good episodes here, but what about Spike’s larger role in seasons six and seven? As with the other ‘best of Buffy’ releases, you can’t help but feel you’re only getting snippets of a bigger story, in which case you’ll want to buy the full season boxsets.

F

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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Rating: 80%

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