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

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The Slayer Collection: Willow

April 22, 2002

Director: Joss Whedon, Marti Noxon, Sean Murray, ,
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Boreanaz, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Head, Charisma Carpenter, Eliza Dushku, ,

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DVD Review

Buffy fans will appreciate these new DVDs that showcase selected episodes featuring 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.
Gay witches are a rare breed on TV (the jury is still out on Sabrina), but you’d be hard pressed to find a tougher nut than our Willow.

The Episodes:

Phases

Season two saw the blossoming of Willow and Oz’s relationship while Buffy was dealing with Angel being evil and killing her friends. There’s a nasty werewolf in town feeding on the students, so the scooby gang launch their own investigation. Nobody is more surprised than Oz when he finds out he’s the werewolf, courtesy of a nip from his baby nephew. Unsure what to do, and scared he may hurt Willow, he keeps everyone at arms length. Things are made more complicated when a werewolf hunter shows up for a piece of the action…

Up until now Willow had been pining over Xander, so it was great to see her break out of her shell a bit and fall for someone more on her wavelength. It’s also a great episode that deals with the secret lives people have, and that there’s a wild side to male/female relationships that can be destructive if not kept in check.

Doppelgangland

One of the funniest episodes ever, taken from season three. Former demon Anya, despising the mortal life (“I’m 1120 years old! Just gimme a frickin’ beer!”) snares Willow into helping her perform a spell to reclaim her powers. But things go wrong and Willow’s vampire doppelganger from an alternate dimension is summoned instead. There’s confusion at first – Buffy and Xander are shocked when they think the real Willow has been turned into a vampire – but once the situation becomes clear, Willow steps in and poses as her evil twin when a gang of vampires led by Anya and evil Willow take over The Bronze.

Fluffy Willow turned nasty in season six, but this and previous episode The Wish were our first taste of her dark side. Hannigan gets to play both roles with gusto and the writing is laced with classic moments of hilarity such as Willow facing a baffled scooby gang who at first think she’s evil, thrusting crosses in her face but then hugging her desperately when they realise their mistake.

Wild At Heart

Season four saw Willow and Buffy experimenting at College (leave it). Oz meets rock-chick Veruca who also happens to be a werewolf, and is understandably intrigued. But Veruca favours running wild during a full moon instead of locking herself up, and soon seduces Oz. When Willow finds them together things can never be the same again. Oz turns on the ammoral Veruca, but the damage is already done, and he decides it would be best to leave town.

College was a rough transition, for the characters and the viewers, and this isn’t one of the strongest episodes by a long mile, but at least Seth Green actually gets to act for a change.

New Moon Rising

More from season four, and Willow’s relationship with Tara is put on hold when Oz makes a surprise return to Sunnydale. Willow reveals the love triangle situation to a taken-aback Buffy, who up until now wasn’t aware that Willow was batting for the other team. Things get messy when Oz discovers the truth and is angered into transforming into his werewolf form, chasing Tara through the corridors. He’s captured by The Initiative and taken back to their underground lab for testing. Meanwhile Spike learns what’s happened and, concealing his own agenda, he helps Buffy break in to rescue Oz.

Hmm. Season four. Nuff said.

Special Features:

Just a short featurette profiling Willow, and a promo trailer for Buffy/Angel on DVD. But you already own the full season boxsets, right?
Right?

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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