The first four episodes drew this doubter in and made me forget all about the movie (yes, I actually liked the movie). Rating: 8 out of 10.
(Before I start this review, let me get something over with: I’m one of the handful that actually liked the 1992 Kristy Swanson/Luke Perry comedy. Yes, it was extremely cheesy in parts, but unlike most films in the horror genre, it was smart enough not to take itself seriously. Besides, Kristy has a killer smile. And that Pee-Wee Herman death scene is a true classic! Okay. I’m done rambling.)
201-Words-or-Less Film Review
I was stationed overseas when the TV show debuted, but when I got back in the states Buffy paraphernalia was everywhere, and it seemed like it was trying to look scary. Horror/comedies go in knowing they’re silly; I feared the show would aim for serious and end up at unintentionally silly.
Five years later I found out original screenwriter Joss Whedon masterminded the show as well, so I gave it a shot. Guess what—the show is better (so far anyway). Whedon shifts seamlessly between (TV) gore and teen angst (not much of a shift?), and the dialogue is sharp. These early episodes introduce a great set of supporting characters. And the young-looking Gellar fits the part (did they actually cast a teenage girl as a teenage girl?) .
The two-part pilot is far superior to episodes three and four (which weren’t written by Whedon). The 90-minute length avoids the formulaic, too-neatly-wrapped-up feel of the stand-alone 45-minute episodes. The pilot centers on Buffy and vampires (imagine that); the following episodes deal with a maybe-witch who wants to be a cheerleader and a maybe-not-human sexy substitute teacher. Kinda lame, but not lame enough to slow down the momentum of the show’s great start.
Year: 1997 Directors: Charles Martin Smith (1), John T. Kretschmer (2), Stephen Cragg (3), and Bruce Seth Green (4) Writers: Joss Whedon (1 and 2), Dana Reston (3), and David Greenwalt (4) Running time: 180 minutes (45 minutes per episode) Rating: N/A (about a PG-13 equivalent)