Reviewing Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Season Four)

19. New Moon Rising

Oz returns, apparently in control of his werewolf form, and Willow has a tough choice to make. Very emotional, sensitively-written which deals with Willow’s budding romance with Tara. 8.5/10

20. The Yoko Factor

Spike teams up with Adam and manipulates the Scoobies from within. Meanwhile, Angel returns and causes friction between Buffy and Riley. Enjoyable, if slightly muddled. 8/10

21. Primeval

Everything wraps up an episode early as the Adam and the Initiative comes to a surprisingly early close. Lacking in comparison to other finales, but love the uniting of the Scooby Gang’s powers. 8/10

22. Restless

Buffy, Giles, Xander and Willow have something haunting their dreams in the single most layered, dense episode of the show. A surreal masterpiece that can be watched endlessly and you will always uncover some new meaning, symbolism or significance. Utter genius. 10/10

Verdict: It’s difficult to rate season four as it really is a season of two halves. Yes, the Initiative storyline is probably the weakest season-long story arc of the show and, by God, Adam is one heck of a disappointing villain. Still, I have to say I enjoy this season a lot more than most fans seem to. The reason for this is the terrific quality of one-off episodes this year. This season really is full experimentation, as the show explores what it is now that it has lost the high school setting and has moved to college. This approach means that some things are fantastic – ‘Hush’, Willow and Tara’s romance, the addition of Spike – while others are not so much – ‘Beer Bad’, the loss of Oz, the addition of Riley. Overall, though, there is a lot of intelligence and creativity on show this season. How well you rate it will depend on what you prefer – a strong story arc or standout single episodes.

 

Review: 8.4

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13 thoughts on “Reviewing Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Season Four)

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  1. I’ll admit, watching this on TV week to week, I found this season kind of dull. However, when it came out on DVD and you could watch it more rapidly, the characters develop really nicely throughout this season making the transition from teens to young adults, and while Adam will never be a good villain, there’s more than enough other points of interest to keep this season moving. It also has my favourite villain of the week in this season which are the Gentlemen. Those guys are incredibly creepy.

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    1. Really agree with you there. Season four is much better when binge-watching. It’s very much a transitional season, with some great stuff and some less good stuff. Yeah, Adam is rubbish but the Gentlemen are amazing!

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  2. I never understood how people can hate Buffy season 4 but love Angel season 5 when they’re essentially exactly the same:

    -A sort of ‘soft reboot’ to show, change of main locations and sets.
    -Bringing in Spike to replace Cordelia as the comic relief.
    -Gimmicky episode that everyone seems to love (Hush//Smile Time)
    -Dream episode (Restless// Soul Purpose)
    -Terrible character with biblical name (Adam// Eve)
    -Serious 2 parter, one of them written-directed by Whedon (Faith Episodes// Fred’s death episodes)
    -Season starts off humorous and becomes more serious a bit after the halfway point.
    -One of the worst episodes in the series according to fans (Beer Bad// The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco)

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    1. That’s a really good point, I hadn’t thought of these similarities before – except Spike replacing Cordelia in both.

      For me, I enjoy both, I’m not sure which one I prefer. Like you say, both have great points and less good points.

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  3. I actually enjoyed season four except Adam being the Big Bad. I love all the seasons of Buffy honestly but this season was a transistion from high school to college and dealt with very real issues. And I loved the character development in this season in particular.

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      1. Ah this is the hardest question for me because I have multiple favorites for all different reasons. Okay so my favorite character Willow and Cordelia for the Angel series because her character development was so good. My favorite season…6 season because of the dark themes and how deep everything got. What about you?

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      2. Great picks! It is really hard to choose but for Buffy my faves have to be Willow/Spike – Wesley’s my fave Angel character. I guess seasons 2-3 are the best for me – maybe 3, If I had to pick just one.

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