ORBzine - 1999.01 Television Review

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Buffy [Season 4], Angel [Season 1]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy the Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 1] The Freshman
[Shown First Week, January 2000]

- first episode sees Buffy, Willow and Oz start up at Sunnydale University. Buffy's stressed [!] - totally out of character for the complete bitch we all know. Her friends are no help - Xander is driving across the USA, Giles is shacked up with a babe [both he and Buffy quit] - and there's a Fraternity of Vampires on campus!

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 1] City of ...
[Shown First Week, January 2000]

Angel comes to town - a cross between Millennium and The Equaliser, this is a lot darker and more adult than Buffy [which is mature enough, when needs be]. Also, Angel actually gets some good lines here - much better than the stale dialogue in Buffy.

Angel is recruited to do good by higher powers, whose messenger is a snotling-type demon with an Oirish accent [played by the trailer-trash son-in-law from Roseanne, who is apparently from Dublin]. Cordelia also pops up - in L.A. to become an actress. But the trio have bigger problems than the Sunnydale vampire gangs; in the Big City the evil-doers are rich and well-organised. LA-LA land, home of Corporate evil!

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy the Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 2] Living Conditions
[Shown Second Week, January 2000]

Buffy continues her education. The show has a new title sequence [Seth Green is now an official cast member, not just a Guest Star] but very little else has changed.

A group of Darth Maul look-alikes [orange skin, glowing eyes] try rather pathetically to hide in the shadows. They also ambush Buffy and her room-mate, which raises the question; why do baddies in this show always use Martial Arts instead of guns or magic?

Buffy tries to seduce a new boyfriend, who is a very slightly different version of Xander. He looks and talks like Xander, but for some reason the Buff one has a taste for him. That's not the only thing she has a taste for; she swallows chewing-gun and spits milk. Ooh, do behave!

The main plot of the episode concerns Buffy's problem-filled relationship with her room-mate. However, the demons pop up at the end. Why does this show hold the line that all Buffy's problems can be resolved with the use of violence?

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 2] Lonely Hearts
[Shown Second Week, January 2000]

The ugly vamp and his cohorts search for a demon that's stalking the city's singles bar scene. Funny, this kind of expose of the promiscuous meat-market was last seen in an episode of The Equalizer. Yes, this show has revealed itself to be a rip-off in more than style.

The demon sidekick wants to get off with Cordy, but she is too busy trying to run the business. She has a set of business cards printed, and slinks around all the horny guys in a singles bar, advertising services. Hmm.

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>>>Buffy & Angel

Davitt: If episodes of Angel are as good as the first one, I vote we say sod buffy, Angel rocks.

Speculator: Angel's promising, but hardly original. Buffy still has the edge humour-wise, but Angel's just recycling "The Equalizer" plots. :(

Kev: Angel is an idiot who can't act, can't fight, has no dress sense, and should have been shot by Blade long ago......

Speculator: [and Buffy could have easily chosen a much better cherry-picker. ah well]

Davitt: Angel Is the Ulukai. He can shape the sarcasm to his own will.

Speculator: Angel's a ukelele? No wonder he looks tight-strung ...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy the Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 3] The Harsh Light of Day
[Shown Third Week, January 2000]

The cast all pair off - Willow and Oz, Xander and Anya, Buffy and Parker [last week's Xander clone], Harmony [Cordelia's old pal] and Spike [Dru left him].

Is Xander bad for telling Anya [who used him] to back off because he was busy almost dying saving the ever-ungrateful Buffy?

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 3] In The Dark
[Shown Third Week, January 2000]

Oz brings Angel the gem of Amara - Spike's after it. He brings along a creepy Rent-a-torturer who looks a bit like Anthony ER Edwards. Not content with being a sadistic bloodsucker, the torturer has a thing about kids. Could the so-called writers TRY any harder to make the villains evil?

The climax is on the Baywatch set, which should be familiar to one cast member. Cordelia [ Charisma Carpenter ] was a guest-star as Hobbie's GF, back when she was 23 and he was 13. This show SO resembles Baywatch Nights it hurts.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy the Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 4] Fear, Itself

This is the Hallowe'en episode. Slutty is having a hard time getting over Parker. Odd, since she found it so easy to get on top of him. Meanwhile Xander, who is eternally banned from Buffy-gasms, is trying to sort out his relationship with Anya the ex-demon.

This starts as a rerun of the Season 2 Hallowe'en episode. However, it centres around peoples' worst fears coming to life. Anya's Hallowe'en costume is ... interesting, and Giles is mucho cool!

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 4] I Fall To Pieces
[Shown Fourth Week, January 2001]

Angel gets a client - a pretty pathetic low-rent human female who is being stalked by a rich doctor who has supernatural powers. See, because the female, worthless as she is, thinks the male is inferior to her ... well, society automatically agrees.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy the Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 5] Bad Beer
[Shown 2nd November 2000]

Buffy is still having trouble getting over Parker. The fact that he gave her multiple orgasms and then bought her breakfast isn't good enough for her. She hangs out at the bar in the Student Union, where Xander is now bartender. His aim is to pick up lonely on-the-rebound chicks like ... Buffy!

How is Parker's treatment of Buffy different from her treatment of Xander? Well, it's pretty obvious ...

Buffy ignores Xander and drinks herself into a stupor. The beer has been spiked, and the drinkers regress into cavemen. The moral, to quote South Park, is Beer is baaaaaad ...

Willow talks to Parker, who tries to seduce her. Meanwhile, Oz is obsessing about the female vocalist in the new band at the Bronze nightclub.

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 5] Room W/A Vu
[Shown First Week, March 2000]

Doyle and Angel help Cordelia move into her new apartment. However, it already has a long-standing tenant who does not take kindly to their trespassing. This episode is really notable only for the revival of the bad-attitude Cordy we last saw in Buffy [Season 1]

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy the Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 6] Wild at Heart

Oz discovers that his fascination with the female songstress from last episode is mutual. Other revelations in the episode threaten to destroy his relationship with Willow.

Also, Buffy bumps into one of the military dudes - literally. She previously saw them in the Hallowe'en episode, but now she knows they are there for real and they mean business!

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 6] Sense & Sensitivity
[Shown Third Week, October 2000]

This shown has been edited by Channel 4 to remove violence. Not only is it hard to follow because of the missing scenes, it is also so short they can squeeze 2 episodes into 90 minutes [including advert breaks]!

Kate Lochley, the female detective from the Singles Bars episode [ Elizabeth Rohm needs Angel's help to locate a gangster. The Vampire does so through old-fashioned detective work, which must therefore be beyond the capabilities of the LAPD. The gangster is arrested ... but his lawyers are Wolfram & Hart!

Because of Lochley's sadistic attitude, the Precinct cops are ordered to take compulsory sensitivity training. This works better than anyone expected, and the cops stop being hard-edged Rodney King-beating thugs long enough to relate to other people on a human level. Of course, Americans cannot handle the concept of community policing . In her disinhibited state, Lochley spots Doyle's crush on Cordy.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 7] The Initiative
[Shown First Week, March 2000]

Oz has left town, but Spike has popped up as a replacement regular character. He has gotten on the wrong side of those commando guys who popped up in previous episodes - in fact, he finds out what happened to the vampire they captured at the end of the first episode of Season 4.

Spike's Bimbo GF [Harmony, one of Cordy's friends in Season 2] is also back in town - still angry at Spike. We get to see her go hand-to-hand with Xander!

Riley has an unnatural attraction to the Buffster - so much so that he actually clobbers Parker [the Xander clone she screwed] for being graphic about her. By the end of the episode we know that Riley and the Professor [Lindsay Crouse] are not what they appear to be.

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 7] The Bachelor Party
[Shown Third Week, October 2000]

Cordy gets tired of dating guys who are rich, handsome and ... shallow. She finally realises that Doyle is ... like some badly-dressed superhero. However, Doyle has other romantic involvements ...

Doyle's wife is back in town, about to get married again. Doyle and Angel go to the Stag Party, while Cordy gets invited to the Hen Night. Both events are filled with middle-class demons trying to act human.

This episode is really a satire on immigrants who refuse to integrate, and hold onto barbaric customs instead of becoming English-speaking atheists.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 8] Pangs
[Shown 8th December 2000]

It's Thanksgiving time again, and the Yanks want to celebrate their cultural destruction of the Native Merkins. Xander, now a construction worker on the Uni's new Cultural Centre, accidentally discovers a lost Mission station from the 1800s. He also awakens a Native American vengeance spirit that gives him syphilis and starts to wipe out the city's authority figures in revenge for white oppression.

Angel is in town to look after Buffy, though he has very little to do in the episode. Spike pops up as well, on the run from the Initiative and starving to undeath because he can't bite someone. It won't be a happy Thanksgiving for either of them.

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 8] I Will Remember You
[Shown Fourth Week, October 2000]

Buffy comes to town. She and Angel are attacked by a demon who is dressed as a samurai. The demon's blood has regenerative properties: Angel becomes human again! Now, why don't they bottle the blood and use it to cure vampires instead of slaying them? Why bother, when they already have the Gypsy curse to return vampires' souls - which they refuse to use!

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 9] Something Blue
[Shown 15th December 2000]

Willow is having a terrible time trying to get over Oz. She uses her magicks to make things better - but with terrible effects for the rest of the Scooby Gang. Spike the impotent vamp is still hanging around, and things get interesting between him and Buffy! :)

Amy the rat also pops up briefly.

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 9] Hero
[Shown Fourth Week, October 2000]

Angel has to save some Demon refugees from some Demonic racial purists called The Scourge. Doyle had a previous run-in with them, and owes them some payback. They are so strict against any kind of demon-human halfbreed that they hate Vampires! However, they DO have cool Nazi-type uniforms.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 10] Hush
[Shown 23rd December 2000]

Willow attends a Wicca group - she gets kicked out for wanting to do magic, but meets a new friend named Tara. Tara is a bit plain and chubby, perhaps what the Producers originally wanted for the role of Willow in Season 1.

There are evil demons in town [!], and this time they are actually scary! This episode stands out in that respect; it's not as boring or predictable as the rest, it's quite terrifying. Everyone in Sunnydale [even Buffy and the Initiative] have their voices stolen.

The theme of the episode is communication, and by the end Buffy and Riley realise they have to be honest with each other.

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 10] Parting Gifts
[Shown 2nd November 2000]

Angel is hired by a nerdy demon type, who is shocked to see a vamp up and about before dusk. Angel explains that vampires can walk around in daylight, he just has to avoid direct sunlight.

Wesley is back! Several demons have been dismembered, and he is after the killer.

Everyone's favourite demonic law firm, Wolfram & Hart, get a mention at the end.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 11] Doomed
[Shown January 2001]

Buffy and Riley finally start to communicate.

Spike is living with Xander, and none to happy about it. He gets depressed, but by the end of the episode he's a happy puppy again.

The high points: there's some great dialogue, and we get to see the old school again.

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 11] Somnambulist

Angel has nightmares about a series of murders. They match his former MO - a fact not missed by Wesley the ex-Watcher.

We get futher development of Angel's friendship with Detective Kate Lochley. When uniformed cops chase the killer into a building, she goes into the building without SWAT backup or even a partner! Someone that stupid deserves to die - or at least get kicked off the force [especially when she shoots unarmed people who aren't even threatening her]. However, Angel pops up in time for her to see his vampire side.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 12] A New Man
[Shown January 2001]

Giles faces off with Lindsay Crouse, who accuses him of not being an adequate male father figure. Ethan Rayne pops up again, and Giles gets turned into a demon. Spike is the only one who can understand him!

This is the episode Spike moves out of Xander's place.

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Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 12] Expecting

Cordelia finds herself 8 months pregnant, but has no idea how. Well, I'm sure she knows the facts of life, she just doesn't remember getting impregnated. She shagged a guy the night before ...

The SPFX this time are pretty good - the monster at the end is certainly an eye-opener. On the down side, in this episode Cordy seems a lot closer to Charisma Carpenter's real age [about 30] than the character's age [about 20].

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy the Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 13] The I in Team
[Shown Fourth Week, March 2000]

Buffy and her new BF, Riley, work together as part of a demon-hunting unit led by their College Professor, Lindsay Crouse . The producers decided to give Buffy a steamy sex scene with Riley, because ratings are slipping in the USA. Also, Willow has a sleep-over with her witchlet friend ...

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 13] She
[Shown Fourth Week, March 2000]

Doyle the Oirish Imp has left the show, and Cordy has the visions. They are joined by ex-Watcher Alexis Denisoff, who was Cordy's BF and Giles' replacement in Season 3 of Buffy.

Men are being discovered, burned to death from the inside out. Angel discovers the killers are from another dimension, which has an on-going war of the sexes. The males subject the females to a medical operation that makes them more docile and controlable. In other words, the entire plot is about a metaphor for female circumcision!

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy the Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 14] Goodbye Iowa
[Shown First Week, April 2000]

Buffy and Riley hunt the new creature, half-human and half Polgara demon. Riley has not been taking his medication, and starts to suffer withdrawl symptoms.

We get reunited with Willy, the human bartender from Season 2 who lets vampires and demons frequent his place.

Willow and her GF get together for more magick, and it appears that when they spent the night together in the previous episode all they did was cast spells. Also, it appears that [like most characters in this show] the GF has an agenda of her own. This time they try to summon the Goddess Thespia ...

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 14] I've Got You Under My Skin
[Shown First Week, April 2000]

This episode is the predictable Exorcist rip-off. THIS demon, unlike Giles' friend Igon in Season 2, will only go to a WARM body - so Angel can't use the same trick again. The story does have a moral: evil is not soley the domain of Demons.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 15] This Year's Girl
[Shown 1st February 2001]

Riley is recovered from the confrontation with Adam last episode. Faith is also recovered. Faith awakes from her coma, and blames Buffy for destroying her life. Meanwhile, Adam takes over the local Vampire gangs.

We get to see the Mayor again [in flashback only, unfortunately]. We also get to re-watch the dream sequence from the end of Season 3 when Faith tells Buffy I know, little sis comin' - a nice piece of pre-plotting for Season 5!

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 16] The Prodigal
[Shown Second Week, April 2001]

Someone is selling mystical PCP to bag-lady demons. Angel discovers that Detective Kate Lochley's father is somehow involved.

The backstory is Angel's flashbacks to 1753 and his relationship [or lack thereof] with his father. We get a delightful cameo by Julie Benz , as Darla provides yet more background.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 16] Who Are You
[Shown 14th February 2001 - Wednesday]

Part Two of 2.

The girls now see life from each others' perspective. Gellar is excellent as not-Buffy, and the script gives a lot of room for her to move around in the new character.

Willow introduces her friend Tara to not-Buffy. It seems Tara can see peoples' auras. We also get to see Wills and Tara spell-casting, which involves lots of orgasmic moaning.

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 16] The Ring
[Shown Week, December 2000]

Angel falls foul of the brain-damaged guy from Oz. The villains run a pit-fighting ring, and force captured demons to fight to the death. Our hero refuses to kill anyone, and has to hope Wesley and Cordy will save him before it is too late.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 17] Superstar
[Shown Week, December 2000]

This time the opening credits are slightly different. Johnathan, the nerdy guy from Season 3, is now so perfect that he is in the title sequence! Yes, the Buffster has been supersceded by Jonathan [from Season 3 episode Earshot], who is now a kind of reverse Duane Dibley.

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 17] Eternity
[Shown 3rd December 2000]

Cordy finally gets a role in a stage play. The results are predictable. On the way home they spot the gay talent agent from Episode 1, and foil an attack on his client - a babelicious yet out-of-work TV star. Angel takes a liking to her, and decides to protect her from the stalker. However, she has an obsession with discovering eternal youth. Then she discovers Angel is a vampire ...

The high part of the episode? We get to see Evil Angel again.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 18] Where The Wild Things Are

Adam is uniting the demons and vampires into an army ... Willow has to choose - and so does Riley.

Finally Buffy & Riley get over the whole Faith thing. In fact, they do nothing but make up. Xander and Anya are on the verge of splitting up. Tara offers Willow a ride [on her horse], then goes frigid on her. We even get to see what Giles does in his spare time.

Ex-Vamp Spike and Ex-Demon Anya commiserate together, then gate-crash the Initiative's frat-house party. The wall gives people orgasms, and everyone acts strangely. Yes, we have yet another haunted frat-house on campus. As ever the Initiative are useless.

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 18] Five By Five
[Shown 3rd December 2000]

We get a flashback to 1898, where Darla gives Angel a gypsy girl for Xmas. Of course, we all know how that ended up.

Back in the present day, and Faith turns up in Los Angeles. Wolfram & Hart hire her to take out the vamp-with-a-soul. She kidnaps Wesley and tortures him. Angel goes after her, and for some reason he can enter places without invitation.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 19] New Moon Rising

Willow and Tara decide to get a kitten and call it Miss Kittico Fantastico. However, Oz is back in town, and poor Willow has to choose between them. Silly girl hasn't realised that bi can also mean 2 lovers.

Meanwhile, vampire activity is down. However, the Initiative is working overtime against an apparent Demon invasion. Worse, a patrol gets ambushed by a hungry werewolf ...

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 19] Sanctuary
[Shown 10th December 2000]

Faith is still in Angel's care. He tries to reform her, but she is emotionally vulnerable. The Watcher's Council goons turn up to take her in, along with another familiar face ...

The lawyers at Wolfram & Hart are out to kill their failed assassin, and Detective Kate Lochley is out to solve the murders Faith committed.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 20] The Yoko Factor

Spike uses his secret weapon on the the Scooby Gang - the Yoko Factor!

Meanwhile, Buffy tries to sort out her love life, between Angel and Riley.

BBC2 edited the line where Xander mentions he got fired from his job on a Sex Chat line.

Also of note, the Initiative is now run by Conor O'Farrell [ Dark Skies ].

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 20] War Zone
[Shown 10th December 2000]

Angel is hired by a nerdy software billionaire to track down a blackmailer. He runs into a human streetgang who are engaged in gang warfare with a vampire streetgang ...

We get to see a demon brothel that brings new meaning to the term cat-house. Also, the leader of the human gang pops up in later episodes.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 21] Primeval

Buffy works out what Adam's big plan is. It involves the Initiative and an army of demons. We get to see her confrontation with Adam [influenced by The Matrix], which runs in tandem with Riley's battle against his bestest buddy. Willow does her witchy stuff, and there's a big shootout on that expensive Initiative set.

Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 21] Blind Date
[Shown 17th December 2000]

Angel goes up against a blind girl who is an assassin for Wolfram & Hart. There are a couple of things that foreshadow the next episode:

  • One of the Wolfram & Hart lawyers wants to quit the firm
  • Angel steals a prophesy scroll from the W&H vault

    Also, Gunn [the token African-American] pops up again.

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  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer [Season 4, Episode 22] Restless

    The Scooby Gang watch their favourite videos in an end-of-season party. But as they drift off to sleep, something hunts them through their dreams.

    Willow's dream involves her lesbian tendancies and her stage-fright [involving a surreal version of Death Of A Salesman]. Oz [Seth Green] and Harmony [ Mercedes McNab ] pop up.

    Xander wanted to watch Apocalypse Now. They show clips of something that clearly isn't the real film. His nightmare involves his sexual desire for Willow, Tara and Joyce. Armin Shimmerman's cameo is a real eye-opener.

    Giles works out what the problem is, and even gets to sing live on stage.

    Buffy's nightmare puts her in the bedroom where she and Faith made the bed in the Finale of Season 3. We get to see Adam without the demon make-up.

    Angel Angel [Season 1, Episode 22] To Shanshu in L.A.
    [Shown 17th December 2000]

    Wesley deciphers the prophesy, which tells of a Beast that Wolfram & Hart will raise and send against him. A demonic entity hospitalises the two sidekicks, and Angel soldiers on alone.

    The Beast is foreshadowing for the next season: it's someone from Angel's past.

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