In further explication of my thoughts on season 5, I have to say that I started watching BTVS with season 6. The first part of 6, during which Buffy tries to deal with her resurrection, has always fascinated me for its nuanced depiction of her grief cycle. People tell me that The Body is the single best BTVS ep about grief. I wouldn’t know; I haven’t seen it [yet], but I have to say that all the mooding, brooding and grieving in the early part of 6 sound psychologically convincing and revealing notes. As we watch all the characters deal with Buffy’s death, absence and rebirth, the specter of death, always a presence in a series about the undead, becomes real, substantive and irrevocable. For such a fantastical premise [dead one comes back], this story arc is the most realistic and compelling of all the BTVS arcs for me, which probably demonstrates more about me and my preoccupations with death, mourning, grief, maturation, cemeteries, memories, vampires, ghosts, epitaphs than it does about BTVS itself.
So, if 6 is the high point for me, I like 2, 3 and 4 next best, but I really dislike 1 and 7. 1, a short, experimental season, provides only glimmers of the juicy richness that the show would later develop into. Plus there’s no Spike, so I ignore it. And I am currently refusing to watch 7. I don’t want to see Buffy as a motivational speaker to the Potentials; I don’t want to see Willow basically squashed, mousy and regressed after 6’s drama; and I don’t want to see Spike die. I don’t care that he comes back in 5 of Angel. I don’t want to see him die! I’m just pretending 6 is the end, okay? La la la, I’m not listening to you….
So, in answer to the comments, I like Spike too anyway, abbagirl, and the icon is hilarious. :p
LoreMistress, I recommend watching well past 4 and into 6, but avoiding 7. In other words, don’t break off. In my opinion, some of the best eps are coming up.
RedCountess, having read tons of synopses and analyses, I agree that you have a point about the development of Buffy + Spike over time. I still maintain that Crush and Intervention crank up the schmoopiness at the expense of the characters’ personalities. I have no problem with them having a relationship; I just wish that the portrayal in those two eps was true to the characters.
And a link to my favorite BTVS site, a critical journal of “Buffy studies” with an archive of meaty analyses of all things BTVS.