Created by Joss Whedon
Joss Whedon was responsible for a great deal of TV and film prior to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series but there’s no denying that this smartassed teenage vampire killer really put him on the map as a creator. He first imagined her in a film that was eventually taken out of his hands and became something substantially different than he had planned. So he returned to the character with his cult classic television series. That TV series ran for seven seasons on two different networks. The show got a great series finale but Whedon wasn’t done with those characters. He had a season 8 in mind for the hero and her now much more epic story which he told in comic book form.
Season 8 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer found success in comic book form being overseen by Whedon and written by him and some other solid writers in the world of comics and television. It wasn’t long before Buffy became the great experiment in the evolution of comics; the motion comic. Motion comics are limited animation television/internet/mobile device shows that are acted out by voice actors and animated right from the original comic books. The animation is limited similar to the old Marvel Comics cartoons from the 60’s.
At the core of this series is Whedon’s story which starts out fantastic but as you watch all 19 episodes or issues the story becomes a little muddy and less consistent. What is consistent is the ensemble of characters. Even though this is a comic book/animated series the characters develop as you’d have expected them to on the original television series. The difference here is that Whedon is working without a budget. For the first time since he imagined the character he could literally do anything he wanted to and he did for this first 19 installments. For example the season begins with Dawn, Buffy’s sister, giant sized, literally. The good thing is that Whedon could do anything he wanted and the bad thing is that he could do anything he wanted. The story unfortunately gets a little buried in these opportunities for epic special effects and the villains toward the second half of the series aren’t intriguing as the early ones.
On the upside the faith story arc is classic Whedon done well and the appearance of Willow feels just like the good old days of the original television series. All of the voice acting is good but Buffy in particular just sounds to radically different from Sarah Michelle Gellar. The voice actors for the Faith and Willow characters do particularly good jobs of bringing the mannerisms of Alyson Hannigen and Eliza Dushku to the animated versions of this series. Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8 is a great ride, an imperfect one for sure, but still overall a great ride. There’s good jokes, hip but not painfully so, dialogue, demon and vampire killing, and melodrama, all presented in a nice package of good music good art, and limited but entertaining animation.
This series was done all digitally so moving it to Blu-Ray was seamless. Colors, detail and animation is solid throughout. The only limitations in this presentation are due to the limitations of the source material.
The Dolby surround sound presentation is pretty basic with minimal actual surround sound throughout the series. The dialogue, sound fx, and score are well mixed and clean throughout though. It’s a bit basic but it gets the job done.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The 2 disc set comes packaged in a standard blu-ray slim amaray case featuring the painted art from the first issue of the comic book. The first disc is a blu-ray and the second is the same content on a standard DVD.
The bonus features are slim here. There’s a brief but interesting making of featurette, a trivia game, and a comic book cover art gallery. The DVD actually has an extra feature which is a little gimmick for making your own graphic novel. There should honestly be a lot more here.
This is a no brainer for Buffy fans. The stories of the first 7 seasons are all continued in this season 8 presentation.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
The Series 8/10
The Video 9/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 4/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10