With Joss Whedon’s iconic Buffy the Vampire Slayer celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, the powers that be have seen fit to release a new boxset collection to commemorate this milestone. Is this merely another thinly veiled attempt to milk this vampire-slaying cow dry, or should this new release by picked up ASAP by fans of the Slayer? Let’s take a look.
Really, if you’ve got even a passing interest in anything ‘genre’ then you’ll be well aware of the basics of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers, the series became a huge favourite of so many during its run from 1997 – 2003 as Buffy and pals did their best to protect Sunnydale and beyond from the nefarious threat of vampires and all other kinds of beasties. But you’re not here to see us lauding praise on just how great Buffy was and to give you a concise rundown of what made the show tick. No, you’re likely here to see if this new release is indeed worth shilling out for.
Put together as a thirty-nine-disc set that includes all 144 episodes of the show, there’s no questioning that this release is absolutely overflowing with special features; from cast and crew commentaries, to extensive featurettes, to music videos and sing-songs. The problem is, all of these bonus features have been included on previous releases of the entire Buffy series, which isn’t great news for those clamouring for new exclusives. On the new material front, there’s a nifty colouring page for those who happen to have some crayons handy, and then there’s the slick, smooth first installment of the eighth season Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book. Said comic was written by Joss Whedon and picks up in the aftermath of Buffy’s explosive series finale.
If you’ve yet to pick up Buffy, this is undoubtedly a comprehensive boxset that ticks all of the relevant boxes. That said, you could be well served to pick up one of the previous boxset releases for a far cheaper price than the £60 that this new set costs. As such, it can’t help but feel like a bit of a cash-in to longtime fans of the Slayer, especially considering that there’s no Blu-ray release yet and the simple fact that there was such potential to include fresh new bonus content to mark twenty years since Buffy debuted way back in 1997.
Rating this release is a tad tricky when taking all of the above in to account. Is the series still as great as it ever was? Of course! Is this new release worthy of splashing out your pennies for? If you own a previous release, likely not. And even if you don’t, there’s other releases out there that will cost you a whole lot less if you’re prepared to miss out on a colouring page and a brief, if great, comic book.
Special Features: Audio commentaries on select episodes / Featurettes / Interviews / Karaoke singalongs / Episode scripts / Outtakes / Music videos / Cast biographies / Stills gallery / Colouring page / Season 8 comic
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: THE COMPLETE SERIES 1 – 7 – 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION / CERT: 15 / CREATOR: JOSS WHEDON / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR, NICHOLAS BRENDON, ALYSON HANNIGAN, ANTHONY HEAD, CHARISMA CARPENTER, JAMES MARSTERS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW