Buffy the Vampire Slayer-Season 6 Box Set Part 2 (2002)
Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Buffy Goes To Work
Audio Commentary-Hell's Bells; Normal Again; Grave
Featurette-Life Is The Big Bad - Season 6 Overview
Featurette-Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Television With A Bite
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
James A Contner
Twentieth Century Fox
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Anthony Stewart Head
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
English Audio Commentary
|Smoking||Yes, mostly Spike|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 6 — not a favourite season of some fans, but one I really liked for its reality, after I got over the shocks. It is strange how there is more drama in Buffy facing bankruptcy than in her facing demons — perhaps that's because we're rather more familiar with the money demons?
You may care to consult reviews of:
The first half of this season was essentially setting up the reasons for what happens, and now the juggernaut starts rolling. The episodes in this box are:
|Double Meat Palace||41:33||Jane Espenson||Nick Marck||Buffy needs a job, but does she really have to wear that hat?|
|Dead Things||41:33||Steven S DeKnight||James A Contner||The Trio cross the line|
|Older and Faraway||41:32||Drew Z Greenberg||Michael Gershman||Buffy really should stop having birthdays...|
|As You Were||41:32||Douglas Petrie||Douglas Petrie||The return of a former friend|
|Hell's Bells||41:34||Rebecca Rand Kirshner||David Solomon||A wedding, Buffy-style|
|Normal Again||41:38||Diego Gutierrez||Rick Rosenthal||Buffy returns to "normal"|
|Entropy||41:32||Drew Z Greenberg||James A Contner||Anya is looking for someone to make a wish, and ends up relaxing with Spike|
|Seeing Red||41:32||Steven S DeKnight||Michael Gershman||The Trio trying another robbery, this time with a spot of invulnerability|
|Villains||40:35||Marti Noxon||David Solomon||Willow is a bit unhappy, and looking for the Trio|
|Two to Go||41:14||Douglas Petrie||Bill Norton||An awe-inspiring force of fury and vengeance|
|Grave||41:33||David Fury||James A Contner||Another old friend returns...|
This box set contains lots more examples of really long "Previously on Buffy..." sequences. A lot of these episodes are verging on being a serial.
There are some good episodes here, in amongst the really marvellous ones. Most of them are inter-dependent, but As You Were is somewhat standalone, and a lot of fun — there's some delightful dialogue, and Buffy looks cute in black-ops gear.
Most TV series treat a wedding episode as a chance for a big gush of sentiment. The Buffy version is, umm, different. Even so, I wasn't expecting it to turn out quite as it did. And can we deal with those bridesmaids' (and best man's) dresses? Can anyone explain to me why Buffy and Dawn get different sleeves from everyone else?
Normal Again is a real twist — I've had lengthy discussions with other fans over the meaning of this episode, and its implications for the whole Buffy universe. Not everyone agrees.
In some ways, this season is more about female empowerment than any other season — we get to see such a wide variety of strong female images, in virtually every female in the series, even smaller parts, like Sam (Ivana Milicevic) in As You Were. Tara and Dawn get opportunities to show considerable strength, as does Anya. And then there are Buffy and Willow...
Joss Whedon doesn't think much of guns, and makes that point of view quite clear.
In the first half of the season we got a double-episode on DVD that was screened here in Australia as two singles. In this box we get two singles that were screened as a double here. I remember quite clearly how Channel Seven screened Villains on one night, then the last two episodes as a double-length episode on the following night, which was a great fix for fans, but was really in their own defence — they were about to start showing the Manchester Commonwealth Games, and I suspect they didn't want a horde of frothing Buffy fans demolishing their building... Anyway, the last two episodes were clearly meant to be shown as a double episode — the opening credits for Two to Go list the credits for Grave as well.
This season is dark stuff, with some moments that do their best to tear you up emotionally. Even with that, or maybe because of it, this is not a season you can afford to skip if you're a Buffy fan.
This show is a TV series. It's made to a TV budget, not a big movie budget. In their commentary on the final episode, David Fury and James A Contner point out that they blew a considerable amount of their budget on the musical episode; even so, they came up with an impressive finale.
These episodes were broadcast here in Australia in full-screen, but they were broadcast wide-screen on some systems in Europe, I believe.
Every episode is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and 16x9 enhanced. I really like seeing them this way. All the featurettes are full-screen, not 16x9 enhanced, though.
The picture is very good, top-notch quality for a TV show. The image is quite sharp in daylight and close-ups, but a little softer, and sometimes a bit grainy, in darker night-time scenes. There's a section that's quite grainy, running from about 1:31–3:10 of Entropy, but it doesn't interfere with enjoying the episode. Shadow detail is very good. There is virtually no low-level noise, except around 40:54 in Hell's Bells. There are a few moments when edge enhancement is a bit obvious, like 16:14 in Dead Things, and 4:10 in As You Were.
Colour is just as good as the first half of this season: deep, rich, and fully-saturated. There are no colour-related artefacts.
There are no film artefacts worth mentioning, but there were a couple of very brief errors that came out on the film, such as the black mask intruding on the left edge of frame around 10:28 in Two to Go. Perhaps the most obvious of all is the cutting of the Previously... sequence at the start of Normal Again, where at 0:07 we see Dawn speaking, but hear Buffy's voice.
There is next to no aliasing, and only occasional light moire, but it is always brief and limited in extent. I spotted one artefact that I'm fairly sure is an MPEG error, at 17:57 in Older and Faraway, frames 15 and 16. Richard's red shirt splits up into wide stripes (much wider than single scan lines) that are displaced horizontally from one another. Quite noticeable, but it lasts only two frames.
There are subtitles in Scandinavian languages (Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish), plus captions in English. I watched the English — they are often a little abbreviated compared with the dialogue, but they are otherwise accurate, well-timed, and easily read. The only subtitle error I spotted was at 6:25 in Two to Go, where the dialogue says "You were out of the trio...", but the subtitle reads "You were out of the trail...". One nice touch is that episodes with commentaries get an additional subtitle stream which subtitles the commentary in English — I'm not sure that it is available on the menus, but you can always choose it (stream 6) using the DVD player controls.
The discs are single-sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL, but there is no visible layer change. This is because there are two episodes on one layer, and two on the other.
The English soundtrack is Dolby Digital 2.0, surround encoded. The only other soundtrack is the audio commentary, where present.
The dialogue is mostly clear and comprehensible, although there are a few words with just a hint of clipping distortion, such as at 29:04 and 38:04 in Entropy. There are no signs of audio sync errors, except for the one I mentioned above, where we see Dawn but hear Buffy — I don't think that really qualifies as a sync error.
Thomas W***er (it is pronounced "Vonker", according to one of the commentaries) scored all these episodes. His music isn't quite as stylish as Christophe Beck's (yeah, I'm something of a fan of CB's work), but it gets the job done.
The surrounds are not much used, and offer just a little bit of deepening of the score's soundstage. The subwoofer is not used at all.
|Surround Channel Use|
These discs start with the same transition as the first half, and all the menus look alike. The same slight irritations apply to these menus as to the first half.
The main menu on each disc is the episode menu. The episodes are arranged in a rectangle, and it is not obvious whether they run top-to-bottom or left-to-right (or even in a circle). The answer is left-to-right: play the top left, then top right, bottom left, bottom right, if you want to play them back in order.
The other confusion with these menus is that the selected item on the episode menu is the darker one, while the selected item on the episode menu is the lighter one — not the greatest piece of menu ergonomics. And the selection is not especially obvious, either — the difference between the selected item and the others isn't all that clear.
This short piece is a little silly — mostly the writers talking about jobs they've held, and generally hated.
This commentary is provided by the writer and the director of this episode: Rebecca Rand Kirshner and David Solomon. It is probably the single worst commentary I've heard on a Buffy episode — I urge you not to bother listening to it.
What a contrast! This commentary, from the writer Diego Gutierrez and the director Rick Rosenthal, is interesting, and filled with information and anecdotes. Quite interesting to listen to — it was the first episode of Buffy for both of them, and an impressive piece of work. The only thing is that it's rather quiet — you'll probably want to pump up the volume a fair bit (don't forget to drop it back before the next episode or you'll deafen yourself!).
This is a decent commentary, once again from the writer and director of the episode, in this case David Fury and James A Contner respectively. Again, awfully quiet, but well worth listening to. They points out that this is the only season finale so far not written and directed by Joss Whedon — he was working on Firefly at the time. I was rather interested in hearing why (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Buffy and Dawn fell in that hole — it even makes sense.
An interesting look at the course of events through this season, and rife with spoilers of various sizes — do not watch this until you've seen all of Season 6, and hopefully the start of Season 7, too (they give away a bit of the first few episodes of Season 7).
Not a lot of footage, but at least it is Season 6 footage.
A historical perspective of the show, clearly produced as one of those tribute things they put together for shows that are drawing to a close. It covers the genesis of the idea (a slightly different story from others I've heard), the movie, getting the series going, spinning off Angel, and goes all the way through to Season 7 (fortunately, there not a heap of spoilers for Season 7, though). It was interesting, and rare, to see some interview footage with Sarah Michelle Gellar.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Region 1 is only just about to get Season 4. Region 2 gets this season almost the same day as R4. The R2 and R4 discs will probably be exactly the same, again. The R2 packaging is the same as last season, which is nice (I like it, although the Season 5 version felt a bit "cheap" — I'm hoping this season gets a better deal). The R4 packaging is supposed to be the same as all the other seasons, too: a set of standard transparent cases in a cardboard slipcover. Choose the packaging you want, 'cause that's the only difference between the R2 and the R4.
We expect to see a much bigger difference in R1 (when it arrives...). The R1 discs are likely to be full-screen (1.33:1) rather than wide-screen, except for the musical episode. The musical episode will be wide-screen, but I won't be surprised if it is not 16x9 enhanced.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 6, Part 2. You know you want it. You know you need to add it to your collection, next to all the other seasons...
The video quality is very good, and wide-screen 16x9 enhanced. I know I've listed quite a few flaws above, but they are momentary glitches in over seven and a half hours of superb show.
The audio quality is very good, for a stereo TV soundtrack.
There are some decent extras in this box.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|