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Season 4 Ages Well

Oromous

Socially Awkward
Joined
Aug 16, 2020
Messages
647
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30
Location
Singapore
Sineya
Apologies for the double post, but I came across an in-depth analysis of season 4 by Passion of the Nerd that I feel should be checked out (assuming not all Buffy-Board members have watched every single of his Buffy analysis already). He discussed not just season 4, episode 14, but also why season 4 is so structurally flawed in spite of its intriguing themes of identity and individuality, and why those themes didn't work the way the writers intended:

Looking back, even to season 1, there has indeed been a connecting theme in every season thus far that melded well together to further develop Buffy's identity; season 4's multiple themes do not.
 

LemonBanana

Scooby
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
259
Location
London
Sineya
I wasn’t a big fan of S4 and it was my least favourite season, however now I have rewatched bits of it on the telly, I have come to appreciate it a bit more and find the story a little bit more interesting. It still remains one of my least favourites though, but I can appreciate it more and definitely enjoy it more when I rewatch it 😊 💕
 

Kratos

Scooby
Joined
Jul 10, 2018
Messages
704
Location
Republic of Ireland
I wasn’t a big fan of S4 and it was my least favourite season, however now I have rewatched bits of it on the telly, I have come to appreciate it a bit more and find the story a little bit more interesting. It still remains one of my least favourites though, but I can appreciate it more and definitely enjoy it more when I rewatch it 😊 💕
It’s still one of the weaker seasons, but I rank it higher than 1 at least.
 

SpikeOrAngel

Townie
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
Messages
25
I loved Adam* and The Initiative, and Angel Season 1 with Spike and Faith crossing over. Oz was still there. I have great memories of Season 4, and rewatches have been great. Season 4 in many ways is the birth of the "franchise".

The beginning with college being bad for Buffy really hit home and was depressing because it happened to me as well. I thought high school was bad? Nothing compared to being a college freshman. There's a reason why they dropped the college stuff in later seasons.

Buffy's fling with Parker was a horrible way to begin the season, especially after Angel. Too realistic for me, but that's Joss for ya.

I do agree with structure and themes are not as clear, but big deal. It was a huge risk to insert sci-fi themes into a horror romance adventure, but it worked imho. Plus Spike's chip was a holdover for like...forever!

* Was literally the same name as the Frankenstein monster in Dark Shadows, which I saw as a kid.
 

Faded90

Potential
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
490
Age
63
I think S4 has some amazing episodes, the issue is the main arc. The Adam/Initiative arc doesn’t have any of the scoobies as the emotional centre instead it has Riley the newbie as the emotional centre - it’s his storyline and Buffy is literally ‘the muscle’. Riley for me is basically the Scrappy Doo of the Buffyverse and him and his brotastic S4 scenes just never do it for me. Most of Riley’s big moments just fall flat, when Maggie his mentor dies I think we’re supposed to feel sad for Riley when all I’m thinking is ‘but she’s just tried to kill Buffy why should I care?’ Or when Riley is clearly messed up with withdrawal I’m actually just annoyed that he’s being a dick to Buffy and he’s pushed Willow over - because THEY are the characters I care about, not Riley. Even Riley’s big ‘no sir I’m an anarchist’ moment comes off forced and cringeworthy because Riley is anything but an anarchist

Then there’s Briley. The problem with i think why his relationship with Buffy is so jarring is because in S4 Riley isn’t the love interest, Buffy is love interest. Buffy is written as the quirky love interest who needs to get over her liking of bad boys so she can notice our dashing nice guy leading man. We see multiple episodes of Riley pining for her and telling us how much he likes her, in almost all of their scenes during this time Buffy either doesn’t notice him at all or is clearly distracted in his presence. So when Something Blue rolls around and she’s talking about how she ‘really likes him’ it just feels like ‘when did that happen?’. Even in Doomed we see Buffy emphatically telling Riley no then he helps them fight and as Buffy is our main character do we see her discuss her change of heart with Willow or them discussing it at all? No the focus is on Riley and his cover being blown, again Buffy kisses him and once again we don’t really see how or why she changed her mind. Even though they’re together for nearly a full season altogether I still barely know what it is she liked about him or why she enjoyed being with him. Even Riley despite his bizarrely extensive screen time for a new character I know nothing about him other than he’s a soldier and he grew up in a painting


I think S4 has such an odd feel that Riley is practically the deurotagonist when we’ve never had so much focus on a new character and see so much from their POV. Even Faith didn’t get this much in S3 and her character actually feels far more connected to Buffy’s story even though Riley is an actual love interest .I also see Faith as a love interest for Buffy but that’s for a whole other post 😉😂
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2018
Messages
642
Age
35
Location
England
I've always liked season 4. I enjoy the lighter tone. I like a MOTW episode so the lack of heavy serialisation doesn't bother me (I will defend Beer Bad to the death ... but then I'll also defend Go Fish, so maybe I'm not the best judge). I don't tend to do big run-throughs of the whole show (I'm not sure I've ever seen it from Welcome to the Hellmouth to Chosen in the right order - though I've seen every single episode 20+ times) I more tend to get a hankering for Buffy and pick one to watch as a standalone (and then end up watching several - sometimes all the way to end) s4 has a lot of episodes that are my go to ones to pick.

Funnily enough, I never pick Hush though. I thought it was terrifying the first time I saw it ... the second time I was just ...what was I thinking? This isn't scary AT ALL. I mean, it's fine and I'll watch it if I start earlier in the season but ... I don't think it stands up past it's first viewing as truly great. I'm just not bothered for it.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2020
Messages
32
Age
52
Some of my favourite episodes are in S4 but it's not my favourite season by a long shot. I think the problem (that has been stated above very eloquently) is Riley. Buffy, IMO, has always put her love interest on a pedestal. I understood with Angel, she was 16, he really did know a lot about her world, could genuinely help her and must have seemed very impressive! But she seems to do the same with Riley who is nothing compared to Buffy. She also ignores her friends, joins the Initiative. tbh, in A New Man, her saying she'll tell Giles 'tomorrow' because she's spending yet more time with the boyfriend she hadn't even told Giles about, after Willow has just explained how bad he's feeling, sums it up for me. She ignores Xander too and Willow only fairs a little better because they share a room and she occasionally sees her. Don't get me wrong, I like Buffy, but I don't like the boyfriend obsessed version of Buffy, particularly because I don't think Riley deserves it. I don't even dislike Riley particularly, I'm just not that interested in him.
 
thrasherpix
thrasherpix
I've said elsewhere why I don't like boyfriend obsessed Buffy in this season, with pointless stuff that gives Giles more reason not to trust her. And friends ignoring Buffy? So sad. Buffy ignoring friends when they're not of use? He's a hottie!

Btvs fan

Scooby
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
1,358
Age
39
I like Season 4 too. Mainly the first half up through to Hush. The second half (Faith episodes aside) is where it falls down. With Adam as the main villain and of course Riley. His lack of chemistry with Buffy was very obvious amd he was uninteresting as a character yet Joss persisted in trying to shove him down peoples throats.
Strangely enough I'm not a huge fan of Restless, its ok but I wouldn't say its overly amazing. Very self indulgent in my view.
That all said I love the College sets and setting while the fight scenes peaked this year.
 

DeadlyDuo

Scooby
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
8,971
Age
30
I like Season 4 too. Mainly the first half up through to Hush. The second half (Faith episodes aside) is where it falls down. With Adam as the main villain and of course Riley. His lack of chemistry with Buffy was very obvious amd he was uninteresting as a character yet Joss persisted in trying to shove him down peoples throats.
Strangely enough I'm not a huge fan of Restless, its ok but I wouldn't say its overly amazing. Very self indulgent in my view.
That all said I love the College sets and setting while the fight scenes peaked this year.
I don't get the love for Restless either, It's a decent episode but I wouldn't count it on a best episode list. I think it would've been better if the audience had seen a human Adam before he was experimented on and turned into a monster That way the audience can have a bit of sympathy for him which would've made him a more rounded villain. If Riley had just been a nice normal TA, then I could see that being a nice little relationship for Buffy even though it was never going to match up to Bangel but making him the lead soldier at the initiative as well, it just didn't work for me. Then of course you have Riley's attitude problem towards Buffy, he is not the nice guy the writers like to pretend he is.
 

Btvs fan

Scooby
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
1,358
Age
39
I don't get the love for Restless either, It's a decent episode but I wouldn't count it on a best episode list. I think it would've been better if the audience had seen a human Adam before he was experimented on and turned into a monster That way the audience can have a bit of sympathy for him which would've made him a more rounded villain. If Riley had just been a nice normal TA, then I could see that being a nice little relationship for Buffy even though it was never going to match up to Bangel but making him the lead soldier at the initiative as well, it just didn't work for me. Then of course you have Riley's attitude problem towards Buffy, he is not the nice guy the writers like to pretend he is.
For Riley leaving everything else aside like character and acting etc , for me I think it was simply the lack of chemistry between the leads. It was highlighted even more as obviously had chemistry with Willow (even the writers acknowledged this on the DVD commentary) and Buffy had it with both Angel in IWRY and Spike in Something Blue. While Sarah sizzled with JM in there WAY scene while felt completely flat in the love scene she had with Blucas in the same episode.

I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks that about Restless. To me its very pretentious. A lot of flash but ultimately very little of substance
 

DeadlyDuo

Scooby
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
8,971
Age
30
For Riley leaving everything else aside like character and acting etc , for me I think it was simply the lack of chemistry between the leads. It was highlighted even more as obviously had chemistry with Willow (even the writers acknowledged this on the DVD commentary) and Buffy had it with both Angel in IWRY and Spike in Something Blue. While Sarah sizzled with JM in there WAY scene while felt completely flat in the love scene she had with Blucas in the same episode.
Technically, the WAY scene between Spike and "Buffy" was actually between Spike and Faith. I do agree that JM and SMG had chemistry, however I don't think it was romantic chemistry, especially when you look at the chemistry JM and SMG had with JL and DB respectively. What made something Blue work so well was the ridiculousness of Spike and Buffy being in love with each other, it was so out of the ordinary for them because they hated each other and was the biggest clue that Willow had cast a spell. For me, Spike and Buffy work better as frenemies rather than lovers.

I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks that about Restless. To me its very pretentious. A lot of flash but ultimately very little of substance
Restless is more of an epilogue to the finale which was Primeval rather than the actual finale of the season. It was also used to set up Dawn's arrival.
 
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