Is this actually the best season of Buffy? I’d never really thought so, but on re-watching it I might be more tempted to come down as a yay vote. While the more mature gang of the later years might not be so irritating it’s hard not to rejoice at watching the original gang together in all their glory. Cordelia, Oz and Angel bringing the bitchy, the wit and the intensity respectively in ways that later replacements never quite managed.
Plot wise, I was surprised at how late in the season it was that the arc of the Mayor and Faith really got going. 2/3 of the season was completely stand alone episodes and some of them go down as all time greats – Band Candy, The Wish, The Zeppo, Dopplegangland and Earshot are all truly superb. Most of the characters have interesting arcs too especially the stand-out Faith. The end of this season marks a dramatic change in the series with Angel spinning off and the start of ‘grown-up Buffy’, which half of the series is better is a debate to be had over and over, but season 3 is definitely a worthy end to the first half.
DVD Special Features
As with all Buffy seasons there’s an interesting collection of commentaries from the writers (and one rather dull one from a director of photography) which very interestingly discuss the development of the series, season and episode in question. The featurettes on wardrobe, effects and weapons are short and interesting for 5 minutes but not much more. The overview featurette is considerably longer and is very interesting but should be watched at the end of the season not 1/2 way through as it’s placed on the dvds. Pet peeve is that the menu systems look very pretty but are a pain to use – there’s no ‘play all’ feature and it’s often not clear which order episodes come in.