I recently decided to watch the musical episode ‘Once More with Feeling’ from one of my all time favourite TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you’ve never seen the series first off WHY?! Secondly go watch it! For those who haven’t, the basic premise is of a girl chosen to fight demons and vampires who is called the Slayer – in this instance Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is chosen. We first meet her at 16 and over the course of the 7 seasons the show aired for, we watched her grow up through high school, college, experiencing love, death and heartache all the while, helped along the way by her friends.
‘Once More With Feeling’ falls within the sixth season of the show, a season that was arguably the darkest of the show’s run. The episode was written and directed by creator (and absolute genius) Joss Whedon, who also wrote the music and lyrics for the episode. Whilst watching it I’d simply forgotten how clever Whedon actually is; listening to the lyrics of the fantastic soundtrack that is interwoven through the episode, you can obviously tell he thought a lot about it. The episode comes early on enough in the season to foreshadow and bring to the forefront some themes and issues that are going to become more relevant as the series develops (such as Spike and Buffy’s affair, Xander’s fear of his impending marriage, and Dawn’s issues of loneliness/everyone ignoring her). The episode story itself is also quite similar to other episodes in a ‘Demon of the Week’ type arc, except that this demon brings with it song and dance and the only problem of spontaneous combustion when you experience too much of it. This episode also brings to an end Buffy’s secret that she has kept since she came back from the dead (seriously go watch the series if you’ve never seen it). To protect her friends’ feelings she kept from them that when she was dead, she was happy and at peace, which is why she has struggled to reconnect with the world now that she is back.
As well as the great lyrics that Whedon came up with, the cast deliver yet again, happily jumping in head first and joining in with the singing and dancing. Cast members James Marsters, Amber Benson and Tony Head actually do sing and they showcase their fantastic voices in a number of different songs, but the less accomplished singers nonetheless give stellar performances. All the actors portray their characters feelings and help to make the episode, some would argue, one of the best Buffy episodes ever.
(For fans out there look out for cameos by David Fury and Marti Noxon, (the mustard man and the lady with the parking ticket respectively) 2 exec producers on the show, each showing their talent for singing (and light-hearted fun).
“Life’s a show and we all play a part. And when the music starts, we open up our hearts.” Buffy ‘Life’s a Show’
“I hope she fries, I’m free if that bitch dies! I’d better help her out” Spike, ‘Walk through the Fire’