Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 4)
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 4)|
Region 1 Season 4 DVD cover
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Original network||The WB|
|Original release||October 5, 1999 –|
May 23, 2000
The fourth season of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered on October 5, 1999, on The WB and concluded its 22-episode season on May 23, 2000. It maintained its previous timeslot, airing Tuesdays at 8:00 pm ET. Beginning with this season, the character of Angel was given his own series, which aired on The WB following Buffy. Various Buffy characters made appearances in Angel, including Buffy herself; Cordelia Chase, formerly a regular in Buffy, and Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, who appeared in Buffy season three.
Season four sees Buffy and Willow enroll at UC Sunnydale while Xander joins the workforce. The vampire Spike, having been left by Drusilla, returns to Sunnydale and is abducted by The Initiative, a top-secret military installation based beneath the UC Sunnydale campus, led by Maggie Walsh. They implant a microchip in his head which prevents him from harming humans. He reluctantly helps the Scooby Gang throughout the season and eventually begins to fight on their side after learning that he can harm other demons. But Buffy and her friends don't trust him except Willow who opts to give him a chance to redeem himself, which they eventually do.
Oz leaves town after realizing that he is too dangerous as a werewolf and after a horrific encounter with The Initiative. Willow falls in love with Tara Maclay, another witch. They begin a relationship.
Another focus of the season is Xander's relationship with a former vengeance demon named Anya Jenkins, who becomes infatuated with him due to him making her feel human and Xander returns these feelings as she makes him feel like a man. Anya tries to get Xander off her mind but their feelings are developed and they begin a relationship.
Buffy begins dating Riley Finn, a grad student who she later discovers is a member of The Initiative. He tries to get her recruited but she becomes an object of negative attention from Maggie Walsh. Walsh believes Buffy to be a bad influence to Riley, threatening his ties with The Initiative. After Buffy and Riley's first sexual encounter, Walsh tries to get Buffy killed, which causes Riley to cut ties with Walsh and The Initiative.
The Initiative's more sinister secret purpose is revealed when its composite demonic cyborg, Adam, kills Walsh, escapes and rampages through the town. After getting Spike to temporarily work for him, Adam plots to create others like him to overthrow humanity, though Adam sees Riley as a "brother".
Buffy and her allies unite to defeat Adam and destroy The Initiative. The demons and other supernatural creatures fight back against their former captors, while the Scoobies temporarily transfer all their skills into Buffy to fight the physically superior Adam. Magically enhanced, she kills Adam by ripping out his uranium core. Soon The Initiative is defeated and the Scoobies recover. The government recognizes that Maggie Walsh's plan is a failure, and orders her project to be terminated. The Scoobies later encounter the spirit of The First Slayer, who gives Buffy a cryptic message.
Cast and characters
- Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
- Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
- Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
- Seth Green as Daniel "Oz" Osbourne
- Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
- James Marsters as Spike
- Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
- Emma Caulfield as Anya Jenkins
- Amber Benson as Tara Maclay
- Leonard Roberts as Forrest Gates
- Bailey Chase as Graham Miller
- Lindsay Crouse as Maggie Walsh
- George Hertzberg as Adam
- Adam Kaufman as Parker Abrams
- Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
- Mercedes McNab as Harmony Kendall
- Paige Moss as Veruca
- Conor O'Farrell as Colonel McNamara
- Phina Oruche as Olivia
- Jack Stehlin as Dr. Angleman
- David Boreanaz as Angel
- Eliza Dushku as Faith
- Dagney Kerr as Kathy Newman
- Elizabeth Anne Allen as Amy Madison
- Ethan Erickson as Percy West
- Sharon Ferguson as First Slayer
- Harry Groener as Mayor Richard Wilkins
- Saverio Guerra as Willy the Snitch
- Jason Hall as Devon MacLeish
- Robin Sachs as Ethan Rayne
- Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder
- Danny Strong as Jonathan Levinson
- Andy Umberger as D'Hoffryn
Series creator Joss Whedon served as executive producer and showrunner, and wrote and directed four episodes including the season premiere and finale. Marti Noxon was promoted to supervising producer and wrote or co-wrote five episodes. Jane Espenson was promoted to co-producer and wrote or co-wrote five episodes. David Fury, who as a freelancer had written or co-written three episodes in seasons 2 and 3, was hired as producer and wrote or co-wrote four episodes. Douglas Petrie was promoted to executive story editor and wrote three episodes. The only new addition was Tracey Forbes, who served as a staff writer and wrote three episodes.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|57||1||"The Freshman"||Joss Whedon||Joss Whedon||October 5, 1999||4ABB01||N/A|
|While Willow blossoms in the college environment, Buffy has a difficult time adjusting - getting lost, getting kicked out of a class for talking, meeting her Cher-loving roommate Kathy (Dagney Kerr) - and her Slaying suffers because of it.|
|58||2||"Living Conditions"||David Grossman||Marti Noxon||October 12, 1999||4ABB02||N/A|
|Buffy becomes convinced that her annoying roommate is evil, but her friends think she is crazy. Buffy steals Kathy's toenail clippings to prove that Kathy is a demon and they get into a fight.|
|59||3||"The Harsh Light of Day"||James A. Contner||Jane Espenson||October 19, 1999||4ABB03||N/A|
|Spike returns to Sunnydale for a gem that will make him invincible. He finds it, but Buffy gets it away from him and decides to send it to Angel. Buffy returns to dating but ends up being let down and hurt.|
|60||4||"Fear, Itself"||Tucker Gates||David Fury||October 26, 1999||4ABB04||N/A|
|The gang find themselves in a real-life house of horrors while at a Halloween frat party, in which a fear demon feeds on their individual fears. Meanwhile, Anya needs Giles to help her save Xander when she realizes something is amiss.|
|61||5||"Beer Bad"||David Solomon||Tracey Forbes||November 2, 1999||4ABB05||N/A|
|Xander gets a job bartending at the college pub; Buffy drinks with upperclassmen at that pub. It turns out that the bar manager is spiking the beer with some supernatural mojo, causing the targets to revert to caveman mentality.|
|62||6||"Wild at Heart"||David Grossman||Marti Noxon||November 9, 1999||4ABB06||N/A|
|Oz encounters another werewolf, Veruca (Paige Moss), who wants him to stop caging himself and hurt people. Physically attracted to her, Oz locks her in his cage to prevent her from attacking people. Willow finds them in the morning both naked. Heartbroken, she tries to do a spell but can't go through with it, leaving her vulnerable to wolf Veruca. Oz and Buffy save the day with Oz leaving town soon after.|
|63||7||"The Initiative"||James A. Contner||Douglas Petrie||November 16, 1999||4ABB07||N/A|
|Spike, who was captured by the commandos, is being held hostage by them in a hi-tech facility underneath the University. Spike escapes and heads to find Buffy, who he assumes is behind this; Riley realizes he has a crush on Buffy.|
|64||8||"Pangs"||Michael Lange||Jane Espenson||November 23, 1999||4ABB08||N/A|
|Xander accidentally releases Hus (Tod Thawley), a Native American vengeance spirit. Angel secretly arrives in Sunnydale to protect Buffy (who is attempting a perfect Thanksgiving) from the spirit. Spike seeks the Scoobies' help.|
|65||9||"Something Blue"||Nick Marck||Tracey Forbes||November 30, 1999||4ABB09||N/A|
|A spell by Willow goes awry, blinding Giles, making Xander a literal demon-magnet, and causing Buffy and Spike to fall in love and get engaged. Once Willow realizes her mistake, she goes about reversing it.|
|66||10||"Hush"||Joss Whedon||Joss Whedon||December 14, 1999||4ABB10||N/A|
|The Gentlemen steal the voices of the population of Sunnydale, rendering everyone in the town (including the Scooby Gang) unable to speak. Giles reveals that the only thing that can defeat The Gentleman is a real human scream. This episode is mostly silent (aside from music and ambient sound) from the point The Gentlemen steal Sunnydale's voices.|
|67||11||"Doomed"||James A. Contner||Marti Noxon & David Fury & Jane Espenson||January 18, 2000||4ABB11||5.4|
|An earthquake occurs in Sunnydale, which signifies the Hellmouth is opening. The gang must return to the remains of Sunnydale High to stop it; Buffy and Riley struggle with each other's secrets.|
|68||12||"A New Man"||Michael Gershman||Jane Espenson||January 25, 2000||4ABB12||N/A|
|Giles, feeling left out, goes out for drinks with Ethan Rayne (Robin Sachs). He wakes up in the morning as a Fyarl demon, and hires Spike to help him. Mistaking him for a Fyarl demon, The Initiative and Buffy try to hunt him down.|
|69||13||"The I in Team"||James A. Contner||David Fury||February 8, 2000||4ABB13||N/A|
|When Professor Walsh (Lindsay Crouse) decides Buffy is a threat to The Initiative, she decides to kill her by sending her on a dangerous mission. Riley discovers that Professor Walsh has tried to kill Buffy and begins to think seriously of leaving the organization.|
|70||14||"Goodbye Iowa"||David Solomon||Marti Noxon||February 15, 2000||4ABB14||N/A|
|Buffy discovers The Initiative's secret weapon; Riley becomes unstable due to the death of Professor Walsh and drug withdrawal; Adam (George Hertzberg) reveals some information about himself, while trying to learn about people by investigating their insides.|
|71||15||"This Year's Girl"||Michael Gershman||Douglas Petrie||February 22, 2000||4ABB15||N/A|
|Faith (Eliza Dushku) wakes up from her eight-month coma and seeks revenge against Buffy. After failing to attack her, she switches bodies with Buffy using a gift left to her by Richard Wilkins III (Harry Groener), the now-dead mayor.|
|72||16||"Who Are You"||Joss Whedon||Joss Whedon||February 29, 2000||4ABB16||N/A|
|Buffy (in Faith's body) is abducted by the Council's team, while Faith (in Buffy's body) has ruthless fun at the expense of Buffy. After Faith and Buffy (as each other) rescue a group of people in a church that has been attacked by vampires, they switch their bodies back. Faith begins to feel remorse, and heads to L.A.|
|73||17||"Superstar"||David Grossman||Jane Espenson||April 4, 2000||4ABB17||N/A|
|Jonathan (Danny Strong) casts a spell to cause all of Sunnydale to believe that he is the titular "superstar". However, the spell comes with a price - it conjures up a monster which endangers the town.|
|74||18||"Where the Wild Things Are"||David Solomon||Tracey Forbes||April 25, 2000||4ABB18||N/A|
|When Buffy and Riley rouse a supernatural force at the fraternity party house, they are held hostage by ghost children who were abused by a Christian fundamentalist (Kathryn Joosten) and now seek revenge. Willow, Tara, and Giles perform a spell to stop the spirits.|
|75||19||"New Moon Rising"||James A. Contner||Marti Noxon||May 2, 2000||4ABB19||N/A|
|Oz returns to Sunnydale after learning to control his werewolf instincts. However, he loses control when he suspects Tara (Amber Benson) and Willow's relationship, and is subsequently caught by the Initiative.|
|76||20||"The Yoko Factor"||David Grossman||Douglas Petrie||May 9, 2000||4ABB20||N/A|
|Riley spars with Angel (David Boreanaz) when Angel visits Sunnydale; Adam convinces Spike that he will take his chip out if he helps him get Buffy where he wants, Spike agrees and sets out to distance the Scoobies from each other.|
|77||21||"Primeval"||James A. Contner||David Fury||May 16, 2000||4ABB21||N/A|
|The Scoobies reveal Adam's plan of releasing an army of hybrid cyborg monsters. A composite being created by a spell, combining the powers and personalities of Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles kill Adam after an intense fight.|
|78||22||"Restless"||Joss Whedon||Joss Whedon||May 23, 2000||4ABB22||N/A|
|A primordial spirit haunts Buffy, Giles, Willow, and Xander in their individual, cryptic nightmares involving the First Slayer (Sharon Ferguson) as a result of the magic done in the previous episode.|
Crossovers with Angel
Beginning with this season, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel both aired on The WB Television Network. Both shows aired on Tuesdays, Buffy at 8:00 PM ET, and Angel at 9:00 PM ET. The fourth season of Buffy aired along with the first season of Angel. Both shows featured crossover episodes, in which characters of one series appeared in the other. Angel (David Boreanaz), Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) and Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Alexis Denisof), who had been introduced in Buffy, became main characters in the spinoff series.
The first crossover appeared in the premiere episodes, where Angel calls Buffy but doesn't say anything; on Buffy, she is seen answering the phone. After the events of "The Harsh Light of Day", Oz (Seth Green) visits Los Angeles in the Angel episode "In the Dark" to give Angel the Gem of Amara (a ring that makes vampires unkillable), and Spike (James Marsters) follows him.
In the Angel episode "Bachelor Party", Doyle (Glenn Quinn) has a vision of Buffy in danger. This causes Angel to secretly visit Sunnydale in the episode "Pangs", to protect her. After learning that he was in town, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) visits L.A. in the Angel episode "I Will Remember You" to express her displeasure in his not telling her that he was there.
Buffy season three recurring character Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Alexis Denisof) makes his first appearance on Angel in "Parting Gifts" and would become a series regular in the next episode for the remainder of the series.
After the events of the two-part episode "This Year's Girl" and "Who Are You", Faith (Eliza Dushku) leaves Sunnydale and goes to L.A. in the Angel two-part episode "Five by Five" and "Sanctuary" and is hired by Wolfram & Hart to kill Angel. Buffy makes her second and final appearance on Angel in "Sanctuary".
The vampire Darla (Julie Benz), who was killed in Buffy episode "Angel", is resurrected by Wolfram & Hart in the Angel season one finale, "To Shanshu in L.A.", and subsequently becomes a recurring character there.
The series received three Primetime Emmy Award nominations, for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Series for "Beer Bad", Outstanding Cinematography for a Single Camera Series (Michael Gershman) for "Hush", and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (Joss Whedon) for "Hush".
In particular, the episode "Hush" was highly praised when it aired. Robert Bianco from USA Today comments, "(i)n a medium in which producers tend to grow bored with their own creations, either trashing them or taking them in increasingly bizarre directions, Whedon continues to find new ways to make his fabulously entertaining series richer and more compelling. With or without words, he's a TV treasure." Alan Sepinwall in The Star-Ledger calls it a "magnificently daring episode", explaining "(w)hat makes it particularly brave is that, even when Buffy has been failing to click dramatically this year, the show has still been able to get by on the witty dialogue, which is all but absent after the first few scenes. Whedon finds ways to get around that, with several cast members—particularly Anthony Head as the scholarly Giles and Alyson Hannigan as nervous witch Willow—proving to be wonderfully expressive silent comedians." In the New York Daily News, David Bianculli states that the episode is "a true tour de force, and another inventive triumph for this vastly underrated series." Robert Hanks from The Independent in the UK writes that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in most weeks the funniest and cleverest programme on TV, reached new heights" with "Hush". Noel Murray in The A.V. Club calls it an "episode unlike any other, with a lusher score and some of the most genuinely disturbing imagery I’ve yet seen on Buffy." The episode was included among 13 of the scariest films or television shows by Salon.com, and justified by Stephanie Zacharek, who states it "scans just like one of those listless dreams in which you try to scream, and can't. Everybody's had 'em—and yet the way the eerie quiet of 'Hush' sucks you in, you feel as if the experience is privately, and unequivocally, your own." Following the series finale in 2003, "Hush" continued to receive praise. Lisa Rosen in the Los Angeles Times states that the episode is "one of TV's most terrifying hours". Smashing Magazine counted "Hush" as one of the top ten television episodes that inspire creativity. Keith McDuffee of TV Squad named it the best Buffy episode in the series, writing "(i)f someone who had never seen Buffy (blasphemy!) asked me to show them just one episode of the show to get them hooked, this would be it". TV.com named it as the fourth most frightening episode in television history.
The fourth season averaged 5.1 million viewers. Rotten Tomatoes gave season four a score of 64% with an average rating of 7 out of 10 based on 14 reviews with a critics consensus stating, "Buffy enters its fourth season on shaky ground but finishes with a surprisingly satisfying season finale."
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season was released on DVD in region 1 on June 10, 2003 and in region 2 on May 13, 2002. The DVD includes all 22 episodes on 6 discs presented in full frame 1.33:1 aspect ratio (region 1) and in anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio (region 2 and 4). Special features on the DVD include seven commentary tracks—"Wild at Heart" by creator Joss Whedon, writer Marti Noxon, and actor Seth Green (region 1 only); "The Initiative" by writer Doug Petrie; "Hush" by writer and director Joss Whedon; "This Year's Girl" by writer Doug Petrie; "Superstar" by writer Jane Espenson; "Primeval" by writer David Fury and director James A. Contner; and "Restless" by writer and director Joss Whedon. Scripts for "Fear, Itself", "Hush", and "Who Are You" are included. Featurettes include, "Spike Me", which details the character of Spike; "Oz Revelations: A Full Moon", which details the departure of the character with insights by actor Seth Green; "Hush", where cast and crew members discuss the unique episode; "Buffy: Inside Sets of Sunnydale" showcases all the sets on the show with tours of sets; "Buffy: Inside the Music", which details the music and bands featured on the show; and "Season 4 Overview", a 30-minute featurette where cast and crew members discuss the season. Also included are cast biographies and photo galleries.
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