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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 4 [1999] (6 discs)

Composer:Nerf Herder
Length:968 minutes
(16 hours 8 minutes)
MPAA Rating:TV-14
Sorting Category:TV Show
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Amazon Rating:5.0/5 stars
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Synopsis: Buffy starts college and encounters The Initiative.

Reaction: An interesting change in the story as we learn about another group of monster hunters. The end gets a little trippy.

Personal Rating: 7/10

Select Guest Cast
Aldis Hodge => Masked Teen (Fear Itself)
Amber Benson => Tara Maclay (Hush)
Don Lewis => Gentleman (as Don W. Lewis) (Hush)
Doug Jones => Gentleman (Hush)
Angie Hart => Self (The Freshman)
Dagney Kerr => Kathy Newman (The Freshman)
Pedro Pascal => Eddie (as Pedro Balmaceda) (The Freshman)
Robert Catrini => Prof. Riegert (The Freshman)
Scott Rinker => R.A. (The Freshman)
Anthony Anselmi => Partier (Doomed)
Armin Shimerman => Principal Snyder (Restless)
Christophe Beck => Pianist (Restless)
David Wells => Cheese Man (Restless)
Michael Harney => Xander's Father (Restless)
Sharon Ferguson => Primitive (Restless)
Brad Kane => Jonathan Levinson (singing voice) (Superstar)
Danny Strong => Jonathan Levinson (Superstar)
Conor O'Farrell => Colonel McNamara (New Moon Rising)
David Boreanaz => Angel (Pangs)
Eliza Dushku => Faith (This Year's Girl)
Harry Groener => Mayor Richard Wilkins (This Year's Girl)
Jeff Ricketts => Weatherby (This Year's Girl)
Sara Van Horn => Older Nurse (This Year's Girl)
Elizabeth Anne Allen => Amy Madison (Something Blue)
James M. Connor => Scientist (as James Michael Connor) (Where the Wild Things Are)
Kathryn Joosten => Genevive Holt (Where the Wild Things Are)
Jason Hall => Devon MacLeish (The Harsh Light of Day)
Mercedes McNab => Harmony Kendall (The Harsh Light of Day)
Kal Penn => Hunt (Beer Bad)
Paige Moss => Veruca (Living Conditions)
Robin Sachs => Ethan Rayne (A New Man)
David Grossman => Director
David Solomon => Director
James A. Contner => Director
Joss Whedon => Director / Writer
Michael Gershman => Director
Michael Lange => Director
Nick Marck => Director
Tucker Gates => Director
David Fury => Writer
Douglas Petrie => Writer
Jane Espenson => Writer
Marti Noxon => Writer
Tracey Forbes => Writer
Nerf Herder => Composer
Adam Kaufman => Parker Abrams
Alyson Hannigan => Willow Rosenberg
Anthony Head => Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Bailey Chase => Graham Miller
Emma Caulfield Ford => Anya (as Emma Caulfield)
George Hertzberg => Adam
James Marsters => Spike
Kristine Sutherland => Joyce Summers
Leonard Roberts => Forrest Gates
Lindsay Crouse => Professor Maggie Walsh
Marc Blucas => Riley Finn
Nicholas Brendon => Xander Harris
Sarah Michelle Gellar => Buffy Summers
Seth Green => Oz

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • The Freshman -> The original storyline for the character of Sunday was that she was a former Slayer turned vampire. Joss Whedon also mentioned his regret of killing her off so quickly as he admited she made for an interesting character. By the time he realized it, it was too late.
  • The Freshman -> This is the first TV appearance of Pedro Pascal as Eddie.
  • The Freshman -> Xander misquoting the line "fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering" from Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) was Joss Whedon's not-so-subtle criticism of the platitude.
  • The Freshman -> Starting with this, the series was filmed in 16x9 widescreen. This would be the case for the next three seasons. However, Joss Whedon never intended for it to be shown this way, so while the widescreen version is shown on Sky One in the United Kingdom, all American showings are in 4x3. DVD releases of the final four seasons have followed the same pattern, with European (Region 2) discs displaying in 16:9 widescreen format and North American (Region 1) discs not. Netflix has the widescreen versions of Seasons 4-7.
  • The Harsh Light of Day -> It's revealed Harmony was sired during the graduation day battle ([Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Graduation Day: Part 2 (1999)]).
  • Beer Bad -> Kal Penn, who plays Buffy's drinking buddy, Hunt, also appears in {Angel: That Vision Thing (2001)} as the fez-adorned mystic Lilah Morgan hires to attack Cordelia Chase. He later co-starred as a recurring character with Alyson Hannigan in [How I Met Your Mother (2005)].
  • Beer Bad -> This plot was written with the plan to take advantage of funds from the Office of National Drug Control Policy available to shows that promoted an anti-drug message. Funding was rejected because "[d]rugs were an issue, but ... [it] was otherworldly nonsense, very abstract and not like real-life kids taking drugs. Viewers wouldn't make the link to [the ONDCP's] message."
  • Wild at Heart -> While filming a scene where Oz and Veruca have supposedly just woken up from mating as werewolves, Seth Green talked about being naked except for a "man-thong". He stated that this was incredibly uncomfortable since Paige Moss had her boyfriend visiting the set.
  • Wild at Heart -> This marks the last time Seth Green appears in the opening credits. Joss Whedon had originally envisioned the love triangle between Oz, Veruca and Willow to continue for most of Season Four. However, Green abruptly left the show to pursue a movie career, explaining that "the character was always better served in a recurring capacity and Joss and I both felt it was better to revert to that status." Nevertheless, Green would only return twice, in ([Buffy the Vampire Slayer: New Moon Rising (2000)] and [Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Restless (2000)] both in Season Four). Whedon says losing Green so suddenly was a "heartbreaker... and so Willow got her heart broken. I took what we were feeling and put it on-screen, so everybody would be on the same page."
  • Joss Whedon was glad that James Marsters agreed to join the show full time because he felt that Charisma Carpenter having moved to [Angel (1999)], the show lacked a character who was openly rude to the other characters. He described it as "having that awkward neighbour that is like "Hi can I borrow a cup of sugar and insult you?"
  • The Initiative -> Mercedes McNab says the hair-pulling, shin-kicking fight with Xander was "actually one of my favorite on-screen fights." When asked if she had a stunt double, she responded "No, it was all me", but "we wore knee pads and shin guards... which was kind of ridiculous seeing it was just such a cheesy fight."
  • Hush -> Joss Whedon claimed he wrote this as a challenge to himself. Critics had hailed him for his deft use of banter and witty wordplay, so he decided to see if he was a good enough writer to craft a script which was largely lacking any dialog at all.
  • Hush -> The scene where Buffy objects to Giles' drawing of her with its wide hips was apparently improvised by Sarah Michelle Gellar.
  • Hush -> Two of the Gentlemen, Doug Jones and Camden Toy, were able to sustain the creepy smile while on camera, without aids.
  • Alyson Hannigan was asked in a May 6, 2003, interview with [?] Fred Topel, which was her favorite. She said: [Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Hush (1999)], the silent one, because it was so interesting to do. I had never done anything like that and it was just such an interesting process, having to really know where each moment was because you didn't have the benefit of words. It was so compelling."
  • Hush -> The cast found the Gentlemen actors in make-up and costume to be terrifying in broad daylight, and Joss Whedon was so impressed with the physical movements of The Gentlemen that he admitted on the DVD commentary that his mocking of mimes in general "went down about 40%" after the episode was filmed.
  • Hush -> The Gentlemen were inspired by a nightmare Joss Whedon had as a child, specifically one in which he was in bed and approached by a floating monster.
  • Hush -> Douglas Petrie called the Gentlemen the "creepiest villains we've ever done".
  • Hush -> Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendon and Joss Whedon ranked this among their favourite episodes.
  • Hush -> According to Camden Toy, the appearance of Gentlemen was so intimidating the rest of the cast would avoid them between takes. Only Marc Blucas would interact with them, whilst Amber Benson's mother actually asked them to keep away from her daughter. Benson stated that she felt bad because no one else would eat lunch with the actors playing the Gentlemen.
  • Goodbye Iowa -> The reason for Tara sabotaging the spell will not be made clear until [Season 5]'s [Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Family (2000)], where it is revealed that her father falsely told her she was part demon on her mother's side. Tara was afraid the spell would identify her to the Scoobies as a demon.
  • 5 by 5. WW2 military radio communications, particularly from pilots, could be iffy. A pilot might get a good strong signal from the airbase's powerful transmitter, while the base got a poor signal from the airplane's weak transmitter. So pilot and base would check with each other. 5 by 5 meant very strong signal with very clear sound. 1 by 1 meant very weak signal with a lot of noise.
  • This Year's Girl -> Joss Whedon reportedly planned plot lines months, or years in advance. In the opening dialogue between Faith and Buffy, Faith mentions that Buffy has to get ready for "little sis" to arrive, foreshadowing the arrival of the character of Dawn in [Season 5].
  • Who Are You? -> The credits read "Eliza Dushku as Buffy", instead of "as Faith", reflecting the fact she is playing Buffy in Faith's body for the majority of the episode.
  • Who Are You? -> Eliza Dushku was filming both this and Bring It on (2000) back to back.
  • Who Are You? -> The device that causes the personality switch between Buffy and Faith is called a Draconian Katra. "Katra" may be a nod to Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, in which Spock's katra (the essence of his mind and soul), is transferred into Dr. McCoy's body.
  • Superstar -> Brad Kane, who played Tucker Wells in [Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Prom (1999)], provided the singing voice for Jonathan (played by Danny Strong).
  • Where the Wild Things Are -> Kathryn Joosten, who plays Genevive Holt, the old lady who abused the children under her care and thus led to their spirits haunting the house, began her first career as a psychiatric nurse practitioner caring for disturbed teenagers.
  • The Yoko Factor -> The title refers to [?] Yoko Ono. [?] Yoko Ono's son [?] Sean Lennon previously appeared on the show, performing live music at the Bronze in the premier of season 2, "When She Was Bad".
  • Restless -> The desert in Buffy's dream is the same desert that appears in [Firefly: War Stories (2002)], also created by Joss Whedon.
  • Restless -> There's another subtle plot clue to the arrival of Dawn in [Season 5]. In the Buffy dream sequence, Tara and Buffy are talking about the bed that Buffy and Faith made. As Buffy leaves, Tara says, "Be back before dawn." And then, at the end, Buffy stops to look in to Dawn's room at the now unmade bed.
  • Restless -> Buffy mentions how late it is, after looking at the clock in the room (which says 7:30). Tara replies "Oh, that clock's completely wrong." This is a foreshadowing of her death in [Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Gift (2001)], and a reminder of Buffy's dream in the [season 3] finale, where Faith says "counting down from 7-3-0" (as it was approximately 730 days later that Buffy would die). Tara saying that the clock is wrong means that she no longer has 730 days.