on August 23, 2003
Any serious fan of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER will want this book on their shelf, along with its sequel THE WATCHER'S GUIDE II. The first volume contains a wealth of information about the first two seasons, while the second does the same for Seasons Three and Four. Unfortunately, there has not yet appeared a volume for the last three seasons. Hopefully that will be forthcoming.
These volumes are valuable for a variety of reasons. First, the early sections give a summation of each major character along with a collection of humorous quotations. It then proceeds to an episode-by-episode summation, which is great because it provides a lot of information that is otherwise not that easy to obtain. But far and away the best part of the book--for me, anyway--is the final section, which contains a host of great and informative interviews with actors, directors, writers, and technical folk. This final section is great because while Joss Whedon is widely acknowledged to be the main creative force behind BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, he has always ruled with a light hand. BUFFY is clearly a team effort, and it is great to see the roles the various team players play in the construction of the series.
Although the final episode of BUFFY has been shot, I hope this won't dissuade the publishers from producing a final WATCHER'S GUIDE to cover the final three seasons. I ardently believe that BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is the new STAR TREK. Just as STAR TREK managed to attract more and more new fans over the decades, I believe that BUFFY will have an ever expanding fan base, as more and more people are persuaded to give it a try. The shows of the seven seasons will be in syndication for years, each season will be available on DVD within the next year and a half, and spin offs like ANGEL and the other projects that have been mentioned will keep the interest in BUFFY alive for years.
on February 14, 2003
Who would of thought that a mediocre box office flop starring Kristy Swanson from 1992 would turn into such a brilliant, groundbreaking television show?. My guess is no one. This guide to the first two seasons of this show will go down as one of the best TV show guides ever assembled. Fans will treat it as if it were their own special bible. That said, this is the number one starting point to go too to get the info on the show, the characters, and all of the background you could want. Authors Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder(who both write book for 'Buffy')outdo themselves with one incredible job. Here is what this amazing book gives you. It gives you a complete guide to the first two seasons of shows. That's 34 episodes, since the first season was a mid season replacement of only 12 episodes instead of the usual 22. These sections give you the cast list for every episode, as well as a pretty in-depth description of each episode. You also get the "quote of the week" which has some of the best lines from that episode. There is "Love, Slayer Style" which tells you what, or any, romantic things pop up in the episode. There is a section called "Pop Culture I.Q." which notes a line in the episode that would deal with something in, you guessed it, pop culture. "Buffy's Bag Of Tricks" tells what kinds of weapons or other things were used in the ep. "Continuity" details of things that are continued in an episode that were introduced in other episodes. Storylines, characters, or whatever. There are also times where they will includes dialogue from the original screenplay that wasn't used in the episode aired. You will also find little boxes with little bits and pieces of trivia and/or other interesting little facts. But before you get to the episode guide, you go through a little history of the town of Sunnydale. After that is the history of each character in the series, and that part ends with some choice dialogue moments from each character. The other important aspect to the show are the monsters. The demons. The vampires, and other nasties that lurk on this show. There is a 'Monster Guide' section that details the various beasties that have popped up in these first two seasons and given a little backstory on them as well. Anyone out there who is into the spells and chants and incantations on the show will be happy because there is a section talking about these three things and given snippets of chants and spells recited in the show. The other thing that runs rampant thru the show is love and relationships. There is a section called "Bloodlust" that deals with all of us. There are so many ups and downs in the 'love' department on this show, that those things could have a book all on it's own. The end of the book has biographies on the cast members and a brief interview with some of them. After the cast members, there are sections on crew members and some interviews with them. And if you like the music, the end of the book has the songs featured in every episode and tells you the name of the song and the name of the band/artist. If this isn't enough, there is also a nice helping of some great colored photos. This is a must have for anybody. Perfectly done and put together. The follow up, "The Watcher's Guide Vol.2" is the next step. It's even bigger and better than this one. I believe a "Vol. 3" will be out in the fall. Get this book. You can't go wrong. As perfect as they get.
on January 22, 2003
For several years now, I have avoided buying this Watcher's Guide and its companion volume for seasons three and four. I'm not quite sure why - perhaps it was a last ditch effort to avoid the admission that I am an unregenerate Willow-holic. "After all," thinks me, "I have the DVD's, so who needs another reprise of the episodes?"
Surprisingly enough, the descriptions of the episodes take only 40 pages out of 298 dedicated completely to the ground Buffy walks on and the air that Willow breathes. And everything else seasons one and twoish. There's intro to Buffy 101, a guide to living in Sunnydale, character, and monster guides, and a section on being in love on the Hellmouth.
The section I like best is a series of articles and reviews on the cast, creative staff and crew. Until I saw the extras on the DVD's I somehow believed that Joss Whedon waved a magic wand and a new episode popped fully formed from his forehead. It's quite a revelation to understand the colossal effort it takes to create each Buffy episode. From research and writing to make-up and stunts, every one has to be at their peak during a rushed and grueling shooting schedule.
Chock full of enough facts and quotes, this is the book to make you into a walking Buffy-pedia. The perfect tool to impress your friends and dash the hopes of your competition. Even if you feel you have been deserted for a werewolf. This is a fun book, put together by Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder, the reigning king and queen of Buffy literature. A tiny but slapdash, but full of enthusiasm for the surprising success of a show about people who have all the issues of growing up absurd AND have to deal with a continuous flow of the creepies.
on December 1, 2002
Buffy The Vampire Slayer, is one of the most well produced shows on television, and this book illustrates that belief very well. The first "Watcher's Guide takes readers along on a hip, humorous and fantastic ride through the show's initial years. Authors Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder, have made the guide, with both the longtime fan and new viewer in mind. The book features all of the information that is relevant to be able to play catch up, while at the same time, giving fans enough "new" information, to keep you reading. This book is no mere episode guide. It covers all aspects of the series, from character bois, to locales in and around Sunnydale that are central to the show, right down to the songs and artists featured in the background. The book also takes a considerable look at what goes on behind the scenes. Creator Joss Whedon, the cast, and key producer and production folk, offer many on the set details that people WILL find intersting. Ever since I started watching the show, after the first season, I knew it would become "must see" on a weekly basis. The book is a perfect companion for the series. There are 298 pages in the book, with dozens of black and white photos, (and a full color photo spread too) and script excerpts as well Recommended for fans of the series, and those who want to get in on all the fun
on May 22, 2002
For the uninitiated, you can't do better than picking up this book if you want to start orienting yourself in the Buffyverse from the beginning. The first two seasons established the characters and basic situations, and then turned many of them on their ear, making a Guide nigh well indispensable if you find yourself jumping into the middle of it all without a little background, first.
This is a very entertaining book, even if you've never seen the show - and if you haven't, it's sure to interest you in watching. Its layout is quite catchy, spotlighting episode elements in an engaging manner. Alongside story synopses are highlights of each episode's best lines, production notes, and comments on things that were added or cut, and why. A random thumb-through will provide enough witty banter to tickle your funny-bone, no matter your mood. (The characters were at their freshest and funniest in the first two years, which is what this Guide covers.)
Newbies are sure to be entertained and intrigued, fans can relive their favorite moments. What's not to love?
on September 8, 2001
This is the best Buffy book ever! Personally, I haven't seen the entire first and second seasons, so this book was great for me. After I read it I felt like I had really seen all the episodes. The book is divided into different sections:
The mythology of Buffy:Basically it gets you started on what being the Slayer really means using extracts of dialogues from the original episodes.
Sunnydale Guidebook: It includes a review of all the places to go in Sunnydale presented like a real advise.
Character Guide: The acting start of all the actors, and the development of their characters. The lines from each one are hilarious!
Episode Guide: A short review of each episode + a great quote + Love, Slayer style:How the relationships are in that episode + Buffy's bag of tricks: her weapons every time + Pop-culture IQ: references made to the pop culture + the continuity with the other episodes + excerpts from the original script.
Monster guide: A guide with the most important monsters, vampires and witches that have appeared in the show.
Bloodlust: Every relationship that has ever taken place, with great tidbits of dialogue between the lovers.
Behind the scenes: Lots of goodies from behind the scenes of Buffy, as well as interviews with the whole cast, producer, make-up artist, etc., etc., etc. Basically every person involved in the making of the show.
Music: A complete list with the most important songs played in each episode.
This book is one of the most complete I have ever read, and I have nothing but compliments for it. Golden and Holder did a wonderful job together like always, and I recommend this book to every Buffy-watcher, wheter it's die-hard or not. The book is great, and it includes everything you could possibly want to know, so I say, go for it!
on May 23, 2001
It seems like along time ago that I first watched 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'. In fact it was only four short years ago. Now I'm going to confess something here, I was only thirteen when I watched 'Welcome To The Hellmouth' and to be honest I didn't think it was terribly good. A year and a bit later however, my outlook on the show was changed when I happened to catch the Second Season Finale (Becoming). I had absolutely no idea what was going on and I only had a basic idea of the plot (ie Buffy good, Angel bad). But there was something about it. Some kind of charming cleverness that had me completely hooked for that point on. The next day I resolved myself to read up on this soon to be obsession of mine. At this time nobody had really noticed this future pop-culture phenomenon and the resources at my local bookshop were severely lacking, so I picked up the only choice I had, 'The Watchers Guide Vol. 1'.
I'm glad I did.
This book contains more than anybody wanting a smooth introduction to the world of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' could possibly ask for; each section is filled to bursting with fascinating insights on cast, crew, monsters, mythology, romance and the most comprehensive episode guide your likely to find anywhere, ever. It's far more common for fans of a TV show to opt for a unofficial guide to there favourite shows but in this case I wouldn't recommend it. This is pretty much the only way to go if you want good quality, thorough information on probably the best sci-fi/fantasy show of the last decade.
Luckily for me the first couple of seasons were repeated soon after I purchased this book but I have to say that this book and it's sequel are absolutely essential items for people either just getting acquainted with the show or regular watchers who need a refresher course on the 'early days'.
on October 6, 2000
Ok, where do I start?? The Watcher's Guide for BtVS is the most informative book on any show, let alone Buffy. With all the quotes you'll ever need and the little things that you might have missed - though if you're like me, you watch the eps over and over anyway!!
There are the helpful explanations on the quotes that involve movies or TV, and help you to see what everyone was laughing about - especially good for Aussies who sometimes dont have a clue about the American terms and stuff (like me!)
There are full colour pics, as well as black and white pictures. And if you missed a few eps, there is a full episode guide of seasons 1 and 2. From the eps you did miss, you might also have missed some vital info about a character - well, never fear! Detailed character info and backgrounds are also found in this book!!
I know this is an over-used phrase but it is sooo true in this case - If you buy ONE book this year and you're a Buffy fan, this is the book you should buy!! Save up if you have to, but do whatever you can to get a hold of it before The Watcher's Guide pt 2 (for seasons 3 and 4) comes out in November 2000!! Whether you're an Australian, an American, English, from New Zealand, or ZIMBABWE! It doesn't matter! Get your hands on this book!!
on September 30, 2000
This was the first item of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" memorabilia that I ever bought. I started watching in the third season and now have seen almost all of the episodes preceeding it and all of third, fourth, and what has been released so far of the fifth season. I have another book on Buffy, one of the Buffy and Angel chronicles, and I've taped most of the fourth season and all of the episodes that play on Tuesday nights I tape now-a-days. So I guess you could say I am a major fan!! I was at a bookstore during the third season and found this book and I was intrigued after looking through it. After buying it, I read it for hours. I normally HATE reading anything on my own time but this was entertainment, like watching the show itself. Because it has details on the first two seasons, I was able to catch up on EVERYTHING that I had missed when I hadn't watched the show. The quotes, photos, and interesting facts, as well as bios, descriptions, etc., were all top notch. I also loved the little extras like the songs of the show, and costume blueprints. This book is a great guide to the show and I love all of Golden and Holder's books!!
In "The Watcher's Guide," authors Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder, along with Keith R. A. DeCandido, have put together an "Official Companion" for the first two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that is a template of how such books should be done. Golden and Holder have already cut their teeth on the series, writing novelizations of episodes as well as original books individually and together, so they are perfect candidates for the job. This book is not one of those attempts to cash in on the success of the television show, thrown together as quick as possible and slapped with a cute title before appearing in a bookstore near you. This is a thoughtful effort by and for people who celebrate one of the best shows on television, a series that combines exciting action sequences with caustic wit and exquisite teenage pathos.
Buffy episodes are covered in a very comprehensive but quite user friendly format. The plot summaries are fairly brief, serving more as reminders for those who have seen that particular episode rather than a more detailed description of what has happened for those who had the misfortune of missing the program (but if you need more you can certainly find it on-line at several excellent Buffy sites). However, there are several running categories for each episode: Quote of the Week with the episode's most memorable line; Love, Slayer Style which keeps track on the romantic developments in the series; Pop-Culture I.Q. to translate the arcane references; and Continuity to cover references to past episodes or highlight what is down the road. Sometimes we are treated to scenes/dialogue cut from the original teleplay and/or Buffy's Bag of Tricks, which keeps track of her expanding repertoire of weaponry. You will usually find a couple of trivia boxes containing interesting tidbits about a particular episode.
The other significant strength of this collection is the hundred pages of Behind the Scenes material, consisting mostly of in-depth interviews with Joss Whedon along with the entire cast and crew. Other choice items dispersed throughout the pages are the Song Lists for the first two seasons; a list of spells, chants, and incantations not to try at home; and quips and quotations organized on a thematic basis. What impresses me is that every step of the way this book provides something more. There are the expected color photographs of the cast, but there are also color costume drawings. Along with the interview with stunt coordinator Jeff Pruitt there are sample story boards for several fight sequences.
"The Watcher's Guide" is obviously the first in a series of must have referenced materials for Buffy devotees. The Monster Guide section has been expanded in the recently released Buffy the Vampire "Monster Book" and this Halloween the second Watcher's Guide, covering the third and fourth seasons of the show, is being released. It should not be surprising that as much care and effort has gone into these volumes as has gone into the production of the show. I am sure that next year we will be treated to the first such book for the Angel series as well.