I am a Buffy geek. I have no shame in publically announcing that I love it just as much as I did 14 years ago. I have the full box set (which I still watch every year or two), I used to have a poster of Angel on my wall (that one I’ve grown out of), I’ve played the computer games and my bookshelf groans under the weight of the Buffy comic books I collect. I will explain to anyone who will listen that the show not only changed the face of the female protagonist it was also, and remains, one the best written sci-horror-vampire tv shows ever made. The range of interesting, independent and flawed female characters in the show still impresses me today. So when I was offered to review this book I have to say there was a little pee my pants moment. Especially when I saw some image previews of the US release. Unfortunately much like life the reality sucks.
I shall start with presentation. A glossy hardback with plenty of images. This looks nice at first glance. However the structure of the book means that every few pages there are two inserted which cover a different topic. This interrupts flow and means you have to keep flicking back and forth. This sadly is just another kick in the teeth after seeing the difference between the UK version and the US version. The UK version is just a standard hardback. Nothing special. The US release includes a foil stamped cover, the book itself is a cool looking black rather than a cheap over-used photo of Sarah-Michelle. Inside the US version you get a 13 piece collection of spells and prophecies and you are also given a pop up version of the shadow puppets featured in season 7. That is awesome. Here in the UK we get nothing. I understand they have been released by two different publishers, 47 North in the US and Titan in the UK, but I am thoroughly disappointed that Titan (a publisher I respect) did not bother to make more of an effort. Why don’t we get the same treatment as the US? Is the production costs that different? I could get the US version from Amazon for only £5 more than the UK so I don’t believe it makes that much difference.
So presentation faults of the publisher aside I shall move to content. If you are a Buffy fan don’t bother to read this. The entire book is spent chronologically going though what happened season by season. I have watched Buffy countless times, I know what happens! I don’t need you telling me in a patronising and insulting fashion. I want interviews with cast members (preferably some new stuff), interviews with crew and writers, analysis of thing I never thought of or knew. Not a Wikipedia copy and paste of the season events. Maybe I am critical because I do know the Buffy universe so well but having review the FireFly anniversary book, which is like a love letter to the show, I am disgusted with the utter lack of effort or originality that has gone into this publication. It is a waste of time.
The only positive I will say about this book is that it has a bibliography at the end which I will use to seek better discussion of Buffy.