Just thought I’d add a quick post to my blog and what better thing to talk about, on its ten year anniversary, than the legendary episode ‘Once More, With Feeling’ of the equally fantastic Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Originally broadcast on November 6th 2001, this episode is easily one of the best in the entire seven seasons of the show. Heck, it’s one of the best of ANY TV show in recent and forgotten times. Musical themed episodes of shows that don’t normally deal with such a genre are not an easy thing to get right, (just look at Fringe and its season two attempt), but Joss Whedon and the utterly adorable cast of BtVS got it so right and this is the result.
None of the songs in the episode (and the album that spawned from it) are less than great, but there are some that utterly stand out from their neighbours and not just because of the amusing lyrics that create them. The first one is ‘Walk Through the Fire’, a song so anthemic and grand in scale that it’s very hard to avoid wanting to put your foot through a door just as the moment in the song permits it. Sarah Michelle Gellar sings it with such passion and flair that it is difficult to not adore it from the very first listen.
The second stand-out track from the episode, and sung beautifully by Amber Benson (Tara), is Under Your Spell. The words poignant and romantic spring to mind immediately. When you listen to the lyrics and consider what they actually mean regarding the relationship between Willow and Tara, it becomes so much more involving and downright sublime. It’s also hard not to notice the oh so subtle oral sex hint at the end of the song! There is also another version that features later in the episode, after Tara discovers that Willow has been messing with her memory, that incorporates Giles into the song and although the meaning of the lyrics is changed, it still remains as elegant as before with the added bonus of Anthony Head’s unique vocals.
Final mention for this entry is Rest in Peace, sung by James Marsters (Spike). He has the perfect voice for a track of this nature and he pulls it off and then some. He portrays the appropriate amount of anger in his voice and successfully manages to switch into a softer vocal range during the ‘change’ towards the end of the song. It is also worth noting that, despite being a great song, it is made twice as good by listening to it with the video at the same time. I’m more than glad that Spike was part of the cast during season six to make this song possible.
It’s easy to see why OMWF has stood the test of time and is still critically considered one of the finest episodes of any TV show. The lyrics were clearly the product of extensive work and effort by both the cast and writers and the entire offering broke the mould of terrible musical episodes. All future attempts should take a look at OMWF to see just how to get it right and believe me, if you can even begin to replicate what Once More, With Feeling did, you’re already onto a winner.