|The earth is not so doomed as Giles would have us believe...|
First, my thoughts on the stats: Although officially we have one more dead human logged than dead undead, that is including Buffy's own death, which was not all that permanent as such things go. So in that sense, humans vs. not humans, we're coming out even. Which ... yay Buffy! Balancing the scales of justice, an eye for an eye, a slay for a slay. I must say I was quite disappointed in Giles's only cleaning of his glasses once in the whole season, but I know - I know - that he'll do it much in future. But right now he's the Holy Grail of stats. A further note: Since Angel will now be joining the cast of regulars on the show, we will cease to track his total lack of a consistent character. But rest assured, we will find new things to track!
I don't tend to give Season One much credit as a season, perhaps because it is young, short, and the overarcing Big Bad is not that compelling to me. But rewatching the season again has taught me that, while as a unit it still doesn't feel as strong or as gut-punchy as later seasons, the sum of its parts are still pretty damn strong. We have good solid introductions to our core team, and each character is given his/her own episode to further explore their range and limitations (okay, maybe not Giles, and maybe when he does get his episode it's kind of lamish, but ASH is awesomeness incarnate, so hush). The show consistently sets up conventional scenarios and expectations and consistently smashes those to take us to a realer, more honest place. It quite literally sets our metaphor of "High School is Hell" by building Buffy's new highschool right on top of the big ol' Hellmouth (a fact our heroes don't officially learn until "Prophecy Girl"), and sets up the M.O. of exploring that in a myriad of different ways for the upcoming seasons (including giving us the "free pass"/hanging lantern of the Hellmouth attracting all sorts of whacko mystical energy and thus giving our heroes an unending stream of foes to battle).
The season ain't perfect. There are clunker moments, and the throughline isn't as through or liney as it might be. But the season ends in "Prophecy Girl," which is about as perfect a season finale as I could ask for.
Next - We kick off Season Two with When She Was Bad!