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Hit... Buffy sings? That's entertainment! by Joe Diliberto of Soap Opera Weekly

Music may have charms to soothe the savage beast, but it set the blood of vampire and slayer boiling in a melodious episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that brought down the house with Buffy's neweset weapon: her singing voice. A demon compelled Sunnydale residents to express their innermost feelings in song dance. Creator Joss Whedon not only wrote and directed "Once More, With Feeling," he composed 35 minutes of original songs for it. Far from being a gimmick, the tunes, which ranged from guitar rock to a love ballad, actually illuminated character and advanced storylines like an opera. The show more than lived up to its hype, and detonated three major storyline bombshells: Buffy revealed that she had been plucked out of heaven by the Scoobies, Tara realized Willow had used magic to make her forget a tiff -- and Buffy and Spike actually...kissed!

In typical Buffy fashion, the self-aware characters were amusingly nonplussed by their involuntary harmonizations and sudden passion for synchronized hoofing. The songs were astonishingly good and the performances marvelous. Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Anya (Emma Caulfield) expressed their trepidation about marriage in a "retro pastiche." West End vet Anthony Stewart Head (Giles) acquitted himself with aplomb, and Michelle Trachtenberg's Dawn deftly battled Sweet's henchmen in a balletic "fight." Amber Benson was a standout as Tara sang about her love for Willow in a strong, delightfully lyrical voice. Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) was, as usual, asked to shoulder the biggest load, and she did an exemplary job. Wrapping her voice around a complex song is very different from wrapping her arms around a demon, but Gellar accomplished both with verve. Her duets with Spike were shocking fun for both their content and execution. And that kiss was so...ravenous! Once again, Whedon has proved that he's the greatest mostly unrecognized talent toiling on the prime-time scene. Maybe now he'll get the attention he deserves. But Joss, where do you and Buffy go from here?

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