And with the season finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer airing tonight (8 p.m. ET/PT), many TV critics can't seem to figure out why the "Graduation Day, Part 2" episode was held up at all.
For those of you not participating in the grassroots movement aimed at getting the network to change its stance, or logging onto the Internet to snag a bootleg copy of the episode, Jamie Kellner, CEO of the WB, announced in May that the Buffy finale would be delayed because of the April massacre at Colorado's Columbine High School.
Broadcasting the episode--which features a climactic battle scene at Sunnydale--on its original May 25 air date would coincide badly with a time in which "over 35,000 combined junior high, high school, and college graduation ceremonies [are] being conducted nationally," Kellner stated.
However, the consensus among television critics seems to be that the fantasy violence at the end of the episode--which features the town's mayor turning into an demonic giant lizard--bears no resemblance to the real-life gun and bomb awfulness that went down at Columbine. USA Today quips dryly that Kellner is right--the show is insensitive and offensive--"If you happen to be a mayor-turned-60-foot demon. Everyone else will enjoy the graduation finale for what it is: a typically entertaining hour from one of the best, brightest and most responsible shows on television."
And those fears that Buffy might inspire copycats? Entertainment Weekly fields that one: "The final plot turns on the transformation of the town mayor into a gigantic lizard monster, with the student body uniting to defend itself against this creature. Yeah, there's an incitement to real-life violence."
Associated Press adds, "While peppered with cartoonish violence...Buffy is really a pacifist in many ways."
Not only will this episode conclude the show's third season, it also will reveal the fate of Angel. Actor David Boreanaz will be playing his vampire character in an eponymous spinoff next season, and "Graduation Day" promises romantic intrigue as Angel leaves behind--in some way--his love interest, Buffy, played, of course, by Sarah Michelle Gellar.
We've heard all about what happens, but we don't want to give away a thing. Chances are, with all the hype that's surrounded this episode, you've heard more than you want to know already.