I'm an optimist. I'd pretty much have to be to follow one of my favorite but sadly defunct television shows into the comic medium, and to stick with it through the bumpy ride that was Buffy Season Eight. And after finishing the eighth and final volume of season eight, I'm filled with optimism for season nine. I will say that much of season eight was a tough pill for me to swallow, and that much of the show's magic (and humor) didn't translate well into comic format. But I really love the way things are being set up for season nine, and the new directions the story is heading. I like that we're getting back to basics, with Buffy more or less on her own again, sans army, and living a simpler life in San Francisco. Back to the "one vamp at a time" method of fighting evil. Joss Whedon wrote a lovely letter to readers at the end of this volume, in which he talks a bit about toning down the epic in season 9:
" If you've read this volume, you've got a sense of where we're heading for Season 9. Back, a bit, to the everyday trials that made Buffy more than a superhero. That made her us. I was so excited to finally have an unlimited budget that I wanted to make the book an epic, but I realized along the way that the things I loved the best were the things you loved the best: the peeps. The down-to-earth, recognizable people. [...] So that's what we'll try to evoke next season - along with the usual perils, and a few new ones, of course. [...] Buffy's best when she's walking that ally, dusting vamps, and nursing a pouty heart."
Here here! I'm excited for season 9 because, while Joss acknowledges that Buffy can't be all epic all the time, it's not going to be a total redux of the show either. Too much has changed. Season 9 will cover new territory, but will hopefully do it in a more quintessentially Buffy way. Which is as it should be.