Stephen: "Freddy Krueger, call your solicitor"
This should have been subtitled A Nightmare in Sunnydale. Freddy Krueger, call your solicitor. The plot’s the same, the execution identical, and even the denouement is lifted.
There are good things, especially Principal Snyder’s Apocalypse Now cameo. The spirit of the First Slayer is a great concept, and interestingly hints at the dark side of slaying that may be explored in the next season. There’s astute observations, good gags, and the dreams are never clichéd... but really.
This is a genre show aimed as much at pleasing fans of the genre as converting new ones. If you’ve seen A Nightmare On Elm St, you know what’s coming here. Where’s the inventive spin the show usually produces? Oh that’s right, everyone lives and has a warm cup of hot chocolate at the end.
Love it or hate it, you can't fail to gawp at this episode. It's very daring to finish your season early, and have your cast bunk off to watch videos. It's even more saucy to make such an episode so deep, teasing, and downright naughtily unsatisfying.
The episode veers sharply between the laugh-out-loud funny and the sheerly incomprehensible. Just when you're about to give up, something new and unexpected will turn up (either Anya, a song, or the cast speaking in French). Personally, I think it's magnificent and contains some of the most powerful moments in Buffy - it may not be the best episode ever, but it's certainly the most intriguing.