Forgive me: Not having TV I am a little late to the party when it comes to TV shows, but thanks to the magic of DVDs, I am catching up with some of the better ones. I'm half way through the second season of Buffy and I'm enjoying it greatly. I'd heard Buffy referred to as "My So Called Life with vampires thrown in", so I was intrigued about this "Buffy without the vampires" show. I picked up the recent My So Called Life DVD set from DDD and just watched the pilot and and the following episode. My not so humble opinion: there is absolutely no comparison -- My So Called Life blows Buffy away completely -- it is an infinitely better show and indeed one of the very few pieces of great television I have ever seen. My So Called Life recognizes one of the key advantages a weekly TV series can have over film: it need not have a beginning, middle or end -- it can just present as much of a slice of life as comfortably fits within it's ~48 minutes of running time per episode. This freedom, when used with the intelligence, indeed brilliance or writing and execution of My So Called Life can have startling results. For all the reality shows and news programs on TV, real life is almost impossible to find there, but within the first minute of My So Called Life you are plunged in it, and it is thoroughly compelling that all the fake entertainment we are used to fades instantly. The comparison with Buffy seems almost unfair. Starting with the acting: Claire Danes is a brilliant actress, SM Gellar is mediocre at best. The rest of the cast follows suite. Buffy has been praised for exploring teenager - parent non-communication through the metaphor of Buffy not being able to tell her mom about her vampire slayer identity. Well, that's good for about one episode. By contrast My So Called Life does more with this subject in its first few minutes than Buffy does in a season and a half (and probably in all 7 seasons). Angela's line about her mother: "Lately, I can't even look at my mother without wanting to stab her repeatedly" in the context of its delivery is perfect. Bottom line: Buffy is just (pretty good) television. My So Called Life is a work of art, and a true slice of life. Look at just one little but truly salient fact: SM Gellar is a 20+ year old trying (and failing) to play a young teenager. Claire Danes is a 15 year old playing a 15 year old. The attitude behind those two casting decisions tells us a lot... When it come to DVDs though, the producers of Buffy have done a better job in terms of transfers (My So Called Life looks so washed out that you keep expecting Buffy to appear on the scene to slay the un-deadly pale cast). My So Called Life also just screams for commentary tracks, but no extras are on evidence. At least the sound mix is excellent. These technical details aside though: My So Called life is the best TV on DVD by a long shot, with only David Lynch's Twin Peaks being able to compete even slightly. Ted Edit: fixed the MSCL quote.