I've always thought Buffy was OK, but I've never really seen much of it. I have been impressed by this experience though. I think the story arc was quite powerful and it was followed through well, with characters developing in interesting ways. I think the writing takes a fairly predictable pattern: stress/angst/humerous use of modern idiom/perspective shift. But this is good. It's a good model, and it's implemented with consistent quality.
Also, continues to make imaginative use of the conventions of TV drama. Exccellent work.
Compared to earlier seasons the fighting seems a bit less silly, and the baddies seem to be better delineated. I know these aren't crucial considerations but it tended to be the vampires with big foreheads that lost me a little. I also think - though I may be wrong - that it seems to be darker. I mean literally, less light in the camera. And I quite like that.
I also think I am (unfairly) more interested in the characters now they are a bit older. I don't feel I have that much common ground with American high school pupils.
I've seen quite a bit of Andrew, whom archbishopm is so, er... keen (?) on. Good character. Recognise a few of his lines as catch phrases ('in my plan we are beltless'). It's all starting to make sense. Of a sort.
On the negative side, I think some of the character development was a bit too ambitious for the actors. I have always thought Spike was a fun and sexy character, but I think the love-and-goodness changes towards the end of the season were too difficult for the actor to get across in a completely plausible way. I don't think it was the writing, I think it was the acting. Sorry.
Also, it may be that some of the tying up of ends was cheap or facile. However I missed anything like that because I only have a patchy knowledge of what went before.
And finally: these episodes were heavily censored, so I will watch the uncut versions which are due to be broadcast in january.