Turns out this week is ten years since Buffy and the Scoobie game signed off the air.
While some of my friends in high school were hardcore fans, I didn’t watch the show while it aired. About two years ago, I decided to rectify this – partially in research for one of my many writing projects.
I ended up watching the show over the course of a few months.
Overall, this Joss Whedon classic is fun, nerdy, with enough gravitas and character to keep you absorbed in the world. I find the 6th season uneven and too dark for me, despite some great moments. However, if there is any show to match the careful blend of silliness and scariness the current Doctor Who has, it would be Buffy The Vampire Slayer (though Buffy tends to be more adult).
In celebration of the show, I present my top Buffy episodes.
*Disclaimer: I have not watched Angel or Firefly yet. These are on my long to-do/watch list.
Out of respect for those going to watch on Netflix, I suppose a SPOILER ALERT is due, but I find that silly for a show that is having its 10th anniversary of its final episode.
Season 2, Episode 16: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
Down on his luck in love, again, Xander uses a love spell to make Cordelia jealous of him. However, the spell backfires, and Xander finds all girls mobbing and chasing his studliness. A very fun, silly episode.
Season 2, Episode 22: Becoming: Part 2 – Did I mention SPOILER ALERT?
At the end of Season 2, Angelus (The bad vampire form of Angel) is wreaking havoc and preparing the End of the World. Buffy teams up for the first time with Spike and attempts to restore Angel’s soul. At the last moment, she must sacrifice Angel to save them all. It’s a heart-wrenching, dramatic moment, and is part of why I favor Angel and Buffy over Spike and Buffy.
Season 3, Episode 9: The Wish / Season 3, Episode 16: Doppelgangland
Cordelia wishes Buffy never came to Sunnydale, and ends up in an alternate reality where most of the Sunnydale students are vampires – including Xander and Willow. Later, Vampire Willow is accidentally transported to the main dimension, leading to a comedy of errors between real-world Willow and Vampire Willow. Both are fun episodes, allowing Alyson Hannigan to show multiple dimensions. Neither episode ends well for Vampire Willow.
Season 3, Episode 22: Graduation Day: Part 2
This is the most epic graduation ever.
It is always fun when a show is still in limbo – not knowing if it will have another season – and so the showrunners decide to do an episode that can both serve as a season and series finale. Many epic things happen, almost all gamechanging for the show, and all of Buffy’s high school class rises up for one final battle against evil.
Season 4, Episode 17: Superstar
There are several one-off episodes taking the perspective of a minor character and spinning a different structure on the show. In this episode Jonathon, a fellow alumni of Sunnydale High, uses a spell to turn himself into a superstar. He is everything and everyone, and all love him. It is always fun to have a slightly-alternate reality where the main characters act off their normal patterns. This episode is a bunch of silliness wrapped in one exciting package.
Season 6, Episode 7: Once More, with Feeling
Speaking of silliness…
While I don’t have this episode memorized, as some of my friends do, this episode is amazing. It is a pre-cursor to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog (which, if you haven’t watched, you need to). This musical episode reveals important plot points, moves the story along, and makes me giggle.
Also, Mr. Whedon, will the Avengers 2 be a musical?
Season 7, Episode 22: Chosen
How could I not mention the final episode of the entire series?
A series finale which satisfactorily wraps up the entire show is rare. This episode provides an epic battle, kills off major characters, and then destroys the entire town of Sunnydale. It is bittersweet, but mostly victorious. It is a great end to a great show.*
*There are also comic books which continue the show, but I prefer to end here.
Season 4, Episode 10: Hush
If there is any episode that comes close to the terrifyingness of Doctor Who’s Weeping Angels, it is Hush.
These distorted, floating creatures are the stuff of nightmare. Also, the writers and actors stepped up to the challenge of having almost no dialogue for the entire episode. It is frightening and fascinating. Do not watch alone. Do not watch in the dark.
Happy 10 years everyone!
What is your favorite episode? What do you miss most about Buffy? What show do you think is the best heir of Buffy’s vibe? Are you hoping Sarah Michelle Geller gets a decent television show in the near future? (The one she’s in with Robin Williams slated for next fall does not look promising.) How awesome was Giles as Uther in Merlin?
Once again, check out the Summer Movie Bingo page to participate in an awesome challenge.
Other Fun Buffy-ness:
Den of Geek’s top Buffy episodes
Another list of top Buffy episodes from britts-on
Another best of, this one from Finding the Yummy
And another best of, this one from Nerdy TV Rants
From Garland’s News and Views, Featuring full posts on some of the best episodes
Buffy Help Line – A site where all of your problems are solved via the Buffy-verse
An analysis of Buffy’s younger sister Dawn
18 thoughts on “The Best of Buffy – Happy Anniversary To Ms. Summers”
I, too, am one of those who haven’t watched a Buffy episode–ever. Although it’s on my to-watch list along with a whole range of other shows. I’m hoping I’ll get to them one day.
As long as we keep working – one episode at a time. I’ll admit there were a few episodes I skipped forward through parts.
Loved Buffy, but I kind of thought they went one season too long. For me it seemed the end of Buffy should have been when she sacrificed herself for Dawn. But then we wouldn’t have gotten “Once More With Feeling” so I guess it all worked out in the end. 😉
I actually think the peak was at the end of Season 3 – after that there were some great moments and episodes, but there was also some meandering into weird – not good weird – territory i.e. Willow being a magic junkie – Dark Willow worked, I never quite bought “magic addict Willow.” Also, Riley was almost always an uninteresting, filler character with no chemistry with Buffy, especially compared with Angel and Spike.
I have to agree on the “magic addict Willow” part. I’d forgotten how much I rolled my eyes and skipped head.
Great choices! I remember the first time I watched Becoming Part 2, I sobbed all over the place. Seasons two and three are my favorites, with my favorite episode being ‘Passion,’ because apparently the more heart-wrenching the episode, the more I like it.
A good dose of tragedy can always be fun.
LOVE all these episodes!
I still need to watch this. Would it be too hard to start now? I mean in terms of special effects and being too dated? Also have you watched Defiance? Sorry, I don’t have anymore questions.
1. I have not yet checked out Defiance
2. If you’re watching Buffy for the special effects, you’re not watching it for the right reasons. It’s a great mix of camp and silliness with enough character and plot to keep it grounded. Anthony Head as Giles is part of what makes it enjoyable. I’d recommend choosing a high-lights real rather than the entire series, just so you can be educated.
I watched, maybe, one Buffy episode. I ADORED Buffy the Vampire Slayer the movie (so fun) but never got into the series. However! You make a good case. And I do like Whedon.
Ahem. Watching Firefly won’t take nearly so long. And I adore that series. 🙂
Firefly is on my list of “to watch.”
Not all of Buffy is amazing, but there are some really fun, great things in there. If you are a Joss Whedon fan, at least watch the first three seasons.
You hit the best two: “Once More” and “Hush.” I agree with you about the latter one: who knew that a tv budget could produce such profound creepiness? It’s not only the makeup, but also the way they *move,* impossibly, like parade floats. As with the Mummy, you know you can outrun them, but they have a power you don’t: *they never stop,* so one night when you’re asleep… Whoa!
It’s nice when a television show can be so creepy and cool at the same time.
Buffy is my all-time favourite show. There are so many episodes that were really fun to watch. I particularly remember the Halloween episode where everyone became the character they were disguised as. It was pretty funny. 😀 My favourite character was Spikes – so much charisma and wit there, haha.
The Halloween episode was one of the contenders for this list, but I wanted to keep it down to around five. Spike is a pretty awesome character, and his arcs are some of the most interesting.