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May 05 2006

IGN's Top 25 TV Shows on DVD. Firefly and Buffy both make the top five with the latter getting described as "one of the best TV series of all time".

Great to see Firefly and BtVS listed but where's AtS??? *grumble*

Also yay to "Deadwood" being listed - the only show I make sure I watch at the moment.
I wondered about Angel as well but I reckon it didn't get mentioned cause there's no US Collector's Edition which encompasses all five seasons.
Also, in my oppinion, Angel just doesn't rate up there with Buffy or Firefly. Besides remember this is just some folks' oppinions anyway. Also, again with the Lost! Why? What is so great about it?
I also think they're scoring the sets partly on the quality of extras. Don't get me wrong, i'm really glad I bought the Angel boxed set (and IMO, Ats easily meets the Buffy/Firefly standard) but it's a leetle sparse on the extras. Most seasons have only 3 or 4 commentaries and a lot of the featurettes feel pretty pointless apart from for completions sake (e.g. season trailers etc. - though obviously I realise these were probably from when the seasons were split rather than gathered into one box).
Angel isn't as good as Buffy, but still pretty darn good, and should definitely be on that list. And where's The Shield? It's just as good as Buffy, in my opinion.
Ssssh. Biggest kept secret in the Jossverse. Angel was the best of the three.
Well I would have put Buffy in number 1 but 2 isn't bad. Another "good for Joss" moment.
I agree Simon ... Angel was the best of the three. And it is the biggest secret in the verse.
I gotta agree with Senor pants, I loved Angel, but it didn't move me the way Buffy did. Of course, that's just my opinion, I already see Simon and I'm sure many others beg to differ.

LOST first season (with Fury's Walkabout) was good IMO. Also, that show is always good for a surprise, as Wednesday's episode showed us. eeeeek.
Sometimes I think Simon is right about Angel. Sometimes I don't. At any rate, I'm certainly not hostile to the notion that Angel may have been the best of the three. I love AtS, mightily. Oh, hell, I love BtVS and Firefly, too. I'm glad that the latter two made the list - and were placed so highly - but AtS should have been there, too. The reasoning that it's not there because the series doesn't come in a big collected box in the US doesn't work for me. There are other shows listed that don't, either. might have chosen AtS Season Three to feature, or Season Five or whatever.

But where *is* a big collected box o' AtS in the US? I'd love one!

A nitpick: BtVS's marvelous Chosen Collection is no longer that easily available. You can buy it for beaucoup bucks via Amazon's marketplace sellers (not from Amazon itself), but I don't see it for sale any longer at brick and mortar stores, nor can one get it (new) directly from the big online sellers. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2006-05-05 15:13 ]
Well, I do think Angel was better than Buffy in their later seasons, but on the whole of the series, Buffy takes it in my book. Then there's my view that Firefly was perfect right out of the box. Perfect. As in doesn't get better than that. (IMHO, yadda yadda...)
This Buffy versus Angel versus Firefly argument will never lead to any good... but I think Angel gets forgotten in lists like this sometimes because it is a spin-off. And as far as many of us are concerned, the two series are so closely married to each other it's almost pointless to choose between them.

I prefer Buffy, personally - but would find a three way Jossverse battle meaningless.
Maybe it's that Buffy came first that it's often touted as the better of the two. Like the author of the previous article, once bitten with the Buffy bug, it's hard to be distracted from it, even by a spin-off. But Angel is certainly within the top 5 for me as well.

[ edited by anindoorkitty on 2006-05-05 15:31 ]
I already had all of the Buffy seasons separately by the time the Chosen set came out, so I never got to see that extra disc. No fair!
I loved Angel but the Connor- Cordelia part was so icky that it took the whole series out of contention for "best series' as far as I am concerned. I very seldom rewatch anything with Connor while there is nothing I can't rewatch of Buffy - or Firefly for that matter.
As Saje said, this list is as much about the DVD package as about the quality of the show - 'cos, Jackass?

And from that perspective I completely agree with the choice of Freaks and Geeks in first spot. I have the Fans' Deluxe Edition, and it is a wonder to behold. (But, again, there's no love for Paul Feig, who is the real creator of Fs & Gs).
Hey guys. I wrote parts of the piece, including the write up on the Buffy boxset (someone else handled Firefly). We discussed Angel being there too, with season five as a possibility, since it had the most extras. But ultimately, other sets that offered different things and covered a broader scope of genres took its place. FYI: My favorite TV show of all time is Angel, not Buffy, but as others noted, this wasn't naming the best shows on DVD, but rather the best sets overall, for many different reasons.

And yes SoddingNancyTribe, we pretty much all felt Freaks and Geeks had to be number one. First off, that show was so very wonderful. And second, that is truly an amazing DVD set that goes way beyond the call of duty when it comes to extra features.
Thanks for that Eric G. I may be one of the few that was actually hooked on Ats before I had ever seen my first full episode of Btvs. As much as I love Angel, once I got into watching Buffy it took the reigns. I cherish my "Chosen" collection, though eagerly await a collection of all five seasons of Angel in the U.S!
Although I do prefer Buffy to Angel, I think it's true that the reason Angel is often forgotten in pop culture is because it's a spin-off. My roommate's friend came in my room and saw my Angel DVDs and was like, "That show was whack. They kept having Buffy people on. It was like, is this a different show or what? I don't really like spin-offs. Except Young Americans." But then again, she stopped liking Buffy after season 3, so she just kinda sucks. :P

[ edited by fortunateizzi on 2006-05-05 17:46 ]
Ssssh. Biggest kept secret in the Jossverse. Angel was the best of the three.

Ah Simon, you provocateur, you. Clearly, there can be no definitive judgment here. But debating's always fun. Buffy is the first among equals in the Joss TV family. She's the first born, which means she introduced us to the delights of Whedon's imagination. By the time AtS came along, we knew what to expect. We took it for granted that that show would be every bit as clever and entertaining as its older sibling. And it was. But there's no topping the joy, shock, and wonder that Buffy S2 eps like Innocence, Passion, and Becoming, Parts 1 and 2 gave us. Who knew a TV show could inspire such feelings? Buffy was the first to take us there. The best of the rest of Whedon were never less than great, but never greater than the greatest eps of Buffy.
I give the slightest of edges to Buffy, probably because it had more time to fully develop all the characters. Angel, though, what a beautifully conceived and realized piece of work.

On another note, Angel only made me cry a few times (Doyle's death, Buffy saying "It's not long enough!", Cordy's "You're welcome", Fred's death, Wesley's death, maybe a few other times.

Heck, I cried (and still do after repeated viewings) 3 times during "The Prom" (when Buffy can't breathe and she's crying to Willow, when she gets the perfect--as perfect as a Slayer can get--HS prom moment, and when she and Angel are dancing to "Wild Horses."

And don't get me started on "The Body"...or Oz's "My whole life, I've never loved anything else"...or "Close your eyes"...the melancholic montage set to "Goodbye to You" at the end of "Tabula Rasa"...Spike's helpless sobbing as he sees the broken and dead body of the Slayer...and so many more...

Yeah, have to give it up for Buffy.
Simon, I think I love you. Angel IS the best of the three (though Firefly struggles along at a very, VERY close second)... um, in my "humble" opinion of course. But Angel suffers from middle child syndrome. Buffy gets most of the attention not because it was the superior show but because it was FIRST (and ran the longest). It's audience started out younger and stayed with it through the more "formative" years. And it got the lion's share of media attention for being so original and unique.

Firefly gets more attention because it's the most recent, it made a big splash by being cancelled prematurely and then getting the movie treatment. So again with the media attention. Also there's the fact that it is the SECOND best Whedon show and therefore rightly deserves the SECOND most attention.

Angel was too quiet for it's own good. It separated itself from Buffy by being the "adult" show, which turned off some of it's potential audience I suppose. It kept mostly to itself in its own little corner of the Whedonverse and didn't garner a lot of media attention (until it was too late of course, with the billboards and "Save Angel" campaigns). And while it's cancellation was also premature, it at least had the benefit of a very satisfying and appropriate conclusion, which makes it easier to let the series go and not sing its praises to every person that will listen.

All opinion, naturally...

[ edited by Haunt on 2006-05-05 18:29 ]

[ edited by Haunt on 2006-05-05 18:49 ]
Angel beats anything on that list, including Buffy. Why do we get our knickers in a twist anyway regarding these lists, the people who choose them have their own tastes.
So which had the worst season? It's a toss up between AtS 4 and BtVS 6 in my opinion...
How did we get from best TV shows to worst seasons?

Without wishing to get my knickers in twist, which I suspect might be uncomfortable and possibly even cause me to fall over, I'm not sure I could name twenty-five TV shows I would want to own on DVD. Between us, my wife and I have counted twelve that we own (not all of them complete). Also, if this list is more about the extras then it goes completely over my head. I rarely find myself getting very excited about DVD extras, no matter how good they are. I don't think I've even watched all the extras on the 'Buffy's box-sets or listened to all the audio commentaries.

As to the best JW show, I'd have to go with 'Buffy'. I've got no problem with 'Angel' but I never really found myself making any emotional connection to it. I don't know why, exactly, but I can take it or leave it and I still haven't seen season five. As for 'Firefly', it's a fine show but I'm just not a fan. I tried... watching it three and a bit times in total, but it just never happened for me.
Well, my question is, where are The West Wing and Sports Night on that list? Two of the best shows out there, and neither makes the list?

No, I believe Buffy is a better show, but Angel had its moments. As for worst seasons, season 4 of Angel, season 7 of Buffy, and season 1 of Firefly.

Ok, that last part was a joke, I actually like Firefly.
Of Buffy, Angel and Firefly, Firefly is my favourite show in that it has by far, I think, the most "OMG!" moments, in humour, drama, horror, and production values, of any Joss shows, per running time. And while "Heart of Gold" is problematic, the Mal/Inara scenes in it are wrenching enough to make it pretty damn good for a "series worst" (narrowly edged out by the average-but-with-great-moments "The Train Job"). Compare that to, say, "Bad Eggs" or "Wrecked" or "She" or "Provider," which...really.... Firefly is the only show that really felt like it came out fully formed; Buffy started off okay but rocky, and Angel's first season was completely directionless, with brief shining moments, until Faith's arrival.

As to which is better between Buffy and Angel? I think that Buffy has more resonant characters, but Angel's plotlines are more original and thrilling; Angel also has more interesting villains. But they're about fundamentally different things: Buffy about the trials of growing up, and Angel about the trials of living as a grownup in a corrupt world. Angel could never produce an episode as overtly emotional as "The Body" or "Once For With Feeling," because the tinged idealism in Buffy just doesn't exist in Angel; conversely, I don't think Buffy could produce an episode like "Not Fade Away" or "Reprise," because Buffy just doesn't have that hope-through-cynicism at its core. (The closest to that level of darkness is in the fantastic "Dead Things," I'd say.) I think Buffy is the more complete work, and wasn't as rocky in its first season, but I go back and forth on that.
jerryst3161, I thought about Sports Night too, in my book as perfect a show as Firefly was. But the Sports Night DVD set is absolutely terrible. It has no extras. None. No commentaries, no featurettes, no promo clips, not even cheesy "cast bios", nothing. It doesn't even have chapter breaks within episodes!!! So until they release a kickass set with lots of Sorkin goodness, it doesn't qualify for a DVD list.

Angel S4 has soooo much good stuff (Faith, the Beast, huge stunts), it's a shame that the Cordelia storyline taints it. In terms of action, I think it was Angel's best season.
WilliamTheB, that may be one the best summaries of the differences between BtVS and AtS that I've read. And you manage to highlight the respective qualities of the shows without criticising either one for what it is not. (I happen not to care so much about plotlines as about emotion and resonance, which explains, under your thesis, why I favor Buffy over Angel.)

Oh, and I think AtS Season Four is its best season, closely followed by Five.
"jerryst3161, I thought about Sports Night too, in my book as perfect a show as Firefly was. But the Sports Night DVD set is absolutely terrible. It has no extras. None. No commentaries, no featurettes, no promo clips, not even cheesy "cast bios", nothing. It doesn't even have chapter breaks within episodes!!! So until they release a kickass set with lots of Sorkin goodness, it doesn't qualify for a DVD list."

Oh definately agree. The Sports Night DVD was done on the cheap, and that really irkes me sometimes. But still, I have the entire series and Im quite happy about that, so Im not really complaining. Now here is a question, better writer, Joss Whedon or Aaron Sorkin? I know thats like asking whether you like chocolate or steak, but still.
Extremely well said, WilliamTheB. And SNT, I think Season Four was one of the best too. It had it's problems (they all do), but I loved the overall storyline.
The Wonderfalls DVD set is one my favorites. Hilarious commentaries, informative features, and the series itself will be talked about for years. A lost classic, just as much as Firefly or Freaks and Geeks.

WilliamtheB, I agree with you on most of what you're saying, except for

Angel could never produce an episode as overtly emotional as "The Body" or "Once For With Feeling,"

I have to say that Fred's transformation & Wesley's reactions in "A Hole in the World" and "The Girl in Question" was gut wrenchingly emotional. I felt that it was right up there with "The Body" and "Once More with Feeling". It certainly made me cry like a hungry, angry baby.

Overall, I say that Firefly is best, followed by most of Buffy, then Angel. Also, I enjoyed season 6 of Buffy. It was dark, but it was good.
Well fundamently I think it comes down to the fact that Angel had a talking hamburger and Buffy and Firefly didn't.

Speaking of best TV shows on DVDs, the Spooks series 1 DVD (MI5 in the States) is one of the worst. Took me 15 minutes to figure out how to play an episode, it wasn't obvious let me tell you.
jerryst3161, I think Sophie had an easier Choice than Whedon vs Sorkin. Probably a topic for a different thread/forum...

Simon, I bow to your talking hamburger argument. Well played...
Angel will one day be a religion.

Firefly is the absolute pinnacle of modern Sci-Fi and will soon be cloned many times over.

And Buffy will be all but forgotten in 15 years.
Well, my question is, where are The West Wing and Sports Night on that list?

Completely agree, jerryst3161. Those, and The Wire, were the biggest omissions I saw. Although as others have pointed out, the list seemed less strictly about the best TV shows, as it was about the best DVD packages of said shows - in other words, they were looking as much at extras and special features and how the seasons were packaged as they were at the quality of the show.

Given that, I guess I understood a little more why Angel wasn't on there that and the fact that they probably didn't want three Joss whedon shos on the same list. Though, obviously, I think it was a glaring omission. But I can live with the two they chose. Buffy will always have the No. 1 place in my heart it was first, and it was the one I was most emotionally identified with (I never bought that "Angel was the one for adults, Buffy was the one for adolescents" nonsense), and the one that really wrapped me in its world. I tend to agree with SNT and WilliamTheB above.

My husband, on the other hand, thinks Angel is the better show - all a matter of opinion and personal taste. I think both of us would put Firefly in the No. 3 position, but only because it never had the chance to really hit its stride or reach the same kind of depths and heights that its longer-running siblings did. Still, overall I thought this was a great list: Freaks and Geeks, Twin Peaks, Deadwood, Sex and the City (It's just a guilty pleasure, but a fun one...), Dave Chappelle lots of good on there. Thinking just in terms of DVDs I'd like to own, not about which has the best packaging or is even necessarily the best show, I might have some of South Park on there as well, and West Wing and the Wire, and the Simpsons, and early Gilmore Girls. But overall, one of the better lists of this sort that I've seen.
Interesting to see how the last five are classic cult TV. Yay for Buffy/Firefly!
I would totally have put Angel in the top five as well. I agree with whoever said that Angel certainly also beat Buffy in the latter 2 seasons. Overall, I was much more moved by Buffy though. And even with that, Angel should still be in the top five. But hey, this is still good stuff.
BtVS is my favorite TV show of all time. I rewatch all 7 seasons at least once a year. My partner has given up begging me to get help for my obsession.

I also love Firefly and Angel, though I have to confess I didn't care for AtS until mid-season 2, when we met Dark Angel. If Wes hadn't been a regular I might have given up on the series. So glad I stuck around.

Firefly I loved from the first note of its cheesy theme song.

William, great analysis of AtS and BtVS.
IGN also classified it as one of top 25 TV shows to movies.
reddygirl, you really think the Firefly theme song is cheesy? To each her own, of course ... I think it's classic in its simplicity and raw emotion.
I meant that as a compliment. I think it's very wry, sort of a spoof on The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance. I happen to love cheesy TV theme songs. I know all the words to Welcome Back, Kotter, the Mary Tyler Moore show and others I won't mention.
Reddygirl, the mention of Mary Tyler Moore makes me want to see a version of the Firefly opening credits ending with Jayne throwing his hat in the air.

joni, I wasn't trying to diss Angel's emotional impact. As a matter of fact, while I think I love "Buffy" more, the only moment that brought me to tears in the entire Buffyverse canon on a first viewing was the end of "You're Welcome," which left me sobbing for quite a while. (That episode made me an Angel/Cordy shipper retroactively.) But "Buffy" has something that "Angel" doesn't in that regard: being about adolescents, it's a show of firsts. "The Body" isn't just about death, it's about the FIRST real encounter with death. "Once More With Feeling" (and the entire season six arc) is about the first encounter with real depression; season two about the first time one's heart is broken; the Faith arc the first time one is genuinely tempted to evil. Everything in "Buffy" has that...newness...the pain of a wound that has never been felt before. "Angel" can't, I think, do that.

All the pain in "Angel" has this sense of "once more into the breach." Fred's death has this aura of...another cut, deeper than the last one. The absolute last tragedy that pushes Wesley over the edge, after he's experienced so many. Angel saying "We can't lose her...we lost Cordy." It's not just pain, it's pain tinged with both regret and acceptance--which is something that "Buffy," conversely, couldn't pull off.

Also, compare Willow's reaction to Tara's death, to Wesley's reaction to Fred's death. Willow goes psychopathic, kills her lover's killer, tries to kill her friends, and tries to destroy the world. Wesley goes psychopathic, kills his lover's killer, stabs one of his best friends, and then accepts that he's got to move on. It's the same story, but Willow is young and is facing the pain for the first time, so has the grander reaction, and Wesley has the quieter one. Which is more interesting? Depends on the viewer. I'm going to proclaim it a tie--I mean, they're married anyway, so they can share the credit :)

So basically: the emotions in "Buffy" are purer, emotions in "Angel" are more complex. AND it has a talking hamburger. But "Firefly" trumps them for me both because it has "Buffy's" purity of message, and "Angel's" complexity, AND Summer's feet. Which make a brief appearance in "Angel," but not long enough to garner "Angel" the points it needs.

(I write too much.)

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2006-05-06 08:46 ]
You write so well - great post WilliamTheB - and the one further up the thread too!
Although I love ATS and Angel and agree that it should have made the top 5, Buffy will always win the "which is better" arguement in my mind.

Forget Buffy in 15 years? Never going to happen. There are new Buffy fans born everyday, with the constant repeats on FX. I think it's safe to say, once a fan, you never want to return to the reality of t.v. without Joss.

I don't think anything will ever match the allure and brilliance of early BTVS. It was because of that brilliant creation that ATS was possible.
Thanks, purplehazel. It's reassuring that I'm not babbling, or at least entirely :)
William, great post describing the different emotional tones of the shows.

And yes, I would pay good money to see Jayne throw his hat up in the air.

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