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April 27 2010

SFX's greatest flashback episodes ever. Firefly's 'Out of Gas' comes in at no. 13, Angel's 'Darla' and 'Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?' are seventh and fifth respectively and Buffy's 'Fool For Love' takes second place.

Surprised but pleased with number 1.
That's a good whedonverse showing there, but I would rate Out of Gas possibly higher than Darla (just).
Also pleased with Number 1- that was a key episode of a show that has moved from good to great and is truly emotionally resonant now.
Meh. I still don't think Fringe deserves the top slot. It was a good episode, but the show itself it still 'meh'. Actually, I would have put Out of Gas up a bit farther. And in my opinion, BSG is number one.
I'd have rated both Darla and Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been higher. Especially the latter which I just watched yesterday and still gives me chills -- "There's a hotel here full of helpless souls who could really use your help, what you say?" "Take them all"

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-04-27 16:02 ]
I gave up on Fringe sometime during the first season... still not sure I want to give it another go.

What's truly sad is that I can't even read that description of "Jurassic Bark" (Futurama) without tears welling up in my eyes. Such a touching episode, especially for dog owners.
Fringe as #1? Pff, 80% of the episode we already knew what had happened from bits and pieces throughout the series and it was mainly just going through the motions. I do not understand why that episode is so highly praised.
All the memories of these episodes are flooding back. I don't know what it is about flashback episodes, but they are always awesome.

Would have definitely put 'Out of Gas' higher, as it is one of my favourite Firefly episode, but I would be hard pressed to choose between 'Fool for Love' and 'Darla.' They are both so great and work so well together that it is hard to separate them. A particular favourite scene has to be the moment post Spike killing the slayer (edit: not clear at all - I meant the Boxer Rebellion scenes.) Watching the scene in Buffy is a completely different experience from watching it in Angel, even though they are identical. A brilliant use of the different perspectives. 'Are You Now or Have You Ever Been' would be very close behind. Again, it is one of my favourite episodes.

Have to admit to being a little disappointed in 'Razor'. Perhaps it was just because I was watching in the midsts of the rest of the whole series (got the boxset for Christmas and had previously only seen the mini-series,) but it did little for me. I expect it was just because I wanted to get on with the series, particularly after the exhilarating Season 3 ending. I'm sure I will appreciate it more with a rewatch. I certainly enjoyed it. As an aside, is The Plan really not that great? I was looking forward to having a bit more BSG to watch at some point, but I've only really heard bad things about it.

I don't remember the X-Files episode on this list, but I was expecting 'Jose Chung's 'From Outer space'' would have been the pick.

[ edited by Vandelay on 2010-04-27 17:54 ]
Razor at #3. Yikes...
Out of Gas deserves much higher. And Fringe #1? Seriously?
Though the list is very generous to Whedon already, I do still miss Buffy's Selfless on it. It's a brilliant Buffy flashback episode too (and unlike "Fool for Love" it thankfully lacked in terrible Riley storylines).

Love they included two Futurama episodes (I'm already looking forward to its return in a few weeks time). Am I the only one who found "Luck of the Fryish" more touching than "Jurassic Bark"?

Maybe I'll watch the Fringe flash-back ep (and the musical coming up) if it's that good. Think now I may have been wrong to gave up on it after ep. 2.
I have no idea why I'm still watching Fringe either. Occasionally I get glimpses of it being a fun show but a lot of the time I think the plots are contrived, tired sometimes even boring. Coming from a pretty big Lostie as well, I find Giacchino's score to be particularly irritating in some episodes. I don't intend to give up on it since its hugely better than its first season, but I think I do find the mytharc intriguing - even if its utterly ridculous, it's much more subtle this season than last when it was all "DUN DUN DUUUH - It's Massive Dynamic". Main issue with the show is Olivia being an unlikeable protagonist, but again, you get glimpses of her being a good one on occasion. So yeah, don't think it deserved the top spot.

Futurama is at the top of its game whenever it delves into Fry's brilliant past. It's boring when its Flintstones In The Future, but thank God the original run succeeded in giving some darn good episodes.

Razor? I hated it. I think I switched off soon as I saw Stephanie Jacobsen who annoyed the hell out of me during T:TSSC. If I were to rewatch the show, I'd definitely leave it out. I would watch The Plan again though - I enjoyed that one. :/

The rest... Out of Gas higher, but mostly I'm sort've happy with that list, having not seen everything.
Nice to see FFL at #2. As has been pointed out, Selfless would be nice. Darla and AYNOHYEB are very good; I would put Out of Gas higher.

I liked Razor okay, but not nearly enough to be on this list. That said it does have some devoted fans so I might be missing something. (Including Joss, as I recall.)
Fool For Love is so amazing, it well-deserves its spot -- if not higher yet, in fact. So intricately plotted, so deftly edited, and the backstory so brilliantly comments on the present-day story. Moreover it's the ep that brilliantly introduces why slayers die, so utterly essential to the Season 5 arc. It was one of the first episodes of BtVS I ever saw, and while I was already hooked, this one made me totally love the show.

Are You Now... is also amazing in many of the same ways. Most of the flashback eps have something going for them, really.
Firmly in the "Rank OOG Higher" camp. Definitely switch it out with Fragments, at least.
Surprised but pleased with number 1.


I think if Fringe will be remembered for anything, it will be for that episode. John Noble deserves an Emmy nod for his performance.
They apologise for the lack of Doctor Who but I'd have thought the excellent Blink would have qualified. Not only flashbacks but video messages from the past!

[ edited by zz9 on 2010-04-27 18:00 ]
Good list - I would have placed Darla higher (still my fave) Angel episode, but Fool for Love deserves its high place.One of my top 3 Buffy eps.
Fool for Love may well be my favorite Buffy episode. It's a masterpiece. I also think Out of Gas should have been higher - looking at their rules, maybe they penalized it for the actual flashback parts not being so crucial.

Haven't seen many of the non-Whedon choices, so it's hard for me to judge those.
Hmm, I love Fringe this season, even some of the X-Files Lite episodes, but the ep we're talking about was not my fav. It was fine, but why bother telling a story if the entire fan base assumes that's exactly what happened anyway? IMO, the best flashbacks and origin episodes shed some new light on stories we think we understand (I'm thinking of some West Wing episodes, and the Whedon ones are great at this). I thought Dollhouse's 'Belonging' was a near perfect example of a flashback episode that gives background on one character and furthers the arcs of everyone else involved. Much better than the Fringe ep.
I agree with Rachelkachel, the rules penalized Out of Gas.

And I did like the comment:
"...probably (would have) included it in this list if it werenít so Whedon-heavy already."
John Noble, I think deserves most of the credit for that "Fringe" episode; sure the credits and the subtlety of the flashbacks were great, but he conveyed every moment of Walter Bishop's journey, and joined up the dots with the modern timeframe beautifully, I agree with Simon that it deserves recognition, as a convincing and heartfelt portrayal. I have to admit I find "Fringe" laborious at times, but it's always the performances of the central characters, that keeps me going. I find Anna Torv entrancing as Olivia Dunham, a very controlled performance.

I can't argue with any of the Whedon episodes they chose, except to echo, "OOG" maybe deserving a little higher, and GoldDust12, who states "Belonging" deserved a nod too. And if memory serves "SG1" had a few flashback episodes that I recall fondly too.
What about "Becoming Part I"? I might be mistaken, but wasn't that the first sustained use of flashback in BtVS (some brief moments in "Innocence" aside)? Still an absolute epic in the way the past frames the present Angel v. Angelus debate, making us root both for Buffy/Willow to resoul Angel, and for Buffy, egged on by Xander, to finish Angelus. And then there's how the promises of the alternative meanings of "Becoming" - Angel becoming a person who counts, Angelus becoming "worthy" enough to end the world, - are developed, to be paid off in full in the second part.

Plus, there's Joss's sneaky retconning of the movie, Whistler's all-too-brief appearance, Dru's quickly-told tragedy (from cursed Catholic girl wanting to be good through to killing Kendra), and David B's Oirish accent! What's not to love, truly?
Great list, I was really glad to see the Farscape episode on there - I just re-watched it a few days ago, and it's fantastic. FFL is one of my favourite Buffy episodes as well, I would have loved to see it at number one.
Vandelay, IMHO, The Plan is not so much bad as unnecessary. It relies heavily on reused footage from the aired episodes, and doesn't have any big revelations. It answers some minor questions from the show, but all in all doesn't add much to what we already know. To me it was a wasted opportunity of the very last BSG movie. It works as means to provide a BSG fix, but I would definitely advise to rent it instead of buying.
@Alpert
Cheers for the heads up. I will certainly be renting it then.

Caprica had been giving me a nice BSG fix, but the the long break has stopped that.
I would have said Fool For Love, Out of Gas, and Getting Closer.
LaneMeyer said:

What's truly sad is that I can't even read that description of "Jurassic Bark" (Futurama) without tears welling up in my eyes. Such a touching episode, especially for dog owners.


i'm not a dog owner, but i am (and was the first time i watched the episode) right there with you.

the x-files' 'bad blood'... *two thumbs way up*

SFX said:

...Victorian Torchwood, a concept so cool itís a shame it couldnít become its own spin-off series.


this. so much of this.

i've never skipped over something as quickly as i skipped over the being human entry! i haven't seen the second season yet as i am waiting for it to air on BBCA this summer, and i am trying so hard not to get spoiled. so, i'll have to come back to this article to see why they included that particular BH episode at a later time. i don't even want to know the title of the episode!

i especially enjoyed 'darla' because it reveals how old the character of darla is, which is one of the most facinating things about her for me. i would have preferred 'helpless' instead of 'darla' though, if i had to choose. 'AYNOHYEB' is the most personal (don't read "favorite" though) episode of ats for me because i am mixed with black and white, as is my younger brother, my husband, my niece (from my older, unmixed brother) and my two nephews, (the youngest of which can 'pass'). it took me by surprise that the whedon camp is even aware that mixed race people do have issues all our own, issues that are separate from our monoracial counterparts.

whodathunk? not me!

but my favorite on the list is definitely 'fool for love', although i like 'lies my parents told me' better. i disagree with sfx saying that the type of flashback is "spike bragging", because the flashback sequences themselves are not exaggerated. the body of the article clarifies this, so i will not dwell, but still.

oh, and i must add: damn, JM is a beautiful man!

[ edited by tjbw on 2010-04-28 07:22 ]
Excellent choices from the Whedonverse overall for that article, but I for one was very surprised not to see the penultimate Star Trek: The Next Generation episode from season five titled "The Inner Light."

Even if you have never seen any of ST:TNG, do yourself a favor and watch this episode because it is both emotionally resonant and expertly constructed.
Ok, wait...Denethor is in "Fringe"? How did I not know this??

I tried watching the first episode. I got lost in two minutes. I haven't even tried again. Sad to say, but John Noble is not a big enough reason for me to attempt watching it.

Is there a kind soul out there who no longer needs their Seasons Two - Five of "Angel"? Because I haven't seen the series, and I can't find it anywhere around here to buy. (Not that I have spare money right now anyway.) I have the first season, and have seen maybe a half-handful of episodes from later seasons. I always feel all out-of-the-loopy when folks are talking about the show.

SIGH.
ShadowQuest - Netflix, Netflix, Netflix! All seasons are on their instant view, so you can either rent the DVDs or watch them from the comfort of your own home. And enjoy! Man, you you've got some great stuff ahead of you. :)

tjbw - I'm with you on AYNOHYEB for similar reasons (and not exactly my favorite episode, either). The infrequency of mixed race couples or people on TV is pretty surprising to me.
I'd have to go with Out Of Gas for #1. It's just a masterpiece of an episode. Fool For Love would be a close second.
GoldDust12 Thanks for the suggestion, but see above re: no spare money. While Mom does get Netflix, she won't get TV series - she just gets movies for her & Dad.

And besides, I'm on dial-up.
Of course I'm on board the "Out of Gas" should have been ranked higher" bandwagon, one of the most brilliant eps of any Whedon series.

My only complaint about Fool for Love is that it wasn't #1 - especially since I would have rated the Fringe ep way farther down the list.
Also nice that they gave a mention to LMPTM, & would have been even nicer if they'd mentioned Selfledss, as well.

I would have ranked both Darla and AYNOHYEB higher, but can't complain about the self-proclaimed Whedon heaviness of this list.

There is no more dedicated BSG fan than me - except possibly Joss himself ;) - but I wasn't that impressed with Razor. I would have picked Daybreak pt1, in which each flashback was a little visually stunning gem, adding to what we already knew and loved (or not) about characters whose ultimate fates we would witness in the next (& final) ep.

Also glad to see the love for Torchwood's beautifully done Fragments.
the Groosalugg said:
Love they included two Futurama episodes (I'm already looking forward to its return in a few weeks time). Am I the only one who found "Luck of the Fryish" more touching than "Jurassic Bark"?

Nah, I felt "Luck of the Fryish" more than I did "Jurassic Bark". Might have to do with having missed "Jurassic Bark" during the original run, hearing it hyped up as the saddest thing ever, and only catching it on DVD years after I'd seen most of the rest of the series (it was still affecting, and reading SFX's description of it easily brings back the feeling of the ep...and I do like dogs, have taken care of a lot of them, despite never having owned one. But for whatever reason, it wasn't the biggest punch that Futurama threw, for me). I've got another one though--"Leela's Homeworld". It was the montage at the end that did me in (after the tension and drama and Leela being all distraught/determined to figure out her past/who those two shrouded figures were). Also further brought to the forefront an element of the show that had been introduced at the beginning as just a fact of 31st life (and 31st Century discrimination), the mutants in the sewers.

And thanks for reminding about Futurama's comeback in June, I'd forgotten about that announcement lately (not sure which season # that would make this upcoming one). "Into The Wild Green Yonder" was a good send-off (more satisfying than the TV show's original run finale, "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings"--also a great ep, especially for its Fry/Leela content, but not as epic as the series deserved), not sure if the series needs to come back, but if they can keep the writing quality high and the show's still funny and, at times, touching, then I'm there.

Dunno what I'd add to this list. Probably some more from animation. Gargoyles had an epic in the "City of Stone" 4-parter, and there were other flashback eps. There must have been at least a couple from the entire DC Animated Universe franchise (maybe not always touching, but quality/revealing in their own way--particularly remember one episode of latter Batman: The Animated Series that was almost Batman-free, took place almost entirely in the Old West, and focused on Jonah Hex and this dude that turned out to be Ra's Al Ghul's son).

Definitely needs some Dollhouse on there as well. Thought of a few other good flashback eps, but from series that aren't sci-fi/fantasy.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-04-28 15:19 ]
@ShadowQuest
Not seen the second and third season of Angel yet?! You are in for such a treat when you finally get to see them. Darla arc is very special.

Word of advise, if you have been able to stay spoiler free so far, try to keep it that way. I came to season 5 really late and had pretty much all of the major events towards the end of the season spoiled for me. I ended up being quite disappointed with it, if I'm honest.


Sad to see that it wasn't just me that was underwhelmed with Razor (was hoping I could go back to it and find it to be much better than I remembered.) I think that it probably would have been much better if it had of come earlier, probably during the gap between season 2 and 3. The events portrayed would have seemed much more relevant, rather than the very disconnected way it was shown. It was nice to see some of those gaps filled in, like seeing the attack on the civilians by the Pegasus crew, but it just didn't seem to have any bearing on where BSG was at the time (excluding the Starbuck prophecy towards the end, which felt needlessly tact on.)

Also agree with Shey that the flashbacks during Daybreak would have been a better selection, but probably more controversial. I loved seeing the first meeting between Apollo and Starbuck in particular, which powerfully showed the shadow of his brother hanging over their relationship throughout the show. The hatred some people have towards the end of BSG probably means they would never speak positively of those final episodes though (if people really think the ending of BSG is too cryptic and insulting to the viewer then they should really see the end of the original series of The Prisoner, which I just watched myself. Then they would know how to piss off the audience - I loved both :))

@tjbw
Love 'Being Human'. Second season is really good, in particular the episode they list (although the whole isn't as good as the first.) I'm sure you will enjoy.

It has been doing really well here in the UK and they set up a third season much in the same way a second was, so I'm sure there will be more.

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