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May 29 2014

A definitive ranking of every season of every TV show that mattered. Obviously, Buffy is one of them.

Well I can't argue with this list since it's definite but I can rank Dollhouse and Angel

My ranking is probably: 5, 3, 7, 2, 6, 4, 1

I've always loved the much-maligned Season 7, and Season 2 drops in my ranking because there are too many 'meh' episodes. Season 5 has the best combination of a great arc and good overall episode guality imo. I love what they're trying to do in Season 6, and think the season has some really high highs, but I also think the execution is a hot mess a lot of the time. I like Seasons 4 and 1 too, but they're the seasons that just matter less to me.
Ah...poor Amends. It's probably my favorite episode.
I'm with you, Meanderer. Amends is a really good episode. (But IMO, I think the whole Bringers idea got run into the ground in later seasons. It worked for me in the short term, but as Caleb's minions? Ugh.)

Oh, and ETA: I've watched a lot of tv over the decades, but honestly haven't ranked seasons anywhere but the Whedonverse, and I think that's mostly because I have them all on dvd for repeat viewing. Other shows? Fun to watch, but not quite the same caliber of viewing, though Fringe does come close. (and yeah, I have no idea how I'd rank Fringe seasons, somehow it's all one big story to me.)

[ edited by Scraggles on 2014-05-30 04:19 ]
Amends was good with introducing Bringers and the First Evil (I love Buffy's quip "I get it, you're evil"), but fails when it starts to magically snow, because then the episode becomes The Very Special Magical Snow Episode.

It probably would have been better if Buffy just told Angel to stop being a whiny baby and actually work towards redemption rather than kill himself.
My ranking: 3, 2, 6, 4, 7, 1.

That said, Season 1 wasn't all that bad. Yeah, it had freak-of-the-week all over it, but it established some of the best characters ever on television.

Season 7 had a number of pretty bad episodes, especially once the baby slayers showed up, but it also had at least a handful of stellar episodes.

For Angel: 5, 2, 3, 1, 4.

I really liked S. 1, but 5, 2, and 3 knocked a number of episodes out of the park. 5 only had 4 weak episodes, and those 4 are better than most episodes of most other series.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2014-05-30 04:32 ]
I love Amends too. It's actually one of the episodes that really drew me into buffy.
I almost completely agree with their ranking but for me it's 3,2,5,4,1,7,6.

3 is a finely tuned engine running on all cylinders.
2 goes along fine and then the Angelus stuff makes it show we fell in love with.
5 is underrated and does a good job of upping the ante and going dark without punishing the characters and us in the process.
4 is the most underrated. Weak overall arc but has a lot of standout standalones.
1 is the show finding itself. Weaker stories but the characters and dialogue make it worthwhile.
7 is not 6.
6 other than OMWF is mostly a desecration of what came before.
I'd go with a much different ranking: 4, 6, 5, 3, 1, 2, 7.

I absolutely love season 4, far and away more than any other season. It has the lowest stakes and the most funny bits, which means I'm never not in the mood to watch an episode. At least half of my 10 favorite comedy episodes are in this season: The Initiative, Something Blue, Hush (if you take out the 5 minutes of horror, it's a pure comedy episode), Pangs, Living Conditions, and (I'm being totally serious) Beer Bad. Just as impressively, it also manages a couple of drama masterpieces in Who Are You? & Restless, all while setting in motion nearly all of the key character interactions that will dominate the later seasons.

I think season 6 is phenomenal as well. Once More with Feeling is sheer genius, but the real draws for me are the emotional journeys taken by all of the main characters this season. I find them immensely compelling, and, minus a few hiccups, rather organic. While most of these arcs don't wrap up until a third of the way through season 7, the heart of these stories lies in season 6. There are several profoundly sad moments, namely the final scenes of After Life & Dead Things, Tara's death, and the final act of Grave, where you can't help but cry along with the characters.

Season 5 has, IMO, 2 outstanding episodes in The Body and The Gift, and quite a few good ones. I generally enjoy this season's main arcs, but there are a few stretches I really don't like. I find Riley's vampiric indiscretions and subsequent exit to be way out of character, and I think they escalated far too quickly. I also think the two episodes prior to The Gift are packed with filler and are painfully slow-paced.

The remaining 4 seasons are almost equal in my book; each season's pros are balanced out by significant cons.

Season 3 has some great episodes, and it has perfected both the personas of the main characters and the original premise of High School as Hell; however, it also has oodles of Faith, who is by far my least favorite major character in BtVS. With the exception of Who Are You?, I can't stand any of the Buffy episodes where Faith plays a main role (although I do really like how her character plays out on Angel).

I'm of the opinion that Season 1 has no bad episodes; however, it also only has one good one: Prophecy Girl. While the underlying premise is strong, the writing isn't quite up to snuff, and the actors haven't truly figured out their characters yet. The soundtrack and visual effects are also woefully dated.

Season 2 has outgrown a lot of Season 1's issues, and it adeptly sets the tone for the rest of the series, but season 2 has two big problems in my eyes: 1) Its Monster-of-the-Week episodes are almost unwatchable, eschewing the campy fun of Season 1 for run-of-the-mill B-movie horror aesthetic, and 2) It has some really dull myth-arc episodes. Maybe I'm spoiled by the dynamic portrayals of Spike and Angelus in later seasons (AtS included), but I find their characters pretty darned boring in this season. By proxy, that means I (likely controversially) find the Spike- & Angelus-central episodes School Hard, Passion, and Becoming Part 1 boring as well. Only when such episodes focus on the Big Bad interacting with and affecting Buffy do they work as intended, namely in Innocence and Becoming Part 2, both outstanding episodes.

Season 7 starts, fittingly, with 7 great episodes that collectively provide each of the main characters with substantial character development. Then, after Conversations with Dead People, no fewer than 16 named characters are added to the Scooby Gang, and of the main cast, only Buffy & Spike see any significant character growth until the end of the season. While I do ultimately like how the series ended with Chosen, the preceding 14 episodes are mostly a jumbled mess.

Hmm. Somehow this morphed from a comment into a treatise. Oops.
@Judedeath - Read your comment before the article and thought "Wow, harsh on Angel, rating it an oddly precise 25413th!" Of course, once I actually read it, it made much more sense.

My BtVS rating would be:
5, 4, 2, 3, 7, 1, 6
I find their rating surprisingly apt. Pouty face for what they said about Amends, but I think this article was written with the right attitude, which is rare.
Just came to say season six is awesome. Bye!
Buffy: 3, 7, 2, 6, 5, 4, 1

Angel: 4, 3, 2, 5, 1
I really liked Dead Man's Party. Agree with the author that season 4 of the Gilmore Girls is very underrated (it should be ranked even higher though).

Buffy: 3, 4, 6, 2, 5, 7, 1
Angel: 3, 2, 1, 5, 4
But can they rank all 25 seasons of The Simpsons?
I agree that Faith is the best but that doesn't make season 3 the best for me. I have a hard time ranking things but season 6 is a favorite, although I also agree that Buffy and Spike together was and is just wrong.
Which was the season with "Beer Bad"? That was my favorite.

I understand people's issues with season 6, but I really enjoyed season 7 until I got on the Internet and everyone told me it sucked. Yeah, the First Evil smacked of "let's save money by not having to hire a guest actor to play the villain," but I enjoyed it all except the theme of "let's cruelly and almost unanimously betray Buffy even though she's pretty much the reason any of us are even here."
I agree 100% with Nebula's rankings for both BtVS and AtS.
The episodes I love the most in Season 3- Doppelgangland and Lover's Walk- don't have Faith. But I loved the Zeppo.
And Buffy + Spike is what turned me into a hardcore fan of the show.
Just goes to show there is no definitive list.
My ranking: 5,7, 6 (I am very close to liking these first three equally), 3,4,2, 1. Season 5 was nigh perfect to me as an overall arc, and I tend to judge seasons by their overall arcs, rather than the range of quality in the individual shows. I loved Dawn as a character, in all her versions; I LOVED Glory as villain. I loved the whole 'existential ennui'-theme in season Six, the whole idea of getting that theme out of the contrast with a lost heaven, I loved the magic addiction theme and Dark Willow; I loved the Trio. I loved the whole concept of the First in Season Seven (and also that it was returned from "Amends" in Season Three). I loved the way the series ended-- Best series finale ever. Best final scene and final frame ever. I could go on and on, but I won't.
Wow, Xane, that is my ranking as well!
I find it a lot easier to rank Buffy's season when I split season 2 in half.

3, 2B, 5, 6. Easy, with 5 and 6 being really close to each other. The last half is a little trickier, but today I think I'll go with 7, 2A, 1, 4

It never really occurred to me to rank a show like friends... the reasoning behind starting '5, 4, 2' is absolutely perfectly correct. Past that it'd be really hard to rank.

Was shocked to see 5 of Lost put first. I mean, I like it a lot, but felt it was when a lot of people started losing interest. There was interesting logic there, but I'd put 2 higher, and similarly split season 3 into two "halves" split in the same way it aired (first 6 eps as 3A and very low ranked, the rest as 3B and way up there)
My rankings for Agents of SHIELD:

Xane is correct.

1. Season 2 - yeah, not everything was a winner ("Bad Eggs"), but it's highs were really HIGH. This season hooked me for life.

2. Season 3 - Gotta have Faith. And the Mayor.

3. Season 5 - Edges out Season 4 because of consistency.

4. Season 4 - Not much of an arc, but it has some really stellar individual episodes.

5. Season 1 - Rough around the edges, but the makings of magic is there.

6. Season 7 - The show just felt tired. The whole Spike thing. The whole Potentials thing. The whole fracturing the group thing. Had some good bits, but... meh.

7. Season 6 - The only season I don't like overall. Again, it has some good bits, but it fundamentally messed with some aspects of the series that should have been handled better (Willow, Spike + Buffy, Xander). The show just kind of went off the rails and never fully got back on track. OMWF is pretty awesome, though!


1. Season 3 - The fallout of this season left something to be desired, but unto itself it was a pretty awesome ride.

2. Season 2 - Much like BUFFY's second season, it had some off episodes, but when it was on it was ON.

3. Season 5 - Edges out Seasons 1 and 4 due to consistency. Almost made me care about Spike again. Almost.

4. Season 4 - Serial TV. It ruined Cordy and ended a bit weird, but it was an interesting ride.

5. Season 1 - The worst season, but not a bad season. It was still finding its footing in the early eps. Miss you, Doyle.
Season 6 forever.
The only ranking I can agree with is AndrewCrossett's for Agents of SHIELD: 1.

I honestly have a handful of episodes from every season the I absolutely love and watch constantly, and I have some episodes from every season that I can barely re-watch. And even with the episodes I don't like watching, I can find small scenes or lines within the episode that I adore. I don't know how this can be a definitive list, because it really comes down to personal taste. Different story arcs dealt with different issues, causing fans to either love or hate the arc depending on their viewpoint of the issue.
Now that Nerddom is going mainstream, I think that 'Whedon fans who loved Season 6 of Buffy best' is its own little subgroup of exiled, friendless, misunderstood loners who must now band together for mutual support.

Season Six forever.
I lost interest in the article at, "Explanations are given below, but note that this is DEFINITIVE. These rankings are indisputable. If you disagree, maybe stop taking these things seriously."

Yeah, no, Dude, if you think you get to decide what's "DEFINITIVE", maybe stop taking yourself seriously, m'kay?

Ara: I know how you guys feel - I like Kennedy.
Rowan, I think you might be taking his statement a little bit too seriously ;)
#SSF - Only the true fans of BtVS will get it. ;)
Yeah I think the author intends this to be pretty unserious.
I love Amends anThe First Evil, in that episode. His later presence in season 7 was the problem, with all that thing about scales (demons x humans) changing and He becaming corporeal BS. Didn't He noticedthat in Buffyverse Earth was previously a monsters park, and in many other planets/dimensions non-human beings are the dominance?

Ara: I know how you guys feel - I like Kennedy.
Rowan Hawthorn

Can I join, in the matter of shipping Willow and Xander?
I rolled my eyes after reading the season 6 and 7 comments on Buffy and didn't even look at the rest of the article. To completely write them off boggles the mind, they had some of the show's greatest moments (Once More with Feeling anyone?). And for someone who seems so high on Faith, it makes NO SENSE to completely bash season 7, which gave Faith some great moments. It was really the first time Buffy started seeing Faith as something of a real rival.
To everyone who doesn't rank Season 7 in their bottom 3: I love you.
Bottom 3 of Buffy is still better than the best of 95% of the other tv shows.
Before reading this I thought it would be a list of the best seasons of television, with all the series mixed up. Now that would be a ranking. Of course, for me most seasons of Buffy are ahead of most seasons of anything else. I might put seasons 6 and 7 behind 3, 5, 2 and 4, but that doesn't mean I don't love them. They're just less best.
My rankings:


1. Season 2 - The Darla/Angel stuff is some of the best drama the show has ever had, and the Pylea arc was comedy gold. Do the dance of joy!
2. Season 5 - The boldest, most creative season of the entire series, with major payoffs in the form of Puppet Angel and Illyria, the two things I'll probably remember most from the season. Illyria would end up in my top 3 with Angel and Faith as the coolest characters in the Buffyverse.
3. Season 3 - Just a solid all round season with a nice story arc. Much like Buffy's third season, the show had really hit its stride by this point and was running like a well oiled machine.
4. Season 4 - Mostly the Faith episodes that I loved in this season. Other than that, it was good, but a bit more uneven than the above seasons, though the hyper serialized story telling and movie like feel of the whole season were interesting.
5. Season 1 - Doyle was awesome, and Faith's episodes were amazing, but beyond that this season really didn't feel that special. The show was still trying to find its footing and break out of Buffy's shadow.


1. Season 3 - Faith/Mayor - nuff said. No actually, I'll add that I really enjoyed the furthering of the Buffy/Angel relationship, leading to its eventual end and the beginning of Angel's spin off. Season 3 was very consistent in terms of quality, and Faith would ultimately become the best character in the show's history as far as I'm concerned. In fact, Faith today is a far more compelling slayer (and character) than Buffy IMO.
2. Season 2 - Spike and Dru at their best, and the awesomeness that was Angelus all made this the season where the show came into its own. The vamps really carried this season for me, just a great bunch of villains and plenty of great emotional drama for Buffy too.
3. Season 6 - The Troika, Once More with Feeling, Xander saving the world, musings on the concept of heaven in the Buffyverse, an episode making us question Buffy's sanity and everything we knew about the show and its universe? Yes please. For all its flaws, which have been well covered by many sources, there was a lot to like in season six
4. Season 5 - Probably the most consistent in terms of overall quality episode to episode after season 3, though none of its highs grabbed me as much as some of the stuff I love about season six. Glory was a cool villain. Spike's redemption story reached a nice conclusion (which would all be undone in season 6), and a great finale that could have served as a proper ending for the series. Objectively a better season than season 6, but 6 rates higher for me based purely on my particular tastes.
5. Season 7 - I LOVED seeing Faith win over everyone and start getting the first glimpses to the fact that she could be a hero and a leader, even though she clearly wasn't ready for that yet. If you were into Faith's redemption story, it started in earnest with Angel season 4 and then continued on here. This season also gave us Chosen, probably the most high budget, epic Buffy episode ever made. Beyond that though, the season certainly had its flaws. Some people seemed out of character and there were quite a few plot holes, and they really screwed up the slayer mythology.
6. Season 4 - A pretty good season with cool episodes like Hush, but in retrospect little happened this season that I really cared about.
7. Season 1 - It was what it was, not a bad season of television really, but so thoroughly out shined by later seasons.

[ edited by Angel&Faith on 2014-06-01 11:56 ]
Yes, but what's pleasing to me to see is when people rank Season 7 highly compared to other Buffy seasons, since it's so rare and I myself put it in my top 3.
Just wondering what everyone else thought of the series' rankings for the other shows listed? It's always interesting to hear the thoughts/ tastes of other Whedon fans.

I've watched all of Friends, but I don't remember it well enough to be able to list them. I agree that Season 5 was the best though, but I'd probably rank all the later seasons a lot higher purely because those were the first I ever watched, and when I went back to re-watch the earlier seasons they weren't as good as I imagined they would be.

I haven't re-watched Lost since it ended so I haven't cemented my own raking of its seasons, but the order seems about right to me. 4 and 5 were highlights for me when the series set an end date and started embracing more science-fiction elements.

I'm watching The Sopranos for the first time at the moment, so I can't comment on that one, and I've only seen the first two seasons of Battlestar.

I'll probably watch all of Seinfeld, The West Wing, and The Wire someday, but not ER or Gilmore Girls.
I agree about Friends, No1Slayerette. My ranking on the 10 seasons would be: 5,6,8,9,10,7,4,3,2,1.

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