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January 26 2016

Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Seasons ranked. One of the fandom's more non-contentious topics.

I've never understood why Season 6 got such a bad wrap. For me, it was always one of the better seasons. Maybe because I watched it in grad school and was more ready for a heavy season such as that. Also, Dawn never bothered me as a character. Yes, she was annoying, but she was playing an annoying little sister. How else should she have been portrayed? Anyway, my ranking from worst to best:

Season 1
Season 4
Season 7
Season 2
Season 3
Season 6
Season 5
I also agree on Season 6 being very good. Some elements of it did not work, like the whole magic addiction thing, but I do not see anything wrong with 'Doublemeat Palace'. If I were to judge season 2 by its second half alone it would be my favorite, but season 3 is the most consistent overall, plus it has Faith. My ranking would go like this:

3, 2, 5, 6, 7, 4, 1
The only thing I know for sure is that I like Season 1 the least and that I enjoy Season 4 way more than most people. Joss said it in one of the audio commentaries or specials himself: Many people look at S4 as the weakest but they had some of their strongest episodes ever in that year (Hush, Restless, Pangs, Who Are You, Superstar) plus it has that fascinating Willow x Oz/Tara arc.

I'd also like to out myself as the seemingly only human being on the planet who actually enjoys Beer Bad.
Best to very good:

Season 6
Season 2
Season 7
Season 3
Season 5
Season 4
Season 1

@D-e-f- The problem with Season 4 is very simple: Adam was a terrible big bad. If they had stayed with the Scoobies vs Initiative storyline, it would be one of the best seasons. The Frankenstein story is overdone. Adam was boring and had absolutely no shading as a character because he barely was one.
I have wondered if somebody other than George Hertzberg could have done something more interesting with Adam to make him a more memorable villain. I don't really think so. We had so little backstory on who he was before he became Adam, other than the small cryptic scene in "Restless", that it was difficult to feel much of anything for or against him.

I suppose this was by design to make him a blank canvas with only the word 'Monster' on it. But it would have been a very interesting drop in, if sometime during Season 5, 6 or 7 we had suddenly and unexpectedly learned something about him. It would not have had to be that big. Was he a monster before he became a monster? A Good Man? A Volunteer or a Draftee? It really could have reframed him as a character, and therefore much of the ending arc of Season 4.
Favourite season is S6, definitely, followed by S5. Then I'd say 2, 3, 7, 4, 1 as my least favourite and only really then because it suffers from them starting and the characters not having history/development yet. I actually, unusually I think, liked Adam. But there is something good about every season and all of them have episodes that I love.
Depends on my mood.
5, 6, 2, 7, 4, 1, 3 - favourite to least favourite, but lets face it it's all good.
I'd also like to out myself as the seemingly only human being on the planet who actually enjoys Beer Bad.

No...there is another. (Me, that is.)

As for best seasons--whichever one you like best is the best...for you. This is not something we can be right or wrong about nor is it something you can have a meaningful argument about. If you enjoyed S7, then S7 told a story you needed/wanted to hear. Me banging on at length about why it didn't work for me doesn't change that fact one iota.

We can have useful and meaningful discussions about what episodes are about, how they work, what the writers were trying to say, how the actors played their parts etc. etc. etc. But I just am so fed up with the Internet's endless game of clickbait "10-best" lists. They're just not interesting propositions for discussion; they're just occasions to make people feel bad about having divergent opinions and tastes--something we actually ought to celebrate. Wouldn't it be a dreary world if we all like the same things in the same ways?
D-E-F, you are not alone. I like Beer Bad enough that it's one of the episodes I'll put on from time to time when I want to just laugh, the scene where Buffy knocks Parker out at the end is so awesome it makes up for any perceived problems with this episode, at least for me.

I can't rate the seasons because I love them all but if pushed, I'd pick Season 6 as my favorite and everything else comes in 2nd place equally.
It always a delight in my personal ranking that has 4 near the top, and 3 near the bottom part of the ranking, that shocks people that don't know me.

And the divide between 4-5 is closer than some might believe.

Least favorite to most favorite:
1
3
7
6
2
4
5

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2016-01-26 20:36 ]
To me, it's always interesting to see this disconnect in Buffy fandom still exist.

Even back in the day, there was a very visible disconnect between those that the original High School metaphor appealed to and the dirtier, more adult-world grounded later show.
I loved beer bad. I didn't like the one where she got all bizarrely clingy and needy with that guy who was a total douchebag. What's that one called? Anyway, in beer bad, I think she punched him. So that was another thing I liked about beer bad.
"Season 4: Joss Whedon, the mastermind, left the show to go work on Angel.".

Hmm that's totally untrue, Joss was completely in charge of season 4 (one of my favorites btw). He only stepped down as showrunner for season 6 because of Firefly. And I believe he was more involved in season 7, sharing the showrunner duties with Marti Noxon.
I never even understood why Beer Bad could even be considered a weak episode. Loved it.

My personal favourite is probably season 7, as I thought it was especially exciting and foreboding, bringing everything and everyone together and working cleverly towards an awesome climax to end the series. But to me, it only works so well because it ties up & closes off everything that came before worked so well.

But I don't really want to rank the seasons. All seasons have their strengths and their great moods and things which worked so well. I find few flaws in the entire series.

S4 - used to be a slightly lesser fave when I first watched it as I didn't like Riley then & Maggie Walsh annoyed me. But there´s so much great stuff happening in-between with all of the Scoobies. On re-watching, Riley grew on me too. I agree that they could have done more with Adam and in general, he's the weakest Big Bad, although I do think there are scenes where he shines (the creepy thing with the kid in the woods).

S6 - overall IMO an extremely strong season with many of the best bits. There's however exactly two Buffy episodes I mostly dislike, which are both in this season: Hells Bells & Normal Again, which makes for a downer close to the end, but those are followed up by greatness again.
Season 7 was weaksauce
No episode that features bonking (not boinking) the ParkerLout can be all bad.
"Non-contentious" is meant jokingly, right? 'Cause I can't think of anything more contentious than Season 6. Which, IMO is awful (except for OMWF). The best that can be said for 7 is it's not 6. 4 is the underrated one for me--the standalones are great. They didn't know what to do with Riley after 4 so 5 drags until he leaves, but then it jells into a very good season. 2 is when the show becomes fully realized but 3 is even better. And 1? I'd put it last of the good seasons.

But every episode has something to like--at least one scene or moment or line of dialogue.
Hmmm.... I agree with the list's order as is. Am I the only one?
It changes every time I rewatch the show, but at the moment it's 3, 6, 4, 5, 2, 7, 1 for me.
The social commentary and deeper characterization on display makes season 6 far and away the best and most rewatchable. I don't understand some people's problem with the addiction to magic storyline. I think it was an apt metaphor and executed flawlessly. Especially overcoming all of that only to end up at "Seeing Red".

Best to worst:
1. Season 6
2. Season 5
3. Season 2
4. Season 4
5. Season 7
6. Season 3
7. Season 1
I think a good number of people that dislike it point it out because it's one of the easier things to mention. The season itself was just over-the-top depressing that if the magic addiction had been featured in a different season it MIGHT have gone over better with more people.

It also doesn't help that addiction storylines are among one of the most overused and cliched storylines that a show can do. However it's not as if Buffy hadn't handled it's fair share of overused storylines before.
Beer Bad is hilarious. Xander as bartender, Cave Buffy, Parker clubbing, it's all gold.

My seasons from the ones I re-watched most to the ones I re-watched least:
6
5
4
2
7
3
1
But like many have said, they are all great.
I like "Beer Bad" too :-)

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