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January 28 2016

Seven hidden gems from Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 1. Love for 'The Puppet Show' is always a good thing.

It is comfortably the most underrated Buffy episode, from what I've seen.
Hey don't go by me, I like I Robot You Jane as well.
My favorite part of "The Puppet Show" is how you can hear a flute playing during rehearsals right after the opening credits, but there is no flutist to be seen anywhere in the background. Whether that was a deliberate link to Marcie Ross or not, I don't care. It's still awesome. I like to imagine she was sitting up in the lighting rig with her flute.
>> I like to imagine she was sitting up in the lighting rig with her flute,
. . . . and her scalpel.
Before I *finally* had the good sense to watch Buffy all the way through (the first time of many), I'd see The Puppet Show in reruns and think it was the dumbest thing ever. Seeing it in context completely changed my mind. It gives Buffy a glimpse early on of what a slayer's life can be - the endless grind with death as the only way out. There's a lot of depth behind the goofy humor.
I loved The Puppet Show. My favorite Buffy fanfic I ever wrote was based on it.

Season 1 succeeded, despite the rough spots, because of three things:

1. The chemistry of the actors and their ability to "sell" their characters, motivations and relationships;

2. The dialogue, which invented a whole new vocabulary and integrated the humor much better than the setup-->punchline format common in most TV shows of the time;

3. The ability of the show to set up eye-rolling tropes, but then completely subvert them.
Definitely one of my favorite episodes in the entire series...
Two favorite scenes:
1) Xander's "Redrum!" moment...
2) The moment Xander, Giles, and Willow realize that Sid is missing...
It's a pretty good ep. And Season 1 has more going for it than is commonly remembered (since I'm also quite fond of "The Pack," "Out of Mind, Out of Sight," "Nightmares," and of course the finale). Frankly, even if it had never made it to Season 2, it would have been a perfectly worthy show on the strength of S1 alone.

The fact that the first really great episode (to me) isn't until "Lie to Me" mostly tells you of the show's depth of quality!
the first really great episode (to me) isn't until "Lie to Me"

Exactly, the good were bad and the bad were ugly and the ugly were understandable and relatable in a way that made you feel smarrmy and uncomfortable to acknowledge.

It was the difference between
very good for Television and
very good for Buffy.
Nope, absolutely wrong. "The Puppet" show is not better than I remember. Because I remember it as absolutely great. I only had a few episodes to go by because this was before DVDs, so I only had the packaged first season videos, and I have to admit, based on the pilot, and the witch episode, I just wasn't all that taken. And with "Puppet Show", I was so convinced that it was just the stereotypical evil puppet, right up until the big "Huh" moment when we discover Sid is the good guy. At which point I went "Didn't see that coming" and realized just how good Joss Whedon was at those unexpected twists, and became an instant fan for life.

Other great highlights of that episode are Principal Snyder's comment about "the kind of woolly-headed, liberal thinking that gets a person eaten". I loved the fact that he himself got eaten in the Season 3 finale. And, both endings to the episode, the curtain going up on the Scoobies with the guillotine and axe, and Snyder's "I don't get it. Is it avant-garde", and the brilliant bit during the credits of Buffy, Willow and Xander performing the scene from "Oedipus Rex."
I like "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date." It's sweet, poignant, and a tour de force of Joss-speak that's as good as anything written over the next seven years. Plus that hilarious moment between Angel and Owen at the Bronze. To me this episode showed all the elements of BtVS really starting to come together.
barboo, I love the endings as well. That credits scene with Buffy, Xander, and Willow doing a scene from Oedipus is one of my favorite things in the entire universe. :-)
Season One wasn't the first season of Buffy I watched, which may be why I didn't have any problem with enjoying it the first time I saw it. But when I showed the whole of Buffy to a friend recently I was surprised by how much she liked Season One. She even declared with surprise, "I love Buffy!" about halfway through it. The unique Buffy brilliance is there, even though it's not yet refined and is surrounded by very low production values (especially for today) and some stuff that didn't work.
Every time I read these things I start feeling like I'm ready for another re-watch.

I get what people don't like about Season 1, but I watched it on DVD four years after it aired because my brother kept saying Buffy was the best show ever. Ran out & bought Season 2 as soon as I finished. My first-ever TV show marathon & first TV show addiction and I honestly can't hate any part of it, no matter how silly. (Lookin' at you, "IRobot.") We now live in the wonderful world of Peak TV, but I don't think anything will ever replace Buffy for me.

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