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June 29 2016

All 12 seasons of Buffy and Angel, ranked from worst to best. A list that almost no one will agree with. If that's the case then let's hear your rankings.

...While every list is subjective and based on people's opinons etc etc, I will say that any ranking that puts Buffy Season 5 below Angel Season 1 is wrong.

(I'd struggle to make a proper ranking of the shows together- but Buffy Seasons 2 & 5 would be the top of my list, Seasons 1 of both Buffy and Angel would be at the bottom. I enjoy Seasons 4 of both shows more than the average fan, so they'd probably be higher on my list, rather than at the bottom.)
I know that I am in a minority, but I like Angel Season 4 a lot. The epicness and darkness made me long for more. It was the first time I watched the show on the computer instead of the TV and the first time I watched the show in english.
Angel was cancelled here after 3x16... right after Connor was taken to another dimension.

Season 4 was very watch-a-thon friendly. It was my favorite Angel season... although the Cordelia thing was not a favorite part.
Some of these would change from day to day as the mood strikes me, but overall, I think I'd stand by something like this most days you'd ask me, from weakest to strongest:

(Buffy season 9)
(Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie))
(Angel and Faith season 9)
Angel season 1
(Dollhouse season 1)
(Buffy season 8)
(Titan A.E.)
Buffy season 1
(Astonishing X-Men)
(Cabin in the Woods)
Buffy season 4
(Dollhouse season 2)
Buffy season 7
Angel season 4
(The Avengers)
Buffy season 2 (at its best it is perhaps the best of all, but too many weaker standalones spread throughout it for my taste)
Angel season 3
(Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog)
Angel season 2
Buffy season 6
(Toy Story)
Buffy season 3
Buffy season 5
Angel season 5

(I found a list of stuff I've seen or read that Mr. Whedon's written/overseen that I made a few years ago (pre-season 10/Ultron). I'd already ranked it, so now I handily copy-pasted!)
Not a bad list in my opinion. Buffy S3, Buffy S2 and Angel S1 would be my top three exactly! I'd push Angel S5 to the bottom and pull up Buffy S4 a few spots!
I like both shows and whilst Angel is one of my favourite characters I prefer BtVS. With two of the three BtVS seasons Angel was in and three AtS seasons as the top five I think you can perhaps see the character preference influencing here (not a criticism, it is subjective and we all have 'em!). Not sure how I would rank them mixed up together but BtVS 6 is my favourite season, then probably BtVS 5 as my top two. AtS 4 I actually really love, and AtS 3 (love Wes' arc). They would probably be muddled up somehow with BtVS 7, 2 and 3 no doubt changing order each time you asked me. There is something to like about all the seasons on both shows, it is why they are so strong.
I strongly object to Buffy seasons 1 and 4 (both of which I liked) being ranked below season 6 (which is my least favorite, apart from OMWF). Otherwise not that bad a list.

I would rank season 5 higher, because I thought Glory was such a fun villain and I didn't hate Dawn like all the cool kids did.

[ edited by AndrewCrossett on 2016-06-30 14:22 ]
@Andrew Crossett, I'm with you. I liked Dawn. Having been a teen girl and raised a couple, I thought she was quite realistic.
I don't have much to argue with this list. I'd make small tweaks, but I think I'd come up with something pretty close. The only comment I have is that Angel Season 5 was my favorite of that series. Maybe it's because Joss was more involved, but I really enjoyed the gang taking over Wolfram and Hart. Smile Time, A Hole in the World and Not Fade Away are probably my three favorite episodes of the entire show. Lastly, Illyria ended up being one of the most fascinating characters of the entire series, and Amy Acker absolutely NAILED it!
Not too bad. I liked to loved all seasons of both series. Absolute fave is Angel S5, but I'm already a bit stumped how to rank the rest, they've all got their strengths.
I'm very fond of Buffy S7 as I have so much respect for a strong ending which properly ties up a long-running series (which Buffy S7 did extraordinarily well in my opinion). Buffy S6 has a couple of rare episodes which I dislike (Normal Again and Hell's Bells) but overall I find it a very strong season with many highlights, terrific acting (SMG especially) and the scariest villain of all (Warren).
I'd probably want to place Angel S4 last as well because the stuff with Cordelia never made too much sense and was in effect a frustrating exit for a fantastic character.
Subjectively Definitive List:

12. Angel - Season 1
11. Angel - Season 4
10. Buffy - Season 1
9. Angel - Season 2
8. Angel - Season 3
7. Buffy - Season 7
6. Buffy - Season 6
5. Buffy - Season 4
4. Angel - Season 5
3. Buffy - Season 2
2. Buffy - Season 3
1. Buffy - Season 5
A Hole in the World breaks my heart over and over.
Buffy seasons 2, 3, and 5 are definitely top notch, plus Angel season 5. Otherwise, the other seasons just kind of flutter around beneath them for me, personally. They're all great; those ones just stand out to me.
Hmm, not a bad list, but I could never put the thrill ride that was Angel Season 4 at the bottom of the pile. It certainly tops Angel Season 3 which, Wesleys sub-plot aside, really meandered quite a bit, with a romantic pairing of Angel & Cordelia that never really worked IMHO.

I've also always found Buffy season 5 to be a little overrated and Buffy Season 6 to often be unfairly overlooked. I certainly found SMG's acting and character arc in Season 6 to be very strong indeed..
For me it's:

12) Buffy - Season 1
11) Angel - Season 2
10) Angel - Season 1
9) Angel - Season 3
8) Angel - Season 4
7) Buffy - Season 7
6) Buffy - Season 5
5) Buffy - Season 2
4) Angel - Season 5
3) Buffy - Season 6
2) Buffy - Season 4
1) Buffy - Season 3

I've always thought Buffy Season 6 was underrated, and Buffy Season 4 has grown on me a lot over the years - nowadays it's the season I'm most likely to rewatch. I also think Angel Season 4 is a hell of a ride as Jas said, even though it does make some missteps. On the whole though, I never feel like Angel seasons tend to hang together as well as Buffy ones. The Big Bad structure gives each season of Buffy a clear beginning, middle and end, whereas Angel seasons sometimes give the impression of lurching from one storyline to another without much planning (ie. Pylea).
It's really cool to see Angel in the mix as well, although ranking its first season as its best is absurd. Angel and Buffy are genre shows that are always brought up in "It starts out rough, but later gets amazing" conversations (see also: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Torchwood, The X-Files, Fringe, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League).

Here's my ranking. Angel's my favorite old-school Mutant Enemy series (followed by Firefly), so bear that in mind. From best to worst:

1) BtVS: Season 3.....Stone-cold classic
2) Angel: Season 5....Stone-cold classic
3) BtVS: Season 5.....Stone-cold classic
4) Angel: Season 3....Stone-cold classic
5) Angel: Season 2....Stone-cold classic
6) BtVS: Season 2.....Weak standalone episodes; extremely strong arc
7) Angel: Season 4....Flawed, but not as bad the second plus times around; the Cordy stuff is slightly easier to take knowing that You're Welcome is coming, while the tragic Connor stuff works like gangbusters after we see in Season 5 that Angel, Cordy, Darla, etc. were right: there really WAS a good kid deep inside that whiny little sociopath
8) BtVS: Season 4.....Weak arc, although it's for the most part limited to just five "Myth Arc" episodes; extremely strong standalone episodes

The Bottom Four
9) BtVS: Season 6.....Deeply flawed; extremely ambitious plus Once More with Feeling
10) Angel: Season 1...Weak acting, writing and production; I Will Remember You, Hero, Somnambulist, The Prodigal and the final five episodes
11) BtVS: Season 7....Crap, but well acted and produced; those Goddard episodes though!
12) BtVS: Season 1....Weak acting, writing and production; a handful of great moments scattered throughout

Everything on my list has never really moved from its spot over the years, except for the fourth seasons of both shows. They tend to switch places depending on my mood.

[ edited by JesusSavedIn01 on 2016-07-01 06:58 ]
My list.

12) Buffy - Season 1
11) Angel - Season 1
10) Buffy - Season 5
9) Buffy - Season 3
8) Buffy - Season 4
7) Angel - Season 4
6) Angel - Season 3
5) Buffy - Season 6
4) Buffy - Season 2
3) Angel - Season 2
2) Buffy - Season 7
1) Angel - Season 5
@roadi: I, too, watched AtS 4 on the computer back then. Before that I watched BtVS 5 and 6 on VHS (imported from the UK, 180 DM [about 90] for half a season.......) and the second half of AtS 3 on DVD (which came out before they continued airing it on tv). Sadly I had to switch back to the dubbed version for the final season of Buffy, because it aired earlier and had yet to be released for home video.

By the way, I was always wondering if you were the guy I remember from the Slayerverse community back in the day, since you have the same user name. But now I'm rather sure.

Anyway. tough. Nothing is set in stone, but I'll try.

01. Angel Season 5 (1-2)
02. Buffy Season 5 (1-2)
03. Angel Season 4
04. Buffy Season 2 (4-7)
05. Angel Season 2 (4-7)
06. Angel Season 3 (4-7)
07. Buffy Season 3 (4-7)
08. Buffy Season 6
09. Buffy Season 4
10. Angel Season 1 (10-11)
11. Buffy Season 1 (10-11)
12. Buffy Season 7

In the very least, "Firefly" is on the same level as the Top 2. Maybe even above them. "Dollhouse" I cannot yet rank, since I only saw it once.
The only season of any tv show I undoubtly rate higher than the top choices of this list would be "Torchwood: Children of Earth".
Something close to this (least favorite to most favorite):

Angel season 1
Angel season 2
Buffy season 7 (1st half)
(Dollhouse season 1)
Buffy season 1
(The Avengers)
(Dollhouse season 2)
Buffy season 4
(Cabin in the Woods)
Angel season 3
Buffy season 7 (2nd half)
Buffy season 2
(Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog + Commentary: The Musical)
Buffy season 3
Angel season 5
Buffy season 5
Buffy season 6
Angel season 4
From favourite to least favourite (though seems a little harsh on the lower placed seasons as I genuinely love every season of these two shows)

Buffy 5
Buffy 6
Buffy 2
Angel 2
Angel 3
Buffy 4
Angel 5
Buffy 7
Angel 4
Buffy 1
Buffy 3
Angel 1
Like some of the others here Angel season 4 was one of my favorite, but did I not like the way Cordilia was portrayed.

For the most part I would agree with the list - Buffy season 2 and 3 were a tossup for best over all but I would rank Angel season 5 over one.
I wonder where the rejection of Cordelia in S4 stems from. It wasn't really her. She was possessed - or whatever one might call it. I don't see any major difference towards Illyria - and we all love her. (If you don't, please remain quiet. She was awesome.)
Then again I also like Dawn, Riley, and especially Connor. So maybe I'm just different.
Anything beyond listing the top 5 is pointless

The best:

5)Angel S3 - Just a solid season with a strong arc and a strong villain

4)Buffy S2 - This is really where the wicked vampire trio came into its own, and both Buffy and Giles had their hearts broken

3)Angel S5 - Illyria, Puppet Angel, WR&H, Spike his own man again, this was a fun, bold, experimental season with a great series finale.

2)Buffy S3 - The best Buffy season hands down, due in no small part to Faith being awesome, and the groundwork being laid for Angel's show. The Mayor was amazing too. This is where the show peaked.

1)Angel S2 - The pinnacle of both shows with Angel's best story arc. Darla and Dru were amazing. The Dance of Joy was amazing. Angel going dark was amazing. And all that matters is what we do is the best quote of the series.

Best 10 episodes in no particular order

Angel - Smile Time
Buffy - Hush
Buffy - Once More With Feeling
Angel - Five by Five
Angel - The Trial
Buffy - The Body
Angel - Not Fade Away
Buffy - The Gift
Angel - Orpheus - This is where Angel/Faith really bonded
Angel - You're Welcome
@Sahjan- I think it is a combination of the late in the game reveal (for a reasonable chunk of the season we thought it was our Cordy) and also the knowledge of the behind the scenes drama (with Charisma Carpenter in particular speaking out about how unhappy she was with the season.)
Having watched the season long after it aired, with the knowledge that it wasn't really Cordy and that she would get a proper farewell in You're Welcome, I enjoyed the season...but I can understand why those watching at the time, week to week, could get frustrated and angry with how Cordy was portrayed.
Sahjan & rg253 - for me, the thing with Cordy in Angel S4 is more that it never made all that much sense to me that all those manipulations such as summoning the Beast, unleashing Angelus - would have been necessary for possessed Cordy to get impregnated with & give birth to Jasmine. I feel like if she'd just let things be, her goals would have been achieved without any unnecessary extra risk (the Beast viciously attacked them all, including Connor who still needed to father Jasmine; Angelus is unpredictable and could have killed anyone). The turning of Cordy, Evil Cordy's actions, Jasmine's goals, many events from S1 onwards (many important events were hinted to have been manipulated by Jasmine) - to me it really doesn't add up so well.

I DO enjoy the season a lot though. While I have issues with the logic of the coming of the Beast and the unleashing of Angelus, those events are an amazing thrill ride. The rooftop battle with the Beast is amazing. And then there's that whole sequence of thoroughly exciting episodes in the end where first Fred and then the whole team is on the run from everybody else - fantastic!
@rg253: I see your point. On the other hand it has been well over ten years and most fans probably saw that season more than once by now. The first viewing is one thing, but we were able to watch those events from a different angle and with a different mindset the second, third, or fourth time around.
Regarding Carpenter: While her unhappiness is by no means an ideal scenario, people have negative emotions on filmsets (and anywhere else, of course)all the time. Unless somebody got horribly mistreated, I wouldn't let that influence by opinion of the actual product of work.

@Valentijn: I think the Beast makes sense in that he weakend the gang (both physically and especially morally) and helped getting Connor in the right state of mind to get it on with Fake-Cordy. The Beast raised an apocalyptic level of hell, and Connor was made to believe that he was somehow responsible - or in the very least connected to it. He (and everybody else) also faced extinction, so when the rain of fire began it was much easier to say "yes" to something that felt good for a change, but still might have been declined under normal circumstances.
Angelus is a bit trickier, but I'd say that he was a diversionary tactic more than anything. Having him around allowed "Cordy" to have the team focus on something other than herself. It also meant that Angel was out of the game, so it pretty much was a "two birds/one stone" kind of deal.

I always liked the notion of "all the big stuff that happened over the last couple of years was meant to happen", but I never put it to the acid test. While I never believed that those stories were actually planned that far in advance, I also never caught any gigantic plot holes (honestly never looked for them, either), so I'm fine with that.
Thanks for your view on the Angel S4 events, Sahjhan, you make some good points & I really appreciate it (I often find good insight and discussion on this forum).

I personally would not like 'everything' to have been Jasmine's manipulations all along, all those things worked so well without a controlling hand behind it and I just can't really picture a being like Jasmine to be so aware of how things on Earth work and so able to steer everything towards her 'birth'. But if I recall correctly, it was really only Skip who strongly hinted that everything was part of the plan, it's up to the viewer (and Angel) to decide in how far to believe him.
Yeah, I definitely don't agree with this list.

My list, from worst to best:

12) Angel season 4 - I still hate it, so that's the one thing I agree with
11) Buffy season 1
10) Angel season 5 - the most overrated Buffyverse season. At first I liked it because it was different from season 4, but now I hate it almost as much
9) Angel season 1
8) Buffy season 7
7) Buffy season 4
6) Angel season 3
5) Buffy season 3
4) Buffy season 2
3) Angel season 2
2) Buffy season 6
1) Buffy season 5
I definitely think the late-in-the-game reveal contributed to the unpopularity of the Cordy storyline in Season 4. It just felt like a contrived fake-out rather than something that was believable and earned.

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