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July 12 2017

Start Buffy with Season 2? An article about binge watching TV and sometimes skipping over the first season.

Only if you go back later and pick up "Prophecy Girl."
I started watching early in Season 2, but I saw a mix of S2 episodes and Sl reruns that fall. (Somehow "The Harvest" kept showing up.) I couldn't pick up the thread for a while but it didn't matter. By the time we got to "Surprise" I was tuned in for that powerful spring lineup. Eventually I rewatched everything and sorted it all out.

In my experience you have a better chance of getting someone into the series by aiming them towards S2 first. The rest will take care of itself.
I stumbled upon Buffy while it was on a later season so by the time I went back to Season One I already loved the characters. I probably enjoyed my first time seeing the early episodes because of it.

But my standard route is to show 'Welcome to the Hellmouth', 'The Harvest', 'Angel', and 'Prophecy Girl'. 'Never Kill a Boy on the First Date' is also relevant to the season arc but it's not as necessary. If someone's really impatient, I'd at least recommend starting with 'Prophecy Girl' because it's a great episode in its own right.
I usually encourage people to start with "Prophecy Girl", watch season 2, and then go back to watch season 1. They usually enjoy it more that way. But I think someone who's curious enough, or appreciate that old style look of s1, should watch it the normal way.
Ugh, I hate any advice to people on skipping episodes of any show (unless is an anthology with different characters evety episode). It's always a terrible advice.
All I know is that I saw season 5 and 6 before I started from the beginning (I was a little late to the party) so that I was completely bought in on the series when I watched season 1.

There are some shaky moments in S1 but too many good moments to suggest it is easily skipped in its entirety. I would bet that anyone that takes this advice and falls for the series goes back and watches all of S1 anyway.
I got into Buffy through occasionaly catching episodes of S2, getting more and more hooked towards the end/start of S3. I caught repeats of S2 episodes but didn't see S1 until much later (I think even after finishing S7!).
I found it easy enough to get into the show but I had always wondered what I'd missed, and things from S1 do get referenced at times. with later rewatches with other people, we always watched everything in sequence and didn't ever regret it. I did tell the 'new watchers' that everything would get better and the first season has some bits that aren't great, but it is certainly very enjoyable, the dialogues and settings are already there from the start - and in my experience, people did get a good enough impression from S1 if they were going to like it or not. It doesn't always work, I do know of one friend who never watched the series as she couldn't get past the first season. But I would still argue in favour of seeing everything in order.
Regarding season one, I usually tell newcomers to watch 'Welcome to the Hellmouth,' 'The Harvest,' 'Angel' (not essential to the season's arc, but it's a pretty great episode that serves as a backdrop of issues the series (and AtS) explores later), and 'Prophecy Girl.'

The narrative of season one isn't that great. Joss was still finding his footing as a showrunner. You can really tell the budget was next to nothing. The actors weren't very confident in their roles yet, so the acting was downright bad in many of the episodes. These things are all pretty off-putting for new viewers, and if I want someone to experience the joy that is Buffy, I have make season one as painless as possible while promising them that it becomes one of the greatest shows in television history in season two (and still often have to bribe them with baked goods).
I saw it from the beginning, as it aired originally. And while season one is not even the shadow of the genius it would become in s2, i thought it was filled with brilliance from the start.

Of course, im an older dude. I remember the time when you had to give time to a 22 episode show to get its gear on. Because it needed it. And that was it. Take it or leave it.

Nowadays, you need to be hooked from episode one, or you leave. "I´ll give it 3 episodes. If by then..." BS. Some of the greates shows of all time needed that time. With nowadays mindset, many of the true classics wouldnt exist.

Its this kind of thinking that leeds so many people to say things like "I know people say now its really good, by i saw season 1 and im just not interested." when referencin AOS.

So brand me a rebell.Unreasonable. Whatever. I remember the time when people were outraged if a show was cancelled after only 6 episodes even if it wasnt that good cause "a show needs time" and those same people now leave after 3.

So watch it from the start or dont watch at all. Thats my motto. But i do admit its not a really practicall one... ;)
I watched Buffy from Season 2 and then returned after completing the series to the first season. I never regretted it; there was even some of Season 2 that had me unconvinced at the time and that would definitely have been more pronounced had I been watching Season 1 as my first exposure to the world of Buffy.

It took me a few rewatches to begin to have the affection I have now for Season 1. It has a very specific look to it, low budget but moody, that enthralls me now but at the time, being conditioned to slicker, more conventional-looking TV, it felt pretty primitive.

I actually did the same thing with Angel and again think it was a good decision. I'm pretty sure these were conscious decisions, that I was intentionally giving myself the best chance to get into the show. Going back to Season 1 for these shows was like a bonus, and over the years and after many rewatches everything returns to its original chronology anyway.
I started with "Once More With Feeling."


Yeah, I don't really recommend that approach. But after seeing a really oddball smattering (OMWF, "Pangs," "Fool for Love" -- I think the person who introduced me must have really loved Spike) I re-started in Season 1 and just kept going and never looked back.

However, I do sometimes suggest that people skip some of S1. I consider "Nightmares" to be the first solid episode of the show, but "Lie to Me" to be the first really great episode. So if I'm worried that people might not be sold on the quality, I might start with "Lie to Me."

(Total side note: this article has further evidence of BtVS's specialness. The article contained, what, two sentences about it? Even if one of them included the words "all-time greats". But the article used a picture of Gellar as its illustration. BtVS is still the emblem of great TV, even now.)
I seem to be in the minority in thinking the Buffy pilot is genuinely good. The first season sure had some weaker monster of the week episodes and I can understand a reluctant viewer not having the will to go through those.

Having said that, I don't think it makes any sense to start with Prophecy Girl (like Sepinwall recommends). It would be like start watching the movie in the third act.

I'd recommend watching:
- the 2 hour pilot ("Welcome to the Hellmouth" & "The Harvest"), - episode 7 ("Angel")
- the finale ("Prophecy Girl")

Bonus points for "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" & "Nightmares".

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