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May 06 2005

The "ULTIMATE BUFFY Episode Countdown" at Hellmouth Central (who are also announcing the winner of their Buffy Sweepstakes at 10pm EST tonight). Did the episode you think was the best take the top slot?

Ah, who could forget the cheese man?
Conversations and Chosen? Oh man... Some Assembly Required as the worst ep? Never in lots of months of Sundays.
Thanks Simon - I remember coming across this in its incomplete form and wanting to know what got the top spot. Actually, after quite a bit of thought, I do agree with the top episode, I'm drawn in each time I see it and always amazed at the way it's both incoherent and makes so much sense. The foreshadowing is amazing, I love that stuff! And yes, the unforgettable cheese man!
That said, I disagree with loads on this list, I'm sure most people have a few episodes that everyone seems to hate and they love. I seem to like Ted more than most. And I personally wouldn't have placed Conversations... so highly.
Well, I more or less can understand the top ten. Only Chosen should have been somewhere on the lower end of the list. What incredibly bad episode. Not worthy of the final at all!
I do agree with Restless though. That was truely an awesome episode. I think I have watched a billion times. Grave should have been in top five as well.
It was a good end to a bad season. Though, I do think the writers get away with too much stuff when it comes to Buffy and Willow schemes... Buffy comes up with this ludicrous idea and puts Willow up to it whether it be h4x0ring away with her comp or some magic that would never have been possible otherwise.

I wish they had never come up with the idea of the potentials, though, anyways, I'm a big fan of the whole lone hero thing.
The above comment being in response to Koos:

"Well, I more or less can understand the top ten. Only Chosen should have been somewhere on the lower end of the list. What incredibly bad episode. Not worthy of the final at all!"
I can't pick an all time favorite ep. It's to hard!
It's the comment that the best scene was Buffy smiling. Sorry, I am not really a Spuffy fan, but even I can say ARGH. Buffy and most importantly Xander should have a scene together. They should have mourned. I just can't believe Joss. How could he NOT have written that?

And what's up with Angel? Happily kiss Buffy while Cordy is in Coma?

[ edited by Koos on 2005-05-07 02:04 ]
Restless pwns. I wish it had Angel in it though. Becoming should be in second place.
I wish they had never come up with the idea of the potentials, though, anyways, I'm a big fan of the whole lone hero thing.

I hated that at first. Then I got used to it. And now I love it. Sadly enough they were somewhat too annoying at times.

But, that Buffy isn't alone anymore is what really love right now. She is the Queen of the Slayers. The Legend.

Granted, the way Joss skimmed over all the problems and how much it is NOT a choice is bothersome, but hey time-problems.
Six minutes with Angel was much more important, apparently.
Restless pwns. I wish it had Angel in it though

Yes, he should have.

Becoming should be in second place.

No, the Gift. The Gift was flawless. Becoming had some faults and Buffy had been so selfish and selfcentric that by the time she killed Angel (which she didn't need to, because blood was enough), I had lost my sympathy for her.
I agree with those saying CWDP was way too high (even if you were literally "high" while watching it). I also think I liked the 3rd season more then the reviewer. Not necessarily because of the Faith although it did help that the season was more Faith-Full then Faith-Less. I love Spike although he only shows up in a 1 episode (that I can recall) in the 3rd season. All these awesome characters and reasons combined, the 3rd season was still one, if not my favorite season. Not trying to rouse a debate on best season or anything, but I feel a lot of episodes that made up what I feel to be one of the better seasons were pushed down on the list by this reviewer for episdoes in later seasons that I didn't enjoy quite as much... That said, don't begin stoning me - just my nickel cause I can never stick with just 2 cents...
Yes, he should have.

What do you mean?

All the blood though, like in The Gift.
I thought End Of Days and Grave/Two To Go were too high. Two To Go was a good episode but Grave was just disjointed. Willow went from cold and heartless in Villains and TTG to this..cartoon villain in the last hour. Hated it.

And as for End Of Days, well I'm not very partial to Buffy/Angel

Do I ever disagree with this guy! I would have to rate Buffy vs. Dracula as one of the worst episodes ever! Also Restless would have scored much lower on my personal scale. The Prom should have been in the top ten. I DO love CWDP and LMPTM. And unlike many here, I loved Chosen! The scene that paid homage to the end of The Harvest is probably my favorite scene in the show ever. The person that made that list obviously was not a big fan of the more 'sentimental' moments of the series; which are by far my favorite element of Buffy. The fourth season of Buffy was always my least favorite and Restless is so bizarre that I can hardly ever get my wife to watch it. Of course after I checked out the commentary on it, my dislike grew to mild like; but it will never make my top twenty.

Of course, you know what they say about opinions....
"Not necessarily because of the Faith," what moron writes that poorly? Oh it's me! Sorry, meant to say "not necessarily because of Faith" minus the "the." The the the the the? Now that the excess the's are out of this post, also should mention I have a Oz-bias, big fan of Mr. Green (and no, not Tom!). Amber was also awesome. Kennedy, like the potentials, had me kicking and screaming all the way 'til the end. Is it bad that out of the losses in the finale, I miss the town of Sunnydale the most?
I miss Sunnydale too, Plecky.
Sunnydale has as many memories attached to it as a character does. It was the wise, hellmouthy character that had no lines. No it's not strange.
Plecky I always wonder what happened to Joyce, Tara, and Jenny's graves when Sunnydale went under. Its sad.
Yes, he should have.

What do you mean?

I meant that Angel should have been at least one of the characters dream sequence. Most likely Buffy's.
Plecky I always wonder what happened to Joyce, Tara, and Jenny's graves when Sunnydale went under. Its sad.

Don't forget Miss Kitty Fantastico. And poor Mr Gordo.
Joss should have put in a scene from Mr Gordo's pov when Sunnydale collapsed :)

[ edited by Koos on 2005-05-07 02:44 ]
1st post!

I agree with Restless being the #1 Buffy episode. I have some disagreements with the list, but it isn't too bad. I have to admit though, I Robot You Jane is what of my guilty pleasures.
I Robot You Jane and The Killer In Me are the only 2 Willow episodes that I could do without. But the final scene of I Robot You Jane? Totally foreshadows the entire series in my opinion.
Him on 130? It was one of the few funny episodes of S7. And Triangle could have been higher on my list too. That was a damn funny episode as well.
I have no problem with the top 10. Probably all of those episode would enter my top 20, or atleast my top 30. But what the hell are episodes like I Only Have Eyes For You, Amends, Into The Woods and especially Normal Again doing in the bottom half. Further down there are just way too many episodes that recieved a very unfair rating...
The magic snow in Amends makes my teeth hurt. But the Willow/Oz stuff was great.
Quote eddy:
The magic snow in Amends makes my teeth hurt.

Hey don't diss the magic snow, this last Christmas morning for a span of a couple of hours it snowed in the souteast Texas region for the first time in over 10 years. Never did any other day except christmas morning.
Maybe they mean "the magic snow in amends makes my teeth hurt" because its so sweet they got cavities and their teeth hurt? Or maybe I'm just not understanding how or what they mean by "makes my teeth hurt." Could you expand on that Eddy Rosevelt?
Grinding your teeth together? Maybe that's it...
It was too sweet and sappy for me. Sure B/A isn't one of my favorite ships but B/A at the end of IOHEFY possessed by the ghosts and the sword at the end of Becoming? That was great storytelling. The walking down the street holding hands as it snows? Cheesey :) Too happy, too neat and tied up. Sure its a christmas episode and christmas episodes tend to be sugary on TV, but this was Buffy, not your average show. Its one of the few episodes written and directed by Joss that I didn't feel was 4 stars out of 4. (not that Joss did many episodes that were 3 stars.)

Plus as someone pointed out once somewhere, wouldn't the vampires have a field day with no sun around? Maybe Xander should get out of that sleeping bag and into a house.

Oh, and Angelus' irish accent with bad mustache? Scarred me for life. ;)

[ edited by eddy on 2005-05-07 03:50 ]
Becoming had some faults and Buffy had been so selfish and selfcentric that by the time she killed Angel (which she didn't need to, because blood was enough), I had lost my sympathy for her.

I highly disagree with this. May I just ask what exactly Buffy had done to be selfish and self-centered? How had she shown this? I didn't see that at all.

But I definitely agree with Restless at #1. It is my favourite episode and I could just watch it forever.
Buffy was selfish all season long with Angelus. She should've killed him in Innocence. But it was understandable why she didn't, its Angel's face and body. She wasn't strong enough for it yet. Buffy and Xander both made good points over the course of the Angelus arc. But everything worked out in the end(well except for Jenny's death, Willow with a head injury and Giles being tortured).
I re-watched Restless just the other day and it always amazes me how many new references I pick up on that are scripted into seasons after it aired. It really was a great prophetic episode which echoed throughout the remaining series. One moment which I did pick up in this last viewing (I'm sure it's been noticed by others) was the last moment you see Spike in Gile's dream he's doing a Christ pose for the cameras obviously strong reference to the end of season 7. I think the fact that it has such echoes through the rest of the show would have to make this the best episode, if not, then at least the most important.
Buffy was selfish all season long with Angelus. She should've killed him in Innocence. But it was understandable why she didn't, its Angel's face and body. She wasn't strong enough for it yet. Buffy and Xander both made good points over the course of the Angelus arc. But everything worked out in the end(well except for Jenny's death, Willow with a head injury and Giles being tortured).

I guess you could see it that way. I don't really think it was being selfish. She loved him, of course she couldn't kill him. I don't really think Xander brought up very good points, all I can remember is him saying '...the way I see it is that you wanna forget all about Ms. Calendar's murder so you can get your boyfriend back.'And that is the momenet when I lose all respect for Xander. It is just so cruel. I mean of course he didn't know what it felt like yet (later he would with Anya and Willow), but IMO he didn't care. He just wanted Angel to die because he had hated Angel the whole time and that was him being selfish.

Well, I guess it's complicated and I could spend all day debating it. In the end Xander does tend to see things very black and white until the end of Season Six when he finally (IMO) grows as a character.
Interesting reading. Fans who didn't catch the Whedonbug until the last couple-few years missed out on lots of Buffy commentary.
I liked the list. I hadn't thought of Restless in the way he described it, probably because I don't have season 4 DVDs yet.
I decided awhile back I no longer had eps I didn't like, but if I had to rank them, Bad Eggs would be last. The creatures were just so icky! And kinda rubbery.
But I have to say I'm a Beer Bad (maybe 'cause I loved Jean Auel as a youngster?) and Buffy meets Dracula-lover. Not ashamed to admit it. :) Loved, loved, loved CWDP, too.
Chosen was satisfying to me. I think so much of the negativity comes from knowing it's the end, so it wasn't going to ever be enough for some. Potentials initially bugged me, but I got over it. I will in fact buy season 7 very soon because I haven't seen it nearly as much as the others. (4 seasons purchased, 3 to go.)
I once persuaded a cool date to watch Buffy with me. Turned out the ep was Him. The date was not especially impressed after all my gushing... Again, after re-watching, it's not nearly as bad as I thought it was, but it still wasn't one to lure in new viewers.
My only disagreement with the list would be Doublemeat Palace. Any ep that would anger sponsors so much earns my kudos. If you hate it, watch it and think about it as fast food satire. Or maybe the guy who wrote the list never worked in fast food?
ETA: re: Him. An evil jacket?

[ edited by April on 2005-05-07 04:37 ]
Meh. I dunno. The stuff in the top 10 was Outstanding tv, all of it, but that's because it's Buffy. I don't really like the order that much. In general, the Big Ostentatious Romance stuff with Buffy/Angel (largely the Marti Noxon Melodrama) scores too high and the silly Jane Espenson stuff scores too low.
Hmmm. Not terrible, though there are definitely things I disagree with. I'd have the same top 3, though probably reordered slightly (OMWF, The Body, Restless). Conversations with Dead People and Chosen were good, but not in my top 10. I adore the Gift, but I don't think it'd be in my Top 5. And I'd have moved a few eps (Passion, Fool for Love, The Wish) that are already fairly high up even higher. But they have some in the bottom half that, while not masterpieces, I definitely think are among the better episodes (Anne, the Initiative, I only Have Eyes for You, Pangs, Choices, Wild at Heart). And there are other (Flooded, First Date, Triangle, the Yoko Factor, Entropy, When She Was Bad) that I wouldn't put nearly so high.
But that's one thing I love about Buffy - that everyone has such different opinions on the episodes. The ones that I can't find much to like about (Beer Bad, Doublemeat Palace, I Robot You Jane) always have some people to defend them. And there are always a few who hate Restless (though I don't think I've met anyone who disliked OMWF, despite its standing on the jump the shark website).
My own order (if I were to make one) is constantly changing, depending on my mood and what i've been thinking about.
Anyhow, interesting list, fun to read people's comments.
In general, the Big Ostentatious Romance stuff with Buffy/Angel (largely the Marti Noxon Melodrama) scores too high and the silly Jane Espenson stuff scores too low.
I don't know that I saw that trend so much... I mean, Amends and I Only Have Eyes for You, which are about as ostentatious B/A romantic as you can get both scored quite low (with some reason, though I would have put them a bit higher). And I think I remember seeing some of my favorite comic episodes - Band Candy, Earshot, Doppelgangland, Lovers Walk, etc – all up in the top 20. But yeah - the melodramic angsty stuff does seem a wee bit favored over humor. I think that's just the nature of what people remember and what moves them most - not that it's necessarily better.
I’m so unable to see Buffy as individual episodes (for me, it’s one continuous story), that reading about them as separate entities is interesting and challenging. My primary reaction Matt’s critique of the episodes (I went back and read all of them) is one of shocked disbelief! His commentary on most is so negative that I can’t understand why he watched the show at all. He apparently doesn’t like any of the main characters very much, certainly doesn’t appreciate any of their love relationships, and seems to have enjoyed less than 20% of the entire seven years.

However, since I've never attempted to walk in the shoes of a critic, perhaps I just don't understand the process.
I read HMC alot. Matt is a big fan, but he likes to take the piss alot. Especially at Buffy's boyfriends.
So, he's a cranky fan?
I'm a big fan of all the supporting characters, Buffy was always my least favorite. So in my list all the episodes centering around different characters would be much higher. Storyteller, Superstar, The Zeppo, The Replacement, Selfless, Fool For Love, and any Jane episodes are great.

Of course there's no arguing with the top three, but I will put them in different orders depending on my mood. What I think would be interesting if we rated episodes by writer(s). Order Joss episodes, or just Fury's or Janes.
I like "Restless" a lot. I'm sure I'd put it in my top 10 or maybe a little lower. But I am amazed that it was number one. That was completely unexpected.

Just my personal beef--while 17 isn't all that low, "Fool for Love" would rank very high on my list.

Was this ranking one person's opinion or a vote?
I can see where he's coming from with the Buffy-boyfriend scenario, no offense so don't kill the messenger. Well I guess I'm more then the messenger, but still don't! But it always seemed to me that when Buffy was single we had a better relationship between Giles, Willow, Xander, and her. On the other hand when she had a boyfriend , her friends kind of got the short end of the stick. Although I'm far from being a expect on the Buffyverse, personally I know her relationship with Angel often put her and Xander at ends with each other as some of you have mentioned above. Her relationship with Riley distanced her from the gang when they found out more about the Initiative, I guess when Riley left the initiative and was trusted again it worked out for a while until he was shipped off the show via helicopter by whom? Oh yeah, the NEW initiative. Lastly, Spike caused her to be distant in even more ways with everyone. As much as I like the characters of Angel and Spike (I'm purposefully leaving out you know who, once again my apolgies to you Rileyholics), I just couldn't stand the friction being with these guys caused the group as a whole. So I guess it matters on if you were more fan of relationship or the friendship. I like the friendship being healthy more then buffy's relationship. Of course the off and on of both makes it realistic and great TV but while I ramble I can see why someone may favor Stag-Buffy over Relationship-Buffy... Am I crazy? And how about that one episode of Buffy where she had to choose between the insane Asylum with her mom and dad or the basement to save her friends, was the episode crazy or what? What was the name of that one again, I'd be curious to see where it placed on this critics list! And to answer my previous question with one of my OTHER personlaties - why yes, yes I am crazy! :)
Plecky, the insane eppy was "Normal Again". Pretty cool, especially the third or so time you watch it.
I was waiting for Joss to end the season with a Normal Again style cliffhanger.
Plecky, although I can understand your point of view, I can’t agree with it. Stag Buffy isn’t a reflection of teenage/high school angst or the life experiences of a young adult. Joss has often said that the show was about the horrors of high school and growing up, using monsters as metaphors. If you remove love and lust relationships from that mix, you’ve removed a gigantic part of life. Also, I think Buffy’s love/lust relationships were a result of her attempts to deal with her life, not a cause. As her first love, Angel was idealized by her, but her was also an oasis of strength almost as great as her own. Riley was a grab for “normalcy”. Spike filled an emotional void her friends didn’t even see. Although these love/lust relationships complicated her friendships with the Scoobies they didn’t weaken them. Xander, due to his Buffy-obsession, didn’t want Buffy to love anyone, yet each time came to accept her choices - even, eventually, Spike - as a part of their friendship. Willow only felt estranged from Buffy when she felt left out of Buffy’s life due to the Initiative or when she erroneously thought Buffy disapproved of her relationship with Tara. Giles, as Watcher and father-figure, was never comfortable with Buffy’s choice in men (or maybe lovers would be a better description since Angel and Spike weren’t exactly men) and probably never would have been, but that didn’t change his love for her. All of which created drama, comedy, action, and - of course - horror. It wouldn’t have been BtVS without it!
That's true, I agree that it was extrely needed to the overall story. Because without a downer/depressing episode how else would we feel as great as we do when a cheerful/joyous episode occurs? In view of the series as a whole it was definitely needed especially in its elements of realism, but for a episode by episode basis I was just stating my opinion (and maybe the critics but how could I know, I just found out that apparently his name is Matt) that I enjoyed the episodes less concentrated around Buffy/Signifcant-Other and more concentrated around Buffy/Scoobies. Also I'm not saying I didn't like most the relationships in the show, just never seemed to favor the ones revolving around Buffy. Maybe I'm like early Xander or Giles as you explain them. Good point about Giles though - I completely forgot the father connection when writing that earlier and how Buffy would be like that little 15-year old girl in his eyes. Thanks for that Giles insight, I never thought to considor that as the reason why he always disliked Buffy's love-interests (for the most part). I was taking the "weren't exactly men" but vampires=evil Giles approach. But you're right, that's probably more the reason of his disapproval - his fatherly instincts. Thanks showgirl!
Every BtVS fan has different tastes so our lists will always vary. There'll never be an offical ranking of the 144 shows because each show touches our hearts in its own way. How do you rate that?
You can't rate them. I hate these lists. I hate the morons who put them together. I miss the show too, but I don't cling to the memories in the wrong ways. That's what this person has done.
TheZeppo, the list is fun. This sort of thing leads to great and interesting debates here. If you don't like the concept fine but don't be calling people who create them morons.
I agree. Lets keep this thread fun in spirit. Rather than episodes, what were your favorite moments of the series? I'll start:

Passions: "I can't do this without you."

A powerful scene with Giles and Buffy. Thoughts?
This list is better than I would have expected. The top 20 is especially good, although I'd change the order somewhat. Agree with Pixxelpuss that Jane's eps overall aren't shown sufficient love. Minor gripes:

The Zeppo, Pangs, Passion, The Initiative, and Homecoming should rank higher. (Homecoming, BTW, is the only ep my 80-year-old mother totally "gets").

Older and Far Away and Him should rank lower. I once watched Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered and Him back-to-back: not recommended if you want to hold on to any Him-love.

Showgirl, totally agree with your comments re relationships in the show.
I have my own favourite episodes, for a variety of reasons, but the best 'Buffy' episode is whichever one I happen to be watching at the time.

Maybe I am too willing to overlook some of the flaws, but I honestly don't think there is a bad episode. I love them all equally if truth be told.
Xander, due to his Buffy-obsession, didn’t want Buffy to love anyone

Can we please stop the Xander bashing. This is nonsense. Xander had really no problem with Riley. He had problems with vampires. And for very good reasons. Xander could be a total ass to Buffy at times, but they were ALL needed. And Petwitz, they were all selfish in Becoming. Giles only thought about Jenny. Buffy only about Angel and Willow only about how she could help Buffy without caring about consequences. And the reensouling spell was a direct consequence that lead to her magic addiction in S6. Buffy and Giles were to blame for that, because they didn't give her using black magic whenever it was convinient for them.

And I note that Xander made his protests after they had concluced that Wllow could use black magic. Don't forget that Xander is prepared to kill Buffy for Willow's sake.
Bless your heart, dashboardprophet. Well said.
This list wasn't partiucarly good. I've read better.
Same with the Angel one, although they seem to make a bit more sense.

For Him the writer complains that Buffy has had too much sex since she came back from the grave. Excuse me, but thats jsut silly.

On the Angel ones: He doesn't like the TRIAL?! Because they won't help Darla? What the hell? That was the whole point of the episode! That they couldn't help!

His ratings/reasonings seem to focus on really small points that don't matter in the long run, or he misses the more subtle aspects of certain episodes.

Not impressed, now that I'm actually reading through it.

It's also funny how the writer is trying to write like a Buffyverse character would talk.

[ edited by Gouki on 2005-05-07 13:46 ]
I just read most of the Angel one, and I have to agree with Gouki. Obviously there's no accounting for personal taste, but The Girl In Question at #24?? And Origin at #12?? The world has officially gone mad ;)
Madhatter - Favorite moments:

Spike's speech at the end of "Doomed" when he discovers he can hurt demons. The one ending with "Come on people- let's kill something!"

Whenever I want to cry it's Becoming Part 2 when Buffy kills Angel or The GIft when Buffy dies for Dawn.

I know many don't like the episode "I Robot...You Jane" but it does have some very funny moments. When Ms. Calendar comes into the library and the students are there she says something like "huh, are you guys are always here?" I love Xander's reply "Reading makes our speaking English good." Perfect!

So many great moments - too many to list but there's a few.
acp said:
My own order (if I were to make one) is constantly changing, depending on my mood and what i've been thinking about.

Well said, acp. While I have a stable of favorite episodes that I could watch over and over again, back to back, there aren't many Buffy reruns that I'd bypass in favor of a single show that's emerged since Chosen aired. Even with the DVDs on my shelf, to watch at will. (okay, maybe Some Assembly Required, The Witch & The Puppet Show, but i shant quibble with myself). And one of the things I love most about BtVS and AtS is that some of the finest and most memorable/heartbreaking moments often occur within episodes, that as a whole, aren't my favorites.

As Simon says, lists can be fun, if you don't take them seriously. If they trigger happy memories, and friendly banter, what can be wrong with that? Enjoying this thread has me giddily reminding myself of why I love this show, and I'm referring back to this site that I visit for episode summaries, to find out what music was playing during a key scene, or to decode a reference that I missed. (If anyone here is responsible for the above-linked site, kudos, and much thanks.)

Anyway, to the point of the thread, and my two quid. (still trying to find out exactly what quid are) A case can, and has been well-made for HMCs thoughtful top ten. Outstanding, all. In my list, Lies My Parents Told Me, Beneath You, Pangs, and Smashed would be hovering way closer to the top of the list. Beneath You? Sheesh. James Marsters' performance in that episode was a rollercoaster of brilliance. Simply breathtaking. That's my moment, Madhatter...Spike's whole arc really, from the basement, to Ravello Drive, to the Bronze, to the alley, to the church, but:

"To be the kind of man who would be a kind of man."

Holy crap.
Oh, Passion, LOL. You're so right about Doomed. I may have to pop that in before I go out. Love Willow and Xander just staring blankly towards the T.V. that Spike is blocking, holding the remote in mid-air, while:

"Vampires! Grrr...nasty!" and "Let's fight that evil." Bloody fantastic.

[ edited by barest_smidgen on 2005-05-07 15:46 ]
One idea that has always interested me is how the availability of certain actors affects the show.

The final scene in 'Lessons', for example, would have been much less effective if it hadn't included all the important villains, and getting them all together must have been a challenge. Bringing back Oz, Harmony and Snyder for 'Restless' worked, however I heard that Joss wanted to bring back other people like Larry but was unable to. I don't think that would have made a huge difference, but it would have added somewhat to the authenticity of the scene.

Same with Cassie appearing to Willow in 'Conversations With Dead People' because Amber Benson didn't want to return as The First. Willow's scenes would have been so much more powerful and emotional. Don't get me wrong, the writers and actors did the best job possible under the circumstances, but it just didn't have the same resonance.

Apparently there was the possibility of seeing more of people like Adam and Glory as The First later in season seven. Even Charisma Carpenter's pregnancy during season four of Angel had to be written into the show. While I liked the whole Evil Cordy/Jasmine storyline, I wonder what would have happened if Charisma hadn't been pregnant.

And there had always been talk of characters returning almost every new season. Like Faith or Oz in season five or six of Buffy. Or Oz becoming an Angel regular had it been granted a sixth season. And there were people like Juliet Landau and Julie Benz who managed to return for many wonderful flashback episodes out of the blue.

It's really weird when you think of all these scenarios and how they could have affected the shows.

As to the list, I obviously disagree with many of his ratings, as most people will. I think there are some Buffy episodes that are guarenteed to come highly on such lists such as 'Prophecy Girl', 'Innocence', Becoming', 'Graduation Day', 'Hush', 'The Body', 'The Gift', 'Once More With Feeling', 'Chosen' and such. Generally any unusual eps like 'Hush' or 'OMWF'. There are also ones that most fans generally don't like, such as 'Bad Eggs' or 'Beer Bad'.

I thought 'Chosen' was impressive, but it was impossible to completely satisfy everyone. Instead Joss tried to address the most important issues and some small touches, while providing a suitably epic battle. Personally I would have liked to have seen Anya's death dealt with, and I could have done without some of the Andrew stuff. It has still left potential concepts for a continuation of the Buffyverse because not all our questions are answered.

I do agree about Angel however. It was important to have him back, but not for so long when other issues could have been addressed. And I also hate that on at least half of the occasions when Buffy and Angel meet after the end of season three they revert to kissing. 'Forever', 'Chosen' and 'I Will Remember You' acting as examples (even though most of the events of 'I Will Remember You' were later removed). The characters have changed and moved on, so why keep pulling them back to where there were in season two of Buffy? I'm not sure about 'Chosen', it does seem disloyal to Cordelia, but after everything Evil Cordy did it's hard to say whether Angel still felt he loved her in the same way. Certainly after the relationship between Buffy and Spike it is completely stupid for her to kiss Angel.

Personally I would find it very difficult to chose a single favourite episode, but I think 'Once More With Feeling' and 'The Gift' would both be very strong contenders. 'OMWF' was actually longer than every other episode, giving it a slight advantage, but I find it really difficult to choose between them as they are both so very different and also have some of the same strengths.
On the topic of OMWF, the author has this to say:

It's a musical....on TELEVISION? NO WAY! Who would have the balls to do that? Well...I guess we get the answer here.

This is a bit over the top, since a number of other shows have done musical episodes and before Buffy too.
Hmmm...Razor. Interesting, indeed. Most of the time when there has been a guest from the show's past, it has seemed pretty seamless...always at just the right time. How they managed that is beyond me, as well. I don't like to ponder what might have became of some of these pivotal episodes, had the guests been unavailable.

Speaking of, since rewatching season 7, with the astounding "back to the beginning" scene, and subsequent First incarnations, I have to say I've changed my mind about the Cassie/Tara switch. It feels somehow even more painful for Willow, even more of a punishment, that she doesn't even get the brief moment of illusion of Tara.

And a bit off topic, but as a girl with some history at "painful decision to walk away from unhealthy relationship despite great love," Buffy falling into Angel kissage is not unexpected, and sadly, rather true to life. Your head's on board with your mature but difficult, decision. The rest of you has trouble catching up. ;(
If we want to talk about unavailability of actors changing the show, how about Juliet Landau not being available for the season 3 show that became Lover's Walk? That show, without Drucilla, apparently made Joss put Spike on the show full time.
Good list, barest_smidgen (neat name BTW). Oh, there's so many moments within BtVS. The one thats been tooling around my nodin' as of late is 'Selfless'. The moment is where Anya is singing her happiness. Mrs. Xander Harris, the best day of her shot, we see poor Anya impaled on the wall with a sword through her heart. As we move in, we see that single tear run down her cheek.

There's no words.
I'm just confused as to how the list has 138 episodes, but we have 144 episodes in total. Missing much?
Ocular. Read the disclaimer :)

As for my favourite episode: Becoming Part 2. I was surprised to see Amends and Passion so far down on the list. They are both in my top 5-list. I really love the various stages of the Buffy-Angel relationship, and I think these three episodes along with Surprise and Innocence show off this aspect of the show best.
Oh, Madhatter. That's a heartbreaker for sure. Mrs.-Anya-Christina-Emmanuelle-Jenkins-Harris, indeed. Part of me wants to close my eyes and stick my fingers in my ears during that one, and focus on Xander's "Powerfully, painfully" speech at the end of Into the Woods, while the rest of me understands fully that they had to go here.

I'm also partial to the "Goodbye to You" montage at the end of Tabula Rasa. A little Dawson's Creek? Maybe. But it does so much with so little. As a viewer, it was my flashing red light announcing that it was time to grow the hell up right quick, because we really, really weren't in Kansas anymore.

[ edited by barest_smidgen on 2005-05-07 18:24 ]
I'm not seeing the disclaimer. I am using a funky browser, though. I know there's some 1&2 episodes in there (although without logic ... why separate Welcome to the Hellmouth and The Harvest but put others on the same line?) ... but I didn't see six of them.
Ocular, the disclaimer is at the top of page one. The bit you'll be interested in reads, "2-parters with the same name like 'Graduation Day', 'Becoming' and 'What's My Line' will be posted as one episode, so instead of 144 episodes, it's 138."
Freaky - I don't see that at all. Now I'm going to have to look at the HTML.
I agree with Ocular on this, I read the disclaimer and also didn't understand why episodes like Welcome to the Hellmouth and The Harvest are seperate entites just for having different titles. Otherwise there just like those 2-parters with the same title, meant to be put together. Also placing certain episodes together like he has done I would imagine gives them a slight advantage they may not of have if they had been split apart like WttH and TH had?
The episodes put together are What's my Line, Becoming, Graduation Day, Bargaining (all parts 1&2) and Two to go/Grave.
This makes for 139 episodes, but they seem to be missing Phases.

As with all of these kind of lists I disagree a lot with quite a few rankings (e.g. what is Lessons doing outside of the top 100, while Band Candy is on 16?), but I guess tastes differ. However interestingly enough there also is some sort of objective opinion about what are good or bad episodes, since still at least half of this top ten would also come in mine.
I feel that if you didn't understand Buffy and Angel's Chosen kissage you never really got their relationship or the significance they hold in each other's lives. Most people got it though. There's a reason that seasons 2 & 3 are very popular and why Joss felt he could still muster heartache from the fans between those two by the 7th season. There's also purposeful ambiguity in Spike and Buffy's relationship so to say Spike should be a reason for Buffy to not kiss Angel means you didn't get their relationship either, which is understandable considering the writers' fence sitting. I mostly agree with the list but the top 10 is out of order.
Kinda insulting to say that if one doesn't like seeing 2 characters who hadn't interacted in 2 years kissing each other out of the blue that means you don't understand that part of the show. Oh I got it, I just didn't like seeing character regress to when they were 16.
The Zeppo, 38th? To each his own.

Howdy, I've miss you guys. It is extremely difficult to rate Buffy episodes because they all are so great. I simply have 3 categories. The 1st category is "so good it hurts" good (Zeppo, Into the Woods, Passion, Selfless). The 2nd category is "so good I almost peed all over myself" good (Storyteller, Something Blue, Tabula Rasa), the 3rd is simply "speechless" good (OMWF, Hush, Restless, Chosen). How can you rank an episode from Buffy 138th? That hurts! I do so enjoy these "which ones are best" debates. At the end of the day though, all that matters is what moves you.

[ edited by Harmalicious on 2005-05-08 00:56 ]
I wouldn't put any episodes from seasons 6 & 7 in the top anything, except maybe the musical...but I guess that's me.

[ edited by Ilana on 2005-05-08 08:21 ]
I would have DEAD THINGS up much further. I thought DeKnight's writing was excellent in this. (I'm a big fan of his)
My wife and I are both fanatics. We both realize we're in the minority, but neither of us liked "The Body". The acting was wonderful, we just didn't like the episode. We also loved "Beer Bad", what can I say? We would put "Hush" at the top of our list, followed by "Once More With Feeling". I'm also extremely partial to "Doppelgangland", as I think Alyson Hannigan is the cutest thing on Earth after my wife and daughter.....
Oh I got it, I just didn't like seeing character regress to when they were 16.

I thought in the end of season 3 Buffy was eighteen and Angel was two hundred thirty and something years old.Or did I watched a different show?
I wouldn't put any episodes from seasons 6 & 7 in the top anything, except maybe the musical...but I guess that's me.

I feel the same way,but for me it also includes season 5 ,except The Gift, The Body, OMWF and Tabula Rasa.
I feel the same way,but for me it also includes season 5 ,except The Gift, The Body, OMWF and Tabula Rasa.

I'd throw Fool For Love in there too.
Each to their own, but surely there are more than four or five worthwhile episodes to be found in the final three seasons of the show! That would be a very poor percentage indeed for what some of us believe is the greatest TV show of all time.
Gouki- I've picked up the Buffy dialect, I'd be surprised if I were the only one. It's involuntary after I watch lots of Buffy.

Eddy- I'm with you. Angel as a character isn't especially dynamic (he almost was with the whole Birth of Connor stuff, but then he came back to normal), not to say he isn't interesting, so I can handle him staying where he was. But Buffy should have changed over the last several years. I have exes that I still feel strongly about. I don't go around making out with them. It's called being a grown up. I HATED that kiss.

Favorite moment in Buffy: Willow's defiance speech to her mother in Gingerbread. "You see any Goats around? No, because I sacrificed them! All Hail Satan. Prince of Darkness, come fill me with your black naughty Evil..."
One little thing that has always bugged me is that in the region 2 season 6 DVD release, "Bargainning" is shown as one double episode rather than two seperate ones. It just seems quite strange because none of the other two part episodes are like this. I know this was probably because they were originally broadcast together, but I prefer them seperately. The cliffhanger of Part 1 is possibly one of the best ever in Buffy so I wish that it went straight to the credits after it.

I also love "Selfless". It isn't as immediately stunning like "OMWF", "The Body", "The Gift" or "Hush", but it is probably the best Anya episode. Hilarious and poignant throughout. I just felt Buffy's actions were out of character, but everything else was fantastic.

I noticed that "Him" was quite far down the list. I enjoyed it. One of the few episodes of season seven that wasn't about The First, and very funny. Perhaps slightly filler-esque, but old fashioned Buffy style filler.
*sigh* I'm way to hard on Him. ok, ok, it was funny, sheesh. :)
Buffy's actions in Selfless were well reasoned, as she explained in the ep itself and far from out of character. Anya made a choice to become a vengeance demon again. It wasn't the split second decision with no chance of going back, which is what happened to Willow in a moment of passionate rage. Anya had a good deal of time to reflect on what she was doing, discuss it even, with fellow demons and still chose to keep killing. She had to be stopped, and "sticking things with sharp objects" is what Buffy does.
I know many people weren't happy about the "Buffy/Angel" kiss. I tend to agree that it just didn't seem right with what was going on with both shows, but I took it as something nostalgic and not to get worked up about. Probably the best way to deal with it.
I loved the kiss, I cheered when it happened.
I disagree with you Herb. I definitely understand your reasonings, but it was not Anya that needed to be stopped but D'Hoffryn. Granted, it was Anya's choice, but it was D'Hoffryn who exploited her weaknesses. You see, Anya now simply got replaced by another girl.

And oh, Giles' plan to save Willow was at the risk of the entire world. Saving Anya didn't.

Yes, Anya was to blame. But, does that matter? If they can save someone, even with risk, then they should try it.
herb, to be fair to Anya, I think it was stated that she DIDN'T kill anyone before Selfless and even then, she fully regretted what she had done and chose to sacrifice her life and soul to undo it.

Alternatives should have been discussed immediately. Buffy didn't give killing her friend for the past few years much thought AT ALL. In this episode, I looked at Buffy as the antagonist.
That episode with Anya reminded me of the end of the 3rd season of Angel when the gang began turning on Wesley as a "betrayer." It's one of those moments (where personally) I began rooting against the gang. I felt bad for Anya like I had for Wes and rooted for them and began rooting against Angel and Buffy (and even didn't like there characters for turning against their friends of so long). Of course they both become part of the gang again and then near the end of the series of each of their applicable shows... well you know the rest.
There are some really strange moments like that--like in Dead Man's Party where everyone turns against Buffy for being away, or the Yoko Factor when everyone seems to go collectively insane, or in Season 7 when Buffy is kicked out of the house. Those moments are obviously *supposed* to make sense to the viewers, but they always felt forced and melodramatic to me, with characters behaving out of character just to move the story forward.

In the case of "Selfless," I thought that while Buffy's actions made sense in a purely cerebral way (just as one could argue that the gang being furious at Buffy in Dead Man's Party made sense) it wasn't handled in a way that felt in character. She doesn't exhibit any qualms, it's just "Let's go kill Anya." Huh? I liked the way Angel came up at that point, but still thought that it would have been more characteristic of Buffy to have at least some hesitation when it came to killing off someone she's known for years. It wouldn't be "right," necessarily, but part of what makes Buffy special as a character is her essential humanity and inner conflict.
Good point Ilana Lang, I completely agree. Although out of all those episode examples I think the one I felt was most forced and melodramatic to me (and maybe it was in attempt to move the story forward because the last few episodes of the seventh season as a whole at times felt rushed to me... probably just me though) was the episode when they kick Buffy out of the house. I know it was the move the story along so Buffy and Spike could share that time in the random house and Faith could try on being the leader. But it still felt rushed to a point that it didn't really feel natural or real to the characters (especially Giles at the end of the Season 7, not the Rupert I wanted to see). Did anybody else feel the same about the episode Empty Spaces as I did? But as I mentioned before I felt those last few episodes of season 7 as a whole felt rushed, especially "chosen" which I wish they could have made a longer episode to expand on the reactions of Anya's death as people have mentioned and other aspects that seemed left out to make the show stay in its time limit. But after the middle part of the 7th season it kicked into high gear and never stopped for me.
Each to their own, but surely there are more than four or five worthwhile episodes to be found in the final three seasons of the show! That would be a very poor percentage indeed for what some of us believe is the greatest TV show of all time.

Dashboardprophet,we were talking about episodes that we think deserve to be on top of the list,not about worthwhile episodes.
Plecky (and Ilana), I felt the same way about Empty Places, and also about Dead Man's Party. Obviously the motivations in those episodes were different, but both felt very out of character for the Scoobies. In Season 7, I (and I'm sure many viewers) were plenty sick of Buffy's endless speeches, lack of humor, and increasingly self-righteous, my-way-is-the-only-way and Do-it-because-I-say attitude. And I understand the gang's frustrations. But I still didn't totally buy them kicking Buffy out of the house, especially when the threat is so dire. Dawn and Giles, in particular, I wouldn't have thought would turn on her like that, and would approach it in a different way. I realize she'd failed some recently, but still - she was the most skilled and able among them, and she'd saved them all so many times. It felt like a real betrayal.

I also have an immense dislike for Dead Man's Party (despite one of my favorite Giles lines about Joyce's mask :-) ), because of the gang's insensitive behavior and (to me at least) incredibly out-of-character public attack on Buffy.

I have no problem with tension in the gang, or with everything not going swimmingly between everyone, but both those cases, in particular, just seemed really forced and out of character, and are hard for me to watch.
Frankly, I was one of those viewers who was so sick of "My way or the Highway" Buffy. I heaved a huge sigh of relief when Buffy got kicked out, I loved the way everyone turned on her, and it didn't feel like a betrayal to me because Buffy messing up and failing to show remorse for it ALL SEASON was the thing that felt treasonous to me. I didn't like the same kind of attack in Dead Man's Party though because it seemed out of character, the gang seemed unsympathetic about Buffy killing Angel. But I loved it in Empty Spaces since it seemed to have been building up for a long time. It was closer to the justified anger like in When She Was Bad.
My essential problem is that even if you buy that Buffy was behaving badly, how on earth does it make sense that they can kick her out of her own house? I mean, it's HER house. As a plot point it makes as much sense as Buffy only being qualified for a fast food job in season 6, and serves the same purpose: to get the story where the writers want it, without necessarily taking logic into account.
The bad thing about Empty Spaces to me was not so much the kicking out part, but the lack of motivation behind it. I have an idea what Willow and Dawn felt, I know why Giles did it, but I still have no clue why Xander did nothing. Was it because of the potentials, was it because of her lack of concern toward his eye or was it about how Buffy had behaved the entire season? Or was it simply that his brains were fried by the medicine?
Buffy also seemed OOC to me in that scene in the way she tried to defend herself. It was all very rushed and a very bad written scene, pure and alone for the emotions.

Anyway, I was cheering as well! Sorry, she was such a scared little bitch for episodes long. The entire season long she showed only concern for Spike.
Interesting points all 'round. Thanks all, for keeping the discussion going.
I realize she'd failed some recently, but still - she was the most skilled and able among them, and she'd saved them all so many times.

I am sorry, but I have to disagree with this. Yes, she has saved them many times, but she has also made many many mistakes during the entire show. She is the leader, and chosen, but without her friends she would have been dead and buried a long time ago. It's time that she acknowledged that fact. It was time that she needed to have Faith in them. You see, she didn't acknowledge Willow, Faith and Xander as fellow warriors. She distrusted Giles (granted she had very good reasons for this) and still thought of Dawn as a little kid. It was time that she needed to step out of her Ivory Tower and really lead them. Like she did in Graduation Day. That's why they kicked her out. Or better said: why she couldn't step down. Because that's what really happened.

I mean, it's HER house.

And Dawn's.

[ edited by Koos on 2005-05-09 03:09 ]
Dawn's? Er. Her little sister, who is also a minor? I *don't* think so.
I see all this quite differently. Buffy was brought back from a heavenly dimension straight into hell on earth. It seems they must have brought her back from the dead to kill demons and work at Doublemeat to support the household. (Couldn't Willow or Tara work?) She got back just in time to learn that they had spent all the money her mother left her. Then these same people kick her out of her own house.

Apparently, I am still carrying strong "kick out of house" and resentment. ;)

[ edited by twiggy on 2005-05-09 04:03 ]
I have always thought the whole thing in Empty Places, was the exploration of group or mob mentality. Everybody says they had to get her out of the house so she and Spike could get together. I can see that, though I always felt that could happen any number of ways. However, they had to get Buffy out of the house so they could explore what happened in the group when Buffy was gone. I remember the first time my brother, who is not a big Buffy fan, watched the group scene after Buffy is gone and they are trying to figure out how to discuss things in a group. He was shaking his head saying "God! Been there." I had thought the same thing when I had first seen it.

I was not fond of Buffy at that point but throwing her out of her house was horrendous. I could see where Buffy's feeling that she could not trust anyone but Spike was coming from and I could see why the group did not particularly trust her. These things feed on each other and I had always assumed that was the point.

As far as poor Wesley being cast out by the group, I know he is much loved and I think AD did a wonderful job, but he was an inherently untrustworthy character. I could not understand why Angel would keep accepting him back and trusting him. How many times did he betray their trust? 3 times I can think of between the two shows, but as I do not know Angel that well, it could be more. Admittedly his betrayal was always because he was trying to do the right thing, but it was always still betrayal. He did not trust his friends enough to discuss things with them before taking things into his own hands. He would simply lie to everyone and do what he thought was best behind their backs. Nope, that is a, one strike you are out, kind of thing for me.

Okay, so I have betrayal issues. ;-)
Also have to support the Buffy/Angel kissage. One of the great things about that relationship in my opinion was its 'once in a lifetime' status. I liked that it was magical and epic and it gave me a happy every time it was reinforced. To me it never seemed as though it was supposed to be your typical high school first love crush that you outgrow over time (the slayer/vamp aspect kind of made it atypical from the beginning!). It was the whole star crossed lover aspect. Can you imagine Romeo and Juliet deciding they should just move on cause it wasn't meant to be and meeting up again years later. "Hi Jules, how's it going, you look great, how's the new guy?". Joss said that one of the most challenging things about writing the finale was that he had to give people hope that Buffy and Angel would end up together cause he believed that's what people wanted. If we wanted to equate it to everyday life (and I know that part of BtVS's attraction is that so much of it does resonate with things normal people experience) I actually know people who have had a relationship like Buffy and Angel's (well, as much as you can have without the slayage and the allergy to sunshine) and for various reasons couldn't be together. Neither of them has ever gotten over it, fifteen years later. I bet they'd kiss every time they saw each other too.
I am sorry, but I have to disagree with this. Yes, she has saved them many times, but she has also made many many mistakes during the entire show. She is the leader, and chosen, but without her friends she would have been dead and buried a long time ago.

And she would have been happy about it.Just a little fact that her saint,never doing anything wrong friends decided quickly and conveniently to forget about.I don't understand why Buffy should trust them after season 6,after they failed even try to help her to adjust after pulling her back to the land of living.Unless quickly dumping all their problems on her was their idea of helping her to adjust.
That's why they kicked her out. Or better said: why she couldn't step down. Because that's what really happened.

I mean, it's HER house.

And Dawn's.

Like I said,Buffy's friends are saints.They can't do wrong, because no matter what happens,it's always Buffy's fault.She's just evil.

[ edited by ilanit on 2005-05-09 09:50 ]
Buffy was brought back from a heavenly dimension straight into hell on earth.

No, Buffy felt that way. It was never shown that she actually has been in Heaven. It could very well be that that was the feeling she had at the end of S5, when she jumped. The feeling of freedom. The feeling that it was her time. Buffy has always hated her burden, and was suicidal (Was even hinted by Joss in S2, ep 1, When she was Bad in reflection on Prophecy Girl. She implied blaming Xander for having brought her back.) And after Joyce's death the suicidal feelings grew. Buffy never really has been able to deal with Joyce's death, and IMO that reflected on her in S6.

So, yes, Ilanit, I agree with you that she wanted to be dead. Or was dealing with the hellish aspects of life.

And, no, her friends weren't saints. I am very well aware what Willow and Xander did to Buffy when they brought her back, because for selfish reasons. And I am very well aware that they should have shown more care for her in S6. I also don't blame her hating them for that.

But, she did stuff in S7 that was below *everything*. The best was shown in First Date. Xander was bleeding and almost unconscious, and could very well be mortally wounded (people had died on that wheel) yet she showed *only* concern for Spike, who had nothing. Even when she hated Xander (which might be possible), it was still amazingly **** and a leader unworthy. And in Empty Spaces she said that Spike was the only one she could trust her back, while Xander not only defended her in the episode before, but also has lost his eye for her.

throwing her out of her house was horrendous

Nobody threw her out of her house. That's exaggerated. *She* left. Don't get me wrong, I very much can feel for her and feel for her burden and why she felt betrayed. But, it was not enough to make up for some of the things she did in S7.

Dawn's? Er. Her little sister, who is also a minor? I *don't* think so.

Sorry, you are right.
Oh, no of course she didn't hate Xander, but when you truly love someone (which I think they were trying to establish, even though Buffy didn't realize it) then they are your first priority.

That's why I always believed Buffy loved Spike when she said it in CHOSEN and the fact that Spike (who is usually very perceptive) didn't believe her was quite the tragedy.

I have ILY, NYDBTFSI issues. ;)

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