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September 05 2005

Listmania - The Revenge. Daniel Erenberg's latest article at has some fun top five lists for all the fans.

And just in case you missed his two other most recent articles.

Twice In A Lifetime


Fun indeed...there's always room for quibbling (I would find it hard to omit "The Message" from any list of top Firefly episodes, for example), but it's also hard to argue with most of this.
I think I would put Joyce's death in the top 5 for Buffy, but then I'm not sure which to eliminate. Maybe Jenny, even though hers was the first big death in the series.
In my opinion, Wonderfalls is better than Lost. Very different shows, but I'd rank Wonderfalls #1 of that list.
I haven't seen any of Lost yet, but I think I would put Miracles at the top of the Jossverse shows. Profit deserves a mention, too; I've watched the first DVD of the set so far, and it's really quite disturbing.

I have no idea why "the Gift" wasn't listed in the top five Buffy character deaths. I'd certainly rank it ahead of either Spike or Anya.
Having watched almost all of Miracles I have to disagree, not having seen any of Profit I can't comment.

I'm going with:

5. Gilmore Girls (Featuring writers Jane Espenson and Rebecca Rand Kirshner)
4. Point Pleasant (created by Marti Noxon; featuring writers Jane Espenson and Ben Edlund)
3. Miracles (created by David Greenwalt)
2. Lost (featuring writers David Fury and Drew Goddard)
1. Wonderfalls (co-created by Tim Minear)

5. Anya ("Chosen")
4. Tara ("Seeing Red")
3. Jenny ("Passion")
2. Spike ("Chosen")
1. Buffy ("The Gift")

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2005-09-05 18:50 ]
electricspacegirl, you are truly a woman of taste. Lost, which is fitfully good, should have lost. Wonderfalls is consistently wonderful throughout. Just my opinion, of course, although I'm sure there's plenty of independent confirmation of the part about you being a woman of taste.
Hmmm...Disagree about the Firely top five shows. Mostly the ordering, but Id go, 1 -5 OoG, OiS, Serenity, pt.2, WS, Ariel.

As for top five Jossverse shows - I'd put Profit right at the top - it's really that good - and very ahead of it's time. I don't think that Point Pleasant should be on it. I'd also like to see the rest of The Inside before I make a definitive list - but I don't think anything will beat Profit.

[ edited by Znachki on 2005-09-05 19:01 ]
I was just going with what was already listed, opening it up would result in removals and additions for sure :)
I'd put Buffy's death in The Gift as #1 too. And yeah, Point Pleasant shouldn't be on that list.

Thanks for the compliment, JLV. ;)
No no no... Wesley and Fred death are *clearly* the best of all (with Wesley before Fred).

All the more if you consider the following: Fred died in Wesley's arms, and Wesley died in Fred's arms... and none of them was resurrected...

I am clearly not emotive in general but every time I see Wesley's death, with (Illyria as) Fred holding him, my throat realy aches. This scene as much more power than Buffy's death in "The gift" (this death was wanted by Buffy, this was a willing sacrifice and it was useful... neither Fred nor Wesley's death were wanted or useful, thus the drama is much more intense).

My classification:

1. Wesley
2. Fred
3. Tara (really close to 2.)
4. Anya (gosh, have you ever seen a more stunning death??)
5. Darla (she became nearly human before dying... but not quite in fact).
BTW, can anyone explain me this "Little Ms. Muffet counting down from 7-3-0" line from Faith in Graduation day part 2. I have always thought there was indeed an hidden reference in it, but I can't find it (maybe because I don't understand "Ms Muffet"... pop culture reference?).
Le Comite, 730 is how many days until Buffy sacrifices herself in The Gift.

Btw, does anyone know of any sites that explain the foreshadowing references in Buffy's dreams? I thought I saw something like that a long time ago.

My favorite Buffy episode (if forced at gunpoint to pick a favorite) has to be Restless. I love the artsy episodes, and it's the perfect character study of the Core Four.

I guess my top 5 list of best Buffy episodes would be:
5. The Body
4. Conversations with dead people
3. Hush
1. Restless

Honorable mentions go to The Wish and Becoming parts 1&2.
"Little Miss Muffet": In "Real Me," the first time Dawn encounters a brain-suck victim who can see that she's the Key, the crazy guy says "curds and whey" in his ranting.

Some people think that "7-3-0" is the number of days before Dawn appears, but it really isn't, and I think it's just a red herring.

I think it's fair to say that no one does dream sequences as well as Joss.
"In Graduation Day (Part 2), Faith says, “Little Miss Muffet counting down from 7-3-0″ (a foreshadowing of the arrival of Buffy’s sister Dawn). In the season five episode Real Me, Dawn is approached by a mad man who calls her “curds and whey”. This is a line from the popular children’s nursery rhyme Little Miss Muffet. In No Place Like Home, Glory says, “I’m just going to sit on this tuffet…” which is apt as she’s looking for the Key, which is in the shape of Dawn."

taken from RestlessBTVS the Buffy Trivia Guide, specifically this page.

I see I was beaten to this :) Think the 7-3-0 bit more likely refers to counting down 'til when Dawnie was supposed to die, but Buffmeister gives her Gift.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2005-09-05 21:21 ]
Replace Point Pleasant with Tru Calling and I'm happy. Because no matter how bad people say TC was, PP was by far worse.

Lost and Wonderfalls definitely deserve the top 2 spots. In either order.
"Innocence" has the best commentary track of any of Joss's shows.
Not really convinced...

Yes, 730 is 365*2, that is to say 2 years after graduation day, i.e. the end of season 5. However, I can't believe that the dream sequence of graduation day (i.e. one or two days before the climax of season 2) corresponds day-to-day to the climax of season 5 (buffy's death). Too far-fetched for me.

Or... do all the finale of the 7 seasons occur on the same day of the year?? ;)

PS: Muffet and "curds and whey" are, as I thought, pop references that I couldn't get, not being a native english-speaking person.
Too far-fetched for me.

Right, as opposed to vengeance demons, vampires with souls, gypsy curses, and the Shanshu prophecy... :)
Le Comite, I'm pretty sure that's what 730 is a reference to. Can anyone confirm that? I don't know where I heard that. Maybe it was in a commentary. Also, in Buffy's dream in Restless, the clock says 7:30, which refers to Faith's "countdown from 7-3-0", and Tara says, "Oh ... that clock's completely wrong." The clock was supposed to be the number of days until Buffy's death, but that would have been 3:65 which of course a clock can't say (although they could have just used CGI). I'm pretty sure Joss says something about this in the Restless commentary.
I don't see how it's possible that they forgot about Veronica Mars (there actually are a few connections besides for Joss' raving). But other then that I can actually accept most of the results (well, except maybe the snub of A Hole In the World...).
I won't get involved in the 'Point Pleasant' (good, bad or ugly) debate, but to be pedantic, I am not aware that Jane Espenson wrote for that show. Ben Edlund certainly did, but apart from Marti Noxon, the only other writer with a Whedonverse connection I can think of is Diego Gutierrez. Three of the directors, Tucker Gates, Marita Grabiak and James A Contner, also have links to 'Buffy'.
LeComite, muffets are cupcakey type things that at their best are warm and contain blueberries, curds are the people living in northern Iraq, and whey is what I do every morning, disgusted with myself for all I ate the day before. Hope this helps.
Well there was an interview with SMG on the bbc site where she said she went to Joss after that episode and asked him what the "Litte Miss Muffet.." stuff meant and that's when he told her she was going have a sister and was going to die which ties in with the going to die in 2 seasons time or 2 years - 730 days.
With all of the talk referring to the episode The Gift, it really doesn't get much love from these particular lists. Maybe not as innovative as Hush, Restless or OMWF, but the storytelling was the most intense since Becoming Part 2, IMO.
rockchalkwatcher, I agree. It's actually my favorite episode, most days at least.
I would say that "The Gift" is innovative in some different ways. It was certainly a very risky move to kill off the series' central character. As with Becoming, it was a very courageous move to follow through on all the disasters that had been piling up in Buffy's life, and to wrap up the season's story arc without fixing any of them.

It's not my favorite episode, simply because nothing is ever going to push "Restless" out of the number one spot, but it's easily in the top 10. Spike's heartbreak at the end is easily a top 10 moment, just as much as Buffy's horror after killing Angel.
My heart still won't let go of The Prom as favorite episode.

I know that there are "better" episodes, mostly the few mentioned here, and on Daniel's list. Still, favorite doesn't always qualify as one of the 'best' for me (Hell, I watch Shindig much more than any of the other Firefly episodes).

Softy me.
5. Darla ("Lullaby")
4. Doyle ("Hero")
3. Cordelia ("You're Welcome")
2. Wesley ("Not Fade Away")
1. Fred ("A Hole In The World")

Darla and Doyle went out with such a bang, I just can't agree with this list.
Did anyone else read the "Twice in a Lifetime" article Simon linked to above? In it the author says

Angel killing himself to save his son's life in "Home".

Did I miss something in that episode? And wasn't Stephanie Romanov great in it?
Yeah I read it and figured it was just a typo. Daniel is normally pretty good with his facts. Glad he's started writing regularly again, I've always enjoyed his articles.
Paul_Rocks, I really enjoyed his writing also, both content and stylistically, but that one line really stuck out.
Where is The Inside on that list?
By far the best in my opinion.
Followed by Lost, and Point Pleasant (I'm sure I'm one of a very few.), and Tru Calling. Never seen Wonderfalls :-( Being poor sucks.
I'm sure his list was only broadcast, right?

Heh. Because Joss's BROTHER is involved with a show that is absolutely the best of the best that is the best. Starts with "D", ends with a "d". And I know the connection is tenuous, but I'll take what I can get.

Yes, I'm stumping for it again. It should be on everyone's "best of" list.

Well, it should!
Hey, guys.

Sorry about that typo in "Twice In A Lifetime". It should read: "Angel killing his son to save his life" or something to that effect.

As for the non-Joss show list, I didn't include "The Inside" because I need to see the rest of the season on DVD. I did enjoy the shows that aired though. I'm not surprised that no one dug "Point Pleasant" but I appreciated its aim to try something a little different in its visuals and structure, and it did get better with every episode until FOX snatched it off the air.

Thanks for reading them.

Hey! Welcome there, Dan! Glad to see another 'verse lover join.

Now, regarding that one show I was talking about...

Kidding! :D
Welcome Dan!

Just have to offer my own take on the Top 5 Episode List

Top 5 Firefly Episodes
5. "Serenity"
4. "Trash"
3. "Objects in Space"
2. "Out Of Gas"
1. "Ariel"

Top 5 Angel Episodes
5. "Birthday"
4. "Reunion"
3. "Shells"
2. "Smile Time"
1. "Not Fade Away"

Top 5 Buffy Episodes
5. "Once More With Feeling"
4. "Bad Girls"
3. "Becoming"
2. "CWDP"
1. "Villians"
Interesting to see "Bad Girls" on a top five list. The whole series of episodes of Faith's descent into evil is very powerful.

I run an adult-level class at my church based on moral and spiritual issues in BtVS. The whole sequence from Bad Girls through Sanctuary is a core part of the course, partly because it's so good and partly because it's the easiest redemption story to pick out of the 'verse and show in a short time frame. The course was very well received last year, and I'm starting it again at the end of this month.
I just love the episode. It's so unbelievably rich in character development, yet also fun at the same time (with the whole Buffy living Faith's attitude). Although episodes like "Revelations" had set up Faith's "evil" arc, this was the one that really rocketed the story. The ending is incredibly effective and thought-provoking, and one of my favourites in the Buffyverse, Second only to 'Disharmony' ("New clothes! New clothes! I love you! Thankyou, Thankyou! Thankyou! New clothes!)which I wet myself watching.

Faith is my favourite character within the verse, this being the episode that really got me hooked to her. Coincedentally my next favourite happens to be Lilah, which says so much about my taste in women. Evil and manipulative. Probably explains the shrine to Tanya Turner in my bedroom. Oh Zoe Lucker!
Everyone is on their own wavelength. Judging by his list this fellow and I will agree, well, seldom.
I can't see how "Band Candy" missed the RE: Parents list.

And how does "The Girl in Question" make it on the same list? What am I forgetting?

Edited to add: Fred's parents…got it!

[ edited by brownishcoat on 2005-09-06 19:31 ]
Le Comite, I don't believe anyone actually answered your question about the references to Little Miss Muffett.
Little Miss Mufet is a very old English nursery rhyme which goes as follows:
Little Miss Muffett sat on a tuffett
Eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider
And sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffett away.

It's definitely not a pop culture reference - although it's interesting how a non-native speaker interprets cultural references. I do the same thing with many 'Americanisms'.
MissKittysMom, how many people attend your class? I would definitely attend something like that.

It's interesting to read Daniel's lists. Obviously no-one will ever agree with everyone else's choices because we all have different tastes but we can all agree that we love them all.

I think generally you'll find Joss's season finales and unusual episodes in people's lists of their favourite Buffy eps, for many reasons. For one, Joss is a fantastic writer and as the creator of Buffy and Angel he tends to know the characters better than anyone. He also has the advantage of knowing exactly what is going to happen for a long time so he tends to be able to throw in foreshadowing and such. He can also be the most adventurous with episodes like Restless and Hush, whereas it might be more difficult for a less experienced writer or director to pull it off.

I also think the fact that he has written most of the season finales means he usually gets to deal with the most epic episodes, those that deal with events being tied together so viewers are also satisfied at seeing all the various threads of a season coming together.

I think it's important to note that there is a difference between the episodes you enjoy and those you think are best. I would definitely say The Body is amazing in every sense of the word, but it's a very sad and shocking episode so you can't always enjoy watching it, whereas something like Once More With Feeling does have elements of darkness but is on the whole enjoyable.

The Gift is certainly one of my favourite episodes so I'm not sure why people often leave it out. Hush, Restless, The Body and OMWF are often mentioned because they are very unique compared to the other episodes, whereas The Gift just isn't that kind of episode. It is however amazing, with great acting, a beautiful story, atmopsheric music, and some of the best action we've ever seen on Buffy. It's both positive and extremely sad, but I think it would have made a perfect end to the series, whereas Chosen feels more like the end of one chapter of a book.

I think favourite Angel episodes tend to be a little more arbitary, because Joss has written fewer of them, and the season finales aren't always as interesting as the points leading up to them.
I can't believe I forgot The Gift in my top 5 list! That's why I never make these lists. And if I did, they'd be top 100 lists because I have so many favorite episodes.
That top 100 would be tough; I'd have to pick 44 eps I don't like. And that's just Buffy! ;)

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