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October 24 2005

The Five Best Buffy episodes. Well according to TV Squad that is.

Funny how he says he doesn't really like season 4, but 3 of his 5 favorites are in that season.
No "Becoming Part II", "Passion", "Innocence" or "The Body"? Meh! Not much of a top-5 list if you ask me. (Hush should still be on it, though.)
When he talks about Giles and Ethan's "sorted" past, do you think he meant "sordid"?

I do hope so.

And yeah, weird list. Fool For Love and half of Season Two were better than most of those, for starters.
Yes, I'd have to go with, and not necessarily in any particular order:

The Body

Five is far, far too few for a "Buffy Best Of" list, though. Like when somebody asked me to name Sinatra's five best LPs...I said I'd need at least ten or fifteen. Same here.

'Cos I'm leaving out Conversations With Dead People, Normal Again, Becoming I & II, Amends, Grave, Tabula Rasa, Crush, Smashed, Lovers Walk, The Wish, Who Are You?, Pangs, Fool For Love, The Gift, Band Candy, The Prom, Lies My Parents Told Me, ah, you get the picture.
Also, not to be overly picky, but he says this of OMWF:

"Buffy and Spike's first kiss."

Uh, no. They kissed a lot in Something Blue (which could easily be added to my list above, come to think of it.)
Any list that has Hush as number one is a good list ;) That a New Man and the Zeppo are in it, I can understand, but Fear Itself?
I have a personal love for "The Zeppo" (which brilliantly skewers some of the Buffyverse conventions at the same time it gives Xander his much-deserved showpiece), so it can stay. Same for "Hush" and "OMwF" b/c they are brilliant Joss eps. The musical is probably not the best episode of Buffy ever but most likely the most fun ep ever. But no "Becoming, pt. 2"? "Innocence"? "Restless"? "The Body"? How about "Fool for Love" or "Prophecy Girl"? or the pure fun of "Doppelgangland"?

Just, I'm sorry, no. I enjoy "Fear Itself" and "A New Man" a lot -- I think season 4 is underrated by a lot of people -- but these are definitely second-tier BtVS episodes.
"Uh, no. They kissed a lot in Something Blue (which could easily be added to my list above, come to think of it.)"

First real kiss anyways (not magically induced).
The kiss at the end of Intervention wasn't magically induced.
I liked how they added "The Zeppo", personally one of my favorites but not necessarily recognized among the finest.
As Buffy herself would say, "Raise your hand if, ewww."

There's no way that The Zeppo, A New Man, or Fear Itself belong in a best 5, best 10, or probably even best 20 list.

Ethan Rayne is one of the best minor villains, but Band Candy and Halloween are both much better than A New Man. For a Xander-centric episode, I prefer The Replacement. Or Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered. ("Oh, no, I'm twice the fool it takes to do something like this.")

And, what? No mention of Doppelgangland? Lovers Walk? Who Are You? Wild At Heart? Selfless? Or numerous arc-heavy episodes from seasons 2, 3, 5, or 6, or even 7.

And of course, Restless is number one.
Ah, it's all so subjective. It's fun to think about, but nobody should ever come up with a "definitive" list. Me, I - ducks - don't really like Restless and I love Pangs and I like Beer Bad. I admire The Body, but I can't watch it and it has affected the way I look at other episodes and how they deal with death. The combination of Fool for Love and Darla was the beginning of my associating the word "genius" with Joss and the series. Do I expect others to take these things into consideration in their lists? Naah!
I don't know about your top five, but "the Body" would be 1st on my top 5 list. "Once More With Feeling" and "Hush" were works of art, but "The Body" is a work of life.
As was pointed out on another thread, "favorite" is not the same as "best." This is a 5 favorite episode list (he says so just before the list itself) rather than a 5 best episode list even though it is labeled as best in the title. For the 5 best you would need analysis and deep thought to decide on quality and worthiness. For a 5 favorite list you can go strictly on emotion.

Question: Why is that one on the list?
Answer: Because I like it.
End of story.

(It is tempting to go into a takeoff on George Carlin's comparison of baseball and football here, but I won't. ;-) )

For me Once More With Feeling and Fool for love would be on both lists but I am not sure I would put Hush down as a favorite, whereas I would put it down as one of the best. The Body is definately one of the best but not one of my favorites. On the other hand I love the Zeppo because it makes me laugh by succeeding at making fun of itself in a way that was so dangerous and because of the exploration of the character of Xander while also exploring the question "What is cool." I do not know, though, if it could make my best list.

Good thing I don't have to make either list cause I really have to get some work done. ;-)

[ edited by newcj on 2005-10-24 19:21 ]
Here's my Buffy top 5.

1."Prophecy Girl"
2."I Only Have Eyes For You"
3."The Wish"
4."Lovers Walk"
5."Fool For Love"
"Just, I'm sorry, no. I enjoy "Fear Itself" and "A New Man" a lot -- I think season 4 is underrated by a lot of people -- but these are definitely second-tier BtVS episodes."

I was actually saying yesterday how good an episode Fear Itself is. Granted, it is basically filler and it isn't a big important episode like Hush or The Body, but it is pretty entertaining generally. I suppose it wouldn't get a place in my top ten, but it is a great episode.

I do think it would be an incredibly difficult task to choose ten episodes from either Buffy or Angel and put them in order of greatness. I just love them all too much. I think it would actually be interesting if we weren't able to choose season finales or unusual episodes like Hush, Once More With Feeling and The Body. I think episodes like Fool For Love, Doppelgangland, Selfless and The Wish would definitely move up in my list if that was the case.
In order for me to start doing "Top Episodes Lists" of Whedon shows and not have it change from day-to-day, the categories would have to be overly specific. Like:

Top Episodes Where Buffy Crashes a Vehicle
Top Episodes Where Someone Really Important to the Show Dies
Top Musical Episodes
Top Episodes Where Clem Mentions Eating Cats
I tried this once before and a top four was really easy for me (OMWF, The Gift, The Body & Restless) and then it all depends on the what I'm thinking that day. Is it "Fool For Love"? No, it has to be "Becoming Pts. 1&2"? No, it should be one of the great farces like "Tabula Rasa" or "Dopplegeland" or "Something Blue". And then, you realize how silly the whole thing is & go back to work.
Eh, not a big fan of this list. If I were to make a top 5, it's probably go:

1. Passion
2. Becoming, Pt. 2
3. Once More, With Feeling
4. The Body
5. Innocence

As you can probably tell, I'm a fan of season 2 :)
Something Blue

Hush (strongly recommend to watch in black and white)
The Wish
How can I watch Hush in black and white?
SpikeBad, just turn down the colour control on your TV/monitor.
I can't fault people for having different tastes from mine. These are all excellent episode and with so many to choose from chances are very few lists are going to look the same.


The Wish
Once more with feeling
The Body
Conversations with dead people
Thanks. I'll be sure to check that out next time I watch it.
Rip2~~: "First real kiss anyways (not magically induced)."

So? They still kissed. (Spike lips! Lips of Spike!!")

And, as noted above, Buffy did kiss Spike on the lips in Intervention in Season 5.

But the fact remains, real Spike and real Buffy kissed (a lot!) in Simply Blue.
I have the oddball fave of New Moon Rising, but after that add The Body, Hush, OMWF, and Dopplegangland, if I had to list just five.

Man, I luurrve New Moon rising, have seen it 30 times at least and could watch it again right now. ANd I take it with me whenever I fly, since I am a white knuckle flier and watching it keeps me calm. :-)
The "Something Blue" kiss where they kissed eachother was magicaly induced.

The "Out of My Mind" kiss was just a dream of Spike's.

The "Intervention" kiss was just given by Buffy. Spike did not kiss her back. The Buffybot does not count.

The "OMWF" kiss was also magicaly induced. They were still singing when they kissed. The Spell just needed a big kiss for a finale and they gave it one.

Their first real kiss where Spike kissed her and she kissed him was at the end of "Tabula Rasa."

I hoped I cleared that up for everyone.

[ edited by SpikeBad on 2005-10-24 22:25 ]
I hoped I cleared that up for everyone.

All this, just to define the precise moment of liplock!
Hey, they forced me. Besides, I wanted to settle the matter once and for all.

[ edited by SpikeBad on 2005-10-24 22:44 ]
Well, nothing is ever *settled* settled . . . but I think you did a bang-up job with the chronology of kissage there, SpikeBad.

Dana5140, I join you in your New Moon Rising love. Under newcj's helpful "favorite/best" dichotomy, I think it would crack my fav Top 10, and my "best" Top 25. "Favorites" are a funny breed - going by the episodes I enjoy watching most, my own include Band Candy, Earshot, The Prom, Wild At Heart, Who Are You?, Life Serial, and many many more.
"The "OMWF" kiss was also magicaly induced"

Proving SNT's dictum that noting is ever *settled* settled, it could be argued that all of the Buffy/Spike kissage in Season 6 is magically induced, in that Buffy shouldn't have even been there at all, having been magically (and cruelly) yanked out of Heaven. As Spike said, she "came back wrong."

Okay, it's bourbon and Flashman time. 'Night, all!
I wouldn't list it in the top five, but I've always thought "Fear Itself" was one of the most underrated and underappreciated eps of "Buffy," so it's nice to see it get some love. It's a nice little self-contained story that features many of the show's trademarks, especially emotional turmoil conveyed as real, supernatural danger (in this case, literally) and quirky humor (Oz's halloween "costume" and the end-of-episode punchline).

[ edited by bobtaylor on 2005-10-25 04:05 ]
Technically that's false. The magic used on Buffy to bring her back to life was gone after Buffy had been given back her life. Therefore, Buffy was alive and not under the influence of any magic used from that spell after the spell was completed. The spell that Sweet used on her though did put her and her friends under the influence of magic again. That enfluence ended after the credits were done rolling in OMWF. So Buffy and Spike were still magicaly induced to kiss eacher while under Sweet's spell before the credits starting rolling. So the ending of Tabula Rasa is their first true kiss.
Wow, that guy's list is like a congregation of my disappointing episodes ever.

"The Zeppo" does not work at all for me, despite a great parody of Buffy and Angel's overblown soap operatics. "Fear, Itself" is a fun episode with some brilliant moments, but not really great unto itself. "A New Man" was interesting, but unfortunately pretty subpar. It did, however, have some refreshingly quirky camerawork going for it. "Once More, With Feeling" is my exception to being disappointed with this guy's list, as it is my second favorite episode as well. All right, well, I guess that's not fair, as I love "Hush," just not enough to include it on my top 10 Buffy episodes. It seems sort of overrated to me, despite being genius. Weird that.

My top five...

1. 5.16 - "The Body"
2. 6.7 - "Once More, With Feeling"
3. 4.22 - "Restless"
4. 7.7 - "Conversations with Dead People"
5. 5.7 - "Fool for Love"
But the magic used to bring Buffy back to life tore her out of heaven, which caused her to become depressed and thus get involved in a romantic relationship with Spike. The magic used by Willow's spell brought a different Buffy than we saw pre-season 6, a Buffy that probably never would have kissed Spike. So I think it can be argued that all of Buffy's actions in season 6 and 7 were the result of magic.
I actually really enoyed A New Man. The scene where Fyarl Demon Giles chases Maggi Walsh down the street always has me laughing until there are tears in my eyes.

In my opinion the BEST 5 would be:

The Body
Becoming Part II

My favorite five?

The Prom
The Gift
Fool for Love

But really, I love them all.
As newcj has mentioned, 'best' and 'favourite' episodes are two very different things.

We could all go around in circles forever debating what the "best" BtVS episodes are, although there are a small handful that it is quite difficult to argue against. However, if someone chooses five "favourite" episodes, as Keith McDuffee has done, you can't really dispute the choices made. If these are his five favourite epiosde then that is exactly what they are. It's not really open to debate. Yes, it is possible to query the tastes of the person, but does that serve any good purpose?

None of the five choices made by Keith McDuffee would find their way into my list, but I still think they are all wonderful episodes. I'm particularly fond of 'Fear Itself'. As to my own top five favourites, for what it's worth:

Never Kill A Boy On The First Date
The Freshman
When She Was Bad
Dead Man's Party
Every other episode in the show...

I can pick the first four, but after that it is no longer a case of making a fifth choice, it's justifying to myself leaving out the other 139 episodes. I just can't do it.
Conversations with Dead People tends to be high on many people's list. I like the ep just fine, but for those who love it, can you tell me why you find it so intriging? (I'm curious, not mocking...)
For me CWDP was very good at being scary. If The First had continued to be as ominous as it started to be here, it would have been one of the most hair-raising villains of all time. Also it was clever in building tension in three situations, one intellectually frightening, one a great little horror movie and the third, with good Ol' Webs - a bravura performance - with a little comic relief, but ending with the bringing in of the fourth situation: the pretty scary thought that Spike had gone bad. It was all woven together seemlessly.
But still, the Buffy that was depressed and kissed Spike and slept with him was an emotionally distraught Buffy. Not a magically distraught Buffy. And if you want to argue that since Buffy was changed after she was brought back to life, then I guess that means she and Spike never had a single true kiss with each other ever. I'm sorry, but there is no flaw in my logic. I have thought way to long and hard about this. I know, I'm an obsessed Buffy fan. But who isn't nowadays?
Oh, Dear Lord! How can I pick a favorite??? I think I would have to go with Zeppo, Hush, OMWF (like him), but I would have to add Innocence and Chosen. At least today....tomorrow, it will be completely different.
I would have to agree that its all subjective, but how does everyone feel about his comment that HUSH is the best episode to show someone who has never seen the show before? Don't get me wrong Hush is a great episode but I think other episodes are quickly forgotten because they are not as ground breaking which is a mistake. As far as introducing newbies to the show call me old fashioned but start at the beginning with Welcome to the Hellmouth... the episode name says it all..
As for my own Top Five(for the moment since it changes constantly)

1. Passion
2. Innocence
3. Family
4. Choices
5. Restless

Though the episode I laugh the most during would have to be HIM. The four screen sectioned part makes me howl.
Yep, I'm jumping in here as well:

1. The Body
2. Passion
3. Once More, With Feeling
4. Restless
5. Becomming pt2

And that's all I have room for...yikes. Where's Hush, where's Innocence, where's The Wish, where's Prohecy Girl, where's....well, etcetera, really. This is mixed favorite/best. 'The Body' wouldn't be in my favorite list (it's just too painfull to watch, but man, what an incredible episode), and 'Passion' would be probably be lower in a best list (but still top 5, or maybe drop to 6th place or something), but would hold first place in a pure favorite list. Etc.

To jump on the other bandwagons:
I don't like 'The Zeppo' as an episode. It's fun in itself, true. And it might have worked as a dream episode. But a parody within the shows own continuity. Nah, thanks. I wildly prefer 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered' to 'The Zeppo'.

'Fear, Itself'. Not great. It's funny, but not great. I was both amused and annoyed by the end of the ep. For me it's a typical season 4 episode. It's not that it's bad, it's just that it's a bit too light, even when it's dark. I tend to think of season 4 as 'the comedy season', and this is one of the examples why. I liked it better when comedy eps were the exception (and as such more fun when they did happen), and most of the comedy came in the form of tension release during the eps and from the characters themselves. Don't get me wrong, I like laughing, but the comedy worked better in other seasons. Imho, of course :-).
I think it's more interesting when the list goes off the usual suspects (Hush, OMWF, The Body, B1, B2 etc...). Don't get me wrong, I think they are brilliant and that's why they keep on popping up. I like to know people's top 10-20 list. Can you imagine the how different it would be? Top 5 for me? Changes but Restless is definitely always there.
Have to agree the distinction between 'best' and 'favorite' is an important one, with the former able to be evaluated on more objective terms and the latter depending primarily on subjective tastes. My bests would be in accord with most others here; my current favorites (in no particular order) are maybe more diverse, and definitely indicative of a burgeoning itch to rewatch S3:
  • Lie to Me
  • The Wish
  • Revelations
  • Enemies
  • The Gift

I would agree with Wiseblood on the "best/favourite" distinction. Indeed, I would add to it and say that I am not even sure if a "best" can be done because it is so hard to get agreement on the subjective judgement about what objective criteria should be included!

FWIW, here's my favourite 5:

5. Fool for Love
4. Restless
2. Selfless
1. The Gift
A kiss is a kiss is a kiss...
Odd little list. None of those are ones I think are bad, necessarily, but I certainly wouldn't put, say, "A New Man," or "Fear, Itself" in any top-tier list.

I like the favorite/best dichotomy a few folks mentioned above. My own "best" top 5 list would be pretty standard – OMWF, The Body, Becoming I/II, Restless, and a tie between either Hush or Innocence. All of which I also love to watch.
But on my favorites list there would be a lot more variation. Here's a crack at a top 5 list that doesn't include any of the above-mentioned...

1. Fool for Love
2. Doppelgängland
3. Passion
4. Lover's Walk
5. Earshot

So many others that I love to rewatch, depending on my mood: The Prom or Amends if I'm feeling particularly sappy, School Hard or Halloween if I want a dose of early Spike, Something Blue or Band Candy or Storyteller if i want to laugh, The Gift or Wild at Heart if I want to cry.

Fun to see what everyone's favorites are, and how differently certain episodes can strike people...
Regarding the Buffy and Spike kissage, I would disagree with everything about Buffy's death being under the influence of magick. True, if magick hadn't been used to resurrect her than none of it would have happened, but that's just one small (in the grand scheme of things) event that affects the story, but it's not like Buffy is under the actual influence of magick when she kisses Spike, the resurrection spell itself has had no long lasting effects and the rest of what she does it up to her.

It's hard to say with the kiss in Once More With Feeling, because they are under the influence of magick, but that's not to say they didn't want to do it. So was "Under Your Spell" simply part of Sweet's spell and not Tara's feelings? Of course it was her feelings. Sweet's spell just forced them to express things in song rather than speech, or reveal things that might otherwise have stayed hidden.

I mean in the aftermath of the first big kiss, in "Tabula Rasa" Buffy seems to be in denial, and claims that she won't kiss him again, but doesn't deny that it happened, and doesn't blame it on Sweet's spell. If it was Sweet's spell, then she would probably react similarly to how she reacted in "Something Blue", but she didn't make excuses like that, added to the bond she had begun to share with him, and I think both of them wanted to kiss regardless of the spell.
They may have wanted to kiss, but they were still technically under the spell which means that their first real true kiss was in Tabula Rasa.
No, their first real kiss was the first time they kissed, in Something Blue. Doesn't matter that it was magically inspired, Spike lips and Buffy lips locked in rather dramatically. If you want to call "true" not magical, I understand the difference, but it doesn't negate the fact that they did indeed kiss.
You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss
(Everybody, sing along!) Sorry, couldn't resist.
I just realized through all this kissing talk that Xander never ever got to kiss Buffy. I think that's just wrong. All the times he saved her life she never stopped, even for a second, to thank him with a kiss. Not even in "Bewitched, Bothered, & bewildered." Who here also thinks that Buffy and Xander should have had at least one big kiss?
All the times he saved her life she never stopped, even for a second, to thank him with a kiss

That seems a little one-sided to me. How about all the times she saved his life? How about all the times he mistrusted either her motives or her relationships? And why should she thank him with a kiss, having explained to him very early on that she didn't feel about him that way? And of course Xander was involved with Anya from S4 on anyway, and wasn't trawling for spare kisses from B.

I mean, I'd have liked them to have snogged, sure, but I certainly don't think that Buffy ever *had* to "thank him with a kiss."
You're probably right. I guess I've just always been a big Buffy and Xander shipper. I was really pulling for them to get together in season 7 too.
I think the way they handled to potential Buffy/Xander relationship was excellent...would have been too pat to have them actually hook up in any way.

And now I'm going downstairs to listen to country music...the music of pain!
You know, I really wish they would have hooked up at the end of the series. I was waiting 7 years for it and it never happened. The only time I ever really saw Buffy give Xander any love was when they were going to face Adam in the Initiative and when Xander was all big and puffy. Sooner or later they had to figure out that relationships with other people were doomed to fail. I mean the series ends and how do they both wind up? Single. I just really wanted to see some Xuffy action.
The prospect of Buffy and Xander kissing is too gross for me. They have too much of a sibiling relationship for chemistry. Eek.

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