The Friday Fiver – The Top 5 Buffy Episodes of All Time
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was my first foray into genre television. I was twelve when it started airing and fourteen when I started watching. It was the first show I truly geeked out over and was the show that helped define my tastes in television in the years to follow. So, I was very excited to create this list because this list is the Top Five Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes of ALL TIME. Sure, it’s subjective, but these are amazing episodes and if you’ve never seen Buffy, or you haven’t watched the show in years, these are the episodes you should check out!
5. “Band Candy” – S03E06
My favorite episodes of Buffy are the funny ones. My favorite funny ones are usually the ones in which Giles gets into trouble, because Anthony Stewart Head is comedy gold. Really, it was between this or Season’s Four’s “A New Man”, in which Giles is turned into a Fyarl demon, for this spot on the list. But “Band Candy” wins because it was the first episode in which we see fussy Giles break out of his shell. Sure, he became a teenager. But, he listened to Cream, got high, and hooked up with Buffy’s mom! It was shocking and absolutely hilarious.
4. “The Gift” – S05E22
When the WB Network passed on a sixth season of Buffy due to budget constraints, Joss Whedon was forced to create a series finale that gave the show an emotionally satisfying end. Of course, Whedon, being Whedon, does that by killing off our beloved heroine. But she sacrifices herself for her (newly) beloved sister and dies in the grandest way possible, leaping right into a ball of light. The show was resurrected for two more seasons by the UPN, but even knowing that, “The Gift” loses none of its emotional impact. I mean, I even see that screenshot, I get teary.
3. “Dopplegangerland” – S03E16
Vamp Willow! It’s Vamp Willow! Okay, so “Dopplegangerland” is technically the second appearance of Vamp Willow, an alternate universe version of Willow (a universe wherein Buffy never came to Sunnydale and things went to Hell in a handbag), but it’s the best appearance. In “Dooplegangerland”, Willow faces off against the blood-thirsty version of herself and gets more than she bargained for. It is in this episode that Willow utters the line, “And I think I’m kind of gay,” when presented with Vamp Willow’s … amorous overturns, and that line proved to foreshadow much in the coming seasons. I had a Vamp Willow figurine once; she came with a little whip and everything. True story.
2. “Hush” – S04E10
The only episode of Buffy to be nominated for an Emmy in Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, “Hush” is unique in that, in the entire episode, there are only 17 minutes of dialog. But unique style is not what makes “Hush” one of my top five. No, that honor belongs to the utterly terrifying The Gentleman; what, with their silent smiles, their floating, their methodical removal of organs… *shiver* Plus, it gave us this moment, now immortalized in GIF.
1. “Once More, with Feeling” – S06E07
Nowadays, with the likes of Glee and Smash, musical episodes are a weekly occurrence, but back in 2001, when “Once More, with Feeling” aired, it was a rarity. And, happily, it was more than a gimmick. The episode traces Buffy disillusionment with her life, Spike’s growing feelings for Buffy, Giles’s emotions over leaving and Willow’s further descent into addiction, all through the magic of song! Like many things Whedon, “Once More, with Feeling” has gained a cult following of its own. There were even public screening and sing-alongs, until 20th Century FOX pulled the licensing rights in 2007.
Honorable Mentions (because I really like Buffy, okay?)
3. “Fool for Love” – S05E07
In which we learn more about Spike’s past, as William and William the Bloody. Plus, we get lots of past Drusilla, Angel, and Darla, and that’s always a fun time.
2. “Bad Girls” – S03E14
Bad girl Faith takes responsible girl Buffy by the hand and leads her down a dark path, complete with dirty dancing, robbery, and the death of a human. It’s a great episode and a major tipping point for Faith.
1. “The Body” – S05E16
I know, I know, how could I not include this episode in the Top Five? It’s so realistic! There’s no soundtrack! It’s Buffy’s mom! I know, you guys, but it gives me realistic, no soundtrack-having nightmares every time I watch it. Plus, it premiered on my birthday and was absolutely traumatizing. So. But, yes, “The Body” is an absolutely incredible episode.
So there you have it! My Top Five (and three more I couldn’t bear to cut) Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes! What episodes are on your list?
And don’t forget to tune in next Friday for the top five episodes of the Buffy spinoff, Angel!