12 Best Buffy Episodes

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  1. The Body - (Season 5) Buffy's mom dies. This episode was so much like a mini-movie in that it relies so much on perfect shots and sound. Probably the best hour of television ever. I've never seen an episode of any television show that was so rich and poignant.

  2. Once More With Feeling - (Season 6: yes, season 6 did have a few good episodes!) The Buffy Musical! I still can't believe how remarkably well they pulled this off! Extremely entertaining. Giles & Tara duet = great stuff.

  3. Graduation, pt. 1 & 2 - (Season 3) Buffy and gang graduate from high school and battle the mayor. I love this episode because after all the "hear no evil/see no evil" and repression that the Sunnydale folk do; the student body is able to shed this and pull through for the big battle. A very touching culmination of Buffy's first 3 seasons, actually.

  4. The Gift - (season 5) I couldn't stop crying. Buffy dies. And what's so poignant is that its not very cut and dry if her sacrifice is heroic or selfish. And it's also home to one of my favorite cheesy Buffy lines: "The hardest thing in this world is to live in it." :-p

  5. Surprise & Innocence - (season 2) Buffy does the big "It" with Angel and he loses his soul. Displays the creative ways that the Buffy team deals with the same ol' cliched situations: Girl gives up the booty; guy suddenly turns into a jerk. This is also when I feel that David Boreanaz truly becomes the Angel that we see in the upcoming seasons and on his show. He really begins to shine and take on more depth than simply being Buffy's lurking vampire boyfriend.

  6. Becoming pt. 1 & 2 - (Season 2) Buffy must kill Angel to save the world. Buffy grows up a great deal in these episodes. She's forced to come to terms with herself being the Vampire Slayer and must make the hard decisions. She truly sees what her role is.

  7. Who Are You - (Season 4) The Buffy and faith body switch. I really love this episode. Both Sarah and Eliza show what awesome actresses they truly are. Sarah totally becomes Faith in this episode; it's quite remarkable. The ending is also very poignant when Faith pummels her own self nearly to death. Very rich.

  8. Hush - (Season 4) The landmark episode where the characters don't speak for most of the episode. It's amazing that this works and you don't lose interest or get bored although no one is talking. The truth is, they were still talking a lot. I love the ending too- probably the best Buffy episode ending ever.

  9. The Wish - (Season 3) Very disturbing episode of what Sunnydale would be like if Buffy had never come. It's kinda heartbreaking to watch at several moments.

  10. Fool For Love - (Season 5) Spike tells Buffy how he killed 2 slayers. This also coincides with an Angel episode that ran during the same week, I believe. Buffy/Angel flashback episodes never suck, and that is remarkable itself. :-p

  11. The Prom - (Season 3) Another one of those heartbreakers. The special touch was having Jonatahn give Buffy the class protector award. If you don't know Jonathan's fate in later seasons; it's still rich anyway because Jonathan has been bumping heads with Buffy and her monsters since season one. It also shows how the Sunnydale residents once again can appreciate and recognize Buffy despite their living in denial. :-p

  12. Prophecy Girl - (Season 1) "Giles, I'm 16 years old, I don't want to die." Heart-wrencher again. I'm a sucker for those. :-p Buffy cheats death & undermines sacred prophecies for the first time.

Nice ranking. I would put Once More With Feeling at the very top of the list and not just for degree of difficulty. Somehow the episode avoids being a gimmick and advances the narrative (in very significant ways.) Well, not "somehow". That Joss Whedon can write. I still remember the sense of disorientation when the episode opened with the 1940s-style musical title and then the singing slayage. Oh my goodness! they're going to do this for the entire show... this doesn't bode well. Not only do the songs stand on their own but they fit the characters precisely. Well, okay, Whedon's no Rodgers & Hart... not even Rodgers and Hammerstein. But the songs and singing are suited to the talents of the actors. Fortunately Alyson Hannigan is limited to one line... I'll say it again: That Joss Whedon can write. I really liked Season Six. Depression is truly the biggest big bad.

Besides which, Once More With Feeling has the first (to my knowledge) lesbian sex scene on American network television.

Good to have this list, but I hope it doesn't mean you won't also do a series of season by season lists.

I will! I'm still working on them! I should have seasons 2 and 3 up in the next few weeks. :)

I love how the events of "The Graduation" are under-emphsised in subsequent episodes. I think its the first of the college episodes in which Xander and [ ? ] reminisce in something like the following terms: "Graduation day! Big snake, huh?" - "Oh yeah!".

And I fully agree on "Hush": an amazing episode; and on the excellent acting in "Who are you".

Lol, yeah. It's kinda like "Graduation Day? Oh, right, I almost forgot about that" in later episodes. The same thing with all of Buffy's deaths-- "Hey I died twice!" (from 'Once More With feeling')

I agree 100% on The Body - maybe the best episode (of any tv show) I've ever seen - and Once more with Feeling. Great ranking!

I've never understand why 'Once More with Feeling' is rated so highly. 'Hush' and 'The Wish' are my favourite episodes in what was a brilliant series, but I hated the musical. It's the only one I avoid when revisiting (as I do time and time again). I found it totally lacking the usual wit. The musical numbers were truly awful and everyone involved seemed uncomfortable with the concept. To me it was all too 'try hard'.

It all comes down to personal tatse I guess.