Riaz and I are super cool and trendy total Nerds. There will be a whole post about our love for Battlestar Gallactica and how we once spent an entire car ride to Long Beach discussing the religious and political ramifications of that show – but that is for a different day. Today is a day for Buffy. Not only have I just recently finished watching ALL seven seasons of Buffy, but, today, Riaz and I ran into the one and only Xander Harris (aka Nicholas Brendon) at the Coffee Bean. I swear I can die happy.
I told Riaz that I needed to spend the $180 on the Chosen Collection Buffy Box Set in order to get into the female-empowering-kick-ass mindset that I would need in order to endure labor. Being the good husband that he is, he relented to the totally ridiculous purchase and I have spent the last several months basking in the glow of several hours of Buffy nearly every night. It is a sickness. I know.** But now that I have done it, and professed my love on the interwebs for all things Buffy, I think it is time for me to do my top 10 Buffy episodes. For those that watch Buffy (Mom), you may disagree with my choices, but it is truly hard to pick just 10 out of the 144 (!) episodes. FYI – For those that don’t watch Buffy – you can borrow my box set. It is the Best.Thing.Ever.
** In an effort to maintain Riaz’s masculinity, I will report that he very rarely watches them with me. Instead he takes long baths and listens to classical music. He is so manly!
In no particular order – but by season ….
Becoming, Part Two (Season Two)
So Good. The culmination of the relationship between Buffy and Angel over Seasons One and Two. I personally loved Evil Angel, so much more personality that tortured Angel (and I could never get into the Angel series), but when he gets his soul back, and Buffy needs to kill him anyway – ack – such heartbreak. Then with a little Sarah McLachlan during the closing credits … you just want to bawl your eyes out. One of my all-time favorite episodes.
Dopplegangland (Season Three)
An awesome continuation of an earlier Season Three episode, “The Wish.” Vampire Willow from the alternate universe created in “The Wish” gets pulled into our universe and hilarity ensues. The scenes with Vampire Willow and Regular Willow are fantastic and I love love love how this episode foreshadows Willow’s later gayness and her evil streak that comes out in Season Five. Fabulous.
The Prom (Season Three)
This episode never gets listed on these “Best of” lists and I have no idea why – it is probably one of my top three favorite episodes. Angel breaks up with Buffy … Buffy is heartbroken … Buffy still manages to save the Prom … and Angel shows up anyway to dance with Buffy to Wild Horses by The Sundays. What could be better!?! To top it off there is the great scene where Buffy gets the “class protector award.” I’m not lying when I tell you that I have seen this episode probably five or six times and I get a little choked up every.single.time (and I swear it is not just pregnancy hormones). I love it!
Hush (Season Four)
I got to be honest. I hated Season Four. The whole government Initiative thing was so lame, Riley was just a big doughy doofus and the Big Bad being a half-man half-demon philosopher was plain stupid. That said, there were a few gems and Hush was one of them (maybe its because Riley couldn’t speak!) What a great concept and the bad guys were actually scary! This is on everyone’s “Best of” list (I think it was even nominated for an Emmy), so I have nothing more to add. It is a classic and even if you don’t watch any other Buffy’s, you can watch this one and really appreciate the awesomeness of the show.
The Body (Season Five)
Another Buffy that makes me get all teary eyed every time I watch it. I love that there is no music and that Buffy’s mom died of natural causes. This episode always makes me think of my Constitutional Law professor, Prof. Epps. He was the best and a total Buffy-Geek. He used to have these Buffy parties on the nights that Buffy would air and everyone would go over and watch, then discuss. He would also bring up the episodes in class, tying them to random Constitutional Law concepts – come to think of it, he may have been a little weird, but he was a great professor. Anyhoodle – he was so upset when Buffy’s mom died, he thought that she was a grounding force on the show and that it was just a travesty that they killed her off. I personally think it was worth it for this great episode, but to each their own.
Ed. Note: Prof. Epps moved to University of Baltimore! Who knew – I went to Oregon Law, its a bummer he is not there anymore, he is a great professor. I remember before we began our discussion of the Constitutional law changes that were wrought around the time of the Great Depression he sang, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” in class. He had a beautiful voice. I had never heard that song before, and sometimes (particularly when I am watching the news lately!) that song will pop into my head and I’ll think of that class.
The Gift (Episode Five)
I was never a huge fan of the Glory/Ben/Key story line, but there is no denying the epicness of this episode. Buffy dies! I mean come on – what could be more climactic than that? Honestly, I thought the episode was relatively weak overall, but at the end of the day, this episode drives the story lines for the next two seasons and it deserves a place for that reason alone.
Tabula Rasa (Season Six)
Either you loved Season Six or you hated it. I loved this season, sure it was dark, sure it was more focused on the human side of things, but you can’t battle demons forever – eventually you have to grow up and battle yourself, and that is what Season Six is all about. Everyone always picks “Once More With Feeling” for their favorite Buffy episode ever, I liked that episode, but just didn’t love it the way other people do. For my money, I choose Tabula Rasa as the best episode in Season Six. It was hilarious … Buffy as Joan … Spike as Giles’ son. Awesome. Plus, I love the Spike character and this is one of his best episodes. Not knowing why he, a vampire, is hanging out with a bunch of humans he assumes that be must be “a good guy, on a mission of redemption … A vampire with a soul.” (You have to imagine it with his cocky British accent to get the full effect.) Classic.
Grave (Season Six)
What a great episode! It was pretty fabulous to see Willow kick Buffy’s ass – you could tell that there was maybe some pent up aggression there. As much as I love Buffy, she is pretty self-righteous sometimes, and it was nice to see her pummeled by a good friend. Genius. The best part of this episode is that Xander, without using any superpowers, was the only one who could save the world. It was a fitting ending to a season all about human frailties.
Storyteller (Season Seven)
There was a lot of Buffy speechifying in this Season and it got really old really fast. This episode is awesome because it is told from the Andrew’s perspective (who is one of the most hilarious Buffy characters ever) and the narration takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to all the seriousness of the other episodes in this Season. It made me feel like the writers understood that Buffy was annoying as hell in this Season, and I loved that!
Chosen (Season Seven)
It is probably a cop out to choose the final Buffy episode ever for this list, but I actually really liked the ending. I don’t know what they could have done to end the show better (other than to not end it! If Simpsons’ can be on for forty years, why can’t Buffy?) I loved that Buffy shows true emotion towards Spike, the idea to imbue all the potential slayers with full slayer power was genius, and it was awesome that they totally destroyed Sunnydale. I do have to say that whenever I think about this ending, I think about all the super-strong girls out there who don’t have any Watcher guidance – couldn’t they all turn out like Faith – killing people and breaking into sporting goods stores? I don’t know – could I be overthinking this fictional story – its a possibility – but I don’t think I want a bunch of slayer-strength girls running around without any supervision – and that is how I feel about that.
Ed. Note: Apparently there is an Angel episode about all the slayer-strength girls running around, but I didn’t watch that show, so I am going to pretend it does not exist.
So that’s it, Top 10 Best Buffy Episodes Ever. Tomorrow’s post – Top 10 Reasons it is amazing that I still have a job since I clearly spend way too much time watching TV and not enough time thinking about my clients.