Posts Tagged ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my favorite television show of all time. The Buffyverse is full of great characters, great action, great humor, and great drama. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is simply great. Joss Whedon took vampires and monsters and flawlessly inserted them into real life. Life can be Hell, and Buffy nailed that perfectly. Buffy has the perfect flawed hero in the tradition of Spider-Man and others that had to find a way to deal with all the stress of everyday life with the stress that comes from being a protector.
Buffy is also the perfect Twilight alternative for fans that are looking for an engrossing vampire universe with a truly believable love story between a mortal and a vampire. If you’re familiar with Buffy, you already know it’s one of the best pieces of genre TV to ever hit pop culture. If you’re not? Netflix is your best friend. Here are the ten episodes that capture all the best that Buffy has to offer.

10. Restless
Season 4
Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon

This episode stands as one of the most calm Buffy season finales. All the threads from the season were wrapped up in the episode before. This episode shows the Scooby gang relaxing after a taxing battle. The magic they used is still present within them, resulting in some weird dreams. This episode is great because of this. The dream sequences are exquisitely filmed, showing Whedon’s skill at directing. It’s not a simple piece of fluff though. Whedon uses this episode to tease things to come in Season 5, and even though there’s no big cliffhanger you’re still chomping at the bit to see season 5.

9. Chosen
Season 7
Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon

The seventh and final season was slow paced and wasn’t really well structuted. It felt like it was just a means to an end, but that’s okay because this finale was classic Buffy. Whedon threw everything that made the show great into one epic farewell. It’s an episode full of love, death, and drama.

8. Buffy vs. Dracula
Season 5
Writer: Marti Noxon
Director: David Solomon

This episode doesn’t get a lot of love, but I really enjoy it. I love the way to melded the story of Dracula into Buffy lore. I loved the way that Dracula is represented in the show and how he clashes with the modern day. He’s overwritten, and I think that was done on purpose to give him a self-imposed sense of grandeur. He’s really not that big of a deal, but he tries to be. He’s really not all that compared to the more vicious vampires that Buffy has faced. The humor in this episode is the biggest draw. I loved seeing Xander in the Renfield-like thrall of The Dark Prince. Also, I thought the way that Buffy dealt with Dracula was a classic Buffy moment. The episode also has a great twist moment at the end that sets the course for the season.

7. Nightmares
Season 1
Writer: Joss Whedon/David Greenwalt
Director: Bruce Seth Green

One of the first season’s strongest episodes. A young boy in a coma begins making all the fears of Sunnydale manifest in reality. This episode uses the monster-of-the-week as a means to get to know the main characters even better. We learn that Buffy feels responsible for her parent’s divorce and that she fears becoming the very thing she’s destined to destroy. There is also a very creepy, murderous clown and that’s always a plus in horror entertainment.

6. Innocence
Season 2
Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon

Buffy and Angel’s romance was on shaky ground to begin with. He’s a vampire; she’s a slayer. They danced around being intimate and this episode they finally give in and the worst possible thing happens. Angel’s curse is broken and he becomes Angelus, a soulless and ruthless vampire.
Buffy’s worst fear is now a reality. She has to kill the man she loves. This episode cemented this shows ability to bring the drama.

5. Passion
Season 2
Writer: Ty King
Director: Michael Gershman

This episode was like Fatal Attraction. Angelus is out to ruin Buffy’s life. He’s like a lion stalking a gazelle. He’s a master manipulator and pure evil. It was unsettling to see the hero Angel transformed into the evil Angelus. This is a really tense episode. You just know that things were going to end badly for someone. You’re rooting for Buffy to win, but in that victory you realize she also loses.

4. Once More With Feeling
Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon

Buffy pulls out all the stops and delivers an unexpected surprise–a musical episode. The big plus is that it didn’t feel like a gimmick to grab ratings. It felt like a natural occurrence in Sunnydale. The songs work beautifully in furthering the plot of the episode. This episode shows that Whedon isn’t afraid to take risks in his storytelling, and that he can translate what makes his stories so great to any medium. He would revisit the musical theme in his wonderful Dr. Horrible web series.

3. The Gift
Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon

The series finale that almost was, The Gift serves as a proper send off to Buffy, as she uses the titular “gift” to ensure that her family and friends will survive. Buffy’s willingness to sacrifice herself for the world’s safety shows what a true hero she is. Buffy lived to fight another day when UPN picked up the show for the last two seasons, but I would have been happy with this finale.

2. Hush
Season 4
Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon

A simply brilliant piece of television. For 27 minutes this episode is dialogue free, relying on acting and visuals to drive the story. It succeeds beautifully. The episode is fun and compelling. The Gentlemen are easily some of the creepiest baddies in genre television. They steal voices and are on the hunt for hearts. Joss Whedon manages to kick season four into high gear without saying a word.

1. The Body
Season 5
Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon

This episode of Buffy is not just the best Buffy episodes, it’s one of the best episodes of dramatic television period. I get chills just thinking about it. Given Buffy’s life, it’s expected that her friends and family are constantly in danger from supernatural baddies. That’s what makes this episode such a gut-punch. It’s not a supernatural force that steals Buffy’s mother, but a very real world one. Buffy has found the one bad guy she can’t punch or stake. The scene where Buffy discovers her mother’s body is well acted and directed. It just feels real. I felt like I was intruding on a very personal moment and found myself wanting to turn away and let Buffy deal with her grief. This is raw and truthful scripted television at its best.