Buffy the Vampire Slayer celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2017, which means that everyone who loves the show are, appropriately coming up with the 20 best episodes of the show. Not us thoug, we think 20 is a cop out. It’s much harder to pick just 10 of our favourite tale of Buffy, Slayer of the Vampires, but let’s give it a go.
10. Conversations with Dead People
Season Seven, Episode Seven
While season seven is widely regarded as the worst season of the show, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have some classic episodes. While the show’s finale was a crowd pleasing epic, Conversations with Dead People was the last episode that showed how much Buffy played with its own formula.
Season Three, Episode Twelve
Season three was a great year for the show. Not only did the Scooby gang graduate from high school in explosive style, but the show really delved into what it meant for Buffy to be the Slayer. The best example of this, even better than Faith, is Helpless. This is the episode where Buffy, due to a barbaric test given by the Watchers council, must save her mother from a psychotic vampire, but without her powers. No other episode showed that it wasn’t her strength that made Buffy formidable, it was just Buffy.
Season Four, Episode Ten
Of course Hush would be in this list, it’s a masterpiece. As the residents of Sunnydale loses their voices to the fairy-tale villains The Gentlemen, the Joss Whedon redefined what a genre show on network television could do. Hush proved that Buffy as a show was as brave to change things up as its lead character.
7. Once More with Feeling
Season Six, Episode Seven
The influence of this season six episode is still felt within genre television. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, Once More with Feeling opened the floodgates for similar shows to tell their best stories through song. Case and point: The Flash and Supergirl just done it last week.
6. The Zeppo
Season Three, Episode Thirteen
Xander is no one’s favourite character but as the lead in this season three episode Nicholas Brendan makes the character shine. One of the show’s most ambitious ideas, The Zeppo not only gave Brendon a hilarious platform for his character to shine, but, in doing so, playfully poked fun at all the things that made the show popular in the first place.
5. School Hard
Season Two, Episode Three
School Hard, or the episode where Spike shows up, is a statement of intent for the show going forward. Not only was it the Buffy version of Assault on Precinct 13, but in Spike, the show presented the first truly modern vampire villain; one that makes further appearances on this list.
4. Fool for Love
Season Five, Episode Seven
In School Hard the dangerous nature of Spike was put across in a simple but effective way: he has fought and killed two slayers. Season Five has Spike in a much different place to his villainous heyday, but Fool for Love shows us his past exploits as a way for Buffy to learn to be better. It’s an episode (coupled with the Angel episode Darla) that expands the shows universe by going back in time and seeing the origin of Spike, Drusilla, Angelus and Darla. What it does for buffy is deepen her relationship with both Spike, and her work in ways that is rewarding for the audience.
3. The Gift
Season Five, Episode Twenty-Two
Buffy has always been great at season finales, and which season is the best is a topic for another list, but The Gift so nearly makes the grade that it deserves its high place. As a finale it’s great at using the entire Scooby gang, and their skills, in order to defeat Glory. The fact that Buffy sacrifices her life to save her sister, and save the world, is the culmination of all that is great about her character. The Gift would have been a perfect way to end the show, but Joss Whedon had other ideas.
2. Becoming Parts 1 and 2
Season Two, Episodes Twenty One and Twenty Two
Season two of Buffy may be the shows best as it took one of the show’s most traditional plots: the romance between Buffy and Angel, and turned it on its head. As a season finale, Becoming is the best for the way that it opposes The Gift. Instead of having her friends behind her, Buffy takes on Angel alone, and her choice to sacrifice Angel to save the world, was a lot harder than sacrificing herself. It’s an incredibly ambitious ending to season two, and proof that this silly show with the dumb name was anything but that.
1. The Body
Season Five, Episode Sixteen
The Body is the best thing that Joss Whedon and Sarah Michelle Gellar have ever done. Buffy’s creator and star had been telling stories about a heroin who can save the day, even if it means she has to lose something of herself in the process, but in The Body Buffy had finally met her match: reality. The death of her mother is one of the show’s most horrifying moments because of how ordinary it is: there’s nothing for Buffy to fight, no way she can save the day, and that is a cruel but realistic lesson that the show reminds us of.