Ok, so this was supposed to be another top 10. But after paring down my list as far as it would go, I was still left with 18 titles, and was unwilling to take any more off. But, since top 18 sounds ridiculous, I (reluctantly) put 3 in “honourable mentions” and then had the joy of putting the remaining 15 in order. After literally pulling my hair out for about half an hour, I’ve done it, although I’m still not 100% sure they’re in the exact right order. But it will have to do, because I’m not starting that process over.
So, before we start, here are the 3 honourable mentions:
The Replacement – Xander gets zapped with a magical device aimed at Buffy, and wakes up alone in the dump the next morning. He goes to his apartment, and sees that a clone has taken over his life. One Xander on screen is great. Two is just gravy. Anya’s plea that she be able to take the two of them home for a while had me in stitches.
Once More, With Feeling – I keep thinking that this fun musical extravaganza needs to be on the list, and then I look at it and realize that, as awesome as this episode is, everything else on my list is just slightly better.
Something Blue – Trying to magic away her pain, Willow only ends up accidentally casting spells on all her friends instead. One of the funniest episodes, despite it’s sad reason of being.
So, without any further ado, here’s my Top 15 Episodes of Buffy!
15 – Wild at Heart
Oz finds himself inexplicably attracted to a beautiful new student, who’s also a musician. After busting out of his cage one night, he meets another wolf, and is surprised to find himself wake with her, entwined and very much naked, the next morning. The other wolf, Veruca, wants Oz for herself, and tries to get him to see that they belong free, not locked in a cage. With more dialogue from Oz than in a lot of episodes combined, this was a poignant episode. Lots of kleenex needed here.
14 – Nightmares
Something strange is happening in Sunnydale: everyone’s worst nightmares are happening for real. Buffy meets a quiet boy who seems to be at the center of the mystery, and they band together to try stop the phenomena, before reality collapses completely. The one and only episode where we see what Buffy would be like as a vampire.
13 – Earshot
While fighting a mouthless demon, Buffy wounds it, and some of it’s blood is absorbed into her skin. The next day she realizes that she can hear everyone’s thoughts. What at first is a cool novelty, quickly becomes unbearable as it, at first, starts to alienate her friends, then becomes an awful racket in her head she can’t turn off. But just before she slips into total chaos, she’s able to give the others a warning: someone is planning a massacre at the school. This episode was originally supposed to air around the time of a real school shooting, purely by coincidence, but they decided to postpone it a few months. Good thing there wasn’t too much of a continuity screwup.
12 – Buffy vs Dracula
What else to say that the title doesn’t cover? Buffy meets the infamous Count, and is, understandably, attracted to him. But that still doesn’t stop her from kicking his butt when the time comes. Xander as a Renfield type character is hilarious. Poor Xander, always getting the short end of the straw.
11 – Band Candy
Buffy’s school is selling chocolate bars to raise money for the marching band. The chocolate seems to have an addictive quality, and soon all the adults in the town are sucking it back like crazy. And, strangely, the more they eat, the more immature they get. When Buffy goes to the factory to get to the bottom of things, it’s a teenaged Giles, with a teenaged Joyce in tow, that accompanies her. Any fan that ever shipped Giles / Joyce was very happy to see this episode. Featuring Ethan Rayne, one of my favorite recurring villains.
10 – Passion
This was an unbelievably awful episode, and I mean that in the best way possible. Jenny buys an Orb of Thesula, hoping to be able to translate the original text to recurse Angel. Angelus finds out about it, thanks to a vision that Drusilla had, and chases Jenny through the school, after destroying both her computer and the Orb. Such a sad episode, really pushes Angelus’ evil to the very limit. What he does to Giles is so much worse than anything else he could have done.
9 – Normal Again
After being attacked by a demon sent by Warren and the gang, Buffy has vivid hallucinations of being locked in a mental institution. So vivid, in fact, that she’s no longer sure which world is real. She decides, for a moment, that her life is Sunnydale is the dream, and goes about trying to eliminate everything, and everyone, in it. Awesome episode.
8 – The Zeppo
This Xander-centric episode has him worrying that he’s got nothing to offer the gang, so he gets himself a beautiful new car. Which, as luck would have it, brings him nothing but trouble, as he gets in the way of campus bad boy Jack O’Toole. Sparing Xander after Xander told cops there was nothing going on, he hops in Xander’s car, and drags him around town, to get his friends. Much to Xander’s horror, Jack’s friends are all dead, and he’s raising them from their graves. And this is the beginning of Xander’s very long, very strange night. Equally funny and tense, this is a perfect showcase for the awesomeness that is Xander Harris.
7 – The Pack
This is the very first episode of Buffy I ever saw. I didn’t even know it existed before then, since I didn’t have cable tv at home. But I was at my grandparents place, just channel surfing, when I came across this, and I was hooked right from the get go. In this episode, Xander and a group of bullies from school get possessed by hyena spirits. The mean kids act basically the same, but Xander, who’s usually so nice, starts to act just like them. Buffy knows something’s wrong, though, especially after the school mascot, a cute little piglet, is found dead, seemingly eaten alive.
6 – Halloween
Another chaos filled evening courtesy of Ethan Rayne. It’s Halloween night and, after chanting a spell, every child and teen who bought a costume at Ethan’s shop turns into their costume. Buffy becomes a fainting 17th century lady (much to Angel and Cordelia’s chagrin), Willow becomes a (very sexy) ghost, and Xander is turned into a super soldier. Hearing Buffy’s been weakened, Spike comes looking for her.
5 – Killed By Death
A terrible flu is going around town, and Buffy, after being knocked out during patrol, is rushed to the hospital, burning with fever. While there she encounters one of the freakiest demons in the show’s history, Der Kinderstod. Invisible to anyone who’s not feverish, Buffy purposefully makes herself sicker so she can fight him.
4 – Doppelgangland
After doing a spell to help Anya find her pendant, an evil Willow is summoned from another dimension. Sickened that everything around her is normal and “safe”, she traps everyone in the Bronze with a group of vampires to have some fun. When she comes across the Willow from this reality, things really get fun.
3 – The Body
Call me masochistic to have an episode like this so high on my list, but it really is one of the best episodes of the whole show. Everyone’s acting is top notch, and, needless to say, tears fall like rain. I started crying at the beginning of the show, and kept crying all the way through, even after the credits were done rolling.
2 – The Wish
After making a seemingly innocent wish that Buffy would have never come to Sunnydale, Cordelia is stunned to find herself in world that is just that. She’s happy to find out that in this world she’s still Queen B, but her happiness is put on hold when she realizes just how many deaths there have been, including Xander and Willow’s. Deaths that had been prevented by Buffy. Going to Giles to get him to call Buffy, she encounters a vampire Xander and Willow. After a much changed Buffy arrives in Sunnydale to help with the dire situation, Giles summons the demon who granted the wish, to try get her to change the world back to the way it was.
1 – Hush
And finally, the very best of the best, the season 4 episode Hush. After a group of fairy tale-like creatures arrives in Sunnydale, every single person in town looses their voice. The creatures stalk the night, choosing victims who have the perfect hearts they need, and cut them out of their chests. Like the last line of the poem says: “You’re gonna die screaming, but you won’t be heard”. This mostly silent episode is really a perfect piece of television. It still gives me the creeps today.
And, that wraps up my top 15 Buffy episodes. Enjoyed it? Agree? Disagree? Let me know! And stay tuned for more! 🙂