wednesday_whimsy: (buffy_gigglesnort)
[personal profile] wednesday_whimsy
This weekend Syfy has been showing a Buffy marathon. 10 episodes yesterday and 10 today, counting down the top 20 "greatest" Buffy episodes as voted for by the people watching Syfy in the UK.


Buffy wasn't my first love, but it was the thing that brought me to the internet and fandom. It was the thing that made me start writing. It was the thing that led me to meeting [livejournal.com profile] hils, which in turn led me to moving to York. So for all the churned up feelings I have about it 10 years later, Buffy has had a huge impact on my life and it will always mean something special to me.

I haven't watched it in a few years, besides the odd episode here and there, so I decided to watch the countdown to see how much I disagreed with. The voting was only out of these 20 episodes, so it's not really a fair vote in my opinion. There are some on the list that I think don't really deserve a place (such as Normal Again from season 6) and some that I think should have been included in the shortlist (like Band Candy from season 3).

But it has given me a chance to watch a few episodes that I only watched once, years ago and with the distance of time between I can watch them now without the issues I had at the time. I hated season 6 when I was watching it, but the season finale, Grave, was ranked #13 and watching it now I have a better appreciation for it. It was a fantastic episode. Likewise, the series finale, Chosen, I'd only watched once because it was very emotional for me, but it's such a fantastic episode that I can't really believe I hadn't watched it again.

The Syfy countdown went like this:

20 Lovers Walk
19 Prophecy Girl
18 Conversations With Dead People
17 Normal Again
16 Halloween
15 Graduation Day
14 Restless
13 Grave
12 Innocence
11 Amends
10 Passion
09 Doppelgangland
08 Fool For Love
07 The Wish
06 Chosen
05 The Gift
04 The Body
03 Becoming
02 Hush
01 Once More With Feeling

As countdown lists go, there's not much to argue with. Everything in my top 5 is in their top 10 and while there are a lot of episodes I wouldn't personally count as the best, most of them I can accept as being significant enough that they should be included. Normal Again and Amends are the ones I have the most issues with.

My personal top 10 goes like this (though allowances should be made for my changing my mind about all by the top 2, every single day).

10. Band Candy - Adults behaving like teenagers, kids having to be responsible, Giles and Joyce having sex. On the hood of a police car. Twice.

09. School Hard - The introduction of Spike & Drusilla, enlarging Angel's back story - the show would be totally different without this episode.

08. Intervention - In the midst of what is a depressing (though beautifully done) end of season arc, this is funny and clever and a great way to kick Spike onto the right path. Also it's the first appearance of the Buffybot and who doesn't love the Buffybot?

07. Tabula Rasa - Again, in the middle of what has to be Buffy's most depressing season (though not as hated by me as it once was) this is a fantastic and hilarious episode which always seems to be overlooked next to the musical it follows. It's sad because it's a lot better than OMWF.

06. Fool For Love - Spike's backstory, Spike and Buffy sparring the whole episode and then two wonderful scenes of Spike & Harmony in the crypt ("You're so sensitive") and Spike & Buffy on the porch, just sitting. Beautiful.

05. Hush

I'm never 100% sure whether or not to add Hush. Not because it's not good. I know it's good. But there are a couple of parts that always make me annoyed and I'm never sure whether episodes that partially annoy you can be your favourite. But then Hush also has the scariest monsters of any TV show ever. Screw the Weeping Angels and The Silence. The Gentlemen are still the most terrifying.



"Can't even shout
Can't even cry
The gentlemen are coming by
Looking in windows
Knocking on doors
They need to take seven
And they might take yours
Can't call to mom
Can't say a word
You're gonna die screaming
But you won't be heard"

04. Doppelgangland

I mostly prefer the happy (or at least amusing) episodes of Buffy, since the majority of the show is ANGST. As wonderful as vampire!Willow is and as awesome as it is to have Anya around, my favourite part of the episode is everyone's reactions to finding out Willow is dead. Everyone from Buffy to Angel is just perfectly heartbroken. And their reactions to finding out she's not in fact dead are even better (Xander shaking the cross, Angel's double take).

Sadly this is the best video I could find.


03. Becoming

Becoming is a fantastic season finale. So much happens - so much that actually has a bearing on the future - and it does it all with humour and excitement and then misery, death, huge cliffhanger, all to the dulcet tones of Sarah McLachlan. Interestingly, the season 6 finale always ends with a Sarah McLachlan song - that's the kind of symmetry I love.

Spike going to Buffy and offering to help her was a twist you couldn't see coming and involuntarily set up 4 years of misery for himself (and Spuffy shippers like me) further down the line. Snyder calling the Mayor foreshadowing season 3. Willow starting on the magical path and proving to be super strong right from the start. Buffy and Angel's fight to the death and her sending him to hell. All perfect.

Lengthy video


02. The Body

Heartbreaking of course, but beautifully done, without any music, only ambient noise. Wonderful performances all around, especially from Sarah in that first long scene. I couldn't find a decent video, so I will just have to quote my favourite part of the episode.

Anya: But I don't understand! I don't understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she's, there's just a body, and I don't understand why she just can't get back in it and not be dead anymore! It's stupid! It's mortal and stupid! And, and Xander's crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she'll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.

01. The Gift

My favourite episode is also the hundredth episode and it starts with a "previously on" which recaps the last 100 episodes and always gives me goosebumps. I always thought the series should have ended here. Chosen has some great moments (the symmetry of Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles parting reverse to how they met) and it does feel like a series finale, but seasons 6 and 7 always feel like an alternate universe to me, because The Gift is pretty much perfect and resurrecting Buffy takes a little something away from her sacrifice. Callbacks to the other seasons, Glory (my favourite big bad), Xander & Anya getting engaged, Buffy inviting Spike back into the house, Buffy sacrificing herself to save Dawn (and the world). ♥

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