When I first started blogging every day for a year, I had the idea that I would have a blog series that features TV shows that I like, and explains why I like them and why I think you should watch them, and I had a list of shows that I wanted to highlight. In the nearly four months I’ve been blogging every day, I have done exactly one TV show feature, Community, and I’ve had a Mighty Boosh draft in the queue since November of last year but it’s never quite right (but I will write it eventually). So today I’m continuing, hopefully more regularly, my TV shows I think are awesome series, re-starting today with Buffy.
Now I have, as most people who watch his shows, a love/hate relationship with show creator Joss Whedon. Whedon likes to surprise you, take twists and turns in shows that the audience isn’t expecting, and it always turns out brilliantly. However, it also often turns out very sad, especially when characters dear to my heart are killed off like flies. Buffy wasn’t my first foray into Whedon shows (I started with Firefly) and so I was expecting something a lot different when I started watching it. I was surprised, but not in a bad way.
The thing about watching Buffy long after it was on TV is the fact that it’s obviously outdated. The characters wear weird 90s clothes and the speech seems… off. The writing isn’t as quick witted as I was used to from Firefly, but when Buffy was on it was miles ahead of other shows in terms of writing. There’s a grain of salt you have to take when watching Buffy for the first time, but it’s a grain of salt that’s worth it because the show is fantastic.
I was going to do episode suggestions, but there’s too many, so season by season here we go.
The first season is great in setting up the story and characters, but it’s not the most compelling TV ever. Some episodes can come off as a little wooden, but Season 2 is really where it hits its stride. Best episodes: The Pack (I dunno why, I just like that Xander had cool friends for a while), Angel, Nightmares
Season 2 is where the series comes into its own. With Spike on the scene, plus better villains, and more overarching plot lines, it’s a lot easier to get hooked. Plus Cordelia and Xander which is my favourite thing ever. Best episodes: School Hard (first appearance of Spike), Halloween (Soldier!Xander), Ted (John Ritter!), Killed By Death (first Buffy episode that actually freaked me out).
Season 3 is my all time favourite Buffy season. With the introduction of Faith, who is my all time favourite Buffy character. I love the yin/yang kind of relationship that Buffy and Faith have, and I think she brought a well needed freshness to the series. Best episodes: Faith, Hope, & Trick (first appearance of Faith), Band Candy (Giles is amazing in this episode), The Wish (I love a good AU episode, plus vampire Willow is the best), Doppelgangland (see last comment about vamp!Willow), Graduation Day Parts 1&2
Season 4 was fine, it’s always tough for high school shows to transfer over to a college setting, so it’s expected. The season is punctuated with amazing episodes though, and Spike is a definite highlight. On the down side, Riley. Best episodes: Fear Itself, Something Blue (just, Buffy/Spike comedy, I can’t resist it), Hush (creepiest and all time best episode of Buffy)
My least favourite season, I’m going to have to admit. The Big Bad was annoying, plus the introduction of Dawn who was… also annoying. But it is redeemed with the biggest twists and gut-wrenching plots. Best episodes: The Body
Season 6 picks back up after the laggy season 5. It’s fun, even though Buffy is mopey and kind of annoying, and the Big Bad kind of puts you off track halfway through the season. Best Episodes: Once More With Feeling, Tabula Rasa (just for the Randy Giles joke alone), Hell’s Bells (because, sad), Villains, Grave
The final season is one that most shows can never get right, but I can’t complain with Buffy’s. Back to roots with Sunnydale High, plus Dawn is way less annoying, and Buffy seems to be way less of a failure in raising her. Everything is wrapped up perfectly. Every story gets an ending, even if it’s not the one most people expect, which is the best way to end a series. Best episodes: Help, Conversations With Dead People, Storyteller, Dirty Girls (yay Faith!), End of Days, Chosen