Buffy the Vampire Slayer will forever be one of those iconic shows that spoke to all of us, maybe in different ways, but it made a difference. Buffy was one of those shows that handled real-life issues without blatantly stating them thanks to Joss Whedon and the amazing people behind the scenes.
Not only was this series relevant, and remains so, it also had everything to offer from drama to romance to comedy and it was all balanced perfectly. Because of our deep love for Buffy and the Scoobies, we’d like to share our ten favorite episodes from the show’s seven-year run in order from least loved to most loved (it’s important to note that we love them all).
1. “Beer Bad” (S4 Ep5)
Season four receives a lot of shade from the fans because the big bad was so terrible. We wish we could erase Adam from existence, to be honest. Even with the ending of the season underwhelming us, there are some excellent standalones mixed in like ‘Beer Bad’. During this episode, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is having a rough time because of how Parker treated her and she finds comfort in beer. But there’s a problem. The beer is cursed and turns anyone who drinks it into cave people. Enter Cave Slayer. ‘Beer Bad’ has so many funny moments that its one you can watch anytime, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
2. “I Only Have Eyes For You” (S2 Ep19)
Most would agree that Buffy’s second season was its best for so many reasons. Buffy and Angel (David Boreanaz) are our OTP and this episode is heart-wrenching. Buffy is trying to get over Angel, since he lost his soul and turned evil, and preparing to kill him. The spirits of Sunnydale High are ever cruel though. Giles (Anthony Head) spends the episode thinking Jenny (Robia Scott) is reaching out from beyond the grave adding to the feels. “I Only Have Eyes For You” is emotional and it gives us just enough hope for our couple before yanking it back just as quickly. The entire second season was a rollercoaster of emotions.
3. “Buffy Vs. Dracula” (S5 Ep1)
After stumbling through its fourth season, Buffy returned to form with season five beginning with this marvelous opening episode. The idea of Buffy facing off with the most well-known vampire in history seems like something that should have happened much earlier in the show but somehow its placement still feels just right. Xander (Nicholas Brendon) has some of the best, well funniest, moments within the story. We see Buffy in a different way as she faces off with Count Dracula and its a refreshing change of pace though it stumbles with the surprise of Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg).
4. “Once More With Feeling” (S6 Ep7)
The musical episode! Buffy did something slightly unheard of at this point and offered fans an episode filled with catchy songs sung by the uber-talented cast. Why wouldn’t they want to showcase the talented vocals of Anthony Head, James Marsters (Spike) and Amber Benson (Tara) along with the others? Exactly! ‘OMWF’ is pure fun (up until the last minutes when Buffy’s secret is revealed) paired with an excellent soundtrack. There’s humor, music, and serious depth all rolled into one well-executed hour of television.
5. “Forever” (S5 Ep17)
“Forever” follows “The Body” pairing off some of Buffy’s most emotional and devastating episodes. Most would put “The Body” into a top ten list but ‘Forever’ holds the aftermath of the shock from its predecessor which is, honestly, more jarring. Angel visiting to comfort Buffy is the only positive moment within this hour and even their time on screen is heartbreaking because they can’t be together. Buffy and Dawn’s fight is the hardest part to watch as it lays out all the truth and heartache that comes with the death of someone we love.
6. “Helpless” (S3 Ep12)
It’s not all fun and games with the Scooby Gang especially in the earlier episodes like “Helpless”. Buffy turns eighteen and in proper Buffy birthday tradition, something terrible happens. The Watcher’s Council subjects each Slayer to a test of strength which they must accomplish without their slayer strength. Giles is tasked with taking away her gifts without Buffy’s knowledge and letting her face an adversary. ‘Helpless’ hurts in many ways as it reflects the struggle of becoming an adult and independent but also illustrates how organizations will use cruelty to yield results with no worry for the long-term consequences.
7. “Hush” (S4 Ep10)
Season four is back again with another excellent standalone and also the scariest episode of Buffy history. Our characters have no voices when the Gentleman come to town to harvest hearts in their creepy manner making the episode’s atmosphere haunting. ‘Hush’ is a critically acclaimed episode as it deserves to be and even earned the show Emmy nominations. Everything from the lack of dialogue to the Gentlemen’s floating bodies and eery expressions continues to make this a scary episode to this day. Don’t watch this one right before bed!
8. “Chosen” (S7 Ep22)
Season seven certainly had its flaws but the series finale undoes any doubts viewers might have. “Chosen” has a little bit of everything that made Buffy great over the years including closure on both ships Bangel and Spuffy. There are many potential slayers around and new characters that have joined the fold for the final battle for Sunnydale but the core four remain. Having Buffy, Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Xander, and Giles in the halls of Sunnydale High once more just before the chaos of battle erupts was an excellent callback to the show’s early years.
9. “The Prom” (S3 Ep20)
Just when you thought season two’s heartbreak couldn’t be topped, the writers give us “The Prom”. Angel breaks up with Buffy right before her Senior Prom and we have to see her cry face which is incredibly contagious. He shows up to the dance anyway giving us all the Bangel feels because we know it can’t last and the pair ruins the song ‘Wild Horses’ forever. Buffy’s award as Class Protector takes the cake on the most feels spectrum. Her reaction shows it all and Gellar always did an outstanding job in her role on Buffy.
10. “Becoming Part II” (S2 Ep22)
How can we even begin to discuss this episode that closed the second season with everything in disarray? Willow is able to return Angel’s soul but its too late. Buffy’s mom kicks her out of her home because Buffy has to go save the world and Joyce (Kristine Sutherland) doesn’t understand. Giles is tortured mercilessly by Drusilla, who we enjoy up until this moment. The absolute worst moment is when Buffy realizes Angel is himself but she has to kill him anyway all while Christopher Beck’s beautiful theme ‘Close Your Eyes’ plays in the background further stirring the feels. Between her cry face and Sarah McLachlan’s ‘Full of Grace,’ there is no hope for a dry eye in the room. ‘Becoming’ epitomizes what makes Buffy the Vampire Slayer such excellent television, though, as heartwrenching as it may be.
Were your favorite Buffy episodes in our top ten? If not, share yours in the comments or on social media!