This is a hard list to make. For one, I love each and every single episode of this amazing series. I could quote you a favorite line or describe a favorite scene from each of them. But this list is the elite. The top 30. It was going to be 10. And then 15. And then 20 and 25 but I decided on 30. And I'm sticking to it. Probably. So here it is, for your enjoyment, my favorite episodes of Buffy:
30. Anne, season three, written and directed by Joss Whedon- Some people think this is a rare Joss misfire of a episode. It makes my list because it was the first episode I ever saw and left me wanting to see more.
Buffy: "Wanna see my impression of Ghandi?" (debrains bad guy)
Buffy: "Yeah well, he was really pissed off."
29. When She Was Bad, season two, written and directed by Joss Whedon- Again, not everyone's favorite but one of mine.
Cordelia: "Whatever is causing the Joan Collins 'tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it."
Willow: "Well, what about the rest of the note?"
Buffy: "What rest of the note?"
Willow: "The part that says, 'P.S., this is a trap'?"
28. Band Candy, season three, written by Jane Espenson and directed by Michael Lange- This episode is a frakkin' riot. Giles and Joyce listening to Cream and then going out on the town, Snyder hanging out with the gang, plus Ethan Rayne.
Highlights: All of the above plus:
Buffy: "Something's weird."
Oz: "Something's not?"
Willow: "Kiss rocks? Why would anybody want to kiss...oh wait. I get it."
27. Angel, season one, written by David Greenwalt and directed by Scott Brazil- The episode where we find out that Angel is actually a vampire. It's a classic.
Highlights: The very end, where Buffy and Angel share a kiss and Buffy's cross burns Angel. Love hurts, baby.
26. Pangs, season four, written by Jane Espenson and directed by Michael Lange- The Thanksgiving episode. And the epsiode where Angel returns, albeit briefly and without Buffy knowing (at least until the very end), to Sunnydale. It's really a very funny outing. Which is nice except that in its orginial airing, it was followed by Buffy's crossover on Angel that made you cry your eyes out. But isn't that what life's all about? Laughing followed immediately by bawling? Anyway....
Spike: "I'm saying Spike had a little trip to the vet and now he doesn't chase the other puppies anymore."
Spike: "A bear! You made a bear!"
Buffy: "I didn't mean to."
Spike: "Undo it! Undo it!" (The line delivery is hilarious...it might lose something on the page or the screen as the case may be.)
Angel: "I'm not evil again. Why does everyone think that?"
25. Something Blue, season four, written by Tracey Forbes and directed by Nick Marck- Another hysterical episode. This time hijinks ensue when Willow casts a spell that goes awry. The gang's left fulfilling her will. Xander becomes a demon magnet, Giles is blind, and Buffy and Spike are engaged.
Giles: (Re: Buffy and Spike kissing) "Stop that right now! I can hear the smacking."
Buffy: "What's wrong with Buffy?"
Giles: "Ah, such a good question."
Spike: "This is the crack team that foils my every plan? I am deeply ashamed."
24. Checkpoint, season five, written by Jane Espenson and Doug Petrie, directed by Nick Marck- The epsiode where we find out that Glory is a god. I love this episode for the end of it where Buffy puts Quentin and the rest in their places. And throws swords. That's always a good time.
Highlights: Buffy throwing the sword at Nigel.
Buffy: "You're watchers. Without a slayer, you're pretty much watching Masterpiece Theatre."
23. Dopplegangland, season three, written and directed by Joss Whedon- The episode where evil Vamp Willow reeks havoc in Sunnydale. This, as you can imagine, leads to some very funny moments.
Highlights: It's all Willow.
Willow: "Well, did you try looking inside the sofa in hell?"
Willow: "Say, you all didn't happen to do a bunch of drugs, did ya?"
Willow: "That's me as a vampire? I'm so evil. And skanky. And I think I'm kind of gay!"
Willow, undercover at the Bronze, breaking character to wave at Oz.
22. Lovers Walk, season three, written by Dan Vebber and directed by David Semel- The episode where Willow and Xander's affair is brought to light when Drusilla dumps Spike for a Chaos Demon and sends a broken hearted Spike back to Sunnydale. Some definite funny moments, but also some very heartbreaking ones too.
Spike: "You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love 'til it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood. Blood screaming inside of you to work its will. I may be love's bitch but at least I'm man enough to admit it." AND Spike drowning his sorrows in hot chocolate and mini marshmallows with Joyce.
21. The Prom, season three, written by Marti Noxon, directed by David Solomon- Well, this is the prom episode. Angel breaks up with Buffy, some psycho plans to ruin the prom, Buffy, of course, puts a stop to it and gets her one perfect high school moment when Angel shows up unexpectedly for one last slow dance.
Giles (to Wesley): "You have the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone."
Buffy receiving her "class protector" award AND the aforementioned slow dance.
20. I Only Have Eyes For You, season two, written by Marti Noxon and directed by James Whitmore Jr. In this episode, Buffy and Angelus are possessed by poltergiests reliving a tragedy that played out in Sunnydale High fifty years earlier. Lots of excellent angst.
Xander: Something weird is going on. Isn't that our school motto?
Willow: The only solution is the final solution.
Xander: Nuke the school? I like that.
Willow: Not quite. Exorcism.
Cordelia: Are you crazy? I saw that movie. Even the priest died.
19. Storyteller, season seven, written by Jane Espenson and directed by Marita Grabiak. Andrew, the last surviving member of the Trio, is making a documentary of Buffy called Buffy, Slayer of the Vampyres. Thanks to his liberal use of revisionist history, the episode is quite hysterical.
Warren: What'll it do to Buffy?
Andrew: Make her super magnetic!
Jonathan: Wow, she won't be able to get out of her car.
Warren: And knives and other sharp things will fly at her.
Andrew: We could walk right by her, and she wouldn't be able to stop us.
Warren: Unless we were wearing metal belt buckles, then we would stick to her.
Andrew: In my plan, we are beltless.
Jonathan: Wow, you're the best, Andrew.
Warren: Yep, and good-looking and smart too.
18. Helpless, season three, written by David Fury and directed by James A. Contner. It's Buffy's eighteenth birthday which means the Watchers Council is preparing to put her through a cruel and sadistic test where they strip her of her powers with a mild muscle relaxant and stick her in a house with a psycho vampire that she has to kill without the use of her superpowers. Things go awry when the psycho vamp escapes and kidnaps Buffy's mom.
Buffy: If I was at full Slayer power I'd be punning right about now.
Quentin: You think the test was unfair?
Buffy: I think you better leave town before I get my strength back.
Quentin: We're not in the business of fair, Miss Summers, we're fighting a war.
Giles: You're waging a war. She's fighting it. There is a difference.
17. Earshot, season three, written by Jane Espenson and directed by Regis Kimble, the first of two episodes in the third season which were postponed due to the Columbine High School tragedy (the other was the season finale). This one because Buffy, thanks to her suddenly developed psychic powers, discovers someone thinking the ominous this time tomorrow, I'm going to kill you all.
Highlights: Buffy using her telepathy to show up the snobby smart girl in class.
Xander: (his thoughts) What am I gonna do? I think about sex all the time. Sex. Help! Four times five is thirty, five times six is thirty-two. Naked girls. Naked Buffy. Oh stop me!
Buffy: God, Xander, is that all you think about?
Xander: Actually... bye!
16. Family, season five, written and directed by Joss Whedon. It's Tara's birthday and she feels like she's having trouble fitting into Willow's group of friends. Then Tara's family shows up and say they've come to collect her to bring her home before the demon in her comes out. Tara doesn't want to leave but doesn't want her friends to see the demon side of her so she casts a spell to disguise that part but, of course, it doesn't work out the way its intended. Spike comes and saves the day. Amy Adams guest stars as Cousin Beth.
Tara: (to Buffy about Glory) You learn her source, and we'll introduce her to her insect reflection. (Everybody gives her a weird look) Th-that was funny if you, um, studied Taglarin mythic rites and, um, are a complete dork.
Riley: Then how come Xander didn't laugh?
Xander: I don't know that Taglarin stuff.
Donny: So all these books got spells in 'em? Turn people into frogs, things like that?
Xander: Yeah, we're building a race of frog-people.
Spike punches Tara in the nose and they both react with intense pain)
Willow: (angry) Hey! (with dawning realization) Hey...
Tara: He hit my nose!
Willow: And it hurt! Uh, him, I mean.
Buffy: And that only works on humans.
Spike: There's no demon in there. That's just a family legend, am I right? Just a bit of spin to keep the ladies in line. Oh, you're a piece of work. I like you.
Tara: (softly, to Willow) I'm not a demon.
Willow: You're not a demon.
Tara: He hurt my nose.
Spike: Yeah, you're welcome.
15. Surprise, season two, written by Marti Noxon and directed by Michael Lange. It's Buffy's birthday and the gang is planning a surprise party for her. The real surprise comes for the audience when we find out Jenny Calendar isn't all she's cracked up to be. The surprise comes for Oz when he gets inducted into the Scooby gang when witnessing first hand Buffy's calling. Oh, and Buffy and Angel sleep together which robs Angel of his soul and turns him back to Angelus.
Oz: I'm gonna ask you to go out with me tomorrow night... and I'm kind of nervous about it, actually. It's interesting.
Willow: Oh, well, if it helps at all, I'm gonna say yes.
Oz: Yeah, it helps. It creates a comfort zone. Do you want to go out with me tomorrow night?
Willow: Oh, I can't!
Oz: Well, see, I like that you're unpredictable.
Oz: Uh, did anyone else just see that guy turn to dust?
Willow: Well uh, sort of...
Xander: Yeah, vampires are real, lot of them live in Sunnydale, Willow'll fill you in.
Willow: Now, I know that it's hard to accept at first.
Oz: Actually, it explains a lot.
14. Innocence, season two, written and directed by Joss Whedon- It's the morning after episode. Angelus is back plotting to destroy the world while a sad Buffy tries to stop him.
Highlights: The scene where Buffy storms into Jenny Calendar's classroom to confront her about what she knows. And the following dialogue:
Oz: So, do you guys steal weapons from the Army a lot?
Willow: Well, we don't have cable, so we have to make our own fun.
13. The Weight of the World, season five, written by Doug Petrie and directed by David Solomon- Buffy, following the loss of Dawn, is in a catatonic state. Willow performs some very powerful magic to bring her back.
Highlights: One of the first scenes when Spike realizes that Ben and Glory are the same but no one else does because of the spell that doesn't affect him.
12. Fool For Love, season five, written by Douglas Petrie and directed by Nick Marck- The first part of a Buffy/Angel crossover that explores some of our favorite vampire's history. We get to see Spike as the man known as William the Bloody, for his bloody awful poetry.
Highlights: William's poetry, Willow and Xander and Anya "helping" Riley patrol.
11. Conversations With Dead People, season seven, written by Jane Espenson and Drew Goddard. Directed by Nick Marck. A pretty cool episode where Buffy, Dawn and Willow all have seperate encounters with, well, with dead people. Thus the title.
10. Him, season seven, written by Drew Z. Greenberg and directed by Michael Gershman- Dawn develops an intense crush on a classmate. Then Buffy develops an intense crush on the same classmate. Willow and Anya follow suit and then hijinks ensure. It's a filler episode but a damn funny one.
Highlights: The scene where all four women strive to prove who loves RJ the most, especially the part where Buffy plans to kill the principal with her rocket launcher and Spike stops her. Also the scene in the bronze when both Xander and Willow are checking out the hot chick dancing with RJ and then their horror when they realize the chick is Dawn. Plus this conversation:
Buffy: You shredded my outfit.
Dawn: I'll buy you a new one.
Buffy: That's not the point. I don't want a new cheerleading outfit.
Xander: Now, now, let's not be hasty.
9. Becoming, Part One, season two, written and directed by Joss Whedon- The first part of the second season finale, the one where Kendra dies and we see more of Angel's journey, from the human Liam to Angelus to Angel.
Spike: It's a big rock. I can’t wait to tell my friends. They don't have a rock this big.
8. Becoming, Part Two, season two, written and directed by Joss Whedon- The conclusion of the second season finale, the one where Buffy teams up with Spike in order to stop Angel. Angst galore. And then some.
Highlights: Well, the aforementioned angst, of course. And the following conversations:
Angelus: Just tell me what I need to know.
Giles: In order to be worthy...
Giles: You must perform the ritual... in a tutu. Pillock!
Buffy: Okay, fine, you're not down with Angel. Why would you ever come to me?
Spike: I want Dru back, I want it like it was before he came back. The way she acts around him..
Buffy: You're pathetic, I lost a friend tonight!
Spike: I wasn't in on that raiding party.
Buffy: And I may lose more! The whole earth may be sucked into Hell and you want my help because your girlfriend's a big ho? Well, let me take this opportunity to not care.
Spike: I can't fight them both alone and neither can you.
Buffy: I hate you.
Spike: And I'm all you've got.
7. Selfless, season seven, written by Drew Goddard and directed by David Solomon- The episode that explores Anya in her various incarnations from Sweden in the year 880 to the lost musical number from Once More With Feeling.
Highlights: The aforementioned lost musical number and seeing that Swedish Anya (or Aud) was not afraid of bunnies. Also, the truth about Willow's alledged "Kick his ass!" statement (a reference to the season two epsiode Becoming, Part II.
6. Passion, season two, written by Ty King, directed by Michael Gershman- The Angel narrated episode where Angelus stalks Buffy, tortures her friends, kills Willow's fish and then snaps Jenny Calendar's neck. Ahhh, good times.
Jenny (to Giles): "I know you feel betrayed."
Giles: "Yes, well, that's one of the unpleasant side effects of betrayal."
AND (this is so not a happy highlight), the scene where Giles discovers Jenny's body. It's beautiful and tragic and sad and while not a happy scene, who says it has to be in order to be a highlight?
5. Restless, season four, written and directed by Joss Whedon- The season four finale, where the gang is stalked, via their dreams, by the first slayer and some guy with cheese. Very unusual for a season finale which, up to this point, were all big battle based shows.
Highlights: Giles sings.
4. The Gift, season five, written and directed by Joss Whedon- The season five finale, the one where Buffy dies. I figured out what was going to happen about thirty seconds before it happened and screamed. A fantastic episode to cap an amazing season (one of the best, in my opinion.).
Highlights: Glory slaying the Buffybot and saying, "Did everyone know the slayer's a robot?"
3. Hush, season four, written and directed by Joss Whedon- The nearly silent episode. So cool, I actually forgot I had full use of my voice.
Highlights: Giles's presentation to the Scooby Gang, Buffy and Riley finding out each other's secret.
2. The Body, season five, written and directed by Joss Whedon- The episode where Joyce Summers (AKA Buffy's mom) dies. Well, technically she dies in the episode before, but this is the one that deals with it and blows your mind in the process. Makes me cry every single time I see it.
Highlights: Anya's speech in Willow's dorm room.
1. Once More With Feeling, season six, written and directed by Joss Whedon- The musical episode. If you haven't seen this one, please do so but don't watch it on cable because they cut scenes out of it. Borrow someone's DVDs for the best viewing experience.
Highlights: What isn't a highlight, really? From the opening credits to the singing Mutant Enemy logo at the end, this entire episode makes this section.