SyFy’s Top 20 Buffy Episodes Ever – What Do You Think???

Sky TV Channel SyFy this weekend revealed the Top 20 best episodes from the cult series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, as voted for by the fans. Antony Stewart Head, who played Buffy’s beloved Watcher Rupert Giles throughout the hit show introduced each episode, and shared stories, anecdotes and his own insights about the episodes with fans of the show.

The much loved and revered Buffy The Vampire Slayer was an amazing television series for many reasons; an amazingly strong female heroine, the timing and delivery of killer comic lines from the cast, the fantastical storylines balanced and juxtaposed with real human emotions and the challenges faced in everyday life, the amazing ethos and chemistry between the cast members which was second to none…

I could go on forever about all the things I think were great about that show, but if you’ve read this far, I’m guessing it’s because you feel the same way too, so I’ll leave the compliments at that for now!

For any Buffy fans out there who missed the mammoth Vampire Slayer Weekend on SyFy revealing the top 20, or for those of you who just didn’t have the time to watch all 20 episodes back to back from 11am to 9pm on Saturday and Sunday, read on. Here is a list of the episodes that Buffy fans voted their top 20 of all time, including a brief summary and my thoughts on the episodes.

20. Lovers Walk – Season 3

This is the one where Spike kidnaps Willow and tries to get her to perform a love-spell to make the dastardly Drusilla fall in love with him again. It is also the episode in which Willow and Xander are caught kissing, Cordelia gets hurt, both physically and emotionally in the rescue attempt, and Spike makes some insightful comments about Buffy’s ill-fated relationship with Angel.

This is a fantastic episode, full of pain, angst and foreboding, anyone who has been in love with the wrong person, or had feelings for a close friend whilst in another relationship, can completely understand where Willow and Xander are coming from.

I didn’t initially think of it, when considering my top 20 episodes, but I wouldn’t dispute it being up there!

19. Prophecy Girl – Season 1

The season finale, the episode of course where Buffy get to kill The Master, but can’t help dying for a few minutes in the process, before being resuscitated by the faithful Xander.

The episode is full of inevitably of fate and doom, after Giles finds a prophecy stating that The Master will kill Buffy. Another Brilliant one, I would agree with the fans that put this in the top 20.

18. Conversations With Dead People – Season 7

With The First Evil casting its destructive net over our Sunnydale residents, this powerful episode features our usual protagonists isolated and alone, engaging in ‘conversations’ with ghosts carrying his message.

Dawn speaks to Joyce who tells her that Buffy won’t choose her when the time comes, Willow speaks to the unfortunate Cassie who claims to bring a message from Tara saying she should kill herself to avoid hurting everyone by using magic again, and Buffy speaks to a vamp she knew from school who claims to have been recently sired by Spike.

Fantastic episode, agreed!!

17. Normal Again – Season 6

This episode has Warren, Jonathan and Andrew conjure a waxy demon who has powerful hallucinogenic properties in the needle in its arm. He stabs Buffy, causing her to slip in and out of a vivid daydream during which she is the normal girl Buffy Summers, in a mental institution having delusions of Sunnydale.

In the institution scenes, Joyce appears, and begs for Buffy to return to her and her father and ‘a normal life’. Her doctor tells her she needs to cut the ties keeping her in Sunnydale when she slips back into her states of delusion, resulting in a climactic scene where she tries to kill Willow, Xander and Dawn before finally coming to her senses.

This has got to be one of the most disturbing and upsetting Buffy episodes ever and that’s saying something because our poor slayer has been through her fair share of pain and torment. Definitely on my list, though I would have ranked it higher up!

16. Halloween – Season 2

Got to love the Buffy Halloween specials, and personally I think this one was the best. The cast end up getting their costumes from the enchanted shop belonging to Giles’ old friend Ethan Rayne, who since they parted company, had become a chaos worshipper.

The characters turn into their costumes and all manner of mayhem is unleashed in Sunnydale which nearly results in Buffy getting herself killed. Absolutely brilliant episode, perfectly capturing the good and bad parts of Halloween, as well as offering up some awesome insights into our favourite characters.

15. Graduation Day – Season 3

Yup, the one where the Mayor turns into a big snake and thinks he’s going to have it easy just picking off the poor Sunnydale graduation students one-by-one. Thankfully, his plan is foiled by Buffy’s ingenious plan to arm all the students, fill the library with explosives and use the knife he got for Faith to lead him to his molten death.

Thank god they didn’t go with the Hummus Offensive! It is of course the one where Angel feeds off Buffy to save him from the poison coursing through his veins after Faith shot him with a dipped arrow in the previous episode.

This is also the massive goodbye between Buffy and Angel, a sad end to the most dramatic unrequited love of all time. Definitely got my vote!

14. Restless – Season 4

This is the episode after the Scoobies have just enacted the conjoining spell and used it to kill Adam, the monster created by Maggie Walsh and those other meddling scientists at The Initiative. They get home crash out and are visited by the First Slayer in their dreams.

They each have frightening dreams underpinned by their own worst fears and Buffy must figure out how to stop it before the First Slayer kills them all in their sleep. This one is a creepy episode, and the dream sequences are brilliantly done by Whedon and his crew, but it wouldn’t be in my top 20.

13. Grave – Season 6

The season finale, you remember the one, where Willow goes bad and tries to destroy the whole entire world, before Xander stops her with his beautiful speech about friendship and a yellow crayon. Brilliant episode on so many levels, we are all dying for them to be able to reach out to Willow and pull her back from the precipice of hell, has to be in the Top 20 for sure.

12. Innocence – Season 2

The episode where it all starts to go horribly wrong for Buffy and Angel, after they sleep together for the first time and our lovable vamp with a soul becomes Angelus, one of the most violent, gruesome and evil vampires to ever walk the earth.

The episode features the brilliant juxtaposition between the very real subject of a young girl losing her virginity to a guy whose behavior then changes within the supernatural context of the vampire losing his soul. So powerful and so tragic for our poor little slayer, you can’t help but feel sorry for her! I would agree with this one being up there too!

11. Amends – Season 3

Ah I love this one! It is of course the episode where The First Evil starts playing nasty tricks on Angel, trying to get him to lose his mind, become Angelus again, or to take his own life. It is right after the others find out that Angel is back, and are giving Buffy a whole load of grief for spending time with him again.

Much to Buffy’s anger and disappointment, Angel succumbs to The First’s mind games and tries to take his own life at dawn – and then the miracle happens. Beautiful, poetic, insightful episode, would always get into my top 20, but would be placed higher up!

10. Passion – Season 2

This is that the episode that spells the end for Jenny Calendar, sent by her people to watch over Angel and the curse they placed on him. She is in the process of trying to restore his soul, before Drusilla gets a premonition and Angel hunts her down and kills her, leaving her broken body in Giles bed for him to find. Angel narrates throughout the episode, explaining how our passions define us as people and make us all that we are.

Fantastic episode. Gets my vote!

9. Dopplegangland – Season 3

This is the one where former vengeance demon Anya convinces Willow to help her do a spell to get her powers back.

The spell, of course, goes wrong, and the evil vampire Willow, from the alternate reality featured in the episode ‘The Wish’ ends up in Sunnydale, much to the confusion of the other Scoobies, who at first think their Willow has been vamped, before finally getting to the bottom of the affair.

Alyson Hannigan is brilliant in both roles, both as the trusty ‘old reliable’ Willow we know and love, and as the evil, malicious dominatrix Willow from another dimension. A great episode, and brilliantly funny too, it would probably just sneak into my top 20, but only just!

8. Fool For Love – Season 5

At the beginning of this episode, Buffy gets staked, by an ordinary vamp, she is saved by Riley’s timely arrival but the incident causes her to have grave concerns about her own mortality.

She tries to find out how previous slayers met their deaths, and after drawing lots of blanks, she turns to Spike for information about the two that he killed. During the flashbacks, we learn a great deal about the histories of Spike, Darla, Angel and Drusilla, and a little more about Spike’s infatuation with Buffy. Awesome episode – gets my vote.

7. The Wish – Season 3

A heartbroken Cordelia (she had just caught Xander kissing Willow) unknowingly invokes vengeance demon Anyanka, who appears to her in the guise of new Sunnydale student Anya.

Cordelia wishes that ‘Buffy Summers had never come to Sunnydale’ and the cast is plunged into the terrible parallel universe that would have existed if we didn’t have our wonderful slayer. The alternate reality is brilliantly portrayed by the cast, and it is a fantastic episode, in fact it was randomly seeing this episode that made me start watching the series in the first place.

Totally agree with this one!

6. Chosen – Season 7

The last ever episode…The one where Buffy kills the seemingly invincible Caleb, Willow performs an epic spell to empower all The Potentials with slayer strength, Angel pops up with a nifty amulet, and Spike helps Buffy to save the whole goddamn world.

I don’t think I can find the words to say how epic I think this episode is, it has absolutely everything, definitely on my list, although I would have wedged it in somewhere in the top 5.

5. The Gift – Season 5

The series finale of season 5, the one where Buffy finally defeats Glory, the Hell-God from another dimension, but has to sacrifice her own life in order to save Dawn. Willow manages to get Tara’s mind back from Glory, Spike shows just how much he loves Buffy by supporting her when the others wouldn’t, and Giles and Buffy’s relationship is tested to the maximum.

Extreme emotions course through every scene in this episode and it is probably one of the most powerful, poignant and well-written Buffy episodes ever.

I wonder if there are any Buffy fans out there who didn’t cry at the end of this episode. I think this might be my number 1.

4. The Body – Season 5

This is of course the episode where Buffy’s beloved and long-suffering mum, Joyce Summers, dies, after suffering a brain hemorrhage. The episode was stripped of all music, a regular feature in the soundtrack of all the other episodes and was brilliant in the way it showed the characters dealing with this dramatic loss.

Angel also pops up, for a brilliant cameo appearance. The episode got a great deal of critical acclaim, and it isn’t hard to see why. It was fantastically done, and definitely deserves a spot in the top 20.

3. Becoming – Season 2

Yup, it’s the one where she kills Angelus, or Angel, her beloved Vampire with a soul, which is returned to him in the final moments by Willow, in what is her biggest spell to date! Even though Angelus had been tormenting Buffy and her friends, when his soul is returned for that brief moment, you can really see the love that they still share. Unfortunately killing him was the only was the only way to stop the demon Acathla from destroying the world, so Buffy had to do the honorable thing.

What a choice to have to make though. A fantastically significant episode in the tumultuous relationship that Buffy and Angel share, this episode more than earns its right to be in the top 20.

2. Hush – Season 4

This is the one where those creepy villains ‘The Gentlemen’ sneak into town and steal everyone’s voices. This episode is almost completely devoid of speech, yet somehow Whedon’s cast still manage to communicate the usual humour, distress and emotions the way they always do.

Though I will agree that this episode is a brilliant one, I would not have ranked it so high up the list, for me, this one kinda belongs in the bottom half of the top 20.

DRUM ROLL……

1. Once More With Feeling – Season 6

The much acclaimed musical episode, where the entire cast cannot resist the urge to burst into song at any given moment after Dawn unknowingly invokes a demon that wants to take her down to the underworld to be his bride and make everyone else dance and sing themselves to death.

During their involuntary song outbursts the characters reveal their deepest, darkest emotions and this episode is integral to the development of these relationships throughout the series. NEVER EVER WOULD I HAVE PUT IT AT NUMBER ONE THOUGH!! Sorry about the caps, but this really wound me up.

While I would agree it is an awesome episode, there are a whole pile of better ones in my opinion. Maybe I’m just bias about musicals; I’m not overly fond of them because they ruin the suspension of disbelief for me. Whilst Whedon’s narrative supported them bursting into song unlike a traditional musical, and the songs provide useful character insights, I still can’t quite believe it got voted the best ever episode.

The most notable absence from the list for me would be the penultimate episode of Season 4, Primeval, the one where the Scoobies perform a conjoining spell and kill Adam.

I thought that was absolutely brilliant and deserves a spot in the top 10, let alone 20. Also, Spiral is a fantastic episode – where the gang go on the run from Glory, and Helpless, the episode in which Buffy is put through The Council’s horrible test and loses her powers. I guess there are just too many fantastic episodes and we’re never all going to agree on the top 20!!

What do you think of the list? Do you agree with the majority of other Buffy fans and think that these are the 20 best episodes of Buffy ever? Leave a comment and let us know!

You can watch all 20 episodes on Syfy

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About Sheniz Raif

I am, and think I have always been, a writer. I’ve been scribbling stories since I was old enough to hold a pen and thoroughly enjoy using my words to make people laugh or inspire them. I love going to gigs and am a professional groupie for a couple of awesome bands. I am an avid fan of socializing, football, film, and refusing to grow up! I’m also a proud member of the BODO UK team!

  • Laila

    I agree with most of the list, but I have to disagree with you on about the S4 finale. I hated the whole ‘Initiative’ plot line. It’what makes S4 my least favorite season.

    • JRock

      Right. How’d they build a secret underground facility under the campus? How long had it been there? Adam was weak.

  • Sylvia

    I agree with the list. However, I disagree with most of your opinions. Restless wouldn’t be on your top 20? It’s regarded as one of the best episodes.

  • Ryan Hack

    You realize it was Xander and not Dawn who summoned the demon in OMWF…