Buffy the Vampire Slayer Seasons Ranking

Lorraine: We figured we’d give this its own post, mostly so you all could also rank with us in the comments.

I feel like I’m going to put this order up, wake up tomorrow and feel differently. Seasons are made up of so many moving parts, that ranking this way is difficult. I think I’m stalling now. OKAY. OKAY. Here we go:

  1. Season 5 – When season 5 took first place in my eyes, it surprised me. I was convinced an early season would top this list, but the themes of life, death, love, loss and family in this season were often beautifully handled (with only one exception I can think of) and it resonated with me. I have a feeling a younger version of me might’ve appreciated 3 or 2 more, but walking away from this on first watch, Season 5 stands out the most. It was consistently good, beautifully developed the characters and had a payoff bigger than any other season. It gave us The Body and Forever. It gave us Fool for Love and The Gift. It gave us Dawn and The Magic Box. For all that, it gets my number one spot.
  2. Season 3 – Seasons 3 and 2 could almost be flip flopped on this list, but in the end, season 3 takes the top spot. The Mayor was hands down the best Big Bad of the seven seasons and just truly fun to watch. This season was a little bit more consistent from episode to episode and gave us Faith, vamp!Willow in both Dopplegangland and The Wish, probably one of the most memorable moments of the entire series in The Prom, plus of course graduation from Sunnydale High. Its down side mostly came in the drawn out end of Angel and Buffy, but it’s a small complaint in the face of a quality season.
  3. Season 2 – Season 2 struggles a little bit more with the filler episodes. It was as if, the first half of this season especially still had touches of the bad things S1 did. (I’m looking at you, Inca Mummy Girl, Reptile Boy, Bad Eggs and a few more.) Still, when it got it right, it was emotionally gripping in a way season 3 wasn’t. Surprise, Innocence, and Passion brought out the Team Feels flags, and was all capped off with Becoming Parts 1 and 2. Plus, it has to be mentioned that Oz was a surprise in this season. I didn’t expect to love him the way I did.
  4. Season 7 – When I think of season 7, I kind of feel sad for what it could’ve been. There were so many good set-ups here, from the First to the Potentials, that were ultimately hampered by weird pacing and plot problems. Even so, with six season under their belts, the worst episodes of this season weren’t the worst of the series, and the same with the best. In the end, the writers gave us enough character moments and lines of continuity that it felt like they were tipping their hats to the fans, especially in the top season episodes, Storyteller and Selfless.
  5. Season 1 – This is a hard rank. The first season was just not great quality, especially when it came to the mythology, but also in production values. And yet it has the campy air of a cult classic. It’s the foundation for this thing we love, so it gains nostalgia points that keep it from ranking at the bottom.
  6. Season 4 – It’s such a shame this season’s arc failed in so many ways. The Initiative on paper seems like a perfectly fine concept, but in practice… woof. That plus the loss of Sunnydale High, the Wiggins Library, the Summers home and lots of those friendship and character moments that sold the show when the plot fell short made this a tough season to get through. The funny part is that it has so many fantastic single episodes, including some top series episodes like Hush, Who Are You, Restless, Fear Itself and Superstar. It also gave us Where the Wild Things Are, though, so.
  7. Season 6 – I wasn’t sure whether to rank this last because it’s certainly a different bad than season 4. Or maybe I should just go ahead and say, “this is the season I liked the least.” Leaving any sort of measurable quality issues aside, I just enjoyed this season the least. And for that simple, simple reason, it’s at the bottom of my list.


SweeneyI’ve gone back and forth on parts of this a lot. I love 5, 3, and 2 all so very much. I tried my hardest to rank these in a way that treated each season as its own entity. What I mean by that is that I ultimately settled any disputes – close rankings – by how the full picture looked. I’ll get into what I mean by that within the rankings, but that’s my general explanation.

This ranking was a tricky thing to do. More than anything, it’s a nice way to revisit all seven seasons. That was my biggest take away from this exercise.

  1. Season 5 – What a beautiful season. Glory wasn’t a perfect Big Bad, but she sure was fun. This season also has some brilliant, brilliant episodes. The Body? The Gift? I CAN’T. Even the moments where this season faltered weren’t missteps grave enough that they earn any real consideration for my Worst Of list. I’m usually inclined to say that high-school-as-hell-mouth is the concept I think this show tackled the best, but everything they did here was so artfully handled. I loved the weird introduction of Dawn, grappling with Joyce’s death and adulthood. And then there’s that final speech in The Gift. I choke up when that gifset crosses my dash on Tumblr because fuck that’s beautiful. It’s also a pretty close approximation of Buffy’s character thesis – perpetually aware that the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. And usually choosing to do so anyway. Except when it comes time to make the hard choices.
  2. Season 3 – This was a close contender. The Mayor is definitely the best Big Bad of all. This season also gave us Faith who had a pretty incredible arc across the two shows in fairly few appearances, all tallied. I +1 Lor’s sentiment that the Angel/Buffy stuff was weirdly paced. (Definitely a case of the show’s behind-the-wheels reality showing, because ACTOR CONTRACTS, GUYS! At some point the writers were all, “I don’t know how many more Angel-on-a-beach scenes we can write.”) This season was also just plain fun. I don’t have any major reservations about re-watching any of this. Even The Zeppo. I WOULD EVEN RE-WATCH THE ZEPPO. (But, like, with a lot of alcohol.)
  3. Season 2 – Angelus was also a pretty fantastic Big Bad. My second favorite, I’d say. The tragic magic vagina device is issue-packed, but it was also really awesome to watch Buffy grow up through that. We got to see Buffy really struggle with the emotional weight of her calling and its impact on not only her own life but the lives of everyone she’s tied up with. It addressed the inherent complications of being a Slayer with so many close friends. (Which was itself a nice way to set up for Faith’s arrival the following season – this is what that reality looks like when you take away a support system like Kendra’s.) Again, I’d even re-watch the filler episodes, but there are more of them here than in S3.
  4. Season 1 – Nostalgia, man. There’s a lot of ridiculous stuff going on in this season. Heavy with the set up and with stuff that would be later contradicted. But this is where it all began and I love this season for that alone. I also adore Prophecy Girl. I was also more won over by the camp. Of course, I didn’t blog much of this season, so maybe that helps it for me.
  5. Season 7 – This is a solidly middle-of-the-road season. It was neither remarkably good nor remarkably bad. I loved the concept they were going for with the season. It started out strong. It just struggled to live up to that. I’m doing this ranking before finalizing my series ranking, but it’s a safe bet that nothing in this season will make my Best Of post. (Both S4 and S6 have more viable contenders, but we’ll get to that.) I guess I just wanted/expected more. That said, they did an OK job of tying things up, filled with nice callbacks. The First nicely encapsulates my problem, actually – a great concept, good way to bring back a lot of familiar faces, ultimately built on a shaky foundation and badly constructed. I do like that if they had to end the show twice, they let her have a happy final, final ending. The Gift >>>> Chosen, and I think The Gift works as an ending if the show ended at 5 seasons, but something about dragging Buffy and her fans through the mud for two more seasons called for this ending.
  6. Season 4 – I came THISCLOSE to ranking this season above S7. I know, that’s surprising, because “UGH S4!” I hate The Initiative. I hated the separation of the Scoobies, because it just didn’t make for good or interesting TV. But here’s the thing: S4 has some standout episodes. I still liked Spike! Hush, This Year’s Girl/Who Are You, Restless, and Fear Itself are better episodes than any in S4. S4 and S7 suffer from a similar problem of concept v. execution. At the end of the day, they both bombed the latter but I respected the S7 concept a lot more than the S4 concept. While I wanted to recognize this for having some episodes I’d place higher than S7 episodes, I’d probably rather watch anything in S7 than The Freshman, Beer Bad, or Where The Wild Things Are. This season had high highs and low lows. Ultimately, I made this decision based on the over all statement/purpose/whathaveyou of the season.
  7. Season 6 – Oof. As Lor put it, this is a very different bad than S4. I don’t have a whole lot more to say than what she said either. It was the hardest season to blog and watch and while some of that was on purpose – darkseasonisdark – I think a lot of that was faulty execution. There are a lot of dark things in the season that weren’t entirely self-aware dark, which is to say that I think some problematic issues were raised properly but a lot of others weren’t because the writers didn’t seem entirely aware of what they were writing. I didn’t enjoy this season. Normal Again is probably the only episode I like enough that I could watch it tomorrow (interestingly, it was only my #2 in the season rankings; I’d bump it up now) though I think I’ll get there eventually – once the scars have healed and all – with OMWF and Tabula Rasa. That’s probably it, though. Twice through and never again for the rest of it.


KirstiSo. Much as was the case with the rankings for season 1, Past!Kirsti (I still hate that bitch) would have ranked the seasons COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY (6, 3, 7, 1, 2, 5, 4 if you were curious). But I’m not Josie Grossie (name that movie) Past!Kirsti any more, so let’s do this thing for real.

  1. Season 3 – Sweet baby Jesus, I love season 3. There were some rough moments (*cough* Dead Man’s Party *cough*), just like in any season. But for me? It’s the perfect mixture of feels and funny, ridiculous and realistic. Oz and Cordy and Angel are still around. It gave us Faith, Wesley and Anya. And it gave us the Mayor, who is quite possibly the most perfect villain in the whole of the Buffyverse, simply because he’s the most human. Stand out episodes: Doppelgangland, The Wish, and Band Candy.
  2. Season 5 – One that snuck up on me this time around. Past!Kirsti got stuck on the “Ugh, Riley and Dawn, snore” factor. But this is SUCH A STRONG SEASON. It got off to a rocky start with Buffy vs Dracula, and it had some ridiculous cheesy moments.  But this was the season where Buffy grew up. She learnt to put family first, to deal with Real World Shit, to accept the reality of being the Slayer. Dawn and I had a rocky start, simply because she was written STUPIDLY YOUNG a lot of the time. But by the end of the season, I was firmly on Team Feels where Dawnie was concerned. Stand out episodes: The Gift, The Body, and Fool For Love.
  3. Season 2 – A lot of filler episodes in the first half of the season, followed by some drawn out “Angelus is waiting to make his move” stuff in the second half of the season. The middle and the end, however, were excellent. The season that gave us Oz and Drusilla and Spike wasn’t always one that I loved, but was definitely a game changer. Stand out episodes: Becoming Part 2, I Only Have Eyes for You, and Phases.
  4. Season 1 – Frequently cheesy, season 1 took a long time to settle into itself. But once it did, we got some pretty fabulous acting, even if the episodes were often totally camp. Stand out episodes: Prophecy Girl and Angel.
  5. Season 7 – I was firmly on the struggle bus for most of season 7, and in a lot of ways, it’s easier to think of it as Season 6, Part 2 than it is to think of it as a stand-alone entity. The Potentials were an interesting concept that was often poorly executed, and there were a lot of ideas that were thrown into the mix far too late in the game. Still, we got an ending and a Slayer origin story, so…there’s that. Stand out episodes: Storyteller, Chosen and Potential.
  6. Season 4 – This is an odd season to rank, because the overall arc was AWFUL. The Initiative was kind of a logical place to take the show, but the whole “We’re going to secretly build nuclear powered super-soldiers by welding demon parts onto human bodies” thing was indescribably ridiculous. So the main villain and the overall arc? TERRIBLE. Plus, there were truly godawful episodes like Beer Bad and Where the Wild Things Are. But there were SO MANY truly phenomenal episodes in the mix that I have a hard time believing they came from the same season. Stand out episodes: Hush, Restless, and Who Are You?.
  7. Season 6 – Oof. I admire what they were trying to do – life as the Big Bad. But they went too far down the rabbit hole to the point where the entire thing just became difficult to watch. Between Buffy’s depression, the attempted rape, Tara’s death, Willow’s addiction, Dawn’s kleptomania and the ramifications of Xander leaving Anya at the altar, it left the audience reeling. Still, at least there was that whole musical episode to perk us up again. Stand out episodes: Once More With Feeling, and Normal Again.



Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.

Sweeney (all posts)

I collect elaborate false eyelashes, panda gifs, and passport stamps. I spend too much time on YouTube. Reconciling my aversion to leaving the house/wearing pants with my deep desire to explore everything is my life's great struggle.

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  • antiscian

    Great post, guys. It’s really interesting to hear everyone’s take on each season in comparison, it’s cool how shows (and books and movies) can affect us all so differently. Here’s my 2 cents:

    1. Season Two: I watched Buffy as it aired, and I was about the same age as the characters- going through high school while they were. So I have a lot of nostalgia/teen angst feels that thoroughly affect my rankings as well as any re-watches. Season 2 gave me the most feels that any TV show ever had. I had a big Angel crush, so watching him and Buffy fight at the end was both awesome and terrible, but stopping the sword with her bare hands was so badass that it cemented her as my personal heroine forever and ever (if she wasn’t there already). I actually wrote a really long diary entry after Becoming Part 2 that was mostly to the effect of: HOLY CRAP SHE STABBED ANGEL IN THE HEART AAAAH! Then I had to wait a whole summer until Season 3 came back. Plus, the part where Jenny Calendar’s disk-of-soul-redemption-how-to gets lost behind the desk nearly undid me.

    2. Season Three: The Mayor is awesome. Faith is awesome. This was the last hurrah of the original high school concept. EVERY show changes when characters move on to college and this was no different. I remember being totally blown away by The Wish, plus totally in love with Oz. A solid season.

    3. Season One: Mainly for nostalgia! It brought up so many good plot points, particularly with Prophecy Girl- love that episode. I also have a soft spot for The Witch, but probably because my friends and I have quoted it so many times. The Buffy-Willow friendship is also one of my favorites on TV ever, and it’s great to watch it develop.

    4. Season Five: This season wasn’t as strong as Season 3 in my early opinion, though after reading your thorough analytical recaps, it probably is writing-wise, but as I said, this ranking takes nostalgia highly into consideration. I wasn’t a huge fan of Glory because, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really like the going-up-against-a-god-or-omniscient-all-powerful-being plotline because it can get one-sided pretty easily, although admittedly they did a decent job. I didn’t like Dawn AT ALL at first, though reading through your re-caps has helped, analyzing her character without having to hear the high-pitched screaming and whining makes her come off a lot better, and she does have a great character arc over the next few seasons. I remember being SO MAD when Buffy died that I swore off the series, even after I learned there would be more seasons, so it was several more years before I watched any more of it. But strong reactions are generally proof of good storytelling, even if they’re negative. The first time I read Of Mice And Men, I threw the book across the room after the ending, and now Steinbeck is one of my most favorite authors.

    5. Season Seven: Once I got back on board with Buffy the series, I enjoyed this season. The Potentials was interesting and the final battle was appropriately epic. It was nice to have a happy ending after the sacrifice at the end of Season 5.

    6. Season Four: Ranked not-last because of some solid episodes, particularly Hush. I really didn’t like the college transition, and the Initiative was terrible, although I guess it might have been redeemable if they’d been able to keep Professor Walsh as the Big Bad. Plus Oz leaving = booooo forever!

    7. Season Six: Since I haven’t re-watched this one over and over like I have Seasons 1-3, it sticks out less in my mind. They handled Buffy’s resurrection well, but I think I was still mad at her dying in the first place. Still, it gave us Once More With Feeling and Tabula Rasa, which I always watch right together whenever I re-watch, and they’re always amazing. PLUS! I was listening to the OMWF soundtrack the other day, and realized that at the end of Buffy’s singing showdown with Sweet, Dawn says, “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” Isn’t that what Buffy said to her in The Gift? Feels!

    For those of you still here, thank you for reading my rather long post. Your patience is admirable and appreciated. Ranking things is fun!

  • Wilhelmina Upton

    Fan-fucking-tastic. Disqus ate my comment when I hit post and now I want to HULKSMASH everything because I now have to type it all again. *takes deep breaths*

    Ranking the seasons seems weird and complicated so I’ll just go with my gut here: 5, 3, 6, 2, 7, 1, 4. That looks random enough.

    Season 5 and 3 are obvious choices to me, an easy rank. Seasons 2 and 1 don’t score higher mostly because seeing the Scoobies in High School is weird to me and I don’t remember much about those episodes except for them featuring Oz, Cordy and the Wiggins library which is not enough to make good TV in my opinion. Seriously, I’ve seen those seasons twice now, some episodes even more often and I don’t remember anything that happened except for Angel and the vagina-gate. Plus I miss Tara, seeing straight Willow is always weird to me.
    I will always have a soft spot for season 6 because it’s when I started watching this show. Sure it’s drawn out and the Spike plot gets really really crappy but I love the idea of real life as the big bad of the season because it resonates with me so much. Buffy is still dealing with the aftermath of Joyce’s death which just hits really close to home for me. I may not have let a bleached vampire abuse me, but I understand Buffys reactions. Also this season features Once More With Feeling and I love it.
    And season 4 is the last one because I hate it. I hate Riley. I hate the Initiative. It’s boring and no fun to watch in my opinion. The one exception of season 4 to me is Hush, still one of my favourite episodes in TV history on any show.

    So there you have it.

  • Ashlea K.

    Much like past!Kirsti, past!Ashlea would have ranked S6 as her favorite. I really don’t know what was wrong with her. Here are my current ratings:

    1. S3 – OMG I love this season SO HARD. Faith, the Mayor, the Wish, Doppelgangland, Bad Girls, dorky!Wes etc. There’s just so much awesome in one season. It’s almost perfect.

    2. S5 – I never liked this season as well as I did this time through. I now have extra Dawn feels, when I wasn’t that fond of her this season. I still fucking hate Riley, though, but I was able to overlook him and focus on the family theme. Also, The Gift. CRYING FOREVER.

    3. S2 – Definitely some stand-alone eps that flopped (Bad Eggs, Ted, etc.) but this season has some of the best moments of the series for me. Surprise, Innocence, Angel going evil (I like his snark), Drusilla!, and Spike ( because I actually love pre-S6 Spike).

    4. S4 – This may be a bit of a surprise but I actually find myself appreciating this season after the horribleness of S6. I hate the Initiative and Riley, but there were actually a lot of amazing episodes that made this one stand out for me. Hush, Something Blue, Pangs, Who are You?, This Year’s Girl, New Moon Rising, and my favorite Spike of all the seasons (pathetic, snarky Spike who says what everyone else thinks).

    5. S7 – This season was sort of MEH for me, but had some great moments. Selfless, Dirty Girls, End of Days and Chosen. Also Faith! And Nathan Fillion! And the bazooka (LOL). I just think a lot of this season was mishandled on the part of the writers but I love the way they ended my favorite show on the planet, so there’s that.

    6. S1 – Yes, I do have nostalgia feels for it, but I just don’t ENJOY it as much. However, my least favorite seasons of Buffy are still better than any other show ever.

    7. S6 – It moved all the way to the bottom for me. There are still some amazing episodes (OMWF will always be my favorite, Tabula Rasa) and it gave me Andrew and Clem! but I will always associate this season with darkness and annoyance because it seems like all we did was discuss one character and his actions constantly. The writers took a characters and arcs that had a lot of potential and sacrificed them on the altar of Spuffy. So much UGH.

  • My rankings are pretty pointless because this is my favorite show on this planet and even my least favorites are something I love more than anything else. This show is responsible for shaping my taste in television, my sense of humor, and my delusions that I can kick criminals in the face. Being critical is difficult. BUT I’M GONNA TRY TO RANK BECAUSE… fun? And work procrastination, but mostly fun.

    Seasons 5 & 2 & 3 – You guys pretty much covered all the reasons why these are awesome. Great arcs, great big bads, and feels for days.These are the seasons I look forward to revisiting the most whenever I rewatch (endless loop, you guys). Special shoutout to season 3 for giving 10 year old me her first serious TV boyfriend: Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.

    Season 4 – I don’t dislike this season as much as everyone else does. I agree that the initiative is the worst storyline ever, but it only takes up around 4 episodes. Like 15 other episodes are great and fun IMO. My all time favorites of the series exist here (Hush and Restless) and Apathetic Spike is my favorite Spike. I don’t even hate everyone’s least fave “Where the Wild Things Are” because it’s Hilarious Bad. Unlike Amends which is Boring Bad. I will never stop talking about how much I hate Amends.

    Seasons 6 & 7 – I like these seasons too, but they’re lower on my list for not containing any of my favorite moments, except for the obvious OMWF. And the great music of season 7. And that one scene where Buffy jumps into the sewers out of no where and kills a group of Ubervamps with the scythe. And Storyteller. And Anya backstory. And Buffy’s face. Just kidding, I have favorite moments.

    Season 1 – I love season 1, but there’s bad acting, terrifying special effects, and some of the episodes are painfully stupid. The fight choreography makes me laugh just thinking about it. Mostly this season is frustrating because it makes it impossible to get people into the show (And one of my favorite hobbies is making everyone like the same things as me. I’m that person). I think it can only be truly appreciated once you’ve developed some love for the characters.

    • Ashlea K.

      It’s crazy how similar our comments are! 🙂 I love it!

      • Multiple watches of this show have morphed us into the same person.

        • Ashlea K.

          Like the two Xanders, but way cooler.

  • Clément Polge

    HOW ARE YOU GUYS DOING IT. I’m seriously incapable to rank stuff. I mean, I want to put S1 last because I hate most of the episodes there who are awfully bad, and then I start thinking “naaah, I can’t put the season with Nightmares and that amazing finale with the ‘I’m 16 Giles, I don’t want to die’ line, it’s just too perfect”.

    So now I want to put S4 last, but I realise it got both Hush AND Restless, and these are two episodes I absolutely LOVE. Same goes for S5 & 6 except with The Body and OMWF, no season featuring this amount of awesome can be last.

    So there’s S2 and 3 left, but S2 has that absolutely fanta-fucking-stic kick-ass message of “take away everything you have, what’s left ?” *Buffy grab sword mid-swing* “Me.” and I’m flailing just writing that. S3 has Faith and is, for me, the transition between “teen show” and “young adult show”, so I love it too.

    So there you go, NOBODY’S LAST. So here’s my ranking:

    1: S7, I really love it, it’s got a cool vibe of people just living instead of always being reacting to stuff and shit happening, it’s not so much about character development than it is about character being able to just BE, so I really like that.

    a: S5, It’s got the body, which is just so far over anything I’ve ever seen on TV that even if all other 21 episodes were just “Go fish”, I’d still ove it. It’s that good.

    α (alpha): S4, it gets a bad rap, but I like the idea of the Iniative, I like Riley (to an extent) and the idea of the straight-up good guy, plus, Hush and Restless.

    א (aleph): S1,2,3 I kinda want to put these three together because on first watch, they were the “meh” season to me. They all have the occasionnal stroke of goodies, but they mostly shine through their finale and just the sheer kick-assness of Buffy.

    2: despite its flaws, I like S6, it does get a bit too dark at times and isn’t always compelling, but there’s something about watching all your favourites characters crash and burn that just makes me want to watch. Probably the one I’m least likely to rewatch though, so it gets honorary second place.

    • See, I almost count Restless as part of season 5. Because it’s so completely and utterly different to anything else up to that point, and there’s so much foreshadowing for season 5 that it feels like it’s better placed there than with all the Initiative/Adam wonkiness.

  • Kendra

    I really don’t even know how to rank 2, 3, and 5 because I love them all so much. Season 2 did have some bad filler episodes, but I have a soft spot for a few of them (Reptile Boy, Go Fish). Plus the Angelus arc was just too good for it to not be one of my favorites. I’d probably rank them in this order: 3, 5, 2, 1, 7, 4, 6.

    Yes, 6 has OMWF and Tabula Rasa, but it has…everything else that it had. 4 might be more boring and have Beer Bad and Where the Wild Things Are, but it also has Fear Itself, Hush, Restless, and the mini-arc with Faith that led to awesome things on Angel as well.

  • Alicia

    I find ranking SO hard, but this is the order that speaks to me right at the moment.

    1. S6. I loved this season when I first watched the show back in late 2011/early 2012, and I love it even more now. I think it really resonated with me partly because I was very depressed at the time, just like Buffy. Even though she frustrated me a lot, especially because I recognised some of myself in her. It’s a season with moments where I love the characters more than I’ve ever loved them, and at least one moment where I’ve never liked them less. For example, I’m disgusted with Xander in Entropy but incredibly proud of him in Grave. In particular, Buffy’s struggle, Spike’s struggle, and the way they struggle together and are counterparts to each other is so compelling to me, and it’s my favourite thing to discuss/think about from the show. I’ve never seen anything quite like s6 on tv before.

    2. S5. This is interchangeable with S6 as my favourite. I love Glory and her scabby minions. I’ve always loved Dawn and rooted for her. She brings out new dimensions in Buffy. S5 Xander is a good Xander to be. I love how builds a life for himself. Anya is great and hilarious. I really enjoy Willow and her relationship with Tara. Spike’s arc is fantastic from beginning to end. We see so many layers to him and his backstory makes so much sense to who he is. I love his connections to all the Summers women, but especially Dawn. Their scenes together are so good. All three bring out his humanity. So many good episodes and such an amazing arc for Buffy herself, full of love and loss and exploration of her Slayerness. Probably my favourite season for her character.

    3. S7. I really like how the end of this season wraps up the series. The Gift was a fantastic season finale but I hate the idea of it being the end. Buffy dying just like every other Slayer has done is unacceptable to me. I love how she changes the world in Chosen. That’s my Buffy, always fighting against the restrictions placed on her by being the Slayer. S7 Xander is my favourite Xander. I like Willow’s struggle with her immense power and how she and Buffy begin to talk again like they used to. I love Andrew pretty much because he’s so funny, plus his nice little arc. Anya is, as always, one of my favorites. Buffy’s leadership arc is hard to watch at times, yet such a necessary part of her development in how she learns to share her power and realises herself one of her biggest flaws in pulling away from people. Spike goes through a huge struggle but his spirit still manages to shine through and he comes out the other side to find effulgence in Chosen. Buffy and Spike’s connection is beautiful to me, and I love how they raise each other up where before they tore each other down. Dawn is growing up to be an amazing young woman.

    4. I really love S4. It’s such an enjoyable season to me. There are so many fantastic and highly entertaining episodes. I couldn’t care less if the season arc is weak. We get Anya and Spike on as regulars too, which is amazing. This season is quite light, the saddest thing is Oz leaving, so it’s really fun to rewatch. It’s kind of a transition season and I think that reflects in the characters. Buffy’s arc isn’t particularly deep, but she is very adorable this season. I liked Xander’s search for a path and the start of his relationship with Anya. S4 Willow is probably my favourite Willow season and I love the quiet development of her relationship with Tara. Giles is very endearing in his unemployment. The Faith episodes are awesome. Snarky Spike steals whatever scene he’s in, all his appearances are absolute gold.

    The last of my rankings go S3/2 and then S1. I adore all Buffy, but it’s safe to say that I wouldn’t have come online looking for more if not for the later seasons, most especially 5-7. I didn’t even realise that there WERE high school seasons before I watched the show. I knew practically nothing about it, but somehow had the the impression Buffy was always twenty-something! Not sure where I got that from.

    Here are a few off the top of my head highlight episodes from each season.

    S1: Never Kill a Boy on the First Date, Prophecy Girl
    S2: School Hard, Lie To Me, Passion, Becoming part 2
    S3: Anne, Band Candy, Earshot, The Wish, Dopplegangland, Lovers Walk
    S4: Fear Itself, Something Blue, This Years Girl/Who Are You, Superstar, Hush,Restless
    S5: Buffy vs Dracula, The Replacement, Family, Fool For Love, The Body, Checkpoint, Blood Ties, Crush, Intervention, Spiral, The Gift
    S6: Bargaining, Afterlife, Life Serial, OMWF, Tabula Rasa, Smashed, Doublemeat Palace, Dead Things, Normal Again, Entropy, Villains
    S7: Beneath You, Help, Selfless, Conversations With Dead People, Sleeper, Potential, First Date, Lies My Parents Told Me, Chosen

  • JEL

    I have trouble ranking the Buffy seasons with really only the top & the bottom places being stable and everything else changing places in between. My opinions:

    1. Season 5 – as consistent as 3 but with the depth of feeling and as great a season finale as Season 2 makes this the top for me.

    2. Season 6 – maybe the next time I re-watch after reading the Snark Ladies commentaries I’ll change my mind, but as of my last watch I really liked what they tried to do in this season flawed though it was. I was grateful that they didn’t bring Buffy back and have everything be fine in just a couple of episodes but really dealt with how this might impact her and how hard it might be for her to reintegrate. Yes it is dark, but I find that darkness a compelling change and leads naturally to the Buffy we see in season 7.

    3. Season 3 – very consistent and I liked the Faith arc etc. But didn’t hit the “feels” highs of other seasons and I thought the season finale not as impactful as some of the other seasons too.

    4. Three way tie between Seasons 2, 4 & 7 – each has good points & flaws. Season 2 – great arc, great feelings, the first indication that “this show plays for keeps” when Angelus kills Jenny, but a lot of season 1 type clunky episodes. Season 4 – season arc the weakest of all, but great standalone episodes and the last season with a lot of humor. Season 7 – some really great moments and a decent ending to the whole series but not hitting the heights as well as 5.

    (If I really had to rank them, right this moment I’d put it as 2, 7, 4 but I’d probably change my mind tomorrow. Or 5 minutes from now.)

    7. Season 1 – for me this contains indications of what this show could be (particularly Prophecy Girl) but clearly isn’t any where near the others in achievement.

    A couple other comments. I thought Kristi’s comment that Season 7 felt like Season 6 part 2 interesting because other commentators have mentioned that Season 6 / 7 were the only time that Whedon knew going in that he was going to have 2 seasons (1-5 he always structured so that the season could serve as the end of the series just in case they weren’t renewed) and have interpreted Whedon’s comments about 6 & 7 as in fact supporting the idea that 6 & 7 should really be thought of as one long season in two parts.

    Another commentator (Mike from critically touched) mentioned something else that I agree with and think worth sharing: One of the things that makes BtVS such a great show is that its seasons were so different. There are a lot of shows that every season is much like any other and if you take a particular episode out of context and see it, you would have a hard time figuring out what season it was from. Not so with BtVS. The seasons are all very different from each other and for the most part I think people could immediately place which season a particular episode was from if seeing it all by itself. Which says something about how good they were at not repeating themselves.

    And finally: I would advocate compassion for one’s past selves rather than hatred!

  • SleepyCat

    Let’s rank this thing.

    1/ Season Five: I loved the theme of family (biological & chosen & monk-given) that ran through this season. I agree with another commenter who said this was their favourite season for Buffy’s character, she’s so grown up and secure in herself (for the most part). I feel like this season everyone’s relationships have evolved, especially after the distance between the core scooby’s in season 4. The Scooby’s feel like a family now, where as in early season they just seemed like really close friends. Glory is probably my favourite big bad, her attitude, her power, I mean she was a fricken God! I love Dawn’s introduction and the character herself – “Crack a book sometime” the Best!. ‘The Gift’ is my favourite Buffy episode and would have made a perfect series finale. I loved Xander’s arc. He really grew up this season and it was the first season that I could really see the love/spark between Xander and Anya. Giles had a purpose. Spike’s unrequited crush. Willow and Tara happy and in love. Willow being powerful and it not being a bad thing. Ah, this season! Must stop gushing. Lastly, I loved Tara’s episode. The smile on her face when she’s asked “are you happy now” or something. Guh, perfect! And wow I wrote a lot, the rest will be much shorter!

    2/ Season Three: Mostly this season is just really consistent. A lot of great standalone’s and a season arc that was cool and interesting, only this and season 5 can claim to do the season arc and standalone’s equally well. The second half of the season especially is well done and really builds momentum for the final fight. The Mayor is my second favourite villain, I loved how he could be hilarious one moment and terrifying the next. This season also introduces Faith, so big A+ for that.

    3/ Season Four: Controversial around here, but there is just too much goodness here not to be placed third. This is probably the lightest and most comical season Buffy has done. The season arc was not as good as it could have been, the loss of the actress who played professor Walsh really screwed the season over. Adam was a cool idea but he ended up just being boring, having Walsh around as his puppet master would have saved the season arc for me. I think this season might actually have the most amount of really good standalone’s! ‘Hush’, ‘This Year’s Girl’, ‘Who Are You’, ‘New Moon Rising’, ‘Restless’, ‘Fear itself’, ‘Superstar’ etc. Even more controversial opinions: I’m a Riley fan; I liked ‘Beer Bad’. I think it gets a disproportionate amount of hate, I really didn’t think it was overly preachy (and I have zero tolerance for preach), it was just good, dumb fun. Things I disliked: Xander and Giles really didn’t have much to do this season. Things I did like: Riley! And Buffy getting to have a healthy sex life and not be punished for it for the first time in her life! So yeah, good standalone’s, underwhelming arc.

    4/ Season Six: IT HURTS SO GOOD! I’m a sucka for characters getting heartbroken. Man, this season was bleak. I loved many things this season: the start of Willow’s arc (didn’t love the MagiCrack, but her being addicted to feeling powerful was an interesting turn for her character, Alyson mostly rocked it, ((not so much in ‘Two To Go’) ), Buffy’s resurrection and resulting depression (it feels weird to say I ‘liked’ this, but I thought it was really well done), the Buffy/Spike relationship (I’m not a shipper of this couple at all but it was fascinating and nauseating and terrible and wonderful to watch all at once, their mutual destruction, everything felt entirely in-character for both of them for me. Their relationship was always going to be severely messed up and I’m glad the writers didn’t shy away from that), TARA!! (her character growth gives me all the feels, she was the mother, the rock, the anchor for most of the characters this season. While I’m sad she died since she was my second favourite character, I thought what her death created, story wise, was worth it), The trio (their arc was great in how subtle it was. They start off as comic relief ‘comic book villains’ and turn into murderers who did more damage to Buffy than most other Big Bad’s. Also, Joyce’s speech to Buffy “you have a world of strength in your heart, you just need to find it again”, and Riley’s speech to Buffy, are everything! “You’re a hell of a woman”. Indeed she is.

    5/ Season 2: A shaky first half puts this season down the lower end. The show is still going through some growing pains. Angelus, Dru and Spike were great Villains, they played off each other well and were worthy adversaries for Buffy, I don’t think any other Big Bad hurt Buffy as emotionally as Angelus did. The season arc is what saves this season for me: ‘Innocence’, ‘Passion’ ‘I only have eyes for you’ ‘Becoming parts 1 & 2’, some of the best Buffy episodes in the whole series.

    6/ Season 7: The first season I watched in order! Suffers from some of the problems season 4 had with the season arc. The First is a neat idea but was not utilised well, same with the potentials. A very solid start and end keep this season from falling into the bad category, but there are too many problems for me to love this season as much as the others. I love Buffy and Xander’s interaction in the beginning of the season though, they seemed to become family again after the trauma of season six. Willow doesn’t fair as well. This is my least favourite Willow season. Her storyline started really promising but dragged on too long, plus she got stuck with Kennedy. Dawn had a quieter storyline but I enjoyed seeing her mature throughout the season. I good final episode leaves me feeling content with Buffy on the whole.

    7/ Season 1: Not good, just … not good. This season is not even in the same stratosphere as the others (i’m surprised you guys ranked it so high!). It’s fun for the nostalgia but pretty skippable on the whole. Bad effects, bad writing, bad acting, bad fighting. At least it’s short. ‘Prophecy Girl’ and ‘Welcome to the Hellmouth’ are the only episodes that are really comparable to the rest of the Buffy seasons. The word that comes to mind when I think about this season is ‘Potential’, there was nothing extraordinary about this season (except Prophecy Girl) but you could see the potential it had to become the great show it did.

    Lastly, thanks snarksquad for all the recaps! I wish i had gotten involved earlier in the commenting because, as you can tell, I have many thoughts/feelings, haha. A quick question: recapping the show in depth like this has obviously changed how you’ve watched the show and perceived certain arcs, characters, episodes etc, do you ever wish you could have watched the show through first without writing about it? I get the sense that by the end of each season you guys are pretty fatigued with the show and ready for it to be over, which is a disappointing way to have experience Buffy.

  • Zovc

    Well, looks like it’s time for me to take my place in Unpopular Opinions Corner (EDIT: and now Word Vomit Corner. Holy crap, is this long. Sorry):

    1. Season Three: As everyone else has said, the season is consistently good. The only bad episodes are “Dead Man’s Party” and “Beauty and the Beasts”, and they’re early enough in the season that they really don’t affect the arc. The Mayor is just a fantastic villain (although they don’t really delve into his motivations, so he’s not my favorite Big Bad), and with “Band Candy”, “The Wish”, “Doppelgangland”, “Earshot”, “Graduation Day”, the Class Protector speech in “The Prom”, and the Light Slayer vs. the Dark Slayer dynamic nicely explored with Buffy and Faith, this one shoots to the top.

    2. Season Two: A lot of bad or mediocre episodes are partially made up for by my favorite Big Bad in the Spike/Drusilla/Angelus triumvirate, as well as my two favorite episodes: “Surprise/Innocence” and “Becoming Parts One and Two” (I generally count two-parters as one episode). Also, I should note that I don’t mind a lot of the episodes that others have dubbed as bad. Specifically, “Some Assembly Required”, “Inca Mummy Girl” and “Go Fish” are the only ones I count as bad, while “Reptile Boy” and “Killed by Death” are mediocre, and “Ted” and “Bad Eggs” are actually pretty good in my book, the former being better than the latter.

    3. Season Four: OK, Riley’s boring, and Adam/the Initiative never got developed enough, but there are a ton of good episodes here: “Fear Itself”, “Wild at Heart”, “Something Blue”, “Hush”, “A New Man”, “This Year’s Girl/Who are You”, “Superstar”, “New Moon Rising”, and “Restless” being the cream of the crop. Also, Willow and Tara meet 😀 As others have said, the season’s just fun, even with it’s (admittedly HUGE) flaws.

    4. Season Five: I love the themes of family, loss, and growing up; I love Buffy’s quest to be the best Slayer possible; I love “The Body” and “The Gift” and even the bad episodes are more mediocre than anything; and I think this might be the season where I love the characters the most.
    So, then, why is it so far down? I hate Glory. So. Very. Much. Why I hate her is a bit complex, but there are three main reasons. Number One: I think Claire Kramer was terrible in the role. I didn’t really notice it first time around, but on rewatch, it became painfully obvious. Number Two: She’s crazily overpowered. She’s probably the physically strongest entity in the Buffyverse (at least that the Angel Snows are aware of), plus she has superspeed. Her power level meant that she should have carried out her threat to kill everyone around Buffy AND it required massive amounts of contrivance to beat her in the finale. Number Three: Glory just doesn’t have a good concept, in my opinion. Her backstory is neat, but it’s not focused on. Presumably she was supposed to be scary due to her mental state, but Claire Kramer doesn’t really pull off the insanity.
    I also hate Glory’s minions, the Knights of Byzantium and seriously question the logic behind the monk’s plan to turn the Key human: if they are that powerful, there HAD to be other solutions. Still, the high points of the season keep it relatively high on the list.

    5. Season One: I think the Master is pretty good villain, but mostly for Mark Metcalf’s performance and his sense humor, as he’s not super original. The only really good episodes are “Nightmares” (Buffy’s dad’s telling her that she was the reason for the divorce was when I started to connect with the show emotionally) and “Prophecy Girl”, but “Angel”, “Out of Mind, Out of Sight”, and “The Puppet Show” are pretty decent as well. The big problem is that the plots are rather ridiculous and “I Robot, You Jane” is one of the worst episodes of the show, which really counts in a season with only twelve episodes.

    6. Season Seven. The First is a decent idea that never got off the ground due to terrible pacing, the only main character to get a fleshed out arc is Spike (who’s pretty boring this season), and the characters all make at least one highly questionable decision, very few of which are addressed. yay

    7. Season Six: Stephen King once called American Psycho “bad writing by a good writer”, and that’s how I feel about this season. The writers genuinely seem to have tried, but they either took good ideas too far or made the best of bad ideas. The only thing I like this season for is Tara’s growth as a character, as every character other arc had a huge flaw, the Trio never became a credible threat, and the idea that magic can become a literal, physical addiction makes negative sense, plus it steps all over the beautiful way they had used magic as a metaphor for Willow and Tara’s sexuality. Oh, and the entire season is super depressing. I plan on doing another full rewatch and after that, I never want to see most of the episodes in the last two seasons again.

    • Clément Polge

      It’s funny that you hate Glory for being overpowered, when really the Mayor was even more guilty of that (I mean, he was *literally* immortal) and after ascending into the biggest baddest the world has EVER SEEN AND SHALL NEVER SEE ITS LIKE AGAIN, was defeated by a stick of TNT.

      I actually thought it made more sense for Glory to not care, it’s interesting that her reaction after her first fight with Buffy was “I was fighting with a slayer ? Ugh, the same, if anyone ever heard about THAT…”, she was really proud and arrogant BECAUSE she was a god, whereas I never truly understood why the mayor decided to just be evil from the comfiness of his chair in his office (although it does sound appealing, and his chair did look nice).

      But in the end it’s really a Buffy vilain thing, they all tend to arrive around the beginning of the season, take a small break mid-season to go to tahiti and avoid the famed Californian winter, and come back around the end of the season all tanned and out of shape from drinking too many margaritas.

      • Zovc

        Well, the “overpowered” complaint was more about the show never giving a convincing reason for Glory not to have used her powers. I don’t care how powerful a villain is, as long as it makes sense. She threatens to kill everyone around Buffy to until Buffy gives her the Key, but never does it. Plus, there was more contrivance needed to beat her than pretty much any other Big Bad except maybe the First. The writers gave a pretty decent reason for the Mayor being killed (relatively) easily, in my opinion.

        Yeah, I don’t really know what the Mayor’s motivations were, In “This Year’s Girl” he says it was bringing order, but it would have been nice if he’d mentioned that before he died. Also, you’d think someone in Sacramento or D.C. would have noticed that the founder of the town, his son, and grandson have been the only mayors of the town. It would probably make more sense for him to NOT hold office, and just manipulate those who do.

        As to your last complaint, for the most part, the show comes up with excuses for the big bad not to kill Buffy. Usually it’s that they have to act at a specific time, or in Angelus’ case, he just wants to draw out the torment. It’s not the best writing, but it’s typical TV stuff, and it doesn’t hugely impact my enjoyment of the show.

        • Clément Polge

          Yeah but that’s always a little bit the case, isn’t it ? S2’s Angelus isn’t doing much for the one who’s repeatedly said to be the worst vampire history ever saw. In one year, the worst he did was killed someone who Buffy kinda-sorta-knew, and nagged her with “haha you slept with me haha”. Adam had her on the rope several times, and always decided that “meh, she’s at least 5 feet away, I’d rather wait for an occasion where I don’t have to take a step”, S6 was a bit different because there wasn’t really a big bad, but S7 is double guilty of that with Caleb and the First.

          It doesn’t make it bad tv though, I think it just comes with the Buffy deal and the way we’re supposed to watch that show. I was saying that with love towards that little absurdity of the big bads planning their world domination around TV schedule. Sometimes I think Buffy would have really thrived in a 13-episode format, despite my dislike for most of S1 episodes, the Master is still the more… I don’t know… Believable ? In a way ? He’s actually working towards his goal, and is probably the least passive of all.

          Obviously I’m not trying to say your preferences are absurd though, I just think it’s funny that you’d dislike Glory for this reason when the mayor is very guilty of that too, but they’re two very different vilain, and I can understand liking one and not the other… I’m guilty of this myself, i have about 73 headcanons and shoddy reasoning as to why the First isn’t more proactive, and yet I have a problem with the Mayor for doing the exact same thing :p

          • Zovc

            I think the best way to put it is this: I was more aware of the idiocy of Glory’s actions than I was the others. Basically, it was more obvious to me for whatever reason. And, I would actually say that ranks rather low on my list of reasons why she’s my least favorite Big Bad. I think Clare Kramer’s performance was C+ at best, and I don’t like her general concept.

          • Alex

            I love Glory’s general concept because I actually manage to feel almost sorry for her. She’s trapped in this world that’s driving her nuts and all she wants to do is go home, but unfortunately that means taking down the whole world with her and that fact doesn’t bother her at all. I think her motivations are much clearer than most Buffy Big Bads; she and The Master are the only two who seem to have a clear goal and a coherent plan for actually getting there. Angelus wants to end the world, errr, because… The Mayor wants to be a giant snake, errr, because… and so on.

            I didn’t like Clare Kramer at first either but she really grew on me. I think she’s great at portraying the unhinged side of Glory but she does sometimes feel a bit out of place.

          • Clément Polge

            And she’s trapped here WITHOUT. HER. STUFF. Well, except her lackeys, and her clothes, and her manor, …

          • Zovc

            I don’t really disagree with any of that, but her concept just isn’t enough for me. I think it was very execution-dependent and they failed in the execution.

            I actually had no problems with Claire Kramer’s performance the first time around, but on rewatch, I really didn’t buy her in the role, and whenever she had to act “coy”, it caused me physical pain. She does fairly well in “The Gift”, though, the line “Did anyone else know the Slayer was a robot?” cracks me up every time. Joss is really good at getting good performance out of actors, as well as writing to their strengths, so that’s probably it.

  • Alex

    I’m loving reading everyone’s rankings! It’s amazing how different they all are, which I think says a lot about the show. As someone else pointed out, each season of Buffy feels very different and distinct in tone, which is why they all appeal to different people in different ways.

    Anyway, here are mine!

    1: Season Three. A huge part of this is down to nostalgia. For me, this season *is* BtVS. I’d watched the show off and on since it started to air in the UK, but S3 was the first one that I watched consistently as it aired on the good old BBC. I was 14 and would watch it with my mum and sister every week, and I can still vividly remember our reactions to everything that happened in this season. The students whipping off their graduation gowns in the finale is one my my all-time favourite TV moments, and I still get chills every time I see it. So when I started rewatching about five years ago, I raced impatiently through seasons 1 and 2 because I was desperate to get to S3. Nostalgia aside, this season really is excellent. The pacing feels just right, the character interactions are well handled, Faith is awesome and The Mayor is The Mayor. The only substantial criticism I’ve heard of S3 is that it’s too ‘safe’ a season, in that the characters’ relationships remain pretty strong throughout, and there aren’t a lot of ‘real-world’ struggles to deal with. I can see that argument, but it doesn’t stop me from loving it to bits.

    2: Season Five. I dipped in and out of this season when it first aired, but didn’t really give it my full attention. Before I rewatched, I had this lasting impression that S5 was kind of lame; I remembered Buffy getting a sister for some stupid reason, and thought that the villain was some silly bimbo that I couldn’t take seriously. Well… yeah. I was very, very wrong. I think that if I watched for the first time now, S5 would probably be at the top of this list, but my S3 nostalgia just prevents it from taking that spot. Glory is actually an excellent villain who manages to be funny and silly and legitimately terrifying all at the same time. And I love that Real Life starts to happen in this season, but is perfectly balanced with the fantastical stuff without getting too soap-opera. Much love for this season.

    3: Season Two. This is where it gets harder. I find it difficult to rank S2, S4 and S6 because I like and dislike them both for different reasons. I think S2 has to come out top though, partly for similar nostalgic reasons to S3. I love Spike and Drusilla in this season, and do think the overall plot is great, but I’m really not keen on Angelus and am a card-carrying member of THC when it comes to Bangel, so I find myself yawning through more of this season than I feel I should.

    4: Season Four: Yeah, I like Season Four. The Initiative plot is undeniably silly and badly handled, but I kind of appreciate what they were trying to do here even if the execution failed. I like seeing Buffy come up against the government and trying to become part of a system before realising that she’s a zillion times better off as she is. Plus this season has some of the best standalone episodes of the lot, if you ask me. But I do have to get one thing off my chest… I find Restless incredibly boring. There, I said it.

    5: Season Six: It’s a tough one to watch and not one that I casually return to in the way that I would revisit S2 or S3, but I do appreciate a lot of this season. Having Buffy battle depression is not an easy road to go down, but I appreciate that they made that decision and then ran with it for the whole season, rather than having her get over it in a few episodes. And we get OMWF, so that’s got to count for something. Of course, there’s an awful lot they got wrong in this season too, which is why it’s down here on the list.

    6: Season One: Awww, I feel bad, because S1 feels like the baby sister of the bunch – it’s even shorter than the rest of them! But yeah, it’s not a favourite of mine. I love the finale and have a soft spot for a few episodes, but I’m glad they got away from the Goosebumps vibe pretty quickly.

    7: Season Seven: This is difficult, because there are a lot of things to love about S7 (it’s still Buffy, after all) but there’s also waaaay too much stuff that makes me feel properly angry. It gets off to a promising start but ends up riddled with contrivance and out-of-character crap while sacrificing character development for the sake of a lukewarm plot. Add in the fact that it finishes with a healthy double-dose of deus-ex-machina, and I am really not a fan.

    • Zovc

      I really love the idea of the Initiative (and Adam, though less so) as well, despite the crap-tacular execution. And while I like “Restless”, it isn’t that great on repeat viewings. The first time watching is “Wait, what’s going on?”, the second time is “Holy crap, the foreshadowing and metaphors” and every time after that is “Oh, yeah, I see what’s going on. Meh”.

      And reading everyone’s rankings was extremely fun 🙂

      • Clément Polge

        I actually love Restless, because I think it’s a directing masterpiece in terms of representation of dream. TV dreams are usually just real life with just SO!MUCH!SUBTEXT! and are usually just a cheap and easy way to represent a character’s inconscious thoughts.

        I LOVE Restless because all the random non sequitur and nonsense and weird actually makes it look like a dream come to my screen, it’s beautiful, and it makes sense despite not making sense. All the foreshadowing is just the cherry on the top, but it’s one of the best episodes of Buffy hands down for me anyway.

        But I get that it’s a very special episode, and I can leave a serious “meh” feeling if you don’t care that much about the subject 😉

        • Zovc

          Oh, I think it’s really good, but the last couple of times I’ve watched it, I didn’t get as much out of it as the first two times. Like I said, the first time I had no idea what was up for a bit, and the second time I could appreciate the foreshadowing and metaphors. After that, it kind of loses something, but it’s still my second favorite episode of the season. BtVS does dreams sequences really well, so an episode entirely devoted to them? YES, PLEASE 🙂

        • Alex

          See, I agree with all of that but I still find it boring. Like the girls have been saying in their vlogs, there’s quite a different between ‘favourite’ and ‘best’ episodes. For me, I can totally see all the reasons that Restless is a masterpiece, and I do find it very clever and beautifully crafted and a remarkable piece of television… but I just don’t find it that interesting or enjoyable to watch. I think part of it is that I’m really not keen on dream sequences in general, and I kind of groan every time I see one (with the exception of Spike’s dream at the end of Out of My Mind because I love that fake-out) so a whole episode of dreams was never really going to be my thing.

          • Clément Polge

            Yeah I totally realise I’m being super subjective in my opinion, I just have dream sequence because they’re usually terrible, so just seeing one so well done is enough to please me and make it a worthwhile watch. I can totally understand it not being someone else’s thing.

  • lev36

    Very interesting graph of the IMDB ratings of all the episodes, with trendlines for each season: http://graphtv.kevinformatics.com/tt0118276

    OMWF clocks in at the all-time fave, followed by Hush and The Body. All time lowest is, unsurprisingly, Where the Wild Things Are, with I, Robot… You Jane and Beer Bad as runners up (down?).

    Season-wise, looks like 3 is definitely the fan favorite, with 7 and 5 basically tied for second place, followed by 2, then 6, 4, and then 1 as least loved.

    • Clément Polge

      Oooh that’s very interesting indeed ! It comforts me in my belief that S7 is also a “no-high-no-low” season. Season 3 seems to be in the same situation too, maybe that’s why they’re favourite, not so much annoying content ?

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  • kworld6

    I always find rankings so interesting!! I know everyone hates on season 6, but I have to disagree. I could not possibly rank the seasons myself, but I could not put season 6 so low. I understand that it bothers so many people that Spike tried to rape Buffy. I just wonder if anyone remembers when Angel lost his soul? He threatened to rape Buffy and kill her. The thought of doing those things to her actually brought him joy. His personality completely changed. He had no self control. Spike never completely loses himself. Hurting Buffy only brought him pain. He tries to be the kind of man Buffy wants even though he doesn’t have a soul.

    Anyways… season six has other plot holes, sure. I don’t mind self-deprecating Buffy, but she isn’t one of my favorite characters anyhow. I am actually way more annoyed with Buffy in season 7 than I am in season 6.

    If I haven’t pissed anyone off yet… I also have to add that I do not hate Dawn in the slightest. I actually love her! It annoys me how everyone treats her like a child and then are surprised she acts the way she does. I digress.

    • Hi kworld! I don’t think everyone hates on S6. We actually found that most people commenting while we were watching were fans of at least some aspects.

      I wouldn’t say that Spike trying to rape Buffy was the reason that I personally ranked the season so low. It isn’t as simple as saying, “Angel did too!” There is a lot more that goes into a story line, you know? The point to me is that Spike trying to rape Buffy as a story line was poorly handled and poorly written. It was used as a means to get Spike to a soul. Think about that. An attempted rape was used to further the story line of the rapist! Crazy. Attempted rape or rape storylines aren’t completely off limits to TV and stories, but they had better be done right at the expense of, in this case, most of the rest of the season.

      Plus, it isn’t just the once scene in Seeing Red. There were so, so, so many consent issues throughout the season that the show doesn’t even address or handle. It completely blows by the abusive relationship between those two and it taints everything else.

      Angel’s “chivalry” aka misogyny is something that becomes super apparent over on his own show and something we’ve discussed when it comes to his dealings with the female characters there. He’s always trying to protect or rescue them. In his defense, he also makes lots of decisions of everyone around him, not just the women. It’s a character flaw if I ever saw one– his many years on this Earth has fooled him into thinking he knows what’s best for people. His champion status make him believe he can make decisions he feels protect people or the greater good. NO ANGEL. NO.

      You could argue, though, that Spike exhibits some of that behavior as well, definitely in S5 on Angel and even in S6 of Buffy, where he’s CONSTANTLY trying to convince a depressed Buffy that he knows what’s best for her. He has several lines about her having a dark side or liking the dark, etc.It’s just as gross and misguided.

      Yep, 6 has other plot hole which weighs it further down on my list. I don’t mind self-deprecating Buffy in theory. It worked well to have her come back and be in that state of mind. It was heartbreaking to watch. Of all the dark themes S6 tried to tackle, Buffy’s attitude toward living was perhaps the one that was done the best. Not perfectly, but the best comparatively.

      Buffy in S7 was up and down for me. I understood where she was coming from, and the responsibility of an isolated Slayer is one of my favorite themes. It’s very much like Angel, where she sometimes fumbles that responsibilities and makes decisions without considering others, because of that responsibility.

      You haven’t pissed anyone off, friend! TRUST ME. We’ve gotten all kinds of feedback here. It’s welcome 🙂

      I love Dawn too. We had lots of Dawn feelings. Lots of them.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • alicia9938

    I have ranked and reranked these seasons, and they frequently change throughout the years. I can agree that Season 5 was the most coherent plot wise, and it had some amazing episodes. All questions anyone has about Sarah Michelle’s acting ability can be silenced by her acting on The Body. Part of the downfall was the fact vCard that they kept Reily around so long. Man, do I hate that guy. Fine actor, but such a worthless boyfriend, at least for Buffy. So having said all that, Season 3 is my top season. The mayor, Faith, Angel coming back and leaving again, all made that season for me. It is quintessential Buffy. Season 2 is a close second because that was when things started becoming very interesting. Passion still crushes my heart. Season 5 for the many obvious reasons. SEASON 1 because I remember being a 12 year old girl during down and watching the premiere episode. Actually, I thunk they might have had 2 episodes out maybe 2 nights back to back. Either way, the first season is where I started, and nostalgia ranks really high in my book. Season 4, because although the transition was really hard, and the story lines were all over the place, I really enjoyed a couple of the episodes. Hush and Restless are just really great episodes. Season 6 because although a lot of terrible things happened, it was way better than season 7. I still have a hard time getting into it.

  • DJ1706

    Season 5 was utterly awful, dreadful, and miserable. It had a couple of standout moments, but Glory was a terrible villain, the episodes were consistently depressing, and Dawn is one of the most irritating characters in the history of television.

  • John Skelly

    Season 2,7,4,5,3,6,1 best to worst

    • REALLY? That is super interesting to me, because clearly my sentiments differ considerably. The fact that people take so many different things away from this show, though, is probably a big part of why it has endured.

      Out of curiosity, what it is it about 7 and 4 that makes you rank them so highly?

      • John Skelly

        Well I like all the seasons, but I think that alot of you look at certain things, and have them overpower the entire deal. I think 4 might get ranked low because alot of people don’t like the new environment of college,and maybe, especially alot of the women might like Angel,and not Riley and stuff. But to me 4 had hush,new moon rising,wild at heart,this years girl,who are you,plus alot of others. 3- I mean I love faith,and the mayor but I just can’t get over why someone would want to be a big snake. 5 would of been higher but the last few episodes got weak to me.6, I felt the same way,and 1 was definitely last because it didn’t yet reach the depth of the other seasons. And 7 maybe the extremely morbid tone threw it off will alot of people, but I loved the Spike soul thing,and I thought the first evil was a very good concept . I thought it ended well. Not perfect but well. However don’t get me wrong I really love every season. The humor,action,drama,depth,etc. But of course nothing is perfect. So I go 2,7,4,5,3,6,1. But don’t get me wrong I love them all. 2 is definitely first though,and 6and 1 are definitely last. But even they are really good.

        • 4 is always a weird one for me because as you mentioned, it hit some really high highs. There are some AMAZING episodes in there. It falters for me because I look at the season rankings as more of a cohesive unit and I don’t think the arc of S4 really works, but I totally get and agree with what you’re saying about those standout episodes.

          • John Skelly

            Well I noticed that no one really ranked it exactly like me. Oh well to each there own all I know is its my favorite show since MASH. Your probably too young for that though.

      • John Skelly

        I mean in the end of three they are fighting someone who just ate a billion bugs so he could turn into a big snake I’m sorry that dropped it some to me,and 5 was way up there but once again the end running away from those monks,and Willow,entering Buffy’s mind etc,just dropped it to me,and 6 with Willow almost destroying the world,and Sanders saving it by saying I love you etc dropped it. But once again still great seasons. It endured because it’s great.

      • John Skelly

        No I just gave you my reasons. You asked can’t really explain in 3 words

    • (I did not mean for that “REALLY?” to sound so judgmental — it’s more genuine surprise than anything else, I promise!)