Nobody knew The WB was releasing one of the best television series ever on March 10, 1997.
Yet on that date, on a network no longer in existence, Buffy the Vampire Slayer the series was born, changing genre television forever.
We're celebrating with some of our personal favorite episodes and why they've stuck with us.
Share yours, too!
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episodes 13 & 14, "Surprise" & "Innocence"
Confession Time: I only watched the first three seasons of Buffy during its original run. We didn't have cable, and at that point, the show switched stations to one that came in fuzzy when it came in at all. I've watched the complete series several times since (Thanks, Netflix!), but I still connect so much to the two episodes from Season 2, "Surprise" & "Innocence.
Those two episodes had such a range of emotion for Buffy, something that tween me could easily relate to (if not the reasons for her ups and downs). Honestly, Angel losing his soul probably had as much to do with my self-imposed teen abstinence as my mom's near-daily talks on STDs did.
In a way that is so wonderfully Joss, he showed how sex changes everything for teenagers but did so without slut shaming his female lead. The heartbreak that only a teenager can experience was amplified by Buffy's ex attempting to literally ruin her life by killing her friends. I'm all grown up now, and I take a slightly different meaning from these two episodes, but I still think they're the first two really capital "I" Important episodes of Buffy.
Decisions have consequences. Star-crossed love is tragic, not romantic. The moment you think you're mature enough to handle things is pretty good proof that you're not. – Elizabeth
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 22, "Becoming, Part 2"
The battle for Angel's soul raged on throughout Season 2, and reared its ugly head with the finale. The Scoobies raced against the clock to save Angel and stop Angelus from opening the gates of Hell.
Heck, Buffy even made a deal with Spike that would be our first glimpse of their future partnership. But a delivered message from Xander left Buffy forced to do the unthinkable – knowingly sending her boyfriend to Hell with his restored soul. Nothing will ever be as gut-punching as their brief reunion kiss, followed by her tearful words.
Buffy: Close your eyes.
Upon re-watch now, the graphics are cheesy. They're PAINFULLY cheesy, actually. But the stellar performances by Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz in that moment were signs that they would be stars way beyond the Buffyverse. – Christine L.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 4 Episode 10, "Hush"
"Hush" was my favorite episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Arguably, The Gentleman were the best villains in the history of the series. Showing up in the dead of night and taking the voices of everyone in Sunnydale meant the Scooby Gang were going to have to look to different ways of communicating if they were going to take the villains down. It was a fresh episode, and the acting was a delight. The makeup on the villains was ahead of the show's time. No other villain-of-the-week episode of any subsequent series has captivated me quite as much as The Gentleman did all of those years ago. – Paul
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 5 Episode 16, "The Body"
Twenty years ago today, my sister and I weren't watching the premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer because we were at our father's bedside (arguing, of course) waiting for him to die, which he did the next morning.
I never consciously realized why I hadn't started watching Buffy when it came out, but it never stopped me from being a great fan of the series. Five years later, when Buffy suffered the tragic loss of her mom, it was with great appreciation, sadness and through tears that I understood not only what Buffy was feeling, but Anya, Tara, Willow, Xander and all the Scooby gang.
Death was the norm on Buffy, but not by natural causes. People didn't just die without them being monstrous or deserving or being sent back to where they belonged. "The Body" was the juxtaposition of what death meant and will mean, what pain was and will be going forth, what you can get through and what seems insurmountable.
I still use "The Body" as a reference point when trying to explain the loss of a parent to others. The shock, the bewilderment, the bizarre turning point from loved one to (in my case) a yellow wax bean of a man instead of your father, or from your mother to a body, hasn't been expressed better from so many viewpoints in any other program before or since. It remains one of the most significant explorations about death in entertainment. – Carissa
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 5 Episode 22, "The Gift"
Five seasons in, you pretty much know the Buffy drill. The world is ending, and while things look pretty bad, Buffy and the Scooby Gang manage to save the day. Then, you get to the season five finale, and your heart just stops. This finale took my breath away. Now, I didn't watch the show when it originally, so I didn't know about switching networks and all of that. I just remember watching this in college, and immediately storming into my roommate's room going, "WAIT, DID THEY JUST KILL OFF BUFFY?!"
Often times you watch a show, and you beg to see some actual consequences play out and not just have everything magically work out for everyone involved. This finale featured Buffy doing her job and willingly accepting her fate, which she has known was going to happen ever since she became a slayer. It's not like dying to save the world wasn't in the job description.
Between Buffy's acceptance of her fate and everyone's reaction to her death, this finale absolutely devastated me in the best possible way. – Allison
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 6 Episode 7, "Once More, With Feeling"
One of the best musical episodes a television show has ever done, "Once More With Feeling" is not only artistic and funny ("it must be bunnies!"), but the musical becomes a pivotal point in the show. It allows the characters to express feelings they've been keeping inside, and for Buffy, it also becomes a moment of confession. Plus, those songs will stick with you for days – in a good way! – Ashley
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