It’s been 20 years because the collection finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired, so we’re hitting the Bronze to have fun the present’s best possible installments.

Belief us: Choosing simply 20 episodes was no simple feat for a present that helped pave the way in which for style fare within the mainstream. However fortunately we weren’t underneath the specter of Olaf’s hammer as we challenged ourselves to make the brutal choices under.

Even supposing twenty years have handed us by (simply desirous about that is sufficient to give us the wiggins), Buffy stays as pertinent as ever. So we assembled our in-house gang of Scoobies to look again in any respect seven seasons of slayer-y goodness, and revisit the girl who died twice whereas saving the world and nonetheless lived to inform about it.

Each season is represented under (with the next concentrate on Seasons 2 and three, as a result of duh), together with the biggies you already know we’ll be, uh, singing praises for, and a few under-appreciated gems that belong aspect by aspect with the crème de la crème.

So put in your yummy sushi pajamas and get cozy as we make a journey down Revello Drive reminiscence lane to debate Buffy‘s bloodiest, boldest and best episodes of all time. After you read through our picks (or watch the video embedded above), be sure to stake your claim in the comments section and let us know which ones land in your Top 20! 

  • ‘The Wish’ (Season 3, Episode 9)

    Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television screenshot
    What would happen if Buffy Summers never came to Sunnydale? Cordelia got to see how that wish played out, and like most happenings in town, it wasn’t a reasonably sight. It certain was entertaining although, watching all hell(mouth) break free. “Bizarro Land” not solely gave us our first glimpse of a vamped and villainous Willow (extra on her later), but additionally launched us to Emma Caulfield’s future fan favourite Anya, a vengeance demon who additionally glided by the title Anyanka. And if all of that wasn’t sufficient for this darker, scarier Sunnydale to make the minimize, the freakin’ Grasp himself was nonetheless alive and able to battle Buffy in yet one more combat to the dying, solely this time, Buffy wouldn’t win. Fortunately, Wishverse Giles was in a position to save the day and restore the Scoobies’ common timeline, however the many “what ifs” offered right here stayed with us lengthy after Anyanka misplaced her powers.

  • ‘Storyteller’ (Season 7, Episode 16)

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    Season 7 was rife with prolonged monologues, grating personalities and terrifying ubervamps, so we had been relieved and fascinated by reforming villain Andrew’s completely timed slayer documentary. Andrew chronicled his life contained in the Summers family as an try to depart behind a file of the apocalypse for individuals who truly survived it. Handing the mic (err, digicam) to the final remaining trio member broke format in an enormous means. The movie-within-the-show additionally allotted for some massive comedic swings (see the above photograph), and gave us additional perception into Andrew’s (and the present’s) distinctive voice. Watching Buffy and a shirtless Spike serve seems to be in entrance of a roaring wind machine? That definitely didn’t suck both.

  • ‘Prophecy Woman’ (Season 1, Episode 12)

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    The present didn’t totally blossom till Season 2, however we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge Buffy’s first brush with dying when she lastly confronted the collection’ first Huge Unhealthy: The Grasp. We felt her battle as a 16-year-old carrying the load of the world on her shoulders… her worry, her sacrifice, her craving to simply be a child. We couldn’t blame her for being overwhelmed, however watching her discover the power and confidence to beat her biggest foe to date was riveting and provoking, even when she did kinda die within the course of. However not less than she did all of it in a killer ‘fit!

  • ‘Checkpoint’ (Season 5, Episode 12)

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    Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television screenshot
    In order to gain access to the watchers council’s intel on Glory, Buffy needed to play good and go a take a look at exhibiting off her talents. Unsurprisingly, the previous was way more troublesome for her to drag off. On this pivotal Season 5 present, not solely did Buff’ have a run-in with the Knights of Byzantium, a navy operation in search of to destroy the important thing, however she harnessed her energy, each bodily and political, and flipped the script on the council who, let’s be severe, was a thorn in her aspect for years. The end result was wowing to observe and a key step towards our slayer calling the pictures and releasing herself from their management. Hooray for Giles being reinstated as Buffy’s official watcher, and an enormous “huh?!” to studying that Glory’s truly a god. Discuss a mic drop!

  • ‘I Solely Have Eyes for You’ (Season 2, Episode 19)

    buffy i only have eyes for you
    Picture Credit score: twentieth Century Fox Tv screenshot
    Each time we hear that Flamingos traditional, we consider the halls of Sunnydale Excessive. When a tortured spirit haunted the varsity, Buffy and Angel(us) grew to become pawns within the afterlife of two star-crossed lovers (a male scholar and feminine instructor from the ’50s) whose love affair led to a murder-suicide. And the timing couldn’t be worse! Angel (having not too long ago misplaced his soul) and Buffy replayed the ghosts’ last moments, which included a passionate argument, a disturbing act of violence and a heartbreaking sluggish dance to cap all of it off. Not solely was it a gut-punch for Buffy who had simply misplaced the love of her life, however seeing BAngel reunited underneath such false pretenses drove a stake proper via our hearts.

  • ‘Earshot’ (Season 3, Episode 18)

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    Picture Credit score: twentieth Century Fox Tv screenshot
    An episode a couple of menace to the Sunnydale scholar physique nonetheless terrifies to today simply because it did again in ’99. When a creepy, mouthless demon bled on Buffy, the slayer acquired telepathic powers. However a highschool filled with hormones isn’t a perfect place for somebody who can’t shut off her newly gained energy, and within the midst of going mad, she heard somebody make a ghastly menace: “This time tomorrow, I’ll kill you all.” The episode introduced again recurring geek and rifle-holding Jonathan, however in a twist, took a comedic 180: It was truly the lunch girl! Even nonetheless, “Earshot” was (and nonetheless is) unsettling. The menace feels actual, the motion’s intense and Buffy being crippled by her affliction made for one gripping watch.

  • ‘Household’ (Season 5, Episode 6)

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    Picture Credit score: twentieth Century Fox Tv screenshot
    What’s the Scooby gang if not a discovered household of lovable misfits? The present’s solely Tara-centric episode foregrounds this theme, as her evil organic kinfolk — together with visitor star Amy Adams (!) as Cousin Beth —  reveals up in Sunnydale to pull her again dwelling. It’s a public service, you see, as a result of girls within the Maclay household “have demon in them.” (LIES!) As Spike deduces, that’s simply “a bit of spin to keep the ladies in line.” Tara should be protected in any respect prices, so in a stirring scene, the Scoobies shut ranks round Willow’s girlfriend and ship the intruders packing. “We are her blood kin,” sputters Evil Maclay Dad. “Who the hell are you?” Buffy responds merely and completely: “We’re family.” That’s what the collection is about in spite of everything… and Tara isn’t the one one with tears in her eyes.

  • ‘Regular Once more’ (Season 6, Episode 17)

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    One other alternate actuality pops up in our Prime 20 record, solely this time, Joyce is alive! Buffy’s tango with the demon-of-the-week uncovered her to a chemical that induced her to hallucinate that she was truly in a psychological hospital. Docs (and her mother) attempt to persuade her that Sunnydale is only a figment of her creativeness, however issues obtained further dicey when our hero tied up her associates proper subsequent to the demon that they had stashed within the basement. The slayer ultimately determined that her vampire-strewn actuality was the true deal, however we’ll always remember Buffy’s tearful goodbye to her mother as she sat crumpled on that hospital flooring, or the physician telling a heartbroken Joyce that they misplaced her. Was every thing we’ve seen within the final six seasons simply the product of a mentally unwell younger girl? Was Sunnydale actual? That Twilight Zone-style ending nonetheless chills us to the bone.

  • ‘Who Are You?’ (Season 4, Episode 16)

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    Picture Credit score: twentieth Century Fox Tv screenshot
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer at all times delivered unbelievable two-parters, and this Season 4 Religion-centric story was no exception. When Religion lastly awoke from her coma, she stumbled upon a present left to her by her late mentor, the Mayor. The magical doodad referred to as the Draconian Katra allowed her to modify our bodies with Buffy. Not so good for our slayer, however nice for Sarah Michelle Gellar, who completely shined whereas operating amok, totally encapsulating the deranged lunacy of Buffy’s counterpart. Gellar’s appearing alone is sufficient to make this one notable, however the episode’s finish combat between Religion and Buffy was additionally one for the file books.

  • ‘Tabula Rasa’ (Season 6, Episode 8)

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    Picture Credit score: twentieth Century Fox Tv screenshot
    Willow, Willow, Willow. She knew girlfriend Tara had misgivings about her magical dabbling, however in an effort to make Buffy neglect concerning the superb afterlife she skilled after she died (the second time), she by accident erased everybody’s recollections. The episode brings the humorous, with Spike pondering Giles could be his dad and Buffy naming herself “Joan.” Watching Anya freak out over her worry of bunnies is at all times a plus, too. “Tabula Rasa” is a riotous affair, that’s, till its unhappy conclusion that noticed Tara lastly leaving Willow. Can’t say Will didn’t have it coming!

  • ‘Doppelgangland’ (Season 3, Episode 16)

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    Picture Credit score: twentieth Century Fox Tv screenshot
    As promised, the totally fanged Willow is again to safe one other spot in our Prime 20. This time, a magic spell gone improper [pretends to be shocked] causes the evil doppelganger from the Wishverse to be transported into Sunnydale correct. Hilarity ensues, particularly when Willow modifications garments along with her villainous self in an try to manage the vampire’s minion brigade that had taken over the Bronze. Willow additionally notes that she thinks her twin is “kind of gay,” foreshadowing the story to come back for the redheaded Scoob. The juxtaposition from Alyson Hannigan’s villainous kind to our beloved, cutesy Willow is a deal with to behold. Not solely are each performances memorable, however they bolster among the finest episodes from maybe the collection’ finest season.

  • ‘Ardour’ (Season 2, Episode 17)

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    What a game-changer. After “Passion,” anybody and everybody was expendable. Watching Angelus stalk Jenny Calendar was like watching a cat toy with its prey. As if snapping her neck wasn’t horrendous sufficient, stashing her useless physique in Giles’ mattress (and lighting candles all the way in which up the steps, as if he was in for a dalliance) was downright sadistic. We misplaced our minds questioning if anybody would ever discover Jenny’s spell-filled floppy disk (keep in mind these?) that by accident fell in between her desk and submitting cupboard. Fringe of your seat motion, relentless horror and story for days. Sure, sure and sure!

  • ‘Idiot for Love’ (Season 5, Episode 7)

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    Picture Credit score: twentieth Century Fox Tv screenshot
    How did Spike, aka William the Bloody, bag two slayers all by himself? That’s precisely what Buffy needed to know after a sloppy evening of fight practically will get her killed. After bribing him with money, Spike crammed her (and us) in on some essential backstory, together with bits of his life from China’s Boxer Insurrection and Nineteen Seventies New York Metropolis. The knowledge he handed on to her: Every slayer has a dying want. A chunk of them needs to expertise dying after inflicting a lot of it. Not solely are the flashbacks glorious on this episode (chock-full of scenes that includes Drusilla, Darla and Angelus), nevertheless it additionally served because the precursor to the polarizing coupling of Spuffy. She went on to humiliate and degrade him, just for him to show round and console her minutes later — a poisonous relationship within the making! In a single fell swoop, “Fool for Love” coloured in some canon from the previous, whereas cracking the present’s future huge open.

  • ‘The Promenade’ (Season 3, Episode 20)

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    Picture Credit score: twentieth Century Fox Tv screenshot
    Proms are such an necessary time in a teen’s life, however sadly for our hero, it additionally signified her biggest heartbreak. Realizing that being with him would stunt Buffy’s life eternally (he had a derivative to get to anyway!), Angel broke up with Buffy simply days earlier than the particular dance. A lot of this episode simply works. The break-up, Xander paying for Cordelia’s gown, the monster of the week — hell-dogs educated to assault individuals in formal garments (oh, hey Andrew’s brother, Tucker!). Then Buffy’s classmates reward her with a Class Protector award? And Angel involves the promenade wearing his best for one final sluggish dance to essentially the most excellent cowl of “Wild Horses”? It’s a virtually excellent installment of Buffy that we’ll watch time and again from now till the (subsequent) apocalypse.

  • ‘Changing into, Half 2’ (Season 2, Episode 22)

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    Cue the Sarah McLachlan tune! If we had been rating the Huge Bads of Buffy, Angelus — and this specific season-ending combat — would certainly high the record. As soon as Evil Angel put his plan to awaken the demon Acathla into motion, Buffy was left with no selection: She needed to kill her former lover as a way to stop the demon from destroying the earth. By no means earlier than has a second on this collection been so earned. From Xander not telling Buffy about Willow’s plan to revive Angel’s soul (“Kick his ass”? That bastard!), to Drusilla remodeling into Jenny to trick Giles, the writing was so tragic and so superbly executed. However we by no means fathomed even for a second what was to come back. The truth that Willow restored Angel’s soul simply seconds earlier than Buffy needed to off him rubbed a lot salt within the emotional wound, it had us counting down the summer season days till Buffy was again on our screens.

  • ‘The Reward’ (Season 5, Episode 22)

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    Buffy’s second dying was one to behold. After Glory used Daybreak’s blood to tear down the partitions between dimensions, Buffy knew what she needed to do. It was her final sacrifice. (In any case, dying was her reward.) With a view to save her sister and the world, Buffy needed to give her life… once more. And speak about a tense finale! Hell actually broke free, as Buffy rushed to avoid wasting her sister, cementing the truth that Daybreak wasn’t only a key or a tangible object. She was Buffy’s blood. Bonus factors for the return of the Buffy Bot and Giles being an absolute savage and suffocating Ben! Even regardless of the primary slayer’s ominous warnings, the end result nonetheless caught us fully off-guard.

  • ‘Stressed’ (Season 4, Episode 22)

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    Picture Credit score: twentieth Century Fox Tv screenshot
    No, we don’t know WTF was up with that cheese man both, however all hail the cheese, we are saying! After taking good care of Huge Unhealthy Adam within the penultimate episode, the Scooby gang was haunted by the spirit of the primary slayer of their desires. This darkish and twisted episode (which is simply how we like our Buffy) led to some excellent, outlandish and dare we are saying Lynchian turns of occasions. “Restless” was in contrast to something we’d seen on the present. It was daring, mysterious and flew fully off the rails. Plus, the primary slayer’s last warning — “You think you know, what’s to come, what you are. You haven’t even begun.” — was the right tease for what would transpire in Season 5. Brazen throughout the board.

  • ‘As soon as Extra, With Feeling’ (Season 6, Episode 7)

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    Musical episodes on TV can typically get a bit wonky, however when the solid of Buffy took the stage, we had been cheering for an encore. Practically each music on this hour-long masterpiece is an earworm and carried out flawlessly — or not less than with a lot of enthusiasm — by the solid. The demon Candy (a bravo efficiency from guest-star Hinton Battle) made all of it make sense, whereas a great deal of Whedon-esque traces made us grin ear to ear (See: “I think this line’s mostly filler,” and “They got the mustard ouuuuuuut!”) Not solely had been all of us up in our emotions each time Amber Benson or Anthony Head sang a single be aware, however the present saved some large reveals for it’s largest episode but: That Buffy was truly ripped out of heaven by her associates. And the way about that jaw-dropping last second that noticed Buffy and Spike lastly lock lips? It’s secure to say that this soundtrack is one we’ve nonetheless obtained on repeat greater than 20 years later.

  • ‘Hush’ (Season 4, Episode 10)

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    Picture Credit score: twentieth Century Fox Tv screenshot
    The practically silent “Hush” delivered a combo platter of horror and enjoyable that proved the present is excess of simply its snappy dialogue. (Solely 17 minutes of speaking may be heard all through its complete 44-minute run!) If this was an inventory rating the present’s many creepy-crawlies, the Gents would come out on high as a number of the present’s coolest and scariest monsters of all time. (They float!) If that wasn’t sufficient to chew on, Willow meets Tara, and Buffy and Riley lastly be taught one another’s massive secret. It’s progressive, it’s gross (they minimize individuals’s hearts out!) and it’s a nightmarish fairy story that solely Buffy might ship.

  • ‘The Physique’ (Season 5, Episode 16)

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    Picture Credit score: twentieth Century Fox Tv screenshot
    Buffy‘s monsters were always a metaphor for growing pains, but in “The Body,” life’s truest and most inescapable horror is dying itself. And what a devastating blow it was when Buffy got here dwelling to seek out her poor mom Joyce useless on the sofa. Joyce’s pure passing rendered Buffy fully powerless, which is one factor our hero was not accustomed to. With its lengthy silences and even longer takes, the episode totally captured the shock and numbness {that a} liked one’s dying brings, establishing Sarah Michelle Gellar for her collection’ finest efficiency. (Her being shunned by the Emmys for this episode was a gross oversight.)

    However the entire actors had their time to shine right here, as every scene added new layers to the group’s collective grief. Alyson Hannigan’s Willow struggled to seek out the right hospital outfit, worrying excessively about the way to act round her buddy, whereas Emma Caulfield tore our hearts proper open as Anya was traumatized by the very which means of mortality. The complete hour was a gut-punch that felt so actual and relatable. We’ve all misplaced individuals we love and we’ll proceed to expertise loss as life passes us by. “The Body” was a reminder that nobody, not even an omnipotent slayer or witch, can ever keep away from it or the empty, hole emotions that comply with.