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Buffy single episode reccomendations needed...

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#1 of 28 Dave Mack

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Posted June 01 2003 - 07:10 PM

Hey Guys,

I've recently succeeded in getting my sis into "Buffy" and am now working on my old friend Matt. He was surprised at how much I liked and how great I thought Buffy is. It seems every time he'd flip channels and check out a Buffy episode for a couple of minutes it was either way too quirky for him, Like a "doublemeat" episode or way too soap-opera-like. Now, IMHO these are 2 of the many redeeming qualities of the show but I understand how a newbie can either feel lost or even think the show is just too goofy if not properly intro'd.
Now I've seen all and have either on DVD or tape most episodes, but I need some opinions for decent stand-alone eps. just to get him into it. While "The Body" for ex... can be considered 1 of the best, the emotions of the characters would probably be lost on him. Same with the musical, as I believe it's MUCH more effective once you know and care about the characters.

Any ideas, guys? Jeff? Has anyone else done the same and been successful?

Thanx all! D

#2 of 28 CaptDS9E



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Posted June 01 2003 - 10:24 PM

Well I got into buffy after everyone recommendation . So i picked up season 1. And i like the show a lot. Just make him watch season 1 from the start:-)


#3 of 28 Dominik Droscher

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Posted June 01 2003 - 10:57 PM

I realized the greatness of Buffy after I watched "Hush". Before that I only caught it casually.

#4 of 28 JasenP



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Posted June 01 2003 - 11:36 PM

"Hush" is genuinely creepy and is a "stand-alone" episode worthy of consideration.
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#5 of 28 Dominik Droscher

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Posted June 02 2003 - 12:31 AM

Here is a list I tend to agree with a lot. However, I'd go for a standalone episode. I would stay away from episodes like "Once More With Feeling" or "The Gift" because they may contain too much information and spoilers for someone who could want to consider watching from the beginning.


Another great episode that is mentioned there is "Restless" which may contain Season 4 ending spoilers however. "Earshot" is another episode to consider.

#6 of 28 Scott Kimball

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Posted June 02 2003 - 02:59 AM

Never Kill a Boy on the First Date
Prophecy Girl
Lie to Me
Faith, Hope and Trick
The Zeppo
Fear, Itself
Buffy vs. Dracula

These are, in my opinion, the best of the mostly-self-contained episodes. There are some better episodes, but they are either part of an arc, require more knowledge of prior epsidodes, or contain too many spoilers for the uninitiated.

Several episodes from season 2 have to be omitted because the the Angel arc.

I love "The Wish" and "Dopplegangland" from season three, but left them off the list because it might not be best to show "alternate" realities to someone who isn't familiar with Buffy's primary reality.

Several episodes from season 4 would expose too much of The Initiative.

Season 5 gets too threaded for individual episode picks for new viewers.

That's my opinion.


#7 of 28 Kenneth_C


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Posted June 02 2003 - 03:15 AM

I had a lot of success over the years intoducing people to Buffy by first showing them "Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest" before any other episodes. These were, after all, the first episodes -- and pretty good ones, too -- and serve to introduce the core characters and the basic mythology.

To fast-forward through Season One, I'd usually move on to "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date", "Angel" and "Prophecy Girl" before getting to the glories of Season Two. (If, however, they'd already caught the Buffy bug by then, I'd throw in "The Witch" and "Me Robot, You Jane". Not the greatest episodes, but important overall for the introductions of Amy and Jenny Calendar, respectively.)

The problem with starting with something like "Hush" is that, though it is an excellent episode, it's even better if you have some basic knowledge of the characters and their relationships. (Giles' silent lecture with the overhead projection, for example, works much better if you know the personalities involved. And the ending with Riley & Buffy obviously means more if you know how it ties in with what has gone before.)

#8 of 28 Dave Mack

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Posted June 02 2003 - 03:51 AM

Great suggestions, guys!

"Welcome..." sounds like a good intro. Although I enjoy most of the 1st season, I feel like the show found it's stride by the 2nd, arguably 1 of the best. I feel some of the "very high-school issue" oriented themes showcased in season 1 might not interest him much,(he's a hard-core horror fan, Romero etc..., actually) so I fear that he might think certain things were "corny" or even if the FX looked too cheesy, he'd tune out. It's hard to just say, "Well it WAS low-budget, shot on 16mm etc..." to defend certain things."

Thanx alot guys. I grew up with 2 sisters, so I grew up observing and empathize with many of the female related issues on the show. He grew up as an only child with a mom he didn't exactly "click" with. He lives in Jersey now, so I seldom see him and only for like a weekend. I might get a couple of episodes in so I want to try and maximize the potential impact. He won't buy the sets, and his schedule with his business, kids etc... don't allow him to just do a season marathon. He DOES ususally respect my opinion, (Got him hooked on Donnie Darko for ex...) but he DID seem surprised that I, fellow hard-core horror, thriller, sci-fi fan was SO into "Buffy". Gotta show him.

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#9 of 28 Jeff Kleist

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Posted June 02 2003 - 04:08 AM

Start him from the beginning, it's the way to go. You CAN skip over I Robot you Jane tho Posted Image

#10 of 28 Scott Kimball

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Posted June 02 2003 - 04:54 AM

Funny... just this weekend, I was telling someone looking for fast-track exposure which episodes to avoid. She is watching the (borrowed) sets on DVD.

Ultimately, even episodes like "The Pack" and "I Robot, You Jane" have things going on that are important, even though the episodes aren't the greatest. Ultimately, I suggested avoiding "The Pack" (but I explained the principal's fate), and recommended viewing "I Robot" because it's an excellent introduction to Jenny Calendar.


#11 of 28 Ken_McAlinden



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Posted June 02 2003 - 05:21 AM

My favorite episode for neophytes (aside from the first two)is "The Puppet Show". It's a clever episode, light on continuity, and gives an accurate picture of the unique perspective of the show's creators. Plus, it was so good that it wiped the slate clean after the preceding stinker, "I Robot You Jane": an episode so bad that even the High Priest O'Joss steered you away from it a few posts up. Posted Image

Other good standalones include "Buffy vs. Dracula", "Hush", and "Halloween". "The Body" would be a good choice, but its whole premise is based on a huge continuity point/spoiler, and "Once More with Feeling" is sort of heavily tied to the S6 character arcs.

I love "The Zeppo" from S3, but to get it on every level, you sort of need the accumulated knowledge of the previous season's character arcs.

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#12 of 28 RobertW


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Posted June 02 2003 - 05:49 AM

band candy. self-contained, you don't really need to know the history of the characters, and it's funny as all hell.

#13 of 28 David Williams

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Posted June 02 2003 - 07:37 AM

If you're not going to go with "Welcome/Harvest", the best S1 stand alone is "The Witch". It has the humor and the action in even doses. It's one of my favorites from that season (the double-ep pilot is good, but drags a bit) along with "The Puppet Show."
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#14 of 28 DeborahK


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Posted June 02 2003 - 08:24 AM

Probably my favorite stand alone type episode from BUFFY to show to newbies is "Earshot." I like this episode because it seems to have a lot of text and subtext on parade and deals sensitively with many of the show's main themes. Also, it was pretty controversial in its day and that makes it interesting to contemplate. I love the twists and turns the episode takes -- it's very entertainting and engages all the main charcters well. And it has a good deal of humor as well, showing off well how the show skillfully balanced humor and drama.


#15 of 28 Scott Kimball

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Posted June 02 2003 - 09:04 AM

My favorite line from "Earshot:"

"Ooh. Jello."

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#16 of 28 Roy Batty

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Posted June 02 2003 - 11:23 AM

I have to concur with those who recommend the very first two-parter "Welcome to the Hellmouth / The Harvest" as one of the better introductions to the series.

As for single, stand-alone episodes, it's true that the best ones' meaning and impact would be dilluted for a newcomer to the series. But there're some minor classics. "Hush" would certainly be a very good showcase of the series full emotional range. Since you say your friend is kind of a hardcore horror movies fan, he could find "Helpless" to his liking. And if you want to go lighter, try Xander's sexual healing fiasco in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered".

Finally, if you want to show Buffy's finest artistic merits, "Restless" would be it.

#17 of 28 Dave Mack

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Posted June 02 2003 - 11:40 AM

All these suggs. are GREAT! Thanx alot guys! Like I said, he won't watch them on his own unless he gets hooked and I will have probl'y only 1 shot at this. So whatever I show him 1st (and I HAVE to be there) has to REALLY hook him. I might get 2, maybe 3 eps. out of it. But if he doesn't dig the 1st, (I know the boy...) he won't go for a 2nd... Knowing him, he might dig "I only have eyes for you" because of the ghost thing. But it DOES bring in the Angelus thing and some splainin' would be required and it wouldnt have the same impact.

I really appreciate the advice guys. I started with Buffy so many yrs. ago, I honestly can't imagine what it'd be like being a newbie again.

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#18 of 28 Joshua_W


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Posted June 02 2003 - 11:56 AM

BTVS really needs to be watched straight through. Just picking out a random episode -- even a good one -- doesn't really represent the scope of the series. So much of the appeal of the series lies in the growth of the characters and their constantly evolving personal relationships set against a back-up of superheroics and the occult. The best episodes work because we've seen where the characters have been... "Innocence" and "Passion" just deliver these big bunches to the face because we've gotten to know the characters in the previous twenty-four or so episodes.

That said, "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "Harvest" are the best places to start. And just keep going from there.

"The Pack" is one of my favorite episodes from the first season. It's like an Afterschool Special from the Darkside. The thing starts out with a field trip to the zoo and some goofy anti-bullying stuff, and by the time it ends there's been an attempted rape by the lead actor against the title character and an act of cannibalism.

I also didn't think "I Robot You Jane" was that bad, aside from the title. The concept of a demon residing in cyberspace is an intriguing one, and Jenny Calendar was a wonderful character and played beautifully off of Giles.

#19 of 28 Scott_F_S


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Posted June 02 2003 - 05:23 PM

I'll nominate "School Hard" from Season 2. The introduction of Spike and Drusilla, and just a little explanation of who who the characters are is all that would be required. Plenty of action and humor to keep a newbie involved, and only minor spoiler material, which a convert could live with if he decided to go back to the beginning and pick it up.

But to me, that's a great place to start if you're trying to convert someone. It's got a nice edge to it, without most of the cringeworthy cheese from Season 1.

Hook him with that one, then take him back to "Hellmouth/Harvest."

#20 of 28 Charlie B. Ch.

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Posted June 03 2003 - 02:26 AM

This may be a little off topic but is Buffy worth a blind buy? Best Buy is having a sales next week for $120 for all four seasons. The TV shows I enjoyed are 24, the Shield, the Practice, and Law and Order. Thanks.
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