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Your Top 5 Buffy episodes...(not written by Joss Whedon!)

AmongFriends

Townie
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Dec 19, 2008
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I recently read a bunch of articles with people naming their top 5 Buffy episodes and nearly all of them had the words "Joss" or "Whedon" as the writer so I thought it would be interesting if people could make a Top 5 list of their favorite Buffy episodes that wasn't penned by the Mastermind, himself and explain why those precious eps made the list. Lets give some shouts out to Espenson, Petrie, Goddard, Fury, Noxon, etc.


My Top 5

1. Fool For Love (Douglas Petrie)


A great Spike centric episode and one of the best of the series. I believe it was the first time we ever got insight into William the Bloody and how he came to be. Marsters knocked it out of the park, especially with that scene where "Past Spike" is talking on the subway to Buffy. This episode also marked the beginning of whether or not a Slayer has a deathwish and how death would become a major theme of the season. It was also fun to see how this crossed over with "Darla" from Angel. FFL changed Spike's character forever. All of that can be seen in the final shot of the episode.


Favorite quote: "What can I say, love? I've always been bad..."



2. Conversations with Dead People- (Goddard/Espenson)

I found this episode to be just very unique in how it was structured with the title of the episode being shown and the band playing with none of the characters speaking. It also gave us great insight into Buffy and how being a Slayer affects her life and her outlook on it. Willow gets the tearjerker scenes with "Tara" and Dawn (and the audience) gets creeped out with the Joyce scenes. Jonathan Woodward provided some great comic relief too. I think Joss wrote the Buffy/Holden scenes but he's not credited so...it doesn't count. :)


Favorite quote: "Anchovies, Anchovies you're so delicious! I love you more than all the other fishes!"



3. Storyteller (Espenson)


Yes, Espenson again. And *Spoiler alert* the next one is written by her too. What can I say? I like how she writes and Storyteller is a wonderfully written episode that balances humor and drama perfectly. Who would have thought an Andrew-Centric episode would be so good but it had me laughing from when the episode began with the hilarious introduction all the way to the end when Andrew turns off the video camera. It provided us with how someone from outside the Scoobys view Buffy and her antics. We also get to see how Andrew justifies his actions so he can live with himself. Espenson is a master at achieving both drama and comedy and Storyteller is a perfect example.

Favorite quote: "Oh right. Um...(moves) This better then? (pause) I thought I told you to piss off with that bloody camera! Yet here you are again with that thing in my face! Sod off... "



4. Earshot (Espenson)

An examination of how the pressures of being a teenager can really build. Of course, the episode starts out with laughs like Xander thinking about sex and Cordy saying EXACTLY what she's thinking. It's great though how Espenson takes something like that and rolls with it to make it about something larger like struggling to be just a teenager like Jonathan was going through. Buffy's heartfelt speech to Jonathan explains everything about those harsh adolescent years. And it has one of the best twists on the show ever...it WAS the lunch lady! (with rat poison, nonetheless). haha.

Favorite quote: "I am my thoughts. If they exist in her, Buffy contains everything that is... and she becomes me. I cease to exist."



5. Something Blue (Forbes)

Forbes, one of the few writers who wasn't apart of the Mutant Enemy writing crew, still wrote a rather funny episode concerning the whole gang and Willow dealing with Oz's departure. There were great laughs and it was just a fun episode. I always have a blast watching it and it demonstrates how BtVS is a show that can do something this wacky and still pull off the drama stuff. Good times.

Favorite quote: "Honey, we need to talk about the invitations. Now do you want to be William the bloody or just Spike? 'Cause either way it's going to look majorly weird."


Your turn
 
I
InsaneMystic
you left out the best part of the Earshot quote. "Huh." ;)
Tranquillity
Tranquillity
great thread!

Washburne

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Fool for love, Conversations with dead people and Storyteller was among my choices but since you named them I thought it would be funnier to have other episodes so...

Passion (Ty King)

Band candy (Jane Espenson)

Intervention (Jane Espenson)

Tabula Rasa (Rebecca Rand Kirshner)

Normal again (Diego Gutierrez)


I know, I know. No reasons. I´m too lazy right now...
 

palabravampiress

Bidet of Evil
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Black Thorn
First of all, I've gotta say this is a great thread! The writers = awesome, and I love any thread that gives them their due.

My list, you'll notice, is heavy on episodes that feature an atypical point-of-view. That has a lot to do with personal preference, as I love to see how stories change when viewed from a different angle.

1. Passion (David Tyron King)
This is my season 2 go-to episode. Written largely (but not solely) from with POV of the villains, the tone of this episode is dark, threatening, and eerily seductive. The plot centers around Angelus, a delightfully creepy villain with the face of our former romantic hero. In this episode, King takes us almost close enough to touch Angelus, and in a Nabokov-like move, he makes us almost sympathetic to the bad guys. He takes us into their home, lets us in on the tense dynamic therein, and lets us watch them dispatch a threat "“ namely, Scooby teacher Jenny Calendar. We watch the Scoobies' anguish from an evil, stalkerish POV that is accented by Angelus' narration, the casts' wonderful acting, and superb first-person, subjective camera work.

Favorite Quote:
Angelus: "Well maybe next time, I'll bring you with me, Spike. Might be handy to have you around if I ever need a really good parking space."
Spike: Have you forgotten that you're a bloody guest in my bloody home?"
Angelus: And as a guest, if there's anything that I can do for you"¦ any *responsibility* that I can assume while you're spinning your wheels (Angelus eyes Drusilla lasciviously)"¦ anything I'm not already doing, that is."


2. The Zeppo (Dan Vebber)
You've got to love a show that can make fun of itself, which is exactly what Vebber does in "The Zeppo." From Xander's point-of-view, a typical apocalypse in the life of the Scoobies appears hilariously overwrought and melodramatic, especially when Xander witnesses a lover's exchange between Angel and Buffy. Ironically, while the rest of the crew is busy ignoring Xander, he's busy saving their lives by preventing the school "“ and the apocalypse that the Scoobies are fighting "“ from going boom. He also gets laid and cavorts with a gang of juvenile delinquent zombies which, hey, is just icing on the "cake."

Favorite Quote:
Jack O'Toole: "She's called Katie."
Xander: "You gave it a girl's name. How very serial killer of you."


3. FFL (Doug Petrie)
I don't think there's much that I can say about this episode that wasn't covered better in the opening post. Not only does the episode really give us the chance to explore the lore of vampires and slayers from both sides of the fence, but the writing is to die for! Every line is incredibly well-honed. Petrie trimmed the fat and made nearly every word count. If he was playing Scrabble, he would have had triple letter counts for like every syllable. They all moved forward plot and characterization while remaining entertaining, true to character, and quite often illustrative of a neato literary device like irony, juxtaposition, foreshadowing, or repetition. I'll just be lazy and leave it at that.

Favorite Quote:
Willow: "It's code. I-I think it breaks down to 'Choo-choo!'"


4. Intervention (Jane Espenson)
I love this episode! I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is the episode that made me fall in love with Spike. For a character to begin the episode by doing something appalling (buying the Buffybot) and to end it by doing something noble (withstanding torture to protect Buffy and Dawn) without ever once appearing out-of-character is downright amazing. In this episode, Espenson masterfully balances the complexities of Spike's character in order to make a difficult plot not only work, but shine. Her signature sense of humor is just an added bonus, especially when it comes to the Buffybot's hilarious dialogue.

Favorite Quote:
Buffybot: "How is your money?"
Anya: "Fine! Thank you for asking!"


5. Normal Again (Diego Gutierrez)
The Plato's Cave episode of Buffy, "Normal Again" takes all of the lore, character development, relationships, and plots of the last six years and questions their reality. "How could anyone believe these incredible and increasingly nonsensical fabrications?" the episode asks. Gutierrez treats us to an alternate reality in which the Buffyverse as we know it is a figment of a mentally ill Buffy's very troubled imagination. As the cave door starts to open and Buffy starts to slip between realities, the viewer is left in an interesting quandary. Which reality do *we* believe? Of course, we want to believe the reality in which we have invested the last six years. So does Buffy, which is why we cheer when she rejects the "normal" reality and chooses the fantastic Buffyverse reality that we all know and love. Even so, the closing shot of the sick girl in the institution lingers with us, a constant and unsettling reminder that sometimes realitis just a point of view.

Favorite Quote:
Spike: "Oh, balls! You didn't say it was a Glarghk Guhl Kashmas'nik."
Xander: "'Cuz I can't say Glarba"¦"
 
L
Lindsey McDonald
Fantastic post.
B
Blair Waldorf-Bass
Great post hun! And congrats on mod status. :)

charmingslayer

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1. Passion (David Tyron King)
Amazing episode 1 of the few that makes me teary LOL

2.Tabula Rasa (Rebecca Rand Kirshner)
I Just love this episode it's so funny and
sad

3.Earshot (Espenson)
Come on who doesn't just love that ending?

4.Conversations with Dead People- (Goddard/Espenson)
AMAZING Episode is all I can say

5.This Year's Girl(Douglas Petrie)
I love this ep.

I have lots of more but I can only choose 5
 

slayerpower

battlestar/veronica lover
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1. Passion--Ty King
2. Fool For Love--Douglas Petrie
3. Revelations--Douglas Petrie
4. Something Blue--Tracey Forbes
5. Normal Again--Diego Guiterrez
 

Crazy Flakes

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I'll make my list in the same format as AmongFriends and Palabra. I know that most of my choices are pretty popular, but I don't really care.

1. Fool for Love (Douglas Petrie)
I've always been a Spike fan, so it's no surprise that I liked this episode. It was really the first time we'd gotten any insight on Spike's past...before, all we really knew was that he was once known as William "The Bloody", he allegedly got his name by torturing his victims with railroad spikes, and he had killed two Slayers. Based on this information, I sort of assumed that, like Spike said, he had "always been bad." But wait! Turns out he was a shy poet. James Marsters' performance is incredible, the writing is brilliant (Spike's "every Slayer has a death wish" monologue gives me chills), and the directing is some of the best the show ever had (especially in the scene where it alternates from the subway with Nikki Wood to the present day.)

Favorite Quote:
SPIKE: Death is your art. You make it with your hands, day after day. That final gasp. That look of peace. Part of you is desperate to know: "What's it like? Where does it lead you?" And now, you see, that's the secret. Not the punch you didn't throw, or the kicks you didn't land. She merely wanted it. Every Slayer has a death wish. Even you. The only reason you've lasted as long as you have is you've got ties to the world...your mum, your brat kid sister, the Scoobies. They all tie you here, but you're just putting off the inevitable. Sooner or later, you're gonna want it. And the second- the second - that happens...you know I'll be there. I'll slip in. Have myself a real good day. Here endeth the lesson.

2. Passion (Ty King)
Yep, another one that's probably going to be included on everyone's list. But there's a good reason why everyone loves it so much...it's freakin' incredible! Really, this and Becoming, pt. 1 & 2 are the episodes that come to mind when people think of season 2, and they're immediately reminded of how epic those episodes were. Plus, it gets major points for having the show's first major character death scene, which I don't think could have been done better. I love how they didn't just have Angelus find her and bite her. They had a long chase scene that left you thinking, "Oh, Buffy will be there any minute to save the day," but instead, he catches her and brutally snaps her neck. Then, of course, Giles finding her body...probably the first time the show brought me to tears.

Favorite Quote:
Another one that gives me chills.
ANGELUS: Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping...waiting...and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir. Open it's jaws, and howl. It speaks to us...guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. the joy of love...the clarity of hatred...and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we'd truly be dead.

3. Dead Things (Steven S. DeKnight)
When I first watched Dead Things, I didn't like it at all. That's because at the time, all I really noticed was the ridiculous amount of sex in it. But, upon watching it again, I realized that it was far better than I originally thought. And every time I watched it, I noticed something new, and it just got better. Now, it's one of my all-time favorites. It's just such a layered, complex episode, much like the Buffy/Spike relationship, and it's when we first REALLY realize why Buffy starts to hate Spike so much...she's pretty much just taking out her frustration with herself on him. Plus, it gets major bonus points for getting me way more hot and bothered than I'd like to admit.

Favorite Quote:
SPIKE: No one'll ever find her.
POLICEMAN 1: Where'd they find her?
POLICEMAN 2: The river. She washed up a half-mile from the cemetery.
SPIKE: Oh, balls.

4. Selfless (Drew Goddard)
It almost depresses me when I think of how well season 7 started off. This and Conversations With Dead People were two of my favorites ever (but I decided not to include CWDP on this list because the Buffy/Holden Webster scenes were written by Joss and it'd be cheating.) The scenes with Anya and Olaf are hilarious, I like "Missus" more than a lot of songs that were actually in Once More, With Feeling, and the scene with Anya going onto the balcony in her wedding dress followed by a cut to her with a sword in her chest is heartbreaking. Plus, it was good to see Willow finally do something in this season (and then, like every other character besides Buffy, she faded into the background again when the Potentials came, but I digress.)

FAVORITE QUOTE:
XANDER: This isn't springy, high-flying fun!

5. Intervention (Jane Espenson)
I have a difficult time deciding whether this or Doppelgangland is the funniest episode ever. I often come down on the side of this one, though, not only because I feel like I've given Joss enough love as is, but also because of its timing. The two episodes before this were The Body and Forever, both of which were very intense and emotionally draining. Then, just when you were expecting yet another followup to the tragedy of Joyce's death, they go ahead and give us what is probably the funniest, most quotable episode ever about an incompetent Robot Buffy. Plus, it marks the first truly intimate Buffy/Spike moment that wasn't influenced by a spell, and it was beautiful.

Favorite Quote:
THERE ARE SO MANY! But I guess I'll go with this whole exchange:
WILLOW: Um...Buffy, this thing with Spike, i-it isn't true, is it? You didn't, you know, sleep with Spike?
BUFFYBOT: No. I had sex with Spike. I'm sorry if it bothers you. You're my best friend.
WILLOW: I am. And I always will be, no matter what you do. I'm just trying to figure out why this happened, and I think with your mom and everything, everyone was being all sympathetic, and making you feel weak. A-and Spike wasn't like that. So, just this one time, you just did something kinda crazy.
BUFFYBOT: It wasn't one time. It was lots of times. And lots of different ways. I could make sketches!
WILLOW: No! Buffy, there is something seriously wrong here! I...okay, yeah, you've been with a vampire before, but Angel had a soul.
BUFFYBOT: Angel's lame. His hair grows straight up, and he's bloody stupid.
WILLOW: Okay, look. I just wanna help you. Let me help you.
BUFFYBOT: You're my best friend.
WILLOW: Yeah. Again, I really am, but...
BUFFYBOT: You're recently gay.
WILLOW: Um...

Honorable Mentions:
No Place Like Home (Douglas Petrie), Earshot (Jane Espenson), After Life (Jane Espenson), Something Blue (Tracey Forbes), I Only Have Eyes For You (Marti Noxon), Villains (Marti Noxon)
 

Tranquillity

That'll put marzipan in your pie plate bingo
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1. Fool For Love - Doug Petrie
This is my favourite episode so I have to include it on my list even though it has already been mentioned numerous times. I love any flashback episode and this one is particularly great. It's amazinly written and James and Sarah do an incredible job bringing it to life. As always, the Riley/Spike juxtoposition is interesting too.

Favourite quote: can I say everything that Buffy and Spike say to each other from the minute they arrive at the bronze to when he sits with her on the back steps?

2. After Life - Jane Espenson
Some people don't like this one, I've heard it refered to as boring but I can't agree. The writing is just superb. Essentially it is an episode about three conversations, all between Buffy and Spike and these are contrasted with her interactions with her friends and shows, very effectively, the distance that is between her and her scoobies and her affinity with her undead 'enemy'. Yes, this weeks monster is not particularly special but the exposition of those conversations is amazing - they are all 'classic' Buffy moments
Favourite parts: the '147 days' conversation
the 'Every night I save you' conversation
the 'I think I was in heaven' speech

3. Band Candy - Jane Espenson
I'll go for something a little lighter here and Band Candy is a fine example of the art of comedic writing. I think this is one of the funniest, literally laugh-out-loud episodes of Buffy ever. Great idea, great script, excelently executed all round.
favourite quote: "Whoa Summers, you drive like a spaz!"

4. Consequenses - by Marti Noxton and Dead Things by Steven De Knight
I put these two together because they really complement each other in the themes and ideas they explore and are great viewed as mirrored episodes. Dead Things is probably the superior episode but Consequences is quite good too. They both deal with a slayer-caused death of a human and how Faith/Buffy deal with it. It is interesting that Giles thoughts from Consequenses are echoed in Spike's in Dead Things and obviously, that Faith and Buffy provide and interesting contrast too. I just think it's one of the great strengths of this series, that a similar storyline doesn't result in a 'been there, done that' kind of thing (i'm thinking of the X-Files episodes 'Fire' and 'Ice' - essentially the same episode, same problem; only one set in a hot place, the other in a cold place with the same outcome). Even thought the device driving the plot is similar it is used as a way to show how much things have changes rather than merely rehash and old story. Its a testament to great writing.
fave parts: Faith and Buffy's dockside fight/conversation (Consequenses)
Spike and Buffy's ally way fight/conversation (Dead Things)

5. Selfless - Drew Goddard
Another one previously mentioned by others. Another episode with a flashback, what can I say - I love 'em. I love that story of how Drew Goddard asked if he could include a flashback to Once More With Feeling and Joss said 'no, too much work' but then came to the writers room the next day with the music and lyrics for 'Missus' (so does this one still count seeing as Joss wrote the song?). Gotta love that enthusiasim. This episode always makes me cry, her song, her conversation with Xander about just clutching onto whatever comes along - just resonates with me, not to mention bunnies, load-bearing bar matrons, Nordic language with subtiltes and that oddly touching scene between Spike and FantasyBuffy/RealBuffy.
favourite quote: "isn't that just like a Slayer? Solving all her problems by sticking things with sharp objects"
 

AustinA123

Townie
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5. Band Candy (Jane Espenson)
Obviously, I love this episode because it's really funny. I thought all of the Giles/Joyce scenes were priceless. And the scenes with Snyder were funny too.

4. The Zeppo (Dan Vebber)
Any show that can poke fun of itself is great in my book. I loved how the show switched roles. What I mean is, usually, minor plots are shown less, and major plots are shown more. This episode switched it around and made it funny. Plus Xander is always funny

3. Conversations With Dead People (Jane Espenson)
This is the first episode where The First actually started to scare me a little bit, and the first episode where it started to feel like a Big Bad. All of the conversations going on are brilliant, I really like the one with Willow and Cassie the best, it was a way to show Willow as heartbroken, without turning evil.

2. Gingerbread(Jane Espenson)
This episode really creeped me out. The whole town turning against Buffy and Willow, trying to burn them, and even the creepy demon children. The whole episode is really scary. I thought one of the creepiest parts when you see Joyce, and Willow's Mom actually turn on their daughters.

1. Normal Again (Diego Gutierrez)
I picked this as number one because of the amazing story. Buffy has to question what's real: Sunnydale, where her Mom is dead, her Dad has left, and her life sucking in general. Or the hospital, where her parents are alive and together, with a hope that she could be with them. Buffy wanted the hospital reality to be real, deep down. But in the end she realized she wanted to be with her friends and Dawn. This was the episode that contributed to Buffy's healing after being brought back.
 

Randy Giles

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I definitely love how The Zeppo makes the usual A storyline seem so ludicrous and silly. haha
 

clemsgirlfriend

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1. Passion. By Far. The only one in my overall top 7 favourites not written by Joss. Powerful, moving, makes me cry every time i see it. Excellent writing.

2. Selfless. Clever, touching, hilarious (especially the flashback scenes with Olaf, and the pre-quels to the musical episode)

3. Fool for love. Fun seeing Spike's origins as a shy, quiet dude and realizing that it's still in him despite the exterior show.

4. Prom. The breakup is always tough to watch. Touching scenes at the prom itself- the students showing gratitude to Buffy, Angel coming to dance with her. aww.

5. Who are you?(and This year's girl) Funny to see the good acting of the Buffy and Faith actresses playing each other, and the scene with Giles and Willow was great ("she understands you better than i do"). Moving beginning to the transformation of Faith.


many others, but those are the top 5. Also loved intervention, something blue, bad girls-consequences, choices, revelations, dead things, and conversations with dead people (but that one i mostly loved the jonathan woodward-buffy scenes, which are written by Joss, so that doesn't count as non-whedon).
 
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