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Sosa lola
24-11-18, 01:49 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=voYcAxeEiS8

Great episode picks for the characters!

What would you guys say are the best character-driven episodes of both BtVS and AtS? Also do you agree with the ranking?

vampmogs
24-11-18, 02:18 PM
This a pretty great list IMO. My picks would probably be;

(BtVS)

Willow: Dopplegangland
Spike: Fool For Love
Faith: Who Are You
Xander: The Zeppo
Angel: Amends
Anya: Selfless
Tara: Family
Dawn: Err... Real Me?
Giles: The Dark Ages
Cordelia: Out of Mind, Out of Sight
Oz: Wild at Heart

I feel a little bad for Cordelia and Dawn. I feel their episodes are both pretty lame in comparison to what the others all get. I wanted to pick B,B&B for Cordy because I prefer her development in that episode but it was also too much of a Xander episode for me to feel entirely comfortable calling it 'Cordy-centric'. And The Wish looks like it's going to be Cordy-centric but her storyline is then hijacked by the Wishverse plot and whatever little lessons she does learn (that she probably shouldn't underestimate Buffy's worth to Sunnydale) are entirely forgotten anyway. And I picked Real Me which is fairly underwhelming but it's probably the strongest episode out of the 'Dawn-centric' episodes (the others being All the Way and Potential) and probably attempts to delve more into her mind than them as well.

I've never been much of a fan of The Dark Ages either (it's in my Top 3 least favourite episodes of Season 2) but I think it's a far more in-depth and interesting character study than A New Man.

I almost picked Phases for Oz but as much as I love that episode, the more I thought about it the more I kind of realised that in terms of meaty character stuff, it's actually fairly light for Oz. He mostly just reacts to the plot. I'd actually say that Willow and even Buffy get meatier stuff to chew on in that ep. Wild at Heart is, IMO, by far the most fleshed out episode for Oz.

For Xander it always going to be either The Zeppo or The Replacement and since The Replacement is, frankly, just a ripoff of both The Zeppo and Dopplegangland anyway, it had to be The Zeppo. However, leaving aside how The Zeppo is more of an original episode I also think it's objectively the much stronger episode too. The way it completely turned the series' story structure on it's head was brilliant and really innovative. The Replacement tells us nothing different about Xander that we didn't already learn from The Zeppo.

And I adore Who Are You and think it's sublime but I do always feel a tad bad for Eliza Dushku that Buffy's most pivotal Faith episode is with SMG at the helm. But I had to pick it. It's undoubtedly the best.

Buffy is a little harder because obviously a lot of episodes are pretty Buffy-centric but my picks would probably be: Prophecy Girl, Innocence, Helpless, Becoming II and The Gift. I'd say they're the episodes that I feel really define who Buffy is. However, I'm really happy that the video picked Prophecy Girl because if I was forced to choose that would be the episode I would pick as Buffy's "defining" episode as a character. It's just such an iconic and marvellous episode for her.

Sosa lola
24-11-18, 02:57 PM
I agree that Cordelia shines more in other characters' episodes (same goes for other characters as well).

When it comes to Xander, I feel The Zeppo, Restless and Hell's Bells to be the episodes that dig deep into the character. Xander's confidence always filters and wavers every season from mid-S3 on. He gets confident, then loses that confidence, then gain it again, then loses it.... etc. Though I feel that the subject of his confidence changes: in The Zeppo, Xander is worries about his place in the Scooby Gang. In The Replacement, Xander is worried about his place in the world and what he excels at in real life matters like a job, passion, love life and moving out of the nest. In Hell's Bells, Xander is worried about his inner demons and if he'll be able to grow into a better man and not follow the footsteps of the males of his family.

I've always seen Passions as a tragic Giles episode. It is the superior Giles episode for me. But I guess The Dark Ages tells us more about his character.

Priceless
24-11-18, 03:00 PM
It's a very good list and one I think most would agree with. Personally I don't think 'Becoming' is really a character piece in the true sense as it doesn't centre on Buffy, look deeply at aspects of her personality or highlight aspects we didn't know were there previously. I would agree it's more a piece about Angel and his relationship with Buffy, and in that sense perhaps it could be seen as an Angel character study.

I would place 'Doppelgangland' much higher than 10, as it's such a wonderfully written episode and really does give us insight into aspects of Willow and has some tremendous foreshadowing. I know The Zeppo would make it onto everyone's list and I am in the minority who actually prefers The Replacement as a Xander-centric episode. I love A New Man and Who Are You, Selfless and of course FFL, so they'd all be on the list.
I'd have to put a Dawn-centric episode on the list, because I love her. I'd probably go for 'Potential' because she's at her best in Season 7, and you can see what sort of women she will be going forward.

I have an issue with putting Prophecy Girl on the list, or perhaps putting it so high. It would seem to suggest that all we ever know about Buffy is known by episode 12 of the whole show and that she doesn't grow or change from that point, and I think she changes so much from that 16 year old girl we first see. I would also disagree that prior to finding out about the prophecy Buffy was 'happy, secure and confident' because although she could be all those things, she could also be depressed and insecure.

It's really hard to pick a Buffy character piece, because virtually every episode is that :D I think Anne is probably a very important episode in that is shows Buffy's complexity, her depression or ptsd or however you want to frame her mental distress that we see in many points throughout the show, but also her strength and courage, her natural instinct to help, even when she doesn't want to, it shows how loving she is, but has trouble moving forward and has difficulty talking about her emotions . . . (or maybe Helpless, Chosen, OMWF . . . )

TimeTravellingBunny
24-11-18, 04:47 PM
Buffy: Anne (if I must pick just one; if not: + Becoming part 2, OMWF, The Gift, Prophecy Girl, CWDP...)
Willow: Dopplegangland (h.m. Villains)
Spike: Fool For Love
Faith: Who Are You?
Xander: Hell's Bells
Angel: Amends
Anya: Selfless
Tara: Family
Dawn: Forever (maybe not that Dawn-centric, but the best Dawn episode)
Giles: Passion
Cordelia: Out of Mind, Out of Sight
Oz: New Moon Rising
Riley (he was a main character, too, after all): Into the Woods

Willow from Buffy
24-11-18, 06:04 PM
I really liked this video, especially the commentary on underrated episodes, such as Selfless, Storyteller and New Man.

I have an issue with putting Prophecy Girl on the list, or perhaps putting it so high. It would seem to suggest that all we ever know about Buffy is known by episode 12 of the whole show and that she doesn't grow or change from that point, and I think she changes so much from that 16 year old girl we first see. I would also disagree that prior to finding out about the prophecy Buffy was 'happy, secure and confident' because although she could be all those things, she could also be depressed and insecure.

I think Prophecy Girl is amazing. I put it forward as the quintessential Buffy episode when Rachel asked for suggestions. I think it set the groundwork for what is - perhaps - more nuanced incarnations of Buffy in the future, but this set an important precedent for the show that all those future Buffies build from.

Priceless
24-11-18, 06:19 PM
I really liked this video, especially the commentary on underrated episodes, such as Selfless, Storyteller and New Man.

I think Prophecy Girl is amazing. I put it forward as the quintessential Buffy episode when Rachel asked for suggestions. I think it set the groundwork for what is - perhaps - more nuanced incarnations of Buffy in the future, but this set an important precedent for the show that all those future Buffies build from.

Prophecy Girl is a great episode, I can certainly see your point and I am sure most would agree. It does lay the ground work, and is important, but it's still the story of a 16 year old girl, and that's not my favourite Buffy. I prefer an older and wiser Buffy, one who knows that death is not the worst thing, and has more faith in her own ability to overcome. But for me, there are better episodes that show her as a more rounded character and with a different view of herself and the world around her.

ghoststar
24-11-18, 06:26 PM
My picks:

1. Buffy: I actually think that "Restless" is the most best Cliff's Notes on her characters, because it hits all the right notes on her friendships, Slayer nature, and attitude toward her calling. However, I'm not sure it qualifies as Buffy-centric. "CWDP" has the same qualifier. So I'm going to go with "Innocence," which perfectly balances her idealism and resilience alongside her anger and awareness of the world's cruelty.

2. Spike: "Fool for Love" is not only a great showcase for James Marsters, it's also a succinct and visually striking summary of a century-plus spent building an identity.

3. Angel: "Amends" does a terrific job of building on Angel's weakness in episodes like "Prophecy Girl" and "Becoming" and of subverting the expectations set up by Giles's explanation of demons back in the first season. Sometimes, a weak man is a bigger problem than a vicious demon.

4. Willow: "Doppelgängland." I love how vampire!Willow foreshadows so much of Dark Willow's behavior in season 6, and how she puts Willow's already-present hunger for power on display.

5. Giles: "Lies My Parents Told Me." No, he doesn't come off as a nice person, but we're seeing Giles in extremis, with the Council gone and his Sunnydale relationships broken. ASH's performance is harrowing, subtle, and great.

6. Xander: "The Zeppo." This episode's fast tempo and tangled plot prove that complex character pieces don't have to be short on excitement. It's to the episode's credit that it manages to either resolve or set up for a satisfying future comeuppance all of its myriad subplots.

7. Oz: "New Moon Rising" is the rare character piece that acknowledges a character's failings without either excoriating or excusing them. Of the show's many, many breakup scenes, the conversation in the van is easily the best. "All my life, I never loved anything else"-- ::creys::.

8. Dawn: "Blood Ties." There are better episodes for Dawn's character, like "The Gift" and "Grave," but they aren't really Dawn episodes. "Blood Ties" shows a realistic response to both her newly-discovered origins and her broken trust in her family.

9. Cordelia: "The Wish." While I don't care for the deus ex machina nature of vengeance demons, there's no denying that "The Wish" does an effective job of showing Cordelia's strengths and weaknesses. Also, it gives her by far her best costumes.

10. Anya: "Selfless." See above re: vengeance demons, but Emma Caulfield sells her character's abrasive, ethically unmoored, yet weirdly conscientious nature.

TimeTravellingBunny
24-11-18, 07:48 PM
^ "All my life, I've never loved anything else" is from Wild At Heart, actually.
I hate that line, it's the Bangel or Fresley at their worst level of cheesy. The conversation in the van in New Moon Rising, however, is beautiful.

SpuffyGlitz
24-11-18, 09:01 PM
This is hard!
Here's my subjective list - subject to change:

Buffy: OMWF ("To be like other girls, To fit in this glittering world")
Willow: Same Time, Same Place (I was always moved by: "I'm healing. Growing new skin.")
Spike: Fool For Love
Faith: Who Are You (brilliant Faith ep)
Xander: The Zeppo (sublime Xander ep)
Angel: Amends
Anya: Selfless
Tara: Family
Dawn: Him
Giles: The Dark Ages
Cordelia: Out of Mind, Out of Sight
Oz: Wild at Heart

Honourable mentions/ Alternates:

Buffy: Anne, The Gift
Angel: Angel
Xander: The Replacement, Grave
Anya: Hell's Bells ("I get it now, I finally get love.")
Dawn: Potential
Willow: Killer in Me, Doppelgangland, I Robot You Jane
Giles: Passion, Dead Man's Party, Helpless (DMP for that single moment of stunning acting by ASH that really shows his father's love for Buffy)
Spike: Beneath You, Entropy, LMPTM