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What is the definite "Buffy" episode?

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  • What is the definite "Buffy" episode?

    A friend of mine asked me what episode should they watch first, and I was relunctant to say "Welcome to the Hellmouth" because I don't think it's necessarily as good as the series is. Does that make sense?

    So which episode do you think encompasses the show in a nutshell? By this I mean an episode that features the series' prominent themes, dialogue etc.
    So this definitely rules out "The Body" and "Coversations With Dead People" for their irregular structures.

    My choice? I can't think of any other episode but "I Only Have Eyes for You." It has the Scoobies banned together fighting evil, as opposed to fighting evil with some allies or singularly. The Willow/Xander dynamic is presented as it commonly is in the series. I also think that "I Only Have Eyes for You" includes Buffy's solitude that is a common theme in the series, especially the last season. This episode is dramatic yet comedic, fantastical yet realistic -- the series in a nutshell. I think.
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  • #2
    The show in a nutshell; maybe the two-parter 'What's my Line'. In that episode we learn a lot about the difference between Buffy and other slayers. There is scoobie interaction, there are great bad guys, and there is a lot of angst and fun.

    If I had to sell BtVS as a series I would say 'Passion'. Innocence is more powerful, but not on his own. Passion is beautiful, scary, there is some fun, there is a lot of sadness and the scene with Buffy and Giles breaks every heart.

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    • #3
      I think "Hush" is the best introduction to the series. It's a standalone, unlike the aforementioned episodes, it has a healthy mix of horror, comedy and drama (Buffy's main genres), and it's brimming with Scooby interaction.

      (set made by Francy for me)

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      • #4
        The best episode to start with is "What's My Line."

        The definitive Buffy episode, however, is "The Gift." It sums up everything the show is about into 42 minutes.

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        • #5
          I started with "When she was bad", and found that a good one- you miss a lot of the cruddiness of some of season one, but it's a nice summary of the relationships- Willow wants Xander wants Buffy; Cordy is evil but good, Giles knows much, Angel and Buffy have issues... etc. It catches you up on a lot of the crux of the series but still doesn't introduce Spike or Dru, so there's not too much.

          Edit: Agree with the many who list "the Gift" as the definitive.
          Last edited by Veverka; 31-01-08, 12:12 PM.

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          • #6
            Im not really sure which episode I would say as the definite episode.. although The Gift comes to mind at first, so probably that one . Hush was an amazing standalone ep though.

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            • #7
              See the problem is, everyone who isn't into the show expects it to be ridiculous and cheesy. And while it has it's moments, what show hasn't? You have to hit them hard with the amazng dialogue, amazing emotions, and just all around really uniqueness, before they have a chance to run away and say "that was dumb."

              I've started two friends out on Tabula Rasa, not even on purpose, it just happened that way. But it's a great way to break the Buffy ice because you get to know the Scoobies in a different and original way. Spike is a vampire, doesn't wanna hurt Buffy. Buffy is a "superhero." Dawn is kinda a brat. Willow is "kinda gay." Xander is funny. Anya is sarcastic. Giles is stuffy and English but fun, I mean, the episode in itself sorta sums up a lot of what's fun about the show for me. It's a hilarious episode, but it's mixed in with these very serious notions, Willow's addiction to magic, Tara leaving, them bringing Buffy back (which is bound to make someone say "WHOA WHAT? I MUST SEE WHAT HAPPENED THERE!!??), Dawn's abandonment issues.

              In earlier years, I wouldn't say Innocence, or anything nearly so emotional, because you need more of an attachment to these people and situations before you can really feel for them as though it were you. Hush, and When She was Bad are both great eps for introduction. Hush is just a great standalone episode that doesn't deal too much with the ongoing storyline, great acting by all, great jokes, great drama, great horror, and really shows off the show and makes me proud to be a fan (unlike embarrassing eps like Ted, which I won't even let people catch me watching cause it's just so bad.) When She was Bad shows Buffy's separation from her friends, no matter how close to her they try to be, at the end of the day, she's the Slayer, and they're not. It shows a nice interaction of Buffy and Angel, and Xander and Willow, as well as a sort of reintroduction of all characters cause Season 1? Not so great with the old build up of characterization.

              What's My Line was another great suggestion. It's a two parter, breaks down the whole Slayer mythology, Buffy and Angel's relationship, Spike and Dru's relationship, the Scooby dynamic, plus, great episodes to begin with.
              Last edited by Amber; 31-01-08, 07:26 AM.

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              • #8
                For me i would give a prospective new watcher a brief summary of the characters and situation and then launch them straight into Prophecy Girl. Yes I know it's season 1 but it has just about everything you could ask from the buffage (maybe a bit light on the humour). I defy anyone to see the scene with Buffy's speech and not be moved.
                JUST ENOUGH KILL

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                • #9
                  Well, personally, I started my sister off with "Welcome to the Hellmouth", but that was her choice. She'd seen some re-runs on cable but wasn't really following the show, so asked to start from the beginning.

                  If I were to do it again, say with the friend of mine who kinda laughed about my BtVS addiction, I'd probably go with Amber's idea of "When She Was Bad". It's a pretty good way to start the show, kinda pulls you in and makes you want to sit down and stay awhile.

                  If, however, you wanted to start in S1 just not at the beginning, I'd probably go with "Angel". You get to see the start of the Bangel relationship and how her friends, although not quite sure of themselves, were willing to come to her aid no matter what. You've got humor, love, friendship, and heartbreak...IMO a great episode.
                  It's blood...It's just like mine.
                  It doesn't matter where you came from or how you got here.

                  You are my sister.

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                  • #10
                    Almost everyone I've ever succesfully turned into a Buffy fan started with....Tough Love. I know, it's not famous for it's dialogue, writing, acting, etc. But sometimes all you need is a good cliffhanger. I mean, you've got all the scoobies intereacting and in a major crisis. For the next four episodes its all continuing. Up until The Gift [fantastic!], when generally they have to know what will happen to the gang. I dunno, it's where I try to start them. Most of my friends would find the first couple seasons too cheesy I think.

                    I've also sired a fan from Triangle so...
                    "Go deadness for the demons!"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tangent View Post
                      For me i would give a prospective new watcher a brief summary of the characters and situation and then launch them straight into Prophecy Girl. Yes I know it's season 1 but it has just about everything you could ask from the buffage (maybe a bit light on the humour). I defy anyone to see the scene with Buffy's speech and not be moved.
                      I think that's a very good choice. Buffy saying "I failed the written" in answer to "it is written" sums up the show for me. It's a genre-busting, unique, attitude-filled show of funnyness. With nice dresses

                      Though, perhpas wouldn't necessarily hook someone? Personally, I love Buffy Vs Dracula, and I think it explores both scoobiness and slayerness well.

                      Or how about Pangs? If you explained to the viewer who Angel was?


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                      • #12
                        I would start with Prophecy Girl or School Hard. Just explain the basics and then start with one of that. I never tried it because people never take me seriously when I tell Buffy is amazing and deals with serious things. I actually enticed a friend to watch the show but the problem is that she does not have much time to watch it.
                        btw, I think The Gift is wrong to show a newbie because a lot happens that someone doesn?t understand.

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                        • #13
                          "School Hard" would be a good starting episode, buffyholic. I wouldn't go with "Prophecy Girl," though. The fight scenes are horrible and the monster in the library was so cheesy.

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                          • #14
                            Three episodes leap to mind.

                            "Spiral" -- this is the one I hooked my friends with. I gave them a quick summary of what Glory was, what Dawn was, and put them in front of it. They loved it. It's the idea that here is this superhero, right, and she *folds like a cheap suit* at the end of the episode. That has its own sort of hook.

                            "No Place Like Home" -- This is just phenomenal. It has tons of moments that are purely Scooby and comical, like everything in the magic box, and Buffy and Giles staring at each other. It has this really fascinating mystery with Dawn. It has some brilliant visual and score touches, with the trance. It has a solid and impressive fight with Buffy and Glory. And best of all, it has one of those "wow, nothing is safe on this show at all" moments with the reveal about Dawn.

                            "I Was Made To Love You" -- sort of the same reasoning, great comedy, a lot of good and simple moments that tell you who all the characters are and why you care about them, a good fight with April and Buffy, and, obviously, a moment that tells you nothing is safe on the show.
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                            • #15
                              I think if "I Was Made To Love You" was the person's first episode, you should cut the end out, because after loving Joyce for five years, it kind of ruins it if the first thing you see of her is her, well, dead.

                              I think a great first episode is "What's My Line", both parts. I kind of love showing people "Tabula Rasa", too. I think the episode also depends on the person. For my parents, I'd probably say "Once More, With Feeling", whereas with my friends I'd probably go for something like "Spiral", like King said. I think you have to make the person love the show, and then start from the beginning. Or just give them a description of s1 and start from s2. Sounds best to me. So, also "When She Was Bad", I guess.

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                              • #16
                                Blaster, that was actually what hooked me. I'd seen bits and pieces of Buffy before that, but that was the first episode I saw, and it was the really raw, painful moment at the end that made me certain I had to watch next week. It went from non-interesting to appointment television in the space of that last minute-long insert.
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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                  "Spiral" -- this is the one I hooked my friends with. I gave them a quick summary of what Glory was, what Dawn was, and put them in front of it. They loved it. It's the idea that here is this superhero, right, and she *folds like a cheap suit* at the end of the episode. That has its own sort of hook.
                                  Funnily enough, that's the episode that started my Buffy obsession. Along with WotW and The Gift. I didn't get a few bits, but I was hooked. I did, however, have a bunch of backstory I'd picked up from my sister.

                                  I think The Freshman could actually be a good first episode. You have introductions to all of the main characters (which I suspect may've been done to attract new viewers), a real emotional heart and some good dialogue. Plus it's got Buffy kicking Sunday's ass at the end which was pretty awesome. The mini-cliffhanger at the end with the Initiative could hook a few people.

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                                  • #18
                                    Blasterboy, "What?s my Line" is actually a pretty good starting point. But anything starting with season 5 or 4 is also a little tricky. Season 5 is a season that you have to have a bit of backstory, know the history of the scoobies and all that happened in the previous seasons.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Andrew View Post
                                      I think The Freshman could actually be a good first episode. You have introductions to all of the main characters (which I suspect may've been done to attract new viewers), a real emotional heart and some good dialogue. Plus it's got Buffy kicking Sunday's ass at the end which was pretty awesome. The mini-cliffhanger at the end with the Initiative could hook a few people.
                                      That's the episode I started with. I was watching FX, and there were back-to-back episodes. "The Freshman" and "Living Conditions". It's a great place to start, imo, because you can really just jump in rather easily. Especially if you watch the series from Riley's perspective for Season 4 as a newbie. He's a newbie and he's introduced to all these things, as can you. Tara and Riley are newbies, so you can watch through their eyes very easily.

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                                      • #20
                                        I guess I would have to watch it from the start. I got my Mum hooked that way and that's how I started. Giving someone a brief summary of what happened and launching them into my favourite episode is no substitute for seeing the characters develop first hand and then seeing that turning point in their story.

                                        For me there are favourites but no definitives because it's all part of the story, the narrative, the good the bad the complex th horribly simplistic..., it all makes it what it is.

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