Show's creator takes a stab at 10 favorite episodes
From USAToday.com 04.28.03
Here are creator Joss Whedon's 10 favorite episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With each show is its original airdate, a description by USA TODAY's Robert Bianco and a brief explanation from Whedon. (Unless otherwise noted, the episodes were written and directed by Whedon.)
1. Innocence (Jan. 20, 1998)
Every girl's nightmare, and one of the show's most sly yet most powerful uses of metaphor. Buffy has sex with Angel, who immediately turns into a monster. Though devastated, Buffy realizes that her mission is more important than her feelings.
Why? "It's a mission-statement show, and one of the ones where I first found out what we could do."
2. Once More With Feeling (Nov. 6, 2001)
The musical episode, in which a demon causes everyone in Sunnydale to burst into song. The songs are comic and romantic at first, but they get darker, until, at the end, Buffy reveals that she would rather be dead. Oklahoma! it's not. Whedon also wrote the well-regarded score.
Why? Whedon was given a chance to write an original musical for TV, an opportunity that few series writers ever get. He loved it: "What am I going to say?"
3. Hush (Dec. 14, 1999)
The (mostly) silent episode, and one of the series' most traditionally scary. A group of floating demons, The Gentlemen, steals the voices of everyone in Sunnydale — a prelude to harvesting their hearts.
Why? See below.
4. The Body (Feb. 27, 2001)
A particularly haunting episode built around the death of Buffy's mother and the way death transforms a person into a body. Joyce's loss is one of the few natural deaths in the series, and it provoked one of the show's most serious episodes.
Why? On some series, "Hush" and "The Body" would exist solely to show off some gimmick. Whedon is proud of the episodes precisely because they aren't stunts; each advanced the season's big story, and each made perfect sense in the Buffy universe.
5. Doppelgangland (Feb. 23, 1999)
While casting a spell, Willow accidentally brings forth her alternative-universe vampire double, whom viewers first met in "The Wish." It turns out Vampire Willow is very hot, very bad and, as Willow says, "kind of gay" — a sign of things to come.
Why? "Because one Willow is certainly not enough."
6. The Wish (Dec. 8, 1998)
Anya the Vengeance Demon grants Cordelia's wish that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, creating a universe where The Master's vampires rule. Buffy arrives and is killed by The Master. Written by Marti Noxon; directed by David Greenwalt.
Why? "Very bleak, very fun. It went to a dark place, and that's really exciting to me. That's where I live."
7. Becoming, Part II (May 19, 1998)
The second-season finale, as Buffy rushes to stop the soul-free Angel from destroying the world. Willow does restore Angel's soul, but not before he opens a vortex that will suck the world into hell. The only way for Buffy to close the vortex is to kill the man she loves — which she does.
Why? "Buffy loses everything. Also, it had a sword fight. I love sword fighting."
8. Restless (May 23, 2000)
The fourth-season finale. Having saved the world again, Buffy and her friends plan to spend a peaceful evening at home. Instead, they're sucked into a dream world where they are hunted by the First Slayer.
Why? "Most people sort of shake their heads at it. It was different, but not pointless."
9. Conversations With Dead People (Nov. 12, 2002)
Buffy, Willow and Dawn chat with the dead: Buffy with a vampire, Dawn with her mother, and Willow with Tara. But Willow isn't actually talking to a dead person at all; she's talking to The First, the season's "Big Bad." Written by Jane Espenson and Drew Goddard; directed by Nick Marck.
Why? "I'm very fond of 'Conversations With Dead People.' I just thought structurally and tonally it was very interesting and had a lot to say. And I got to write another song."
10. Prophecy Girl (June 2, 1997)
The first-season finale. Shaken by a prophecy that she will die at the hands of The Master, the series' first "Big Bad," Buffy resigns as Slayer. But when she realizes that she's the only one who can stop The Master from taking over the world, she returns to face him — and dies. Briefly.
Why? "Because that was my first time, besides telling directors what to do, that I actually got to direct. And it was the first time I got to kill Buffy, and the first season ender, and it was the first time I realized I could take everything we did in the season and tie it in a bow."