Pop Culture

Buffy: Choose Your Own Adventure!

If the apocalypse comes, beep me.

 Normally in this space, I’d have posted a pithy, sometimes funny, occasionally insightful Buffy episode review. Due to popular response in last week’s review, we will be doing a live blog/group view of “Graduation Day, Parts 1 and 2″ on Sunday evening, July 15th, 8:30 p.m. EST.  That will close out our Season 3 recap series.

So this week I have something a little bit different for you AND a reader challenge.

Since many of you, like me, are intimately familiar with the entire run of Buffy, there’s no real reason to watch them in chronological order. Since Netflix and DVDs put the show at your finger tips, there’s a lot of creative marathon-ing potential. Like Spuffy? Watch the entire romance, beginning to end without those pesky Captain Forehead interruptions. You can watch Willow’s development as a witch, every Jonathan episode, or all the classic monster episodes.  The show can be broken down and reassembled to your personal desires.

I present you with some suggestions:

She Saved the World, A Lot

I’m starting with an easy one ““ a setlist of the episodes in which Buffy averts an apocalypse or world changing moment. This includes all the season finales except 6, where Xander saves the world (and, technically, the world saving in Season 4 is in the penultimate episode), and a few scattered one-offs.

  • The Harvest (Season 1)
  • Prophecy Girl (Season 1)
  • Becoming, Part 2 (Season 2)
  • Graduation Day, Part 2 (Season 3)
  • Doomed (Season 4)
  • Primeval (Season 4)
  • The Gift (Season 5)
  • Chosen (Season 7)

Optional Inclusion:

  •  The Zeppo (Season 3) ““ the fight to avert the apocalypse isn’t the focus of this Xander-centric episode, but the Hellmouth does open and Slayers avert disaster.
  • Innocence (Season 2) ““ The Judge is bad news for humanity, but maybe not world destroying. However, Buffy blows him up with a rocket launcher and that’s always fun to watch.

Who Am I?

Mistaken identities, switched bodies, and dopplegangers, oh my!

  • Homecoming (Season 3)
  • Dopplegangland (Season 3)
  • A New Man (Season 4)
  • Who Are You? (Season 4)
  • The Replacement (Season 5)
  • Intervention (Season 5)
  • Tabula Rasa (Season 6)

Optional Inclusion:

  • Halloween (Season 2) ““ In which the gang takes on the personalities of their cursed Halloween costumes
  • Band Candy (Season 3) ““ Regression is sort of like switching bodies, right?
  • Superstar (Season 4) ““ Jonathan’s spell shifts the entire world slightly to the left

His Penis Got Diseases From A Chumash Tribe!


Xander’s love life is notoriously difficult. While he settles down with Anya for a while, she’s still an ex-vengeance demon. If Xander is interested in someone, it’s an easy bet she’s gonna try to kill him.

  • Teacher’s Pet (Season 1)
  • Inca Mummy Girl (Season 2)
  • Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered (Season 2)
  • Pangs (Season 4 ““ the syphilis episode in question)
  • Hells Bells (Season 6)
  • Beneath You (Season 7)
  • First Date (Season 7)

Optional Inclusion:

  • The Zeppo (Season 3) ““ his first sexual experience with Faith
  • Lovers Walk (Season 3) ““ Cordelia catches him kissing Willow

Reader Challenge:

My dislike for Xander Harris is well documented on this site. So this is my challenge to you – make your own Mini-Marathon list convincing me that Xander is a decent guy. Pick 3 to 5 episodes, in whatever order you like – I’ll include the marathon lists in next week’s post.

By [E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at

She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

25 replies on “Buffy: Choose Your Own Adventure!”

I’d love to make a list of the best Joyce episodes but a friend borrowed my dvds so I don’t have any episode descriptions to flip through.

The one with the crazy friend of hers and the mask.

Band Candy, naturally. That jacket!

Wasn’t there a pretty good one with her and Spike…? Oh my brain. I’m failing at Buffy here…

Any other positive Joyce episodes? It’d have to end with The Body though. So sad. Forever.

My Giles-thon list:

Welcome to the Hellmouth, Prophecy Girl, Lie to Me, The Dark Age, Passion, Band Candy, Revelations, Helpless, Bad Girls, Pangs, A New Man, Primeval, Restless, Checkpoint, The Body, The Gift, Once More With Feeling, and Chosen. Some are Giles-centric, others show his evolution as Buffy’s Watcher (Revelations/Bad Girls/Checkpoint), others show how he’s basically Buffy’s real dad and how far he’ll go to protect her (and, later, Dawn).

I wish I could remember the one where Willow, Tara, Xander and Anya found him singing at the coffee place. Ye gods and little fishes, that was hot.

I can’t do this, because I think Xander is a douchenugget about 90% of the time, and all of his good moments are mixed in with bad moments in the same episode.

This is actually part of what I love so much about the show. The characters are very real (even if some of them are vampires or demons), and nobody is perfect. It’s like real life, but better!

My dislike for Xander is strong as well. I’m surprised Buffy never came at him with a stake.

Also, I cannot watch Becoming pt 2 without crying. As beautiful and sad as The Body was, its the season 2 finale that makes my eyes leak!

You could probably make an entire list out of just getting it on episodes. I don’t have the titles in front of me, but:

-Buffy loses it to Angel
-Xander to Faith
-Willow to Oz
-The one with the monster that makes Buffy and Riley do it over and over
-The first time Buffy and Spike hook up

Bonus: Spike and Anya in the magic shop

Ok, I’m going to name the episodes without checking!


*The Zeppo

*Graduation Day Pt 2

* That’s the one that I don’t know the episode name

* They first kiss in Once More With Feeling (well, serious kiss — Buffy kisses him in Intervention), and they first have sex in Wrecked.

Last year when the world was supposed to end, I spent the whole day watching Buffy save the world. It was pretty perfect.

I’m a fan of the Willow/Oz mini marathon: Phases, Wild at Heart, and New Moon Rising. You can add Lovers Walk and Amends to make it a tad longer.

And there’s the highlights of season 2: School Hard, What’s My Line, Surprise, Innocence, Passion, I Only Have Eyes for You, Becoming.

A list of good Xander episodes would have to include The Replacement and Potential. Probably The Zeppo. Maybe The Prom. He tends to have good, small moments in episodes that aren’t about him, so maybe a good YouTube mix would work better than a Buffy marathon

I’ve already warned Fella (we’re still halfway through season one) that Oz ruined dating for me, especially dating high school/college guys.

I think that Fella will get it, though, which is why I’m keeping him around (well, that and being fun and awesome and hot and so on). Oz was basically the opposite of Xander AND Riley when it came to interactions with the awesome powerful women in the Buffyverse.

Leave a Reply