Pilot. I knew someone who tried to watch Buffy with S2. I was all NOOOOOO! GO BACK AND WATCH S1!
Um I would suggest maybe the first episode cuz its the first episode and stuff
Maybe Im weird, but I like to start at the beginning when introducing someone to a show. So, episode one.
In general, I think that starting with the pilot of any show makes sense. But with some series, especially ones that run several seasons long and feature their own mythology, newcomers can feel overwhelmed and potentially turned off by the idea of investing that much time and emotion.
I think of Gateway Episodes as the thing you show someone who is on the fence about a series, not someone who is super excited to start watching it. Which is why I feel that the mythology-lite episodes, or episodes that don’t hinge on a character’s history are best.
I thought about “Halloween,” but it’s so much stronger to get the effect of the Princess of Buffonia when you know Buffy and Angel’s history, and her own self-doubt around their relationship. “Band Candy” is one of my fun favorites, but you need to know the characters to fully enjoy the way they’re all upended — although the hotness of Ripper needs no explanation.
This article suggests that “Earshot” is the best gateway episode to introduce someone to Buffy. It’s a fantastic episode but THE GATEWAY one? I strongly disagree. You need to know these characters — especially Buffy and Jonathan — to understand the immense gravity of Jonathan’s decision and Buffy’s agony as she is literally being driven mad by all the voices in her head. You need to know her life to understand exactly what she means when she says that it, at times, “sucks beyond the telling of it.” And you need to know “Band Candy” to get the hilarity of the references.
I think the ideal gateway episode into a series, especially a cult one, is a mythology-lite episode that showcases the tone of the show. It’s why “Blink” works so well for Doctor Who. It’s creepy to the point of being downright terrifying at times, yet there is minimal Doctor and his mythology in it.
To showcase Buffy’s horror and the humor without a dependence on all things Slayer-y, I’d suggest “Out of Mind, Out of Sight” or “Go Fish.” “Hush” is another good choice, but since Buffy is so well-known for the witty dialogue, it fails to be the most powerful introduction.
What do you think is the best gateway episode into Buffy?
It seems like it was yesterday when I wrote up a little thing for the 14th anniversary for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiere, and now we’re on the 15th anniversary.
Here’s a collection of some of our favorite PopGurls articles on Buffy that you should enjoy on this lovely anniversary:
Our BtVS drinking game.
When it was good, it was very, very good.
When it was bad, it was very very bad.
A fangurl fantasy: what we would change, and how we would end Buffy.
Because it’s not ALL about Buffy herself.
Was Tara’s death an example of the Dead Lesbian Cliche?
Happy Sweet 16 Folks.
I was suddenly struck by the need to get another Tarot deck to add to my long-neglected collection.
I’m still sad that The Slayer’s Tarot that Rachel Pollack and Buffy comic artist Paul Lee were doing for Dark Horse was canceled. The development of the deck sounded really strong and it would have been a really meaningful piece to own.
I can’t stop staring at Buffy as The Magician. I’m so drawn into her, compelled by her. I’ve been long thinking that I’d get a tattoo when the book was done and unlike most of mine, there’d be no text. I’m not usually one for tattoos of faces/people, but Buffy (Joss’ biggest icon) + The Magician feels perfect.
(When the Magician appears in a spread, it points to the talents, capabilities and resources at the querent’s disposal. Depending on the card’s placement in relation to other cards, the message is to tap into one’s full potential rather than holding back, especially when there is a need to transform something. There are choices and directions to take. — Annie Lionnet, Secrets of Tarot)
Faith was also in prison (via Angel) at that point, which is why they put the Buffybot back on duty.
yep! i’m pretty sure that there were some interviews that addressed that fact.
Interestingly, the narration has always been “into every generation, a Slayer is born” and I felt that the movie made it seem that it was truly a generational thing. That one Slayer wasn’t called as soon as one died, that the new Slayer would come with a new generation. Which is probably just subjective and me looking way into it ;)
Anyway, I was reading about this part of Buffy’s speech in “Chosen” that was cut out:
It’s true none of you has the power Faith and I have. I think both of us would have to die for a new Slayer to be called, and we can’t even be sure that girl is in this room. That’s the rule.
And then, of course, Willow did her spell and the whole Slayer line exploded. (I always worried about the poor Potentials around the world that were suddenly surged with all this power that they didn’t understand.)
If/when I get to talk to Joss again, I think I’ll ask him about the Slayer line as there doesn’t seem to be any definitive answer.
DAWN WAS THE WORST TRUE FACT
auntiesuze replied to your post: Buffy didnt die to avoid the pain of losing Dawn,…
I sort of understand why the writers went that way, but I hated Dawn from day 1 and would have been TOTALLY FINE if she had to die. She was annoying and pretty much useless. Bleh.
DAWN IS ALWAYS AND FOREVER THE WORST. I’m sorry, Dawn. You are not an awesome lady and do not get to be celebrated on Galentine’s Day.
I can’t take the accusation that I don’t know what I’m talking about seriously from someone accuses me anonymously.
Anyway, as I said before, Buffy’s choice to kill herself instead of letting Dawn die was illogic and selfish. She knew that the world was going to end if Glory got Dawn — which Glory did — that everyone would suffer “unbearable torment and death” and she still chose to keep Dawn alive over everything.
GILES: If the ritual starts, then every living creature in this and every other dimension imaginable will suffer unbearable torment and death … including Dawn.
BUFFY: Then the last thing she’ll see is me protecting her.
GILES: You’ll fail. You’ll die. We all will.
BUFFY: I’m sorry. I love you all … but I’m sorry.
GILES: I love Dawn.
BUFFY: I know.
GILES: But I’ve sworn to protect this sorry world, and sometimes that means saying and doing … what other people can’t. What they shouldn’t have to.
BUFFY: You try and hurt her, and you know I’ll stop you.
BUFFY: Everybody knows their jobs. Remember, the ritual starts, we all die. And I’ll kill anyone who comes near Dawn.
Buffy, too, accepted her fate as the Slayer and instead of doing what was needed to protect the world — to let Dawn go into the portal — she jumped in to spare herself the pain of life without her “sister.”
BUFFY: This is how many apocalypses for us now?
GILES: Oh, uh, well… six, at least. Feels like a hundred.
BUFFY: I’ve always stopped them. Always won.
BUFFY: I sacrificed Angel to save the world. I loved him so much. But I knew … what was right. I don’t have that any more. I don’t understand. I don’t know how to live in this world if these are the choices. If everything just gets stripped away. I don’t see the point. I just wish that… I just wish my mom was here.
This part is so telling: “But I knew … what was right. I don’t have that any more. I don’t understand. I don’t know how to live in this world if these are the choices. If everything just gets stripped away. I don’t see the point.”
Buffy had a really fucking hard year. She found out that her mom had a brain tumor and left school to take care of her. She had this fake sister foisted upon her and suddenly had to deal with taking care of her too. Plus she’s dealing with an intensely powerful god. And then Joyce dies, and everything she’s known up until that point has suddenly and traumatically changed. Her mother — her constant, her life — is gone. And yet, she has to keep on fighting and protecting the world because that is the responsibility that she accepted.
By “The Gift,” Buffy has been drowning in so much pain — quite understandably so — that, as she says, she doesn’t understand what is the right thing to do anymore. She keeps losing, and in her emotional state, it’s so much harder to bounce back than it had been even a year earlier. So when she has this portal in front of her, Buffy has a choice — more devastating pain (letting Dawn go) or eliminating her own pain (jumping in herself). She chose to end her pain.
And, like I said in my first post, on some levels it makes sense for her character. Sacrifice is part of Buffy’s hero arc and she did do it to save the world. But she could have still saved the world and made a far more logical decision — to let Dawn jump as even Dawn knew that she needed to — and not have left the world without a Slayer (Faith was still in jail), or even left Dawn truly a family-less orphan.
Buffy’s strength — what set her apart from the other Slayers — was her friends. The family that she created around her. And she had no care for them and what would happen to them because she had such a tunnel vision on keeping Dawn alive. It was her attempt to grasp control after a huge year of loss, and a very human reaction — but it was misguided and I will always hate and disagree with the choice that she made.
I think they got around it because Faith was still alive, and the Slayer line followed with her.
Buffy died —> Kendra called —> Kendra died —> Faith called
Dawn was the worst. No good ever came of Dawn.
Dawn should have died.
I’ve never been a fan of Dawn, and I feel like she’s always been a pointless character. I know that Joss wanted to give Buffy a new challenge, and created a little sister to model the effect that his wife had when her little sister was born — but Dawn was never needed, nor did she add anything to the show. And the Summers Blood comment was SUCH a throwaway earlier in the season that they needed to put in TWO flashbacks right before Buffy jumps to explain her choice.
I get that Buffy’s choice to kill herself to save the world was part of her hero’s arc. And planning for the season finale came up against two big real-world issues: The WB canceling the show late in the season due to a money issue with 20th Century Fox, and Buffy eventually finding a new home at UPN. So it also made sense to have a big, epic ending that would allow them to start anew with a big rebirth on the new network.
I understand WHY they chose to have Buffy sacrifice herself to save her “sister,” but I don’t agree with it. In the season finale, Buffy also talked a lot about pain — about how she didn’t want to live in the world if everything kept begin stripped away. Which makes sense — it was hard season for her with the devastation of losing her mom. Plus, she’d killed Angel to save the world and now she was faced with losing Dawn.
So Buffy left the world without a Slayer, and left the sister that she cared so much about without any family. Which is why I feel like her choice was selfish — she did it to avoid dealing with any more pain. Her message to Dawn is that “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it,” and she chose to be a martyr and jump instead of letting Dawn die and having to deal with the pain.
(And a world with a Slayer vs. a world with a whiny brat really is the choice that she was making ;))
I did not get an “I Voted!” sticker (sad! sad!), but I’m sporting my Patriotic Buffy T-shirt today.
Oh my god. This article annoyed me so much. Mostly the doctors that they spoke to, who have no real concept of what fandom is, aside from a great, deep love for something — particularly a television series.
Vulture, you should know better.
I will elaborate on this, but for now here’s a few choice quotes:
“Dr. Keith Ablow, an author and infamous Fox News talking head, takes a characteristically hard line: Most fandom is distraction. People who are living their lives completely have very little time to be significant fans of anything, but people avoid struggling to find themselves because that journey is painful.”
Yes. We fans fail to live our lives completely. We are shells of human beings who avoid anything painful because it might make us sad. No one ever watches a show, reads a book, loves a band or even a sports team because they either are inspired by or identify with the characters, the lyrics, the tale. No one ever finds clarity in their own head or heart, or finds inspiration to follow a path because of a tv show. Nope. We’re all stupid, pathetic shells.
“[Dr. Sudeepta Varma], who admits to watching the Real Housewives on a regular basis and finding reality television fascinating in general. “
OH! YOU FIND IT FASCINATING! Aren’t you so WONDERFUL with your ability to look down at us fans and REALLY RELATE with us because you have deemed your condescending self a moment to indulge to find television fascinating.
“Fandom is reasonably unsatisfying,” [Dr. Drew Ramsey] says. “It doesn’t return something specific to the individual.”
My personal case in point: Come home from college. Have no friends around. Fall into deep depression. Start watching Buffy summer of 1998. Join Buffy posting board soon after. Meet people, find best friends. Learn how to become a better writer through fanfiction. Start a pop culture-commentary website with four of those Buffy posting board friends in 2001. Hone writing and interviewing skills. Get to interview some fantastic and fabulous people. Get a book contract to write Joss Whedon’s biography in 2011 due to those skills AND those connections I made on the board.
Yep, I got NOTHING back from fandom.
“Wait, but sometimes it does! Is it not exciting when your favorite team has a comeback?”
And you, Phoebe Reilly. You don’t get fandom either. Good day, Miss. I said GOOD DAY.