The Best Buffy The Vampire Slayer Episodes

The best Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes come from all different seasons of the series.

By Michileen Martin | Updated


Buffy the Vampire Slayer finished its game-changing run almost twenty years ago, but it remains one of the most beloved series to grace television.

Buffy fans are vocal about their love for the series, including their picks for the very best episodes. Using audience tallies, here are the ten best episodes of the show, with our own scores for each entry.

1. “Once More, with Feeling” (Season 6, Episode 7)

buffy the vampire slayer


Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s sixth season is one of the most maligned stretches of the series, with “Once More, with Feeling” proving to be one of the only almost universally agreed upon outliers. It survives as one of the only musical stories that that actually provides a reason for all the music: everyone in town starts singing and dancing uncontrollably after the arrival of the tap-dancing demon Sweet, played by the three time Tony winner Hinton Battle.

Along with proving fun and surprisingly effecting, “Once More, with Feeling” delivers a couple of big Buffy firsts: including the titular hero’s reveal about why she never wanted to be resurrected, and the first kiss between Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and the vampire Spike (James Marsters).

2. “Hush” (Season 4, Episode 10)

buffy the vampire slayer


Season 4’s “Hush” is arguably the single most terrifying episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Everyone in Sunnydale is struck mute because of the arrival of The Gentlemen: a trio of heart-stealing creatures floating from one victim to the next with their horrific grins never abating. Robbing the heroes of speech creates the opportunity for some hilarious communication alternatives.

3. “The Body” (Season 5, Episode 16)

buffy the vampire slayer


To many, there is no more emotionally powerful episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer than “The Body,” which opens with Buffy discovering the fresh corpse of her mother Joyce (Kristine Sutherland).

Rather than being killed by a demon or a monster, Joyce is the victim of a fatal aneurysm and the rest of the episode deals with Buffy and the Scoobs’ reactions to her death. It’s brilliantly perhaps the most mundane episode of the series, and the most relatable.

4. “Becoming, Part Two” (Season 2, Episode 22)

buffy the vampire slayer


If Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a signature storyline, it’s the doomed love between Buffy and the vampire Angel (David Boreanaz), which comes to a heartbreaking climax in the Season 2 finale “Becoming, Part Two.”

Buffy is not only forced to sacrifice Angel, but must kill him (he gets better) after Willow (Alyson Hannigan) succeeds in restoring his soul.

5. “Graduation Day, Part Two” (Season 3, Episode 22)

buffy the vampire slayer


“Graduation Day, Part Two,” the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 finale, was in many ways what you could all the conclusion of the first “book” of Buffy.

It features the final battle between the heroes and Sunnydale’s Mayor Wilkins (Harry Groener), the destruction of Sunnydale High, and even the death of the Scoobs’ regular bureaucratic foil Principal Snyder (Armin Shimerman).

After “Graduation Day, Part Two,” both Boreanaz and Charisma Carpenter defected to the spin-off Angel, and while Seth Green stayed for part of Season 4, he didn’t last long.

6. “The Gift” (Season 5, Episode 22)

buffy the vampire slayer


The argument could be made, and has been made plenty of times, that “The Gift” could have and perhaps should have been the final episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The show’s fifth season ends with Buffy sacrificing herself to save both the world and her sister Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg). Considering how conflicted fans feel about the two seasons that followed, including of course Buffy’s resurrection, Season 5 might have been a great place to call it quits.

7. “Surprise” (Season 2, Episode 13)

buffy the vampire slayer


“Surprise” is a perfect example of one of the things Buffy the Vampire Slayer did better than anyone before or since: using horror metaphors to explore teen drama.

Just like a girl who finds the object of her affection acting differently after she has sex with him for the first time, Angel literally turns into a different person — the sadistic Angelus — after she gives her virginity to him. The drama that follows is one of the most heart-rending in the series.

8. “Innocence” (Season 2, Episode 14)

buffy the vampire slayer


“Innocence” is part two of the story that begins with “Surprise,” with more revealed about the covert intentions of Jenny Calendar (Robia Scott). The late, great character actor Vincent Schiavelli guest stars as one of the Romani mystics wanting vengeance on Angelus and Brian Thompson — who appears in the series premiere as a different villain — returns as the blue-skinned demon The Judge.

The episode also features the one, great battle in which Buffy defeats the Big Bad with a missile launcher.

9. “Restless” (Season 4, Episode 22)

buffy the vampire slayer


Season 4’s “Restless” is the only Buffy the Vampire Slayer season finale set after the final battle with the season’s Big Bad. Buffy and the Scoobs are instead confronted with the spirit of the First Slayer (Sharon Ferguson) in their dreams.

It’s definitely the most Lynchian episode of Buffy, with lines of dialogue and changes in setting coming off somewhere between poetic and nonsensical.

10. “Prophecy Girl” (Season 1, Episode 12)

buffy the vampire slayer


Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s first season ends triumphantly with “Prophecy Girl,” in which the titular hero is confronted by a seemingly unavoidable prediction that she will die at the hands of The Master (Mark Metcalf).

With ancient predictions and a climactic battle with the Big Bad, “Prophecy Girl” sets the tone for all the season finales that would follow.

  • GFR Score calculated using averages of audience and critical reactions across multiple platforms.