“Welcome to the Hellmouth,” the series premiere episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” premiered on the WB on March 10, 1997. That’s right — “Buffy” turns 20 years old today, which is actually older than series star Sarah Michelle Gellar was when she was introduced to audiences as teenage superhero Buffy Summers. Over the course of seven seasons the show aired 144 episodes, but which were the very best? In honor of the show’s 20th anniversary, I’ve compiled an unimpeachable, scientifically verified, sure-to-be-universally-agreed-with list of the top 20. Scroll through the photo gallery above, then lob your grenades below in the comments.
“Buffy” used vampires, demons, ghosts, witches and various other monsters as metaphors for teenage angst, but the series evolved from there, following its characters to college and then through a difficult transition to young adulthood. Despite its widespread critical acclaim, however, the series struggled for awards recognition. It won two Emmys out of 14 nominations, but those were almost entirely in Creative Arts categories; it never received any nominations for directing, acting or Best Drama Series, and it only contended once for its writing (in 2000 for the episode “Hush,” which was penned by series creator Joss Whedon).
On the plus side, Gellar did earn a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the title role, and it received the Heritage Award from the Television Critics Association in 2003, the year it ended its run.
Did your favorites make our list? Which classic episodes would you have included instead? Comment below, and discuss this and more with your fellow TV fans in our famous forums.