How great was the first season of Buffy?

Rating the first 13 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Brian Rowe
May 12, 2018 · 3 min read

During the last three years, I’ve been slowly making my way through a re-watch of my all-time favorite TV show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Here are my thoughts on the Season 1 episodes!

Welcome to the Hellmouth *** (out of ****)

The first episode of my favorite show is a little rocky around the edges but still starts strong, with the mix of action and sense of humor… obviously the budget is small but the actors already have a great handle on their characters… the design of the Big Bad is still striking!

The Harvest **1/2

Not as strong as the first half of the pilot, too much clunky action and not enough humor with the main trio… but I love “sunlight’s not for another nine hours, moron” and that wonderful closing moment “the Earth is doomed” that Whedon repeats in the series finale!

Witch ***

The first stand-alone monster-of-the-week episode is pretty strong, with a mother trying to live through her own daughter as a cheerleader… lots of great banter between the characters and a clever twist ending!

Teacher’s Pet **

One of the worst and cheesiest episodes of the show, albeit entertaining. The finale actually includes a praying mantis battle! Lame.

Never Kill a Boy on the First Date ***

Solid early episode, with Buffy trying to date and save the world at the same time. Ending where she has to break it off with the guy is so heartbreaking! Nothing special, but one of the better season 1 episodes.

The Pack ***

Hyena possession element is dumb, but first time one of the main characters is turned into something else — nerdy Xander becomes confident jock — and it works great! Looking forward to more of these kinds of episodes.

Angel ***1/2

The signature Season 1 episode, with Buffy falling hard for Angel, only to discover he’s a vampire. This is the episode that sets up the major arc of Season 2, and while Darla is always annoying, the tension between Buffy and Angel is terrific in this episode, and it makes up for a rather routine first season with mostly monster-of-the-week episodes.

I, Robot… You Jane *1/2

If not the all-time worst episode of Buffy — I actually played on my phone for most of the second half, completely disinterested in this stupid story — definitely in the bottom three of the show’s entire run. I like the introduction to Jenny Calendar and the closing shot is a beauty — the Scooby gang realizing all their love lives are doomed (yep, they are) — but otherwise this is a rare Buffy turd.

The Puppet Show **1/2

Way better than I Robot You Jane but still a run-of-the-mill Goosebumps-like episode, with an evil puppet. Some spooky atmosphere in this one that’s not part of the other Season 1 episodes. Love the closing credits cookie with the Scooby gang acting on stage!

Nightmares ***

An episode that can be frustrating at times, but overall, it’s one of the creepiest of Season 1, where each of the main characters has to live his or her worst nightmare… Buffy becomes a vampire at the end! And there’s an evil clown! Overall it’s one of the more ambitious “monster-of-the-week” episodes the show did in its early seasons.

Out of Mind, Out of Sight **1/2

This episode finally gets Cordelia on the Scooby Gang’s side! It gets a little cheesy at the end with Buffy and Cordelia tied to chairs, but still fun.

Prophecy Girl ***1/2

The terrific first season finale!! Whedon wrote and directed this one, and while it doesn’t reach the heights of some of the other finales, it’s super exciting, fast-paced, and Buffy dies at the end before she comes back.

Best Episode of Season 1: ANGEL (1.07)

Worst Episode of Season 1: I ROBOT, YOU JANE (1.08)

Brian Rowe is an author, teacher, book devotee, and film fanatic. He received his MFA in Creative Writing and MA in English from the University of Nevada, Reno, and his BA in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He writes young adult and middle grade suspense novels, and is represented by Kortney Price of the Corvisiero Agency.

Brian Rowe

Written by

Author / Teacher / MFA in Fiction. I write MG & YA suspense novels!

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