I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I’ve viewed the entire Buffy the Vampire Slayer series. It felt like merely a guilty pleasure as I watched the first season, and even as I got into season two I still didn’t think I would end up watching every episode. But once I reached the third season, I was hooked. By then, I cared about the characters and had seen enough surprises to know the show was capable of having some real originality.
As you may already be aware, fans of Buffy are often of the rabid variety. There is an entire world (officially called the “Buffyverse”) of role-playing games, magazines, books, and comics inspired by the show. There have been PhD dissertations written about it.
Though I truly enjoyed the show, I am not one of these die-hard followers. But as a Halloween lover, I greatly appreciate the fact that Buffy dealt with the “dark side.” From the opening credits, with the sound of that organ and wolf howl, it just feels like a good rainy-day, fall-season series. Not to mention the obvious: that every plot line deals with some form of evil monster–be it vampires, robots, demons, witches, or anything in between. Plus it’s just fun to watch a girl kick-box while wielding a wooden stake.
And there are some episodes that I wholeheartedly recommend, even to those who’ve never seen the show before. Here is a list of my top three, two of which just happen to be Halloween specials. Next time you’re in the mood for some chills and witty dialogue, or if you’ve never seen “the Buff” and want to know what all the fuss was about, get thee to Netflix and watch one of these.
3. Season 2, Ep. 6: “Halloween”
This is the first episode of the series that really impressed me. It’s a Halloween special in which the characters go trick-or-treating and are forced to take on the personalities of their costumes. It’s good, straightforward fun, reminiscent of the Scooby Doo episodes I loved as a child.
2. Season 4, Ep. 4: “Fear, Itself”
This is also a Halloween special, but it is more impressive and unique than season 2’s. In it, the characters attend a haunted-house-themed frat party, and to their surprise, the house actually is haunted. The episode has a good look to it–every scene has a Halloween decoration or color in it to enhance the mood, and the special effects far exceed those in previous episodes.
1. Season 4, Ep. 10: “Hush”
Truly the best episode in the entire series by a mile, this one accomplishes something no other Buffy manages to do: it is truly scary. The less I say about the plot, the better, but I will comment on the episode’s style: it has the sweeping camera shots, fairy-tale soundtrack, and eerie visuals of a Tim Burton film.