It’s generally acknowledged that Buffy season 1 can be a bit rough around the edges, but there are also some standout moments we can’t forget.
As Hypable’s ReWatchable podcast makes its way through Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s been an interesting road to experience the show through the eyes of several people who have never seen it before, as well as several people who absolutely love the series.
Season 1, as with most shows, can be a little cringe-worthy. Sometimes the actors are still trying to find their characters or their chemistry, and sometimes the writers are still trying to establish what the show is all about. While many superfans look back on these initial Buffy episodes with fondness, we’ve found it was a little harder for the newbies to appreciate them.
That said, there’s still plenty of great moments within season 1 that we can’t forget about as we move into season 2.
(Note: There are spoilers for Buffy season 1 below, but none for season 2 or beyond. Please be courteous to our newbies and don’t post any spoilers in the comments section. Thank you!)
Cordelia joins the gang…sort of
Cordelia started off season 1 as a pretty stereotypical mean girl. She was there to foil the gang during school hours, get in trouble and have to be rescued, and add to Buffy, Willow, and Xander’s ostracization among their peers.
And then something wonderful happens.
At the end of season 1, Cordelia begins to gravitate toward Buffy. She knows stuff is going down and she realizes standing by Buffy is the best way to get through it. When she’s attacked in the finale, she also holds her own against the vampires and even fights back.
Willow stands up for herself
Willow’s crush on Xander is both endearing and heartbreaking because we know how much she loves him, but we also know he’s got his sights set on Buffy. During “The Pack,” we see a Willow who won’t fall for Hyena! Xander’s tricks, no matter how much she wants to believe what he’s saying is true.
Even better, when Xander is rejected by Buffy and he asks Willow to go with him to the dance instead, she says no. She doesn’t do it with any malice, but the answer is clear. She feels sorry for him, but she also knows that it would kill her to watch him mope over Buffy the whole time. Her heart just wouldn’t be able to handle that, and we applaud her for saying no even though she wanted to say yes.
Buffy reminds us all she’s still just a girl
In high-stakes stories that often deal with a little thing called the apocalypse, we often forget the age of our hero. Yeah, he’s in high school, but he’s got superpowers. Sure, she can’t even vote yet, but she’s destined to save the world!
If Buffy were another character on another show, she might have just squared her shoulders and gone off to battle. Instead, we see the very real reaction to being told you must end the apocalypse by giving up your life. Buffy is hysterical, and then she’s angry, and then she’s terrified: “I’m 16 years old. I don’t wanna die.”
‘The Puppet Show’ was way better than we remembered
Ahead of rewatching “The Puppet Show,” many of the superfans weren’t looking forward to the episode, and with minimal knowledge of what it would be about, neither were the newbies. But then something exciting happened: We were all surprised.
The newbies didn’t see the twist coming. What’s better, viewing this episode analytically reminded all of us that while it’s not a stellar one in the long lineup of Buffy episodes, it did flip the trope on its head, much like what Buffy herself does on a daily basis. Not everything is as it seems, and the show is so much better for it.
Angel is absolutely hilarious
Most of us superfans hold Angel in high regard, remembering him as a mysterious, broody, angsty, sexy character. And he is absolutely all of those things. Except when he isn’t.
Season 1 is a little touch and go for Angel. At first he’s sort of awkward. And weird. He definitely has the brooding thing down pat, but he’s just so unhelpful. Not gonna lie, it’s a little hard to watch him sometimes, but it’s also hilarious to see Angel trying so hard to act cool and just failing miserably.
‘I, Robot… You, Jane’ becomes even more relatable
Another surprising gem in season 1 is the episode “I, Robot… You, Jane,” which stars a rather ancient demon who found himself on the ‘net. For Giles, this is a nightmare, having to deal with technology in such a way. For us, however, it maybe hits a little too close to home.
In 1997, computers weren’t nearly a part of every day life like they are now, and yet Buffy used the technology as both the antagonist and the way to defeat the antagonist to great success. “If you’re not jacked in, you’re not alive,” is perhaps an uncomfortable thought we may all be living with these days — whether we want to admit it or not.
The Master was a great villain
Buffy’s ability to gently tap at that fourth wall and construct villains who are both ridiculous and formidable is a highlight of not just this season, but the show in general. For season 1, that villain was the Master, who was sort of a drama queen but also ended up killing Buffy.
Of course, that didn’t work out so great for him in the end, but he was a treat to watch along the way. “Oh, good, the feeble banter portion of the fight,” he quips, pointing out the fact that Buffy has a tendency to throw in a one-liner right before she stakes a vamp. Even though it was only in its first season, Buffy gave us unique antagonists week to week, as well as an overall villain for the first 12 episodes.