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Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Best Episodes All Had 1 Thing In Common

ScreenRant logo ScreenRant 3/24/2023 Alex Keenan
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While Buffy the Vampire Slayer included elements from various genres, some of the best episodes had one element in common. Buffy the Vampire Slayer follows Sarah Michelle Gellar as the titular Buffy Summers, the destined Slayer who faces off against the various creatures and demons that infest her town of Sunnydale. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had plenty of episodes that have climbed to the top of viewer and critic lists, with the sheer amount of stories offering something for everyone.

While some Buffy episodes are favorites for their gripping storylines and action, others are well-loved because they played with expectations and subverted common TV tropes. Some of the most universally-loved Buffy episodes drew attention by being willing to take risks, which could point to how the current series can continue to innovate in a revival. Many favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes involve the reality of the series being twisted in some way, often by supernatural means. Perhaps the most common factor, however, involves sound.

Buffy's Best Episodes All Use Sound In Unusual Ways

When discussing favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, "Hush," "The Body," and "Once More With Feeling" tend to be cited as the most memorable. One could draw the comparison that these three stories all involve reality-bending demons, or that they challenge the characters in ways that cannot be solved by violence. However, the singular most important trait between these episodes is their fascinating use of sound. In each of these Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, audio and scoring are used to tell the story as much, if not more, than the actual dialogue, and often lending each episode a unique and memorable thematic weight.

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In “Hush,” demons steal Sunnydale’s ability to speak, leaving the entire cast to pantomime and write their way through the episode. Meanwhile, Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode "The Body" does not use a musical score, amplifying the numb tragedy of losing Joyce, while also enhancing the everyday sound effects in the episode. Finally, “Once More With Feeling” takes a different tack as a musical episode, making music and song the star of the show.

Why Using Sound Was So Effective For Buffy The Vampire Slayer

While Buffy's time as the Slayer made for a very visually striking TV show, the series also understood the power of sound to amplify its drama. Buffy the Vampire Slayer already had a distinctive sound, with its title sequence and soundtrack capturing both the creepiness of its monsters and the power of its characters. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was also able to use its scoring to fully flip the tone of any given scene, even though music can often slide into the background of the audience’s consciousness compared to visuals and dialogue.

Because sound is often taken for granted in a series, when a TV show actively breaks audio conventions, it makes the episodes all the more memorable. This was certainly the case for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The fact that "The Body," "Hush" and Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode "Once More With Feeling" all toyed with sonic convention and are all often considered among the show's best stories cannot be a coincidence.


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