In the comments of a QFTD post (which have thus far all been from Buffy or Angel- what does that say about me I wonder) I mentioned fans' top episodes of Buffy.
I thought people might be interested to see Joss Whedon's top ten list.
Episode Summary: Angel loses his soul after making love with Buffy and disappears from his room. When Buffy awakens she discovers him gone. Angel teams up with Spike and Drusilla to let the Judge loose on the world. Buffy has to overcome her sadness at the loss of her boyfriend to defeat the Judge. She later discovers that Jenny knew all about the possibility of Angel losing his soul.
Joss Says: “It’s a mission-statement show, and one of the ones where I first found out what we could do.”
2. Once More With Feeling
Episode Summary: A new all-singing all-dancing demon called Sweet arrives in Sunnydale, whose presence makes everyone start to sing and dance. The Scoobies discover that their true feelings are awakened through song. Tara is upset when she discovers that Willow created a spell to make her forget an argument they had. Xander and Anya are worried about their forthcoming marriage, but feel they can’t say anything about it to each other. Dawn is stealing things for attention, but is getting none at all. Spike is confused about what Buffy wants. Giles worries that his position as father figure to Buffy is stifling the Slayer, and wonders if she’d be more independent without him. The songs finally culminate in Buffy confessing to her friends that she was really in heaven before they brought her back to life.
Joss Says: “What am I going to say?”
Episode Summary: Fairytale monsters called the Gentlemen arrive in Sunnydale and steal the voices of the town’s residents as a cover for harvesting hearts. Buffy and Riley separately follow the Gentlemen to their lair and are shocked to discover each others’ secret identities. Meanwhile, Willow meets another witch called Tara who helps her to perform a powerful spell, and Olivia decides that Giles’s lifestyle is too scary for her.
4. The Body
Episode Summary: Buffy’s mother Joyce dies suddenly of an aneurysm, which was an unknown complication from her operation. This episode charts the effects of Joyce’s death on Buffy, Dawn and their friends from the moment Buffy finds her.
Desperate to become a vengeance demon again, Anya asks Willow to help her with a spell. The aim is to try to get her necklace back from the alternate universe created in The Wish, though she lies to Willow about this. It goes wrong, and instead brings Willow’s vampire doppelganger into the Buffyverse. After attempting to take over Sunnydale, and freaking Willow out by being a bit too friendly, Vampire Willow is captured and sent back to the alternate universe, where she pops in just in time to die the same death she died in The Wish.
Joss Says: “Because one Willow is certainly not enough.”
6. The Wish
Episode Summary: Cordelia is angry about Xander’s betrayal. Her pain summons Anyanka, a vengeance demon who grants wishes to scorned women. Blaming Buffy for everything that has gone wrong in her life, Cordelia wishes that the Slayer had never come to Sunnydale. This wish allows Anyanka to create a hellish alternative reality where The Master is ruling over Sunnydale’s vampires.
Joss Says: “Very bleak, very fun. It went to a dark place, and that’s really exciting to me. That’s where I live.”
7. Becoming (Part 2)
Episode Summary: Buffy is accused of Kendra’s murder and goes on the run from the police. She is approached by Spike who offers to make her a deal - he will help save Giles if she spares Drusilla. Giles is tortured by Angelus and resists but Dru hypnotises him into telling Angelus how to use Acathla. Buffy tells her mother that she’s a slayer. They argue and Joyce reacts badly, telling her if she leaves she’s not welcome home. Buffy leaves and is then expelled by Snyder, who she meets at the school. Buffy heads off to meet Angelus for a final showdown. Angelus awakens Acathla just as Willow restores his soul. Buffy kisses Angel then stabs him, sending him to hell. In despair, Buffy leaves Sunnydale.
Joss Says: “Buffy loses everything. Also, it had a sword fight. I love sword fighting.”
Episode Summary: After the exhausting events of defeating Adam, the Scoobies settle down to watch a few videos and relax together. Before long they’re all asleep and we get to see their dreams, in which they are each attacked by the spirit of the First Slayer, as well as their own personal demons. When they awake, they’re left wondering about the first original Slayer - as well as that weird guy with the cheese.
Joss Says: “Most people sort of shake their heads at it. It was different, but not pointless.”
9. Conversations with Dead People
Episode Summary: The Scoobies encounter a paranormal force in five seperate stories: While out on patrol, Buffy fights a former classmate who is a newly-risen vampire, who reveals that he was sired by Spike. Dawn is terrified when an invisible force trashes the Summers’ house and deposits the corpse of her mother on the sofa. The ghost of Cassie visits Willow under the guise of being sent by Tara; and Spike apparently has returned to his killing ways. Meanwhile, Jonathan and Andrew return from Mexico, where a vision of Warren persuades Andrew to kill Jonathan over a mystical seal.
Joss Says: “I’m very fond of ‘Conversations with Dead People.’ I just thought structurally and tonally it was very interesting and had a lot to say. And I got to write another song.”
10. Prophecy Girl
Episode Summary: Giles discovers a prophecy that Buffy will face the Master and die. Terrified, she wants to quit as a Slayer but an incident in the school, which upsets Willow, makes Buffy decide to face her destiny. The Master drowns her but she’s resuscitated by Xander. Buffy finally kills the Master.
Joss Says: “Because that was my first time, besides telling directors what to do, that I actually got to direct. And it was the first time I got to kill Buffy, and the first season ender, and it was the first time I realized I could take everything we did in the season and tie it in a bow.”
Episode Summaries were taken from the buffy trivia guide, a great fan site for all things Buffy.
The "Joss Says" comments come from an interview he did with USA Today after the final episode of Buffy had aired.