Does Buffy get any better?

Just finished watching the first season of Buffy, mostly out of curiosity. So many people shower the series with praise, especially on this board, that I was prepared to be blown away. But honestly, it hasn’t impressed me so far. There are long stretches in each episode where basically nothing happens, and then some kind of climactic ending. It’s pretty boring and slow, and the characters aren’t that endearing. I like Alyson Hannigan in pretty much whatever she’s in, and Anthony Stewart Head is always great, but even their characters are pretty one-note. Xander is just the typical “nice guy who can’t get a girl interested in him”* and comes off as a useless, whiny douche. I don’t really like Sarah Michelle Gellar for some reason; I get that she’s a strong action girl who kicks ass and takes names, but her character does nothing for me. And then there are the characters who I can’t see any purpose for, like Cordelia or Angel. If I was watching this show with no knowledge of it’s fanbase, I wouldn’t give it another thought. But it has such a huge fanbase that I’m willing to give it another try, if all of you give me enough reason to. So, should I stick with it, or give up?
*Except for his best friend, only he can’t see it or is choosing to ignore it.

Oh yes. Watch Season 2 please.

Yes the show gets much better, I would watch until the appearance of Spike and the Judge storyline, but if you don’t even enjoy that the show may not be for you. The third season was the one that made me say damn this is good TV

If you don’t like the characters though I’d give up.

This is definitely a minority opinion (shared, as far as I know, only by the departed Lissener), but for me Season Six was the high point. Unfortunately its brilliance is of the sad, depressing, downer variety. Still, the creators were in the zone, and it’s one best seasons of television.

The middle seasons get the praise, but for me, the show was hit and miss till the sixth season. So, watch some recommended episodes, check out the last couple of episodes leading into season six, and then see what you think.

I started a thread almost exactly like this a couple of years ago. In my opinion it didn’t really get good until Season 2. Well worth the watch. You haven’t even dipped your little toe all the way into the Buffyverse yet. I ended up breezing through Seasons 1-7 of Buffy and Seasons 1-5 of Angel. It kind of gets addicting.

ETA: Here you go. The first few pages I believe are safe, then it gets rather spoilerific.

IDK, if season one doesn’t do it for you why waste your time.

Because TV shows don’t always hit the ground running in season 1. Season 2 is frequently a major improvement.

I’m with Lanzy. If you didn’t like the 1st season then I see no reason to subject yourself to the misery of watching another season. I agree with others that the 2nd season was better but if you didn’t like the 1st season I don’t think you’ll magically like the next season.

I do share your opinion of Xander, Stauderhorse. Throughout the series he never really manned up like Buffy and Willow did.

Season two starts out with many of the weaknesses of season one, but then it quickly starts to ramp up. The general consensus is that the prime of the show is later season two and season three, four is weaker but still ok, five is a new birth for the show with an amazing climax, six is depressing and polarizing, and seven is somewhat weak.

My username may reveal my bias, but I’d say you’ve already suffered through the worst of it with season one so you may as well power through to the good stuff since you are so close. It’s not for everyone, but at least you’ll have an understanding of this fascinating show.

Season 2 is unlike Season 1 in so many, many ways. Definitely give it a shot.

Personal rankings: 3, 2, 4, 5, 1, 7, 6

The only redeeming things in Season 6 are “Tabula Rasa,” “Once More, With Feeling,” and the whole Willow/Tara relationship.

Having just finally dug into Buffy myself a few months ago, I’d say it definitley peaked during season two and was well worth watching, with a few highlights here and there in later seasons. I finally hit the wall about the middle of season 5 when I realized how long it had been since I had enjoyed an episode. Season 3 had some good times, but waaay too centered on another character I found annoying and badly acted. Season 4 had maybe 3 of 4 episodes I liked, and I cannot recall one in season 5 that I would go back and see again.

Only made it to partway through season 2 of Angel - it never really grabbed me.

Yes, most Buffy fans think Season 2 is better than Season 1.

Season 7 is at least 247% better on DVD then when it aired originally. I’ve never run into a TV scheduling vs. DVD difference for any other show/season as strong. Live, it just dragged, with one boring “rally the troops” speech after another and nothing much actually happening. Turns out when you don’t have to wait a week or more between each episode, the pacing is entirely different. It’s nearly breathtaking, how quickly everything happens. If anyone is an old fan of the series but not the season, I highly recommend borrowing it from the library and giving it another shot.

Honestly, you can skip season 1 and jump in at season 2. You might miss a few references to earlier episodes, but nothing that ruins anything. BtVS didn’t really hit its stride until season 2, around “School Hard”. If you can watch any one episode to get a feel for the show (e.g. on Netflix), I suggest you watch the season 3 episode “The Zeppo”. It has some spoilers for stuff earlier in the series, but nothing too major.


With Buffy, it also makes a difference because all of season 1 was filmed and in the can before a single episode had aired, so they couldn’t really tell how things would go over and make adjustments to what they were doing.

To add to the consensus, yes I think Buffy gets much better after the first season. There’s lots of running jokes, character development, jokes made based on the character development, plus several cool and/or relatively innovative ideas that come in later seasons. I love the show, it makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and it makes me want to know what happens next. On the other hand, the action sequences on Buffy never really get very good.

Of course there’s no accounting for taste. In this thread, fans have already called season 6 the weakest season. Season 6 was my favorite season. Most fans agree that Buffy gets much better after the first season. Most fans also agree that season 7 was… not great.

I watched the first two episodes, but didn’t find them very interesting. Firefly is one of my all time favorite shows, so I thought I might like it.

Since everybody here really likes season 2, do you think it’s possible to skip season 1 entirely?

Seems a little harsh. I wouldn’t want to do that myself.

For people who can’t get into the camp of the first season I recommend starting with the season one finale, that’s where you first see the flash of brilliance. There’s only a few things you miss that way, and they are easy enough to pick up based on context.

Season 1 was very shaky and Gellar and Boreanaz’s acting skills were quite poor at that time. But I did find it fun and endearing.

To me, Seasons 2 and 3 were the peak. Season 4 was okay, but after that I would say that while there were occasional flashes of brilliance—“Hush” and “Once More With Feeling” are some of the best things ever shown on television—it was no longer quite as good. I didn’t watch most of Season 7.

Here’s the episodes I’d watch from s1 if I was recommending to a new watcher:

Welcome to the Hellmouth (1)
The Harvest (2)]
Witch (3) (though I think an argument could be made for skipping this, then watching it later)
Angel (7)
Prophecy Girl (12)
Those give you the base for going into S2 with no background, but I do think you could easily start with s2 ep1 and be fine.
And I find seasons 5 and 6 to be the best ones. After 1 (which has understandable reasons for being weakest), I think 4 is the weakest.