Buffy Bracketology - Round 1

UPDATED: Sunday, May 16, 2010 23:24
VIEWED: 1607
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010 1:39 AM


One day I was listening to an interview with these guys who had written a book called Bracketology. And they talk about things like determining all-time best movie villain or best Superhero movie, stuff like that. So I decided to do it to determine what I think is the best/my favorite episode of Buffy.

It’s structured similarly to the NCAA basketball tournament. What I decided to do what randomly order the episodes and pit whichever ep came up first against whichever one came up one-hundred and forty-fourth. And whichever one was second on the list went against the one-hundred and forty-third, and so on and so on.

So, there’s no such thing as a #1 seed. The eps aren’t ranked and seeded because if I ranked and seeded them, the work would be done. The point is to see who survives. The other point is this is a fun and different way to approach watching Buffy. The one bit of fallout from this system is a great ep won’t advance to the second round because it lost to an even greater ep; while a sucky ep will advance because it defeated an even suckier ep. But, this system isn’t designed to determine anything other than who’s number 1.

I will be giving my opinion from time to time. It will be stated as though it is fact--something along the lines of: “This is a piece of crap”. Please be aware I am aware it is only my opinion and just because I think something’s great doesn’t mean it is and just because I think it’s bad doesn’t mean it’s bad.

Also I would suggest to anyone who’s watched the whole series a few times to try watching it in random order. Why? If you know the show well then seeing the episodes isolated rather than as part of the big sweep of events can give you a different perspective and appreciation of each one. Just a thought.

And now if anyone’s still reading this, let’s check out the results of Round 1.

001. Doppelgangland (3-16) Vs. 144. Bargaining, Part 2 (6-02) Easy. This is like a match between Buffy and Andrew. Winner: Doppelgangland.

002. This Year’s Girl (4-15) Vs. 143. I Was Made to Love You (5-15)
An early upset. TYG always sticks in my mind as one of the notable events of Buffydom. But the Aprilbot’s demise really gets to me. Winner: I Was Made to Love You.

003. Flooded (6-04) Vs. 142. The Real Me (5-02)
Winner: The Real Me.

004. Prophecy Girl (1-12) Vs. 141. Older and Far Away (6-14)
Not a contest. PG has some of S1’s most powerful moments while OaFA is one of the low points in a season chock full of low points. Winner: Prophecy Girl

005. Lovers’ Walk (3-08) Vs. 140. Killed by Death (2-18)
Winner: Lover’s Walk

006. Hell’s Bells (6-16) Vs. 139. Hush (4-10)
This is like a match between Buffy and a gnat. A particularly vomitous and repugnant gnat. While Hush is…well, Hush. Winner: Hush

007. Sleeper (7-08) Vs. 138. Tough Love (5-19)
Winner: Tough Love

008. The Puppet Show (1-09) Vs. 137. Beneath You (7-02)
Y’know, BY has never moved me the way it’s meant to. Whereas I’ve thought TPS was good twist on the whole ventriloquist thing. Winner: The Puppet Show

009. Fear, Itself (4-04) Vs. 136. New Moon Rising (4-19)
A Four against a Four! Winner: New Moon Rising.

010. The Body (5-16) Vs. 135. I Only Have Eyes for You (2-19)
One of those times when a worthy ep won’t make it to round 2. Winner: The Body

011. Seeing Red (6-19) Vs. 134. Dead Things (6-13)
Bit of an upset here. I HATE Dead Things. Turns out I found more to dislike about Seeing Red. Who knew? Winner: Dead Things

012. Crush (5-14) Vs. 133. Wild at Heart (4-06)
Winner: Crush

013. Witch (1-03) Vs. 132. Inca Mummy Girl (2-04)
Another upset. Always think of Witch as one of S1’s best and IMG as kind of ordinary. But there’s a lot good character moments in IMG. Winner: Inca Mummy Girl

014. Graduation Day, Part Two (3-22) Vs. 131. Nightmares (1-10)
Nightmares is also one of S1’s best but... Winner: Graduation Day, Part Two.

015. Passion (2-17) Vs. 130. Entropy (6-18)
Winner: Passion

016. The Dark Age (2-08) Vs. 129. Conversations with Dead People (7-07)
TDA is really good but it went up against one the few strong eps from S7. Winner: Conversations with Dead People.

017. The Yoko Factor (4-20) Vs. 128. The Killer in Me (7-13)
Winner: The Yoko Factor

018. Fool for Love (5-07) Vs. 127. The I in Team (4-13)
Maybe the most underrated ep of Buffy. No contest. Winner: Fool for Love.

019. Lessons (7-01) Vs. 126. Potential (7-12)
7 vs. 7. Something’s got to win. Seriously though, Potential does have that great Dawn/Xander scene. Winner: Potential

020. A New Man (4-12) Vs. 125. Choices (3-19)
Big upset here. A stand-alone from 4 against an ep from deep in 3? Turns out ANM comes together a little better than this particular ep from deep in 3. Winner: A New Man.

021. Bargaining, Part One (6-01) Vs. 124. Dead Man’s Party (3-02)
Another big upset. Luckily for Bargaining it’s divided in two. I would have put my money on DMP because of what’s important in that ep. But it turns out it’s not as interesting and entertaining as the Winner: Bargaining, Part One.

022. Becoming, Part Two (2-22) Vs. 123. Tabula Rasa (6-08)
That’s “becoming” not “bargaining”. TR is one of the few Sixers that doesn’t make me question the sanity and sobriety of the ME gang (except for the shark demon, that is) but it went up against one the Buffster’s most crucial eps. Winner: Becoming, Part Two.

023. The Prom (3-20) Vs. 122. No Place Like Home (5-05)
C’mon. Buffy getting the Protector award? And that’s just one moment. Winner: The Prom.

024. Triangle (5-11) Vs. 121. Faith, Hope, & Trick (3-03)
Winner: Faith, Hope, & Trick.

025. Becoming, Part One (2-21) Vs. 120. Bad Eggs (2-12)
A lot people hate Bad Eggs. I’m not one of them. Winner: Becoming, Part One.

026. Halloween (2-06) Vs. 119. Grave (6-22)
Easy. Winner: Halloween

027. Selfless (7-05) Vs. 118. Out of My Mind (5-04)
A lot of people love Selfless. I’m not one of them. The flashbacks are great and I really like the song. The rest of it is that special brand of S7 bullshit. Winner: Out of My Mind.

028. The Initiative (4-07) Vs. 117. The Pack (1-06)
Winner: The Initiative

029. Storyteller (7-16) Vs. 116. Never Kill a Boy on the First Date (1-05)
NKABOTFD is a gooder from S1 but it went against one from 7 I always liked but have come to realize I undervalued. Winner: Storyteller.

030. Never Leave Me (7-09) Vs. 115. Chosen (7-22)
Little girl playing softball. 'Nuff said. Winner: Chosen

031. Phases (2-15) Vs. 114. School Hard (2-03)
Exciting Two on Two action! Winner: School Hard

032. Showtime (7-11) Vs. 113. Same Time, Same Place (7-03)
Less exciting Seven on Seven action. I don’t like either one of these but going in I would have thought Showtime would’ve taken it. So this is actually something of an upset. Winner: Same Time, Same Place

033. Once More, With Feeling (6-07) Vs. 112. The Harsh Light of Day (4-03)
THLOD is a great ep! Winner: Once More, With Feeling.

034. End of Days (7-21) Vs. 111. Life Serial (6-05)
Some good stuff happening in EOD and LS just doesn’t come together for me. The comedy always felt forced in that one. Winner: End of Days

035. I, Robot…You Jane (1-08) Vs. 110. Him (7-06)
IRYJ is one of those S1ers that exemplifies how the elements of the show were there but they hadn’t quite put the polish on them yet (it’s hard to polish elements). But Him degenerates into stupidity. Winner: I, Robot…You Jane

036. The Replacement (5-03) Vs. 109. As You Were (6-15)
An upset. I’m big with the Sam, but AYW has always been sort half and half for me and I always liked TR. But seeing them back to back I gotta say AYW works better than I had given it credit for. Winner: As You Were

037. First Date (7-14) Vs. 108. Goodbye Iowa (4-14)
Another upset. A solid 4 against a 7, I would have thought the 4. But FD has a lot of good scenes and dialogue. Winner: First Date

038. Superstar (4-17) Vs. 107. The Gift (5-22)
Major upset! This one was Clay vs. Liston (Google it). I mean Superstar is clever but the The Gift is The Gift, right? Welp, turns out Superstar is tighter The Gift. They executed the premise perfectly and those scenes where Jonathan has a heart-to-heart with the gang are terrific. And even though the world is altered they still develop the season’s subplots without skipping a beat. Maybe Jane’s single best ep. Very impressive. Winner: Superstar.

039. Surprise (2-13) Vs. 106. All the Way (6-06)
Easy win here. One the most important eps in the entire series. I mean, Dawn’s first kiss?! Just kidding. Winner: Surprise

040. The Wish (3-09) Vs. 105. Some Assembly Required (2-02)
Not even close. Winner: The Wish

041. Doomed (4-11) Vs. 104. Spiral (5-20)
Spiral’s a good one but Doomed just has a little bit more going for it. Winner: Doomed

042. Anne (3-01) Vs. 103. Helpless (3-12)
Anne’s another really good one but it went up against a real standout. Winner: Helpless.

043. Revelations (3-07) Vs. 102. Gingerbread (3-11)
Gingerbread is fine but I’ve always felt it was 3’s weakest ep. Winner: Revelations

044. Into the Woods (5-10) Vs. 101. Earshot (3-18)
Earshot’s an all-time fave. ITW, um...isn’t. Winner: Earshot

045. Something Blue (4-09) Vs. 100. After Life (6-03)
Easy win here. Probably the single funniest ep vs. some thing from S6? Winner: Something Blue

046. Welcome to the Hellmouth (1-01) Vs. 099. What’s My Line, Part Two (2-10) Would've been nice to see the first ep advance to the second round, but WML2 has a lot going on and it comes together better. Winner: What’s My Line, Part Two

047. Bad Girls (3-14) Vs. 098. The Weight of the World (5-21) Two strong ones.
Winner: The Weight of the World

048. Out of Mind, Out of Sight (1-11) Vs. 097. Intervention (5-18)
Winner: Intervention

049. Wrecked (6-10) Vs. 096. The Freshman (4-01)
There’s probably an ep that would lose to Wrecked but luckily I didn’t have to see if that was true. Winner: The Freshman.

050. Two to Go (6-21) Vs. 095. Primeval (4-21)
TTG isn’t so bad for a S6er, but… Winner: Primeval

051. Who Are You (4-16) Vs. 094. Villains (6-20)
Third 6 vs. 4 contest in row. Third 4 to win in a row. Winner: Who Are You

052. Amends (3-10) Vs. 093. Restless (4-22)
Amends is very moving but it loses to the most unique ep of Buffy. There’s just a lot to sink your teeth into there (no pun intended). Winner: Restless

053. Beauty and the Beasts (3-04) Vs. 092. Empty Places (7-19)
BATB is kind of ordinary (for S3, that is), but EP is one of those what-the-hell-were-they-thinking?! eps. Winner: Beauty and the Beasts.

054. Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered (2-16) Vs. 091. Lies My Parents Told Me (7-17) LMPTM is to put it simply--unforgivable. BBB is a good solid ep but it didn’t have to be to win this one. Winner: Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered

055. Go Fish (2-20) Vs. 090. What’s My Line, Part One (2-09)
No contest. Winner: What’s My Line, Part One

056. Listening to Fear (5-09) Vs. 089. Buffy Vs. Dracula (5-01)
BVD has its detractors, but I’ve always liked it. Plus SMG never looked better. She’s just radiant in this one (not that that’s a factor--just sayin’). Winner: Buffy Vs. Dracula.

057. Help (7-04) Vs. 088. Homecoming (3-05)
Help is a stronger offering from 7 but it went up against a classic from 3. Winner: Homecoming

058. The Zeppo (3-13) Vs. 087. Dirty Girls (7-18)
I’ve always loved The Zeppo. Turns out it’s even better than I remembered. Winner: The Zeppo

059. Checkpoint (5-12) Vs. 086. Bring on the Night (7-10)
I love Checkpoint. It may have the single best “Hell, yeah!” moment of the whole show (when Buffy tells the Council off). Winner: Checkpoint

060. The Harvest (1-02) Vs. 085. Ted (2-11)
Big time upset! Certainly part of the story that gets the whole ball rolling is better than some standalone from S2, right? Nope. Ted just had more going on and more going for it. Better characterizations, dialogue and stuff like that. Winner: Ted

061. When She Was Bad (2-01) Vs. 084. Blood Ties (5-13)
Winner: Blood Ties.

062. Band Candy (3-06) Vs. 083. Smashed (6-09)
This is like Mike Tyson in his prime fighting me in…well, I never had prime. Winner: Band Candy

063. Graduation Day, Part One (3-21) Vs. 082. Pangs (4-08)
Always been a big fan of Pangs but look at the competition. Winner: Graduation Day, Part One.

064. Where the Wild Things Are (4-18) Vs. 081. Angel (1-07)
Hey look, a S1er won! Winner: Angel

065. Enemies (3-17) Vs. 080. Normal Again (6-17)
NA is that rarity from S6. It’s half good. Winner: Enemies

066. Lie to Me (2-07) Vs. 079. Get It Done (7-15)
GID has some interesting things going for but...Winner: Lie to Me

067. Doublemeat Palace (6-12) Vs. 078. Consequences (3-15)
Uh...yeah. Winner: Consequences

068. Teacher’s Pet (1-04) Vs. 077. Gone (6-11)
TP is not particularly what you’d call “strong” or particularly what you’d call “good”. It’s okay, but against Gone... Winner: Teacher’s Pet

069. Beer Bad (4-05) Vs. 076. Innocence (2-14)
Y’know, a lot of people think of BB as a poor man’s Band Candy. That’s because it is. But unlike them, I still kinda like it. Innocence, however is why we watch Buffy. Winner: Innocence

070. Living Conditions (4-02) Vs. 075. Touched (7-20)
The final couple of eps S7 work pretty well. The ones that led up to it...not so much. Winner: Living Conditions

071. Reptile Boy (2-05) Vs. 074. Forever (5-17)
Winner: Reptile Boy

072. Family (5-06) Vs. 073. Shadow (5-08)
Not the best ep from 5 but a great resolution and another good Buffy-tells-someone where-to-get-off-moment. Winner: Family.

Okay that's it. If anyone actually read all this, I truly appreciate it. Round 2 should commence relatively soon and I'll post the results as soon as I finish.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010 2:37 AM



That is incredibly dedicated of you! I'll have a really good thorough look a little later but I had to say well done for seeing all that through. Amazing.

One thing in reference to re-watching Buffy. I'm doing so right now and my approach this time around has been to re-watch them in reverse order. Kinda fun. Presently on season 5.

Nice one!

Would you like to see some cartoons? http://cirqusartsandmusic.blogspot.com


Sunday, May 16, 2010 9:47 PM


Thanks for taking a look, Somnambulist. Reverse order seems like an interesting approach too.

Took a look at your webpage, and I must say I think you're a terrific cartoonist. Your work has a sort of three-dimensionality to it. What I mean is some cartoonists draw in a way that looks like lines on paper. Whereas others draw in a way where it looks like their characters inhabit their own world. I think yours have that quality. I hope it's going well for you.

Right now, I'm watching this great show you might have heard of called "Firefly" but when I finish with that I'll start round two of the Buffy tournament. You're the only Whedonite on Earth who has shown any bit of interest. But that's okay.


Sunday, May 16, 2010 11:24 PM



No problem Bart - I'm always happy to engage with Buffy questions, conundrumns and or debates. I can waffle on about Buffy for ages.

Thanks so much for your remarks about my cartoons. I really appreciate it. Cheers. It's going OK. I've had better years, but with the way things are at the moment, I can't grumble. But really. Thank you.

I'm fully engrossed in your 'formula' for rating Buffy episodes. I'm about half way through. It's actually a really interesting way of looking at the shows. I've had one or two very difficult calls aswell, which is an eye opener, and if I had to make an early assessment; it's amazing how the shows I regard as entertaining and perhaps a little silly are actually winning out of the heavy handed dramatic ones. But it's early days yet. Things could change.

Best thing about this method is that I'm curious to see which will be top of the list! :D
So keep me posted on how things go with you - this is fun.


Would you like to see some cartoons? http://cirqusartsandmusic.blogspot.com






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