This weekend, Cinema 21 is hosting two nights of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, sing-along style: The series' musical episode, "Once More with Feeling," will be screened with Rocky Horror-style audience participation. (See Film, pg. 44, for more info.) Watching all seven seasons of Buffy to prepare might be a bit much—so here are a few of our favorite episodes.
"Hush" (Season 4, Episode 10)—This super-creepy, Emmy-nominated episode is told with hardly any dialogue as the silent, nightmarish monsters known as The Gentlemen glide through town, stealing residents' voices. As if that wasn't scary enough, they also steal hearts. Big, bloody hearts.
"Fool for Love" (Season 5, Episode 7)—Spike's long-awaited backstory unfolded in an episode that stretched from China's Boxer Rebellion to New York City in the '70s. It's one of the series' very best, anchored by a heartfelt, surprising, and sad story—as well as James Marsters' charming, dangerous performance as the bleached blond vampire Spike.
"Band Candy" (Season 3, Episode 6)—The fateful episode where Giles—Buffy's stiff British watcher—morphs into "Ripper," Giles' badass teenage self. In fact, all of Sunnydale's adults revert to reckless teens after chowing down on the high school band's haunted fundraising candy!
"The Body" (Season 5, Episode 16)—The unsettling episode in which Buffy's mom, Joyce, kicks the bucket isn't just superbly written and directed by Joss Whedon—it also got rid of Buffy's mom. Which was awesome, since she was super annoying. Almost as annoying as Buffy's stupid sister, Dawn. But not quite.
"Graduation Day, Part One" (Season 3, Episode 21)—What makes this one of the best Buffy episodes EVER? Good slayer (Buffy) and bad slayer (Faith) face off in a leather-clad, plate-glass-window-breaking, handcuffed fight scene that shames any other brawl you've ever seen! The life of Angel—Buffy's vampire boyfriend—is hanging by a thread, and only the blood of a slayer can save him. That's bad for him but good for us, since Buffy plans to drain Faith dry to save her undead man—resulting in much kicking of slayer ass.