All 7 Seasons of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Ranked Worst to Best

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Sarah Michelle Gellar in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

Credit: 20th Century Studios

When teen drama/horror series Buffy the Vampire Slayer first aired back in 1997, it quickly became a cult phenomenon. And in the decades since, its popularity hasn’t waned, which in more recent times probably owes thanks to the fact that it’s now available on Disney+, having been inherited through the Fox acquisition, along with its equally-beloved spinoff show Angel.

There have even been talks of the show being resurrected from the grave, but a reboot project is yet to see the light of day, so we’ll just have to wait and see whether Buffy will get a Disney makeover or not. With that said, there is a new YA novel from author Kendare Blake being released in January 2022, titled In Every Generation, which is supposedly canon.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Credit: 20th Century Studios (The Walt Disney Company)

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But is the show still worth watching? Has it aged well, or has it started to decay like an undead vampire itself? Well, we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think Buffy the Vampire Slayer didn’t beg to be binged at least once a year! But if you don’t have time to make such a huge commitment, we’ve decided to rank all seven seasons from worst to best!

Season 3

Season 3 isn’t a bad season, but it is the worst of the bunch. Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) final year at Sunnydale High is a rocky ride, with vampire boyfriend Angel (David Boreanaz) returning from a hell dimension, fellow Vampire Slayer Faith (Eliza Dushku) being corrupted by Mayor Wilkins (Harry Groener), and graduation, of all things, looming.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer close up
Credit: 20th Century Studios (The Walt Disney Company)

Unfortunately, Season 3 tries to deal with way too much and often loses itself along the way. The Mayor’s storyline is underwhelming, and the conclusion even more so. While it’s entertaining to see the whole of Sunnydale High (or what’s left of them, at least) band together to fight a giant demon snake, we can’t help but feel that Buffy probably should have graduated the season prior.

Season 6

Season 6 would have easily been at the bottom if it wasn’t for certain episodes. Nevertheless, it’s this far down for a number of reasons. First of all, the drama between Buffy and Vampire Spike (James Marsters) becomes so painfully back and forth and eventually pretty difficult to watch, which is largely due to the showrunners trying to fill an entire season with little to no story.

Buffy opening her jacket
Credit: 20th Century Studios (The Walt Disney Company)

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Season 6 also struggles to thread together any real overarching plot and is forced to shoehorn in the dark side of Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) at the last minute. She’s great to watch, though, but there just isn’t much to sink your teeth into here. Sadly, even the incredible musical episode “Once More, With Feeling” isn’t enough to save this slow season.

Season 2

The second season of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, has a lot to offer and introduces a number of new and interesting characters. While it doesn’t rank very high on our list, this is mostly because it doesn’t stand on its own two legs and, for the most part, feels like nothing more than an extension of Season 1 (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either).

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, smiling
Credit: 20th Century Studios (The Walt Disney Company)

But despite being so low, Season 2 does deserve some praise, as it gives us Oz (Seth Green), Jenny Calendar (Robia Scott), Spike, Drusilla (Juliet Landau), and Angel’s soulless vampire alter ego Angelis. There are also many heart-breaking moments, from the death of Miss Calendar or Buffy’s very melodramatic breakup with Angel!

Season 1

It’s no stretch to say that Season 1’s more ‘isolated’ episodes wouldn’t feel out of place in fellow supernatural ’90s show The X-Files, while the original vampire-slaying ‘Scooby Gang’ members — Buffy Summers, Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon), Willow Rosenberg, Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), and Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) — are irresistible to watch.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer looking at a man
Credit: 20th Century Studios (The Walt Disney Company)

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While many effects throughout this season haven’t aged all that well, the humor is still effective, and the chemistry between each character creates an engaging dynamic. There’s a lot to love about the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and even though the main villain isn’t much to write home about, there are plenty of other nasties to sink your teeth into (or vice versa).

Season 7

Ranking the seventh and final season of the show wasn’t an easy choice because having it third place from the top spot suggests that it’s an almost perfect collection of episodes. Unfortunately, this isn’t true, and in many ways, Season 7 suffers from the same problems as its predecessor, in that there isn’t enough of a story to cover 22 episodes.

Buffy finale
Credit: Mutant Enemy

But while it spreads itself far too thin, and introduces a wave of new Slayers whose names you still won’t remember by the finale, what this season does do well is create a sense of pending doom as the Scooby Gang faces the fight of their lives in the form of the ‘First Evil.’ And as for the finale, expect movie-quality action as Buffy leads an army straight into hell — in other words, high school!

Season 4

It’s strange to think that the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series was actually adapted from a 1992 movie of the same name, which was also created by Joss Whedon. But that wasn’t the first and last time Buffy was rebooted because, in many ways, the fourth season of the show comes with a major overhaul in style, cinematography, tone, and setting.

Male character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Credit: 20th Century Studios (The Walt Disney Company)

We’re not suggesting that Season 4 is actually a reboot, but it does give the show a huge makeover, something it desperately needed after three years at Sunnydale High. This time, Buffy and her friends are in college, where something weird is lurking beneath their feet. Season 4 is also the proud owner of the episode “Hush,” which has long become one of many fan-favorite episodes.

Season 5

The top of our list is a no-brainer because the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer comes armed to the teeth with some truly unforgettable episodes (with tear-jerker “The Body” and finale “The Gift” being among them). It also gives us a great story and one of Buffy’s best villains in the form of Glory (Clare Kramer), a god who has been banished to the human world.

Female character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Credit: 20th Century Studios (The Walt Disney Company)

We also meet Buffy’s sister Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) for the first time, in what is perhaps the smartest twist in the entire series (a literal retcon within the show, considering Dawn has never existed until now!). Season 5 also manages to justify most of its episodes instead of having to get by on ‘filler’ episodes like so many other seasons.

What’s your favorite season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

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