It's twenty years to the day since Buffy first aired in the US, although it first aired in the UK on 31 December 1998; I didn't see it until the day after, however.
I still remember having seen trailer's in the weeks preceding and something resonated inside me. Knowing I would be at a party on new year's eve, I recorded Buffy (do you remember video recorder's?)
I sat down to watch it sometime after midday on New Year's Day, feeling slightly worse for wear, but was still rapt by the show. I fell in love with Buffy that day (the Slayer, and the programme) and it became the first show that I could not miss under any circumstances. I could never go out on days it was on, or at least I would rush home if I had been out.
This became much harder in season 7 here, when they aired three episodes a week, which perhaps explains why I have less affinity, and fewer memories, for that season.
Buffy has also been the last show that I could not miss under any circumstances. Partly this is due to the fact that shows are now available on catch-up, but it must also be because so other show has captured my imagination since - and for that reason I still miss Buffy now and again, in the same way as i miss certain summer's and certain people.
I have a lot of fond memories of particular episodes, which then feed back into memories of my late teens and early twenties, the university years, first jobs and moving to London - some good and some bad. But life was very livable while there was Buffy to look forward to the following week.
Sometimes it feels a bit tragic that you can watch a TV series on demand, where you see several episodes back to back and you've completed the season in a fortnight. There is something special in the slow burning, the unfolding, across a six month period; although you could recreate this today, you would have to have a very strong will.
As a fun exercise for myself, since I realised that the 20th anniversary was coming up, I decided to pick 20 episodes which have stuck in my mind for various reasons.
On inspection, many of them are connected by a sense of changing the circumstances of characters to really develop them, and in clever ways, such as: "Once more with feeling", "Tabula Rasa", "Something Blue", "The Wish" and "Doppelgangland" amongst others.
Others are connected by coming up with original and brave storytelling, such as: "Hush", with little dialogue, "The Body", with little background music, "Restless", an anti-last episode of a season, and "Once more with feeling", a musical episode.
But, for me, they are all connected by being great episodes that I have enjoyed, and that have stayed with me over the years.
So here is the list of twenty, in order of season.
School Hard, 2:3
Lie To Me, 2:7
Band Candy, 3:6
The Wish, 3:9
The Zeppo, 3:13
Graduation Day (part 2), 3:22
Beer Bad, 4:5
Something Blue, 4:9
The Body, 5:16
The Gift, 5:22
Once More With Feeling, 6:7
Tabula Rasa, 6:8