The WB (ended 2003)

It's a pretty good assumption that if you've watched one of Joss's shows, you've watched at least one more. And if you know anything about Joss, you know you will see a lot of the same names in behind the scenes positions. So when you compare his TV works side by side, which is the ultimate Joss show?

For me, the answer is Angel. And instead of just launching into why, I'm going to give my reasoning for why the other shows aren't.

Dollhouse: I always felt like Dollhouse took a lot longer to find its legs than any other Joss show. It actually got to the point a couple of times that I was starting to lose interest. Now, when the show was on point, it was awesome to watch. But it struggled to maintain that through most of the first season, and with it's cancellation after season 2, that struggle ultimately weakens the show overall.

Firefly: To be clear, since we're discussing the shows themselves, I am not going to include Serenity as part of the basis for my decision (no matter how awesome it was). Firefly seemed to have its legs and know exactly what it was from the start. The cast had this immediate rapport and it almost felt like you were watching people that had been working together for years. And it was a pretty original idea. I mean, space western? Who'd really done that? What hurts Firefly is the sudden cancellation and the inability to further develop the show. If the show had been given multiple seasons who knows the direction this post might have taken.

It's a lot harder to put into words exactly why I feel like Angel is the superior show in regards to Buffy.

An overarching theme to Buffy was the process of growing up and becoming the person you are meant to be and the villains fit into that theme as needed. You also had to deal with the college transition, an issue that many shows have struggled with (and personally, with the exception of a few episodes, I don't think Buffy can be excluded from that). With Angel, the overarching theme was redemption. Our main character was a 200+ year old vampire so he didn't exactly have to worry about growing up. The theme of redemption is also one that allows for a much darker examination of a character.

Maybe it ultimately boils down to a preference for the darker story, but I do think it's more than that. I think Angel was able to take these flawed characters and develop them in a way that Buffy never could. For example, through season 3 of Buffy, there wasn't a character I hated more than Wes. By the end of Angel, there wasn't a character I loved more. Overall, I felt like I had a deeper connection to the characters themselves. I would be mad at them when they did stupid things, but also understood the reasoning behind those choices so I would forgive the momentary stupidity. I was infinitely more invested in the characters, which in turn made me more invested in the show.

So I think at the end of the day it's a combination of things. There were many intangibles that made both Buffy and Angel what they were, but it's also what makes it hard to describe the particular reasoning for my opinion.

Now, I turn it over to you. Which show drew you in and clawed its way in deeper? Is it as difficult for you to put into words as it was for me? Who thinks I'm completely off my rocker for picking Angel?

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Buffy/Angel/Firefly are the holy triad of television, and they are all similar quality.

Firefly is flawless, which earns it the top spot; the ideas are good, the themes are positive, and every aspect of it was completely original. Event though it lacks long-term the plot momentum that made B/A great, it does provide a microcosm of said plotting by starting off in top form.

Angel is second best, because it gets stronger with time, and deals with some very deep ideas and themes. The original, constantly convoluting Book of Revelations derived plot of season 4, the highly personal revenge tale of season 3, etc all tied together by a fantastic defense of free will is outstanding, and tips it over Buffy

Buffy is very good too, but it really dives after the high school phase and only resurfaces briefly in Season 6. High school shows just don't improve after graduation.

It's fair to say that Whedon improved over time.
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As far as I'm concerned, the position at which one ranks Firefly is a perfect barometer of their worthiness to be a television critic: Everything---EVERYTHING---about that show was flawless.

Don't compare FIrefly to "Buffy". Compare Firefly to Buffy Season 1, then---if your brain can handle the awesome---extrapolate to what Firefly might have become with the same degree of character and dramatic growth.
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I should also add: If you think "including Serenity" would improve Firefly's standing, then... well, I don't know how to say you're wrong without sounding rude ;) Serenity was a reluctant fall-back to close the storyline after the show had been cancelled: Imagine if Buffy had been cancelled halfway through Season 1, and a movie were made that swiftly wrapped up the character arcs of Buffy, Giles, Xander and Willow. Does anyone sincerely believe that, under those circumstances, Buffy could stand against Firefly?

And let me be perfectly clear: I'm a Joss Whedon fanatic. I LOVE Buffy, and Angel, and Firefly, and---most importantly, because this show gets a terribly undeserved bad rap---Dollhouse.

But Firefly was, without a doubt, leaps and epic bounds beyond the rest: Its only failure was its handling by Fox executives---an error they themselves admitted, with consequences that forever changed how they handled genre fare.
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Probably Buffy. I think the show gets full closure on the end.
Angel was great, really great but the ending feels so "rushed", so "fucked up".
Firefly is amazing.. but Buffy is a classic.
Dollhouse is bizarre, but in a good way.
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The end of Angel did get a little rushed, which Joss has even said. But they at least had enough time to develop things in a way that they wanted, versus going the course and getting surprised at the end of the season and really leaving the fans hanging.
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Buffy and then Firefly. I've never got into Dollhouse, sorry but this one just did not work for me. And Angel... I've got more of him than I could handle in BTVS, and watching him on his own show IMO was a total UGH. Though the show might've been any good if not for really wooden David's acting. He got much much better in Bones (though it is also not my show to watch), but back then he was plain boring and one dimensional
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Buffy, Firefly, Angel, Dollhouse. I am totally against Angel as the number 1, and I think it's really just because I never liked Angel as a character in Buffy. In his show he became more likeable, but then near the end of season 3 when he does what he does to Wes in the hospital room, I hated him. After that I watched a couple more eps. but lost complete interest in the show, as silly as that might sound lol.
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Mmmm, Angel was a great show until S3, then UGH!

I really enjoyed S1 and S2, but then with whole baby, Cordy being a Superior Being or whatever and the Jasmine thing it got totally ruined. And I just prefer not to talk about the "love" triangle of Angel-Cordy-Connor because I would just vomit. I remember I was watching it and I was like 'wtf is this?' But I loved Angel, so I had to keep watching it.

S5 was ok because of Spike.

Buffy has its ups and downs but it's my favorite.
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Firstly, great article, thanks for sharing.

The first season of Angel is probably the best season of TV that Whedon has ever created and Firefly had the potential to be my favourite TV show of all time (well, to date at least) but I think I'd have to go with Buffy. It started when I was 15 years old so I grew up with gang. If I could actually be a part of any TV group I'd probably go back to being 15 and attend Sunnydale High (or I'd be mid-20's and go to Greendale Community College).
All four are great shows with fantastic characters (less so for Dollhouse, which was it's downfall) and all were well written. They each have mistakes but they have so much heart and such wonderful personalities that I'll still be watching them all at least once until my liver gives up when I'm 51!
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I loved Buffy it introduced me to TV so I also blame it for complete addiction and it is the first show I ever marathoned a whole season in one day. When I sum up moments I remember from my childhood it all comes down to BtVS. Sneaking out at night to watch it even though I had school the next day, tapingit over and over again on VHS, watching it with my sister, brother and mum. Itwas and always will be my number 1 favourite show of all time and I dare any show to try and take that mantle. Angel will always be in my top 5 and in some parts I did love it the same as Buffy, but I guess I related more to the whole aspect of growing up.

I am really hoping that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, has the same feel as The Avengers did, because it reminded me of Buffy or Firefly.
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Buffy: majority of the characters were awesome, the vast majority of the episodes were really good, but if there was a bad episode it could get really bad, but the thing I really liked the most was that it was generally upbeat and was just plain fun to watch

Angel: loved the fact that it took 2ndary characters from Buffy and really fleshed them out. So that goes for Darla, Wesley, Harmony (sort of ?) and also Cordy and Angel. Pretty much all the seasons were really good (minus 4) and all of the new characters they introduced were really good. Major story arcs in this show were in the most part good (I could go into the whole Connor thing but that would tire me out). And when Im in a more serious mood I like watching this show.

Out of the two shows above Buffy has my Favorite Season overall with S2 yet I found that Angel's 100th episode you're welcome had the biggest emotional impact on me. But I think overall Buffy wins between the two show. Even with its flaws I will always go to the more upbeat show then one that's usually depressing.
Being one of the people who has seen both shows I completely understand why you would enjoy Angel over Buffy. So I don't think your crazy :)

Firefly: I have watched most of the series, not all. And unfortunately I cant remember too much about it but I will say I know why it has such a following and I did find the show to be very entertaining. However it wasn't really the show for me but that because Im not the biggest Sci-fi fan.

Dollhouse: I tried, I really tried to watch this show but I couldn't get past the first episode. I just found it really slow and frankly quite boring. So I cant really say to much about it.
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When I marathon Angel, I tend to skip a lot of season for I just hate that season, that might be another reason I loved Buffy more, because there wasnt a whole season that made me cringe to watch.
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It seems that a lot of the people that have chosen Angel have praised its darker tone compared to Buffy, which I find interesting since Buffy's sixth and seventh seasons are almost universally panned, mostly for their darker tone.

Anyone got any theories on why this is?
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I would say it's because Buffy was a lighter show from the start. The abrupt shift in tone didn't work well. I also just don't think the stories themselves were as great in those final two seasons. Sure, we had Once More With Feeling and Tabula Rasa and several other wonderful episodes, but it wasn't the same quality. Also, Dawn became more of a pain in the ass, Tara was killed, Giles skipped out for awhile, Xander and Anya's entire wedding debacle kind of ruined a lot.
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I might be part of a tiny minority, but I never understood why people didn't like S6. I thought it was really great, and that season 7 was maybe not as good (okay, one of the weakest), but had pretty great moments. Now I get why other fans might have not been into the darker tone, but I thought the tonal shift was a very logical step from the events of season 5, and rather well executed too. I don't think it was abrupt at all, I mean season 4 already had some darker themes and by the end of season 5 it would have been stranger to come back to upbeat storylines after everything that had happened... Also since this show is all about growing up it makes sense to me that it would get darker and darker at the story goes on. But then I also think season 1 was the weakest of the show overall, and a lot of the people I've talked to think it's one of the best, so I guess it's a matter of opinion.

I tried Angel but I never got into it as deep, but then Angel was never my favourite character in BtVS to begin with...
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I think another part of it would be that it was kind of hard for the writers to continue the story. The finale for S5 seemed like it could have been a series finale. And besides that it seems like they were trying really hard to be more appealing to a younger viewing audience, hence all the extra Dawn screen time.

I don't think Angel could have ever been as upbeat as Buffy was, sure there were some goofy episodes but I think it would be hard for a main character who is constantly trying to redeem himself. Plus everyone on that show had a depressing storyline in one way or another so a darker tone was inevitable.

Another thing that brought down the quality of Buffy was that in S6 villains were kind of getting stupid (nerd trio) and then in season 7 they introduced the Potentials which to a lot of people, including me, was the point where the show really jumped the shark.

plus you know, attempted rape from a fan favorite character doesn't sit well with a lot of people.
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Buffy, it was the first ever show I feel deeply in love with, introduced me to my love of television, and there will never be another like it.

Angel, because it is essentially an extension of Buffy, and I don't think you can have one without the other. I like darker storylines, but I think as Kaitlin put so well in one of her comments, 'Buffy has a deeper place in my heart. Nostalgia and all that. I grew up with the Scoobies and I don't think it will ever leave my personal top five favorite shows for that reason alone'.

Dollhouse, it's stand alone episode were painful at times, but it's overarching story was very strong, and it possibly had Whedon's most thought-provoking premise and philosophical ideas as a show too.

Firefly, this may be the contrarian in me but I didn't enjoy the show because there were too many characters and it showed, and I wasn't particularly fond of any of them either. Mal and Jayne were smug and obnoxious, the rest mainly (Sheppard and Inara), were boring and forgettable, but overall I guess I just found it difficult to relate to a group of outlaws. It was also extremely episodic in nature compared to Whedon's other shows, and I prefer serialised television.
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I think I'm in a minority with Dollhouse, and I don't just mean because I thought it was awesome. A lot of the fans who actually liked Dollhouse were fans of the second half of the second season, when things really got moving because the show was being cancelled.

But that's not why I liked Dollhouse, or when I started liking Dollhouse. Unlike Firefly, which was screwed by the network, I think Dollhouse was mostly screwed by the audience. Which, I guess you could argue, means that it just wasn't a good or popular show. The thing is, at least early on, Dollhouse was more of a procedural show, and most fans didn't like that. I actually did, though. If the show had gone longterm, I liked the idea of the first few seasons doing mostly procedural episodes, with a few overarching episodes in the season (like Season 1 did, basically). Obviously, as we get into later seasons, I would expect to see it moving more quickly with the central plot, that being of how the Dollhouse technology brought about the end of civilization.

The second half of Season 2 was nice, in that we got (most) of the answers to the questions that had been set up, but I don't just television shows for plot. In fact, I mostly watch television shows for character development and relationships, and that was pretty much completely sacrificed in the second half of Season 2. We were told that Paul and Echo became involved in a romantic relationship, instead of actually getting to see it.

Anyhow, I think Dollhouse could have been great. The themes touched on in the show, about identity and the soul, way surpassed themes in any other Joss show, I think (though I love Buffy, Angel, and Firefly, too). It just didn't really get much chance to develop those themes.
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I have spent a lot of time following Joss and everything he does everything he says and everywhere he goes. Now that I see that in print it scares me a little. Stalker much? Anyway, Dollhouse was screwed by the network. The entire first season was not at all how Joss wanted it to go. Every time he turned in an episode script for approval there were so many changes that he had to make that it turned into a completely different show. We the Joss fanatics put out a call to arms and flooded the network with letters asking them to leave Joss alone and let him tell his story. They actually agreed and released a statement saying that season two would be free from network oversight. The first half of the season was Joss doing a back pedal to try to get the show back to where he wanted it to be. However he lost most of the viewers because they didn't get what was going on. The show then got canceled. The show did end the way he wanted but the second half of that season had a lot of stuff crammed into it to end it that way. That's why it seemed like it moved at a fast pace. It was supposed to be spread out over several seasons. Also for Gilda in response to the end of Angel. It WAS a series finale. The cancelation came right after the 100th episode party. This show had two evil overlord. The company who produced the show and the one who aired it. Angel was doing well in the ratings and had plenty of advertisers but the two companies couldn't come to an agreement over money. The finale was a direct reflection of how Joss felt about the whole situation. ANGER! Everyone had to die. For the sake of the fans he left that question open by having them fight till the bitter end but it was a hopeless fight. Just like the one he was having. A lot of this was reported on tv.com when it happened. I hope this clears up some things.
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Yes, I'm a big Joss fan too; I have been since Buffy first started airing when I was in the fourth grade, and I've seen all his stuff. I'm aware of all of that stuff you mentioned that went down with Dollhouse - I know that the second half of the season was not supposed to play out that way, that it should have been spread out. I wasn't criticizing Joss for that. It was a bad situation with no good solution, once the show got cancelled. I'm just saying that I almost would have preferred if he hadn't crammed it all in. It was a decision between giving the fans all the answers or doing the rest of the season the way he'd originally envisioned, and I actually kind of wish for the latter choice. I think some of those latter episodes would have been stronger, in that case. Still, in that case it obviously would have been very frustrating not to get all the answers.
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I never really thought about it like that, but Dollhouse was definitely the closest a Joss show got to being a procedural. And that does seem to fit with why I wasn't as fond of it.

Now don't get me wrong, I've watched a few procedurals and really enjoyed them over the years so I'm not opposed to that. Maybe it was just a matter of not expecting it from a Joss developed show. Once they got going, it wasn't quite a bad as those first couple episodes but it definitely never developed that great balance of plot and characterization that the other shows typically had.

But I will agree that Dollhouse got screwed more by the audience than the Network. I don't remember reading nearly as many articles about the network messing behind the scenes, other than when cancellation was imminent.
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Yeah, I guess I just felt like a lot of the people that were watching it weren't quite getting it. Because I remember when it was on that I really enjoyed the show, and I would get online and read others' reviews and comments and most people were complaining that they didn't like the episode, especially the more procedural episodes. Procedural or not, it was a very different show for Joss, I think, which might account for the disconnect.

I get what you mean about not expecting a procedural type show from Joss. I don't know if you're familiar with Grimm, at all, but a lot of fellow fantasy and sci-fi enthusiasts didn't like the show and didn't recommend it, because it was very much a procedural with some fantasy elements, and that's not what people were looking for or expecting with the show, I guess. I finally watched it despite all the bad recs I'd been given, and really liked it. *shrug* But, in addition to sci-fi and fantasy, I also watch a lot of procedurals, so I'm more into that, I guess.
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Maybe I'm mistaken, but I always got a very distinct prodecural aspect from Firefly.
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As far as overall quality Firefly is the best show in my opinion, it's just perfect. That does however have to do with its short run cos if it would have gone on we probably would have had some duds and poor storylines.

With that said Buffy is always number one in my heart and no show, whedonverse or other, could ever take that place. I can't really explain why it's best but i probably has to do with Buffy. She is an amazing lead character because she, like all of us, is full of flaws and even though she's a bamf you can identify with her
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I like where you stand on this: As an across-the-board fan off all four shows up for debate, I'm a staunch defender of Firefly as number one---because I think people should take into account its mishandling by the network and premature cancellation (facts that Fox has since admitted, repeatedly).

Don't compare Firefly to Buffy, I say: Compare Firefly to Buffy Season 1. Suddenly, the winner becomes a lot more obvious.
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Firefly is my only option here.
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If you would've ask me that question like a couple of months ago I would've said buffy hands down no competition whatsoever but when I became a fan of the show I was also in my teens and it was part of my life and high school and all that crap and at the time when angel the spin off aired I hate to admit it but I kinda lost interest in the it around season 3 and before you pull out your pitchforks in my the defense at that time I didn't get the show because it was different from buffy and I felt like the character's that I liked like cordlia and angel got all twisted and doyle died and I hated all the new characters and around the time darla staked herself I called it quits , about a couple of months ago I decide to rewatch it given the fact that I am older and wiser (hopefully )now and maybe I judged the show too harshly at the time so I decided to give it a second chance and I'm soo happy that I did because I realized I was stupid and season 3 the same season I stopped watching turned out to be brilliant and left me at awe ,I was completely falling in love with the show and then I realized I had like two more seasons and got really upset , especially when it ended the way it did which to me was really when the show was at its finest and I felt there was so much left to be told so now I am a complete fan of angel ,also I'm in complete hate of the WB for canceling the show and mostly the fact that I can't share my pain because it was 9 years ago people moved on since then ,david boreanaz went on to star on bones ...and life went on …and birds were still singing and the world kept spinning . so in conclusion it's really unfair ,I can't decide and I love them both And damn! you joss whedon for making me go through this again I hate you … no I really love you but I'm really upset just in delay.

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OMG paragraphs
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I think at the time that they aired simultaneously, I would have said Buffy as well. But once I started rewatching the shows and I could sit back and put more thought into them, Angel became that show that I loved more.
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And thanks again. I'm now going to have to go and buy the complete boxset of both Buffy and Angel haha!

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If you do not also buy the box set of Firefly, I will come to your house, and I will cut you.

(Totes joking on that---if you saw the Family Guy episode where Bob Ross made that joke, then you're laughing. If you didn't, then you're all "oh shit, crazy Internet people", and I'm sorry.)
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LOL - luckily I already have Firefly and Serenity!
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Do it! It's a wise investment. (Of course, they're also available on Netflix if you have it!)
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Great topic and loving this new community thing!

I think I started watching Buffy aged about 10 or 11 and it was probably my favourite show back then. I'd love to go back and watch it as a 26 year old as I;m sure some of the humour and subject matter would of gone over my head back then.

Angel, I started watching obviously when I was abit older and knew abit more about the world. Loved Angel so, so much as a show. Just had a slight more darkness to it than Buffy. And, who can forget one of the best episodes of any of these shows ever... Smile Time!

I had to buy the DVD set for Firefly as I never saw it on TV. Wow, what a show. Nathan Fillion just plays that role to perfection. Such a shame that it was never given a second season and all we got was Serenity (although it was awesome).

Dollhouse I never really got into; watched a few episodes and didn't watch anymore. Maybe I should go back and give it another chance.

In conclusion, all shows were awesome (apart from Dollhouse which I'll give another chance), but angel was the dogs bollocks for me (the best for anyone who does not know that saying haha!).
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I was 12 when I saw my first episodes, and I can say with certainty that there are things I didn't catch when I was younger and there are jokes I get more now than I did then so I would definitely say go for it!
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I would've been seven when I first started watching Buffy, which is concerning when I think about it (what in the world were my parents thinking???).

The biggest moment like this that stands out for me is that I must have watched Buffy two times before realising Spike attemoted to rape her in Season 6. It completely blew over my head the first two times.
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I see your point with Angel and it did have some excellent episodes but the whole cordie/connor thing ruined it for me. Loved the 1st, 2nd & 5 seasons the others meh!! Buffy had its ups and downs too when it was first known that Buffy & spike were getting together i was NOOOO! forever Buffy & Angel but it was done so well that by the end I really enjoyed watching the two of them together. Tara & Willow were great too. They were so good together & Joss had such vision for where he wanted the show to go you can see it when you watch it on rerun.

Dollhouse was good in the 1st season but yes it was better in the 2nd so would have liked to see it continue to see where it would have gone.
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During the initial airing of the show, oh yeah, I hated season 4, especially Connor and Cordy. I remember yelling at my tv about the semi-incest of it all. Now that I have the ability that I can watch it continuously (or at least without a week inbetween episodes), I don't hate it anymore. It's still my least favorite, but it was so much more serialized than the other seasons that I think it was always meant to be the season that you just binge watched. And with a couple of occasions, it actually makes the Connor/Cordy stuff not seem quite and front and center, even though it still kind of is.
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'It was so much more serialized than the other seasons that I think it was always meant to be the season that you just binge watched.'

I love serialised television, which is probably why I enjoy Angel's fourth season and Buffy's seventh so much more than everyone else does.
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I still cant watch season 4 of Angel but season 7 of Buffy is also one of my favourites.
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FWIW, Gene Roddenberry stated decades ago that Star Trek was really just Wagon Train set in space, so it's not really a new concept.
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Oh please. In the words of Gaius Baltar, "just because you say something doesn't mean it's true." Star Trek was an idealized paradise---the perfection of Federation utopia was never challenged and virtually antiseptic in its presentation.

Equating---even comparing Star Trek to the Western genre is ridiculous.
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Remember that those (probably paraphrased) words were his, not mine. I don't equate the two shows, of course, but I think it's quite easy to see certain elements of westerns in ST:TOS.

That Gene was at least partially inspired by aspects of Wagon Train and westerns in general is certainly not a product of my imagination. Indeed, I would even say it's fairly common knowledge. Google returns hundreds of search results for the applicable terms. It's even stated in the second paragraph of Wikipedia's main entry on the original series.

You're free to believe that Star Trek never, ever bears any resemblance to the westerns that preceded it on TV but I tend to think that you'd be in the minority, at least among folks old enough to remember some of those series.

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Yeah but you dont get the western vibe from Star Trek as much as Firefly was a space western.
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I'm going with Buffy because it was the first. The best. It introduced us to all these fantastic characters and actors who have become important parts of our lives. And the other reason is the message of Buffy. To do the right thing even though its scary and even though its a sacrifice. And also that you dont have to be super to make a difference. You can be an ordinary guy like Xander and still save the world. The show just speaks to me in such a profoundly human way.
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Angel
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I'll go with Buffy, mainly because Willow and Spike were so great.
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This is nearly an impossible question to answer. It's like asking which of your children you like the best. I own the entire Joss Whedon collection and still watch them on a regular basis. They are my children and by far some of the best TV ever aired. That being said I will try to justify my choice not only to all of you but myself as well. I've been thinking about this all night and Buffy would have to be my choice. I have been rather vocal lately about a certain science fiction network kicking all of the shows I watch to the curb and putting on crap. It wasn't always like that. When Buffy was on and this was called TV Tome I was contributing every week. Me and 7 of my friends got together on a work night, did some drinking, ate a bunch of junk and watched the show. This was a group of men and women in their 30's watching what was considered to be a kids show. After we would discuss the show and then post our "nit picks" to the tome. Then we would hit the Buffy chat room and see what others were saying about it. It is the only time I ever put this much effort into a show. If Firefly was given half a chance this would have been a very different choice. I still hold out hope for it's return. Castle can't go on forever. Until that time comes I have to stick with Buffy.
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Buffy and Angel were the first shows that I put that much effort into. I didn't have a group of people to watch them with, but I had an online family through a posting board. It was the first time I really connected with other fans and could discuss how awesome or terrible an episode was and talk about the themes. I've maybe put as much effort into watching other shows and hunting for spoilers but I've never had that familial connection again.
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My name is Tim and I'm a science fiction junkie. "Hi Tim". Watching it with a group was a unique experience. Buffy was a powerful drug and the people I watched it with were as hooked on it as I was. We didn't want to watch it. We had to. It was like going to AA every week. Unless you watch the latest hit sit-com you would be hard pressed to find seven other people who watched the same thing you do. Especially if all you watch is science fiction. Most of the time all I hear is "I can't believe you watch that crap". Yet every time there is a block buster movie it's usually science fiction. So it's not because people don't watch it, it's because they won't admit to watching it. That didn't seem to be the case with Buffy. There were a lot of fans of all ages. They were as passionate and vocal about the show as the Star Trek people. I only hope that S.H.I.E.L.D. will give me that Joss fix that I crave and people will actually say "Yes, I watch that". It would be nice to have another group to enjoy the genius of Joss with.
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Firefly
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Definitely Buffy, although Angel comes in second.
I've never seen Firefly, but one of the main reasons I watched Buffy was for the humour and it seemed to be generally lacking in Angel and Dollhouse. Of course, it eventually disappeared from Sunnydale too...
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dude you have to watch Firefly if you loved the humour on Buffy cos Firefly does it even better
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You are not off your rock in selecting Angel. It is the best of the four, easily.

I will say that, had it actually been able to run for five seasons, though, I may be saying Dollhouse.
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Congrats! This awesome post just bumped you to the #1 spot on the Buffy Leaderboard


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Tumbling!!!! You are my best friend for the day. :D
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It's definitely Angel. The episode where

SPOILERS

Fred dies is one of the best ever episodes of television.
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Curse you Amy Acker for being such a Shakespeare nerd
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My personal favorite is Firefly.
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dollhouse
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Dollhouse is certainly underappreciated. It definitely had some dud episodes in the early going but it continually improved. Once it began focusing almost exclusively on its uberplot, it was really engrossing. And I think the eventual reveal of its Big Twist was one of the best instances of that sort of thing ever. I know I never saw it coming.

People often cite its short run as having diminished it somehow, but given that the producers likely knew ahead of time that it wouldn't survive to S3, it gave us something few shows ever do: closure and finality.

I'll still put Firefly at the top of the list but only because I never watched Buffy or Angel. Sorry, but for me, the whole vampire thing (and zombies and now werewolves, too) has been so run into the ground as to never make me want to watch anything associated with them again. Well, certainly not the romanticized, heartthrob, beefcake/cheesecake vampires and werewolves that are all the rage the days. Groan.

The insane popularity of the Teen Wolf pages here would seem to put me in the clear minority, but it doesn't change my opinion that it's long past time to let all of those genres rest for a few decades.

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'And I think the eventual reveal of its Big Twist was one of the best instances of that sort of thing ever. I know I never saw it coming.'

God yes. Biggest twist in television history ever, in my opinion.
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Getting Closer might even me my favourite episode of every Whedon show, even though I enjoy Buffy and Angel more than Dollhouse overall.
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Addendum: Dollhouse also introduced to me to the exceptionally talented Enver Gjokaj, who was simply amazing in the ways he slipped into all his various personae. The time(s?) he doubled as the duplicate of Topher was/were so eerily and hilariously spot-on as to make me shake my head in near disbelief.

Subsequent roles I've seen him play on other shows have only further convinced me that he really deserves to be a star someday, if not right now. If his name is soon forgotten, it will be a crime against acting.
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Very well said! He is quite remarkable. If his name is soon forgotten it will probably be because no one can pronounce it!

Agree with what you said above- once it got into the uberplot it became completely engrossing. While I was crushed at the cancellation (though not surprised...I was shocked it was renewed in the first place) it did afford them the opportunity to tell quite a story and as you said, give us closure & finality which is quite rare in the tv world.

I am still shocked at the amount of story they crammed into the second season. When we watch S2 we're always like "there's only X number of episodes left and we still haven't gotten to this, this, or that yet!" While I would have loved to have seen some of the episodes and arcs Joss has mentioned that he had planned, I'm grateful we were able to get an ending, even though it was rushed, and a good one at that!
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That is a tough one... but I will go with Buffy. Although I really loved last season of Angel: Wes was such a bad ass (he started as such a wimp remember?) and the end was just right!

Happy that Acker & Denisof got to play together again in Much Ado About Nothing... Has anyone seen that already?

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I saw it! It was awesome.
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I was going to but then I decided that breaking my ankle/leg was a good idea so I couldn't really go sit in a theater. Now I am stuck waiting for a DVD release. :(
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No but I was hoping to...it was supposed to play at an art house theater in Detroit & I was thinking of driving to see it there. But the dates have been changing so now I'm not sure if I missed it. Can't wait to see those two together again, plus all the other Whedonverse alums!
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Bummer! I hope you didn't miss it! I will have to wait for DVD to come out or something like that :-(
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I don't know where you live, but for the US, the release date is October 8th. Amazon has it available for preorder.
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Great! I'll put it on my list! Thanks! :-)
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Firefly it is!
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Firefly!!!!!
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This post basically just makes me want to go back and watch Angel now. Like I have the time.
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Yeah, I'm rewatching both Buffy and Angel right now and I definitely don't have the time for it. Damn syndication.
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When I saw Much Ado I was like, "I AM GOING STRAIGHT HOME AND WATCHING ANGEL," and then I didn't for some reason. And if I didn't have to start my roommate on Friday Night Lights now that she's caught up on Breaking Bad, I think I'd definitely binge on Angel. For some reason, I don't watch it nearly as often as I do Buffy despite obviously owning all of it. It might have something to do with Connor, because he was kind of the worst.
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I missed Wesley and Fred so much watching Much Ado About Nothing.
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Yeah. He pretty much is. That's why I watch seasons 4 and 5 of Buffy at the same time that I watch season 3 and 4 of Angel so I can remember that I hate Riley more! It makes it SO much easier to watch Connor.
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connor and dawn are the worst , they could make a great couple IMO , not that I would want to see that though or anyone for that matter and I really hated riley with fiery passion and wanted to throw my shoes at him any time I caught a glimpse of him on screen but he sort of redeemed himself in season 5 to me because I totally give him credit for getting what we always knew that buffy doesn't love him and ...for leaving the show and ...for coming back again in season six and... tell buffy she still awesome even though she wears a hat with a chicken on it but it's not like I love him or anything he's just ...more bearable now.

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I mostly just pretend Pete Campbell has been sucked into an alternate universe and then it's hilarious.
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If you like more humor, I think you prefer Buffy over the darker Angel. I prefer Buffy because I love good humor. Angel had it's moments, though, like the puppet episode.
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SMILE TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you couldn't tell that's one of my absolute favorites......
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Dollhouse was on point
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"I mean, space western? Who'd really done that?"
I dunno, Gene Roddenberry and that tiny show of his 'Wagon train to the Stars' :)

Dollhouse was a little disjointed to say the least definately weakest of the four.

Hard to seperate Buffy & Angel. Buffy was mostly a comedy with a bit of drama thrown in; with Angel being mostly a drama with a bit of comedy thrown in. But when Buffy did drama it was more dramatic because it broke from the comedy (Xander saving the world from crayon-breakie Willow); and the reverse goes for Angel.

But Firefly has to win the Top Joss Show award, the same balance of drama and comedy as Angel, but nothing in Angel can top :

If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.

Also why no Dr Horrible ? Sure it was only a webcast and only 3 short episodes but still better than Dollhouse
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I don't consider Dr. Horrible with his shows. I almost look at it as more of a short film project.
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Buffy & Angel
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I love all of them , i didn't watch Firefly but the rest are great in order ;
1- Buffy : Except for Season 1 & 7 , which also had a couple of good episodes the series is amazing i grew up with it , i felt like they are my friends and we are growing up together , Season 2 is my favorite with Season 3,5&6 comes close next

2- Angel : A really really strong story , i hated half season 5 but the second half was amazing , the ending was not the best since stupid CW cancelled the show , yet Season 2 , 3 & 4 are more than perfect

3- Dollhouse : Fox destroyed the potential of this one from the get go , yet except for the first 5 episodes each episode was amazing on it's own but as an overall storyline it was not amazing
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Firefly
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This is not even fair, you posted on the Buffy Community form.
Although my answer will always be Buffy.
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ANGEL. It had it's funny moments. But mostly it was Dark & emotional. And I dont think so that there is a show now which touches 'ANGEL' greatness.
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Obviously Buffy. It's far ahead of the others. But Firefly is very good too, if you watch the episodes in the correct order.

I have watched Buffy, Angel and Firefly twice. Of those three, Angel is the only one that I didn't like so much the second time. It had moments of greatness, but a lot of it just sucked.

Dollhouse is OK, much better than Angel's bad stuff, but never as good as Angel's best stuff.
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I only watched Angel and Buffy,
And i like Angel a lot more, but i was really pissed of because of the cancellation,
Angel is much more darker, and have a much greater and deeper characters
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Well, Angel's premature cancelation is entirely Joss Wheadon's doing. Joss wanted an early renewal for Angel's 6th season. The Fox execs told him no. Joss gave them an ultimatum, renew Angel early or cancel it. Guess, what the answer was?
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I know that, but i still want to blow up the one who canceled it, so they want an early renewal so what the big deal?!
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As much as I love Buffy, Angel etc. all of the shows fall into the cult bracket; small but dedicated audiences. If you're a tv exec the key word there is small. Would you really sign a multi-million dollar cheque for a tv show that might end up with zero viewers and zero advertising income? As for blowing up the one who canceled it, Joss might had screwed up the negotiations but using explosives on him seems a little harsh
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Not Joss(not that i don't hate him for what he did), i want to blow up Jordan Levin the head of The WB, because he is the one who put the final nail in "Angel's" coffin(see what i did there :D)
But you are right Joss screwed the whole thing sadly, i just hoped if they did a tv movie or something to complete the story, not just leaving the fans with just the comics
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I agree. Angel is my favorite show of all time, followed by Buffy. I loved Buffy, but overall I preferred Angel's darker tone.
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This is one of my favorite conversations from the show, and summed up the theme of it:

Angel: In the greater scheme or the big picture, nothing we do matters. There's no grand plan, no big win.
Kate: You seem kind of chipper about that.
Angel: Well, I guess I kinda...worked it out. If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do. 'Cause that's all there is. What we do, now, today. I fought for so long. For redemption, for a reward, finally just to beat the other guy, but... I never got it.
Kate: And now you do?
Angel: Not all of it. All I wanna do is help. I wanna help because I don't think people should suffer, as they do. Because, if there is no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.

Then there's this...

Angel: Nothing in the world is the way it outta be. It's harsh, and cruel. But that's why there's us. Champions. Doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done, or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be.


It's reiterated in the series finale when Gunn asks Anne what she would do if she knew that nothing she did would actually make a difference. She responds by saying she's going to continue to do exactly what she was doing. While Buffy was focused on empowerment along with the slayer's loneliness and place in the world (which was definitely good, and the ending paid it off in a big way), Angel was focused on the idea that even if it never truly made a difference, they would still try. And they always did.
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Agree completely. I think of the quote "if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do" all the time & also "we live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be". Two of my favorites from the whole series.
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This is so tough. The obvious choice is Buffy - and if Buffy hadn't had the relatively weak seasons 1, 6, and 7; I would easily choose it. Buffy seasons 2, 3, and 5 in particular are probably better than any other season from any other Joss show. Angel however has much more consistent high quality throughout and imo actually got better as the show went on; only season 1 was relatively weak. I might actually have to give the edge to Angel.

Dollhouse and Firefly imo never really came close to Buffy/Angel.
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I love love love Buffy, but for overall quality and storytelling I'm going with Firefly! Reading this thread makes me want to try Angel again, I've seen the first two seasons a couple of times but have never finished the series. I really like what I've seen so I just need to make the commitment and go for it! If only I didn't have a million other shows on my to watch list...
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My friends & I have debated this forever. Every time I think I know I see an episode of a different series & think "no THIS is my favorite!"

For me it's Dollhouse. I absolutely loved the concept. I loved the look of the show; the surprises/reveals; the supporting cast was superb- Enver Gjokaj in particular was amazing; I adored Adelle- she was a badass in a totally different way than Echo & I thought Olivia Williams' portrayal was brilliant; I loved Jed Whedon's original songs Remains and Drones & thought they were used to great effect in the show, as was Beck's cover of Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime which was a nice nod to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; I loved Alpha; I loved the endgame & it's epic scope; and I want to be Echo when I grow up (or Adelle...). Yeah it took a while to really get rolling & there were some weak episodes especially towards the beginning. But by episode 6 "Man on the Street" with Tahmoh & Eliza's awesome fight in the chinese restaurant, they had me. Well let's be honest, they had me at Joss.

A close second would be Angel. I, too loved the darker, more adult themes. The show and certain characters went very, very dark sometimes & I loved all the questions that posed. Wesley's character arc is still one of my favorite in all of tv. Alexis Denisof is a remarkable actor. Illyria was awesome. Not everyone likes Connor but I thought Vincent Kartheiser did a great job bringing out the layers in him. Angel & Connor's confrontation in the sporting goods store at the end of S4 was very emotional & I thought DB & VK really brought out the best in each other in that scene. I think one of DB's best acting moments. I thought the turn at the end of S4 for the fifth season was brilliant and the Angel/Spike dynamic was always one of my favorites. The show just continued getting stronger as it went on. And of course Angelus is ALWAYS fun.
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Just this very minute, I finished a post up above praising Enver Gjokaj's astounding work on Dollhouse.
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:D Great minds....
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You're bang on with Enver Gjokaj. Why that man doesn't yet have his own show is absolutely beyond me! He stole the spotlight in subtle ways from a stellar all-around cast. It was a concept that was always going to be particularly demanding on all the actors portraying dolls, but he slipped seamlessly between personas with greater ease than anyone. He was so convincing in his scene as Dominic (formerly played by Reed Diamond) that it didn't strike me until well AFTER the scene was over that it wasn't actually Reed Diamond in a Victor suit. Amazing!
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I know! I was stoked to see him on Person of Interest but that was still a small role. He was completely convincing in every persona. Yes his Dominic was awesome, not to mention his Topher was absolutely uncanny! He does need his own show stat.
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I still remember -- with great delight -- how superbly he nailed Topher's persona. That was a singularly great moment in the show. If anyone on that show was a breakout star, it was he.
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So true!
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Firefly, Episode 14 (intended order) "Objects in Space" ... that's where Firefly was headed and it would have been terrific. None of Joss' shows cant touch it. I'd go with Buffy for #2 ... mainly because of Gellar vs. Boreanaz, no contest n my mind. Dollhouse could've been so much better but, once again, Joss had to rush the second season on account of premature termination. Must say, though, Dushku had a far more interesting character in Faith than any of the Stepford folk she possesed in Dollhouse.
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I still pick "Out of Gas" as my favorite all-around episode, but "Objects in Space" was a very, very close second.
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Well waddaya know ... I'd pick "Out of Gas" for #2 -- "You paid money for this sir? On purpose?"
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I'll start by saying nothing can touch the second and third seasons of Buffy. The first season showed there was potential, but it wasn't a good season. The second season hit the stride with that powerful Angelus/Spike/Dru arc, while season 3 was consistently great throughout with the Mayor, Faith, and the last high school year of Buffy. Season 4 had "Hush", but everything else was ok but weak compared to the previous seasons. Season 5 is well liked by many but I wasn't too attached to the Glory story, but it did have some powerful moments like "The Body" and powerful ending. Season 6 had a string of good episodes when Giles was present, including the musical and amnesia episodes, which were among my favorites, but it was ok overall. Season 7 was pretty average/weak until the excellent finale.

Season 1 - Weak
Season 2 - Great (great main story, but had some major duds)
Season 3 - Excellent
Season 4 - Ok (HUSH!)
Season 5 - Good
Season 6 - Ok/Good (Ok overall, but did have some excellent episodes)
Season 7 - Weak (Great finale)

As for Angel, it's first season was pretty rough as it was trying to find itself. The Faith episodes, Doyle's last episode, and the Buffy episode were standouts, but most episodes seemed random. They were still ok to solid all around, but it wasn't towards the end they found something intriguing for a main story. The Darla storyline in season 2 was very intriguing, especially when Drusilla came into the picture. The stuff in Loren's home realm was pretty fun too. Seasons 3 and 4 were very dark but clever seasons that could have been great, but Connor ruined a lot of that for me. The appearance of Jasmine also left me pretty disappointed. Season 5 was odd, but I enjoyed most of it, but it seemed lost at times.

Season 1 - Ok
Season 2 - Good
Season 3 - Good
Season 4 - Good
Season 5 - Ok/Good

I'm going to have to give it to Buffy. I did enjoy the last few seasons of Angel more than the last few seasons of Buffy, and it didn't seem like it was limping to the end, though it was cancelled abruptly. Never saw Firefly of Dollhouse, so I can't say anything about those.
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I pretty much agree with your season ratings of both shows, bar a couple.

I thought Buffy's seventh season was great, I'd probably place it second behind season three, but before season two. Everything else I agree with, although I always thought if season one had had a full length season that I probably would have liked it more than season four.

I thought Angel's fourth season was great, but I understand why a lot of people don't, and I think it's third season is its second strongest overall, got a good balance between episodic and serialised stories that almost mirrored how good Buffy got as this in its third season. I found season five of Angel odd to, and it did have some strong episodes, but it's always felt out of place to me.
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