Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most innovative, creative, and memorable TV shows to hit the small screen in the past quarter-century. The impact of the show is still being felt, and even though it's been gone for a decade and a half, its popularity has barely dimmed.
But anyone who has ever seen the show will understand why. BtVS is an unforgettable series for all the right reasons, and its ability to surprise and thrill its audience is still unmatched. Buffy was going for some seriously shocking twists before shocking twists were cool, and unlike many of the shock value moments that litter the TV landscape today, Buffy's plot twists were always high impact moments that affected the show for the rest of it's run. But out of all of those twists and turns that kept people's attention for seven seasons and beyond, which were truly the best of the best?
10 Angel Is A Vampire
You know how it goes. Boy meets girl. Girl crushes on boy. Boy finally kisses girl after a few episodes of tension building. And boy abruptly transforms from boy into monster because GOOD GOD HE'S A VAMPIRE!
Everybody loves a star-crossed lovers story, and how does anyone one-up the classic Montague falling in love with Capulet standard? Well, turn it into a vampire Slayer falling in love with a vampire, of course. Clearly, Buffy is not your average Slayer and Angel is far from your typical vampire, but the abrupt revelation that Buffy's dreamy-eyed suitor was actually a vampire was one of the great early twists of the series.
9 Buffy In Hell
After Buffy's untimely death, the whole Scooby gang (minus Giles) set about bringing her back to life, fearing that the worst had happened since Buffy took a swan dive into a portal that could have taken her soul to any manner of horrific Hell dimensions. And when Buffy came back she told her friends that she was grateful for them "saving" her from death, and that seemed to be that. However, Buffy then told Spike that it was a lie. She had in fact died and gone to a heavenly dimension, and ironically her friends had resurrected her into a world that felt like Hell in comparison.
8 Kendra The Vampire Slayer
In every generation, a Slayer is born. One girl in the whole world: the chosen one. That is, until Buffy became the chosen one. Miss Summers was always the type of Slayer that marched to the beat of her own drum, but even she was thrown for a loop when Kendra the Vampire Slayer showed up in Sunnydale.
But when one Slayer dies, the next one is called, and the Master did kill Buffy before she was resuscitated. And in a classic BtVS switcheroo, when Buffy and Kendra finally meet face to face they start trading blows because they believe the other is a big bad, only to realize that they're now the chosen two.
7 Angel Goes Evil
If there was one thing that Buffy was great at, it was taking the typical experiences of teenagers and putting a more extreme supernatural twist on them. But one of the most shocking and heartbreaking instances of this was when Angel lost his soul. Unbeknownst to Buffy, the curse that returned Angel's soul to him came with the caveat that if he ever felt truly happy and wasn't suffering under the weight of his remorse then he would be "freed" from the curse, and it just so happens that getting loved up with Buffy was the key to making that happen.
6 Angel Gets His Soul Back
BtVS managed to break our hearts when Angel lost his soul and reverted to the evilest of evil vampires, Angelus. But then it managed to crush our hearts with a sledgehammer when Angel finally got his soul restored just a few moments too late.
Buffy was obviously desperate to get her boyfriend back, but she eventually came to grips with the fact that if Angel couldn't be saved then Angelus needed to be stopped. And while Buffy was prepared to kill Angelus, she most definitely was not prepared to kill Angel. Willow managed to make Angel whole again in the bottom of the ninth, but Buffy still had to send him straight to Hell.
5 Buffy Gets A Sister
And how does one get a sister, exactly? Well, in standard families they're just born, but in Buffy's world some magical blob of light gets squished into a human form and a bunch of monks implants fake memories in Buffy and friends so that Buffy will protect said magical blob at all costs. When it was initially announced that Buffy would be getting a little sister, the response was an appropriate level of confusion, but the addition of Dawn Summers brought a new dynamic to the show and ended in one of the most heartbreaking and unbelievable plot twists in Buffy history.
4 Willow Is The Big Bad
The standard season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer usually revolved around Buffy confronting and defeating the big bad of the year, but in season six the writers decided to throw the audience for one heck of a loop.
The beginning of the season took on an unusually comic turn, with the "evil trio" of Jonathan, Andrew, and Warren finding newer and nerdier ways to torment the Slayer. But the writers pulled off the shock of the century by killing Willow's girlfriend Tara, which in turn triggered Willow into going on a super dark murder spree that she was hoping to conclude with a literal world-ending finale.
3 Buffy's Mom Dies
In a fictional world that revolves around the supernatural, no one is ever expecting to be hit by a Mack truck of realism. But Buffy was nothing if not a genre-bender, and they managed to crush the souls of their audience when Buffy's mom died suddenly of natural, almost mundane, causes.
Buffy's mom initially got sick in season five, but it luckily looked like things were turning around for her, and she seemed to be doing great despite having a brain tumor removed. Buffy spent most of her teenage life literally saving the world, but the most earth-shattering moment for her was that small, simple moment of realization that her mom was really gone.
2 Buffy Dies
When those monks said that they designed Dawn because they wanted to make sure that Buffy would protect her with her own life, they weren't kidding. After months of helplessly fighting against a literal God of Hell, Buffy manages to best Glory, but once again it's just too little too late. The walls separating all dimensions are collapsing, and killing Dawn seems to be the only option to stop it. However, Buffy soon comes to the realization that in order to make the key into Dawn Summers, the monks used Buffy's flesh and blood, which means that Buffy can take Dawn's sacrificial place and still save the world while saving her sister too.
1 Spike Gets His Soul Back
Buffy the Vampire Slayer killed off their lead character before it was cool, so what in the world could ever top that in terms of twists? Well, Spike earning his soul back of course! BtVS had a traditional setup where each season was a story that concluded by the season finale, and cliffhangers really weren't their thing.
So letting the audience see Spike enduring multiple trials that seemed like his way of getting the inhibiting chip out of his head only to do a last minute reveal that Spike had actually just fought and succeeded to get his soul back was a huge departure from their norm. Leaving the audience with that shocking revelation just before their summer break was epic.