The next medium for our Favourite Haunts series is television, and that can only mean Buffy!
Just in case you don’t know (shame on you!) Buffy the Vampire was a 7 season long American television show created by Joss Whedon and spun off from a movie, also called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was a mid-season replacement show in 1997 (meaning the first season is short because it replaced another show that failed) and ran until 2003. The premise is that there is always a Slayer, a girl imbued with powers in order to fight monsters, when one dies another activates and is guided by a Watcher. The titular Buffy is (initially) a highschool student who moves to Sunnydale, California after the events of the movie where her original Watcher was killed – unfortunately Sunnydale sits atop a ‘hellmouth’, a portal and site of huge mystical energy, it is literally a weirdness magnet. So Buffy, along with her best friends Willow and Xander, are drawn back into the world of Slaying, where she’ll stay through high school, into college and then adulthood.
Season 3 of Buffy was showing in the UK when I got into the series, I was in my early teens and it’s pretty much the perfect show for depressed, socially outcast, fucked up teenagers who like monsters and pretty girls, I remain hooked – mostly because nothing’s really changed, I’m not teenager anymore but that’s about it. I like everything about it and it has the bonus of being very useful when I’m suffering from depression: see no matter how bad my life is I can watch Buffy and know that no matter what, it’s not as bad as Buffy’s – if I’m mildly depressed I can watch Season 3, if I’m REALLY depressed I can watch series 6.
Beneath all the drama and the shipping and Faith's trousers Buffy is a horror show (I think they forgot that every so often too) so it’s perfect for the Halloween season, it even has two episodes set on Halloween that are both fantastic (but not fantastic enough to make this list, the episode ‘Halloween’ only narrowly missed out though) so this is the perfect opportunity for me to knock out a mega-indulgent ‘favourite episodes’ countdown list! Woo! Also, why top 15? Because (spoiler alert) I’ve got two two-parters in this list and this is ‘episodes’ and no ‘stories’ so technically they’d each take up two slots if we’re being PICKY so to play it safe and get all the episodes I want on the list, it’s a top 15. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:
David Greenwalt, Season 1
Wha’ppen? Buffy’s father is picking her up for the weekend but first there are problems at school – The Ugly Man attacks students, nightmares seem to be coming true and Buffy keeps seeing a little boy around campus despite him being in a coma in the hospital. As more and more nightmares come to life and reality in Sunnydale becomes less and less stable Buffy becomes a vampire and must convince the little boy to face The Ugly Man.
Why? While I think there may be scarier episodes/monsters later on in the series (Same Time Same Place, Killed by Death…) this for me is the first truly unnerving episode of the series, meaning that if you’re watching the series in order it’s the first time you run the risk of being scared, but more it’s perhaps the easiest episode to relate to fear-wise – everyone has nightmares and everyone would be utterly shitting themselves if they started to happen in real life, not everyone is scared of hospitals, not everyone is scared of being ignored (though I imagine just about everyone would be worried if something started eating their flesh in strips…) but everyone is scared of something and would be very scared to find it happening right there and then, just like they’d dreamt it. That’s pretty much my rationale, it also does a very good job of capturing the dreamlike (or nightmarelike I guess) elements that it needs to do (something that’s also true of Restless, though I find Nightmares to be more of a story and Restless to be more of an episode long set of foreshadowing) and gives us a decent one-shot villain in The Ugly Man.
Best Quote: Willow - "When Buffy was a vampire, you weren't still, like, attracted to her, were you?"
Xander - "Willow, how can you... I mean, that's really bent! She was... grotesque!"
Willow - "Still dug her, huh?"
Xander - "I'm sick. I need help."
Willow - "Don't I know it."
Ty King, Season 2
Wha’ppen? With Angelus (Angel who is now soulless and evil) harassing Buffy and Willow, the Scoobies use a spell to uninvite him from their houses (and Cordelia’s car) meanwhile Jenny Calendar makes busy atoning for her previous betrayal, making up with Giles and telling him she loves him and working to restore Angel’s soul – Angelus is not happy about the former, so he kills her and leaves her in Giles bed. Furious Giles confronts Angelus, Spike and Dru in the old factory – setting in on fire as he goes.
Why? Probably not the first episode people might think of for a top 15? I dunno, I love this episode and Anthony Stewart Head loves this episode so I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t but I don’t see it raved about very much. I don’t get that. The episode is wonderfully written and performed and wonderfully shot and paced, it has two ‘oh shit’ moments with Jenny’s death and Giles wielding a flaming baseball bat (and beating Angelus with it), it was the first time we got Jossed via a main character being brutally killed exactly when it seems they won’t be (I don’t count Jessie, he wasn’t even a character) and it has that wonderful little scene where Buffy, Willow and Joyce Summers react in silence to Calendar’s death (apparently there was full dialogue written that they acted out). Why does no one go on about Passion? It’s fucking great.
Best Quote: Xander - "The nah-nah-nah-nah-nah approach to battle?"
Giles - "Yes, Xander, once more you've managed to boil a complex thought down to its simplest possible form."
13. Where the Wild Things Are
Tracy Forbes, Season 4
Wha'ppen? A presence in Riley’s Frat House caused by the years of physical and emotional abuse endured by its former occupants when it was a home for wayward children manifest due to Buffy and Riley’s sexy times in the form of a house haunted by dead children and forces Buffy and Riley to have sex to fuel it.
Why? Apparently a lot of fans hate this episode, but I think it’s one of the scariest the series ever produced, in fact I still find some of the scenes – the drowning boy and the circle of dead kids specifically – very unnerving. I just don’t get the hate, it’s a standard horror movie plot in Buffy – creepy thing happen, creepy things intensify, cast finds out the cause, stops it, what’s not to like? I mean yes if you describe the plot as ‘Buffy and Riley fuck a ghost house into existence’ that does sound pretty silly but the rest of the ride (pun intended) is good old horror film fun AND we get to see Anthony Stewart-Head sing for the first time, a Who song no less, and as a heterosexual male I have no problem with saying when he sings that man is fucking sexy. So in conclusion – it’s genuinely scary, genuinely funny and genuinely sexy, what’s not to like?
Best Quote: Spike - “I know I'm not the first choice for heroics... And Buffy's tried to kill me more than once. And, I don't fancy a single one of you at all. But... Actually, all that sounds pretty convincing. I wonder if Asian House is open. *walks off*"
12. Graduation Day
Joss Whedon, Season 3
Wha’ppen? The Mayor will ‘ascend’ on Graduation Day, he’ll become pure demon. Faith the rogue Slayer gives away that this pure demon is not invulnerable by killing a
Vulcan volcanologist who was unknowingly
studying the death of one; she then poisons Angel and there is only one cure –
Slayer blood. This leads to a Slaver-on-Slayer ass-kicking between Buffy and
Faith that Buffy wins, stabbing Faith with her own knife and putting her in a
coma, but not before Faith gets away, with no other choice Buffy forces Angel
to drink from her and ends up in hospital. Meanwhile Willow loses her virginity
to Oz. Waking from her blood transfusion Buffy figures out a plan and goes to
graduation, where – sure enough -the sun is eclipsed and The Mayor ascends into
a giant snake and then a whole school year, a group of kids who have been
preyed on for three seasons, fight back.
Why? I know some people consider this to be the best Buffy season finale, I don’t but only because it’s just not quite as personal as The Becoming, I LIKE the Mayor but he’s not quite your boyfriend who you fucked and turned evil. It does however have my favourite moment in a Buffy finale – when Angel, Percy, Wesley and the jocks show up and you know that the tables have thoroughly turned on The Mayor and his vampire goons, it’s a real Big Damn Heroes Moment and I feel Angel used at his best – as the big gun. In fact there’s dozens of good moments in this two parter, way too many to summarise here – we have the Buffy/Faith fight, we have the Mayor losing it, we have Principal Snyder being eaten, we have Seth Green firing flaming arrows, there’s just so many great moments befitting a finale of this sort because it’s really a very important point in the series – we’re losing the main setting, a main premise (supernatural high school), two main characters, a bunch of supporting characters (and Wesley) and the series really is changing forever so it needed to be damn good blowing up a giant snake wouldn’t have done that alone, instead Whedon turns in one of his sharpest scripts, a shitload of plot twists and blowing up a giant snake, good job mate.
Best Quote: Cordelia - "I personally don't think it's possible to come up with a crazier plan."
Oz - "We attack the Mayor with hummus."
Cordelia - "I stand corrected."
Although this exchange is very close: Cordelia – “I demand an explanation” Giles - “what for?” Cordelia – “Wesley” Xander – “errr…. Inbreeding?”
Joss Whedon, Season 2
Wha’ppen? Kendra has returned to Sunnydale because a Dark Poowar is aboot to rise, it’s Acathla who with one breath could suck the world into hell, and Angelus is going to revive him and Buffy is having a hard time coming to terms with having to kill her former lover. Said former lover distracts Buffy long enough for Dru to lead an attack on the library, killing Kendra and taking Giles. Blamed for this, Buffy is now on the run, she gets help from Whistler – a demon who helped Angel in the past – and then teams up with Spike (of all vampires), Joyce Summers finds out her daughters a slayer and in her difficulty to deal with it tells her if she walks out the house she better not come back, Buffy leaves, gets expelled from school and then goes to fight Angelus, meanwhile Willow is trying to recurse him with his soul, Xander however doesn’t tell Buffy that when he meets up with her on the way. Angelus has tortued Giles and found out the way to free Acathla, who is trapped in stone with a sword in him, Buffy and Angel fight using the sword from the stone and another blessed by the knight who slew Acathla that Kendra brought with her, Willow succeeds in restoring Angel’s soul but too late, Buffy has stabbed him and when he asks for help, refuses it – even knowing full well that Angel is back – putting saving the world above her love for him.
Why? This is the best finale in Buffy. I know I’m stating my opinion as fact but fuck it, it is, I’m sure if you existed you’d be screaming at me about Chosen, The Gift and Graduation Day and that’s cool, you can think that, but you’re WRONG - the sheer amount of emotion in this story makes it win hands down, the other finales are big, but this one is a fucking Greek tragedy: Buffy is forced to kill the man she loves after he’s saved. Yeah he comes back next season and goes on to have his own spin-off show but Buffy didn’t know that then. There is a big world-ending threat but the focus is more on the personal relationships the character have to that threat, it was a bloody genius idea to turn Angel back into Angelus and then have him be the Big Bad and this two-parter shows why, everyone is acting on emotions, emotions built up over two seasons of interacting with the villain as an ally/friend/lover/etc and making everything 100 times harder and that’s where a lot of the dramatic build-up comes from, figuring out how to stop the threat isn’t the problem, it’s being able to bring yourself do it, what can make you bring yourself to do this, and can you actually do this when you’re doing it. And I like this, this dramatic heart-wrenching, more than awesome explosions - and because I like it better, and thus because I say it is, this is the best finale in Buffy.
Best Quote: Spike - "It's a big rock. I can't wait to tell my friends. They don't have a rock this big."
08. Hell’s Bells
Rebecca Rand Kirshner, Season 6
Wha’ppen? On Xander and Anya’s wedding day everyone that can go wrong seems to do so – Xander’s unbearable family clash with Anya’s demons, it rains, and someone claiming to Xander from the future comes and shows Xander what’s in store for him – a life of misery, infidelity and finally wife-murder.
Why? God Season 6 was depressing, I think that’s why I like it so much (I’m aware this makes me a minority), when you’re depressed and don’t want to cheer up Season 6 is there ready to keep you good and miserable while still administering a kind of catharsis, no matter how crappy you feel your life is it’s not as crappy as this bunch’s – so long as you skip the ridiculous ‘Magic as a Metaphor for Drugs’ episodes you’re laughing (or rather, you’re not). This episode is bloody uncomfortable, it’s mostly in the pacing, even though I know how it ends but it still manages to be tense and Brendon and Caulfield emote their socks off, it feels like they’re going through what they’re going through. There’s still enough humour to keep it from being totally harrowing but even that humour is slightly uncomfortable so it never feels out of place, it feels like desperate people being desperate or horrible people being horrible – just in a funny way.
Best Quote: Old Xander - "I'm you from the future."
Xander - "Oh, from the future! For a minute, I thought you were a nut ball, but now that you're from the future..."
07. Lover’s Walk
Dan Vebber, Season 3
Wha'ppen? A drunken and heartbroken Spike, having been dumped by Dru, returns to Sunnydale and takes Willow and Xander hostage so Willow can perform a love spell and make Dru love him again, this focus on relationships comes at a bad time for the Scoobies as Buffy and Angel are trying to be ‘just friends’ since his return from a Hell Dimension and Willow and Xander can’t stop themselves making out with each other behind the backs of their respective loves – Oz and Cordelia.
Why? This is not a happy episode either, in fact give up on happy episodes appearing on this list for a while. That doesn’t mean it isn’t funny, drunk Spike is hilarious (and poignant) and even when the episode is focussing on one betraying the other with their girlfriend and all having their hearts broken Xander and Oz still turn in chucklesome lines but it is an episode dealing with breaking up, and if you’ve broken up with someone (I’m assuming you have, even imaginary readers need love) this episode is undoubtedly what I believe they call ‘triggering’, try and watch it and not flash back to one really uncomfortable ending to a relationship, I dare ya. That’s why it’s on this list – yes it had great dialogue, yes it uses a stand-alone story to progress the sub-plots of the series perfectly but it’s here for making me feel something every time I watch it.
Best Quote: Spike - [to Buffy and Angel] "You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love till it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other till it makes you quiver but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood; blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."
…Actually that may in fact be the best quote in the whole series.
Rand Kirshner, Season 7
Wha’ppen? Buffy’s first week as councillor at the newly rebuilt Sunnydale High brings her Cassie, a girl who is convinced she’s going to die but says she isn’t going to kill herself. Cassie seems to exhibit some kind of precognitive powers, or maybe she doesn’t, but she’s mature and matter of fact about her fate, breaking down only once. Buffy, Xander, Willow and Dawn try desperately to figure out what’s going to kill her, only to be thwarted at every step, until Cassie is kidnapped by a would-be cult of High Schoolers who want to use her as a sacrifice, Buffy saves her life – twice – with the help of a barely sane Spike, and then Cassie dies of a freak heart condition.
Why? I love Cassie, she’s the Sally Sparrow of Buffy, or if she isn’t, she should be. This episode is mostly as good as it is because of Azura Skye’s great performance of a greatly written character from Mr Kirshner, they really make you want Cassie to survive just via the simple method of Cassie being Cassie, she’s the sort of person you want to always be around, but I’ve watched this many times and she always dies at the end. It’s kind of funny, and kind of sad (wait, did I just accidentally quote Mad World?) that all of the emotional rollercoaster Whedon and the writers have put the reoccurring characters on, all those things they’d had to deal with, all those scenes of them breaking down and being comforted by…well usually Xander, and the most sympathetic character the series produces is a one-and-done Character of the Day. Other than Cassie, and really this is episode is just Cassie starring Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I greatly enjoy the whole subversion of the classic Buffy formula (or I guess what we’ve come to think of as the classic Buffy formula) of ‘figure out the supernatural threat & kill it and save the day’. It seems to be being subverted all the way through until we have the demon raising scene and then it seems it’s just gone back to formula but then Cassie dies anyway, subverted once more, and because of that I think it’s easily one of the best episodes to show someone; because chances are they’ll be going into the series thinking they’re going to get that formula and they do, but then they don’t “HA!” you can go, and then wish Cassie had survived too, but of course if she had survived she probably wouldn’t be as sympathetic and this episode wouldn’t be so good and…I need to go to sleep.
Best Quote: Buffy - (nods and smiles a little before realizing what Mike means) "You're asking my sister to the dance? And she's your second choice?"
05. Normal Again
Diego Gutierrez, Season 6
Wha’appen? The Trio conjure a demon that makes Buffy think she is really in a mental institute hallucinating her life from before the first series up until the present day, though initially she works with the Scoobies to cure herself Spike accidentally convinces her to reject the Sunnydale world and acting on her ‘doctor’s’ advice she tries to remove the things that tie her to that world, which she nearly does.
Why? Holy fuck existential nightmare, I have enough trouble with the stential stuff Buffy don’t be doing this to me; there were a few episodes I couldn’t watch in my late teens and early twenties due to emotional baggage (one of them, Lover’s Walk, is on this list) but I got over that, now there’s only one episode I still don’t like to watch over and over and that’s Normal Again (well that and the Magic is Drugs episodes, but that’s just cos they’re crap). You want to really shit someone up? You want to really scare them? Make them question reality as they know it and that my friends is why this is number 5, because it utterly chilling, that ending, fucking hell, fuck you Normal Again.
“So dwitefry” you ask “if this is so frightening and the last time you said something was frightening was Where the Wild Things Are, howcum that was back at number 13?” the answer is boring: I like the other episodes more than Where the Wild Things Are but for reasons other than their scares.
Best Quote: Spike - "Oh, balls! You didn't say it was a Glarghk Guhl Kashmas'nik."
Xander - "'Cause I can't say Glarba..."
04. I Only Have Eyes For You
Marti Nixon, Season 2
Wha’ppen? The Sadie Hawkins Dance marks the anniversary of a murder-suicide at Sunnydale High when a student killed his teacher/lover. Their ghosts begin possessing staff and students, replaying their tragic ends, and Giles is no use – convinced as he is that the spirit belongs to the recently murdered Jenny Calendar. It turns out that James, the student, needs forgiveness but this seems impossible as every time the person he needs to forgive him is murdered and unable to do so, until he possesses Buffy and the teacher’s spirit gets into Angel, who has recently lost his soul and turned evil after having sex with Buffy.
Why? I fucking love this episode, its climax is both so obvious and so clever at the same time it both pisses me off and makes me incredibly impressed at the same time, fuck you Buffy. Actually it’s pretty much got everything in it to make sure I’d be drawn to it and stay in love with it – it’s a ghost story, Buffy’s first and really only proper one at that; it’s a tragic love story, in fact it’s two/three; it’s a character piece; it’s well written and it has a song in it I like. Nixon does such a good job of using a one-off story and a supernatural threat to mirror a problem the characters are dealing with and move on a sub-plot I thought this was written by Joss Whedon – and I realise that I’m making no fucking sense if you haven’t seen this episode: Buffy blames herself for Angel turning bad even though she couldn’t have possibly know that banging him would do so (in fact Angel wasn’t aware either I don’t think), by being possessed by James (who she over-identifies – much – with) and his teacher possessing Angel who’s undead and can die and come back, both James and Buffy get the forgiveness they deserve and the ghosts and Buffy can move on, there’s more to why it’s clever than that (role-reversal etc) but I’m not clever enough to describe those bits in sensible words, so I’ll move on.
Best Quote: "Don't walk away from me, bitch!"
03. Once More, With Feeling
Joss Whedon, Season 6
Wha'ppen? Xander summons a ‘dancing demon’ called Sweet who causes the residents of Sunnydale to spontaneously break out into musical numbers, which is more dangerous than it sounds and a particular problem for the Scoobies as they’re all hiding things from one another in the wake of Buffy’s resurrection, Xander’s proposal to Anya and Willow’s growing addiction to magic.
Why? Anyone who doesn’t like Once More With Feeling has no sense of fun and no taste in anything, and I say that as a person who hates musicals. Whedon wanted to do a musical episode as early as Season One but really it wouldn’t have worked so early, Once More really benefits from coming so late in the series when the songs can play off of years of characterisation and give even the worst tracks (Going Through the Motions, Under Your Spell / Standing Reprise) more weight with viewers and fans, in fact it pretty much comes at the perfect time, with every character legitimately having something to sing about and all the songs being able to move the plot of the season and the series along. Speaking of the songs, god they’re well written – personally (as someone who doesn’t lie Musicals) I find the best songs in Musicals to be the ones that work as songs when taken out of context and ‘Something to Sing About’ ‘Rest in Peace’ ‘Standing’ and ‘Under Your Spell’ all achieve this, in fact Rest in Peace is one of my favourite songs period, but pretty much all of the songs, even those that are unintelligible if you don’t know the plot of the episode/series (‘What You Feel’ ‘Walk Through the Fire’ ‘I’ll Never Tell’) feature fantastic lyrics and great arrangement, I personally find ‘Going Through the Motions’ to be have the clunkiest lyrics and ‘I’ve Got a Theory’ to be the most throwaway but then the latter has an awesome rock break about how rabbits are evil (they totally are). The only problem I suppose you could argue for is the ending, the gang win pretty much via homophobia, yeah it’s pretty funny but it’s a little…anticlimactic and dodgy.
Best Quote: Dawn - "Oh my god! You will never believe what happened at school today."
Buffy - "Everybody started singing and dancing."
Dawn - "I gave birth to a pterodactyl."
Anya - "Oh my god! Did it sing?"
Joss Whedon, Season 4
Wha’ppen? Monsters called The Gentlemen come to Sunnydale to perform their ritual: they steal all the voices and lock them in a box, then proceed to steal seven hearts from the residents. Buffy and Riley both try to stop the monsters independently but wind-up working together, revealing their secrets to each other, and Willow bonds with a fellow UC Sunnydale student named Tara
Why? I think the only surprise here is that it’s not number 1. Hush is a flat out masterpiece – the pacing is perfect, the plot is perfect, the scoring is perfect, the acting’s pretty damn good too. The Gentlemen meanwhile have what I like to call ‘The Dalek Factor’ they creep you out and you never forget they did, nor forgive ‘em for doing so, Joss Whedon reckons they’re the scariest monsters in the franchise, I think it’s a toss-up between them, Der Kinderstot and that one that eats strips of flesh but they are bloody unnerving. Then there’s the fact that they made an episode where no one talks for most of the time and made it captivating, compelling and not in any way boring (though it must have been pretty jarring to have watched this with adverts, well jarring and occasionally pant-shitting); it does the great Buffy thing of matching the threat perfectly to the sub-plot it moves on, but you know what doesn’t get praised enough when it comes to Hush? How funny it is. It’s a toss-up (pun?) which I find is funnier but special mentions need to go to: Buffy and Willow rolling their eyes at the opportunist selling overpriced whiteboards to hang around your neck – then turning up Giles wearing one each; Spike and Xander’s silent argument; Giles and Spike arguing about Weetabix and Buffy trying to mime ‘staking’ but actually miming ‘wanking off’ – oh and our Best Quote:
Best Quote: Anya - "You mean an orgasm friend?"
Giles - "Yes, that's exactly the most appalling thing you could have said"
01. The Body
Joss Whedon, Season 5
Wha’ppen? Joyce Summers, Buffy’s mother, has died of an aneurism, a compilation from surgery she underwent earlier in the season. Buffy struggles to take it in as paramedics arrive and take it in their stride, as Giles goes with
the body Joyce Buffy tells Dawn, who is at
school. At Willow and Tara’s dorm room Xander and Anya arrive and Willow can’t
find her blue top, Anya iniitally infuriates Willow but they soon learnt Anya
is just very confused about human death, and in frustration Xander punches
through a wall. At the hospital everyone meets up but Dawn slips off to the
morgue to see her mother’s body, only to be confronted by a newly sired vampire
and although Buffy defeats it, Joyce
the body is exposed to Dawn.
Why? From an episode that relies on its score to an episode noteworthy for having no non-diegetic sound at all which is one of the many, many reasons why this episode is good but having thought about this episode a lot (I do stuff like that, usually on the toilet) all the good things add up to the following sentence: ‘everything feels natural, everything is relatable, everything fits the show and its characters’ – and I mean everything, every bit of dialogue, every scene, every action, Willow changing her clothes, Xander punching a wall, even the Vampire attack, which may sound off but let me go in-death a little – in her grief a teenage girl does something daft and gets herself in trouble – sound like the sort of thing that would happen to you? But because this is Buffy the Vampire Slayer the trouble involves something supernatural and because it’s set in a hospital morgue a vampire is the natural choice, plus by being a vampire it is not only the ‘classic’ Buffy enemy but one we’ve seen a lot and so it doesn’t overpower the main plot SO we still get our action and supernatural in our supernatural action series and it doesn’t jar or feel tacked on, it feels just right. Bear in mind that I am not a movie reviewer and know about 3 proper terms for anything so that’s why that previous statement sounded weird, but I think it’s accurate, even if it does just use whatever terminology I could come up with today.
Best Quote: Buffy - "We're not supposed to move the body!"
Originally I was going to use some of the humorous exchanges between the Scoobies after Xander punches the wall but it felt wrong, which is another thing this episode does right, it really feels like a death happened – given how often characters in fiction die and how desensitized we are to it – especially if you read superhero comics – that’s some achievement.
And there you go, now go watch Buffy! I demand it! In case you’re interested this was the easiest countdown list I’ve made; I knew virtually the entire list before I sat down to make it and I took only the slightest of fine tuning. I am a sad bastard. On that I have nothing left to say but but grrr, argh.