In 1992, Buffy the Vampire stalked its way into cinemas. The movie, a teen horror comedy about a girl who discovers that she is a vampire slayer, was camp fun, not to be taken too seriously.

But despite some interesting ideas, and an enjoyable approach to its material, the Buffy movie was not a huge hit with audiences. Critics were less than excited by it and cinemagoers largely skipped the movie’s theatrical release.  

However, despite a lacklustre debut, Buffy showed potential, and a decision was made to give the property a second chance, but this time through television. This led to the launch of the extremely popular show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer – a reboot of the mythology for new fans.

But Buffy the Vampire Slayer wasn’t alone. The show also gave birth to a spin-off series, Angel – a vampire detective show, filled with plenty of action and adventure.

Together, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel ruled the airwaves. They built up a loyal fanbase and on multiple occasions they even shared stories.

Now, this is great if you watched both shows when they originally aired, as they were a blast to view as a TV double-act, but how the heck do you watch them now? Is there a specific order to watch the shows, or are you meant to just watch one, and then the other?!

Well, hopefully I can help you out, because in this post I am taking a look at both Buffy and Angel, to help you best understand how to watch the shows. Below you will find a list of the correct viewing order, as well as a few tips on how to handle the crossover episodes.

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Understanding Buffy and Angel

Image: ©20th Century/Disney

As noted above, it is important to understand that Buffy the Vampire Slayer started life as a big screen movie. The film – which starred Kristy Swanson in the title role – was a fun film, but despite achieving a cult following, it was not a hit and is not something you need to worry too much about.

This is not me saying you shouldn’t watch the movie – because hey, I really like it – but it is me saying that it doesn’t matter if you watch it or not. The movie is only (very) loosely connected to the series, and can be completely ignored if you wish.

As for what you need to know about the TV shows, well it is fairly straight forward. The first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer hit television screens in 1997, and it remained a solo series through Season Two and Season Three.  

From Season Four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer onward, the show was joined by spin-off series, Angel. Angel’s first season aired at the same time as Buffy fourth season, and this pattern continued with Buffy Season Five/Angel Season Two, Buffy Season Six/Angel Season Three and Buffy Season Seven/Angel Season Four.

Got it? Good!

In 2003, Buffy the Vampire Slayer concluded its run, but Angel remained on air for an additional year. Angel’s fifth and final season – which took place after Buffy was done and dusted – aired between 2003 and 2004.

OK, so that is a brief explanation about the shows, now onto the viewing order…

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Buffy and Angel in order

Image: ©20th Century/Disney

Below is a list of Buffy and Angel in chronological order. The list begins with the 1992 Buffy movie, as this marks the starting point of the timeline, but remember, you can ignore this if you wish.

I will explain how to address crossover episodes at the bottom of the list, but for now, here is the best viewing order:

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) – The movie
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season One (1997) – TV series
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Two (1997 – 1998) – TV series
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Three (1998 – 1999) – TV series
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Four (1999– 2000) – TV series
  • Angel: Season One (1999 – 2000) – TV series
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Five (2000 – 2001) – TV series
  • Angel: Season Two (2000 – 2001) – TV series
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Six (2001 – 2002) – TV series
  • Angel: Season Three (2001 – 2002) – TV series
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Seven (2002 – 2003) – TV series
  • Angel: Season Four (2002 – 2003) – TV series
  • Angel: Season Five (2003 – 2004) – TV series

As mentioned above, from Buffy Season Four onward, the show was joined by Angel. Although the shows were two separate entities, they both existed in the same universe and regularly featured crossover stories.

If you want to watch the episodes in order so that the crossovers line up, simply alternate Buffy and Angel episodes when you get to Buffy Season Four. For example, watch Buffy episode 4.1, then Angel episode 1.1, then continue this with Buffy 4.2/Angel 1.2 and so on.

If you continue this pattern, when the crossovers take place (for example Buffy 4.3/Angel 1.3 or Buffy 4.8/Angel 1.8) the stories will line-up. The crossovers will make total sense, and you will be viewing them as originally intended.

Of course, if this seems far too much hassle and you can live without the crossovers lining up, then simply alternate the seasons as I have suggested in the list above. This way you will be viewing the shows as close to the same time period as possible, and other than a little confusion over the crossover episodes, everything else will run smoothly.

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If you’re a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or you’re just getting into the series, then you may wish to know that a book detailing key moments from the show is currently available.

The book – Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20 Years of Slaying: The Authorised Watcher’s Guide – is a 336-page tome, looking back at this classic series. It is loaded with info, images, and quotes from Buffy!

The Watcher’s Guide is available from all good book stockists, including Amazon UK and Amazon US.

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Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this post about the viewing order of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. For more horror-related content, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.

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