Ok, maybe "Expert" is going a bit far. The truth is, I have watched both of these series so many times all the way through, it's hard to think of myself as anything else. And I know many of my friends are experiencing these brilliant shows for the first time. Or for the 2nd time with a very limited memory of what happened the first time. Either way, I feel I can shed some light.
- Watch the episodes in order. Start with Buffy Season 1, Episode 1. I know it is tempting to skip episodes you feel have nothing to offer. You are wrong. Every episode has something to offer. Only, sometimes, you don't even know what that is until way later.
- Want to watch both at the same time? If you plan on watching both Buffy AND Angel (which you should) watch Season 4 of Buffy and Season 1 of Angel as it was seen on TV. Each episode of Buffy first, then the Angel episode right after. There are many crossover episodes in this first season of Angel and subtleties will be lost if it is not seen as it was meant to be. Once you have seen finished these 2 seasons this way, finish Buffy first, then finish Angel. Trust me. It will all make sense.
- Don't give up. There are a few couplings and story lines in each show that (in my personal opinion) can become quite confusing and/or unfavorable. Stick with it. Everything is a lesson to be learned. An obstacle to overcome. And both series end with a flourish and a bang you would not want to miss.
- Seek the Happy. Both of these shows are so filled with darkness, sadness and angst, it must seem hard to find the moments of joy. They are there. Find them, and laugh! Laugh until you cannot breath (trust me, if you are paying attention, they are that fun). At many points you will want to cry so it is important to remember how you laughed.
- Be prepared to be scared. I know this is a WB/UPN show. I know it aired at an appropriate time for young people. That does not mean that it will not scare the ever loving s**t out of you. Have a blankie or a pillow read to hide in. You'll find you need it more than you thought.
- Find the music. I have found that listening to the music can easily help you through those annoying times when you can't watch. And sometimes knowing the music helps you better understand a scene. Both shows have soundtracks and/or scores available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes. (If you are looking for titles not mentioned on those albums, please feel free to ask, I keep an extensive list).
- Move on. When I first finished these series I felt such a sense of loss. Where do I go from here? Clearly the story has not been finished. My favorite places to continue are with the Angel: After the Fall comics and the only fan fiction I have ever endorsed: From the Ashes.