Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 1, Episode 10

Nightmares (12 May 1997)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Action, Drama, Fantasy
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 1,458 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

Buffy and her friends discover that their worst nightmares have become reality.



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Title: Nightmares (12 May 1997)

Nightmares (12 May 1997) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Andrew J. Ferchland ...
J. Robin Miller ...
Ms. Tishler (as Terry Cain)
Scott Harlan ...
Brian Pietro ...


At the hell-mouth, the Master of evil explains to his boy heir Collin that fear rules people better then love or hate. He manages to use the young schoolboy Billy Palmer to make every student of Sunnydale High's terrifying nightmares come true, ranging from Xander appearing in class wearing only boxer-shorts to being chased by murderers, losing one's favorite abilities or poisonous spiders coming out of one's schoolbooks... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

12 May 1997 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Willow has a "Nerf Herder" poster in her locker. The Buffy theme is by "Nerf Herder", and it was Alyson Hannigan, who plays Willow, that turned Joss Whedon onto using them for the theme. See more »


When Giles, Willow and Xander are standing over Buffys grave, the date on the gravestone marks her birthyear of 1981. In the episode "I Robot... You Jane" Malcolm looks at a file on Buffy where her birth year is marked as 1980, and in another shot from the same scene, it states her birthyear as 1978. See more »


Willow: Personal question?
Xander: Yeah, shoot.
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.
See more »


Referenced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Surprise (1998) See more »


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Written by Nerf Herder
Performed by Brandon K. Verrett
See more »

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User Reviews

An episode that was before its time
14 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The veil between reality and dreams is falling in this episode. People's nightmares are coming to life and walking around Sunnydale. It turns out that a little boy in a coma has somehow plugged into people's deepest fears and made them real. Buffy's father abandons her, Giles can't read, Willow has to sing in public, Xander's being chased down a hallway and Cordelia's having a major bad hair day. Yes, it's safe to say that the Scoobies are not happy. (If you really want to take this another level, consider how many of those nightmares actually come true in later episodes. For instance, Buffy and her dad in "Forever," when he doesn't even come to Joyce's funeral. Giles going blind in "Something Blue." Willow reluctantly warbling out a few lyrics in "Once More with Feeling." Xander being chased through the school in "The Zeppo." Cordelia's hair throughout season four of "Angel." It's kind of interesting.)

Anyway,the episode has a cool dream-like quality to it. Where time has no meaning and its somehow day and night all at once. Places move and change, people's clothing switches around, giant bees swarm over roof tops and -oh yeah!- turns out you forgot to study for that history test, Buffy. Honestly, it's lots of fun to watch.

This is a great idea for an episode, but it happened too early in the series run for it to really resonate. In season one, all the quirks and problems of the characters are still being established. "Restless" in season four does a better job of showing their deeper fears and insecurities. As does "Fear Itself" also in season four. By that point in the series, we know more about what drives and terrifies the characters. My biggest complaint about "Nightmares" is Angel, though. Why doesn't he get a nightmare vision? (I know, he gets his own dream episode in the fifth season of "Angel," but "Nightmares" could have shown another whole set of fears for him.) Angel has so many insecurities that the episode could have played off of. And he definitely should have seen Buffy as a vampire, since its the only time she'll get to be one. That was a wasted opportunity.

My favorite part of the episode: Xander standing up to that creepy birthday clown. "And your balloon animals sucked! Anyone can make a giraffe!"

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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