It was March 10th 1997 when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was first brought to everyones screen, the very first episode “Welcome to the Helllmouth” The creator Joss Whedon wasn’t happy with the earlier 1992 movie and was determined that the TV series would stick to his original concept an ordinary young woman doing extraordinary things. Buffy and her friends would battle demons and throughout it’s seven series run reassure viewers that it was OK not to be “normal” and in fact to embrace it. At the time the series itself wasn’t given enough respect, but later proved influential in many writers and actors lives, launching the careers of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, James Masters and David Boreanaz. It also paved the way for more supernatural drama’s like “Charmed”
The series is set in Sunnyvale a fictional town in California that just happens to sit on top of the Hellmouth, a place for hellish energy where demons and vampires are attracted. Buffy (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) is a 16 year old who is gifted the responsibility to save humanity from vampires and evil forces along with the “Scooby Gang” (uncool kids) who she’s makes friends with after failing to be a part of the cool clique. The show quickly outgrew it’s original message (highschool is hell for most people) and focused it’s energy on paramount evils such as the “Big Bad” and throughout the years Buffy and the gang faced some truly rememberable evils including The Gentlemen, The Kweller Demon and The Master. The thing that made them a “Big Bad” was their quest for power and the desire for total tyranny.
It’s the themes of friendship, young adult concerns, female empowerment and fear that made the show a continued success along with the witty dialogue, fight scenes, multilayered characters and story arcs that spanned multiple seasons. There were a total of 144 episodes.
Unless you haven’t aged a single day since the series first aired, you will probably (like me) have the “wow i’ve gotten old” moment when you realise that the series is now 20 years old, the same series that wasn’t an overnight success but went on to be a culture hit, one that is still watched and loved to this day.
As the characters of the show grew older their concerns matured with them, it is perhaps for this reason that a lot people stuck with the series and maybe identified with it on a more human level, for example Buffy and her friends world of uncertain responsibility once they had graduated high school at the end of series 3, there was also the moment Buffy faced death in the first series finale “Prophecy Girl” only to be brought back by Angel. It was through these themes, witty humour, dramatic moments and rememberable characters that Buffy the Vampire Slayer became a cultural icon and rose most of the cast to stardom. There’s something about the human connection of first love, going to college, cheating death and the loss of loved ones that draws people in and it might be because they are all somethings that most people experience at a more personal level.
20 things to still love about Buffy the Vampire slayer 20
1. Sarah Michelle Gellar, no one could of brought the character of Buffy The Vampire Slayer to life like she did. As the series progressed every teenage girl wanted to be her and every teenage boy wanted to be with her. But it was her acting in dramatic moments like “The Body” where Buffy arrives home to find her mum dead on the sofa, that Sara Michelle Geller deserves huge credit.
2. Three of the saddest words in the Buffy world.
3. The Scoobie gang, it was Xander who first jokingly called the group the “Scoobie Gang” in episode 2 of the first series, the name stuck and throughout the series every fan knew what the name referred too.
4. Vampire Willow, she was cute, evil and a little gay, what’s not to love?
5. The episode “Hush” it an episode that was nominated for a writing Emmy, the episode had some of the shows creepiest villains.
6. The Death of Joyce Summers, the show might of been known for killing off characters left and right but there were still times when death became a real tragedy and one of these was the death of Buffy’s mum who was found dead on the sofa after dying from a rumour. The episode “The Body” was a powerful episode about how people deal with grief especially when dealing with forces that are beyond their control. It is the only episode that people are often afraid to put on because it will stay with you for days.
7. “You have fruit punch mouth” the Master was the first bad guy that Buffy faced (at the end of the first series) and the one that killed the slayer. He had fruit punch mouth, and thank god Buffy pointed it out in the series finale “Prophecy Girl” because it needed to be said.
8. Mr Pointy, Mr Pointy saw her through thick and thin, and as it turned out it gave some of the series best jokes like that funny stake-miming scene from “Hush”
9. Spike and Buffy literally breaking down a house while screwing, Buffy contained a lot of metaphors and was one of the shows biggest strengths. This scene showed walls literally crumbling around them as Spike and Buffy gave in to their sexual needs. It hinted at how mutually toxic their relationship was and would end in destruction. Buffy’s scene with Spike is passionate, violent and dangerous just like Spike was himself.
10. The first use of the Google as a Verb, yea you heard it right the first use of “Googling” was heard on Buffy the Vampire Slayer by the tech turned witch Willow.
11. The Time They All Sang, “Once More With Feeling” was the shows first and only musical episode that saw most members of the cast singing and defined the characters story through song.
12. The Random Celebrity Cameos, the series saw the likes of Karl Penn, Amber Tamblyn and Shane West appear on the show.
13. The Fashion, you can’t single any one of them out because they are all iconically terrible fashion a perfect storm of the late 90’s and early 2000’s fashion mistakes.
14. The Yellow Crayon episode that saw Xander bring his best friend Willow back from the brink of destruction of not only herself but the entire world.
15. Willow killing Warren was one of the most chilling moments of the series in which Dark Willow killed the Warren after he shot Tara. Willow flays him alive before simply leaving and uttering the words “bored now”
16. Buffy’s Gift was the episode that saw the Slayer sacrifice her life (only to be brought back later) for her sister Dawn, “you have to be strong, the hardest thing in this world is to live in it” she says to her emotional sister.
17. Angelus kills Jenny Calendar and leaves her body for Giles to find. After Angel loses his soul (after having sex with Buffy) he reverts back to his vampire self as Angelus and starts his Evil campaign against Buffy and friends resulting in the death of Giles’s girlfriend.
18. Buffy was in heaven, Buffy shocks the entire group when she admits that they tore her from heaven when bringing her back to life, Willows reaction is priceless.
19. The Cross, Spike confesses to Buffy that he has his soul back
20. I love you, Buffy tells Spike she loves him in the series finale of series 7 (and the very last episode of Buffy) as Spike is burning he looks Buffy and replies with one of the best lines “No you don’t but thanks for saying it” But we all know that she did in fact really mean it.
twenty years on and Buffy the Vampire Slayer is still as relevant to TV and the genre it help push forward as it ever was.
As Buffy once said “Seize the moment, cause tomorrow you might be dead”
Buffy the Vampire Slayer series 1-7 is available to buy on Amazon.