Well, it’s time to talk about obsessions & guilty pleasures. That TV Show that you are crazy about, go fangirl/boy about it but when you try discussing it with your colleagues, peers, friends, they give you that weird “what’s is that about” look and quickly change the subject...
Yeap. The time has come to talk about Buffy.
In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the forces of darkness.
Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, for those that lived in an alternative dimension for the past 17 years, is the ultimate vampire show that without it most of today’s vampire shows/films would never have existed.
The series aired from 1997-2003 but the story starts some years earlier, in 1992 with a film that shared the same title but thankfully not a lot more. Buffy the movie starring Kristy Swanson, Luke Perry (yes, Dylan McCay) and Donald Sutherland, was a mediocre vampire comedy about a high school girl destined to become a vampire slayer. Although the film was written by the show’s creator, Joss Whedon, the final film had little to do with his original script and deluded the original vision. Following the film’s flop, our Joss never stopped believing in Buffy and when the time was right, he brought her back to life.
Whedon’s take on the strong female character that was the exact opposite of all the female characters in horror movies and was far beyond the typical blonde that screamed at the sight of the monsters, finally found its way to the small screen in 1997. With Emmy winner (for All My Children) Sarah Michelle Gellar and a cast of fresh faces, including Alyson Hannigan and David Boreanaz, the show started airing on March 1997 on WB, slowly becoming cult and gaining a loyal audience.
The vampire mythology and the monsters attacking Sunnydale on a weekly basis were not the only things that attracted the fans: the characters, their relationships, the cleverly written script, made fans love the show and the whole Buffyverse (nerdy term referring to the Buffy universe).
*Attention: the following post contains spoilers .Not so many, but yes it contains spoilers. You have been warned. Now keep reading*
Buffy and her doomed relationship with Angel, the 270 year old vampire, cursed with a soul by the gypsies, Giles and the Scooby Gang and of course Spike, Drusila and even Darla, all characters with multiple layers that evolved in an amazing way throughout the seven seasons of the show.
Buffy Summers: Also known as the Slayer, the Chosen one, Buffster, Blondie, Pet, Goldilocks. Activated as a Slayer at the age of fifteen, Buffy is a fresh type of Vampire Slayer that enjoys witty comments during vampire slaying, has vampire allies (and boyfriends) and saves the world - a lot. Portrayed by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy grew a lot throughout the 7 seasons on air. We saw her falling in love for the first time, slaying, dying, getting brought back to life, slaying, getting her heart broken, slaying, dying again, getting brought back to life again, slaying, getting into a nasty affair, saving the world and so on and so forth….
Angel: Also known as Angelus and Liam, he is the 270 vampire that stole Buffy’s heart and million others fans’. Vicious vampire, who was going by the name Angelus until a gypsy clan cursed him and gave him his soul back. For those of you unfamiliar, when a human becomes a vampire at the Buffyverse, his soul is taken and a demon takes over the body. So when Angel got his soul back, he also got back his conscious and his humanity, making him suffer for all the slaughters he performed while being Angelus. The complexity of the character, David Boreanaz’s charm and his undoubtful chemistry with Buffy, kept the character on the show for three seasons and even gave him his own spin off show Angel that aired for 5 seasons.
Spike: Also known as William the Bloody, Spike is my favorite character of the Buffyverse. The vampire who has killed two slayers in his unlife, arrives at Sunnydale with his immortal love Drusilla with sole purpose to kill yet another slayer (Buffy). We soon find out his history with Angel and he becomes a threat for Buffy and the Scooby Gang. Portrayed by the talented James Marsters, Spike was supposed to be killed off after his first season in Buffy, but due to his large popularity among fans he stayed on until the series end, becoming a series regular, getting a different character direction and later on joining Angel at the show’s final season.
Scooby Gang: Giles (Anthony Head), Buffy’s watcher, Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Buffy’s friends, as well as Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) who stayed for 3 seasons and later on joined the cast of Angel, Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) who joined the cast on season 5, Tara (Amber Benson) and Anya (Emma Caulfield), all formed the Scooby Gang, Buffy’s allies and research group. A powerful group that brought humor and great support to Buffy.
Buffy is a show with many memorable episodes, which helped shape TV as we know it today. It was one of the first shows that introduced thematic episodes, musical episodes, even silent episodes. Here’s a list of my favorite episodes (again, *spoiler* alert):
#1. Hush (Season 4, Episode 10): This episode gave the show its first major Emmy nomination for cinematography and writing, which is outstanding given the fact that the majority of the episode was actually silent. In this episode, the monsters of the week, The Gentlemen, some creepy dudes in suits who have a constant smile on their face, steal the town’s voices and then start reaping hearts. A hell of a scary episode that showcases the talent of Joss Whedon, who manages to make an exceptional episode by having his actors performing silent. Excellent music.
#2. Once More, with Feeling (Season 6, Episode 7): “So, last night, did anyone..um.. burst into song?”
Well, what can I say about this episode, without bursting also into song? As Whedon said, it was his dream of making a musical episode and he had been working on the concept for years. Having Anthony Head and James Marsters in the cast helped a lot, as both actors are also skilled musicians, so when the time was right, Once More, With Feeling was brought to life. An amazing episode that skillfully combined the storyline with the musical numbers and revealed the musical talent of Emma Caulfield!
#3. The Body (Season 5, Episode 16): “Mom. Mom. Mommy?” In a heartbreaking episode, Buffy faces her mom’s death. While death seems to be a daily thing in Sunnydale, this death, a natural death, yet that of a parent, seems more shocking that anything we ever witnessed in the show. The episode written and directed by Whedon, is lacking mood music and only features natural sounds, so as to make it even more raw and dramatic. Great performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar.
#4. Surprise (Season 2, Episode 13) & Innocence (Season 2, Episode 14): A two part episode, actually played in two days in a row when Buffy was moved from Monday to Tuesday, brings a major change in the storyline. After Buffy sleeps with Angel on her birthday, she triggers his curse, as right after he experiences his true moment of happiness with Buffy he loses his soul, becoming the villain Angelus again. His transformation will affect the rest of season 2 and his later on relationship with Buffy, as we now see that they literally cannot be together. Innocence, is actually Joss Whedon’s favorite episode.
#5. Becoming, Part II (Season 2, Episode 22): “Close your eyes…” Another episode written and directed by Joss Whedon, the season 2 finale, brings Buffy head to head with Angelus, who tries to revive an ancient demon. The only way to stopping the world from ending, is for Buffy to kill Angelus. Right before she does, Angel’s soul is magically restored by Willow, but it’s too late so in order to save the world, Buffy is forced to kill Angel. A heartbreaking finale.
#6. Fool for Love (Season 5, Episode 7): The episode where we learn all about Spike’s story, after Buffy asks him to explain how he killed two slayers. From his siring by Drusilla and his days with Angelus, to the Boxing Revolution and ‘70s New York, we get to see yet another side of Spike and his fixation to Buffy turning in to love, when he comforts her after she hears that her mom is sick.
#7. The Gift (Season 5, Episode 22): "Buffy Anne Summers, 1981-2001, Beloved Sister, Devoted Friend, She Saved the world. A lot". The finale of the 5th season was written by Whedon, without him knowing what the future of the show would be, as it was facing the danger of getting cancelled. This is why Buffy dies at the end of the episode. Buffy’s sacrifice to save Dawn, Spike’s willingness to also scarify himself builds up to a really emotional finale, with the last shot being Buffy’s tombstone..
#8. Conversations with Dead People (Season 7, Episode 7): The First Evil messes with the Scooby Gang in a great episode where the fears and weaknesses of the characters are put into the test by the form of beloved ones that have passed away. Amazingly written dialogue.
#9. Passion (Season 2, Episode 17): The episode where Angel at his darkest as Angelus, kills Jenny who ironically was trying to find a way to restore his soul. A turning point for Buffy that sees Angel getting more and more twisted and fears that she will never get him back. Great performance by David Boreanaz.
#10. The Prophecy Girl (Season 1, Episode 12): “Sure, we saved the world. I say we party.” Written and directed by Joss Whedon, season 1 finale is the episode where Buffy first saves the world and dies –then comes back to life after Xander gives her CPR. The climax of the Master story, “The Prophecy” is the first of the series grant-world ending-finales.
#11. The Wish (Season 3, Episode 9): Cordelia makes a wish that Buffy had never arrived at Sunnydale and Anya (at her first appearance) grants her wish by transporting her at a Buffy-free alternative reality where Xander and Willow are vampires. The first appearance of the dopplegangers
#12. Doppelgangland (Season 3, Episode 16): “Me as a vampire? So evil. Skanky. And I think I’m kinda gay.” This episode that has the first reference of Willow’s future sexuality, brings doppelganger Willow back in a really fun episode.
WWBD: What Would Buffy Do?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, not only shaped TV as we know it today but actually influenced culture. Buffy was the first show that actually used the term “googled” and was the first show to a lesbian sex scene ever on network TV.
Buffy may aired the last episode on May 20th 2003 but the show lived on through a season 8 comic book and other spin off comic books and of course as previously said, Buffyverse lived on through Angel the series for 5 seasons, where many characters originated from Buffy starred or guest starred: Angel, Cordelia, Wesley, Spike, Harmony, Buffy, Willow, Faith, Oz, even Andrew had a (hilarious) Angel episode.
So, it’s fair to say that Buffy was more than a TV show. It created characters that still live on though various means, affected pop culture, introduced us to a talented generation of actors and of course to Joss Whedon the man behind Firefly, Serenity, Dollhouse and Avengers.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go watch Buffy now!
Ever since I first set foot on a cinema theatre, I knew that something magical was happening there....