“In every generation, there is a Slayer,” or two if you consider the 1992 film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We won’t be going too much into the film, just the TV series that captured our hearts…and staked them into ashes when it was inevitably ended.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer the television series premiered on March 10th, 1997 with the pilot episode “Welcome to the Hellmouth,” sort of picking up where the film left off. I say sort of, because the show takes off from Joss Whedon’s original script for the movie, which (as much as I love the film) was bastardized and massacred by the film’s producers in favor of a less darker tone. Whedon’s original vision for the film was later realized in comic book form with “The Origin” story arc, which this writer highly recommends for any fans that want to see how the film should have been.
The series starred Sarah Michelle Gellar, who previously played the role of Kendall Hart on the soap opera All My Children, as the title role in the Buffy series. Appearing alongside her was Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendon, and Anthony Stewart Head as Buffy’s newest Watcher, Rupert Giles. After moving away from Los Angeles, we meet Buffy as she is running from her past, trying to forget about slaying vampires, and wanting to get back to being a normal high school girl. Those aspirations are quickly put to rest when Giles approaches Buffy and reminds her of her destiny as the Slayer and she discovers that her new town of Sunnydale is infested with other creatures: demons, ghosts, witches, and…talking dummies?
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer series had a lot to offer audiences: horror, comedy, romance, and loads of pop culture references expertly delivered by Xander (Nicholas Brendon). The series dealt with issues such as coming-of-age, same-sex relationships, school shootings, and drug addiction.
A well-known story arc revolved around Buffy committing a Slayer sin: falling in love with a vampire, before eventually staking him (only for him to come back with his own television spin-off. The power of the fans, I tell ya). Season Five dealt with the loss of a loved one in the episode “The Body,” when Buffy discovers her mother dead in their home from complications due to brain cancer. In this episode there was no music, only heartbreak, as the characters’ worlds were turned upside down.
Alternatively, there were episodes such as “Once More with Feeling,” which had music throughout, and included our heroes singing and dancing into a fiery (literally) frenzy at the hands of a musical demon. This was one of my favorite episodes in the series, and because of this, I imagine a musical demon hiding in the background of every musical film I’ve seen since!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran from 1997 to 2003 with seven seasons, winning multiple awards for the cast, writing, and makeup effects. Fans were sad to see it end, and clamored for more. Enter 2007 when Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Season Eight arrived, but once more the universe was in comic book form, with Joss Whedon lending his writing in some of the issues.
I read the comics when they were new, and I felt that it was a fun way to bring the series back. The best part was that the comics maintained that Whedon-eqsue vibe that we all love. Plenty of familiar faces returned to either aid, or attempt to destroy Buffy. One of the biggest moments from the comics was when Buffy had her own lesbian romance, only to have her friends walk in on her in their true awkward form.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer can be seen as this generation’s Dark Shadows. Considering the vampires and love stories, it’s just a dramatic fade-out away from being a soap opera, and I love it. If the apocalypse comes: text me, I’ll be watching my Buffy DVDs.