1 9 9 7 – 2 0 0 3 (USA)
144 x 45 minute episodes
Based on a (flop) 1992 film of the same name, Buffy The Vampire Slayer made its TV debut in 1997.
A quirky adventure/horror/drama series, the TV version starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers – a normal 16-year-old high school student by day, but a vampire slayer by night.
The series also featured Nicholas Brendon as the gawky, good-natured Alexander ‘Xander’ Harris (who was infatuated with Buffy); Alyson Hannigan as Buffy’s best friend Willow Rosenberg; Emma Caulfield as Anya Enerson; James Masters as Spike/William the Bloody; Anthony Head as the stuffy librarian, Rupert Giles, who also served as the “watcher” assigned to prepare Buffy to fight with demonic creatures; Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase, the popular sexy girl whose contributions were more accidental than intentional; David Boreanaz as Angel (Buffy’s vampire boyfriend with a soul); Seth Green as Daniel ‘Oz’ Osbourne; Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers; Marc Blucas as Riley Finn; and Amber Benson as Willow’s telekinetic girlfriend Tara Maclay.
When the series began, Buffy had just moved to the town of Sunnydale, California (population: 38,500), only to learn that the troubles she had encountered at her previous home in Los Angeles were child’s play compared to what she encountered in Sunnydale.
Buffy had a bad reputation at her old school in LA, having burned down the high school gym, which she knew was inhabited by vampires.
Unfortunately, her new hometown sat over the very mouth of Hell and was about to be invaded by a horde of bloodsucking vampires.
Fortunately, in Sunnydale, Buffy found she was not alone in her quest to save the world. She had the help of several friends who called themselves ‘the Scooby Gang’.
The local teen hangout was a club called The Bronze where the youthful vampires looked like normal people until they morphed into their scaly demonic selves.
In addition to vampires, Buffy fought witches, a giant praying mantis that took the form of a teacher at her school, students possessed by demonic hyenas who ate the original principal, and a girl who was such a nonentity at school that she had become invisible – all the better to wreak revenge on those who had ignored her.
Together, Buffy and her friends finished high school and went on to college (the University of California at Sunnydale) where they continued to fight the demon vampires and survive one horrific encounter after another.
Characters died, often horribly, though some were allowed back. Angel was killed (by Buffy, though she had a good excuse) then resurrected before leaving for his own series.
Buffy herself died twice, only to return and land in the bed of Sid Vicious-style vampire Spike (James Masters). But even in the darkest hours, there were laughs – often juxtaposed, especially in the last two of the seven seasons, with moving moments.
The seventh season overloaded the show with a sudden cast of thousands and required Buffy to be more “military general” than Slayer. Suddenly, episodes were filled with pep talks and tactics instead of action interspersed with witty banter.
In the end, Buffy found a potent weapon (a scythe) which she shared with every potential slayer in the world (effectively making everyone a slayer), most of Sunnydale was swallowed into the Hellmouth, and Spike – whose fate was to return to Hell – told Buffy to leave with her friends and have a normal life.
She departed, secure in the knowledge that there were now millions of girls who could fight the eternal evil.
Buffy Anne Summers
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Alexander ‘Xander’ Harris
Willow Danielle Rosenberg
Rupert Edmund Giles
Spike/William The Bloody
Daniel ‘Oz’ Osbourne