Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Synopsis of TV Show

It’s a rare for a series based upon a film to be successful, especially if the film wasn’t that successful to begin with. It’s also unusual for anyone who had anything to do with the original film to be involved in the subsequent series. However, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an exception to all these rules. This series was created by Joss Whedon, the screenwriter for the original film, and has gone on to eclipse that film in terms of its success.

Buffy seemed to be an average 16 year old, but she was much more than that. In the show's debut episode, Buffy learned that she was a Slayer, destined to hunt down and slay vampires and other creatures of the night. As she tried to keep up the appearance of an ordinary high school student, she tracked down and fought evil creatures wherever they congregated. She was observed and guided by Rupert Giles, a ‘Watcher’ who worked as a librarian at the school Buffy attended in the town of Sunnydale. At the same time, Buffy tries to keep her mission a secret, even from her mother Joyce.

Sunnydale, just like Buffy and Rupert, was not what it seemed. The hip California town was overflowing with all manner of things that went bump in the night, and fate had sent Buffy there to do battle with them to prevent them from overtaking the world. Buffy’s new allies in her ongoing struggle included Willow, a shy but intelligent fellow student who also happened to be an aspiring witch, and Xander, a would-be vampire hunter continually upstaged by the show’s strong women.

Oz was Willow’s boyfriend and had the ability to transform into a werewolf. Charisma was Xander’s ex, a snob who looked down on Buffy’s ‘nerdish’ clique. And rounding out the cast of otherworldly wonders was Angel, a 243 year-old vampire who had become a demon hunter. He also happened to be in love with Buffy (and she with him), which really threw a curveball into their respective destinies as Slayer and vampire (and you thought you you boyfriend/girlfriend troubles!).

Every week, Buffy squared off with a wide array of supernatural villains, many of them the minions of Master, a vampire trapped in a dimensional prison. Other threats included the theatrical vampire Spike, his space-cadet girlfriend Drusilla, the powerful demon Judge (who could only be defeated by dismemberment—ewwwww), and Ted, a homicidal robot who masqueraded as a man.

Each show usually had Buffy square off against a new horrifying menace, while interaction among the ongoing characters added subplots to layer each episode. Good examples include "Earshot," in which Buffy could hear everyone’s thoughts after being made telepathic by a psychic demon’s scratch, and "The Wish," in which Cordelia wished that Buffy never came to Sunnydale, then discovered things would have been much worse when her wish came true.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer became an almost instant success with viewers, especially the legion of teen and college viewers who made up the majority of the show’s cult audience. The show managed to connect with these young viewers for many reasons. First, there was all the snappy, sarcastic dialogue (sample: “Dead people are talking to you! Do the math!” and “God! You are so mentally challenged!”). The show also allowed its characters to grow and change over time. For instance, Willow changed during the course of the show’s run from a slightly goofy figure of comic relief to the show’s often tragic symbol of humanity.

But the big key to Buffy's popularity with younger viewers was its use of supernatural elements as a powerful metaphor for struggles every teen goes through during that awkward period between childhood and adulthood. The vampires and demons on the show were really just symbols for the monstrous nature of the everyday problems all young adults face. This gave the show a powerful cathartic effect for the viewers, allowing them to identify with Slayers, witches, werewolves, and other freaky folk.

With its blend of chills, giggles, and teen drama, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was not only a cult hit, it has become the darling of the WB network. The show's success even led to a spin-off series for Angel (simply titled Angel), and the original series is still going strong today.

Release History of Prime Time Show

3/1/0/97 - ? WB

TV Sub Categories

drama

Television Network

WB

Television Studio

Sandollar Television/ 20th Century

TV Cast

Buffy Anne Summers Sarah Michelle Gellar
Alexander 'Xander' LaVelle Harris Nicholas Brendon
Willow Rosenberg Alyson Hannigan
Cordelia Chase (1997-99) Charisma Carpenter
Oz (1997-) Seth Green
Rupert Giles Anthony Head
Angel/Angelus (1997-99) David Boreanaz
Spike/William the Bloody (1997- ) James Marsters
Drusilla (1997-98, 1999- ) Juliet Landau
Faith (1998-99) Eliza Dushku
Joyce Summers Kristine Sutherland
Principal Snyder (1997-99) Armin Shimerman
Wesley Wyndham-Pryce (1999) Alexis Denisof
Harmony (1997-99) Mercedes McNab
Jenny Calendar Robia La Morte
Janna Kalderash (1997-98)..Robia La Morte 

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