There can be only one supernatural monster killer king in all of television, in this case the queen. The queen of the hill is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The show ran for 7 seasons, from 97-03 across two different networks headed by future director of the Avengers, Joss Whedon. This award winning program still holds up to the greatest of story telling standards.
While the show isn’t on Netflix at the moment, it is so good just buy the DVDs or Blu-rays. The story is that of valley girl Buffy Summers (played by the always amazing Sarah Michelle Gellar), the “chosen” one. This blonde bombshell is the Slayer, the once in a generation young girl whose goal is to slaughter every vampire in her way, hence the name. She is joined by her Scooby Gang, not that one but close. You have Willow (Alyson Hannigan), the best friend and magic learning best friend. Xander (Nicholas Brendon), the goofy yet strong male best friend. And Giles (Antony Head), the wise mentor who is always there for support. Others come and go from the core gang, like Angel the vampire who is conflicted and brooding or Faith, the slayer with a bad attitude.
While the gang of characters are so interesting it is fun to just watch them interact the villains sometimes make the seasons. Buffy originated the term “Big Bad”, which every fan of the hour long drama knows is the villain of the season. Each season roles with a main antagonist to try and take out Buffy and the gang. There was The Master, an ancient vampire. Spike and Drusilla, the lovey double couple of psychotic vampires. The Mayor, who was an evil mayor. Adam, a cyborg demon monster. Glory, a demon goddess. The Trio, a bunch of nerds with magic on their side. And the First Evil who was the first evil. Besides vampires and big bads, the team fights sharkmonsters, demon human hybrids, other slayers, musical demons, and a slew of other evil and not so evil creatures looking to eat people at the very least.
Besides having a long list of memorable characters, the show started and popularized trends that other programs started to follow. While it wasn’t the first musical episode of its kind, “Once More, with Feeling”(Season 6 Episode 7) is often referred to as the gold standard for musical episodes and other shows began airing musical episodes after this episode. “The Body”(Season 5 Episode 16) is the saddest episode in the entire series and the most depressing. Spoilers ahead.
Buffy’s mother dies from a tumor in her brain. While the show has a lot of death, the death of Buffy’s mother in a nonviolent way is a shock and deeply disturbing. “Hush”(Season 4 Episode 10) may be the shows greatest episode in terms of a new idea and taking it to new and interesting heights. Due to the arrival of The Gentlemen, everyone’s voice in town is gone and the gang must communicate through other means. This was the only episode in the entire series to be nominated for an Emmy.
The show also broke new ground while dealing with relationships, Willow’s especially. For those of you who do not know, Willow falls in love with Tara, another female character in the show. While in 2018 this is not shocking or even anything out of the norm, in the late 90s of the Buffyverse and of the U.S.A., this was not ordinary. The show handled the reveal and evolution of the character and relationship extremely well and continued to grow Willow into a stronger character. Scholars (yes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has scholars) have talked about Willow’s journey as a character and the sexual exploration she goes through. All of the characters go through similar journeys throughout the series, Willow’s just happens to be the biggest in my humble opnion.
This show was not only one of the best things to come out of the 90s, it might be one of the best shows to come out period. It is hard to describe how awesome it is for people who have never watched it. Some may be put off with aspects of the show like a female lead or the violence or fantasy elements, but they are wrong. The show is awesome, everything about the show is awesome. It gets 5 out of 5 Zach Morrris’. Go buy the DVDs or Blu-rays or digital copies. Just go, now. Stop reading and do it.