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Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series)

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Format Supernatural, Fantasy, Horror, Action, Dramedy
Created by Joss Whedon
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar
Nicholas Brendon
Alyson Hannigan
Anthony Stewart Head
see also
Opening theme Composed by Nerf Herder
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 144 ( List of episodes)
Running time approx. 42-45 minutes
Original channel The WB ( 1997– 2001)
UPN ( 2001– 2003)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original run March 3 1997 – May 20 2003
Related shows Angel
External links

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe-nominated American cult television series that aired from March 10 1997 until May 20 2003. The series was created in 1997 by writer-director Joss Whedon under his production tag, Mutant Enemy Productions with later co-executive producers being Jane Espenson, David Fury, and Marti Noxon. The series narrative follows Buffy Anne Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar), the latest in a line of young women chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness as the Slayer. Like previous Slayers, Buffy is aided by a Watcher, who guides and trains her. Unlike her predecessors, Buffy surrounds herself with a circle of loyal friends who become known as the "Scooby Gang."

The series usually reached between four and six million viewers on original airings. Although such ratings are lower than successful shows on the "big four" networks ( ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox), they were a success for the relatively new and smaller WB Television Network. Reviews for the show were positive, and it was ranked #41 on the list of TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time as well as #2 on Empire's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. Buffy was also voted #3 in TV Guide's Top 25 Cult TV Shows of All Time and included in TIME Magazine's 100 Best TV Shows of All Time. It was nominated for Emmy and Golden Globe awards. The WB network ceased operation on September 17 2006 after airing an "homage" to its "most memorable series", including the pilot episodes of Buffy and its spin-off Angel.

Buffy's success has led to hundreds of tie-in products, including novels, comics, and video games. The series has received attention in fandom (including fan films), parody, and academia, and has influenced the direction of other television series.

In 2007 actress Sarah Michelle Gellar who starred as Buffy Summers, said in a interview "For eight years I had the pleasure of portraying a character that was the very definition of a powerful woman. In my opinion, one of the greatest examples in history of entertainment".



Writer Joss Whedon says that "Rhonda the Immortal Waitress was really the first incarnation of [the Buffy concept], just the idea of some woman who seems to be completely insignificant who turns out to be extraordinary." This early, unproduced idea evolved into Buffy, which Whedon developed to invert the Hollywood formula of "the little blonde girl who goes into a dark alley and gets killed in every horror movie." Whedon wanted "to subvert that idea and create someone who was a hero." He explained: "The very first mission statement of the show was the joy of female power: having it, using it, sharing it."

The concept was first visited through Whedon's script for the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which featured Kristy Swanson in the title role. The director, Fran Rubel Kuzui, saw it as a "pop culture comedy about what people think about vampires." Whedon disagreed: "I had written this scary film about an empowered woman, and they turned it into a broad comedy. It was crushing." The script was praised within the industry, but the movie was not.

Several years later, Gail Berman, a Sandollar Productions executive, approached Whedon to develop his Buffy concept into a television series. Whedon explained that "They said, 'Do you want to do a show?' And I thought, 'High school as a horror movie.' And so the metaphor became the central concept behind Buffy, and that's how I sold it." The supernatural elements in the series stood as metaphors for personal anxieties associated with adolescence and young adulthood. Whedon went on to write and partly fund a twenty five minute non-broadcast pilot that was shown to networks and eventually sold to the WB Network. The latter promoted the premiere with a series of History of the Slayer clips, and the first episode aired on March 10 1997.

Executive producers

Joss Whedon was credited as executive producer throughout the run of the series, and for the first five seasons (1997–2001) he was also the show runner, a role that involves serving as head writer and being responsible for every aspect of production. Marti Noxon took on the role for seasons six and seven (2001–2003), but Whedon continued to be involved with writing and directing Buffy alongside projects such as Angel, Fray, and Firefly. Fran Rubel Kuzui and her husband, Kaz Kuzui, were credited as executive producers but were not involved in the show. Their credit, rights, and royalties over the franchise relate to their funding, producing, and directing of the original movie version of Buffy.


Script-writing was done by Mutant Enemy, a production company created by Whedon in 1997. The writers with the most writing credits include: Steven S. DeKnight, Jane Espenson, David Fury, Drew Goddard, Drew Greenberg, Rebecca Rand Kirshner, Marti Noxon and Doug Petrie. Howard Gordon, David Greenwalt, Joss Whedon, Matt Kiene, Joe Reinkemeyer, Ty King, Tracey Forbes, Thomas A. Swyden, Rob Des Hotel, Dana Reston, Dan Vebber, Carl Ellsworth, Ashley Gable, Elin Hampton and Dean Batali all hold credits as well.

Jane Espenson has explained how scripts came together. First, the writers talked about the emotional issues facing Buffy Summers and how she would confront them through her battle against evil supernatural forces. Then the episode's story was "broken" into acts and scenes. Act breaks were designed as key moments to intrigue viewers so that they would stay with the episode following advertisements. The writers collectively filled in scenes surrounding these act breaks for a more fleshed-out story. A whiteboard marked their progress by mapping brief descriptions of each scene. Once "breaking" was done, the credited author wrote an outline for the episode, which was checked by Whedon or Noxon. The writer then wrote a full script, which went through a series of drafts, and finally a quick rewrite from the show runner. The final article was used as the shooting script.


The title role went to Sarah Michelle Gellar, who had appeared as Sydney Rutledge on Swans Crossing and Kendall Hart on All My Children. At age eighteen in 1995, Gellar had already won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Leading Actress in a Drama Series. In 1996, she was initially cast as Cordelia Chase during a week of auditioning.

Anthony Stewart Head had already led a prolific acting and singing career but remained best known in the United States for a series of twelve coffee commercials with Sharon Maughan for Taster's Choice. He accepted the role of Rupert Giles.

Unlike other Buffy regulars, Nicholas Brendon had little acting experience, instead working various jobs — including production assistant, plumber's assistant, veterinary janitor, food delivery, script delivery, day care counselor and waiter — before deciding to break into acting to help him overcome a stutter. He landed his Xander Harris role following only four days of auditioning.

Alyson Hannigan was the last of the original four to be cast. Following her role in My Stepmother Is an Alien, she appeared in commercials and supporting roles on television shows throughout the early 1990s. In 1996 the role of Willow Rosenberg was initially given to Riff Regan for the unaired Buffy pilot, but Hannigan auditioned when the role was recast for the series proper. She described her approach to auditions in an interview through her treatment of a particular moment: Willow tells Buffy that her Barbie doll was taken from her as a child, and Buffy asks if she ever got the Barbie back. "Willow's line was 'Most of it.' And so I thought I'm gonna make that a really happy thing. I was so proud that she got most of it back. That clued in on how I was going to play the rest of the scene. It defines the character." Her approach subsequently helped her win the role.

Broadcast history

Buffy the Vampire Slayer first aired on March 10 1997 on the WB network, and played a key role in the growth of the Warner Bros. television network in its early years. After five seasons, it transferred to the United Paramount Network ( UPN) for its final two seasons. The show went into syndication in the United States on FX. In the United Kingdom, the entire series aired on Sky One and BBC2. The BBC gave the show two time slots: the early-evening slot for a family-friendly version with violence, objectionable language and other stronger material cut out, and a late-night uncut version. Sky One had a similar method, in which the show would be edited for an after-noon encore presentation besides the uncut prime-time slot. From the fourth season onwards, the BBC aired the show in anamorphic 16:9 widescreen format, but Whedon later said that Buffy was never intended to be viewed this way. Despite his claims, Sky One and FX (UK) now air repeat showings in the widescreen format.

While the seventh season was still being broadcast, Sarah Michelle Gellar told Entertainment Weekly she was not going to sign on for an eighth year, "[When] we started to have such a strong year this year, I thought: 'This is how I want to go out, on top, at our best." Whedon and UPN gave some considerations to production of a spin-off series that would not require Gellar, including a rumored Faith series, but nothing became of those plans. The Buffy canon is continuing outside the television medium in the Dark Horse Comics series, Buffy Season Eight. This is produced since March 2007 by Whedon, who has also written the first story arc, " The Long Way Home".

As of July 15, 2008, Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes are available to download for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable video game consoles via the PlayStation Network.

Opening sequence

The Buffy opening sequence provides credits early in each show. The music was performed by the punk rock band Nerf Herder. The song sounds similar to a German pop song from the 1980s called " Codo" by DÖF, but Nerf Herder have said that they had "never heard of DÖF", and that the similarity was coincidental. In the DVD commentary for the first Buffy episode, Whedon said his decision to go with Nerf Herder's theme was influenced by cast member Alyson Hannigan, who had made him listen to the band's music. Janet Halfyard, in her essay "Music, Gender, and Identity in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel", describes the opening:

It begins with the sound of an organ, accompanied by a wolf's howl, with a visual image of a flickering night sky overlaid with unintelligible archaic script: the associations with both the silent era and films such as Nosferatu and with the conventions of the Hammer House of Horror and horror in general are unmistakable.

But the theme changes: "[The opening sequence] removes itself from the sphere of 1960s and '70s horror by replaying the same motif, the organ now supplanted by an aggressively strummed electric guitar, relocating itself in modern youth culture." This music is heard over images of a young cast involved in the action and turbulence of adolescence. The sequence provides a post-modern twist on the horror genre.

The brief clips of characters and events which compose the opening sequence are updated from season to season. The only shots that persists across seasons are those of a book titled "Vampyr" and of the cross given to Buffy by Angel in the first episode.


Buffy features a mix of original, indie, rock and pop music. The composers spent around seven days scoring between fourteen to thirty minutes of music for each episode. Christophe Beck revealed that the Buffy composers used computers and synthesizers and were limited to recording one or two "real" samples. Despite this, their goal was to produce "dramatic" orchestration that would stand up to film scores.

Alongside the score, most episodes featured indie rock music, usually at the characters' venue of choice, The Bronze. Buffy Music Supervisor John King explained that "we like to use unsigned bands" that "you would believe would play in this place". For example, the fictional group Dingoes Ate My Baby were portrayed on screen by front group Four Star Mary. Pop songs by famous artists were rarely featured prominently, but several episodes spotlighted the sounds of more famous artists such as Sarah McLachlan , Blink 182, Third Eye Blind, Aimee Mann (who also had a line of dialogue), The Dandy Warhols, Cibo Matto, and Michelle Branch. The popularity of music used in Buffy has led to three soundtrack albums: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Album, Radio Sunnydale and "Once More, with Feeling" Soundtrack.

Setting and storylines

Setting and filming locations

Most of Buffy was shot on location in Los Angeles, California. The main exterior set of the town of Sunnydale, including the infamous "sun sign", was located in Santa Monica, California in a lot on Olympic Boulevard. The show is set in the fictional California town of Sunnydale, whose suburban Sunnydale High School sits on top of a " Hellmouth", a gateway to demon realms. The Hellmouth serves as a nexus for a wide variety of evil creatures and supernatural phenomena, and lies beneath the school library. In addition to being an open-ended plot device, Joss Whedon has cited the Hellmouth and " High school as Hell" as one of the primary metaphors in creating the series.

The high school used in the first three seasons is actually Torrance High School, in Torrance, California. This school was used until the residents of Torrance complained about loud sounds at night. The school exterior has been used in other television shows and movies, most notably Beverly Hills 90210, Bring It On, She's All That and the spoof Not Another Teen Movie. In addition to the high school and its library, scenes take place in the town's cemeteries, a local nightclub (The Bronze), and Buffy's home, where many of the characters live at various points in the series.

Some of the exterior shots of the college Buffy attends, UC Sunnydale, were filmed at UCLA.


Buffy is told in a serialized format, with each episode involving a self-contained story while contributing to a larger storyline, which is broken down into season-long narratives marked by the rise and defeat of a powerful antagonist, commonly referred to as the " Big Bad". The show blends different genres, including horror, martial arts, romance, melodrama, farce, comedy, and even, in one episode, musical comedy.

The series' narrative revolves around Buffy and her friends, collectively dubbed the "Scooby Gang", who struggle to balance the fight against supernatural evils with their complex social lives. A typical episode contains one or more villains, or supernatural phenomena that are thwarted or defeated. Though elements and relationships are explored and ongoing subplots are included, the show focuses primarily on Buffy and her role as an archetypal heroine.

In the first seasons, the most prominent monsters in the Buffy bestiary are vampires, which are based on traditional myths, lore, and literary conventions. As the series continues, Buffy and her companions fight an increasing variety of demons, as well as ghosts, werewolves, zombies, and unscrupulous humans. They frequently save the world from annihilation by a combination of physical combat, magic, and detective-style investigation, and are guided by an extensive collection of ancient and mystical reference books. Hand-to-hand combat is chiefly undertaken by Buffy and Angel, later by Spike, and to a far lesser degree by Giles and Xander. Willow eventually becomes an adept witch, while Giles contributes his extensive knowledge of demonology and supernatural lore.

Inspirations and metaphors

During the first year of the series, Whedon described the show as " My So-Called Life meets The X-Files." My So-Called Life gave a sympathetic portrayal of teen anxieties; in contrast, The X-Files delivered a supernatural "monster of the week" storyline. Alongside these series, Whedon has cited cult film Night of the Comet as a "big influence", and credited the X-Men character Kitty Pryde as a significant influence on the character of Buffy. The authors of the unofficial guidebook Dusted point out that the series was often a pastiche, borrowing elements from previous horror novels, movies, and short stories and from such common literary stock as folklore and mythology. Nevitt and Smith describe Buffy's use of pastiche as "post modern Gothic". For example, the Adam character parallels the Frankenstein monster, the episode " Bad Eggs" parallels Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and so on.

Buffy episodes often include a deeper meaning or metaphor as well. Whedon explained, "We think very carefully about what we're trying to say emotionally, politically, and even philosophically while we're writing it… it really is, apart from being a pop-culture phenomenon, something that is deeply layered textually episode by episode." Academics Wilcox and Lavery provide examples of how a few episodes deal with real life issues turned into supernatural metaphors:

In the world of Buffy the problems that teenagers face become literal monsters. A mother can take over her daughter's life (" Witch"); a strict stepfather-to-be really is a heartless machine (" Ted"); a young lesbian fears that her nature is demonic (" Goodbye Iowa" and " Family"); a girl who has sex with even the nicest-seeming guy may discover that he afterwards becomes a monster (" Innocence").

The love affair between the vampire Angel and Buffy was fraught with metaphors. For example, their night of passion cost the vampire his soul. Sarah Michelle Gellar said: "That's the ultimate metaphor. You sleep with a guy and he turns bad on you."

The feminist issue comes out especially when facing misogynist characters; the most misogynistic characters, Warren and Caleb, both die in gruesome ways, both killed by heroines of the series.

Plot summary

The first season exemplifies the "high school as hell" concept. Buffy Summers has just moved to Sunnydale after burning her old school's gym and hopes to escape her Slayer duties. Her plans are complicated by Rupert Giles, her new Watcher, who reminds her of the inescapable presence of evil. Sunnydale High is built atop a Hellmouth, a portal to demon dimensions that attracts supernatural phenomena to the area. Buffy meets two schoolmates, Xander and Willow, who will help fight evil through the series, but they must first prevent an ancient and especially threatening vampire from opening the Hellmouth and unleashing Hell on Earth.

The emotional stakes are raised in the second season. New vampires, Spike and a weakened Drusilla, come to town along with the new Slayer, who was activated as a result of Buffy's brief death in the first season finale. Xander becomes involved with Cordelia, while Willow becomes involved with witchcraft and a young werewolf named Oz, both of which make her more confident. Buffy sleeps with her vampire lover Angel. Consequentially, she unwittingly removes his cursed soul as a result. He once more becomes Angelus, a sadistic killer. Buffy is forced to kill him, and leaves Sunnydale, emotionally shattered.

After attempting to start a new life in Los Angeles, Buffy returns to town in the third season. Angel is resurrected, but leaves Sunnydale (at the end of the season) so Buffy will have a normal life. She is soon confronted with an unstable Slayer, and an often affable but definitely evil mayor's plans for Graduation Day.

The fourth season sees Buffy and Willow enroll at UC Sunnydale while Xander joins the workforce and begins dating Anya, a former vengeance demon. Spike returns as a series regular and is abducted by a covert military force; they implant a microchip in his head which prevents him from harming humans. Oz leaves town after deciding he's too dangerous and Willow falls in love with Tara Maclay, another witch, while Buffy begins dating a grad student who is a member of The Initiative, a top-secret military installation based beneath the UC Sunnydale campus. It appears to be a well-meaning anti-demon operation, but its secret project goes horribly wrong. The season also marked the first year in which Joss Whedon oversaw other TV series.

During the fifth season, a younger sister suddenly yet seamlessly appears in Buffy's life and an exiled Hell-God searches for a "key" that will allow her to return to her home dimension. The "key" has been turned into human form as Buffy's younger sister Dawn. The Hell-God eventually discovers the truth and kidnaps Dawn; Buffy sacrifices herself to save Dawn and prevent Hell from spreading on Earth. During the season, Xander and Anya become engaged, and Spike realizes he is in love with Buffy.

Buffy's friends resurrect her through a powerful spell in the sixth season. Buffy returns from Heaven deeply depressed and finds a job at a fast food restaurant while conducting a secret, mutually abusive affair with Spike that later leads to him attempting to rape her. Plagued with remorse, he undergoes a series of trials and is awarded with a soul so he can "give her what she deserves". Her friends are unaware of her inner turmoils as they face their own troubles: Xander leaves Anya at the altar, and Willow becomes addicted to magic. When Tara is killed by an unhinged Warren Mears, Willow descends into darkness and begins a rampage that nearly causes the end of the world. In the end it is Xander who reaches through her pain and stops her from destroying the world.

The instability caused by Buffy's revival enables the First Evil and a sinister preacher to amass an army of powerful vampires against humankind during the seventh season, while simultaneously seeking out and killing every currently-unactivated Potential Slayer. Willow invokes a spell that activates all the "Potentials" in the world. After an epic battle, an amulet worn by Spike channels solar energy through the battlefield, killing all of the vampires and apparently incinerating Spike. As the Scoobies flee Sunnydale, the town collapses into a crater, its Hellmouth destroyed.


Main characters

Buffy Anne Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) is " the Slayer", one in a long line of young women chosen by fate to battle evil forces. This mystic calling endows her with dramatically increased physical strength, as well as endurance, agility, accelerated healing, intuition, and a limited degree of clairvoyance, usually in the form of prophetic dreams.

Buffy receives guidance from her Watcher, Rupert Giles (played by Anthony Stewart Head). Giles, rarely referred to by his first name, is a member of the Watchers' Council, whose job is to train and assist the Slayers. Giles researches the supernatural creatures that Buffy must face, offering insights into their origins and advice on how to kill them.

Buffy is also helped by friends she meets at Sunnydale High: Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon). Willow is originally a bookish wallflower; she provides a contrast to Buffy's outgoing personality, but shares the social isolation Buffy suffers after becoming a Slayer. As the series progresses, Willow becomes a more assertive character, a powerful witch, and comes out as a lesbian. In contrast, Xander, with no supernatural skills, provides comic relief and a grounded perspective. It is Xander who often provides the heart to the series, and in Season Six becomes the hero in place of Buffy who defeats the "Big Bad". Buffy and Willow are the only characters who appear in all 144 episodes; Xander is missing in only one.


James Leary, Adam Busch, Iyari Limon, Danny Strong and Tom Lenk on a panel at the 2004 Moonlight Rising fan convention

The cast of characters grew over the course of the series. Buffy first arrives in Sunnydale with her mother, Joyce Summers (portrayed by Kristine Sutherland), who functions as an anchor of normality in the Scoobies' lives even after she learns of Buffy's role in the supernatural world (" Becoming, Part Two"). Buffy's teenage sister Dawn Summers ( Michelle Trachtenberg) does not appear until the fifth season.

The vampire with a soul, Angel (portrayed by David Boreanaz), is Buffy's love interest throughout the first three seasons. He leaves Buffy to make amends for his sins and search for redemption in his own spin-off, Angel.

At Sunnydale High, Buffy meets several other students willing to join her fight for good (alongside her friends Willow and Xander). Cordelia Chase ( Charisma Carpenter), the archetypal shallow cheerleader, reluctantly becomes involved, and Daniel "Oz" Osbourne ( Seth Green), a fellow student, rock guitarist and werewolf, joins the Scooby Gang through his relationship with Willow. Anya ( Emma Caulfield), a former vengeance demon (Anyanka) who specialized in avenging scorned women, becomes Xander's lover after losing her powers, and joins the Scooby Gang in the fourth season.

In Buffy's senior year at school, she meets Faith ( Eliza Dushku), the second current-Slayer who was brought forth when Slayer Kendra ( Bianca Lawson) was killed by vampire Drusilla ( Juliet Landau), in the second season. Although she initially fights on the side of good with Buffy and the rest of the Scooby Gang, she comes to stand against them and sides with Mayor Richard Wilkins ( Harry Groener) after accidentally killing a human in the third season. She reappears briefly in the fourth season, looking for vengeance, and moves to Angel where she goes to jail for her murders. Faith reappears in season seven of Buffy, having helped Angel and crew, and fights with Buffy against the First evil.

Buffy gathers other allies: Spike ( James Marsters), a vampire, is an old companion of Angelus and one of Buffy's major enemies in early seasons, although they later become allies and lovers. Later Spike, like Angel, regains his soul. Spike is known for his Billy Idol-style platinum blond hair and his black leather duster, stolen from a previous Slayer, Nikki Wood; her son, Robin Wood ( D. B. Woodside), joined the Scoobies in the final season. Tara Maclay ( Amber Benson) is a fellow member of Willow's Wicca group during the fourth season, and their friendship eventually turns into a romantic relationship. Buffy became involved personally and professionally with Riley Finn ( Marc Blucas), a military operative in " the Initiative", which hunts demons using science and technology. The final season sees geeky wannabe-villain Andrew Wells ( Tom Lenk) come to side with the Scoobies, who initially regard him more as a nuisance than an ally.

Buffy featured dozens of recurring characters, both major and minor. For example the "Big Bad" (villain) characters were featured for at least one season (e.g. Glorificus was a character that appeared in 13 episodes, spanning much of Season 5). Similarly, characters that allied themselves to the Scooby Gang and characters which attended the same institutions were sometimes featured in multiple episodes.


Buffy has inspired a range of official and unofficial works, including television shows, books, comics and games. This expansion of the series encouraged use of the term " Buffyverse" to describe the fictional universe in which Buffy and related stories take place.

The franchise has inspired Buffy action figures and merchandise such as official Buffy/Angel magazines and Buffy companion books. Eden Studios has published a Buffy role-playing game, while Score Entertainment has released a Buffy Collectible Card Game.

Possible Film or Series Continuation

While it has merely been entertained, at the 2008 Paley Festival Joss Whedon remarked that he would be enthusiastic to reunite the cast to continue the story in the form of a movie or another show. The festival featured a reunion of the major cast and contributors to the show, who all seemed excited at the idea.

"On that note Joss said that Oz will definitely appear in future issues and while the comic stories are currently "canon" he would gladly throw that out the window if the cast were to reunite in one form or another to make another show or movie. As to the possibility of that, the cast all seemed to dance around that throughout the evening, even when asked the question by the panel moderator."

Prior to this, Sarah Michelle Gellar has said that she personally did not feel a Buffy movie would work but that she would be willing to do a film depending on the script.


The spin-off Angel was introduced in October 1999, at the start of Buffy's fourth season. The series was created by Buffy's creator Joss Whedon in collaboration with David Greenwalt. Like Buffy, it was produced by the production company Mutant Enemy. At times, it performed better in the Nielsen Ratings than its parent series did.

The series was given a darker tone focusing on the ongoing trials of Angel in Los Angeles. His character is tormented by guilt following the return of his soul, punishment for more than a century of murder and torture. During the first four seasons of the show, he works as a private detective in a fictionalized version of Los Angeles, California, where he and his associates work to "help the helpless" and to restore the faith and "save the souls" of those who have lost their way. Typically, this mission involves doing battle with evil demons or demonically-allied humans (primarily the law firm Wolfram & Hart), while Angel must also contend with his own violent nature. In the fifth season, the senior partners of Wolfram and Hart take a bold gamble in their campaign to corrupt Angel, giving him control of their Los Angeles office. Angel accepts the deal as an opportunity to fight evil from the inside.

In addition to Boreanaz, Angel inherited Buffy regular Charisma Carpenter ( Cordelia Chase). When Glenn Quinn ( Allen Francis Doyle) left the series during its first season, Alexis Denisof ( Wesley Wyndam-Pryce), who had been a recurring character in the last nine episodes of season three of Buffy, took his place. Carpenter and Denisof were followed later by Mercedes McNab ( Harmony Kendall) and James Marsters ( Spike). Several actors who played Buffy characters made guest appearances on Angel, including Seth Green ( Oz), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy), Eliza Dushku ( Faith Lehane), Tom Lenk ( Andrew Wells), and Alyson Hannigan ( Willow Rosenberg). Angel also continued to appear occasionally on Buffy.

Expanded universe

Outside of the TV series, the Buffyverse has been officially expanded and elaborated on by authors and artists in the so-called "Buffyverse Expanded Universe". The creators of these works may or may not keep to established continuity. Similarly, writers for the TV series were under no obligation to use information which had been established by the Expanded Universe, and sometimes contradicted such continuity.

Dark Horse has published the Buffy comics since 1998. In 2003, Whedon wrote an eight-issue miniseries for Dark Horse Comics entitled Fray, about a Slayer in the future. Following the publication of Tales of the Vampires in 2004, Dark Horse Comics halted publication on Buffyverse-related comics and graphic novels. The company is currently producing Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer season eight with forty issues beginning in March 2007, to pick up where the television show left off — taking the place of an eighth canonical season. The first story arc is also written by Whedon, and is called " The Long Way Home" which has been widely well-received, with circulation rivalling industry leaders DC and Marvel's top-selling titles. Also after " The Long Way Home" came other story arcs like Faith's return in " No Future for You".

Pocket Books hold the license to produce Buffy novels, of which they have published more than sixty since 1998. These sometimes flesh out background information on characters; for example, Go Ask Malice provides lots of information about Faith Lehane. The most recent novels include Carnival of Souls, Blackout, Portal Through Time, Bad Bargain and The Deathless.

Five official Buffy video games have been released on portable and home consoles. The most recent, Chaos Bleeds, was released in 2003 for Gamecube, Xbox and PlayStation 2. On July 11 2008, 505 Games announced that they were working on a Buffy game for the Nintendo DS, entitled Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Sacrifice .

Undeveloped spinoffs

The popularity of Buffy and Angel has led to attempts to develop more on-screen ventures in the fictional 'Buffyverse'. These projects remain undeveloped and may never be greenlighted. In 2002, two potential spinoffs were in discussion: Buffy the Animated Series and Ripper. Buffy the Animated Series was a proposed animated TV show based on Buffy; Whedon and Jeph Loeb were to be executive producers for the show, and most of the cast from Buffy were to return to voice their characters. 20th Century Fox showed an interest in developing and selling the show to another network. A three-minute pilot was completed in 2004, but was never picked up. Whedon revealed to The Hollywood Reporter: "We just couldn't find a home for [it]. We had six or seven hilarious scripts from our own staff — and nobody wanted it." Neither the pilot nor the scripts have been seen outside of the entertainment industry, though writer Jane Espenson has teasingly revealed small extracts from some of her scripts for the show.

Ripper was originally a proposed television show based upon the character of Rupert Giles portrayed by Anthony Stewart Head. More recent information has suggested that if Ripper were ever made, it would be a TV movie or a DVD movie. There was little heard about the series until 2007 when Joss Whedon confirmed that talks were almost completed for a 90 minute Ripper special on the BBC with both Head and the BBC completely on board.

In 2003, a year after the first public discussions on Buffy the Animated Series and Ripper, Buffy was nearing its end. Espenson has said that during this time spin-offs were discussed, "I think Marti talked with Joss about Slayer School and Tim Minear talked with him about Faith on a motorcycle. I assume there was some back-and-forth pitching." Espenson has revealed that Slayer School might have used new slayers and potentially included Willow Rosenberg, but Whedon did not think that such a spinoff felt right.

Dushku declined the pitch for a Buffyverse TV series based on Faith and instead agreed to a deal to produce Tru Calling. Dushku explained to IGN: "It would have been a really hard thing to do, and not that I wouldn't have been up for a challenge, but with it coming on immediately following [Buffy], I think that those would have been really big boots to fill." Tim Minear explained some of the ideas behind the aborted series: "The show was basically going to be Faith meets Kung Fu. It would have been Faith, probably on a motorcycle, crossing the earth, trying to find her place in the world."

Finally, during the summer of 2004 after the end of Angel, a movie about Spike was proposed. The movie would have been directed by Tim Minear and starred Marsters and Amy Acker and featured Alyson Hannigan. Outside the 2006 Saturn Awards, Whedon announced that he had pitched the concept to various bodies but had yet to receive any feedback.

New sparks to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie have been lit by an interview Sarah Michelle Gellar gave to Sci-Fi Wire in which she says she would not rule out returning to her most iconic role: "Never say never," she said. "One of the reasons [the original Buffy movie] didn't really work on the big screen--and people blamed Kristy, but that's not what it was--is the story was better told over a long arc," Gellar said. "And I worry about Buffy as a 'beginning, middle and end' so quickly. ... You show me a script; you show me that it works, and you show me that [the] audience can accept that, [and] I'd probably be there. Those are what my hesitations are."

Cultural impact

Anthony Stewart Head and Nicholas Brendon at the Oakland Super SlayerCon fan convention

Buffy has had a cultural impact on a number of media. It has impacted television studies and inspired fan-made films, it has been parodied and referenced, and has even influenced other television series.


Buffy is notable for attracting the interest of scholars of popular culture as a subset of popular culture studies. Academic settings increasingly include the show as a topic of literary study and analysis. National Public Radio describes Buffy as having a "special following among academics, some of whom have staked a claim in what they call 'Buffy Studies.'" Though not widely recognized as a distinct discipline, the term "Buffy studies" is commonly used amongst the peer-reviewed academic Buffy-related writings. The response to this attention has had its critics. For example, Jes Battis, who authored Blood Relations in Buffy and Angel, admits that study of the Buffyverse "invokes an uneasy combination of enthusiasm and ire", and meets "a certain amount of disdain from within the halls of the academy". Nonetheless Buffy (1997–2003) eventually led to the publication of around twenty books and hundreds of articles examining the themes of the show from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives including sociology, Speech Communication, psychology, philosophy, and women's studies.

Fandom and fan films

The popularity of Buffy has led to websites, online discussion forums, works of Buffy fan fiction and several unofficial fan-made productions.

Buffy in popular culture

The series, which employed pop culture references as a frequent humorous device, has itself become a frequent pop culture reference in video games, comics and television shows, and has been frequently parodied and spoofed. Sarah Michelle Gellar has participated in several parody sketches, including a Saturday Night Live sketch in which the Slayer is relocated to the Seinfeld universe, and adding her voice to an episode of Robot Chicken that parodied a would-be eighth season of Buffy. There are also several adult parodies of Buffy, web comics, and music.

U.S. ratings

Season Timslot U.S. ratings Network Rank Network rank
1 1997 Monday 9:00pm EST 3.7 million The WB #144 #6
2 1997–1998 Monday 9:00pm EST ( 15 September 1997- 19 January 1998) / Tuesday 9:00pm EST ( 20 January 1998-) 5.2 million The WB #133 #3
3 1998–1999 Tuesday 9:00pm EST 5.3 million The WB #133 #2 (tied)
4 1999–2000 Tuesday 9:00pm EST 5.1 million The WB #122 #2 (tied)
5 2000–2001 Tuesday 9:00pm EST 4.5 million The WB #120 #3
6 2001–2002 Tuesday 9:00pm EST 4.6 million UPN #124 #3
7 2002–2003 Tuesday 9:00pm EST 3.6 million UPN #140 #4

Buffy helped put The WB on the ratings map, but by the time the series landed at UPN in 2001, viewing figures had fallen. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a series high during the third season with 5.3 million viewers, this probably due to the fact that both Gellar & Hannigan had hit movies out during the season ( Cruel Intentions and American Pie), and a series low with 3.6 million during the seventh season. During season 7, the show rarely reached above 4 million viewers. The show's series final Chosen pulled in a season high of 4.9 million viewers on the UPN network.

Buffy did not compete with shows on the big four networks ( CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX), but The WB were impressed with the young audience that the show was bringing in. Because of this, The WB ordered a full season of 22 episodes for the series' second season. After the episode " Surprise", Buffy was moved from Monday at 9pm to launch The WB's new night of programming on Tuesday. The first episode aired " Innocence" became the highest rated episode of the entire series, attracting over 8.2 million viewers. Due to its large success in that time slot, it remained on Tuesdays at 8pm for the remainder of its original run. With its new timeslot on The WB, the show quickly climbed to the top of The WB ratings and became one of their highest-rated shows for the remainder of its time on the network. The show always placed in the top 3, usually only coming in behind 7th Heaven. Between seasons 3 and 5, Buffy flip-flopped with Dawson's Creek and Charmed as the network's second highest-rated show.

In the 2001-2002 season the show had moved to the UPN Network after a negotiation dispute with The WB. While it was still one of their highest rated shows on their network, the WB felt that the show had already peaked and was not worth giving a salary increase to the cast and crew. UPN on the other hand, had strong faith in the series and quickly grabbed it along with " Roswell". The UPN Network dedicated a 2 hour premiere to the series to help re-launch it. The premiere episode on UPN, " Bargaining", attracted over 7.7 million viewers, making it the 2nd highest rated ratings of the entire series run. The remainder of the series run on the network saw the show actually outperform its old sister shows Dawson's Creek and Charmed, which were still on the WB.

In March 2003, Gellar announced that she would not be renewing he contract for a eighth season due to wanting to spend more time with her husband Freddie Prinze Jr., due to this the show ended in May 2003.

Impact on television

Commentators of the entertainment industry including All Movie Guide, The Hollywood Reporter and The Washington Post have cited Buffy as "influential". Autumn 2003 saw several new shows going into production in the U.S. that featured strong females who are forced to come to terms with supernatural power or destiny while trying to maintain a normal life. These post-Buffy shows include Dead Like Me and Joan of Arcadia. Bryan Fuller, the creator of Dead Like Me, said that "[Buffy] showed that young women could be in situations that were both fantastic and relatable, and instead of shunting women off to the side, it put them at the centre." Buffy, while itself taking certain elements from the classic series of Doctor Who (1963–1989) (even referencing it in one episode), became a blueprint for the revived series (2005-), and executive producer Russell T. Davies has said

Buffy the Vampire Slayer showed the whole world, and an entire sprawling industry, that writing monsters and demons and end-of-the world isn't hack-work, it can challenge the best. Joss Whedon raised the bar for every writer—not just genre/niche writers, but every single one of us.

As well as influencing Doctor Who, Buffy influenced its spinoff series Torchwood, and more generally, BBC itself, who still refer to the 7pm slot on BBC Two as "the Buffy slot".

In addition, Buffy alumni have gone on to write for or create other shows, some of which bear a notable resemblance to the style and concepts of Buffy. Such endeavors include Tru Calling ( Douglas Petrie, Jane Espenson and even lead actress Eliza Dushku), Wonderfalls ( Tim Minear), Point Pleasant (Marti Noxon), Jake 2.0 ( David Greenwalt), The Inside (Tim Minear), Smallville ( Steven S. DeKnight) and Lost ( Drew Goddard, David Fury)

Meanwhile, the Parents Television Council complained of efforts to "deluge their young viewing audiences with adult themes." The FCC, however, rejected the Council's indecency complaint concerning the violent sex scene between Buffy and Spike in Smashed (Buffy episode). The BBC, however, chose to censor some of the more controversial sexual content.

Series information

The first season was introduced as a mid-season replacement for the short-lived night-time soap opera Savannah, and therefore was made up of only 12 episodes. Each subsequent season was built up of 22 episodes. Discounting the unaired Buffy pilot, the seven seasons make up a total of 144 Buffy episodes aired between 1997 and 2003.

Awards and nominations

Buffy has gathered a number of awards and nominations which include an Emmy Award nomination for the 2000 episode " Hush", which featured an extended sequence with no character dialogue. The 2001 episode " The Body" revolved around the death of Buffy's mother. It was filmed with no musical score, only diegetic music; it was nominated for a Nebula Award in 2002. The fall 2001 musical episode " Once More, with Feeling" received plaudits, but was omitted from Emmy nomination ballots by "accident". It has since been featured on Channel 4's "100 Greatest Musicals". In 2001, Sarah Michelle Gellar received a Golden Globe-nomination for Best Actress in a TV Series-Drama.

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