I decided that it could be fun to write a post doing a basic run down of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The idea is to give a basic run down for someone who has not watched the show to partly explain why we who did watch it loved it so much and where it started, as well as where it is now. The thing is Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not just the tv show. It started out as a movie, moved to a tv show, and currently is a comic book. These three versions each have their own distinctive flavor and story being told.
The movie came out in 1992 starring Kristy Swanson and Donald Sutherland. The movie was written by Joss Whedon, but Directed by Fran Kuzui. The movie ended up terrible. They took Joss’ vision and ended up with everything playing all wrong. I personally think they ended up taking themselves way to seriously instead of having fun with it like they should. In 1995 Joss decided to bring the story to tv because the movie did not do his vision justice. The tv show was so successful that it lasted seven seasons and a rabid fan base. Even after the show ended this fan base has kept up the passion for the story that had been told. This has then led to continuing the story in a comic book form, which is now up to season 9 and still going. The story has grown and changed, but some of the basics have stayed the same.
Giles: For as long as there have been vampires, there has been the Slayer. One girl in all the world, a Chosen One…
Buffy: He loves doing this part.
Giles: Alright. The Slayer hunts vampires, Buffy is a Slayer, don’t tell anyone. Well, I think that’s all the vampire information you need.
The title of the show pretty much gives it away, but Buffy Summers is the Slayer. Now the title might be Vampire Slayer, but really she deals with all the creatures that go bump in the night. Lucky for her she has moved to Sunnydale, California, which just so happens to sit on a Hellmouth. This means that there is no end of nasty creatures, demons, etc for her to fight. At the same time she, at least in the beginning, is a sophomore in high school. This creates a never ending stream of complications, not to mention that she wants to be a normal teenager, but that is kind of hard to do when you are fighting demons at night. Of course it helps to have a few friends along.
Giles: It may be that we are all that stands between the Earth and utter destruction.
Buffy: Well, I gotta look on the bright side. Maybe I can still get kicked out of school.
Xander: Oh, yeah, that’s a plan. Cause lots of schools aren’t on Hellmouths.
Willow: Maybe you could blow something up. They’re really strict about that.
Buffy: I was thinking of a more subtle approach, ya know, like excessive not studying.
Giles: [to himself as the others are walking away] The Earth is doomed.
Part of what is great about the show is all of the characters. Now the Scooby Gang as they are affectionately known started out as Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles. As time has passed they added a few more characters, but the core group always has a special place in our hearts because they were there in the beginning. One of the best episodes is from season 3 called Doppelgangland where we see what Sunnydale would have been like had Buffy not come to town. The most important part is knowing that having friends is what helped keep Buffy sane. When you are having to deal with the weight of the world so much it is always good to have friends on your side. It also makes for some great banter.
Mayor Wilkins: There’s more than one way to skin a cat. And I happen to know that’s factually true.
One of the great things about Buffy are the villains. Now season 4 Adam is really just a joke, but so many of the other villains were so good. Most have been vampires, but there have been some demons. My favorite was Mayor Wilikins because he was the happiest evil villain you would ever meet. It was such a weird contrast, someone smiling and jovial talking about the destruction of every living person. There are some other great villains, Spike is another one that he become such a fan favorite that he stuck around for a long period of time and had an interesting story progression. The villains were evil, but they were not a simple evil, they were often complicated and dealing with more than simple death and destruction.
Riley: Buffy. When I saw you stop the world from, you know, ending, I just assumed that was a big week for you. Turns out I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of “apocalypse”.
Now the other part that is fun about Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the fandom. The fans of the show are kind of awesome. Now being one of them I might be slightly biased. Now I am not as rabid as some of the fans are, but every once in a while I will put in some of my favorite episodes. Re-watching Buffy is like curling up with an old friend, it is funny, sad, scary, and just a great time. Buffy is how I at least got introduced to Joss Whedon and so far he has not let me down. I know that some rail about people giving him too much credit, but personally he has done a great job with everything that he has had a controlling hand in. It is also interesting because if you watch the movie after watching the tv show you can see what the movie should have been.
The comics now just let us keep that ride going. It is a very different experience reading the comics, but without having to deal with special effects budgets there are so many more places you can take the story. In the comics we can stare in to the heart of the supernatural and understand how and why it beats.