Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
In 1997, I was 13 years old and my favorite show at the time was Beverly Hills, 90210. I remember seeing the iconic promotional poster, and the commercials, for a brand-new show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As a young horror fan and coming into my own deepening interest in all things dark and spooky, I was very much excited. After seeing the two-part special of “Welcome to the Hellmouth” and “The Harvest” I was hooked. The world was introduced to Xander, Willow, Mr. Giles and Buffy, this “Valley Girl-esque" character who killed vampires. The show was funny with dashes of light horror. It was exactly what I was looking for, especially being a huge fan of 1996’s The Craft, 1994’s Interview with the Vampire, and anything teen horror related (Disturbing Behavior, Idle Hands, Scream, Urban Legend, etc). It came at a perfect time in my young gothic, horror loving life.
Now, I could go on (and on and on...) about my love for this show, and there will be probably more than 1 podcast episode related to it in the future, but I will limit myself to a couple of paragraphs. The characters, though many would develop or have supernatural powers, were relatable; the outcasts, the geeks, and the socially awkward. I will always have a particular fondness for Rupert “Ripper” Giles. As the father figure for Buffy, he is caring, witty and uhhh, sexy. In the end though, Buffy is my favorite character and my favorite woman in horror (next to Sidney Prescott!).
I have seen the entire show too many times to count and it still makes me laugh and bawl hysterically (when Willow cries, the world cries, right?). My favorite seasons are Season two and seven. Season two is where the series show it’s potential for going dark. I love the Angel/Angelus dichotomy and we had the introduction of Spike/Drusilla(!!!). Season seven is beyond EPIC and shows some incredible maturity for all of the beloved characters. Originally, the series was supposed to end after season five since the WB was going to cancel it due to some financial/network issues, however, UPN picked it up and it continued for another two seasons. I would have been content with the show ending at season five, especially with the episode The Gift. It would have been the perfect end to the show, and for Buffy, the person. Did I mention how this show can still make me weep like a baby? However, the show continued to engage me by being emotionally charged, dark and intriguing.
This show after season seven continued into comics, that of which I bought immediately and have thoroughly enjoyed. It became the reason why I love comics to this day. I have Buffy the Vampire Slayer books, fiction and non, video games, board games, etc. I recently even got this three VHS set of the first six episodes of Buffy that I used to have in 1998 but gave away for a reason I can’t remember.
Even though the show ended in 2003, it continues to be studied and referenced as a turning point for women in TV. Buffy continues to empower women of all ages, with new fans being made, I am sure, annually. As much as Buffy got kicked around, physically and emotionally, she kept on getting back up, stronger and stronger every time. Buffy showed us that you can make decisions and fail, but you move on. She taught us that women can be strong and vulnerable. That women can make mistakes and be both selfish *and* selfless. Buffy showed us that Women are Human.