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, CBS, NBC, and Fox), they were a success for the relatively new and smaller WB Television Network. Reviews for the show were positive, and has been included in many "best of" lists, including being ranked #41 on the list of TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time, #2 on Empire's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time, voted #3 in TV Guide's Top 25 Cult TV Shows of All Time and listed in Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME." It was nominated for Emmy and Golden Globe
awards, winning a total of 3 Emmys. However, snubs in lead Emmy
categories resulted in outrage among TV critics and the decision by the
academy to hold a tribute event in honor of the series after it had
gone off the air in 2003.
The WB network ceased operation on September 17, 2006 after airing a 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.
Buffy creator Joss Whedon also served as executive producer, head writer, and director on the series.
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 idea 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 Fox 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 25-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.
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.
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 the commercial break.
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.
Actresses who auditioned for Buffy Summers and got other roles include Julie Benz (Darla), Elizabeth Anne Allen (Amy Madison), Julia Lee (Chanterelle/Lily Houston/Anne Steele), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase), and Mercedes McNab
(Harmony Kendall). Bianca Lawson, who played vampire slayer Kendra
Young in season 2 of the show, originally auditioned for the role of
Cordelia Chase before actress Charisma Carpenter was cast in the role.
Alyson Hannigan was the last of the original five 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 played by Riff Regan for the unaired Buffy
pilot, but Hannigan auditioned when the role was being recast for the
series proper. Hannigan described her approach to the character through
Willow's reaction to a particular moment: Willow sadly tells Buffy that
doll was taken from her as a child. Buffy asks her if she ever got it
back. Willow's line was to reply "most of it". Hannigan decided on an
upbeat and happy delivery of the line "most of it", as opposed to a
sad, depressed delivery. Hannigan figured Willow would be happy and
proud that she got "most of it" back. That indicated how she was going
to play the rest of the scene, and the role, for that matter, and
defined the character. Her approach subsequently got her the role.
UPN took great advantage promoting the network switch by teasing fans of Buffy's resurrection from The WB's series finale.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer first aired on March 10, 1997 (as a mid season replacement for the show Savannah) 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. In 2001, the show went into syndication in the United States on local stations and on cable channel FX;
the local airings ended in 2005, and the FX airings lasted until 2008.
Beginning in January 2010, it began to air in syndication in the United
States on Logo. Reruns also briefly aired on MTV. In March 2010, it began to air in Canada on MuchMusic and MuchMore. On November 7, 2010, it began airing on Chiller
with a 24-hour marathon; the series airs weekdays. Chiller has also
aired a 14-hour Thanksgiving Day marathon on November 25, 2010. In 2011, it began airing on Oxygen.
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 came of those plans. The Buffycanon is continuing outside the television medium in the Dark Horse Comics series, Buffy Season Eight. This has been produced since March 2007 by Whedon, who also wrote the first story arc, "The Long Way Home".
In the United Kingdom, the entire series aired on Sky1 and BBC2. After protests from fans about early episodes being edited for their pre-watershed
time-slot, from the second run (mid-second season onwards), the BBC
gave the show two time slots: the early-evening slot (typically
Thursday at 6:45 pm) for a family-friendly version with violence,
objectionable language and other stronger material cut out, and a
late-night uncut version (initially late-night Sundays, but for most of
the run, late-night Fridays; exact times varied).
Sky1 aired the show typically at 8:00 pm on Thursdays. From the fourth
season onwards, the BBC aired the show in anamorphic 16:9 widescreen format. Whedon later said that Buffy was never intended to be viewed this way. Despite his claims, Sky1 and FX UK now air repeat showings in the widescreen format.
The Buffyopening sequence provides credits early in each show. The music was performed by the rock band Nerf Herder. The melody is similar to that of an Austrian pop song from the 1980s called "Codo" by DÖF, but Nerf Herder have said that they had "never heard of DÖF" and 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 persist
across all seven seasons are those of a book titled Vampyr and
of the cross given to Buffy by Angel in the first episode. Each
sequence ends with a lingering shot of Buffy, which changes between
seasons. In seasons six and seven, the final shots of Gellar are
respectively as Buffybot in "The Gift" (finale of season 5) and the First Evil posing as Buffy in "Lessons" (premiere of season 7). The only exception was in the Season Four episode "Superstar", which featured a long shot of Jonathan Levinson, and frequent other clips of Jonathan, in reference to the episode.
Order of actors and actresses appearance in credits by season:
Season 6: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Emma Caulfield, Michelle Trachtenberg, Amber Benson ("Seeing Red" only), James Marsters and Alyson Hannigan as Willow.
Season 7: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Emma Caulfield, Michelle Trachtenberg, James Marsters and Alyson Hannigan as Willow.
The fourth season episode "Superstar" was the same as the season 4 credits except numerous clips of Jonathan are added in.
The fifth season opener "Buffy vs. Dracula"
had the regular season 5 credits with the omission of the Michelle
Trachtenberg (Dawn) scenes from the title sequence. She was credited
second in the opening scene cast list.
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.
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, located beneath the school library, is a source of mystical energies as well as a nexus
for a wide variety of evil creatures and supernatural phenomena. 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 spoofNot 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
(located in Torrance), 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. Several episodes include shots from the Oviatt Library at CSUN.
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. The show mixes complex, season-long storylines with a villain-of-the-week format; a typical episode contains one or more villains,
or supernatural phenomena, that are thwarted or defeated by the end of
the episode. Though elements and relationships are explored and ongoing
subplots are included, the show focuses primarily on Buffy and her role
as an archetypalheroine.
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.
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
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."
Buffy struggles throughout the series with her calling as Slayer and
the loss of freedom this entails, frequently sacrificing teenage
experiences for her Slayer duties. Her difficulties and eventual
empowering realizations are reflections of several dichotomies faced by
modern women and echo feminist issues within society.
In the episode "Becoming (Part 2)",
when Joyce learns that Buffy is the Slayer, her reaction has strong
echoes of a parent discovering their child is gay, including denial,
suggesting that she try "not being a Slayer", and ultimately kicking
Buffy out of the house.
Season one exemplifies the "high school as hell" concept. Buffy Summers has just moved to Sunnydale after burning down 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 Harris and Willow Rosenberg, who help her fight evil through the series, but they must first prevent The Master, an ancient and especially threatening vampire, from opening the Hellmouth and taking over Sunnydale.
The emotional stakes are raised in season two. New vampires Spike and Drusilla (weakened from a mob in Prague, which presumably caused her debilitating injury), come to town along with the new slayer, Kendra Young, who was activated as a result of Buffy's brief death in the season one finale. Xander becomes involved with Cordelia, while Willow becomes involved with witchcraft and Daniel "Oz" Osbourne, who soon becomes a werewolf after being bitten by a young cousin who just happens to be a werewolf. Buffy and the vampire Angel
develop a relationship over the course of the season, but after they
sleep together, Angel's soul, given to him by a curse, is lost and he
once more becomes Angelus, a sadistic killer. He torments much of the
"Scooby Gang" throughout the rest of the season and murders multiple
innocents and Giles' new girlfriend Jenny Calendar,
a gypsy who had been sent to make sure that the curse that gave Angel
his soul was never broken. Buffy is forced to kill him (right after
Willow restores his soul) and leaves Sunnydale, emotionally shattered.
After attempting to start a new life in Los Angeles, Buffy returns to town in season three.
Angel is resurrected, but after he and Buffy realize that a
relationship between them can never happen, he leaves Sunnydale at the
end of the season. Giles is fired from the Watcher's Council because he
had developed a "father's love" for Buffy, and towards the end of the
season Buffy announces that she will also no longer be working for the
council. Early in the season she is confronted with an unstable Slayer,
Faith, who was called up after Kendra's death near the end of season two, as well as affable Sunnydale Mayor Richard Wilkins,
who has plans to "ascend" (become a giant snake demon) on Sunnydale
High's Graduation Day. Although she works with Buffy at first, after
accidentally killing a human, Faith becomes irrational and sides with
Mayor Wilkins, eventually landing in a coma after a fight with Buffy.
At the end of the season, Buffy and the entire graduation class defeat
Mayor Wilkins by blowing up Sunnydale High, killing him in the process.
Season four 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 The Initiative, a top-secret military installation based beneath the UC Sunnydale campus. They implant a microchip
in his head which prevents him from harming humans. He reluctantly
helps the Scooby Gang throughout the season and eventually begins to
fight on their side after learning that he can harm other demons. Oz
leaves town after realizing that he is too dangerous as a werewolf, and
Willow falls in love with Tara Maclay, another witch. Buffy begins dating Riley Finn,
a grad student whom she later realizes is a member of The Initiative.
Although appearing to be a well-meaning anti-demon operation, The
Initiative's sinister plans are revealed when Adam, a demon/human/computer hybrid secret project, escapes and begins to wreak havoc on the town.
During season five, a younger sister to Buffy, Dawn,
suddenly appears in Buffy's life, and although she is new to the
series, to the characters it is as if she has always been there. Buffy
is confronted with Glory,
an exiled hell-God that is searching for a "Key" that will allow her to
return to her Hell dimension and in the process would blur the lines
between dimensions and unleash Hell on Earth. It is later discovered
that the Key's protectors had turned the Key into human form as Buffy's
sister Dawn, concurrently implanting everybody with lifelong memories
of her. The Watcher's Council aids in Buffy's research of Glory, and
she and Giles are both reinstated by the Council. Riley leaves early in
the season after deducing that Buffy does not love him and joins a
military demon-hunting operation, while Spike, still implanted with the
Initiative chip, realizes he is in love with Buffy and continually
helps the Scoobies in their fight. Buffy's mother, Joyce, dies of a brain aneurysm,
while at the end of the season, Xander proposes to Anya. Glory later
discovers that Dawn is the key and kidnaps her. Buffy sacrifices her
own life to save Dawn's and prevent the portal to the Hell dimensions
At the beginning of season six,
Buffy's friends resurrect her through a powerful spell, believing that
they have rescued her from Hell. Buffy reveals she was in Heaven
during her death and she falls into a deep depression for most of the
season. Giles returns to England after deciding that Buffy has become
too reliant on him, while Buffy takes up a fast-food job for money and
develops a secret, mutually abusive relationship with Spike. Dawn
suffers from kleptomania
and feelings of alienation, Xander leaves Anya at the altar, after
which Anya once again becomes a vengeance demon, and Willow becomes
addicted to magic, causing Tara to temporarily leave her. They also
begin to deal with The Trio, a group of nerds led by Warren Mears
who use their technological proficiency to attempt to kill Buffy and
take over Sunnydale. Warren is shown to be the only competent villain
of the group and, after Buffy thwarts his plans multiple times and the
Trio breaks apart, he comes unhinged and attacks Buffy with a gun,
killing Tara in the process. This causes Willow to descend into
darkness and unleash all of her dark magical powers, killing Warren.
Giles returns to face her in battle and infuses her with light magic,
tapping into her remaining humanity. This causes Willow to attempt to
destroy the world to end everyone's suffering, although it eventually
allows Xander to reach through her pain and end her rampage. At the end
of the season, after attacking Buffy, Spike leaves Sunnydale and
travels to see a demon and asks him to "return him to what he used to
be" so that he can "give Buffy what she deserves". After passing a
series of tests, the demon restores his soul.
During season seven, it is revealed that Buffy's resurrection caused an instability which allows the First Evil to begin tipping the balance between good and evil. It begins hunting down and killing the inactive Potential Slayers, and raises an army of ancient, powerful Turok-Han
vampires. After the Watchers' Council is destroyed, a number of the
Potential Slayers (some brought by Giles) take refuge in Buffy's house.
Faith returns to help fight the First Evil, and the new Sunnydale High
School's principal, Robin Wood, also joins the cause. The Turok-Han vampires and a sinister preacher known as Caleb
begin causing havoc for the Scoobies. As the Hellmouth becomes more
active, nearly all humans and demons flee Sunnydale. In the series
finale, the Scoobies descend into the Hellmouth while Willow casts a
spell that activates all of the Potential Slayers, granting them Slayer
powers. Angel comes to Sunnydale with an amulet, which Buffy gives to
Spike. Anya, now human again, dies in the fight, as do some of the new
Slayers. Spike's amulet channels the power of the sun and kills all of
the vampires in the Hellmouth, incinerating Spike in the process. This
causes the Hellmouth to collapse, and the entirety of Sunnydale
collapses into the resulting crater, while the survivors of the battle
escape in a school bus.
Buffy 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 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.
A 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
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 Season Four.
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 Season Two. 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 Season Three. She reappears
briefly in the fourth season, looking for vengeance, and moves to Angel where she voluntarily 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.
At the end of Season 6, Spike regains his soul. Spike is known for his Billy Idol-style peroxide blond hair and his black leather coat, 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 Season Four, 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
Five). 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 spin-offAngel was introduced in October 1999, at the start of Buffy Season Four. 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 Season
Five, 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.
Trade paperback cover of Buffy: Season EightVolume One, written by Joss Whedon.
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.
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 greenlit. 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 could not 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 spinoffs 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 would not
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 did not really work on the big screen–and people blamed Kristy,
but that's not what it was–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."
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
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. The Whedon Studies Association produces the online academic journal Slayage and sponsors a biennial academic conference on the works of Joss Whedon.
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.
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 and Hannigan had hit
movies out during the season (Cruel Intentions and American Pie respectively), and a series low with 3.6 million during the seventh season. The show's series finale "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 was 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", which was watched by 8.2 million people, Buffy
was moved from Monday at 9 p.m. to launch The WB's new night of
programming on Tuesday. Due to its large success in that time slot, it
remained on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. 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 Three and Five, 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 UPN 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. UPN dedicated a two-hour premiere to the series to help re-launch it.
Commentators of the entertainment industry including Allmovie, 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 puts
them at the center".Buffy became a blueprint for the revived Doctor Who 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 is not 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.
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.
Buffy has gathered a number of awards and nominations which include an Emmy Award nomination for the 1999 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. Recently, the series was both
nominated and won in the Drama Category for Television's Most Memorable
Moment at the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards for "The Gift" beating The X Files, Grey's Anatomy, Brian's Song and Dallas although the sequence for this award was not aired.
^ Golden, Christopher, and Holder, Nancy, Watcher's Guide Vol. 1. Simon & Schuster (October 1, 1998), "Gail Berman and Fran Kuzui came to Whedon to ask if he wanted to do the TV series" (p241). Also see Watcher's Guide Vol. 1, pp246–249.
^ Various authors, "Anthony Head" Internet Movie Database (updated 2006).
^ Golden, Christopher, & Holder, Nancy Watcher's Guide Vol. 1. Simon & Schuster
(October 1, 1998), "His long-lasting fame as the romantic and
intriguing coffee guy is gradually being replaced by his new image as
librarian in Buffy, p210 (October 1, 1998).
^ Various authors, "Sets and Locations", The Ultimate Buffy and Angel Trivia Guide (updated 2007).
^ Yovanovich, Linda, "Young Blood", Smgfan.com, originally from OnSat
(July 14, 1997), Whedon said: "[High school as hell] was always the
basis of the show. When they said, 'Do you want to turn it into a
show?' The character was not enough alone to sustain it. But you know
when I thought of the idea of the horror movies as a metaphor for high
school, [I said] okay this is something that will work week to week."
^ Nevitt, Lucy, & Smith, Andy William, "Family Blood is always the Sweetest: The Gothic Transgressions of Angel/Angelusby", Refractory: a Journal of Entertainment Media Vol. II (March, 2003): Nevitt and Smith bring attention to Buffy's
use of pastiche: "Multiple pastiche without enabling commentary is
doubtless self-canceling, yet, at the same time, each element of
pastiche calls into temporary being what and why it imitates."
^ Shuttleworth, Ian, "Bite me, professor" Financial Times, citing interview from The New York Times (September 11, 2003)
^ Lavery, David, & Wilcox, Rhonda V., Slayageonline.com (2001–). The term is in use from the subtitle of Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies, and thus has become used in essays by those who contribute to scholarship relating to Buffy.