Buffy the Vampire Slayer

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Television

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Genre Action/drama/ comedy/ fantasy
Running time 42 minutes
Creator(s) Joss Whedon
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar
Nicholas Brendon
Alyson Hannigan
Charisma Carpenter
Anthony Stewart Head
David Boreanaz
Seth Green
James Marsters
Marc Blucas
Emma Caulfield
Michelle Trachtenberg
Amber Benson
Country of origin Flag of United States United States
Original channel The WB ( 1997– 2001)
UPN ( 2001– 2003)
Original run March 10, 1997– May 20, 2003
No. of episodes 144
Official website
IMDb profile
TV.com summary

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American cult television series that aired from March 10, 1997, until May 20, 2003. Writer-director Joss Whedon created the series under his production tag, Mutant Enemy. The series 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. 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 two and four 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 Warner Brothers Network. Reviews for the show were overwhelmingly positive, and it was ranked #41 on the list of TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. The WB network closed on September 17, 2006, after airing an "homage" to their "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, parody and academia, and has influenced the direction of other television series.



Writer Joss Whedon developed Buffy 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:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The very first mission statement of the show, was the joy of female power: having it, using it, sharing it.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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 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 Joss 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 unaired Buffy 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 heavily 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.

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 through 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.


Four roles were cast before the series aired. The title role went to Sarah Michelle Gellar, who had appeared as Sydney Rutledge in Swan's Crossing and Kendall Hart in 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 for a series of twelve coffee commercials with Sharon Maughan for Nescafé Gold Blend. 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 BBC2. The BBC gave the show two time slots, an early-evening slot for a family-friendly version with violence and bad language cut out and a late-night uncut version. 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.

The sixth and seventh seasons were originally broadcast on UPN during 2001-2003. Sarah Michelle Gellar explained to Entertainment Weekly why she decided not to sign on for an eighth season, "[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 possible Faith series, but nothing became of those plans.

Opening sequence

The Buffy opening sequence provides credits early in each show. The music was performed by punk rock band Nerf Herder. The song sounds similar to a German pop song from the Eighties 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:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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.


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 group Four Star Mary were portrayed on screen by the fictional front Dingoes Ate My Baby. Pop songs by famous artists were rarely featured prominently, but several episodes spotlighted the sounds of more famous artists such as Sarah McLachlan (" Full of Grace" and " Prayer of St. Francis") and Michelle Branch (" Goodbye to You"). The popularity of music used in Buffy has led to three soundtrack albums: Buffy: 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 show is set in the fictional Californian town of Sunnydale (roughly analogous to Santa Barbara), 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. The school exterior is used in other television shows and movies, most notably Beverly Hills 90210, Bring It On, She's All That (explaining Sarah Michelle Gellar's appearance in the cafeteria scene of that movie), 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.


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 is 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 hero.

The most prominent monsters in the Buffy bestiary are vampires, which are based on traditional myths, lore, and literary conventions. Buffy and her companions fight a wide variety of demons, as well as ghosts, werewolves, zombies, and ethically unsound 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, Angel, later Spike, and to a far lesser degree 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 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 & 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 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:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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").
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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 first season exemplifies the "high school as hell" concept. Buffy Summers has just moved to Sunnydale 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 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. Buffy consummates her relationship with her vampire lover Angel, unknowingly removing his cursed soul as a result. He once more becomes a sadistic killer seeking to destroy the world. Buffy is forced to kill him, and leaves Sunnydale shattered.

After attempting a new life in Los Angeles, Buffy returns to town in the third season. She is soon confronted with an unstable slayer, Angel (again), 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. Willow explores her sexuality with another witch, while Buffy begins dating a student who is a member of The Initiative, a top-secret military installation based beneath the UC Sunnydale campus. They appear to be a well-meaning anti-demon operation, but a secret project goes horribly wrong. The season also marked the first year in which Joss Whedon oversaw other TV series.

During the fifth season, 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. The Hell-God eventually discovers the truth and kidnaps Dawn. Buffy sacrifices herself to save Dawn and the world.

Buffy's friends resurrect her through a powerful spell in the sixth season. Buffy returns from Heaven and finds a job at a fast food restaurant. Her friends are unaware of her inner turmoils as they face their own troubles: Xander leaves his fiancée at the altar and Willow becomes addicted to magic. When Willow's girlfriend is killed by a deranged murderer, Willow descends into darkness and begins a rampage.

The instability caused by Buffy's revival enables the First Evil to amass an army of powerful vampires against humankind during the final season. Willow invokes a magical spell that activates all potential slayers in the world as the Scooby Gang defeats evil once more.


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 a limited degree of clairvoyance, usually in the form of prophetic dreams, as well as dramatically increased physical strength, endurance, agility, intuition and ease of healing.

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 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 a lesbian. In contrast Xander, with no supernatural skills, provides comic relief and a grounded perspective. Buffy and Willow are the only characters who appear in all 144 episodes; Xander is missing in only one.

Supporting, recurring and minor characters

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 II"). Buffy's teenage sister Dawn Summers ( Michelle Trachtenberg) does not appear until the fifth season.

The vampire 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 a previous slayer was killed by a vampire. Although she initially fights on the side of good with Buffy and the rest of the Scooby gang, she comes to stand against them after accidentally killing a human.

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. Spike is known for his Billy Idol-style platinum blond hair and his black leather duster, stolen from a previous Slayer. Tara Maclay ( Amber Benson) is a fellow member of Willow's Wicca group during the fourth season, and their friendship eventually turns into an ongoing love affair. Buffy also becomes involved personally and professionally with Riley Finn ( Marc Blucas), a military operative in " the Initiative", which hunts demons using science and technology.

Buffy featured dozens of recurring characters, both major and minor. For example the Big Bad 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. A timeline listing when these stories take place in relation to each other can be traced in a Buffyverse chronology.

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.


Buffy's perpetual love for the vampire-with-a-soul, Angel, played by David Boreanaz, is a recurrent theme in the first three seasons of the show. 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 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.

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 and 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 regulars Charisma Carpenter ( Cordelia Chase) and Alexis Denisof ( Wesley Wyndam-Pryce), 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 Geller ( Buffy Summers), Eliza Dushku ( Faith Lehane), Tom Lenk ( Andrew Wells), and Alyson Hannigan ( Willow Rosenberg). Angel 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.

The Buffy comics are published by Dark Horse, which has retained the right to produce from 1998 onwards. 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 has recently announced that Whedon will be producing another comic series with twenty issues beginning in March 2007, to pick up where the television show left off — taking the place of an eighth canonical season.

Pocket Books hold the license to produce Buffy novels. Since 1998, they have published more than sixty Buffy novels. 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 and Portal Through Time. They continue to be released, with upcoming books scheduled for December and April 2006.

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. This was the first game that allowed players to take control of characters other than Buffy Summers.

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 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. More recent information has suggested that if Ripper were ever made it would be a TV-movie or a DVD-movie. As of 2006, there are still no concrete plans.

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.

Cultural impact

Buffy has had a cultural impact on a number of media. It has impacted television studies, 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, 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 fan films have been created for distribution on the internet. In 2001 " Fluffy the English Vampire Slayer" was released and became "one of the first widely watched Whedonverse fan films". The computer-animated series Consanguinity, following the non-canonical vampires Damien and James, was released from 2004 onwards. Most recently Cherub, a parody of Angel, has completed its second and final season. The upcoming Forgotten Memories will provide a direct continuation of Buffy, with all roles recast, set two to three months after " Chosen".


The show has been spoofed by several comedy sketch shows. For example MADtv featured a "Buffy the Umpire Slayer" sketch, in which Buffy slew umpires in high school baseball games. Buffy cast members have been involved in spoofs as well. Another episode of MADtv featured guest star Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn in a sketch called "Bunny the Vampire Slayer" with MADtv character Bunny Swan ( Alex Borstein). Even 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 ( Seth Green, who played Oz on Buffy, co-created this series).

The Simpsons 2005 episode, " Treehouse of Horror XVI" contained four segments, the last of which, "I've Grown a Costume on Your Face", parodied the Buffy episode " Halloween", which had aired eight years earlier.

There are several Buffy adult parodies, web comic parodies include Muffin the Vampire Baker on the Sluggy Freelance webcomic, and several musical spoofs including: Once More With Hobbits, which rewrites the lyrics of Buffy's musical episode Once More, with Feeling and the filk song "Angel's Lament".

Impact on television

Commentators of the entertainment industry including All Movie Guide, 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 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
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.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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) and Smallville ( Steven S. DeKnight).

Series information

The first season was introduced as a mid-season replacement, 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".

DVD releases

DVD Release Date
U.S. UK Australia
The Complete First Season 15 January 2002 27 November 2000 20 Nov 2000
The Complete Second Season 11 June 2002 21 May 2001 15 Jun 2001
The Complete Third Season 7 January 2003 29 October 2001 22 Nov 2001
The Complete Fourth Season 10 June 2003 13 May 2002 20 May 2002
The Complete Fifth Season 9 December 2003 28 October 2002 29 Nov 2002
The Complete Sixth Season 25 May 2004 12 May 2003 20 Apr 2003
The Complete Seventh Season 16 November 2004 5 April 2004 15 May 2004
The Chosen Collection (Seasons 1–7) 15 November 2005
The Complete DVD Collection (Seasons 1–7) 31 October 2005 23 November 2005
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