by Sara N.
Fifteen years ago today, an odd-sounding show titled Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered on the WB. Expectations for the program were low, but a magical combination of sharp writing and cast chemistry allowed it to thrive.
Buffy left a number of legacies behind: the kickass blond heroine, the feminist approach to storytelling, the potent combination of humor, horror and heartbreak. The show has been lauded and examined over and over, and it's still both relevant and enjoyable today. One reason for this longevity is the way the show played with the unexpected. Episodes ended in an awkward silence rather than a triumphant fade to black. Characters were laughing one minute and brutally cut down the next. Good boyfriends went bad, parents were fallible, and the former cheerleader saved the day — over and over. The subversion of genre expectations and storytelling tropes was brilliant. (Long live Joss Whedon and the rest of the show's writers!)
Were you among the audience on premiere night 15 years ago, or were you slower to find the show? What are you most grateful to Buffy for bringing into pop culture? And are you, like me, honoring the show today by listening to the Once More, With Feeling soundtrack?