Saturday, March 10, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Buffy!

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?
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  1. I was there for the pilot. :) I'd seen the movie and thought it was campy fun, but pretty much from the start I knew the series was going to be different.

    I also was already a Sarah Michelle Gellar fan, not just from AMC, but from Swan's Crossing (a kid's soap shown at 5:30 in the morning that I HAD to watch in the early 90s).

    What sold me was that the whole cast of characters was so well done. Of course, now I expect it from Whedon, but then it was just refreshing. And the story and character arcs - I could go on forever.

    To be honest, when I found out they were doing a musical episode, I groaned. Then I watched it and now it's one of my favorite episodes. I'm just glad I can still revisit Sunnydale (thank you DVDs and Netflix).

    Happy Anniversary, Buffy!

  2. Dear Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Thank you for showing me that it was okay to love the boy next door as much as the bad boy, for making me love the British accent, for teaching me how to laugh during tense moments and for making me love Whedon enough to have faith in a sing-along blog or a show about space cowboys.

  3. I had heard, peripherally, of Buffy over the years but I didn't think I needed to watch it. Finally a couple years ago, a friend of mine and I watched it together - well, he's in Iowa and I'm in Ohio. We were in the middle of season 2 when he said, "Wow, Buffy talks like you." I was like, "Hey, she does!" Except, no, I talked like her. Whedony dialogue had pervaded pop culture enough that I'd picked it up without ever seeing it myself.

    That's why Joss Whedon is my master.