Buffy the Vampire Slayer
It will soon be Halloween, and we are celebrating by giving away a freakishly cool PRIZE. Got your attention? Great, but first, you need to hear us out – contest info at the end of this piece.
25 years ago, a little series started airing on what was, back then, just a little US TV network (today’s behemoth WB). And just like its host, this show ended up being much bigger than planned, and went on to rewrite a lot of rules in television.
The year is 1997, and we are talking about “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. The way this series was marketed back then is already a glimpse of how it went on to rip apart the rulebook: “a mix of X-Files and My-So-Called Life”. If you are too young to remember them, click the links, bookmark the trailers, and check them out. Then come back here – we go on.
“Buffy” tells the story of the namesake character (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar), a high school cheerleader who ends up repeatedly saving her town and the world from the evil forces lurking in the dark. As the full title hints, the baddies are initially mostly vampires, but as the seasons go on (seven in total!) all sorts of creatures are thrown in – and get their butts kicked: werewolves, demons, and some pretty unsavoury humans too.
She is helped by a self-named Scooby Gang of sorts, a bizarre group of friends with a few useful skills and mostly a lot of goodwill. The group grows with every season, to even include monsters now converted to the good cause – but at the end of the day it’s all on Buffy’s shoulders.
And this is where the show wades into deeper waters. Although (under)sold as just another teen comedy, “Buffy” is more than that. It remains cheerful and lightweight for most of the time, but it understands the power of showing real emotions and the impact of difficult decisions on our lives. It gives the audience a relatable heroine: Buffy is as next-door as it gets, which makes her character’s development all the more interesting and inspiring.
This is not to say that “Buffy” is out there to teach us lesson after lesson. This show is good campy fun, all about fighting the bad guys, falling in love, having a laugh. And it’s carried by a truly delightful time-capsule of a soundtrack: peak late 90s. And the Y2K aesthetics are to die for (yup, that includes Spike’s peroxide blonde hairdo)!
And yet, if you pause and take stock, you understand how innovative “Buffy” was. Merging monster episode structure (still in its infant days, later picked up by so many other shows, such as “Supernatural”) with the real scary stuff: “hell is high school”! (another tip is necessary here: The Heathers). Featuring a lesbian character as one of the main pillars of the storyline (a quarter of a century ago this was still something). Allowing Buffy to sleep around with the bad guys, sometimes regretting it, mostly enjoying it, without slapping any moralistic consequences on her.
It may not be highbrow, but “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is a gem that has generated a massive cult following that keeps on going through the decades. It’s well executed and feels immensely comfortable. Best served with popcorn, spooky candy, while dressed in costumes and having a few beers with friends. Guarantee of good times.
Alright, you made it until the end, so here it is: keep your eyes on our Instagram page, as we are about to announce a great Halloween contest (details to come but don’t worry, it’s super easy). Then, on 31 October we will announce the winner who bags a three-night stay at any Pentahotel in Europe, as well as the ultimate DVD box set with all seasons of “Buffy”.
“I may be dead, but I’m still pretty.” (ah yes, Buffy dies a few times, but don’t worry).
Still credits: “BUFFY: Season Seven TRAILER”, uploaded to YouTube by BuffyverseTrailers