This past March 10th, Buffy the Vampire slayer turned twenty-two years old and that makes me feel old. I was in the seventh grade when Buffy debuted and I’ll never forget hearing all about it on the bus ride home. Kids were going nuts about how great this new show was, but being the rebel that I was, I didn’t watch it. I mean, I was a fourteen year old teenage boy, why the heck would I watch something called Buffy The Vampire Slayer?
I wouldn’t say my socks were knocked off, but I was intrigued enough to want to see more. So, I went back to Target and bought the first two seasons and began my Buffy fandom.
I’ve watched Buffy all the way through and will occasionally throw on an episode or two for background noise, but it’s been a while since I just sat down and watched Buffy. After a particularly difficult day at work, I just felt like watching Buffy, so I curled up on the couch and started at the beginning with Welcome to the Hell Mouth and The Harvest which are two episodes that combined make up the pilot.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
A teenager girl attempts to navigate high school while juggling the pressure of being cosmically chosen to slay vampires and save the world.
What I Liked About It:
-Xander (Nicholas Brendan) and Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) really steal the show with great dialogue. Cordelia had the two best lines/insults with:
“What is your childhood trauma?”
-I love how Buffy and the characters aren’t written as untouchable superheroes. Buffy gets delayed because her mom grounds her for getting into trouble. Another example would be the principal baring her from leaving campus despite putting up a good argument. Not everyone is dumb in the show and the writers never treat the viewers as dumb which is what makes the show really work despite is absurd premise.
What I Didn’t Like About It:
-Buffy’s flipping onto the stage at the Bronze. It was way over the top and reminded me of the original movie. Luckily, this sort of ridiculous showboating doesn’t continue in the show. The flips and stunts are used sparingly when they make sense.
-The show struggles to juggle the humor and seriousness due to some of the special effects and performances. It’s not terrible, but it definitely is not a great reflection on what Buffy becomes a season or two down the road.
– Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) was sixteen and Mercedes McNab (Harmony) was nineteen when they filmed the pilot, they were the only two teenagers at the time when this episode was filmed. Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia) was twenty-six years old.
-The school used for external shots and some internal is Torrance High School in Torrance, California. This school was also used in Beverly Hills, 90210.
-Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia) originally auditioned for Buffy, while Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) auditioned for Cordelia. Both Julie Benz (Darla) and Mercedes McNab (Harmony) also auditioned for Buffy and were cast in different roles.
-There was an unaired pilot that was shot in 1996 that featured a different actress playing Willow (Riff Regan) and Principal Flutie (Stephen Tubolowsky.)
-The show is considered a continuation of the original film starring Kristy Swanson and its mildly referenced.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of those shows that holds up thanks to its witty dialogue and great storytelling. You can see glimpses of this in these first two episodes. Sadly, season one isn’t all full of great episodes, but it’s worth watching so that you can become invested enough to enjoy the rest of the series to its fullest degree.