FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Where to start with Buffy? We just passed the 20th anniversary of this fantastic TV show. Buffy the Vampire Slayer began as a midseason show in March 1997 and went on until 2003. The show follows a young woman named Buffy Summers in Sunnydale, California. Buffy is your typical blonde, bubbly high school student, but also kicks ass on the down low as a vampire slayer. She is not a typical slayer (you learn this via show, not from common knowledge), she not only is best friends with her Watcher, he teaches and trains her, but she also has a loyal group of friends!

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In the story, slayers are “called” (by fate) to fight the typical forces of darkness, vampires and demons, the usual. Most slayers report to their watcher, who help train them and teach them about the demons and vampires and that’s their only relationship. Buffy Summers, however, is very different with her Scooby Gang, made up of Xander, Willow, Giles and Cordelia. We see Buffy fall in love with Angel, Riley (WHY) and most importantly to me, Spike.

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The relationships Buffy has throughout the show proved the show was more than just a teen drama, but a real primetime drama. Buffy and Angel’s relationship from the beginning was full of passion and momentum, but during the episode “innocence” in Season Two that all changes. When Angel becomes Angelus, all fans (even if you disliked Angel like me) felt a punch in the gut. How could this happen? Does Buffy really deserve to lose this happiness she felt? Buffy was able to be completely honest in her relationship with Angel, he knew the real Buffy. Seeing Buffy deal with this loss was heart-wrenching and just awful.

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Spike was a controversial character, but to me one of the most important. I know, I know, there’s that one scene, but we saw Spike learn and gain his humanity. Seeing a character grow and evolve the way Spike did was to see someone grow up and correct their mistakes. I personally thought Buffy’s relationship with Spike was far more honest, real and likable than her relationship with Angel.

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Buffy’s relationship with her Scooby Gang was the most important of all. Her friends were the central lifeline of the show. She was able to be herself, slayer, sister, daughter and friend, to them at all times. Buffy could confide in friends that understood her and didn’t judge her, but empowered her. And she did the same for them. The show was all about Buffy in a sense, but Willow’s problems always seemed just as important to Buffy. Same with Xander. Maybe not the same with Giles, ya know Buffy said he couldn’t have a personal life ;). Giles really took care of  Buffy. He was more than a father figure to her and the relationship always was one of the strongest.

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Perhaps the biggest theme, and the lasting legacy, of the show is feminism. This may be what makes it so relevant in pop culture present day. The nature of Buffy took the stereotype of a pretty, blonde girl being a damsel in distress and changing her to the bad ass killing vampires and saving the town. Buffy always fought to have power in a world that she felt restricted and powerless in. The Watcher’s council is often what she took most of this anger out on, but it was more than someone wanting more power in their job. Her want and need to be in charge of her own destiny truly showed women could be in charge of their own lives, even when those around tried to tell you otherwise.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer is currently on Netflix, along with the spinoff series Angel, but only for another week 😦 it’s being removed April 1st. Both shows will remain on Hulu though! If you don’t feel like binge watching here is a list of my favorite episodes:

Season 1 Episode 1: Welcome to Hellmouth

Season 2 Episode 6: Halloween

Season 2 Episode 14: Innocence (SERIOUSLY GRAB THE TISSUES)

Season 2 Episodes 21 & 22: Becoming Part 1 & 2 (UGH)

Season 3 Episode 9: The Wish

Season 3 Episode 18: Earshot

Season 3 Episodes 21 & 22: Graduation Day Part 1 & 2

Season 4 Episode 10: Hush (if you only watch one episode, watch this one)

Season 5 Episode 7: Fool for Love

Season 5 Episode 16: The Body ( IM SO SORRY FOR THE TEARS)

Season 5 Episode 22: The Gift

Season 6 Episode 7: Once More with Feeling (THE MUSICAL)

Season 6 Episode 8: Tabula Rasa

Season 6 Episode 17: Normal Again

Season 6 Episode 22: Grave

Season 7 Episode 22: Chosen (THE TEARS)

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If you’re a fan, on newsstands today, Entertainment Weekly’s new issue is all about Buffy with an almost full cast reunion! Here is a link to the online version, but this looks like it is definitely worth picking up today! I can’t believe it’s been twenty years 😦

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