Monday, April 2, 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Welcome to the Hellmouth

Welcome to the very first episode of the very first season of the television series that put Joss Whedon on the map!  I've chosen Buffy the Vampire Slayer to kick off my TV show bonanza because this was probably the first "grown-up" (I use that term loosely) shows that I watched when I was a kid, and it's been one of my favorites ever since.  It's been off the air for too long, and I'm overdue for a marathon.  Enjoy!

Buffy's a new student at the ironically-named Sunnydale High School, just trying to fit in while maintaining her secret identity.  Unfortunately, the terminally British librarian Giles is totally unwilling to indulge her denial, and insists that she accept her destiny as the Vampire Slayer.  The Buffster is Not Happy.

Meanwhile, she meets a few members of the Island of Misfit Toys (Willow and Xander, who are apparently what passes for outcasts on the WB), and it doesn't take them a super-long time to discover that a) Vampires are real, and b) Buffy kills them (don't tell anyone).

So between these crazy characters, a mysterious brooding guy who shows up every once and a while to drop some cryptic hints, and something called "The Harvest"...well, it doesn't seem like Buffy's going to get the chance to be all Susie High School anytime soon.  Especially since this episode ends with Xander, Willow, and Red Shirt Jesse being cornered by vampires and Buffy about to be eaten.

I love how low-budget 1990s the whole pre-credits sequence is.  But of course the most important thing here is Whedon's clever inversion of stereotypes.  When a teenage boy and a teenage girl sneak into a creepy, empty building in a horror movie, you expect the boy to be the one who turns out to be up to no good.  Not the cute little blonde who looks like a Catholic schoolgirl.  It's Whedon's way of telling us that this show is definitely going to go against type and defy our expectations, and I love it.

Willow is absolutely the cutest most darling little thing I've ever seen, in her jumpers and stockings.  I can't believe that they had originally cast a different actor in the role...Alyson Hannigan is one of the best things about an already pretty solid show.  Check out the original pilot.

It's like a creepy alternate universe, but not the fun kind where Jonathan is like James Bond.  Be warned though: the acting, even from the regulars who managed to hang onto their roles, is not what I would generally phrase as "good".


  • I love the blink and you miss it comment when some girl mockingly says, "What kind of name is Buffy?"  While another girl walks by, casually greeting her, "Hey Aphrodisia!"  Oh Joss, you're silly.

Let's all pause for a moment and appreciate the 1990s beefcake that is David Boreanaz.

Is it just me, or when Buffy had Angel on the ground and he said, "I don't bite," did anyone else expect him to get a pervy grin and add, "hard"?

  • I. love. Cordelia.  "What is your childhood trauma?!"

  • I have a really hard time not calling the Master, "Neidermeyer."  Because for those of you who don't know:

These are
the same guy

And our first episode ends with the dreaded TO BE CONTINUED.  Looks like we'll have to wait until next week's The Harvest to figure out whether the character of Buffy on the TV show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer makes it through the first two episodes.

JK, she's probably going to make it.  Although this is Joss Whedon...and we all know what he's capable of.

Verdict: 8 Stakes out of 10

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