90’s wit, one-liner gems and pre-sophisticated special effects: I give you Joss Whedon’s masterpiece, Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Whedon said the title was important in summing up the show. Buffy: funny name, comedy. Vampire: scary. Slayer: action packed. The ‘The’ stands for everything else, including the playlist of the decade.
Buffy Summers is a typical teenager and previous ‘it girl’ from L.A., faced with the destiny of being the chosen one (AKA the Slayer) who will rid the world of vampires, demons, and master criminal nerds (but not until Season 6).
Expelled from her old school (what can you say – burning down a gymnasium filled with vampires is not a legitimate excuse), she arrives with mother Joyce in the apparently low profile town of Sunnydale. Unbeknownst to our shoulder-chipped heroine, Sunnydale, and the school library in fact, sits atop a Hellmouth which, apart from routinely spewing out evil of one kind or another, acts as a homing beacon for the undead, the undefeated, the underappreciated, and no less than seven averted apocalypses. Oh, and Buffy’s flunking History. And she’s fallen for some mysterious guy called Angel who routinely shows up with bad tidings.
Too much for a humble American high school student to handle? Luckily, her best friends Willow and Xander are on hand for helpful research, supportive sarcasm and the occasional magic spell. Rupert Giles, the long suffering British librarian of Sunnydale High, takes on the challenge of being Buffy’s Watcher (tea drinking trainer, commentator and sometime punch bag for vampires).
The Scooby gang of four grow as the seasons progress to include the zany, the demented and the frankly plain weird. Standing firm throughout is Whedon’s signature humour and the meshing of the magical and emotional. Try episode six of Season Two, titled ‘Halloween’, for a taste of genius. As Oz, werewolf and Scooby member, says in the understatement of the century: “Our lives are different from other people’s…”