Buffy the Vampire Slayer stands as one of my favorite television shows of all time. It is hard to believe that it has been 17 years since the first episode aired on the old WB network. I can actually remember sitting down watching the premiere with my friend Clint. We didn’t know much about the show, except for the movie, which neither of us liked. In fact, I had no intention of watching it because of how bad the movie was, but then they started showing promos for it. As a young male, an attractive lady could get me to do almost anything. I thought that Sarah Michelle Gellar was smoking hot and that alone was what got me intersted in the show. Clint was more of a Charisma Carpenter fan if my memory is correct. Regardless, we both had our reasons to watch and their names were Buffy and Cordelia.
It didn’t take long at all for the show to be about much more than satisfying my hormones. It was good, really good. It was the definition of ‘must watch’ TV for 7 seasons. Once the show ended in 2003 we were Buffyless until Dark Horse Comics picked up the mantle and started Buffy Season 8 in 2007. It continued the stories from the series and was followed by season 9 and now season 10 which launched on March 19, 2014!
So, in celebration of season 10 from Dark Horse, I am going to revisit the entire series. I’ll break it down season by season from the TV show through the comic seasons. We are going to have a great time looking back at all the great stuff from the Buffyverse!
BTVS: Season 1
The first two episodes, Welcome to the Hellmouth part 1 and The Harvest part 2 does a great job of introducing the characters. It picks up from the movie with Buffy moving to Sunnydale from LA, but seeing the movie is absolutely not necessary. It starts with Buffy in bed, a great start to any episode, and quickly catches us up to the fact that she is a Slayer. We meet Xander, who I realize now I totally identify with. He loves Buffy, hangs out with geeks and cracks jokes all the time. That meeting is followed by Willow, Cordelia, Giles and Angel. Buffy has decided to retire from slaying, but moving to the Hellmouth was not the best idea for that to happen. Before the end of the episode, we meet the Master and Buffy is fighting vampires and saving her new friends.
We don’t get the awesome theme song by Nerf Herder until the second episode, but it is present from there on out. There are many more great episodes this season. Since Buffy was a mid-season replacement, this was a shorter season, but they packed it full. Witch gives us a look at some of the non-vampire episodes that we will see and also just how dark they are willing to go. Angel finally gives us some answers to who Angel really is and that he is not what he seems. The tension between him and Giles starts and continues on for the rest of the series. Prophecy Girl is the season finale and Buffy has her showdown with the Master. She ends up dying and being brought back to life, which complicates the whole Slayer issue for season 2.
BTVS: Season 2
When She Was Bad opens the second season and sees Buffy struggling with being killed by the Master. The new bad is a child, The Anointed One, who is trying to revive the Master using his bones. Having a child as the villain is just plain creepy, but creepy with a dose of funny is what Buffy does best. School Hard introduces us to Spike, who rivals Angel as the most important vampire in BTVS history. Inca Mummy Girl introduces Oz and Dingoes At My Baby along with Jonathan Levinson, who ends up showing up throughout the entire run of the series. What’s My Line parts 1 & 2 introduces us to Kendra. The Slayer that was called when Buffy died in season 1. Surprise part 1 and Innocence part 2 have a lot of significance. Angel and Buffy have sex causing Angel to turn into Angelus. He is the villain for the rest of the season. Oz and Willow have their first date and Xander and Cordelia’s relationshp starts. Becoming parts 1 & 2 is the season finale and it brings Kendra back to Sunnydale. She meets up with Drusilla and things don’t end well. Angel and Buffy fight and in the end Buffy has to kill Angel after telling him that she loves him. The show really hit its stride in the second season and there are so many great episodes here.
BTVS: Season 3
Faith, Hope & Trick introduces us to Faith. She is the Slayer that was called when Kendra died. As much as I liked Buffy, I was pretty smitten with Faith too. She was the bad girl that every guy thinks they want. Beauty and the Beasts gives us the return of Angel, which Buffy keeps secret. Oz deals with being a werewolf and another of Buffy’s teachers dies. Homecoming introduces us to the Mayor, who is probably my favorite Buffy villain because he is so creepily normal. Lovers Walk is a hard episode because I really liked Xander and Cordelia and this episode sees that relationship end due to Xander and Willow secretly having an affair. The Wish is the first introduction of Anya who becomes an important member of the gang. Bad Girls is the first appearance of Wesley as the new Watcher and Faith accidentally kills a human. Graduation Day parts 1 & 2 brings Faith’s descent into evil to a head and her and Buffy fight ending with Buffy stabbing Faith. She then has to battle the Mayor in part 2 and wins with the help of the rest of her graduating class.
BTVS: Season 4
The Freshman is the first episode of the season and is also the first crossover with Angel since that character has his own show now. Cordelia is no longer part of the gang as she has moved to LA, later to appear on Angel. Wild at Heart is the last episode to feature Oz as a regular which leads Willow to start experimenting more with dark magic. The Initiative reveals who the soldiers are around town as a vampire task force. Spike also shows up in the opening titles as a series regular. Hush introduces The Gentlemen and it is an episode the is almost totally done without dialogue. It is one of my favorites and is one that I tell anyone wanting to watch the show to check out. This Year’s Girl part 1 brings back Faith and her and Buffy end up switching bodies. In part 2 Who Are You?, Faith continues as Buffy and wrecks havoc with her friends. In the end, bodies restored, Faith leaves for L.A. and ends up with Angel for help. The Yoko Factor wraps up the storyline with Adam, this season’s villain, and the Initiative into part 2.
BTVS: Season 5
Buffy vs. Dracula is the first episode of season 5 and Dracula being in it isn’t the biggest surprise. By the end of the episode Buffy has a sister, Dawn. It was hinted at in several earlier episodes, but she arrives thanks to an alternate universe. Buffy decides to embrace being a Slayer again and asks Giles to be her Watcher so that she can continue to learn. Fool for Love is another Angel crossover and deals with Spike’s growing feelings for Buffy. It is also the last time we see Darla. I Was Made to Love You was the episode I dreaded watching again. The ending came as such a shock and it was incredibly emotional. All I could think about this whole season was this episode. It burned into my memory. The following episode, The Body, continues the story of Joyce’s death. It was very hard to watch, but was done so very well. It is very emotional and it makes me tear up thinking about it while writing this. One of the most powerful episodes of TV I’ve ever seen. Intervention has Spike getting the Buffybot as his personal Buffy to do with as he pleases. As gross as that is, it actually ends up bringing Buffy and Spike closer together. The Gift is the season finale and Spike grows closer to Buffy because she doesn’t treat him like a monster. Dawn is going to be sacrificed, but Buffy saves her and takes her place, being killed for the second time.
BTVS: Season 6
Bargaining parts 1 & 2 shows the Scooby Gang patrolling without Buffy since she died in the last season. They are being led by Willow who is getting stronger as a witch and using the Buffybot when needed. This is the first episode to be shown on UPN after a move from The WB. Willow uses magic to bring Buffy back from the dead. Once More, with Feeling is the musical episode. This got so much attention and is many peoples favorite, but I have never liked it. That’s all I will say about it. Smashed is the start of Buffy and Spike’s sexual relationship. It’s also the point where I started to not like the show as much. Season 6 was where it left the rails for me and I actually stopped watching it. Mostly that was due to not being able to get UPN in consistently on my TV, but I didn’t like the direction the show was heading. As You Were sees the return of Riley and the reveal that he is married. Buffy also ends her relationship with Spike. Hell’s Bells is the episode where Xander and Anya are getting married. Unfortunately, Xander leaves Anya at the altar. Entropy sees Willow and Tara back together. Xander and Anya talk and he tells her how much he cares for her, but he doesn’t want to marry her. She tries to use her vengeance demon powers without luck. Seeing Red was a very dark episode. Spike attempts to force himself on Buffy and it causes him to leave Sunnydale. Tara and Willow are happily back together until a bullet comes through their window, hitting Tara in the back. As she dies, Willow’s eyes turn dark red. Two to Go part 1 and The Grave part 2 end the season. Willow is bent on revenge and is not allowing anything to stop her until the return of Giles. In part 2, Giles battles Willow with his own magical powers he was given in England. Willow absorbs his powers, but it weakens her enough for Xander to get to her and he tells her he loves her and will stay with her. This is enough to get her to let go of her dark powers and she reverts to normal. It is also revealed that Spike gets his soul back.
BTVS: Season 7
Beneath You shows that Willow is training with Giles in England. Buffy is working at the new school as a counselor with Dawn attending as a student. The end of the episode has Buffy realizing that Spike now has a soul. Selfless is the episode that deals with Anya being a revenge demon again. Xander professes that he still loves her only to have Anya leave him. Never Leave Me reveals The First to Buffy as the people controlling Spike. They also attack the Watcher Council and destroy their headquarters, killing many Watchers. In Bring on the Night, Giles informs Buffy that The First are hunting all the Slayer trainees, as well as, her and Faith. Potential is the start of Buffy and Spike training the new Slayers. Dirty Girls brings back Faith to Sunnydale. She is no longer bad, thanks to Angel. Xander is seriously injured. Buffy is leading the potential Slayers. Empty Places has everyone leave Sunnydale. Buffy is asked to leave due to nobody trusting her anymore and Faith takes control of the potential Slayers. Chosen is the series finale and sees the death of several major characters. All the potential Slayers are now full Slayers and Buffy is no longer the only one. The events of this episode wrap up the show, but the series continues in the comics done by Dark Horse.
BTVS: Season 8
Season 8 picks up a year after the events of the television series. It spans 40 issues and really takes things to the next level. Trying to sum up 40 issues is a herculean task, but here goes. In The Long Way Home parts 1-4 Buffy is leader of a bunch of Slayers, over 1800 and Xander is acting as Buffy’s Watcher of sorts. Dawn is a giant and the military is looking for Buffy. They recruit a familiar face to help with that. Willow returns and meets up with someone that has a reason to want to hurt her. No Future For You parts 1-4 has Faith returning. Giles has hired her to kill a Slayer that isn’t using her powers for the side of good. Twilight is introduced as the villain for this season. Wolves at the Gate parts 1-4 sees Buffy in bed with another Slayer and, even though she wants to keep it secret, everyone finds out. Xander recruits the biggest and baddest vampire of all for help in dealing with the Japanese vampires. Dawn, as a giant, goes through the streets of Japan and any fan of Godzilla will surely laugh at that. It even gets funnier in the next issue, but I’ll save that for you. Retreat parts 1-5 brings the gang back together with Buffy. They are under attack by Twilight and there is the return of another old friend. Xander and Dawn get close and it is also revealed that Buffy has a spy inside of Twilight. Twilight parts 1-4 starts out with Buffy now having super powers. She doesn’t know how, but her and Xander are trying to figure them all out. Twilight reveals himself and he is also someone from Buffy’s past. After a earth shaking reunion, Buffy and Twilight team-up to fight. The last issue has one more surprise. There’s another vampire in the house. Last Gleaming parts 1-5 wraps up season 8. The Master has returned with a seed. Buffy and the gang have to return to Sunnydale to protect it. The seed is actually responsible for everything that has happened in Sunnydale and infects those who can do what it needs. The Master was one such person and now Twilight is the other. There is a huge fight and Buffy does what has to be done, but the price is high. One of the gang does not make it. Due to her actions, Buffy has changed the events that made up up this season and season 7 of the show. Major changes have taken place that effect those close to her, but one thing did not change. She is still Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
BTVS: Season 9
Freefall parts 1-4 kick off season 9. Everyone is still dealing with events of season 8. Willow’s life has changed the most of the gang and Buffy is back to patrolling every night. She runs into another person killing vampires and they team-up. Buffy attracts the attention of the police and they complicate her patrols. The rogue slayer that showed up at the end of last season is back and is hunting for Buffy. Apart of me parts 1-3 has a surprise for Buffy. She is not quite as she seems. It is the return of another favorite character from the show as Buffy needs helping putting things back together. Literally. Simone, the rogue slayer, is wrecking havoc and putting Buffy through a lot. Buffy ends up being a bodyguard in Guarded parts 1-3 and is working for Willow’s ex Kennedy. She hires slayers as bodyguards and Buffy is looking for better income and a break from slaying. Demons have something to say about that and Buffy does what Buffy does best. She realizes that slaying is her destiny. Welcome to the Team brings us the revelation that the absence of magic from the world is actually killing Dawn. She was created by magical energy and can’t live without it. The Core parts 1-5 end season 9. Willow has access to some magic so Buffy is hopeful of being able to save Dawn. There is a fight between Buffy and the rogue slayer. Willow uses her magic to create the one thing that is needed to restore magic to the world. Buffy has a final battle with Simone, the rogue slayer, and they go about saving Dawn. Nothing is without consequence and in the end, Buffy realizes that their actions have caused change. It also created something new.
So, there you have it. Buffy was a show that meant a lot to me. I really enjoyed going back through it and remembering all the great episodes and watching ones that I had never seen. I’m thrilled that Dark Horse is continuing the adventures of Buffy and I truly hope you check out those comics. They truly “feel” like Buffy. The writing and dialogue are spot on and I am glad to have Buffy and gang back in my life.