Wednesday, 12 November 2014

TV Shows that I want back episode 6 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

As Ian is preoccupied fretting about how I'll cope with my assessment on Monday (spoiler alert, badly) it seemed fair to donate one of my posts to keep his blog up to date! So, here is my love letter to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.....enjoy!


I thought I'd have a slight change from new TV shows I love, by looking at another old TV show I love and want back! This time it's Buffy the Vampire Slayer......

For any youngsters out there (I'm 35 and youngsters have never even heard of some of the things I love! Tis depressing!) Buffy the Vampire Slayer was born from Joss Whedon's (The Avengers....just in case you also don't know who one of the Geek Gods is!) genius mind, and started life as a movie in 1992, with Kristy Swanson - who also starred in one of my other favourite ever shows, Psych (here's the link to my Psych post), as Lassie's (eventual) wife Marlowe Viccellio - and Luke Perry. Whedon wrote the film, but the finished article deviated from his original script, and he was less than happy....and who can blame him? So, the TV show was his chance to present the story and characters that he'd written, to make it darker and less, well, fluffy. He had tried to write a story about the blonde who always gets killed in every horror movie. He wrote about an empowered woman, but the film was turned into a comedy, which reduced his storyline to a throwaway comedy movie - which is exactly what it became, before it gained cult status. The show ran from 1997 to 2003, and spawned a spinoff, Angel, in 1999, and is still a cult favourite. Whedon continued the storyline in graphic novels, and also saw his original script turned into a graphic novel - which he was much happier with.

The storyline followed a teenage girl, who was the Slayer. This is the voiceover at the start of the early episodes:

Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. She is the Slayer.

When one slayer dies, the next is called from a large group of 'Potentials', Buffy and the Scoobies (her friends, who all help her fight the baddies!) eventually discover the origins of the Slayer line and harness that power to make all the Potentials into Slayers, in order to defeat the First Evil. Buffy has a Watcher named Rupert Giles, a decidedly tweedy Englishman, who is hiding a decidedly UNtweedy past. She is unique amongst the Slayers, as she has died twice, but returned to life each time. After her first 'death' in season 1, a new Slayer is called, named Kendra. This means there are 2 active Slayers. When Kendra is murdered by Drusilla in season 2, another Slayer is called, Faith. As it turns out, Faith had a tough life and goes to the dark side pretty quickly. Eventually, after being put into a coma by Buffy, switching bodies with Buffy, escaping to LA where she abducted and tortured her Watcher, Wesley, Faith is caught and begins her rehabilitation, helped by Angel. She returns to help Buffy, the Scoobies and the Potentials in the fight against the First.

Buffy has a number of love interests in the show, most notably AngelRiley and Spike. Despite being the Slayer, she develops relationships with 2 vampires, Angel and Spike. Her relationship with Riley doesn't run too smoothly either, as it turns out that he is a soldier, working for the Initiative, a group of soldiers and scientists, capturing, studying and effectively neutering supernatural creatures. Buffy has even battled a God, Glory, or Glorificus, a God from another dimension who was imprisoned but managed to escape her prison by coming into our dimension. The battle with Glory causes Buffy's second death, when she throws herself into the portal that Glory has opened with Buffy's little sister Dawn - who, as it turned out, was a mystical key, needed by Glory to open the portal, that was turned into a human girl and placed with the Summers family for protection - blood. Creatures start to escape into our dimension as the portal opens, and Buffy knows that Dawn would need to die to close it. She realises that as Dawn was created from her, her blood is Dawn's blood, so she jumps from the platform, into the portal, and dies. The Scoobies work for months to bring Buffy back, eventually finding and casting a spell to bring her back - little did they know that they were ripping her out of heaven....oops!

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers, the Slayer.

As the Slayer, Buffy has a few added extras, such as speed, huge strength, intuition and prophetic dreams, rapid healing, extra stamina and agility and quicker reflexes. In a reference to the film, Buffy arrives in Sunnydale after setting fire to the gym of her old school, Hemery High and getting kicked out. Her mother, Joyce, moves them out of LA to Sunnydale for a fresh start, much to Buffy's dismay. Little does she know that her new home is the site of a mystical convergence known as The Hellmouth, which happens to be situated underneath her new high school's library.....which also happens to be where her new Watcher, Giles, works! Having decided to leave her job as the Slayer behind when she moves to Sunnydale, Buffy is highly unimpressed that it has followed her. She tells Giles that she won't be the Slayer anymore, that she wants to be a normal teenage girl. Sadly for Buffy her resolution doesn't last long, as a dead body, drained of it's blood and sporting fang marks, shows up in the girl's locker room! Luckily for her, she makes new friends in Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris - but she sadly loses a potential friend, Jesse, to the vampires. With the help of Giles, Buffy and her newly formed Scooby Gang work together against all the vampires and demons that Sunnydale has to offer. Buffy starts the show as a slightly ditzy (on the surface only), blonde, cheerleader type. Her true warrior self shows up pretty quickly mind, as she goes on to be the most feared, and possibly longest lived, Slayer in history. She averts apocalypses every season, battles old lovers and new enemies, and all while trying to keep her secret identity hidden, she deserves a medal - which in fact she got, while at her last school dance, when the school named her Class Protector, as she had managed to make her class mortality rate drop! She treasures the trophy she received, and it helps to guide her back to herself in an episode where she lost confidence in herself. Buffy becomes a true warrior and leader by the end of the show's run, training the Potentials who come to her for protection. Sadly, she loses most of her fun side as she suffers repeated tragedies, and must carry the safety of the world on her shoulders.

Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles, Buffy's Watcher.  

At the start of the show Giles worked for the Watcher's Council and is also the Sunnydale High School librarian, and is tasked with her training and documenting her time as the Slayer. As the show progresses however, Giles begins to become a father figure to Buffy and the rest of the Scooby Gang, replacing Buffy's absent father, Willow's distant parents and Xander's hands off family. He is shown to be extremely uptight and 'British'.....although I would like to point out to Joss Whedon that Giles was more southern British than us, extremely not posh, northerners! We eventually find out that he was a rebel in his youth, dabbling in the dark arts and trying to pull away from his destiny as Watcher. His nickname from that time was Ripper, and he works hard to surpress that side of himself, only letting it out to play when he has no choice. He does whatever he believes is necessary to prepare and protect Buffy, in one instance committing the murder of an innocent mortal to prevent Glory's return, as he knew Buffy could never do so. Giles falls in love with a fellow teacher, Jenny Calendar, who is really named Janna Kalderash. She had been sent to spy on Angel by her gypsy tribe, who had cursed him by returning his soul, after he murdered one of their young women. She was supposed to ensure that his curse remained intact, which meant that she had to prevent him from experiencing a moment of true happiness - which she failed to do. Angel murdered her when he lost his soul, and left her in Giles' bed in order to devastate the Scoobies. Giles is extremely intelligent and is somewhat adept at magic, eventually buying the town's seemingly cursed magic shop which becomes the base for the Scoobies in later seasons. He tends to get kidnapped and knocked out rather often, much to his chagrin, but he is solid and brave no matter what he faces.

Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg, Buffy's best friend.

Willow is a shy, somewhat nerdy and wickedly smart girl who ends up becoming Buffy's first friend in Sunnydale. Unfortunately, it's this new friendship, and the confidence boost it gives her, which nearly costs Willow her life the day they met! Buffy advised her to 'seize the day', which Willow chatting up a vamp! Eek! Luckily, Buffy saves her life and they become best friends, with Willow helping Buffy fight evil. She has been in love with her other best friend, Xander, since she was a child, but he remains oblivious to her charms until the third season. Sadly, the two never officially get together, despite their love for each other. Willow's other love interests included Daniel Osbourne, or Oz, who turns out to be a werewolf. They are blissfully happy, other than a blip where Xander finally notices Willow, until Oz meets a female werewolf, Verruca, at college. When he realises that he can't control his wolf, after almost attacking Willow, he leaves Sunnydale, and Willow, to search for a cure or some way to control his wolf side. While he is away, Willow delves deeper into witchcraft, which she first dabbled in by returning Angel's soul at the end of season 2. While exploring her powers at college, she meets a fellow witch, Tara Maclay, and as the 2 get closer they realise they are falling in love. When Oz returns, after finding some control over his wolf side, he realises that the 2 women have fallen in love and his control snaps. After this, Oz leaves for good, and Willow and Tara become a couple. Willow's powers grow hugely, enabling her to return Buffy from the dead after the battle with Glory. She becomes addicted to using magic, and, as a result Tara ends their relationship, Willow learns to control her powers and the two eventually reunite. Sadly, Tara is killed soon after by Warren, when he tries to murder Buffy by shooting her. Willow is so wild with grief that she allows her powers to take over, and becomes Dark Willow. She finds Warren, and flays him alive, and tries to find and kill Jonathan and Andrew, but Buffy saves them. Buffy in unable to fight Willow, while protecting everyone else, but luckily Giles arrives - having returned to England to force Buffy to emotionally engage with her life again, rather than leaning on him - and he has been imbued with the strength of a powerful Coven. He almost dies in the fight, but he manages to force Willow to feel again. This appears to backfire immensely, as she starts to experience all the pain in the world, and decides to end it by destroying the world. Only Xander can reach her, by telling her he loves her no matter what, and saying that if she wants to destroy the world she'll have to start with him. No matter what she does to hurt him he refuses to leave her, there is nowhere else he would be at the end, he'd have to be with her. This forces her to feel her own grief, and, as she comes back to herself, her darkness seeps away. After these events, Willow needed to heal, so Giles takes her back to the Coven, who help her deal with her grief and guilt at taking a human life. She learns to control her powers, and eventually returns to Sunnydale to rebuild her life. Willow, reluctantly, falls in love with a brash Potential named Kennedy, who arrives in Sunnydale seeking Buffy. Kennedy doesn't understand what Willow has been through, and why she needs to be so careful with her powers, until Willow drains some of her life force while performing a spell. Even then, she doesn't believe that Willow could go dark, or that she would have to kill her in the finale if she did. Luckily, when Willow performs the spell to unlock the power of the Slayer line, to turn every Potential into a Slayer, she actually goes the other way and channels purely light power.

Nicholas Brendan as Xander Harris.

Xander is a lovable, slightly dim but extremely brave high school student, who develops an instant crush on Buffy in the pilot episode. He has been friends with Willow since they were little, and while he does seem aware of the fact that she's in love with him, he shows no romantic interest in her until the third season. Sadly for Xander, his crush on Buffy is unrequited, and he is extremely jealous of any man she's interested in or involved with. During the second season, he becomes romantically involved with Cordelia Chase, the rich Alpha female of Sunnydale High. They attempt to keep their relationship a secret at first, but when found out it causes huge ruptions for their friends. Willow is devastated that he has chosen someone like Cordelia, while Cordy's friends ridicule her for dating someone as unpopular as Xander. Cordy swiftly dumps him to save face, hurting Xander immensely, and causing him to turn to Amy, a witch, who he forces into casting a love spell on Cordelia. The spell backfires, however, causing every female except Cordy to fall in love with him, which sends the women of Sunnydale into a murderous frenzy as they fight over him. Once Cordy realises how much he cares for her, she turns on her so called friends and gets back together with Xander. During the third season, when Xander eventually falls for Willow, Cordelia is left heartbroken and badly injured after finding the two together, and falling through a floor and becoming impaled. She refuses to reconcile with Xander, and is tricked into making a wish to punish him by the vengeance demon Anyanka, who has enrolled at school as Anya. Anya punishes  men by granted the wishes of wronged women. Cordy wishes that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, which Anya grants. Cordy is then plunged into an alternate universe, where The Master has successfully risen, and where Willow and Xander are both vamps, and are a couple. Once she realises how bad the world is without Buffy, she tries to tell the alternate Giles about the wish, but is killed by vamps before she can fully explain. Giles eventually works it out, and destroys Anya's necklace, which is her power source, reversing the wish, and leaving Anya human. In an odd twist, Anya falls in love with Xander, and the two eventually enter into a serious relationship, even becoming engaged. Xander is tricked into believing that his future self has returned, on his wedding day, to warn him not to marry Anya as they will make each other miserable. It turns out to be a former victim of Anyanka, wanting revenge, but Xander realises that he has misgivings and calls off the wedding, leaving Anya heartbroken. She becomes a demon again, and returns (eventually after earning a reputation for being soft) to punishing men with zeal, until she goes too far, leaving a frat house dead. Buffy decides that Anyanka must die and they fight, but, before Buffy kills her, Anya begs her master, D'Hoffryn, to reverse what she has done, knowing she must pay with the life of a vengeance demon, which she believes to be herself. Instead, he kills her friend and fellow vengeance demon Halfrek, or Hallie, in front of her. Despite the fact that they still love each other, Xander and Anya never officially reconcile, but do enjoy a sexual relationship in the final season. Xander is heartbroken, yet proud, when Anya dies in the final battle against the First.

David Boreanaz as Angel, or Angelus,

Angel is a vampire cursed with a soul, the only one in existence, until Spike manages to become ensoulled in the later seasons. He and Buffy are soulmates, despite the fact that they are also mortal enemies. At first he tries to keep Buffy at arms length, but he continues to fall in love with her and the two consummate their relationship in season 2, causing his curse to be broken, and he once again loses his soul. For the rest of season 2, Angelus, along with Drusilla and Spike, is the Big Bad, trying to bring about the end of the human world. In the last 2 episodes of season 2 we find out more about his origins. He was born Liam in 18th century Ireland, and was the son of a wealthy man. He was a disappointment to his father, as he simply wanted to drink and sleep around, which is how he came to meet his sireDarla. After turned turned him, he returned to kill his entire family, and went on to take the name Angelus, becoming the world's most viscious vampire. He sired Drusilla, but first he tormented her and made her lose her mind, he killed her family then turned her, creating an insane vampire. Drusilla went on to sire Spike, who become competition for Angelus throughout both their lives. In the final episode of season 2, Willow manages to restore Angel's soul, but sadly it is too late, as the process that Angelus started to end the world has already begun. Buffy then has to look her soulmate in the eye while she stabs him and sends him to a hell dimension. During season 3, Angel is mysteriously returned to life, but has been driven almost mad by the tortures of the hell dimension. Buffy nurses him back to health, but despite their deep love they know they can never truly be together. At the end of season 3, after helping Buffy defeat Mayor Wilkins, Angel leaves Sunnydale and moves to Los Angeles, becoming a private detective in the spinoff show, Angel.   

James Marsters as Spike.

Spike first appears in the season 2 episode 'School Hard', where he traps Buffy and her classmates, along with their parents and teachers, in Sunnydale High. Spike has come to Sunnydale to kill his third Slayer, and to heal his lover and sire Drusilla. Despite his inability to kill Buffy, he sticks around and succeeds in returning Drusilla to health, at the expense of his own. When Angel loses his soul, Spike is initially extremely happy to have his grand-sire back, but his joy is shortlived when Angelus resumes a sexual relationship with Dru. Spike goes on to form an uneasy alliance with Buffy, to stop Angelus destroying the world, and to save Drusilla. He returns in season 3, depressed after being dumped by Dru. He kidnaps Willow and Xander, and forces Willow to cast a love spell to win back Dru. He eventually realises that she stopped loving him because he went soft, so he goes off to kidnap her and torture her until she likes him again. Spike returns in season 4, and is eventually captured by the Initiative, who put a chip in his brain to stop him hurting humans. When he escapes, he turns to Buffy for help and they form another uneasy alliance.  Unlike most vampires, Spike is capable of love and loyalty and understands human emotions extremely well. As a human he was a soft hearted poet, who cared for his sick mother. When Dru turned him, rather than murdering his mother, he turned her to save her from TB. When he saw the soulless monster she had become, he was forced to stake her. Spike eventually realises that he has fallen in love with Buffy, much to her disgust, and it is only after she is returned from the dead that she softens towards him. He is the only one she can talk to about her new darker side, and the pair begin a, somewhat violent, sexual relationship. Disgusted with herself, Buffy breaks it off, causing Spike to attempt to force himself on her. He is disgusted and devastated at what he tried to do, and vows to go and become the man he once was. He returns to Sunnydale with his soul restored, after going through demon trials. He is mad with grief and guilt at what he has done in his vampiric life, and ends up as a hostage and weapon of The First. At the end of the shows run, Spike sacrifices his life to seal the Hellmouth, and save Buffy and the new Slayers, feeling his soul burn as he is incinerated and dies a hero. He then appears in the final season of Angel, after the amulet he wore to close the Hellmouth is sent to Angel.

There are so many amazing characters in the Buffyverse that I just can't include them all here! My favourites of all the rest have to be CordeliaOzWesleyTara and especially Anya! I could bang on for weeks about this show and never get fact I may have to wake up Ian and make him watch all 7 seasons......

Are you a Buffy fan? Who was your favourite character? Any shows you would love to see back? Leave me a comment!

Thanks for popping by!




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