Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to what I hope will be the start of many TV reviews to comes. Today I will be reviewing the first season of one of the most well-known and beloved TV shows from the 90s, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now I watched a bit of this show when I was a kid but was never an avid fan or followed it in any capacity. Since 2013 was the year when I decided to explore Joss Whedon’s back catalogue starting with Dollhouse, then moving on to Firefly and Serenity. Now that I’ve finally arrived at Whedon’s longest running show I was interested to see what the hype was about and I can say now this show is definitely worth a watch.
This show involves Buffy Summers, a seemingly normal teenage girl who has a not so normal secret, she’s a vampire slayer. At the start of this show Buffy’s already been a vampire slayer for a while, but this has affected her social life and previous times at school. After moving to a new school in Sunnydale Buffy attempts to start to life fresh again, but can’t due to the supernatural happenings goes on in the town. So after a few adventures Buffy along with her watcher, Giles and her two friends Xander and Willow tackle these bizarre episodes as they take place over the course of this season.
The show deals with a lot of issues not only in the episodical sense but also over the course of the series. What we mainly get is the ups and downs of high school life and Buffy balancing her normal life with her slayer activities. This first season basically establishes who Buffy is, the types of enemies she’ll be facing outside the regular vampires and we establish Buffy and her little group as they solve mysteries together.
What I like about this show is its unusual nature. I’m assuming at the time that a lot of the codes and conventions of this show involving its handling of powers, mythology and having a strong female leading character were not that common in 90s.
The show can’t be hated on for its creativity, in each new episode there is something new and there’s a different challenge for Buffy and friends to take on. You got vampires, witchcraft, puppets, animals and more. I for the most part I really like the stories and writing in this show, its strong, witty and at times quite heartfelt. There is a fair amount of variation and while it doesn’t always work it is definitely noteworthy. For all of his good points there are a few bad ones I have to bring up, Buffy has a very cheesy nature to it which is an element found throughout all shows in the 90s, this leads to some cheesy dialogue, questionable stories and not so tight fight choreography.
Episode highlights include:
- Welcome to the Hellmouth
- The Harvest
- The Pack
- I Robot, You Jane
- Prophecy Girl
When it comes to the cast they’re very solid both in the area of the main and recurring stars of the show. So let’s start with Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers. Buffy is a sassy, brave and tenacious teenage with knows how to kick ass but also wants a normal life outside of her duties as a vampire slayer and Gellar shows a lot of range over the course of this first season. Also I can see why Buffy had so many male fans back in the day, she was the definition of hotness. Gellar always looked good, she was gorgeous and was practically the first celebrity crush young boys (I know because a fair few of my mates were OBSESSED with her).
Then there’s Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris. Xander is a man who is a constant source humour, sarcasm and surprise. I like his character because his great dialogue, strange nature but also his rational thinking in some of this difficult situations. Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg is also great, I love her because of her cute, nerdy nature. At first she’s really timid and not overly confident but we get see her grow over the course of the series, Hannigan does well in giving us a very likeable and relatable character in this first season. Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles, this character is the person who watches over Buffy and supplies the kids with information. I really love Head’s performance because his character is so attached to his books, so out of touch with current things and his seemingly calm/boring demeanour. And lastly Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase is great too, her character essentially the popular girl who’s self-centered, insensitive and puts down all people around her who aren’t popular. While her character isn’t that likeable Carpenter does well her role and does have funny moments in this season too. There are also other notable characters I liked including David Boreanaz as Angel, Mark Metcalf as The Master and Brian Thompson as Luke.
In conclusion the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a lot of fun. The show starts in a very intriguing fashion progressing with interesting storylines, a great deal of emotion and a cool cast of characters led by a strong leading lady in the form of Sarah Michelle Gellar. While I’ve only just started this show, I can see the appeal and can see why the show was such a big deal back in the 90s, can’t wait to see how the rest of the series unfolds.
Rating: 8/10 (A strong and enticing first season start to show)