There is an unspoken code that we TV enthusiasts live by – that is that we are expected to have watched certain shows to consider ourselves worthy of such a title – one of those shows is Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Often listed among the greatest television shows in history, Joss Whedon’s dramedy about a young woman gifted with supernatural abilities ran for seven successful years and paved the way for almost every TV show that we know and love today. But perhaps the most interesting thing about Buffy is its influence – an influence that affected not only television and the vampire genre – but the influence that it had on fans of the show – myself included.
My first experience with Buffy The Vampire Slayer occurred when I was little more than seven years old. Buffy was the show that everybody talked about in school and I knew that I had to watch it. I was captivated and terrified at the same time as I witnessed Buffy running from a giant CGI snake. I was too young to understand what I was watching, but that memory never left my head. For many years, Buffy remained at the top of my must watch list. It was many years later, in 2011 when I made the commitment and bought Season One on DVD. One episode led to another, then another, and before I knew it I was buying season after season. Buffy was compelling, terrifying and, perhaps most of all, it was relatable – it was human. Buffy herself was relatable – a social outcast, unable to socialise as she pleased because, as the Slayer, things were expected of her. She also had to go through the trials of high school, just like any other teenager.
Unable to keep quiet, I told my friends about Buffy and within weeks, one friend in particular requested my DVDs. Discussing the show with this friend every week made Buffy alive – it was as if it were still on TV. We often discussed Anya’s antics or the unforgettable musical episode. I remember that somber feeling in my stomach as I watched the final episode. Living in a Buffy-less world was hard to get used to at first. I watch a lot of TV shows, but Buffy was probably my first experience at great storytelling on television – the strength of the writing and the strength of the characters influenced my decision to become a writer and for that I will forever be grateful to Buffy.
In terms of the influence it had on television, it’s obvious that several of the more recent vampire and young adult series’/films have been influenced by Buffy. One could argue that shows such as The Vampire Diaries and movies like Twilight would not at all have been possible if it weren’t for Joss Whedon paving the way. Similarly, the strong female character with an attitude has since been adapted in several series’ – characters such as Arrow‘s Laurel Lance, Legends of Tomorrow‘s Sara Lance and Game of Thrones‘ Daenerys Targaryen all have elements of Buffy within them.It doesn’t matter how many years ago Buffy ended, because it’s essence is still as strong today as the day it ended. Because of streaming services like Netflix and the new HD remaster that’s been circulating channels worldwide, Buffy is constantly being discovered by a new audience and this proves that it doesn’t matter if Buffy’s not an on-going series because the show will always be alive to it’s viewers. Buffy The Vampire Slayer was certainly “something to sing about” because let’s face it: she saved the world…a lot, and will continue to do so for many years to come.
Don’t worry Buffy, we will.
How did you first experience Buffy The Vampire Slayer? Is it your favourite show of all time? Tell me in the comments below!