BtVS opening

What is Buffy the Vampire Slayer about?

My first ever fandom was Buffy the Vampire Slayer so what better way to start my fandom guides than with the fandom that started it all for me? Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Buffy or BtVS is a popular 90s/early 00s TV show that aired first on the WB and later UPN. It was one of the first ‘girl power’ genre shows and at its time of airing gained a cult following that has persisted throughout the years. So what is Buffy the Vampire Slayer about?

BtVS opening

What is Buffy the Vampire Slayer about?

BtVS was initially a film starring Kristy Swanson, but it is more famous for its TV show of the same name. It is not necessary to have watched the film to understand the TV show as it is not a direct continuation and the show explains the events of the film. In the TV show Buffy is played by Sarah Michelle Geller and this is the role she is most known for.

The basic premise is Buffy is a 16-year old that discovers she is the ‘chosen one’ and with this status super strength. It is her destiny to hunt and kill vampires and other creatures to protect the lives of others. She does this under the guidance of her watcher Giles (Anthony Stewart Head). She also has a group of friends she affectionately calls ‘the Scooby Gang gang’. This consists of her two best friends Xander and Willow, along with later their love interests. The show follows Buffy through high school, college and then later entering the world of adulthood all whilst battling demons with her friends.

BtVS is one of the most well-known cult TV shows that was often praised for being ahead of its time and was not afraid to experiment. One episode was filmed almost completely without any spoken dialogue due to the monster of the week whilst another was a musical. It has inspired many other cult TV shows and its influence can be seen in shows such as: Supernatural and Wynnona Earp. BtVS is also notable for having one of the first lesbian relationships featured on TV which has added to its cult status amongst LGBT fans.

One of Buffy’s main love interests; Angel (David Boreanaz) went on to have a successful spin-off show which featured cameos from BtVS characters including Buffy herself. From season 3 of Buffy onwards Angel aired for 5 seasons. This allowed for crossovers between the two shows and the shows to reference events from each other. This created what is affectionately known as the ‘Buffyverse’ by fans.

After, season 7 Buffy ended. However, the story continues on in comic book form overseen by the creator; Joss Whedon. The same Whedon of Marvel/Avengers fame. The popularity of BtVS continues with many fan conventions across the globe and the actors being in demand for comic cons.

Who are the key characters of the Buffyverse?

L-R Giles, Buffy, Xander and Willow. Image copyrighted to Mutant Enemy Inc. and 20th Century Fox.

Buffy

Played by: Sarah Michelle Geller

Buffy is the title character and the character the show revolves around. She is the ‘chosen one’ and has super strength granted to her to defeat vampires and demons. She was initially the popular cheerleader at her old school before finding out she was the vampire slayer. After, events involving her vampire slaying at her old school she moves to Sunnydale with her mom. Here she meets her friends and new ‘watcher’ Giles. Her best friends are; Willow and Xander. Her 3 primary love interests are; Angel, Spike and Riley. The show follows her adventures from high school to adulthood. It is later revealed she has a sister called Dawn.

Angel

Played by: David Boreanaz

Angel is Buffy’s first love interest on the show. He also stars in his own spin-off show ‘Angel’. He is a centuries old vampire that has been ‘cursed’ with a soul. If he experiences a moment of true happiness then he loses his soul and reverts back to a ‘soulless monster’. He stars in the first 3 seasons of BtVS before moving to his own spin-off show which lasted for 5 seasons. He has cameos in later episodes of BtVS. His primary love interest on BtVS is; Buffy. He turned both Spike and his love interest Drusilla into vampires.

Xander

Played by: Nicholas Brendon

Xander is one of Buffy’s best friends. He is one of the few members of the ‘Scooby Gang gang’ that has no powers or a supernatural connection. He is a loyal friend to Buffy and Willow’s best friend from childhood. He has had romantic feelings towards both Buffy and Willow, but tends to be unlucky in love until he meets Anya. His best friends are: Buffy and Willow. His primary love interests are; Cordelia and Anya, but he has romantic connections with a few females on the show.

Willow

Played by: Alyson Hannigan

Willow is another of Buffy’s best friends. She grew up with Xander and they are childhood friends. In later seasons she becomes the resident witch for the Scooby Gang gang. She also realises that she is a lesbian and becomes part of one of the first lesbian relationships portrayed on TV. Her best friends are: Buffy and Xander. Initially she has an unrequited crush on Xander. Her primary love interests are: Oz, Tara and Kennedy.

Giles

Played by: Anthony Stewart Head

Giles is Buffy’s Watcher. This means he is tasked to watch over Buffy and teach her how to be a vampire slayer. Throughout the show his job or house become meeting places for the Scooby Gang. Initially he is the school’s librarian so they gather in the library, then whilst he is unemployed in season 4 they gather in his house and then from season 5 onwards he owns the magic shop.

Spike

Played by: James Marsters

Spike is another of Buffy’s love interests. He is also a vampire that was turned by Angel. He is initially a villain, however, he becomes good in later seasons and is very popular with viewers. After Buffy ended he crossed over to its spin-off and was a main character on Angel for season 5. His primary love interests are: Drusilla, Harmony and Buffy.

Anya

Played by: Emma Caulfield

Anya was originally introduced to the show as a villain. She was a vengeance demon and monster of the week for the Scooby Gang to defeat. She later lost her vengeance demon powers and joined the Scooby Gang. She often doesn’t understand human customs and needs them explained to her. Her primary love interest is: Xander.

Tara

Played by: Amber Benson

Tara is a witch and Willow’s primary love interest. She taught Willow how to use and develop her powers. She is a shy character, but Willow helps her come out of her shell and she becomes an integral part of the Scooby Gang.

Dawn

Played by: Michelle Trachtenburg

Dawn is Buffy’s sister and stars in the show from season 5. She like Xander is powerless, but does her best to help the Scooby Gang.

Feb 13, 2001; Burbank, California, USA; Front to Back (LtoR): Actors NICHOLAS BRENDON (Xander), ALYSON HANNIGAN (Willow), SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR (Buffy), MICHELLE TRACHTENBERG (Dawn), EMMA CAUFIELD (Anya), ANTHONY STEWART HEAD (Giles), AMBER BENSON (Tara) & JAMES MARSTERS (Spike) star in The WB’s hit series ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer.’
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jeffrey Thurnher/The WB/ZUMA Press.
(©) Copyright 2001 by Courtesy of The WB, HANDOUT

If you like Buffy check out:

  • Angel
  • Supernatural
  • Wynonna Earp
  • True Blood
  • Lost Girl
  • Vampire Diaries
  • iZombie
  • Charmed
  • Teen Wolf
  • Being Human
  • Shadowhunters

Interested in Merch for a loved one or starting the show yourself?

Check out my merchandise page for BtVS here.

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Comments

  1. Great introduction to Buffy the vampire slayer series. I like Vampire movies and series, Have done it all my life, when I was a kid, I loved all the Christopher Lee Dracula movies.
    I remember Buffy from 90’s. Unfortunately I didn’t see so many episodes. Of course, it is never too late to watch them, but these days I’m too busy seeing HBO and Netflix series. Nice that you have recommendation of series to watch if you liked Buffy, Was Angel the only Spin of show in Buffyverse?

    1. I’ve also been addicted to vampire shows and movies most of my life. I blame my brother getting me hooked at a young age with the Lost Boys. There’s a Vampire Chronicles TV show in development that I’m quite looking forward to. Wynonna Earp is on Netflix and quite good if you like supernatural shows.

      Angel was the only spin-off show that got developed. There was talks for years of a show about Giles when he was younger and I recall something about a Spike one at some point, but neither got made. There was a cartoon in development at one point too. Apparently they are rebooting Buffy in the next year or two though.

  2. Hi,
    I loved watching the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When I read this article, it is as if those scenes in TV were coming back to me.
    Your article is also informative – I like it when you described one by one each key characters.

    1. Glad I was able to bring some memories back for you. It’s such a good show. I wish they had done more. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Although I was never a fan, I did know about Buffy. I had a difficult time trying to understand why, after so many years, you’d want to blog about her and the show. Until, that is, I got down to this statement: Apparently they are rebooting Buffy in the next year or two though. Personally, I would have put that up into your regular content, the earlier the better, so readers would understand why you are blogging about Buffy today.

    On a more positive note, I liked the use of various photos scattered appropriately throughout your blog.

    1. A lot of people still have an interest in Buffy. It was a cult phenomenon that is still being discovered and watched by people on Netflix etc. The fandom is still going strong with regular fan conventions held throughout the world. It is still an important show to a lot of people and its story is being continued in comic book form. There’s a lot of mileage left in Buffy. For example; today a new comic series is being launched rebooting the series with Buffy and friends set in modern day high school. Then you have the TV show reboot that is set to happen.

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