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RERUN REVIEW: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1×01 “Welcome to the Hellmouth”

Nowadays, we live in an era of entertainment where vampires, demons, magic, werewolves, and all things supernatural are extremely prevalent. To list a few: True Blood, Twilight, Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Underworld, Resident Evil…need I go on? But I thought it would be fun to give a second look at the one of the original vampires series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now, when I say original, I know it’s not the first thing ever with vampires, and I know that the television show followed a horrible 1992 movie (I mean Paul Reubens playing a vampire…Pee-Wee?…Really?). However, forgetting that movie existed, which by the way was not what Joss Whedon envisioned for the Buffy-verse at all, Buffy the Vampire Slayer the television show was the first to make vampires sexy.

For those of you who need a refresher about the show, the basic premise is simple: “In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer”. However, things are actually more complicated. The powers go to the person least expected: Buffy Summers, a sixteen year old girl with the stereotypical traits of the girl who always gets killed first in horror movies (blonde, popular, peppy, cheerleader). On top of not only dealing killing homicidal forces of evil, managing high school, and coping with the “joys” of teen-hood, Buffy Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) falls in love with Angel, the original tall and brooding vampire (I’m looking at you, Edward Cullen!). What!? A vampire slayer falls in love with a vampire with a soul? And if he experiences true happiness (which he can’t help but not to with Buffy), he turns into a sadistic psycho killer? Now that *cough* Twilight, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, etc.*cough* is forbidden love.

So it’s been eighteen years since the first season aired on television, and I thought I would go way back to the beginning, before the First Evil, before dark Willow, before the creepy smiling Gentlemen from “Hush”, before Spike and Drusilla. Yes, I’m going back to the very first episode that aired on television on March 10, 1997: “Welcome to the Hellmouth”.

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I mean, the first scene breaks expectations about the innocent little blonde girl. It starts off as a typical horror movie scene: two young lovers break into the high school, scared and in the dark, and one of them dies. Except rather than creepy guy killing the girl like expected, the girl becomes a vampire and sucks him dry. Ahh…Darla, there’s a bad guy I don’t miss. Maybe it’s because she didn’t have much of a chance to shine on Buffy, but she’s no Drusilla.

Oof! And everything is so nineties, which I mean I guess is fine for this show. The nineties were a grungy period and it works for these angsty vampires. Can you imagine if Angel showed up in skinny jeans and a beanie cap instead? Not the same effect. Also the limitation of technology also forces interesting turns in the plot. Buffy or Xander could have just texted Willow, “Stop! That guy U left the Bronz3 with iz a (Vampire emojii)”…problem solved, but series probably cancelled.

And oh Yeah…I forgot Xander had a crush on Buffy, pre-Cordelia and pre-Cordy part two..I mean…pre-Anya. I also forgot that Willow was still geeky and in love with Xander. Although I liked Oz and Tara (not Kennedy), I missed Willow’s cute little childhood crush. Call me a simpleton, but I liked the series better when they were in high school. The plot was more about the demon at hand rather than the dramas of their lives. And there was just so much crying, especially in the last three seasons. At least, I am happy to report, the pilot episode had ZERO tears. Also, while the banter in the first episode between Giles and Buffy is still between a reluctant slayer and her watcher rather than a father-figure and his ward like in the later seasons, I like the sharp and witty repertoire they share. Buffy’s innocence about demons makes her so much more endearing rather than her self-important attitude in the later seasons, where the other characters don’t even like her that much. All the first episode needed was to find a way to somehow put Spike in, and then it would have been perfect.

* Favorite line of the episode: “I just wanted to tell you that you won’t be meeting Coach Foster, the woman with the chest hair, because gym was canceled due to the *extreme* dead guy in the locker.”- Cordelia Chase *

Of course, the actual fighting and slaying of vampires is saved for the last few minutes of the episode. And while the fighting choreography is not as fast as The Flash’s or as brutal as Daredevil’s, Buffy still kicks some major butt! But she’s not invulnerable. We’ve got to make it fair for the other demons, and that’s fine with me. Always knowing there is a danger that Buffy might get hurt or die (once or twice) always makes each fight thrilling.

WAIT WHAT! Then it ends on a “To Be Continued…”? Oh Hellllll Naw! I forgot how Buffy defeats the huge vampire, Luke! And I forgot how WIllow and Xander avoid getting turned into vampires, at least in this reality (“The Wish” amirite?) And how do they stop the Harvest again? Well, I guess I’m just gonna have to watch the next episode…and the next one…and the next one…You know what, I think I’m just gonna re-watch the entire series, or at least until lil’ sis Dawn shows up (yawn).

So my verdict is that the Buffy the Vampire Slayer still holds up as one of the most interesting supernatural series aired on television.

Do you agree that this show was awesome? What are your favorite Buffy moments? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Elizabeth Banalagay