In high school, one of the main drivers that got me into comic books was Smallville. In its first season, it was pretty much mindless entertainment with super-heroics and the freak of the week. The following seasons still had the occasional bad guy enhanced by Kryptonite, however there was an even grander story arc building. So like Smallville, I believe the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was only the primer for great things to come.
With the magic of Netflix, I've decided to dive into the Whedonverse while killing myself on the elliptical at the gym. Joss Whedon definitely has a cult following, so why not join in with his major breakthrough - Buffy. I never watched it when it originally aired on the WB, but I've been exposed to some of Whedon's other work including Astonishing X-Men and Dollhouse (I will definetly blog on this after rewatching - I LOVE Eliza Dushku).
So when we are first introduced to Buffy (played by the beautiful Sarah Michelle Gellar), she just moved to Sunnydale after having trouble at her old school in LA (you can see the Kristy Swanson movie for her Slayer Past). It turns out Sunnydale was built on top of Hellmouth, the nexus of the supernatural. Destined to be a vampire slayer, it was fate that Buffy was brought there to battle the evil forces that attack the town. So in order to balance the trifecta of her high school, personal, and slayer lives, Buffy has a cast of characters to support her along the way:
- Xander Harris (played by Nicholas Brendon) - He's a goofy high schooler who is a great friend to Buffy, but wants more...
- Willow Rosenberg (played by Alyson Hannigan) - She a geeky yet intelligent chick who becomes Buffy's best friend. However she really has the hots for Xander.
- Rupert Giles (played by Anthony Stewart Head) - He's the school libraian who just happens to be Buffy's watcher and slayer trainer.
- Cordelia Chase (played by Charisma Carpenter) - She's the beautiful but stuck-up mean girl of Sunnydale High.
- Angel (played by David Boreanaz) - He's the mysterious man who Buffy is infatuated with (and ends up getting his own spin-off series)
This is probably more for personal reference, but here's a quick rundown of each episode from Season 1:
- Welcome to the Hellmouth - Buffy tries to be a normal student at Sunnydale High School...
- The Harvest - Buffy welcomes her fate as the slayer after preventing the Master from escaping Hellmouth through the Vessel.
- Witch - A witch switches bodies with her daughter so she can be a cheerleader, casting spells on anyone in her way.
- Teacher's Pet - The sexy school teacher is really giant praying mantis who seduces and eats teenage school boys.
- Never Kill a Boy on the First Date - Buffy discovers it is hard to have a normal boyfriend and be a slayer.
- The Pack - Xander and others become possesed by evil hyenas that eat the Principal.
- Angel - Buffy falls for Angel until she discovers he's a vampire.
- I, Robot... You, Jane - A demon is wreaking havok across the internet after his spirit is scanned in from a book.
- The Puppet Show - The dummy is really a demon hunter.
- Nightmares - We see the deepest fears of the Buffy crew.
- Out of Mind, Out of Sight - The invisible girl wants Cordelia Dead!
- Prophecy Girl - Will Buffy give up slaying to stay alive or face the Master to save humanity?
Overall, it was a fun first season. It will be entertaining to see actors who played minor roles throughout the series land bigger roles in other projects later. For instance the vampire Darla, played by Julie Benz, later becomes Rita on Dexter (you can definitely tell by her blond hair and distinctive voice). There is some awesome dialogue with witty punchlines between Buffy, Xander, and Willow. At the local hangout called The Bronze, some great music was featured by live Indie / Grunge performers (at this time, the WB was fantastic at featuring new bands). So Season 1 established a strong cast by battling the monster of the week, but now I'm ready for more charater development and watch Whedon's story unfold.
So on Death List Five, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 ranks #4.