Since its inception over a decade ago and the premiere of the pilot episode (the first episode of any series), which aired exactly 17 years ago today (FUN FACT) as of this writing, Buffy, as it came to be known as, lived on in pop culture and its existence has influenced multiple series that came after it. In particular, the popular use of pop culture that was a touchstone of its dialogue and the existence of a “big bad” per season has popped up in other series such as Smallville.
Indelibly, Buffy has become a cult show, so much so that professors have used this show as a springboard for some of their college lectures. But what makes the show worth watching? Easy. Characters, plot, action, and its universal themes culminated into a unique show that was unlike anything that came before it. Based on the 1992 film of the same name, it was touted as My So Called Life meets The X-Files. But don’t let the title of the show deter you–its success cannot be denied. It spoke volumes. The basic premise of the show is perfectly summed up in the prologue that preceded the first and second season of the show: “In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness.”
The dialogue popped and zinged. When Buffy dispatched vampires or demons, she did so with a mixture of gymnastics and martial arts finesse. The characters; they acted like real teenagers in that they faced many problems that teenagers deal with without glossing it over. The monsters that Buffy fought stood as a metaphor for the social problems that plagued the characters in each episode. And therein lied the cleverness of the series. Each season, the characters evolved and changed in some facet. Some for the better, some for worse. One thing remained the same in all seven seasons, the cast was magnetic. If you are familiar with Joss Whedon’s trademarks, they were also not safe…
Buffy followed the mold of The X-Files, combining stand alone “Monster of the Week” episodes with mythology episodes. Each episode would be sprinkled with clues that dealt with the season long story arc. In doing so, Buffy was one of the few shows at that time that had consistent continuity from episode to episode. So events that happened in one episode would be brought up again in a later one.
The show was smart, sharp, and witty. If you haven’t watched a single episode, pick up the complete series available at the Niles Library! You won’t be disappointed.
This post concludes my top 5 underrated shows. Sound off!…What are some of your favorites?