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.
On May 20, 2003 Buffy the Vampire Slayer went off the air for good. Joss Whedon’s groundbreaking series about a Los Angeles teenager who was chosen to save the world (a lot) by fighting the forces of evil (it wasn’t just vampires y’all) until her death. Buffy the Vampire Slayer holds a special place in many people’s hearts, and for good reason. It was filled to the brim with relatable, quirky and lovable characters that happened to live on top of a Hellmouth.
To say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was critically lauded would be an extreme understatement. Since it premiered in 1997, it has ranked among many top publications’ “Best Of” lists,* including (but not limited to):
- 41st on TV Guide’s list of 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time
- 2nd on Empire‘s “50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time”
- 27th on The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Hollywood’s 100 Favorite TV Shows”
- 3rd in 2004 and 2007 on TV Guide‘s “Top Cult Shows Ever”
- Listed in Time magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time”
- List of “The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time” and ranked it #38 on its list of the “60 Best Series of All Time”.
- 3rd Best School Show of All Time by AOL TV.
It is interesting to talk to a younger generation about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even today, 13 years after its end, it is still misunderstood as “that silly show about a girl who fights vampires” by people who have never seen it. Or they start to watch the first season and think it’s lame (Just make it to season 2 you guys! “Surprise” was the turning point episode for me). If only everyone could have had the same experience so many other did while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was a truly special experience.
To describe my passion for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and how emotionally tied to it I am would take a novel’s worth of words, but I just wanted to use this space to bring attention to one of the greatest television shows of all time. Joss Whedon really made me feel like these characters were actually my friends, and watching reruns after the series ended was an important part of my teenage years (it’s very queer-friendly, in case you didn’t already know). It’s also a big part of the reason I would sell my soul to Satan himself to get to meet Sarah Michelle Gellar (or Emma Caulfield, or Alyson Hannigan, or Eliza Dushku, et al). But I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer at a time in my life when I was bullied and picked on frequently, so the series acted as my safe haven. My umbrella, if you will. I feel like a lot of fans of the series were in a similar situation as me, and in that the show has brought many of us together.
As was usually the case with shows of Buffy’s kind, I was not allowed to watch it while I was growing up. My parents didn’t let me start watching it until I was in 8th grade, which is when the final season aired. I was just 14 when the series went off the air, and by that time I had rapidly caught up during the previous year by watching the reruns FX would air at 5am and 6am every morning (they would re-air those same episodes at 3pm and 4pm that afternoon, so it made it easy to catch up in case I missed one). By the time the finale aired I was mostly caught up, and what a satisfying finale “Chosen” was.
I could go on and on about how I’ve seen “Once More, With Feeling” at least 20 times and how I play the soundtrack on my iPhone at least once a month. I could describe the seven episodes that have made me cry (“Passion,” “The Body,” “The Gift,” “Hell’s Bells,” “Grave,” “Selfless” and “Chosen”). I could explain my reasoning behind ordering the seasons from best to worst like this: 3, 5, 2, 6, 4, 7, 1 (it’s not that I hate the first season, it just hasn’t aged nearly as well as the others). I could even write a character study on why Anya Christina Emmanuella Jenkins
Harris is the absolute best character in the show.
I won’t do any of that though, because I want to hear all of your thoughts and stories on this fantastic series. If you’ve never watched it, go to Netflix right now and start a binge-watch. Just make it past that first season (as I mentioned above, it’s always difficult to get people into Buffy specifically because that first season, sans the finale, has not aged very well). If you’ve already seen the entire series three times or more, take an hour today to go back and re-watch “Chosen,” the series finale of this truly special show.
What are your fondest memories of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? What were some of your favorite episodes? Who were your favorite characters? Do you still watch episodes on Netflix (or your DVD box sets) today? Let us know in the comments below or shoot me a Tweet, as I’m always game for discussing some Buffy. In the meantime, please enjoy these 50 amazing Anya moments.