Binge Guide: ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’

Courtesy of Flickr/ Valentina Ariete

Courtesy of Flickr/ Valentina Ariete

Courtesy of Flickr/ Valentina Ariete

Courtesy of Flickr/ Valentina Ariete

By Nicole Fiorica

At a glance:

Genre: Paranormal Drama

Seasons/Episodes: 7/144

Avg Episode Length: 44 min

Available on: Netflix & Amazon Prime

What it’s about: 

Created by Josh Whedon (Avengers), “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is about high school student Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Geller, “The Crazy Ones”), who moves to Sunnydale, California for a fresh start. Upon her arrival, however, she learns that she is chosen to be the “Slayer,” a woman chosen once per generation to slay vampires, and that Sunnydale itself lies over the Hellmouth, a point of origin for magical monsters of all kinds. With the help of her friends and the school librarian, she accepts her destiny and devotes herself to keeping Sunnydale—and the world—safe from evil.

Why it’s so good:

Let us just say that “Buffy” is a cult classic for a reason. It is a fantasy show, but it is more about humanity than it is about vampires. It is about high school students tasked with saving the world while also fighting their own personal battles. The show is rewarding because the audience gets to watch them come into their own. Buffy’s relationship with vampire Angel (David Boreanaz, “Bones”) is so much more complex than any human-vampire romance you have seen in the last decade, and indeed, the emphasis of this story is on Buffy, not with whom Buffy falls in love. Filled with Whedon’s classic snarky one-liners, it mixes fun with its intricately emotional themes, making it a show for just about everyone.

Why you should binge it:

This show may have ended 10 years ago, but it remains entertaining and relevant; it’s virtually impossible to not relate to “Buffy” in some respect. The themes of this show will cut straight to the heart of anyone who ever struggled through high school. It’s seven seasons long, but well worth your time. If you are not familiar with the show, this Halloween is the perfect time to start.

Standouts:

Most of the regular cast: a lot of the enjoyment that comes from “Buffy” is the complexity of its characters and their arcs over the course of the series. Buffy’s snark and girl power are cornerstones of the show, but so is her emotional journey as she fulfills her destiny. Right at her side is her best friend Willow (Alyson Hannigan, “How I Met Your Mother”). Willow starts out as a shy nerd but she grows up over the course of several seasons to become one of the show’s most powerful, but complicated forces. While originally a “monster of the week” show, episodes become more creative as the series progressed, such as in “Hush,” an episode acted in complete silence. There are also deeply emotional episodes like “Innocence” (season 2) and “The Body” (season 5).

Potential Pitfalls:

As great as “Buffy” is, it got off to a little bit of slow start. Season 1 is short but notorious for its filler episodes, including “Teacher’s Pet” (in which a substitute teacher is actually a praying mantis), and “I Robot, You Jane” (when Willow releases a demon into the internet). The early seasons are still important, and you won’t want to miss “Angel” or the season finale “Prophecy Girl,” but you can feel free to skip around. As “Buffy” is essentially a ’90s show, the music and wardrobe choices will either make you nostalgic or slightly nauseous, but these are factors easily overlooked for the sake of the story.