Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is trying to put her past behind her. Moving to Sunnydale with her mother (Kristine Sutherland), Buffy finds being a vampire slayer is an occupation she can’t give up. With new friends Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and a new Watcher named Giles (Anthony Head), Buffy learns that Sunnydale is right over the Hellmouth and she’s dealing with more than just vampires. With a world of weird headed at her Buffy and “the Scooby Gang” are out to save the world.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer—Season 1 was a mid-season replacement that aired from March 10, 1997 to June 2, 1997 on the WB. The series was adapted by Buffy’s creator Joss Whedon and is loosely tied to the 1992 movie which he also wrote. The series was met with critical acclaim and Whedon’s writing style changed how many “teen” shows were written.
I had really liked the concept of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when I saw the original film…unfortunately, it wasn’t very good. I had sincere doubts when I saw that there was going to be a Buffy TV series and remember watching it in my dorm room when it premiered…an loving it. It was snarky, goofy, and just the perfect escape at the time.
Buffy is one of those series that has been hurt by time. It still is a solidly plotted series and events really matter. Things that happen in season 1 still resonate in the later seasons. It was a new concept for this type of series. Unfortunately, tons of other series from Supernatural to Smallville mimicked the format to varied success. Buffy was the original and still one of the best, but it sometimes seems a bit forced.
Part of the plus and problem of the series is Sarah Michelle Gellar. You love her or hate her. I started out loving her…she was new, bubbly, and overly perky…especially this first season. You only have two Buffys. Snarky one-liner Buffy or mopey My-So-Called-Life Buffy…Gellar never really evolved past this and watching the first season reminds me of this.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer also suffers from poor visuals. The TV series was very low-budget and it often shows. In addition to that, it just isn’t shot well. The framing and the action shots often are poor and confusing…I wonder what the show could have done with a bigger budget and better directors.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer—Season 1 is pretty rough in the Buffy-verse. It has a lot of Creature-of-the-Week episodes that don’t really tie into the greater mythos (but they do occasionally come up). Buffy really doesn’t get going until the second and third season, but it remains original…a classic!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:
1.1 Welcome to the Hellmouth—Part 1 Airdate: 03/10/97
Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her mother (Kristine Sutherland) have moved from Los Angeles to Sunnydale where Buffy is starting a new school. Buffy finds that she can’t escape her past as her life as a vampire slayer follows her. With a chance at popularity with Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), Buffy finds possible friendship with nerdy Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and love struck Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon). Buffy learns from her new Watcher Rupter Giles (Anthony Head), that Sunnydale isn’t all it seems…a night out to the Bronze leads to an encounter with a mysterious man (David Boreanaz) and a danger to Willow.
1.2 The Harvest—Part 2 Airdate: 03/10/97
Willow and Xander’s friend Jesse (Eric Balfour) has been kidnapped by Darla (Julie Benz) and Luke (Brian Thompson) for the Harvest to free the Master (Mark Metcalf). Using Jesse as bait for the Slayer, Buffy finds her mysterious stranger Angel might know more than he is telling her. Buffy and Xander head into the sewers under Sunnydale to rescue Jesse and must escape as the Harvest gets closer…but Buffy’s grounding could bring about the end of the world.
1.3 Witch Airdate: 03/17/97
Buffy decides to give Sunnydale’s cheerleading squad a shot but finds herself involved in a mystery when one of the cheerleaders catches fire during the tryouts. When Giles suspects witchcraft, Buffy learns that her fellow student Amy Madison (Elizabeth Anne Allen) and her fear of her cheerleading obsessed mother (Robin Riker) might be behind it when Cordelia is attacked. When Buffy is targeted by Amy, Giles and Buffy learn the truth.
1.4 Teacher’s Pet Airdate: 03/24/97
When Buffy, Xander, and Willow’s science teacher disappears, a new substitute teacher named Natalie French (Musetta Vander) has taken his place. With all the boys including Xander falling for her, Ms. French might have other motives, and Xander could be the target of…the She-Mantis! Plus, Buffy has a return meeting with the mysterious Angel.
1.5 Never Kill a Boy on the First Date Airdate: 03/31/97
Buffy finds herself in a position to go out with Owen Thurman (Christopher Wiehl), but unfortunately, a new threat of a prophecy to free the Master keeps getting in the way. When Buffy skips slaying to go on a date, Giles could find himself in trouble.
1.6 The Pack Airdate: 04/07/97
A class trip to the zoo has Xander hanging out with a new crowd. As Xander begins to change, Buffy, Willow, and Giles learn that the cause may be a demonic hyena.
1.7 Angel Airdate: 04/14/97
When The Master sends the Three after Buffy, Buffy finds Angel to be her savior. Buffy uncovers Angel’s secret…he’s a vampire! Framed by Darla (Julie Benz), Buffy and Angel find themselves face to face in a battle to the death.
1.8 I, Robot…You, Jane Airdate: 04/28/97
Willow has a new boyfriend named Malcolm, but Buffy and Xander worry when they learn she’s only chatted through the internet. Giles finds himself teaming with the technology teacher Jenny Calendar (Robia LaMorte) to uncover a demon named Moloch trapped on the internet.
1.9 The Puppet Show Airdate: 05/05/97
The new principal (Armin Shimerman) orders Willow, Buffy, and Xander to become more integrated into the school and forces them to join the talent show. When bodies begin to appear, the most likely suspect could be a student named Morgan Shay (Richard Werner) and his dummy Sid.
1.10 Nightmares Airdate: 05/12/97
Nightmares are coming true at Sunnydale High. As Giles, Xander, Willow, and Buffy are tortured by their fears, they must find what is causing the nightmares…and their ties to a boy named Billy Palmer (Jeremy Foley).
1.11 Out of Mind, Out of Sight Airdate: 05/19/97
Sunnydale is suffering from mysterious events. When Buffy uncovers that the events surround Cordellia, an invisible girl (Clea DuVall) is found to be the danger…and Buffy she has more in common with her than she thought. Angel goes to Giles with a warning about the Master.
1.12 Prophecy Girl Airdate: 06/02/97
The darkness is growing, and Giles makes a discovery that shows Buffy might be doomed. As Buffy must decide if she is willing to sacrifice herself to stop the Master, the opening of the Hellmouth might mean the end of the Earth.