Before the world went bonkers for Edward Cullen in Twilight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer introduced us to one of the most iconic female lead characters of the ‘90s. Sarah Michelle Gellar who you might recall from Cruel Intentions and I Know What You Did Last Summer, rose to fame as Buffy, a teen valley-girl turned demon Slayer in the 1997 supernatural drama series.
Buffy was a woman on a pre-destined mission – to destroy vampires, demons, evil and the occasional boyfriend, which is a hazard of the dating game if you’re hooking up with the creatures you’re compelled to kill.
And while most vampires in Buffy were straight up wicked (not to mention ugggg-leee) who didn’t fall in love with a young David Boreanaz as Angel, or with James Masters as the witty, dry, sarcastic Spike?
So nicknamed because his poetry was so terrible, it made people want to stick a railroad spike through their heads, or because impaling people on spikes was his favourite method of torture. Depends who you ask.
Not a single nosferatu sparkled, there was no faery blood or daylight rings to free these creatures from their prison of night-time-only hours, crucifixes and holy water still held harmful properties. It’s enough to make you say ‘those were the days.’
Backing Buffy up was ‘the Scooby Gang’, fellow high school students Xander and Willow (Alyson Hannigan before How I Met Your Mother fame), Cordelia and Giles, Sunnydale High’s librarian and a ‘Watcher’ assigned to train and guide Slayers. Cooking Buffy’s meals and being a general super mum to the Scooby Gang was Joyce Summers, whose sarcasm was revelatory in that it showed where her daughters got it from.
The dialogue was sharp and witty, story-lines swung from horrifying to humorous yet somehow managed to remain relatable, and it didn’t shy away from tough topics like online bullying and same sex relationships, that even two decades on, we as a society are still navigating.
Originally created by Joss Whedon to be a one-off feature film, it spawned seven seasons, a slew of comic books and recently celebrated 20 years since its’ spectacular launch into pop cultural history.
Needless to say, in a ‘90s television landscape full of alpha male action heroes, Buffy was a game-changer. Whedon showed that a teenage girl didn’t have to be a brainless ditz, she could be a powerful female protagonist, a demon-fighting badass juggling a supernatural destiny while dealing with typical teen tribulations like falling in love, death, pain, grief, friendship breakdowns and wondering why her roommate irons her jeans (what sort of evil person does that?!).
And speaking of clothes, watchers of the show will undoubtedly cringe at the array of laughably bad fashion examples from the era. Check out the Twitter account dedicated to them, here.