Series Creator Joss Whedon has said that the idea for Buffy came from all the horror movies he had seen featuring a helpless young blonde who would almost always be the first to die. He felt she needed a better image.
Although she was not credited by name, one of the Executive Producers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) was Dolly Parton, who had a production partnership (called Sandollar Entertainment) with Sandy Gallin, who had managed Parton's career.
Series creator Joss Whedon wanted to do a musical episode as early as the first season, but the network wouldn't allow him to. When the show switched networks after the fifth season, he was finally able to get his wish, resulting in the episode Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, with Feeling (2001).
Kali Rocha, who showed up in the sixth season as vengeance demon Halfreck, first appeared in a flashback episode in the fifth season as Cecily, the woman who spurned William (James Marsters), causing him to become the vampire known as Spike. Having already cast Rocha as Halfreck, the writers knew the loyal fans would immediately recognize her, so as an inside joke between them, when Halfreck first saw Spike, she said, "William?" It is debated whether they are the same character.
Although Joss Whedon had intended to end the series after season seven, UPN were willing to renew the series for an eighth year. But Sarah Michelle Gellar said she would not return for a new season as did Whedon.
During the first through fourth seasons, the main stuntwoman for Sarah Michelle Gellar was Sophia Crawford, and the show's Stunt Coordinator was Crawford's husband, Jeff Pruitt. Pruitt and Crawford left at the end of season four, and Pruitt posted on a Buffy fans' Internet message board a lengthy diatribe titled "The Parable of the Knight," in which he aired his disagreements with the show's producers and star in the form of an allegorical fairy tale (Pruitt himself was "the knight" in his story). Showrunner Joss Whedon then responded on the same message boards, saying (in part): "this isn't a fairy tale. Or a thinly veiled 'parable.' It's a hard, gruelingly hard job, ten months a year, thirteen hours a day, with fifty or more people straining, working, getting in each other's face, stepping on each other's toes, driving each other crazy... There are conflicts, raging egos--and even occasional backstabbing, I'm sorry to say. There are very few 'plots,' and as far as I can tell, no jousting of any kind. People just wear on each other and eventually sometimes you have to make a change. No one's to blame--or everyone is. But either people get into a groove of working as part of the whole or they don't. And seeing yourself as a noble knight being plotted against by evil courtiers really doesn't help."
Ryan Reynolds was originally offered the role of Xander. He passed on it because of his own awful high school experiences. "I love that show and I loved Joss Whedon," Reynolds told 'The Toronto Star' in 2008. "But my biggest concern was that I didn't want to play a guy in high school." (Quoted in: Dibdin, Emma. "27 things you never knew about Buffy the Vampire Slayer," published in 'Digital Spy' Online, August 18 2014.)
Originally another actress had been cast as Anya, but backed out after finding out it was only for two guest spots. The role wound up going to Emma Caulfield, and, starting toward the end of the third season, Anya became a regular character throughout the rest of the show's run.
Because of the feud with UPN and the WB over Buffy jumping networks, crossovers between Buffy (which was on UPN), and Angel (1999) (which remained on the WB) were prohibited during season six (season three of Angel).
Joss Whedon based the character of Cordelia Chase on a girl, with whom his wife attended high school, and Xander Harris on himself. According to Nicholas Brendon, this is why Xander "gets all the good lines".
The entire first season was filmed before the first episode went to air, giving them the opportunity to go back and re-shoot various scenes. The scene in the library where Buffy states "it's my first day..." was actually filmed on the last day of shooting, after they decided her original performance was too forceful and aggressive. Another scene added to the pilot (to fill in time, as it was shorter than expected) was the infamous "you have something in your eye" scene, where The Master blinds a vampire who had failed him.
David Fury said in some DVD commentaries that Sarah Michelle Gellar doesn't like to act laughing because she found herself too fake. To tease her, Fury wrote scenes where Buffy laughed whenever he could.
Buffy's birthday was celebrated in the episode first aired on or near January nineteenth each year. In the first-year episode "I Robot, You Jane", Malcolm brings up Buffy's school records on his computer. In the first view, we see that Buffy was born on October 24, 1979, and a senior, then it's zoomed in, and says that it is October 24, 1980, and that she is a sophomore. The second time we see Buffy's records, her birthday is May 6, 1979, and she is a senior. Then her tombstone, in episode ten, stated a birth year of 1981. Joss Whedon finally decreed Buffy's birthday to be January 19, 1981.
Interviewer Will Harris asked why actors from the cancelled series Firefly (2002) became characters in the last few seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) and Angel (1999), referring to Nathan Fillion as Caleb in "Buffy" and to Gina Torres as Jasmine and Adam Baldwin as Marcus Hamilton in "Angel" (as well as Alan Tudyk in Dollhouse (2009)), and whether Whedon had promised them "work if their show tanked." Whedon replied, "No, you know, I was against it at first. I thought, it'll seem incestuous and weird. But then, they're, like, Joss, nobody saw Firefly (2002). No one will know. You know these actors are great, you know you love working with them, you know you need somebody bigger than life for the role, and, so, get over it. And I did. Rather dramatically." in "Joss for a minute: A brief chat with Joss Whedon," (11/29/2005).
Sarah Michelle Gellar was the only one to appear in all one hundred forty-five episodes (including the unaired pilot). Alyson Hannigan appeared in all one hundred forty-four of the regular episodes. Nicholas Brendon was only absent in season seven, episode seven.
Originally, Joss Whedon didn't want either of Buffy's parents to appear as characters on the show. Accepting that that could get complicated, he settled on just having her mother, Joyce, appear in a nearly regular role, while Buffy's father Hank appeared in very few episodes.
The series is not based on the feature film Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), but Joss Whedon's original screenplay, which had been heavily re-written to be more comedic. The Buffy comic book series adapted the screenplay, bringing the events of the movie in-line with the television show's continuity.
U.S. ratings for the series over the seven year run: Season One - 3.7 million viewers; Season Two - 5.2 million viewers; Season Three - 5.3 million viewers; Season Four - 5.1 million viewers; Season Five - 4.5 million viewers; Season Six - 4.6 million; viewers Season Seven - 4.1 million.
Throughout the series, there are numerous references to reference books, or spells, being written in Sumerian. Sumerian writing is the oldest example of writing on Earth. Although hieroglyphs were first used, symbols were later made to represent syllables. In fact, a large body of hundreds of thousands of texts in the Sumerian language have survived, such as personal or business letters, receipts, lexical lists, laws, hymns, prayers, stories, daily records, and even libraries full of clay tablets. Monumental inscriptions and texts on different objects like statues or bricks are also very common. Many texts survive in multiple copies, because they were repeatedly transcribed by scribes-in-training.
The prologue ("In every generation there is a chosen one....") is not used consistently. Two of the first twelve episodes don't use it. During the second season, use of the prologue becomes even more spotty. Rupert (Anthony Head) intones it only during the second season.
In a May 6, 2003 interview by Fred Topel, Alyson Hannigan and Alexis Denisof jokingly talked about the show's death of cast members as the series progressed toward its end. Hannigan said, "Nobody dies on our shows." Denisov said, "Death is insignificant." Hannigan added, "Death is just really a plot twist." This has long since become a joke among fans, but here it is articulated by two cast members, who knew what would happen in the months between the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997), and the fourth season of Angel (1999).
The character Jenny Calendar (Robia LaMorte) was originally to have been called Nicki. This was changed to Jenny to avoid confusion on the set, Nicholas Brendon being generally called Nicky by his co-stars. However, in season seven, the character Nikki Wood (K.D. Aubert) was added, and appears in several episodes.
Seth Green disliked being underutilized in season three, as he hated having to show up for work, when he'd only have one or two lines the whole time. This is why Oz is absent midway through season four.
In Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Buffy says that her only life goals are to "graduate, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die." Although Joss Whedon has repeatedly stressed that the movie should not be considered "canon" for the television show, by the end of it, Buffy actually accomplishes three of these goals, graduate, go to Europe, and die, although, not in that order.
Producer and Writer Marti Noxon, who was hired during the second season, reportedly thought the series would be a failed television show after a "failed movie", but was hooked after watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Angel (1997) (particularly the scene in which Buffy offers her neck to Angel).
According to Visual Effects Supervisor Loni Peristere, an average episode has eighteen to fifty visual effects shots, about ten percent of the total number of shots. The two most common are vampires morphing into game-face, and vampires being dusted. For those, the effects team uses Maya V.4.5 with Stroika, a collection of plug-ins and software, which lets the artists take image maps, or photographs, and emit particles of the same color and lighting.
The first vampire make-up test was done on Julie Benz, and caused her to have an allergic reaction towards the prosthetic. She also reportedly felt uncomfortable removing the six layers of make-up, and the vampire lenses frequently.
The literal translation of Hellmouth, in Dutch, would be Helmond. However, this is the name of an actual town in the Netherlands, so the writers of the subtitles on the Buffy DVDs decided to translate it to Hellemond, which roughly translates to Hell's Mouth.
Every main character listed in the main credits has wrecked an automobile, except Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg), and Anya (Emma Caulfield). Both of whom did not possess a Driver's License, and yet operated a vehicle.
During the fourth season intros, one of the flashing scenes at the end, shows a Bringer, which doesn't appear until season seven as a regular character. However, the first appearance of the Bringers, and the First Evil, is in season three's episode "Amends", hence the appearance of the Bringers in the credits pre-season seven.
Comic book writer Gail Simone (known for her titles "Birds of Prey", "Wonder Woman", and "Red Sonja") was invited to write a season for the series, but was under exclusive contract with DC Comics, and declined. Gail wrote Wonder Woman (2009), while Joss Whedon wrote a script for a live-action film for the character, which fell into development hell (See Wonder Woman (2017)).
A HD remastered version, which was released on Blu-ray, and originally aired on the American television network Pivot, was heavily criticized by fans, due to its sloppy remastering. The most noticeable change is that the series was converted to 16:9, instead of keeping the original 4:3 aspect ratio. Because of that, many elements that weren't intended to be in a shot became briefly visible, like camera crews, technical equipment and even actors and actresses that were supposed to be out of frame. Also, many scenes were cropped to fit the 16:9 aspect ratio, which hides many details that were given in the 4:3 format, and some scenes were arranged in a wrong order. Apart from that, many effects (such as visual effects and color filters) were either altered to fit the HD standard, or not added at all. These shortcomings were considered so severe, that a petition was started, in the hope of getting a properly remastered HD release, especially in its original 4:3 format.
Although Emma Caulfield didn't appear on the show until the third season, she was the first person out of the show to be on the set. As it was used as the Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990) set, in which she appeared during 1995-96. This show did not start until 1997.
The title theme is strongly similar to a section of a German pop song, "Codo" by Deutsch-Österreichisches Feingefühl (DÖF). Nerf Herder, the composers of the theme, have stated that the similarity is coincidental.
The only actor under the age of 30 who was the appropriate age for his/her character was Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers). The rest were either a few years older or 100+ years younger than their characters.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
During an interview on the National Public Radio program "Fresh Air," Joss Whedon told interviewer David Bianculli that during the first few years Buffy was on the air, he used to frequent internet message boards about the show. On one such board, there was a discussion of what the posters perceived as sexual tension between the characters Buffy and Faith. Whedon posted that he disagreed, that he thought some viewers saw "lesbian subtext behind every corner" and that they just wanted "to see girls kiss." One poster asked Whedon to look at her website, where she had analyzed multiple Faith episodes and systematically laid out the subtext between the two slayers; after that, Whedon returned to the original posting board and apologized, saying that the original posters were absolutely correct about the lesbian subtext between Faith and Buffy.
Angel (David Boreanaz) was supposed to stay dead after the season finale of the second season, but the WB network came to Joss Whedon with the desire for a spin-off series, so Angel was brought back during the third season to set up his spin-off series Angel (1999).
Shooting season three, Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers) told Joss Whedon she was planning to leave the series. Whedon agreed partially, making her appear only in five episodes on season four, but also said he'd need her on season five, because her character was going to be killed.
The characters of Spike, Oz, Faith, Wesley, and Drusilla were all supposed to be killed off, but have ended up living long past their initial storylines. Also, the characters of Jenny and Joyce were supposed to be killed off sooner than they were.
Epilogue to some of the characters is given in Angel: The Girl in Question (2004). In that show, it is said that Buffy and Dawn are living in Rome, and Dawn is going to school there in order to learn Italian. This is an in-joke based on Kristine Sutherland, who played Joyce Summers on Buffy. She was largely absent from season four, because she was house-sitting in Italy, partly in order to allow her daughter to go to school there, and learn Italian. Now her character's daughters do the same.
After the series ended, Eliza Dushku was offered her own spin-off series as the character Faith. But then she turned it down to do Tru Calling (2003). She would work with Joss Whedon again on Dollhouse (2009).
Although the television show ended with the season seven finale, the storyline was continued in a forty-issue series of comic books that tell the story of the continued "season eight" The series is published by Dark Horse Comics, and produced by Joss Whedon. Many individual issues have been written by Whedon, or other writers who had worked on the show, including Jane Espenson, Drew Goddard, Drew Z. Greenberg, Steven S. DeKnight, and Doug Petrie. The first issue was released in March 2007 and (as of mid-2009) issues continue to be released. The season eight storyline has Buffy and her friends in charge of a quasi-military worldwide network of Slayers (the "potential" Slayers who were turned into actual Slayers toward the end of the show), with bases in Scotland (run by Xander), England (Giles), Italy (Andrew Wells), and Cleveland, Ohio (Robin Wood). The storyline for all surviving characters continues, with Willow, Xander, and Buffy all dating Slayers for varying lengths of time.
Originally, the third member of the sixth season's nerdly Trio was to be Tucker, villain of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Prom (1999). Plans fell through with that, so the writers replaced him with Andrew, Tucker's younger brother.
According to Nicholas Brendon, he and Sarah Michelle Gellar proposed a storyline for season seven, where Xander and Buffy get together romantically. Their idea was shot down, and they continued with the Buffy and Spike relationship.
Throughout the series, every character that owns the "Magic Box" shop, ended up brutally murdered, usually by a vampire. An unnamed clerk in the second season, a female unnamed clerk in the third one, Mr. Bogarty in season five, Anya Jenkins in the final season (slashed by one of the Bringers, minions of the First Evil), and at last, Giles (killed by a possessed Angel) in the season eight comic book.
The character played by Julia Lee, who first appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Lie to Me (1997) as the self-named "Chanterelle," reappeared under several different names over the runs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) and Angel (1999). At the start of her next appearance on this show (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Anne (1998)), she had changed her name to Lily. During that episode, she relates to Buffy one instance about her past, where she had joined a cult that renamed her "Sister Sunshine", and at the end of the episode, Buffy gives her both a job, and her newest sobriquet, "Anne" (Buffy's real middle name). By the time the character first appears on Angel (1999), she has kept "Anne" as her first name, and added the last name "Steele" to it. Although it is never mentioned on-screen, the original teleplay for "Lie to Me", indicated that her original name was Joan (which is also the name that Buffy chooses for herself when she can't remember any autobiographical details in "Tabula Rasa").
Almost all of the main characters have been demons at one point in the show: Buffy was a vampire in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Nightmares (1997), Xander was a vampire in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Wish (1998), along with Willow, whose vampire self also appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Doppelgangland (1999). Angel and Spike have always been vampires. Cordelia becomes a demon in Angel (1999). Oz is a werewolf. Anya was a demon when she first appeared on the show, and Giles turned into a demon in season four. Riley, Tara, and Dawn are the only main characters who were never demons, although Dawn used to be some sort of mystical Key-thingy, up until season five, and Tara's family had her convinced she was one until Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Family (2000).
Many actors and actresses were able to reappear on the show, despite the fact that their characters were killed off. Among those who reprised their roles, once their characters were killed or murdered, were Mark Metcalf as The Master, Robia LaMorte who appeared several times after the character of Jenny was killed, Azura Skye, Danny Strong, Lindsay Crouse, and Kristine Sutherland. Darla (Julie Benz) was killed during the first season, yet not only did the character appear in flashbacks, but she was also later resurrected from death, on Angel (1999).
All of the main trio (Buffy, Xander, and Willow) had relationships with other Vampire Slayers throughout the series. Willow started dating Kennedy (Iyari Limon) in the seventh season, Xander lost his virginity to Faith (Eliza Dushku) in season three, and dated a Slayer named Renee in the season eight comics, where Buffy had a sexual encounter with Satsu, a Japanese Slayer.
Sarah Michelle Gellar, who strongly believes Buffy and Angel are meant to be together, would sometimes get emotional on-set in their characters "farewell" screen moments, before David Boreanaz would star on Angel (1999). She also reportedly believes Joss Whedon's original intention was to have Buffy in love with Xander instead.
Of the core four - Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles - Xander is the only one not to have taken a human life. Buffy killed Gwendolyn Post via severing her arm, which in turn caused a bolt of lightning to destroy her, Willow skinned, and then incinerated Warren Mars in revenge for his killing Willow's girlfriend Tara McClay, and Giles killed Ben, who was the human prison for the Goddess Glory, by suffocating him.
The expiration date on Joyce's credit card, which is May 2001 in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Who Are You (2000), foreshadowed Buffy's death in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Gift (2001), which was broadcast on May 22, 2001.
It is a widespread misconception among viewers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and/or Angel that the character of Angel can't have sex without losing his soul. In fact, this was never stated on either show. Although he did lose his soul after having sex with Buffy for the first time (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Surprise and Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Innocence ), the curse that caused that stated only that he would lose his soul when he experienced "a moment of perfect happiness," something that not every sexual encounter affords him. For example, he kept his soul after having sex with Darla in season two of "Angel", because the encounter did not make him feel happy. On the spin-off, Angel went on to have sexual relationships with other women (Nina and Eve) without losing his soul after either encounter.