Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003)
20 user 3 critic

Welcome to the Hellmouth 

When teen vampire slayer Buffy tries to start a new life at Sunnydale High, she discovers that the school sits atop a demonic dimensional portal.


, (uncredited)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Boy (as Carmine D. Giovinazzo)


Buffy Summers just moved with her mom from L.A. (where she set fire to the school gym) to Sunnydale, which is alas experiencing a plague of vampirism. She meets nerd Willow Rosenberg, soft-cool skateboarder Xander Harris and his mate Jesse McNally, fashionable snooty Cordelia Chase and the somewhat creepy new, British librarian Rupert Giles. When a corpse with bite-marks is found in a locker, she realizes but refuses to acknowledge that her vampire-killing past is catching up with her and keeps Giles, her watcher (trainer), at arms-length, but is stalked by Angel who refers to the hell-mouth. Finally her destiny kicks in... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 March 1997 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The high school used for external and some internal scenes in the series is Torrance High, the same school used for Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990). See more »


When Darla encounters Buffy, she is confused about how she is so strong, knows of their kind (vampires), and can fight so well. However, Darla has encountered at least 2 slayers in the past, which is later revealed on the Angel series. Darla would have known that Buffy is a slayer. See more »


[first lines]
Darla: Are you sure this is a good idea?
Darla's Victim: It's a great idea. Now come on.
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References The Wild Bunch (1969) See more »


Losing Ground
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"Into every generation, a Slayer is born..."
13 July 2009 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

It comes as a surprise of sorts to find out the entire first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was completed before the pilot had even aired, partly because series creator Joss Whedon wasn't that big a name at the time to secure that kind of deal (he was best known for being one of the Oscar-nominated writers of Toy Story), partly because the disappointing film version from 1992 - an embarrassing horror/action/comedy hybrid - didn't exactly make people crave more Buffy stories. Then again, it's very possible that the WB execs realized the show had the potential to live up to Whedon's original, untouched vision, which it did almost from the very beginning.

Picking up where the original film script ended, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) moves to a small town called Sunnydale with her mother Joyce (Kristine Sutherland) after being expelled from school in Los Angeles (she torched the gym). As soon as she begins her new life, she finds herself torn between the popular girls, led by the self-centered Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), who is a lot like Buffy used to be, and the normal guys (in other words, the "losers"), ideally represented by Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and her best friend Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon).

What really bugs her, though, is the school librarian Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), a member of the Watchers' Council, reminding her of her true nature: she is the Slayer, the latest in a long lineage of women - generally one per generation - chosen to fight and kill all kinds of demons that infest our world, especially vampires. And since Sunnydale is located on a Hellmouth (a place that attracts demons), and an age-old vamp called the Master (Mark Metcalf) and his minions, Darla (Julie Benz) and Luke (Brian Thompson, aka the Alien Bounty Hunter from The X-Files) are preparing a bona fide massacre, it looks like a Slayer could be needed. Of course, some additional help, say in the form of a brooding stranger (David Boreanaz), is always welcome as well.

The thing that grabs attention about the pilot episode is how it plays with genres, something that went on to become the show's trademark: on the one hand, we have the classic epic storyline involving a fight between good and evil, with the twist of the chosen one being a girl (Whedon has explicitly said he created Buffy as a counterbalance to the typical horror movie girl who just runs and screams all the time); the there's the sharp, occasionally cruel coming-of-age story mixed with clever high school comedy. Besides, the two archetypes are beautifully combined via the narrative gimmick, already present in genre gems like Carrie and The Exorcist, of the protagonist's new abilities simply being a metaphor for growing up (another tradition of the series).

And what about said protagonist? Well, Gellar nails the sweet/bad-ass balance at once, while everyone else plays their respective roles to perfection: Hannigan and Brendon the lovable sidekicks, Head the occasionally pompous British mentor, Carpenter the annoying girl who gets in the way and Metcalf, Benz and Thompson the charismatic villains who are every bit as fun to watch as the heroes. Few shows like this have an ensemble that good.

So, vampires, teenagers, epic, horror, high school, growing pains, action, great dialogue, terrific cast: the ingredients that make Buffy the Vampire Slayer one of the most intelligent and rewarding shows of the '90s, despite the potentially dorky title. The legend begins now.

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