Having a hard time getting your friends to watch your favorite show of all time? Show them this list. You’ll thank me later. The whole list is completely spoiler free, so no need to worry.
10 Reasons That Will Convince Your Friends to Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer
10. The Cast Chemistry
A core group of characters and actors that work well together are often a key to a show’s success, and believe me when I tell you that BTVS (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has all the bases covered. The magic of the Buffy cast is that they are all natural and genuine on AND off screen. You can tell that they are genuinely having a good time, and as a result, you do too. You’ll soon find yourself feeling as if you are part of the Scooby Gang (what Buffy and her friends call themselves) the more you watch. As the seasons go on, characters leave and join the Scooby Gang, but each new member is seamlessly integrated into the group dynamic, so you never get the impression that anyone is out of place. Everyone works so well together, so much that you might find yourself Googling things like, “Did David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar go out in real life?” or “Are Alyson Hannigan and Nicholas Brendon really best friends?” They’re that good.
Bonus: The cast and crew still keep in contact eleven years later after the last season of the show, tweeting each other and meeting up to support each other’s projects. Friends that slay together, stay together.
9. The Fashion
I’m not joking about this one. The early seasons of Buffy are almost like a delightful little time capsule of 90’s pop culture references and clothing. There is lots of pleather, jumpers, accessories and weird yet awesome hairstyles. Also, Willow Rosenberg provides wardrobe porn almost every episode. Those sweaters! Those hats! Those overalls! As the show progresses, styles become more modern. But until that point, the fashion roller coaster is a joy to watch. I’d suggest checking out Buzzfeed’s list, “The 27 Most 90’s Outfits Worn on Buffy the Vampire Slayer“, for a better pre-cursor of what to expect from the early seasons. Not to worry, it is spoiler free.
8. The Action
Admittedly, some of the early fight scenes in Season 1 and 2 are a bit sub-par. But hey, it was ’97-’98, and this show didn’t exactly have a huge budget. They worked with what they had. If you stick with the show though, you’ll get to see some awesome Slayer vs. Slayer action, sword fights, magic, and so much more. All fights, even minor ones, are no less than riveting. Half the time you’ll find yourself wondering how Buffy is going to win, but one thing you’ll learn is to always believe in Buffy, no matter how slim the odds are.
7. The Romance
The romances of Buffy are intensely well-crafted. This isn’t some Twilight fluff. Buffy and her friends go through a number of relationships, and you will find yourself VERY emotionally invested in at least one, if not more. Love interests aren’t there just for the purpose of being a love interest. The characters are allowed room to grow on their own despite their romantic relationships. Everything is handled (sometimes painfully) realistically. Seeds of chemistry between characters can be planted in one season, and you get to slowly watch the relationship develop over the course of a very good handful of episodes, giving the connection room to flourish rather than moving it along too forcefully. If there’s one thing BTVS is spectacular at, it’s mirroring the pace of things in real life. Romance needs time to grow…Joss & Co. take it slow. The most important thing highlighted in BTVS in terms of romance and relationships is the notion that you don’t need someone to be happy. All the characters function just as well independently, showing BTVS to be ahead of it’s time.
6. The Incorporation of Multiple Genres, Issues and Ideas
Let’s make a list. Which genres does Buffy encompass?
All of the above, my friends. This is a show that has something for everyone. BTVS starts out a bit corny (though lovingly so) as more of a horror/action type show. But as you move on, all the genres from the checklist are expertly blended as the writers find their footing and turn BTVS into something legendary. In addition to the genre bending, the show integrates a lot of ideas into it’s episodes, touching base with religion, gender studies, and philosophy, just to name a few. Because of this, BTVS continues to be one of the most studied television shows ever. Colleges even offer courses on Buffy Studies, and numerous books and essays have been written about the issues and ideas the show brings to light. It’s truly remarkable.
5. The Storylines
The show boasts a great panel of writers, led by Joss Whedon, so you know you are in good hands. Buffy starts out as sort of monster-of the week type format, in which each episode can stand alone without you watching the one before it. (I wouldn’t recommend this though, because even in filler episodes, Whedon & Co. always have little bits of character development that you don’t want to miss.) From Season 2 onward, the show begins to set-up story arcs that lead up to confrontations with the Big Bad (the main villain) of the season. Sometimes the arc won’t kick in until mid-way, but this type of storytelling really works for the show. It allows the season to set a tone within the first couple of episodes, and plant some seeds for the main story arc. When the Big Bad is introduced, the plot wheels start rolling. From there, the non-stop suspense and intrigue doesn’t stop. The writers also play around with “high school is horror” metaphors in the early seasons, and explore other interesting ideas like alternate universes, nightmares coming to life, dreams, mind-reading, body switching, and so much more. You may be coming to Buffy because of it’s great reputation, but you’ll stay for the amazing stories.
4. The Humor
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laughed out loud during Buffy. Whether it be the actor’s facial expressions,
or the ridiculous situations they may be in, you will find yourself laughing at one point or another. A lot of the humor is very self-aware, for instance:
Woman: I’m sorry, what’s your name?
Woman: No, really.
Characters like Anya and Cordelia completely lack tact, so their unfiltered comments are unbelievable and hilarious. Buffy herself is a pun machine:
We thought you were a myth?
Buffy: You were myth-taken.
Willow is (and I hesitate to use this phrase, but it’s so fitting) Adorkable:
Hack a government encryption code on my laptop? Easy as really difficult pie.
and Xander is basically funny all the time. Fans of dry and sarcastic humor will love the comedy on this show, as every single character is a master of it.
3. The Gimmick Episodes
Let me start of by saying that aside from the gimmick (I’m using definition 2b of the word in this instance) episodes, each and every finale of BTVS is absolutely amazing. Each one successfully wraps up loose plot ends and leaves you wanting more. They are truly works of art within themselves. Speaking of works of art…without giving away any spoilers, BTVS has some one-of-a-kind episodes that are spectacular. For instance, there is an episode in which the residents of Sunnydale lose their voices, and almost the entire episode is done with no dialogue. There is also a musical episode, in which the cast sings and dances to musical numbers, due to supernatural occurrences, of course. One episode features no music at all…it’s something of an art house film. These episodes are fan and critic favorites. They provide an experience that you will see nowhere else on television.
2. The Dialogue
Snappy, witty dialogue is what Whedon and his team are known for, and BTVS is no exception. Expect many pop culture references, witty observations, and puns. However, these guys aren’t just a one trick pony. For every crackling, zany dialogue bit, there is also a great monologue. Again, to avoid spoilers, here’s one of the speeches, character name and episode omitted:
You’re not friends. You’ll never be friends. You’ll be in love till it kills you both. You’ll fight and you’ll shag and you’ll hate each other till it makes you quiver, but you’ll never be friends. Love isn’t brains, children, it’s blood. Blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it.
These writers have the ability to make you laugh, but also to feel, think and even cry.
The everyday banter utilized by the characters is so very unique, yet also familiar and natural. There’s a reason Buffy-speak is actually a thing (check out this book completely dedicated to lexicon of Buffy), and it’s not often that a television show creates it’s own unique language and slang.
And last but not least…
1. Character Development
The single greatest thing that you could possibly narrow Buffy the Vampire Slayer down to is it’s character development. This show takes no short-cuts, allowing characters to grow, for better or for worse, throughout 7 beautiful seasons. Every individual character arc is explored thoroughly and given screen time, including those with more minor roles. The actions that characters take are very human. You may find yourself disagreeing with decisions they make or things they do, but that in itself is what makes them so great. They are flawed. They are real. Buffy Summers herself is not your typical hero. She goes on an amazing journey from reluctant 16 year old forced to embrace her destiny, to a real hero in all the sense of the word. She makes mistakes along the way. She loses herself. That is why her character is so endlessly interesting. You will find no cookie-cutter characters here. Yes, you have the comic relief sidekick (Xander), the smart, British father figure (Giles), and the nerdy computer hacker (Willow), but these characters break free of stereo-type and become heroes in their own right, growing alongside Buffy. We see them tackle high school, college, and adult life, no doubt thinking of our own experiences during these times along the way. The characters strike a chord with you; I have no doubts that you will find yourself completely invested in one or more of them. Characters who have lost their way are redeemed. They fight for the good within themselves. There are so many transformation journeys to be seen on this show; I can hardly put them into justice with words. They need to be seen to grasp the full complexity of these character arcs. Whedon puts his characters through A LOT. And I mean a HELL of a lot. But what I can promise you is that there is always a pay-off, always a reason for what they go through, and it almost always makes them a stronger person. Whether you fall for Sarah Michelle Gellar’s strong, flawed Buffy, Alyson Hannigan’s charming, doe-eyed Willow, or Nicholas Brendon’s goofy, lovable Xander, there’s a character for everyone to latch onto in Buffy.
Whoever is reading this list, I promise you, giving Buffy a try is something you will not regret. I’ll admit that the first season may not be quite your style, but if you stick with it, you won’t be sorry. It becomes a television masterpiece. And once you’ve finished the series, you will be welcomed with open arms into one of the most supportive and active fan communities today! Considering the show is almost 20 years old since it’s first air date, it’s pretty special that the show still encourages rabid fan discussion and interest. It’s timeless, and continues to age with grace. You’re never too old to discover Buffy.
WAYS TO WATCH:
All episodes are streaming FOR FREE for Netflix and Amazon Prime Subscribers
For people who don’t have those two subscriptions, I’ve got great news for you.
Hulu has ALL the episodes streaming FOR FREE online! You don’t have to download anything, or pay. It’s a win win!
Season trailers made by Buffyverse Trailers are AMAZING and will get you pumped to watch.
For people who are trying to convince their friends to watch the show, I highly suggest a marathon with Buffy-themed food, or just good food in general. It’s how I had to bribe my friends. This recipe was a hit for some reason:
ENJOY BUFFY FANS, AND WELCOME TO NEW ONES!!