''It's kind of a destiny thing.'' - Buffy Summers
Back in 1996, a young man with a dream pitched a little show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the TV networks. That guy was Joss Whedon, and he paid for the whole pilot from his own pocket, creating the first ever 30 minutes of Buffy. True, Whedon said in 2003 that the unaired pilot "sucks on ass," but from a fan perspective, it's fascinating to see how our beloved Buffy was born. Check it out!
Here are a few things that caught my eye in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "The Unaired Pilot Episode."
1. Some Things Never Change
When the Buffy show was up and running, they had a set for Sunnydale High. Without a proper set, the pilot takes this establishing shot from Torrance High School, used for many outdoor shots of Buffy's school throughout the series.
2. Ye Olde Title Credits
These are actually very reminiscent of Xena: Warrior Princess, which Whedon often cites as an inspiration for Buffy.
3. WHO DIS?!
This is the original Willow, actress Riff Regan. Shortly before the Buffy pilot, she'd completed a five-year stint on TV series Sisters as "young Georgie."
4. Buffy's First Body
The dead guy crammed into the locker — killed by Darla, as in the official first episode — shocks the school and Buffy has to investigate. In the pilot, Principal Flutie (played by Stephen Tobolowsky here) lets her in to check it out. What we saw in the aired version is Buffy breaking in by wrenching the doorknob out of its moorings; a better set-up, as it establishes Buffy's supernatural strength early in the episode.
5. 'That Was My Favorite Spine'
A brilliant Buffy line, and a shame that it got cut from the first Buffy episode proper.
6. Dust To Dust
The effects for dusting a vamp were a little more basic back in the day!
7. The End
The ending is charmingly cheesy, with Buffy reassuring Giles that she'll defeat the forces of darkness by throwing a stake at the heart of a poster of Count Orlok from 1922's Nosferatu on a pinboard.