There is an unspoken code that we TV enthusiasts live by — that we are expected to have watched certain shows to consider ourselves worthy of such a title. One of those shows is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Often listed among the greatest television shows in history, Joss Whedon's dramedy about a young woman gifted with supernatural abilities ran for seven successful years and paved the way for almost every TV show that we know and love today. But perhaps the most interesting thing about Buffy is its influence — an influence that informed not only TV and the vampire genre, but the influence that it had on fans of the show, myself included.
My first experience with Buffy the Vampire Slayer occurred when I was little more than seven years old. Buffy was the show that everybody talked about in school and I knew that I had to watch it. I was captivated and terrified at the same time as I witnessed Buffy running from a giant CGI snake. I was too young to understand what I was watching, but that memory never left my head.
Buffy remained at the top of my "must watch" list for a very long time. It was many years later, in 2011, when I made the commitment and bought Season 1 on DVD. One episode led to another, then another and before I knew it I was buying season after season. Buffy was compelling, terrifying and, perhaps most of all, it was relatable. It was human. Buffy herself was a social outcast who was unable to socialize as she wanted to because, as the slayer, certain things were expected of her. She also had to go through the trials and tribulations of high school, just like any other teenager.
Unable to keep quiet about this enthralling series, I told my friends about Buffy and within weeks one friend in particular requested my DVDs. Discussing the show with this friend every week brought Buffy to life for me. it felt as if Buffy was still on TV. We often discussed Anya's antics or that unforgettable musical episode. I remember that somber feeling in my stomach as I watched the final episode. Living in a Buffy-less world was difficult to get used to at first. I watch a lot of TV shows, but Buffy was probably my first experience at great TV storytelling. The strength of the writing and characters influenced my decision to become a writer, and for that I will forever be grateful to Buffy.
In terms of the influence the show had over television, it's obvious that several of the recent vampire and young adult series and films have been shaped by Buffy. One could argue that shows such as The Vampire Diaries and movies like Twilight would not at all have been possible had Joss Whedon not paved the way. Similarly, the strong female character with attitude has since been adapted for several series — characters such as Arrow's Laurel Lance, Legends of Tomorrow's Sara Lance and Game of Thrones' Daenerys Targaryen all have elements of Buffy within them.
It doesn't matter how many years ago Buffy ended, because its essence is still as strong today as it was back then. Because of streaming services like Netflix and the new HD remaster that's been circulating worldwide, Buffy is constantly being rediscovered by a new audience, and this proves that it doesn't matter if Buffy's not an ongoing series, because the show will always be alive to its fans. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was certainly "something to sing about" because, let's face it, she saved the world — a lot — and will continue to do so for many years to come.
How did you first experience Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Is it your favorite show of all time? Tell me in the comments below!