20 years ago, Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired its first episode on The WB. But I am sure you took note of that anniversary already, because every newspaper, every industry publication, and every online portal has published at least one article about it in recent days. Some are of the tiresome “where-are-they-now” variety, but there are many interviews with big and not-so-big stars from the show, some ruminations about Buffy’s place in television history, and a couple of personal accounts of growing up on a diet of Buffy and Angel.
As for me, I encountered Buffy relatively late, around 2000/2001. At the time it was running at a late afternoon / early evening time slot on Saturdays, on a channel that was showing a string of sitcoms in the afternoon. I had those sitcoms running in the background in my flat each week while doing a bit of tidying up and cleaning, and so I discovered Buffy by accident. It were episodes of the second and third season, as far as I remember. At first, this seemed just an average teenage show, but I soon realised that this was something special. And I fell in love with Giles, Willow, Oz, and Faith – probably in that order.
The rest, as they say, is history. I bought all the seasons of Buffy and Angel on VHS (the later seasons on DVD) and watched most of the episodes several times since. It has been a while since my last re-watch, though, and my latest attempt of a complete 144-episode run many years ago faltered during season 2 due to technical difficulties. For those of you planning their own re-runs, there seem to be podcasts out there discussing Buffy on an episode-by-episode basis – although I do not know if any of them are actually any good.
Anyway, I am sure I do not have to regurgitate the entire series to you, as most of you probably know it better than me. Of course I could name five of my least favourite episodes and draw the ire of die-hard fans. Or I could give you a list of twelve of my favourite episodes. But there is little point in that. As Stephen Merchant once said:
“if an infinite number of monkeys are in an infinite number of chat-rooms, they’ll eventually type: Buffy the Vampire Slayer?>”
So, I’ll just limit myself to these brief reminiscences, as a sort of reminder of the anniversary, and leave it to you to celebrate whichever way you see fit. If you are interested in the flood of articles, just type Buffy 20 years, or Buffy at 20 into the search engine of your choice and you will have an ample selection. The Guardian, for example, has a regular article, but also carries a commentary by Anthony Stewart Head. I would also like to encourage you to go over to Longreads where Emily Perper lists five hand- picked anniversary-related articles from across the web.
But maybe you don’t want to read about Buffy, maybe you’ll want to experience it more directly and to celebrate by simply watching your favourite Buffy episode. Or by listening to the soundtrack of “Once More, with Feeling”. Or by rescuing your well-hidden fan fiction from a 1998 floppy disc. Your choice . . .