The Last Guy to Arrive at the Buffy Party


Before these past couple of weeks, I had never seen an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I’ve heard only great things about the show (it’s practically unavoidable to encounter wild praise on the nerd-run Internet), and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen from Joss Whedon.  With time to kill on Memorial Day weekend coupled with a lack of any interesting programming during this time of the year, I decided to take advantage of the wonderful Netflix streaming videos feature on my XBox Live account and see what all the fuss was about.  After finishing the first season of Buffy, I can safely say that I’m looking forward to seasons two through seven.


For years, a buddy of mine – along with all the Whedonites that inhabit the Internet – has been harping about what a great show Buffy is.  It’s not like I don’t trust my friend’s opinion, but there has to be some level of hesitation before one jumps into a show whose protagonist’s first name is “Buffy.”  I loved Serenity, had really enjoyed just about every episode of Firefly I had ever seen, and was a big fan of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, but I wasn’t quite ready to invest my time into a show that featured a high school girl killing vampires.

I’m glad I finally did.

After just one season, I’ve found the characters in Buffy to be more interesting than most of the people I come across on a daily basis.  Then again, you don’t meet too many interesting people practicing law, so take that for what it’s worth.  Buffy’s immediately likable due to her willingness to hang out with the nerdy outcasts and it’s clear that she’s more focused on slaying vampires and her responsibilities as the chosen Slayer than gaining social status.  Her friend Xander is, so far, sort of a funny dork, but his loyalty to his friends makes him endearing.  He’s not painfully dorky, either, and despite his pining after Buffy, I am hoping he’ll find the sort of girl he deserves and actually wants him, too.  Will that girl be Willow?  I’m kind of hoping so, and it looks as though that’s where he’s headed (note: I haven’t read any spoilers or anything like that; I really want to try and watch this series without knowing anything in advance).


And that’s another thing I like about the show – instead of pairing Willow and Xander from the beginning simply out of convenience or because they seem somewhat compatible, the show has been taking its time in developing the relationship between all the characters, making their actions and responses to one another seem all the more organic.  Yes, this is still a fun show about balancing the pressures of high school with slaying vampires, but it’s nice to see that some thought has been put into the writing.

The other characters that have appeared in this first season are the Master and Angel.  I’m not quite sure what to make of Angel just yet – aside from the fact that he’s a vampire – but he obviously plays a huge role in the show later on, as evidenced by his own spinoff series.  As for the Master, he’s clearly the “big bad,” but it’s nice that he’s not always the root of Buffy’s problems each episode.  Instead, the writers can take a break from the overarching “Master vs. Slayer” plot and have some fun by writing episodes that can stand alone and be watched mostly out of context.


I particularly enjoyed the episode “The Puppet Show,” in which the the writers successfully pulled a bait-and-switch on me.  It was refreshing to see that the talking dummy wasn’t evil a la Chucky or something from Tales From the Crypt, and up until that reveal, I was pretty sure the show would go down that same cliched road.  I enjoyed every episode up to that point, but I suppose that’s when I started to really appreciate Buffy.  “Nightmares” stood out, too, particularly for its portrayal of nightmares – I’ve definitely had the “there’s a test I didn’t study for” nightmare at least five times.  All the while, the show never seems to take itself too seriously and instead presents itself as a clever, well-written 45 minutes of fun.

The same friend who recommended Buffy to me has told me that the show really starts to hit its stride sometime around the end of Season 2 and the beginning of Season 3.  If Season 1 is any indication, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of this series.  My only complaint – and it’s not really a complaint at all – is that if a high school girl who looked like Sarah Michelle Gellar pranced around school wearing short skirts and knee-high boots, boys would literally be excusing themselves from class to, uh, relieve themselves in the bathroom.  Other than that, I’m totally on board with Buffy.  Yes, I realize I’m about 13 years late to the party, but better late than never, right?

  • MadSavery

    Good for you! It is a fantastic series, one of the best in terms of writing that is for sure!

  • Lance

    This is awesome. I just started doing the same thing via Netfilx streaming. Into S3 now and will be watching Angel when I get through Buffy.

  • Henrik

    Great to hear you liked it. I diddnt watch it myself untill a few years ago for the same reason you diddnt, and now it’s my favorite show.

  • Moose

    It would be cool if you did this at the end of watching each season. As someone who watched Buffy while it was on air, and hasn’t had a chance to go re-watch any of it, I forget a lot about the early seasons. This would be a cool look back at an awesome show, plus an insight to what I was probably like when I first watched the show. Keep it up!

  • Madison

    @ Moose

    That’s not a bad idea. I think I will. I plan to start Season 2 by the end of the week.

  • I second that you weigh in at the end of every season. I’m forcing my boyfriend to watch the series through for the first time but he’s decidedly less enthusiastic than you are. It’s interesting to hear what someone who hasn’t been tainted by spoilers thinks.

  • Cam

    You’re not the last to the party.
    I haven’t even seen Firefly!

  • Gill

    First season is the lamest season, so it only gets better! Not that first season was bad, it just wasn’t as great as some of the other seasons.

  • Steppenwolf

    Well congrats!! Buffy is awesome. And I kind of envy you. YOu have all the fun still ahead of you!!

  • Gabby

    its strange to hear someone talk about this show from a new perspective. You’ve got a long way to go and a lot of surprises to come. You’ll be surprised at the answers to some of your questions.

  • Velovan

    The fact you like it already is a promising sign. Season 1 is the weakest of the seven and really just serves to establish the characters, the setting and the “baddie of the day / Big Bad” method of constructing seasons.

    Your friends are right. Season 2 is when Buffy really hits its stride. Each of the main trio gets more interesting and Giles, Cordelia, Jenny Calendar and Angel really come into their own. After the half-way mark of S2 there’s no going back. You’ll be hooked.

    Thoughts and impressions after each season would be a great read. I kind of envy you in a way. You’re in for a real treat.

  • Russell

    People here haven’t emphasized it enough, but Season 2 of Buffy is absolutely brilliant. The 5 seasons after that have some of the best episodes in the series spread between them, but from start to finish Season 2 can’t be touched, and the conclusion will put you on the floor.

    Its my personal favorite full season of any TV show ever. You’re in for a treat. 😀

  • Interesting you did this. I tried too recently, but stalled out at about episode three. I know this show has a huge fanbase and I love Joss Whedon, but it just wasn’t for me.

    I have seen “Hush” (I believe that’s what it’s called?) where the entire thing was done in mime. That was brilliant.

  • Good for you Madison! I hope that you continue to enjoy the show. My fiancee made me watch the entire series with her and I really enjoyed it. I can’t say that it is all good, and that there are not parts that will make you scream “HUH!? WTF!?” but all in all it is a great show, and once Joss starts pulling out tricks from his magic writer bag you will see some wonderfully smart writing. Enjoy the ride, and I look forward to your season recaps!

  • Christoph

    Well, I am in a quite similar situation, having watched the first five seasons in the last two months or so. Season 1 was a little hard to get into for me (the rather cheap practial effects are a little hard to endure, right?), but in season 2 the shows really comes into its own and from S03E10 or so the shows rocks.
    SPOILER: The first “OMG-This is so great” episode for me was the one where Xander is a soldier and saves the day (of course, nobody can remember this later on). /SPOILER
    I recently watched firefly for the first time (being German and all I did not even know it existed until the masters (the /filmcast that is) talked about it). It has become my favorite noncomedy show ever by now. Next I watched Dr. Horrible and now Buffy. Whedon really is a fantastic storyteller…and don’t forget the second season of Dollhouse, which was brilliant at times.

  • Bryan

    Funny, me and wifey did the same thing about a month ago.

  • ikke

    You will not regret it Madison! It’s always great to have someone joining the ranks!

  • Velovan

    @ Cristoph (and everyone)

    Hey now, let’s keep this 100% spoiler free, even little things like that. Madison and everyone just getting into Buffy are in for some epic TV viewing, let’s not ruin a second of it for them.

    @ Paul “The Baron” Tassi

    I didn’t like Buffy’s first season much either. It’s easier to appreciate after you’ve seen the rest. I popped in the second season and watched the show improve 9,006%. That’s right, over nine thousand. You should do the same, and can thank me for that (and your new nickname) later.

  • Karin

    Congrats, Madison – you’re in for a treat!

    I agree with Velovan above, that it’s easier to appreciate the first season after you’ve seen the rest.

    Have fun & welcome to the Buffyverse.

  • eryn

    Welcome to the party, started 11 years ago and is still going!

    I suggest reading the Season 8 comics once you’re through the series.

  • Carmen

    That is all.

  • Geoff Casavant

    First, welcome to the club. Better late than never.

    Second, I’m pleased that of all the comments so far, no one seems to have given away any major plot points or spoilers. That speaks well of your readers.

    And finally, be prepared — no matter where you may think a story or a character is going as you watch the episodes, you will be wrong many many more times than you will be right. And some episodes will leave you with a pit in your stomach, and some will have you weeping with joy.

  • Josh

    YAY! I’m barely in season four…i have to BUY the dvd seasons soon.

  • Mike

    If you liked the first season, you’ll love the rest. I watched all of Buffy and Angel a few years ago and found the first season of each series to be weak compared to the rest of the series. Whedon and all of those writers do a great job of setting stuff up, writing clever and funny dialogue, and creating characters that I care about.

  • jaromir

    Dude good for you…..Despite all the new awesome shows out now, HBO, Showtime etc..they’re all good, but Buffy and Angel, IMO, really established what good story telling on television should be.

    Just to echo what has already been said, season 1 of both series are pretty lame, but it only gets better. IMO season 3 of Buffy is really where it starts to blast off. Season 2 to the finale of Angel is just a roller coaster ride of serotonin.

    Hope you enjoy.

    The only thing that sucks about it when you’re done, is just that, you’ll be done. The comics do give some satisfaction, but it just isn’t the same.

    Ahhhh I miss those days.

  • My wife and I have been going through Buffy via Xbox for a while now. We’ve just started season 6, but I would recommend watching Angel concurrently with Buffy, at least through Angel’s first two seasons anyway, because there are a couple of cross over episodes.

  • Candee


    I just finished all seven season and all 5 seasons of Angel a couple of weeks ago.

    I had watched Angel before (mostly because I loved the intro music so much) and never realized it was from a spin off series. I wish I had watched it earlier. Of course when it first came out, I was 6 and living in the Netherlands.

    But all in all, it’s fantastic. Pretty much everyone has said the same thing, the first couple of seasons are great, but it gets tremendously better.

    Lots of, “WTF just happened?” and “What the hell did she just DO!?”

  • Kirsten

    Last summer I decided to watch the show and boy am I glad I did. I am now a certifiable Buffy nut…its a problem.

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  • Greg

    I just recently re-watched the series on Xbox with my girlfriend and younger brother to get them into it. They loved it, and I loved reliving a great series that I hadn’t seen in years. We’re now going through all of Angel, which is different but just as good.

  • NK

    I only started watching Buffy a few weeks back and now it’s probably my favorite TV show – my excuse is that I was only 13 when it ended so it was a little before my time.

  • hi! welcome to the party!!!! ja

    i glad that you decide to join it, is been a great place to be, i´m came a long time a go, i´m probably never going to leave!!! ja

    for me i was something similar of your come to the party, but the first time a saw something about the show i thing i was like in six grade and the series world wasn´t my interest of that moment, then in like 9 grade i was bored and you know trying to get something on tv and then a stop for a second, and even i didn´t get much, i loved and i wanted more, lucky for season was in the middle, and the weeks to come the channel fox was go to stars passing the show so if you did see it, you could have your chance, like happen to you, it was so good, i wanted more, and i get more, after the season (third) was over, they started to pass the first 2 season, and even do the first wasn´t that good, it have moments, and somehow a still wanted more!!! ja
    and then season 2 appear, and that was it, i was officially a fan of the show, and i still are, and hopelly a will always be!!!

    so like i said “Welcome to the party”!!! Enjoy!!!

    P/D: i hope to keep reading your feellings about the other 6 seasons, and also if i got some words bad, i apologize English isn´t my first lenguage. Saludos.

  • Luckie

    Hey, I was pretty late, too. Let’s see…it was two-three years ago that I spent a week watching nothing but Buffy. I think I was eleven turning twelve that summer (I’m fourteen now). Anyways, I look forward to reading and commenting on your blogs for each season. I like to read what other people think. And if I get to the end of your blogs and you haven’t finished, I promise not to say anything that will give stuff away.

    I was pretty freaked by “The Puppet Show” and will never see it again, but I did love “Nightmares”.


    PS: I like the pics you mixed in…