Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S01E01 – Welcome to the Hellmouth

In the first episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy becomes increasingly irritated at the prospect of living up to her destiny. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to start Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

You know, I always go through this when I start a show or a new book, especially one with a namesake as large and popular as this one: How did I never get into this before? Somehow, over the course of the last fourteen years, I’ve not seen a single second of this show. I avoided every discussion of it, my friends never told me to watch, and I’ve blissfully wandered through life without knowing anything important about the show. And now, at the end of 2011, I’m going to watch all 144 episodes. Christ. That’s like…fuck. I’m not going to finish this until THE SUMMER. WHAT THE FUCK.

I’m not going to think of that right now. Instead, let’s get this first part out of the way:

THINGS MARK KNOWS ABOUT BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar is Buffy.
  • David Boreanaz is Angel and he’s buff? I don’t know. Isn’t he on Bones?
  • Joss Whedon wrote it.
  • There’s someone named Spike?
  • There are vampires, I assume?
  • Wasn’t this on the WB when it aired here in California? That’s probably why I didn’t watch it, because my sister was obsessed with the WB, especially Seventh Heaven, and that show’s morality made me want to vomit and WHY AM I TALKING ABOUT THIS.
  • There’s a show called Angel and I’ll be watching some episodes in between Buffy ones for proper clarity and to get the full story. Well, we’ll figure it out when we get there.
  • Oh, there’s a musical episode! They hold a screening of it every year at Comic-Con. I’ve never seen it and I don’t know where it is. We should do a liveblog for it, shouldn’t we?
  • Vampires?
  • There will be slaying?
  • I mean, it’s in the title, so she has to do that, right?
  • How hilarious would that be if she ended up never slaying a single vampire?
  • This is a reminder not to ever give me a television show. I will troll the audience/my employers constantly.
  • Well, now I’m hopelessly off-topic.

So that’s where I stand right now. Somehow, by the sheer virtue of destiny or something, I don’t know a single plot to any second of this show. Not by osmosis, not by association, not by pure luck. I am going to watch this show in a beautiful state of ignorant bliss, and y’all get to watch my brain shatter into a billion pieces.

It should be repeated now that my site has a couple sets of very specific rules regarding commenting, and I know there’ll be a lot of new people around here. So: read the Site Rules. Do not spoil me. Is something happening in the future? Don’t post it. We use rot13.com to discuss any and all spoilers; it’s a cypher site, so that’s what all the gibberish is down below. If you have to ask yourself, “Is this a spoiler?” don’t post it. rot13 that shit, okay? Additionally, since this is a wide and varied community, I do my best to keep things as open and accepting as possible, which means that we discourage and disallow problematic language in the concepts. If you are told not to use a word/slur around here, please help us out to create a safe space for all commenters and go along with us. It’s just one site, okay? I want everyone to be able to watch Buffy together without feeling like they can’t have a conversation here!

And finally, it’s about goddamn time that I start watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

I HAVE A LOT OF THOUGHTS
Here are the vast majority of them

  1. Oh my god, the cold open is so cheesy and I love every second of it.
  2. Okay, I genuinely did not expect that Darla (that’s her name, yes? I believe she says it later in the episode, right?) was the actual vampire. That’s a clever misdirect.
  3. It’s funny how much the opening of this show feels so unbelievably 90s to me. This is what American television was like when I was growing up. I mean, if it wasn’t for the vampire (and the very overt sci-fi and fiction references later in this episode), this would seem like any other sitcom or drama for teenagers on TV.
  4. First thing that completely impresses me: This is not a show about Buffy discovering that she’s a vampire slayer. She comes to Sunnydale with a history. She’s already the slayer, and now she wants to escape that.
  5. SHE BURNED DOWN THE GYM AT HER LAST SCHOOL. WHAT THE.
  6. Oh my god, Principal Flutie, could you just give a forty-five minute rambling monologue to me? Here’s your topic: glazed donuts and their ability to call to you no matter where you are when you see or smell them. Discuss.
  7. The introduction of Willow, Xander, Jesse, and Cordelia is really awkward and jumbled. Look, I am not expecting perfection from this show; I know some of this shit will be dated or weird, and I’m totally okay acknowledging that and allowing Whedon to immerse me in this world. Still, not my favorite bit of exposition.
  8. Willow, can we hang out? I’m just going to call it right now: She’s my favorite character. Alyson Hannigan plays her with such a sincere sense of cluelessness that’s kind of refreshing? Like, Willow isn’t a fool at all; she’s rather matter-of-fact about things, like Buffy actually asking to hang out with her. She just doesn’t believe it would ever happen. I like that. She’s fascinating to me, and she doesn’t feel like a cruel joke.
  9. On that same note, I want to like Cordelia, but she’s written with just a single layer and there’s not much to her Regina George thing isn’t entertaining or funny. It’s kind of realistic, but I want more from her. I’ll patiently await some character development on her part.
  10. Xander you are SO AWKWARD. I don’t know how I feel about him yet. I’m not a fan of him constantly following Buffy around? But…well, I have to wait to talk about some of this. Hang around until the end of this list.
  11. ERIC BALFOUR. I forgot he existed!!! Oh god, he was on Seventh Heaven for a bit, wasn’t he? I swear, I will never mention that show again after this review I SWEAR. He’s not a very good actor, is he? I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in anything besides this and That Show I Won’t Mention Again.
  12. GILES. GILES!!!!!!!! OH MY GOD. Okay, maybe I will like him more than Willow. IT’S POSSIBLE. oh my god what is a Watcher I don’t get this at all. 
  13. A stake is a standard defense tool in Los Angeles. I love that Buffy barely commits to making this lie. She is hardly trying at all.
  14. So, back to #4: The dynamic this show has in the pilot is so fascinating to me, but when Buffy confronts Giles about the dead coach, she’s insistent that she doesn’t want to follow her destiny. I honestly expected this show to abide by the same trope I’ve seen a thousand times: Buffy is a regular girl, then discovers she’s ~special~ and then she has to deal with this!!!11!! Instead, we are long past that point. Buffy has been slaying vampires for a while and is now fed-up with this destined role, preferring for some peace and quiet instead.
  15. And now let’s talk about the other fantastic thing this pilot does: It doesn’t make Buffy’s secret a plot point for longer than twenty minutes. I don’t necessarily think this would have been a bad thing to watch, but I’ve seen it before. How many ways can you write that sort of stuff? Instead, Joss Whedon has Xander, Jesse, and Willow all find out about Buffy and vampires by the end of the very first episode, drawing them into the action pretty much immediately. THIS IS WONDERFUL.
  16. Oh, hello there Angel! You’re rather dapper. Is he another slayer?
  17. What is a Hellmouth IS IT A MOUTH OF HELL that would make sense.
  18. OH GOD. I have to laugh at the Bronze. It is the most horrific 90s stereotype ever, both extremely accurate and based entirely on fiction at the same time. YES THIS IS POSSIBLE DID YOU WATCH THIS SCENE. So much grunge and flannel and bad blouses in five minutes! The thing is….we didn’t have anything like this in Riverside. I mean, we had the Showcase Theater and the Barn (R.I.P. to both of them), but they were explicitly venues for alternative music, not this weird combination between an all-ages bar like thing and a music venue. Plus, these type of scenes make me laugh because I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to hear anyone talk in these venues.
  19. OH MY GOD IT’S THE ALIEN BOUNTY HUNTER FROM THE X-FILES.
  20. No, seriously, I want to like Cordelia. She’s going to find out about Buffy and they’ll become friends, right?
  21. Oh, so vampires dress like sleezy background actors in Scarface? Cool.
  22. The Master? That’s the third thing I’ve seen with a character with that name. I wish all three were The Master from Doctor Who, especially if it were always John Simm.
  23. What is the Harvest? WILL THERE BE PUMPKINS?
  24. I can’t help but laugh at the vampires using a cemetery. REALLY.
  25. OH SHIT SHE SLAYED A VAMPIRE IN THE FIRST EPISODE. Well, that was quick.
  26. Okay, I promise I’ll go easy on season one. But the fighting seemed staged and wooden to me. Is it explained how Buffy is so strong and agile? Did she train? (PS: THAT IS RHETORICAL. DON’T ANSWER IT.)
  27. A CLIFFHANGER IN THE PILOT? NOT FAIR. THIS IS NOT FAIR.

I definitely gotta say: this shit is fun.

[PS: Big sloppy thank you to Sadie, who designed the header for me. LOOK HOW AWESOME IT IS.]

About xpanasonicyouthx

Vegan cyclist, Internet community nerd, atheist bookworm, high-five purveyor
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637 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S01E01 – Welcome to the Hellmouth

  1. Mark, you are not prepared. I would STAKE my life on it.

  2. Jack_of_Hearts says:

    A little over two years ago, on my sixteenth birthday, I discovered Joss Whedon's writing for the first time. Up until then, it hadn't been the greatest day. I'd had a pounding headache, and my vision decided to say "fuck you!" to working properly, so I was close to inexplicably blind from around 3pm to 7. Luckily, I managed to shake it off, and the very first thing I did after waking up- yes, prior to getting even slightly dressed, was open up my most-looked-forward-to present. Firefly.
    I was hooked within moments, I'm pretty sure I watched the whole series within a couple of days, and I've rewatched countless times since then. Being something of a few years late to the party, I bemoaned its premature cancellation privately and moved on.
    Then around half a year later I found a boxset of Buffy in some store or other, and knowing close to nothing about the show I was quick to dismiss it. Until I recognised Whedon's named on the back of the case and practically flew across to the checkout, mentally screaming "TAKE MY MONEY JUST LET ME WATCH IT NOW".
    It took me a while to get into, sure. It wasn't as immediately satisfying as firefly, and the whole "highschool" thing weirded me out and brought back "saved by the bell" memories I'd attempted to repress. But I fell in love with it all the same and, as such, completely forgot to buy the second season. I work in mysterious and contradictory ways. Flash-forward two or three months. It was summer, and my dad had recently left us for my (at the time) best friend's mother. I was in a pretty bad place, and I'm ashamed to admit that I found seasons two and three on Itunes, and used his credit card details to download them mostly out of spite. But that's not the important part- what is important is that it began a period of intense T.V watching that I doubt I'll ever equal. I was watching 7 or 8 episodes at a time, night after night. I barely stopped until I finished the whole show, then promptly re-watched it all over with my little sister. It was a much-needed distraction.
    So, cutting to the point of all that rambling, what I'm trying to get at is that I've never been as entranced by any other series as I was by Buffy. I'll be one of the first to admit that it's far from perfect, but then very few things are. And when it's at its best, it's about as close as anything I've ever seen.
    Much as I loved finally being able to post along with BSG, I wasn't exactly the most active member of the Mark Does Stuff community. But if anything can change that, it's Buffy. I look forward to finding things to comment on :)
    Hope you all enjoy the ride as much as I expect to.

    <img src="http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lubw1sSP4t1qki68to1_500.gif"&gt;

    ^The flickering colours represent my excitement. The cat represents I DON'T EVEN KNOW

  3. tigerpetals says:

    Thank you for being so happy.

    8. I called it.

  4. dasmondschaf says:

    OMG it's finally Buffy time! Buffy holds a place near and dear to my heart. In 1997, I was eleven years old and having a very rough time. My parents had gone through a truly nasty divorce, and in May my mother moved from Kansas to Texas, taking my brother and me along with her. We moved in with the man who would later become my stepfather right away. The school year was over, and I had this summer ahead of me: a summer in a place I'd never lived before, on a street with no other children. The library was too far to walk to, although my mother took me there once a week, and I found most of my solace in reading book after book after book, checking out the maximum of eight at a time.

    I remembered watching Buffy as it aired, but once I checked the air dates I realized that couldn't have been true, as it started airing when I still lived in Kansas. So I suppose I caught the first season in reruns during that terrible and lonely summer; they were showing the episodes in order, so I was never confused. I didn't get much TV time, since there was only the one TV and it was summer and my stepfather is a huge baseball fan, but I was allowed to watch Buffy whenever it came on. I adored the TERRIBLE movie, and when we'd lived in Kansas I did that thing that only children can do, when I insisted on renting the same movie over and over from the grocery store rental section. So when the series arrived, I was super excited. Buffy was so awesome! I just wanted to be as cool as Buffy! Also, vampires! Vampires and supernatural stuff were SO COOL to me. I ate it up.

    (I also loved Seventh Heaven. Unironically. I have… no idea how or why, and I distinctly remember that at some point what it was saying sank into me and I wanted nothing to do with it ever again.)

    ANYWAY, enough tl;dr about my childhood! I haven't rewatched the first season of Buffy since I was eleven, since I skipped it on every rewatch I've done. So this is the first time I've seen this episode in…. probably more than ten years. I could probably make more comments, but in the interest of not turning the post into Lovecraftian ROT13, I'll just comment on shallow stuff! Yay!

    -Wow, this sure does look like a 90's teenage drama! Check out how all the actors are so obviously not in high school. Also, that fashion.

    -Especially Darla. Is she…. supposed to be in a teenage body? OK, here comes the ROT13: V unq gbgnyyl sbetbggra gung Qneyn jnf va guvf frnfba bs Ohssl. FUBJF JUNG N TERNG SNA V NZ, UHU.

    -I'd forgotten the twist in the opener. I was watching the episode with my roommate, and we were making the usual "oh noes, U IN DANGER GURL" noises, when, surprise! Actually the boy was in danger. AN EXCELLENT START.

    -That is such a cheesy dream sequence. But I bet it was cheap to make! Television, ladies and gentlemen.

    -"Frappucinos?" "Trendy, but delicious." Oh, for an era when the frappucino was a new thing.

    -The fact that Buffy purposely goes back to sit with Willow and reach out to her just warms my heart. The idea that a popular person can be… not a jerk? That someone can witness OUT-RIGHT BULLYING and reach out to the bullied kid? OMG ILU BUFFY SUMMERS.

    -Am I the only one who thinks Willow's nerdy outfit is adorable? I remember liking it when I was 11, too. Then again, I was… eleven.

    -I love the scene where David Boreanez follows Buffy into the alley, and Buffy pulls some Batman shenanigans. I was a fat and awkward kid, but oh how I dreamed of being an awesome gymnast martial artist (who also slayed vampires and hunted ghosts. Ghost Hunter was a real thing I wanted to be. No joke.)

    -David Boreanez, why is your jacket so shiny????? If these comments truthfully had anything to do with what I thought while watching the episode, they would be 90% comments on wardrobe decisions.

    -What kind of high-schoolers hang out at a night club? In what kind of town is there one hip place and it's…. an all-ages joint? I guess in Sunnydale!

    -I APPRECIATE VAMPIRES THAT LOOK SCARY INSTEAD OF SPARKLY, ALWAYS AND FOREVER.

  5. First thing that completely impresses me: This is not a show about Buffy discovering that she’s a vampire slayer. She comes to Sunnydale with a history. She’s already the slayer, and now she wants to escape that.
    At some point, you should watch (or LIVEBLOG) the original movie, which is not technically in continuity with the show but is still pretty fun.

    Willow, can we hang out? I’m just going to call it right now: She’s my favorite character.
    Ha! I think everyone called this.

    oh my god what is a Watcher I don’t get this at all.
    Someone who watches. Duh.

    Bu, uryyb gurer Natry! Lbh’er engure qnccre. Vf ur nabgure fynlre?
    Nunununununun.

  6. First thing that completely impresses me: This is not a show about Buffy discovering that she’s a vampire slayer. She comes to Sunnydale with a history. She’s already the slayer, and now she wants to escape that.
    At some point, you should watch (or LIVEBLOG) the original movie, which is not technically in continuity with the show but is still pretty fun.

    Willow, can we hang out? I’m just going to call it right now: She’s my favorite character.
    Ha! I think everyone called this.

    oh my god what is a Watcher I don’t get this at all.
    Someone who watches. Duh.

    Bu, uryyb gurer Natry! Lbh’er engure qnccre. Vf ur nabgure fynlre?
    Nunununununun.

  7. echinodermata says:

    In line with what Mark wrote about spoilers and problematic language, please use the report button if you see something against the rules – that is the quickest way to get a mod to respond to it.

    Fuck yeah let's do this!

    <img src="http://i41.tinypic.com/v66m4x.gif&quot; alt="Opening credits showing the Buffy the Vampire Slayer title, with Mark Watches typed above it">

    So this feels so very very 90s (it aired in March 1997 for anyone curious). Looking at this cast, most of them haven't seem to have aged much at all, Julie Benz and Charisma Carpenter most of all, I think. Though SMG looks rather baby-faced in this episode.

    But seriously, I look at the fashion in this episode and it's just so funny to me.
    <img src="http://i39.tinypic.com/25kn686.png&quot; alt="Three images put together: a girl in plastic coat, Xander wearing a blue tank top under a gauzy shirt, and Buffy's stalker wearing a shiny velvet or velour jacket">

    And loling at the idea that James Spader is their go-to reference for a dreamy A-list actor. That just wasn't a good choice for when this episode aired: People's Sexiest Man Alive for 1997 was George Clooney. 1996 was Denzel Washington and 1995 was Brad Pitt. And they went with James Spader. I like James Spader, don't get me wrong, but that entire reference is just the cherry on top of my laughing at this episode in a way that wasn't intended by its creators.

    I think my favorite scene in this episode is the two girls gossiping about Buffy in the locker-room and the "chatter in the caf" and the overdramatic acting and the valley girl accents and the dead guy falling out of the locker and the screaming that ensues. Oh the cheese!

    Okay, so I laugh at this episode, but I do love this show. Now, it seems almost obvious in retrospect to take a pretty young girly-girl and make her the super-powered hero of a horror story who slays the monsters going bump in the night, but damn if Buffy isn't a formative character and yes, I love Buffy and all that she stands for in this introduction. Buffy, both the show and the character, is about subverting typical horror story tropes, and I'm entirely grateful for this. Look! She surprises her stalker guy (Maaark you're not supposed to know his name yet! I won't use it until he gives it canonically) and is entirely ready to fend him off.

    <img src="http://i43.tinypic.com/2ms3kvm.gif&quot; alt="Buffy swinging down from a pole to kick her stalker">

    ("You're standing at the mouth of hell, and it's about to open" haha so much melodrama. Guvf cnegvphyne birejebhtug zrybqenzn V pubbfr gb oynzr ragveryl ba Natry'f punenpgre naq abg gur trareny purrfvarff bs guvf rcvfbqr.)

    Also, I'd just like to point out that we get Buffy and her mom talking, Buffy and Cordelia talking, Cordelia and Willow talking, Buffy and Willow talking, two (I believe) nameless girls talking in the locker-room talking, and Darla and Buffy talking (admittedly with guys present). And those conversations are all rather largely about things other than men. Good for you, show.

    So even though I laugh at all the cheese, I do love this show and it is formative to me and I'm glad it exists and I'm really excited for Mark Watches Buffy. I have been waiting so long for this day!

    And Sadie, awesome banner!

  8. echinodermata says:

    In line with what Mark wrote about spoilers and problematic language, please use the report button if you see something against the rules – that is the quickest way to get a mod to respond to it.

    Fuck yeah let's do this!

    <img src="http://i41.tinypic.com/v66m4x.gif&quot; alt="Opening credits showing the Buffy the Vampire Slayer title, with Mark Watches typed above it">

    So this feels so very very 90s (it aired in March 1997 for anyone curious). Looking at this cast, most of them haven't seem to have aged much at all, Julie Benz and Charisma Carpenter most of all, I think. Though SMG looks rather baby-faced in this episode.

    But seriously, I look at the fashion in this episode and it's just so funny to me.
    <img src="http://i39.tinypic.com/25kn686.png&quot; alt="Three images put together: a girl in plastic coat, Xander wearing a blue tank top under a gauzy shirt, and Buffy's stalker wearing a shiny velvet or velour jacket">

    And loling at the idea that James Spader is their go-to reference for a dreamy A-list actor. That just wasn't a good choice for when this episode aired: People's Sexiest Man Alive for 1997 was George Clooney. 1996 was Denzel Washington and 1995 was Brad Pitt. And they went with James Spader. I like James Spader, don't get me wrong, but that entire reference is just the cherry on top of my laughing at this episode in a way that wasn't intended by its creators.

    I think my favorite scene in this episode is the two girls gossiping about Buffy in the locker-room and the "chatter in the caf" and the overdramatic acting and the valley girl accents and the dead guy falling out of the locker and the screaming that ensues. Oh the cheese!

    Okay, so I laugh at this episode, but I do love this show. Now, it seems almost obvious in retrospect to take a pretty young girly-girl and make her the super-powered hero of a horror story who slays the monsters going bump in the night, but damn if Buffy isn't a formative character and yes, I love Buffy and all that she stands for in this introduction. Buffy, both the show and the character, is about subverting typical horror story tropes, and I'm entirely grateful for this. Look! She surprises her stalker guy (Maaark you're not supposed to know his name yet! I won't use it until he gives it canonically) and is entirely ready to fend him off.

    <img src="http://i43.tinypic.com/2ms3kvm.gif&quot; alt="Buffy swinging down from a pole to kick her stalker">

    ("You're standing at the mouth of hell, and it's about to open" haha so much melodrama. Guvf cnegvphyne birejebhtug zrybqenzn V pubbfr gb oynzr ragveryl ba Natry'f punenpgre naq abg gur trareny purrfvarff bs guvf rcvfbqr.)

    Also, I'd just like to point out that we get Buffy and her mom talking, Buffy and Cordelia talking, Cordelia and Willow talking, Buffy and Willow talking, two (I believe) nameless girls talking in the locker-room talking, and Darla and Buffy talking (admittedly with guys present). And those conversations are all rather largely about things other than men. Good for you, show.

    So even though I laugh at all the cheese, I do love this show and it is formative to me and I'm glad it exists and I'm really excited for Mark Watches Buffy. I have been waiting so long for this day!

    And Sadie, awesome banner!

  9. echinodermata says:

    In line with what Mark wrote about spoilers and problematic language, please use the report button if you see something against the rules – that is the quickest way to get a mod to respond to it.

    Fuck yeah let's do this!

    <img src="http://i41.tinypic.com/v66m4x.gif&quot; alt="Opening credits showing the Buffy the Vampire Slayer title, with Mark Watches typed above it">

    So this feels so very very 90s (it aired in March 1997 for anyone curious). Looking at this cast, most of them haven't seem to have aged much at all, Julie Benz and Charisma Carpenter most of all, I think. Though SMG looks rather baby-faced in this episode.

    But seriously, I look at the fashion in this episode and it's just so funny to me.
    <img src="http://i39.tinypic.com/25kn686.png&quot; alt="Three images put together: a girl in plastic coat, Xander wearing a blue tank top under a gauzy shirt, and Buffy's stalker wearing a shiny velvet or velour jacket">

    And loling at the idea that James Spader is their go-to reference for a dreamy A-list actor. That just wasn't a good choice for when this episode aired: People's Sexiest Man Alive for 1997 was George Clooney. 1996 was Denzel Washington and 1995 was Brad Pitt. And they went with James Spader. I like James Spader, don't get me wrong, but that entire reference is just the cherry on top of my laughing at this episode in a way that wasn't intended by its creators.

    I think my favorite scene in this episode is the two girls gossiping about Buffy in the locker-room and the "chatter in the caf" and the overdramatic acting and the valley girl accents and the dead guy falling out of the locker and the screaming that ensues. Oh the cheese!

    Okay, so I laugh at this episode, but I do love this show. Now, it seems almost obvious in retrospect to take a pretty young girly-girl and make her the super-powered hero of a horror story who slays the monsters going bump in the night, but damn if Buffy isn't a formative character and yes, I love Buffy and all that she stands for in this introduction. Buffy, both the show and the character, is about subverting typical horror story tropes, and I'm entirely grateful for this. Look! She surprises her stalker guy (Maaark you're not supposed to know his name yet! I won't use it until he gives it canonically) and is entirely ready to fend him off.

    <img src="http://i43.tinypic.com/2ms3kvm.gif&quot; alt="Buffy swinging down from a pole to kick her stalker">

    ("You're standing at the mouth of hell, and it's about to open" haha so much melodrama. Guvf cnegvphyne birejebhtug zrybqenzn V pubbfr gb oynzr ragveryl ba Natry'f punenpgre naq abg gur trareny purrfvarff bs guvf rcvfbqr.)

    Also, I'd just like to point out that we get Buffy and her mom talking, Buffy and Cordelia talking, Cordelia and Willow talking, Buffy and Willow talking, two (I believe) nameless girls talking in the locker-room talking, and Darla and Buffy talking (admittedly with guys present). And those conversations are all rather largely about things other than men. Good for you, show.

    So even though I laugh at all the cheese, I do love this show and it is formative to me and I'm glad it exists and I'm really excited for Mark Watches Buffy. I have been waiting so long for this day!

    And Sadie, awesome banner!

  10. echinodermata says:

    In line with what Mark wrote about spoilers and problematic language, please use the report button if you see something against the rules – that is the quickest way to get a mod to respond to it.

    Fuck yeah let's do this!

    <img src="http://i41.tinypic.com/v66m4x.gif&quot; alt="Opening credits showing the Buffy the Vampire Slayer title, with Mark Watches typed above it">

    So this feels so very very 90s (it aired in March 1997 for anyone curious). Looking at this cast, most of them haven't seem to have aged much at all, Julie Benz and Charisma Carpenter most of all, I think. Though SMG looks rather baby-faced in this episode.

    But seriously, I look at the fashion in this episode and it's just so funny to me.
    <img src="http://i39.tinypic.com/25kn686.png&quot; alt="Three images put together: a girl in plastic coat, Xander wearing a blue tank top under a gauzy shirt, and Buffy's stalker wearing a shiny velvet or velour jacket">

    And loling at the idea that James Spader is their go-to reference for a dreamy A-list actor. That just wasn't a good choice for when this episode aired: People's Sexiest Man Alive for 1997 was George Clooney. 1996 was Denzel Washington and 1995 was Brad Pitt. And they went with James Spader. I like James Spader, don't get me wrong, but that entire reference is just the cherry on top of my laughing at this episode in a way that wasn't intended by its creators.

    I think my favorite scene in this episode is the two girls gossiping about Buffy in the locker-room and the "chatter in the caf" and the overdramatic acting and the valley girl accents and the dead guy falling out of the locker and the screaming that ensues. Oh the cheese!

    Okay, so I laugh at this episode, but I do love this show. Now, it seems almost obvious in retrospect to take a pretty young girly-girl and make her the super-powered hero of a horror story who slays the monsters going bump in the night, but damn if Buffy isn't a formative character and yes, I love Buffy and all that she stands for in this introduction. Buffy, both the show and the character, is about subverting typical horror story tropes, and I'm entirely grateful for this. Look! She surprises her stalker guy (Maaark you're not supposed to know his name yet! I won't use it until he gives it canonically) and is entirely ready to fend him off.

    <img src="http://i43.tinypic.com/2ms3kvm.gif&quot; alt="Buffy swinging down from a pole to kick her stalker">

    ("You're standing at the mouth of hell, and it's about to open" haha so much melodrama. Guvf cnegvphyne birejebhtug zrybqenzn V pubbfr gb oynzr ragveryl ba Natry'f punenpgre naq abg gur trareny purrfvarff bs guvf rcvfbqr.)

    Also, I'd just like to point out that we get Buffy and her mom talking, Buffy and Cordelia talking, Cordelia and Willow talking, Buffy and Willow talking, two (I believe) nameless girls talking in the locker-room talking, and Darla and Buffy talking (admittedly with guys present). And those conversations are all rather largely about things other than men. Good for you, show.

    So even though I laugh at all the cheese, I do love this show and it is formative to me and I'm glad it exists and I'm really excited for Mark Watches Buffy. I have been waiting so long for this day!

    And Sadie, awesome banner!

  11. echinodermata says:

    In line with what Mark wrote about spoilers and problematic language, please use the report button if you see something against the rules – that is the quickest way to get a mod to respond to it.

    Fuck yeah let's do this!

    <img src="http://i41.tinypic.com/v66m4x.gif&quot; alt="Opening credits showing the Buffy the Vampire Slayer title, with Mark Watches typed above it">

    So this feels so very very 90s (it aired in March 1997 for anyone curious). Looking at this cast, most of them haven't seem to have aged much at all, Julie Benz and Charisma Carpenter most of all, I think. Though SMG looks rather baby-faced in this episode.

    But seriously, I look at the fashion in this episode and it's just so funny to me.
    <img src="http://i39.tinypic.com/25kn686.png&quot; alt="Three images put together: a girl in plastic coat, Xander wearing a blue tank top under a gauzy shirt, and Buffy's stalker wearing a shiny velvet or velour jacket">

    And loling at the idea that James Spader is their go-to reference for a dreamy A-list actor. That just wasn't a good choice for when this episode aired: People's Sexiest Man Alive for 1997 was George Clooney. 1996 was Denzel Washington and 1995 was Brad Pitt. And they went with James Spader. I like James Spader, don't get me wrong, but that entire reference is just the cherry on top of my laughing at this episode in a way that wasn't intended by its creators.

    I think my favorite scene in this episode is the two girls gossiping about Buffy in the locker-room and the "chatter in the caf" and the overdramatic acting and the valley girl accents and the dead guy falling out of the locker and the screaming that ensues. Oh the cheese!

    Okay, so I laugh at this episode, but I do love this show. Now, it seems almost obvious in retrospect to take a pretty young girly-girl and make her the super-powered hero of a horror story who slays the monsters going bump in the night, but damn if Buffy isn't a formative character and yes, I love Buffy and all that she stands for in this introduction. Buffy, both the show and the character, is about subverting typical horror story tropes, and I'm entirely grateful for this. Look! She surprises her stalker guy (Maaark you're not supposed to know his name yet! I won't use it until he gives it canonically) and is entirely ready to fend him off.

    <img src="http://i43.tinypic.com/2ms3kvm.gif&quot; alt="Buffy swinging down from a pole to kick her stalker">

    ("You're standing at the mouth of hell, and it's about to open" haha so much melodrama. Guvf cnegvphyne birejebhtug zrybqenzn V pubbfr gb oynzr ragveryl ba Natry'f punenpgre naq abg gur trareny purrfvarff bs guvf rcvfbqr.)

    Also, I'd just like to point out that we get Buffy and her mom talking, Buffy and Cordelia talking, Cordelia and Willow talking, Buffy and Willow talking, two (I believe) nameless girls talking in the locker-room talking, and Darla and Buffy talking (admittedly with guys present). And those conversations are all rather largely about things other than men. Good for you, show.

    So even though I laugh at all the cheese, I do love this show and it is formative to me and I'm glad it exists and I'm really excited for Mark Watches Buffy. I have been waiting so long for this day!

    And Sadie, awesome banner!

    • cait0716 says:

      The "nameless" girls are Aphrodesia and Aura. I only know that because they were making fun of Buffy for having a silly name.

      I love the Mark Watches gif.

      Holy crap, I'm so excited for all the Buffy gifs that pop up.

      Also it would be interesting to rate each episode with the Bechdel test. My gut says they all pass, but it'd be cool to confirm that . Nyfb, rcvfbqrf yvxr Gur Mrccb (nyy nobhg Knaqre) naq Gur Unefu Yvtug bs Qnl (nyy nobhg eryngvbafuvcf) zvtug abg cnff. Ohg abg V'z phevbhf. We should keep track of this somewhere.

      • echinodermata says:

        I'm so excited to gif Buffy!

      • Noybusiness says:

        And they mention a third girl named Blue (who I believe appears in the unaired pilot with the other Cordettes).

        Ah ha ha ha ha.

      • sundaycoma says:

        The "Who has a name like Buff– " "Hey Aphrodesia, what's up!" "– Oh hey! Anyway, like I was saying, who names their kid BUFFY!?"

        HAS
        ALWAYS
        BEEN

        One of my favorite moments of this show. It's stupid but in two minutes sums up its humor. "Ridiculous thing? Ridiculous thing acknowledged, parodied, and assimilated. Now you can accept it and we can continue with our premise".

    • James says:

      I actually like that she goes to James Spader instead of a more obvious guy like Clooney, Brad or Denzel. She testing Buffy's coolness rating and almost anyone would react favourably to those, but Spader isn't as big a name so just by knowing him you're showing awareness beyond the most popular of guys and someone "not cool" wouldn't be able to bluff as easily. I mean, if it was Clooney, even Principal Flutie could give the "correct" answer, y'know? That's just my take on it anyway. I'm with you on the rest of the ridiculous 90's-ness though :D

    • NB2000 says:

      That Mark Watches Buffy gif may beat the "Pylons were created by man" one in terms of sheer awesomness.

      IMO that plastic coat is probably the worst of the bad clothes for this episode (it looks like a child's coat), Cordelia's green trousers aren't much better though.

  12. Danielle says:

    GIIIIIIIIIILES. GILES YOU ARE MY FAVOURITE FOR EVER AND ALWAYS.

    "WILL THERE BE PUMPKINS?"
    I… don't know how to respond to this.

  13. Oh, you're one of those people who think that puns BITE, huh?

  14. plaidpants says:

    Yay! I'm joining Mark in watching this for the first time. My sister and I refused to watch this show when it aired, most probably because someone told us it was better than the X-Files, and so we attempted to watch one episode, made fun of it whole time, and exclaimed our outrage that anyone could claim a show was better than the X-Files.
    I am amazed that you've made it so long on the internet without having more knowledge of the show – I think I know random bits of information from just being on the internet, as it seems like every tv show has an episode that someone immediately compares to Buffy.
    As for this episode specifically, I totally agree that it just looks and feels so 90s. Sometimes the 90s don't seem that far away, but then I watch tv shows like this and I'm like – wow, things have definitely changed.

    • plaidpants says:

      Other thoughts – I totally agree with you Mark about number 4 – I like that we don't have to go through the "discovering her powers" nonsense. Although it of course makes me wonder how/when she found out. Did she start training somehow from a young age? She hits 13 and all of a sudden she can suddenly roundhouse kick? I'm sure we'll find out more later, but still.

      Also, its really weird to see ASH (Giles) in a geeky sort of role. He looks so young, and I can only picture him as Uther and the Headmaster from Doctor Who.

  15. @IAmNidoking says:

    I haven't been keeping up with news of this project, so maybe you've already answered this. Will you be watching the movie at some point?

  16. Kari says:

    I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS DAY IS FINALLY HERE!! I may have been obsessively figuring out how soon you could be done with BSG so we could get on to this (nothing against BSG, just Buffy's been my favorite TV show for at least 12 years so I was a little impatient for it). Also the fact that I have a massive paper due in 24 hours did not stop me from F5ing the crap out of the homepage until this showed up :)

    And it was all worth it-seeing you react to Willow and Giles being so awesome is amazing. it honestly never occurred to me that vampires in a cemetery was super cliched.. slight shame here.

    Also, I want that Flutie monologue right now. He is hysterical- "Are you sure colorful is the right word?" Must resist urge to re-watch pilot….

  17. guest_age says:

    I rewatched this yesterday in preparation for your review; it's been years since I saw it and now I remember why.

    I had a friend who was super-into the show and she asked me to watch the pilot. I did, told her it was really cheesy and I didn't like it, and didn't think much about it until months later when I found out that there was a musical episode. At which point, I dropped everything, tracked that episode down, fell in love, and ordered all the seasons off Amazon and plowed through them like it was my job.

    Which is to say…it gets better. A lot better. And I think we will all understand if you side-eye this season pretty hard because…well, most of us side-eye it pretty hard, too.

    That said, having now become a fan of Dexter, I'm convinced that Rita and Darla are the same character THIS IS MY HEADCANON NO ONE CAN TAKE IT FROM ME.

    *cough* Okay, the actual episode: I also like that the story isn't really about Buffy discovering she's the Slayer, but more about her not wanting to deal with it anymore. And understandably so; if I had some destiny that involved needing to burn down gyms, I'd want to avoid it if at all possible, too.

    In short: you are unprepared, Mark, and season one isn't going to help prepare you at all.

  18. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    So not prepared. Also traffic spike of excitement looks to be slowing things down!

    I'll read and reply properly in a bit, but I think it's worth emphasising for anyone who's here for the first time that they should check the site rules and the spoiler policy – particularly about expectation spoilers. Without going into any detail it's safe to say that, like a lot of series, Buffy has a cumulative effect as you watch it more and more. Now, probably many fans of the series have met people who don't get what the fuss is about, because they've only caught the odd episode and the temptation is go, but "just wait until xxxx". That's no needed here, and Mark is really good at taking things as they come and is committed to seeing it through, anyway.

    The other thing I noticed, this re-watch, was how many what I thought were basic elements were introduced over several episodes. So be careful about stuff you assume everyone must know – especially if you're working from memory rather than a recent viewing.

    Also, before I read and reply, Mark starting Buffy means I can post this:

    [youtube OMiMCMWp4bw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMiMCMWp4bw youtube]

    (milidly spoilery if you haven't watched Doctor Who – and why on earth haven't you?)

    Series 1-4 version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqeKC3FmMoE

  19. Ryan Lohner says:

    It's tricky to figure out Buffy's backstory, since Whedon based it on his original script for the film before the studio screwed with it (he made the show in the first place because he was so embarrassed at how the movie turned out, and having his name associated with it). It's also pretty hysterical to watch season one now. The scripts keep trying to wow you with how cool and hip they are, yet the cinematography and music just scream that it's from the '90s.

    Fun actor notes that you didn't list:

    Mark Metcalf (The Master) is best known as Niedermeyer from Animal House, and funnily enough had also recently played a character called The Maestro (Italian for "master") on Seinfeld.

    You've seen Anthony Stewart Head (Giles) before, as Headmaster Finch in Doctor Who's School Reunion. Just picture him saying "You bad dog!"

    Originally Willow was played by an actress named Riff Regan, who actually was unattractive and chubby enough to be a believable high school outcast. The network insisted they put in the extremely attractive Alyson Hannigan instead, rather spectacularly missing the point of the character, but her performance is still nervous and awkward enough to make it work. Also from the original pilot, Flutie was played by Stephen Tobolowsky!

    Julie Benz (Darla) is now well known as Rita from Dexter, or the lesbian stripper from Desperate Housewives if you're less charitable.

    • Dru says:

      Julie Benz is also known as Miss Topolski from Roswell, for those of us who watched it all those years ago :)

      Buffy S1 now feels solidly retro-90s, but I think the later-seasons' wardrobe holds up ok (that is not a spoiler,right?)

    • Noybusiness says:

      I haven't seen the unaired pilot, but I hear Riff Regan's acting wasn't convincing.

      In the DVD interviews, Joss says that Alyson got the part because she gave a cheery reading of lines that everyone else read glumly.

    • pica_scribit says:

      My favourite thing about ASH's appearance on Doctor Who was that he was being evil in a school. He was the anti-Giles!

      I've seen the original pilot with Riff Regan, and she just…had no chemistry with the other actors. I don't think it had anything to do with the way she looked; she just didn't nail the part. But maybe I'm biased because of what an awesome job Alyson Hannigan does in the role.

  20. Oh, you can COUNT on it. I hope we don't DRAC you into years-old fandom arguments as we peel back the various SLAYERS of these characters' personalities. Oh, that last one didn't have much BITE, now did it.

  21. NB2000 says:

    OMG YAY YOU ARE FINALLY WATCHING THIS and now I'm going to laugh at how ridiculously unprepared you are. Hey it's tradition. Vf ur nabgure fynlre? EBSYbu tbq fb hacercnerq Znex!

    I'm extremely forgiving of a lot when it comes to this show because I love it so damn much. Yes the effects are a little dated, the fight scenes are a little awkward and it's so 90's it hurts but I don't care. Seeing as everyone else seems to be sharing their stories of finding the show I'll add mine. It was late 1998, BBC2 was running their first trailers for the series which they were about to air (so behind I know). I clearly remember seeing one of the trailers, turning to my mother and both of us going "Ooooh that looks good!" at the same time and agreeing that we had to watch it. I was 10 years old at the time (which was probably WAY too young in retrospect but whatever).

    Rewatching this gives me so much more appreciation for what Joss does, specifically with some of the exposition. The scenes between Buffy and Giles in particular stand out to me because there's multiple layers of exposition, we're being told how the mystical aspects of the series work, what Buffy's calling as a Slayer means and that she KNOWS this information already, hence her cutting him off.

    We should do a liveblog for it, shouldn’t we?

    Yes yes yes!

  22. tigerpetals says:

    Oh please do a liveblog of the musical when it comes. I've never been to a sing-a-long screening of it.

    Also, where is the place where we can talk about spoilers without coding? At blogspot (though I note that I could make a post in the forum)? Orpnhfr V jnag gb ynhtu nobhg Pbeqryvn'f bavba dhnyvgvrf.

  23. atalantapendrag says:

    Now I'm considering rewatching this along with you, because it's so awesome to watch everything evolve. SO MUCH LOVE for this series.

    And oh boy, you are so very not prepared!

  24. Jack_of_Hearts says:

    Fangtastic

  25. monkeybutter says:

    Uh, Eric Balfour was Gabe Dimas on Six Feet Under. Gawd. I'll forgive you because you love Willow as much as I did back when I was a kid (and happily, still do now! My love for Willow is undiminished! Yay!)

    Also undiminished: my crush on David Borneaz.

    I love the 90s of it all, especially that I got to giggle about Buffy's highwaters and white nail polish just before she went in on Mr DeBarge-Scarface for his fashion sense. I think I'm really gonna love watching this again.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      oh fuck HE WAS GABE DIMAS.

      • Nightfly says:

        He's also Duke in Haven, a pretty good TV show which you might want to have a look at, if you ever have the time!

        • Patrick says:

          YES. I was trying to figure out why he looked familiar, and then it clicked. I love Haven, partly because it has all my favorite Stephen King tropes; weird shit happening, small towns are screwed up, and Maine is clearly the worst place to live if you don't want to die in a strange and gruesome way.

    • cait0716 says:

      Also Buffy's completely useless barrette. It's so distracting to me because why is she wearing it? It's not holding her hair back at all!

      My love for Willow is never ending.

    • rabbitape says:

      Haha, the nail polish! Yes! I hang my head in shame at the trends I followed in my misspent youth.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      For some reason, the role I most associate with Balfour is the tiny role of the Sheik's grandson in Secondhand Lions.

      Milo from 24 is also pretty memorable despite limited screen time.

  26. knut_knut says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only person who hasn’t seen Buffy! :’D (although I have been spoiled a few times…) And I’m MORE glad to finally get my act together and watch the show! What have I been doing all these years?

    EVERYTHING IS SO 90s I LOVE IT! Seriously, Buffy’s outfit. I LOVE IT WHY CAN’T WE ALL DRESS THIS RIDICULOUS AGAIN?! This show is already perfect. I’m so unprepared.

  27. Maya says:

    Also, Anthony Stewart Head will always be incredibly attractive to me. Geeky British librarian? DO WANT.

  28. I squeed out loud when I saw you had link to this on Twitter. I may also have clapped and dance a little in my chair. maybe. I can not tell you how excited I am that you have chosen to watch Buffy and also Angel. I like Firefly and Dollhouse but I grew up with Buffy. It changed my life and I'm being 100% serious when I say it has. It also helped me find some great friends and I think it may have embedded itself in my DNA over the years.

    I've had conversations with friends/fans about how different Buffy would be if it took place just 3 or 4 years ago but it's very much 90s and a product of its time. That's whats great, fun, and funny to laugh at it sometimes.

    I've mostly been a lurker and I've commented every now and then but you can expect to see me around a lot more now and I mean that in a very enthusiastic reader whose remember some of the best times of her life way.

    And the new banner is fabulous and awesome!

  29. Neet says:

    The extremely long and backwards way I discovered Buffy, otherwise known as “How did the show manage to keep surprising me when I knew every major twist ahead of time?”

    When I was six, a new show began called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now, it had vampire in the title and I knew vampires were scary and bad so I decided I was never going to watch this show. Plus V xarj gur punenpgre pnyyrq Fcvxr unq haanghenyyl oybaq unve naq V unq na haangheny cerwhqvpr ntnvafg oybaqf. V jnf fvk, qba’g oynzr zr.

    So, the years went by and when I was eleven or twelve I wandered into a certain Buffy spin off on the TV. To be more precise, I wandered into the middle of season three, which was obviously a good place to start. To my surprise, even though it had vampires in it, it was quite funny and I enjoyed it, even wondering if I should try and check out the original Buffy sometime. However, somewhere towards the end of season four, the television channel suddenly stopped showing the spin off and I was left bereft except that by that point there had been a brief appearance by a character named Snvgu, who I immediately decided was infinitely more awesome than any of the spin off main characters. So, I went online, found a site with complete guides to every episode of Buffy and not knowing when Snvgu appeared I ended up reading through all seven seasons. Yeah. Whfg gb svaq bhg jub Snvgu zheqrerq. V qvqa’g arrq gb xabj gung gurer jnf zrnag gb or bar fynlre naq jul gurer jrer gjb (Ohssl qvrq), gung Qnja jnf n xrl, ubj Wblpr qvrq be jung unccrarq ng Knaqre naq Naln’f jrqqvat ohg nyy bs n fhqqra V qvq.

    Anyway, once I had found out, I left it alone for a while. The spin off mysteriously disappeared from my television and I forgot about Buffy until about a year later, when I was thirteen, when I found one of the tie-in novelisations for 10p in a bring and buy sale and it happened to include my favourite character fairly prominently. I bought it, I read it, V qvfpbirerq Bm jnf n jrerjbys naq Natryhf unq orra gur bar jub xvyyrq Wraal, juvpu jrer nyfb snveyl havzcbegnag qrgnvyf. Taste for Buffy reignited, I did what I always did and wandered back to the internet to search fanfiction.net for fics starring my favourite Snvgu. The one I picked, I picked only because the summary said it was set in a place called Trillium, which sounded like a parallel dimension.

    It was actually episode two of a virtual season nine (as in, the author had already written an entire virtual season eight). I read the episode, got really confused and eventually followed it back to the first episode of the virtual season eight. It took me a while to get into and I learnt some other insignificant details about the original show as I did so like Gnen jnf qrnq (juvpu, nppbeqvat gb gur svp qvfphffvbaf obneqf, jnf bar bs gur zbfg pbagebirefvny guvatf gb rire unccra ba GI rire) naq Naln jnf qrnq naq havzcbegnag fghss yvxr gung. Still, the fic was incredibly well written and I completely fell in love with it, enough that I decided it was about time to actually watch Buffy. (Sidenote, I started reading this fic around the same time I decided I wanted to be a writer, so the fact the author hosted discussions after every episode where she talked about her writing process had a huge influence on my writing development).

    So, I finally began to watch Buffy. Did I start with Welcome to the Hellmouth? Of course not. One day when I was on holiday in Oman, I found a channel airing season four. It had just reached the season finale when I got there. Gur Lbxb Snpgbe was the first episode of Buffy I actually saw. Followed by Erfgyrff. It is entirely possible that those are the two worst episodes to start a Buffy watching career with. Still, I stuck with it until the end of my holiday, by which point season five was about half way through.

    Then I finally got to see season one on telly and decided enough was enough. I nagged my parents a bit and they bought me a box set of all seven seasons for my fifteenth birthday (now five years ago). I spent the next year watching them and when I had finished I went back and read my favourite fic again, finally knowing everything that was going on in the right order. That one and a half seasons of fanfic (season eight complete, season nine still on-going) are part of my canon, just because I read them before I’d even seen the show and that’s where I fell in love, so I can’t separate the two.

    And that’s how I found Buffy. I’ve never left.

  30. cait0716 says:

    This is gonna be long. Sorry. I just have so many ~feelings~

    Awesome header is awesome.

    I'm so excited you already know about the musical episode! The anticipation surrounding that episode was half the fun. Well, maybe not half. But it would be sad if you couldn't spend some time looking forward to it.

    I'm also very excited about the return of the list! What better way to introduce us all to your thoughts on Buffy?

    This show aired when I was 10. I didn't watch from the beginning – I started around the 5th episode – but I haven't missed one since. This show influenced me so much growing up. Buffy and Willow are my heroes, and I basically was Willow in high school. My mom started watching with me in the 5th season and every Tuesday she would make my favorite meal (linguine with clam sauce…god I sound so white) and we'd watch Buffy together (she and my brother did the same thing with Lost). I just have so many good memories associated with this show and I'm so excited for this project! Possibly more than anything you've done yet.

    Awesome dialogue is awesome:

    Girl 1: What kind of name is Buffy anyway?
    Girl 2: Hey Aphrodesia!
    Girl 1: Hey!

    Flutie: All the kids here are free to call me Bob. But they don't.

    Jesse: Hey, do you want to dance?
    Cordelia: With you?
    Jesse: Well, uh, yeah
    Cordelia: Well, uh, no

    I've been over and over this show, and I really am gonna try to see it with fresh eyes this time through and not constantly jump ahead to what happens in the future. But I have to say…Lbh jnag punenpgre qrirybczrag sebz Pbeql? Bu whfg jnvg! Naq jngpu Natry. Ohg abg gur 4gu frnfba. Fb zhpu ybir sbe gur nep Pbeql trgf evtug hc gb gur Natry frnfba guerr svanyr.

    • notemily says:

      Vfa'g gur sbhegu frnfba jura Wbff jnf jbexvat ba guerr fubjf ng n gvzr? Naq bayl bar bs gurz raqrq hc orvat njrfbzr?

      • Npghnyyl V'z cerggl fher vg jnf Frnfba 6 bs Ohssl, Frnfba 2 bs Natry, naq Sversyl. Juvpu vf shaal orpnhfr V ybir Frnfba 6 (qrfcvgr nqzvggvat vgf synjf), Frnfba 2 bs NgF vf zl snibevgr bs gung fubj, naq Sversyl vf n znfgrecvrpr.

        • cait0716 says:

          Ab, abgrzvyl jnf evtug. Vg jnf frnfba frira bs Ohssl, sbhe bs Natry, bar bs Sversyl, naq ur jnf jevgvat Senl. Anguna Svyyvba naq Tvan Gbeerf obgu fubjrq hc nf ovt onqf orpnhfr Sversyl gnaxrq.

  31. BRUTALITOPS THE MAGICIAN says:

    I love that Mark hasn’t been spoiled about Natry orvat n ~inzcle~

    I picked that up years before I started watching and I had no idea it was possible not to.

  32. redheadedgirl says:

    I am very forgiving of pilots in general, and it does take a little while for this show to find it's legs. But there's SO MUCH POTENTIAL in the first episode! SO. MUCH. POTENTIAL.

    (V yrnir vg gb gur vavgvngrq gb qrpvqr vs gung jnf vagragvbany be abg)

    It's SO Late 90s. SO. VERY. LATE. NINETIES. It's a time capsule of my soul.

  33. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    LET ME LOVE YOU ALL

  34. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    buffy fans i love all of you already.

    You don't know how flattering it is that you broke my site.

  35. I had this terrible, terrible moment before I opened this review when I thought you might not like Giles.
    And then I realized that was the stupidest thing I've ever been worried about, because OF COURSE everybody loves Giles.

    Don't feel bad about never having seen Buffy before, btw–I just started watching it this past summer, and my friends AND my parents were completely nuts for it when it was on. I caught a little bit of later plot points here and there, and that was pretty much it. So far I've gotten to the middle of season 2, and I spend pretty much every episode wondering why the hell I didn't get around to watching this show sooner.

  36. Genny_ says:

    Ahhh, I too am quite new to Buffy- I am in s3 right now!- so I can recall my own initial judgements quite well. Namely, they were: LOL, IS THIS WHAT THE NINETIES WERE LIKE FOR TEENAGERS? (I was born in 1993, so.) Because, gosh, it is dated. But it's dated in the best possible way: endearingly. I love it. (Xander skateboarding. Oh man. I actually do remember that being such a thing. ~radical~) (ALSO: THEIR *CLOTHES* OH MY GOOOODDDD.)

    I agree with you that it's great how they jump straight in with Buffy as someone who already has reason to be tired of her destiny. The idea that it's not fear, so much as personal experience, too- I've never really seen it done quite like it's done here, and I recall immediately warming to Buffy as a result. Because I just felt for her a lot immediately, much more than if she hadn't ever been involved.

    And I love how earnest and enthusiastically… IDK, occult this show is? It doesn't dress anything up. There's dusty tomes. There's vampires and stakes. Everything just revels in the typical image of the occult and I adore it for just embracing that! SO MUCH FUN.

  37. notemily says:

    I’m not going to finish this until THE SUMMER. WHAT THE FUCK.

    THIS IS GOING TO BE SO AWESOME.

    Yes, we should definitely do a liveblog for the musical episode, but that's not until several seasons from now. I had the luck once to go to a midnight sing-along of the musical, kind of like Rocky Horror except with fewer callbacks because we all wanted to actually watch the thing instead of just making fun of it constantly. It was pretty awesome.

    I love your list, Mark. "Vampires?"

    First thing that completely impresses me: This is not a show about Buffy discovering that she’s a vampire slayer. She comes to Sunnydale with a history. She’s already the slayer, and now she wants to escape that.

    Apparently–and I didn't know this until I went to the TV Tropes Buffy page this morning–Joss based the canon for the show on his original script for the 1992 movie, not the movie itself. The movie is where she discovers that she's the Slayer, in other words. In the original script he had her burn down a gym full of vampires, so that's why she talks about that here. (I don't think that happened in the actual movie, but I haven't seen it in like a decade so I could be wrong.)

    I love the header, Mark! Is it going to get more detailed as it goes along, like the His Dark Materials one?

    Anyway, my own thoughts as I re-watched last night: (continued in next comment)

  38. notemily says:

    I’m not going to finish this until THE SUMMER. WHAT THE FUCK.

    THIS IS GOING TO BE SO AWESOME.

    Yes, we should definitely do a liveblog for the musical episode, but that's not until several seasons from now. I had the luck once to go to a midnight sing-along of the musical, kind of like Rocky Horror except with fewer callbacks because we all wanted to actually watch the thing instead of just making fun of it constantly. It was pretty awesome.

    I love your list, Mark. "Vampires?"

    First thing that completely impresses me: This is not a show about Buffy discovering that she’s a vampire slayer. She comes to Sunnydale with a history. She’s already the slayer, and now she wants to escape that.

    Apparently–and I didn't know this until I went to the TV Tropes Buffy page this morning–Joss based the canon for the show on his original script for the 1992 movie, not the movie itself. The movie is where she discovers that she's the Slayer, in other words. In the original script he had her burn down a gym full of vampires, so that's why she talks about that here. (I don't think that happened in the actual movie, but I haven't seen it in like a decade so I could be wrong.)

    I love the header, Mark! Is it going to get more detailed as it goes along, like the His Dark Materials one?

    Anyway, my own thoughts as I re-watched last night: (continued in next comment)

  39. notemily says:

    I’m not going to finish this until THE SUMMER. WHAT THE FUCK.

    THIS IS GOING TO BE SO AWESOME.

    Yes, we should definitely do a liveblog for the musical episode, but that's not until several seasons from now. I had the luck once to go to a midnight sing-along of the musical, kind of like Rocky Horror except with fewer callbacks because we all wanted to actually watch the thing instead of just making fun of it constantly. It was pretty awesome.

    I love your list, Mark. "Vampires?"

    First thing that completely impresses me: This is not a show about Buffy discovering that she’s a vampire slayer. She comes to Sunnydale with a history. She’s already the slayer, and now she wants to escape that.

    Apparently–and I didn't know this until I went to the TV Tropes Buffy page this morning–Joss based the canon for the show on his original script for the 1992 movie, not the movie itself. The movie is where she discovers that she's the Slayer, in other words. In the original script he had her burn down a gym full of vampires, so that's why she talks about that here. (I don't think that happened in the actual movie, but I haven't seen it in like a decade so I could be wrong.)

    I love the header, Mark! Is it going to get more detailed as it goes along, like the His Dark Materials one?

    Anyway, my own thoughts as I re-watched last night: (continued in next comment)

  40. notemily says:

    I’m not going to finish this until THE SUMMER. WHAT THE FUCK.

    THIS IS GOING TO BE SO AWESOME.

    Yes, we should definitely do a liveblog for the musical episode, but that's not until several seasons from now. I had the luck once to go to a midnight sing-along of the musical, kind of like Rocky Horror except with fewer callbacks because we all wanted to actually watch the thing instead of just making fun of it constantly. It was pretty awesome.

    I love your list, Mark. "Vampires?"

    First thing that completely impresses me: This is not a show about Buffy discovering that she’s a vampire slayer. She comes to Sunnydale with a history. She’s already the slayer, and now she wants to escape that.

    Apparently–and I didn't know this until I went to the TV Tropes Buffy page this morning–Joss based the canon for the show on his original script for the 1992 movie, not the movie itself. The movie is where she discovers that she's the Slayer, in other words. In the original script he had her burn down a gym full of vampires, so that's why she talks about that here. (I don't think that happened in the actual movie, but I haven't seen it in like a decade so I could be wrong.)

    I love the header, Mark! Is it going to get more detailed as it goes along, like the His Dark Materials one?

    Anyway, my own thoughts as I re-watched last night: (continued in next comment)

    • Brian Fowler says:

      Joss's original script was adapted into a comic book by Dark Horse awhile back, called The Origin. It's pretty much the canonical prequel to the series. It's now in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer Omnibus vol 1 collected edition, along with a bunch of non-canonical but fun "Buffy: Year One" type stuff.

  41. notemily says:

    Welcome to the Hellmouth, we got fun and games …no, wait.

    EEEE BUFFY *claps*

    My roommate (who showed me my first Buffy episode ever) and I were doing all sorts of cool analysis about how this episode relates to the rest of the show, but I can't post any of that stuff here because spoilers. HOWEVER those of you who have seen the show should feel free to come over to the Spoiler Blog and discuss spoilery things!

    I always forget how DARK season one is. Not in terms of content, but in terms of "not enough money in the lighting budget." Half the time I'm like WHAT IS HAPPENING I CAN'T SEE

    This fakeout at the beginning with Darla (and is that Carmine Giovinazzo from CSI: NY?? OMG IT IS! OHAI DANNY) is genius. Joss opens the show with a subversion of the classic "damsel in distress" horror trope, and it only gets better from there.

    Ah, THE NINETIES, HOW I HAVE MISSED YOU. Alt-rock, skateboarding, and grunge fashion! <3. And Buffy's short little skirts! Oh my god, her bangs! She's so adorable! *squeezes*

    Cordelia's Cool Test is kind of awful. Like, James Spader was 37 at the time. It was ELEVEN YEARS after "Pretty in Pink." Not so much a teen heartthrob anymore. Pretty sure this is a classic case of people writing teenagers who like the stuff THEY liked as teenagers, instead of what teenagers at the time would actually like.

    Mr. Giles is SO EXCITED to offer her the huge "VAMPYR" book. :D Look at the little grin on his face! He's like NOW WE CAN GEEK OUT ABOUT DEMONS AND STUFF TOGETHER, RITE??

    "Wiggins" is one of the few Buffy Speak words that always just sounded wrong to me. (Warning: links go to TV Tropes, which means spoilers and also eating your brain.)

    HI ERIC BALFOUR! I loved you being creepy in Six Feet Under!

    I love Cordelia, the perfect Mean Girl teenager. She's just so casually awful to people, I love it. (I wouldn't love it in real life, but as a character. You know.)

    "How bad an evil can there be?" Nice to meet you, Ironic Segue Fairy.

    Buffy uses gymnastics to hide from Angel! She's like Rose in "Rose."

    OMG DAVID BOREANAZ YOUR SUPER-POINTY OPEN COLLAR AND SHINY JACKET ARE KILLING ME. I'm so glad you've improved in your acting since this episode. You're pretty grate on Bones. "I didn't say I was YOURS." lolololol

    An interesting thing about Buffy's "philosophy" is it gets Willow into trouble. "Seize the moment" doesn't actually turn out to be good advice. I think I read a livejournal post or something analyzing this once, but I don't have the link. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

    I love the interaction between Giles and Buffy up on the balcony. Why is he even at the Bronze?

    Improvised stake with chair leg!

    "Excuse me, I have to go call EVERYONE I have EVER met RIGHT now." I really, really love Cordelia.

    And then we have the Master, rising from a pool OF BLOOD. The Master is played by… MARK METCALF!! OK, I used to work at a library up in the northern suburbs of Milwaukee. Turns out MARK METCALF LIVED (LIVES?) VERY CLOSE TO THERE. From what I heard, he and his wife owned a restaurant, and he came in to the library to get books for his adorable son. I was always too shy to tell him how huge of a Buffy fan I was, but I squee'd internally every time I got to check his books out. :D That job sucked, but it was worth it to meet him. He's a super-nice guy in real life and not at all a creepy vampire.

    • krystalreid says:

      Yeah, the James Spader thing seems really weird as a "cool test" for 1997. I was 13 at the time, and it was all Leonardo DiCaprio and Devon Sawa for me (hey, I WAS 13). I didn't know who James Spader was until Boston Legal.

      Cordelia Chase is fabulous as the Mean Girl! Regina George has got nothing on her. And yet I adore her, even at her worst. Charisma is perfect for the role.

    • sporkaganza93 says:

      Giles's adorkability is my favorite thing about him. He's just so cute in his geekiness!

      Totally agreed on the "wiggins" thing. There's no way people ever actually said that without realizing it sounded totally stupid; why the hell did the actors not tell Joss "Dude, no one has ever talked like this, stop" right off the bat? I know they must have been thinking how stupid it looked when they read the scripts. They MUST have.

      Nyfb, lrnu, rira va gurfr rneyl rcvfbqrf, Pbeqryvn vf fgvyy xvaq bs zl fcvevg navzny. Crbcyr nyjnlf gnyx nobhg ubj fanexl, fnl, Knaqre vf, jura ernyyl Pbeqryvn trgf arneyl nyy gur orfg fanex-yvarf.

    • Hecubot says:

      Season one is also dark because it was shot on 16mm, which gives it a grainier, cheapo horror movie feel. it was a budgetary issue, but they went to standard 35mm film for S2 and beyond.

  42. fakehepburn says:

    I got about halfway through the list of bullet point before I got the giggles but now I can't stop.

    not prepared.

  43. tehrevel says:

    One thing I might say is that I think it might be better to not say "Oh Mark, you should totally live blog about XXX episode" because doesn't that imply that something either very important plotwise happens in it or that it's somehow a landmark episode? Like I can probably guess the 3 or 4 episodes that would be suggested for the liveblog treatment but they're best experienced without any forewarning and with the assumption that they're just normal episodes IMO. Also Mark, I would advise you to not read the cast stuff at the bottom of the screen just after the opening credits, sometimes they'll reveal that an actor or actress is returning and totally ruin awesome reveals. I suppose telling you this might draw your attention to them but you seem like the sort of person who would read everything on the screen.

  44. Mez says:

    YAY!!!

    I have been refreshing this site continuously for the last three hours, I was so impatient for you to start Buffy!

    Mark, you're so lucky being spoiler-free. The first thing I ever heard about the show was the entire season finale of season 6. Then I heard about MAJOR THING of an earlier season… *sighs*

  45. bargeek says:

    I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MOMENT LITERALLY MY ENTIRE LIFE.

    Ok, I'm done yelling. BUT I AM JUST SO HAPPY.

  46. thisyearsgirl says:

    I am so beyond excited for this! Buffy is basically my favorite thing of all time.

    I was actually first introduced to Buffy via the movie, which I honestly liked (I was 8, don't judge!) but I didn't start watching the show until it started airing with some regularity in my country in 2003. I was instantly hooked though and I've re-watched it countless times since then. Still, it's been a few years since I last watched the pilot episode and it was a lot of fun watching it again, sure it's cheesy but I can't be objective at all in my opinions on it because my brain just goes "I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH OMG" and I am blinded to any flaws ;)

  47. notemily says:

    This is a show you can really sink your TEETH into.

  48. arctic_hare says:

    Hopefully you won't think the show SUCKS.

  49. OMG ! I would pay to be at your seat and watch Buffy for the first time ever! I can't wait to read all your reactions!
    Already priceless ! :)

  50. stellaaaaakris says:

    Oh, man. I didn't realize this was starting so soon.

    I tried watching Buffy about a year ago and lost interest after a handful of episodes, deciding it wasn't for me. I'll have to give it another shot with all of you. I had the same reaction with Avatar: The Last Airbender until I decided I wanted something bright and with humor to get me through the long soul-destroying days of Battlestar Galactica and gave it another chance. Then I finished the series in about 5 days and immediately started a rewatch. Basically, I have the same taste as most people on this site and, if so many people love it as fervently as the comments suggest, I pretty much need to give it a whole season before deciding for good, right?

    Since I didn't rewatch the pilot because I don't know how to count the days, I am unprepared with any insightful comments. Instead, a list! Things I knew about Buffy before watching the pilot:
    1. Sarah Michelle Gellar is Buffy and she's not the same actress from the movie I never saw.
    2. David Boreanaz was Angel before he was Booth on Bones.
    3. Buffy slays vampires.
    4. There is a guy named Spike and I always confuse that actor with the one from X-Men. There is nothing they have in common except their first name. IDEK.
    5. Willow yvxrf tveyf naq unf n fvfgre anzrq Qnja? I think? A lot of my knowledge about this show comes from HP fanfiction so I don't know how much is accurate.
    6. Buffy characters speak in a special way – a way very similar to my own way of speaking.
    7. Ohssl qvrf. Ng yrnfg bapr. Naq unf n cerggl rcvp rcvtencu ba ure gbzofgbar.

    I wonder how many of the things I "know" about this show are completely wrong haha. It's not like it's even predictions where I expect to get things wrong!

  51. monkeybutter says:

    I loved the terrible movie, too! It's what made me so excited to watch the teevee series, which I loved even more. I went through a huge vampire phase during late-elementary and middle school, and Buffy was like a drug.

    • bookworm67 says:

      Oh, for the days when being in a 'vampire phase' meant liking ACTUAL vampires instead of dazzlesparklesmoochyfests. Yes, that's totally a word.

  52. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    Thanks!

    I mean…people did this for "Doctor Who," specifically an episode in series four. I'm okay with a general heads up if we want to hold epic liveblog parties for episodes, so everyone: Keep in mind episodes that might work well this way, like whenever the musical one is. You can GENTLY let me know that an episode coming up might be good for it. Don't give me the title; just say like IN FIVE EPISODES YOU SHOULD LIVEBLOG THAT ONE. Just so I can schedule it!

  53. notemily says:

    Nununun indeed, my friend.

  54. monkeybutter says:

    Yes! Please watch the original movie at some point!

  55. karate0kat says:

    I'm really happy that you mentioned you'd be watched some eps of Angel. I was rewatching eps of both series in the past 2 weeks, to prepare, and I was like…hmm…this might be tricky for him.

    OMG, though. THE CHEESE! So much more cheesy than I remember! This show was the shit for me back then. I actually wasn't allowed to watch it until season 4, because my dad thought I was too young. I still did. I didn't always care about being caught either. Like, sometimes I'd be sneaky, and then sometimes it was like, I can change the channel and not get caught or I can finish the episode. Fuck I'm finishing it. That always went well.

    But yes, the fashion in particular killed me. I'm fairly certain I owned some of those items. But you didn't hear that from me.

    I feel like I can't say who my favorite characters are yet, because I can't say why without spoilers, so I'll just say that I actually like all of them. Of the current cast, there's not one character that I truly dislike, just ones that I love more than others.

    Oh god, THIS IS SO EXCITING!!

    • MelvinTheBold says:

      "I feel like I can't say who my favorite characters are yet, because I can't say why without spoilers"

      I know, right? Like how I can't say why Jesse's one of my favorite characters…

  56. Mez says:

    Mark should totally liveblog… hmm… *rolls dice* …episode 16 of season 3. Whatever that is.

    Like I can probably guess the 3 or 4 episodes that would be suggested for the liveblog treatment but they're best experienced without any forewarning and with the assumption that they're just normal episodes IMO

    Totally. I really wish I hadn't known which episodes were the big ones. (Actually, one of the not-so-big ones was thrilling for me, simply because I'd never heard of it and didn't have a CLUE what was going on…)

  57. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    OK. Another comment now I've read stuff.

    Eric Balfour was also in Six Feet Under. HOW COULD YOU FORGET THAT MARK???

    Sunnydale is, I think, supposed to be generic California town, but Joss Whedon places it near Santa Barbara, if you want a more specific location. It's not explicit though, so you can imagine it to be anywhere in California, I should think.

    Buffy was indeed on the WB and season one was a mid-season replacement.

    The Master – here's the thing. Joss Whedon went to school in England from 1980-82 so it's entirely possible that he saw the end of Tom Baker's Doctor Who and Peter Davison's first season. These did feature the Master – so you can pretend it's a homage. It's also possible that he saw the last two series of Blake's 7, which makes it a credible influence on Firefly.

    In theory this is a sequel to the movie, which sort of tells the story of what happened in LA. But since Joss hated the way the movie turned out, it doesn't really work an earlier chapter. But I think it maybe gave him the "starting over" structure for the story.

    The opening scene is almost a summation of the fairly simple originating idea of the movie and (done properly) the series – take a genre cliche and reverse expectations. What's interesting is that conceptual trick can only take you so far. If you remain guide by the "monster movie" tropes that spawned the original idea, then you have something fun and clever (because you're messing with them) but it can start to get interesting if you then take your tricksy set up seriously, in the dramatic sense. That gives you depth but also a tension between the source inspiration and the direction you're taking it in – it'll be interesting to see how that plays out.

    We are somewhat in the clunky set-up stage of everything and, typically, we're just getting to know the characters, but on my re-watch it did strike me how much of the writing really zings and that the performances generally live up to it, even at this stage. I think, in most important respects, they hit the ground running. In that respect, putting Giles at the centre of things was a great idea, I think. You're not asking your young cast to carry everything – they've got a more experienced actor to play off.

    I think that'll do for now. I'm sure there'll be plenty more to say as things develop.

    • RoseFyre says:

      I could have sworn he said it was somewhat near LA? I mean, it's obviously not RIGHT there, but I think it's at least implicit, if not explicit, that Sunnydale is within a two-four hour drive of LA. So I always think of it as Southern California.

    • Rob M says:

      More experienced actor? According to the very spoilery commentary, he's not the only one (Fnenu Zvpuryyr Tryyne naq Nylfba Unaavtna unq nyfb orra npgvat sbe arneyl n qrpnqr ol guvf cbvag; Avpx Oeraqba naq Qnivq Obernanm jrer cerggl zhpu va gurve svefg wbo).

    • hpfish13 says:

      Having lived in Santa Barbara when I went to school there, I think it's a pretty safe guess that that's where Sunnydale is supposed to be for several reasons.

      1. Most of the overhead shots of the city are of Santa Barbara
      2. V pbhyqa'g erzrzore vs guvf yvar jnf va guvf rcvfbqr, ohg gung dhbgr nobhg gur onq fvqr bs gbja orvat bar oybpx njnl sebz gur tbbq fvqr bs gbja vf pbzcyrgryl gehr nobhg Fnagn Oneonen.
      3. The general location is just about right.
      4. Gur Puhznfu (jub ner gur Angvir Nzrevpnaf va Cnatf) unir n uvfgbel va Fnagn Oneonen

      Anyway, college is where I started (and finished) watching Buffy, so it was kind of fun to think that I was living in pseudo-Sunnydale.

    • maccyAkaMatthew says:

      I've just realised something about the (possible, but not especially likely) Doctor Who connection. I already said:

      "The Master – here's the thing. Joss Whedon went to school in England from 1980-82 so it's entirely possible that he saw the end of Tom Baker's Doctor Who and Peter Davison's first season. These did feature the Master – so you can pretend it's a homage. It's also possible that he saw the last two series of Blake's 7, which makes it a credible influence on Firefly. "

      That would have included Logopolis, which has a mysterious character called… bum… bum… bum… THE WATCHER! I'll rot13 a couple of lines from Logopolis for those that like their classic Who unspoiled:

      NQEVP: Gur Jngpure!
      ALFFN: Fb ur jnf gur Qbpgbe nyy gur gvzr.

      So what if that was canonical for both shows? :)

      Except that doesn't really make sense and, in my head, Gur Qbpgbe vf Gur Vzzbegny.

  58. notemily says:

    BECHDEL TEST WIN!

    It took me a bunch of re-watches to even catch what they were saying in the locker-room scene, so for those like me, here it is:

    GIRL #1: The new kid? She seems kind of weird to me. And what kind of name is Buffy?
    GIRL #2: Hey, Aphrodesia.
    GIRL #1: Oh, hey!
    GIRL #3: Well, the chatter in the caf is that she got kicked out and that’s why her mom had to get a new
    job.
    GIRL #1: Neg!
    GIRL #3: Pos! She was starting fights!
    GIRL #1 (opening her locker): Neg-ly!
    GIRL #3 (opening hers): Well, I heard it from Blue, and she said that–

    Cue dead boy falling out of locker. (Or as Cordelia says, the EXTREME dead guy in the locker. I love Charisma Carpenter's delivery on pretty much all of her lines.)

  59. rabbitape says:

    Oh the 90's-ness of this show! The grungy bronze, the "slang"… Oh, and Buffy's teeny-tiny outfit when she broke into the locker room? I DIED.

    I re-watched the first two episodes last night just to refresh my memory (they originally aired back-to-back, right? I am an old person now, so I'm not sure) and whooo boy do they show their age. And thus make me feel even older. But so much of it — the essential Jossiness — holds up well.

    This is gonna be so much fun!

  60. rabbitape says:

    Oh the 90's-ness of this show! The grungy Bronze, the "slang"… Oh, and Buffy's teeny-tiny outfit when she broke into the locker room? I DIED.

    I re-watched the first two episodes last night just to refresh my memory (they originally aired back-to-back, right? I am an old person now, so I'm not sure) and whooo boy do they show their age. And thus make me feel even older. But so much of it — the essential Jossiness — holds up well.

    This is gonna be so much fun!

  61. monkeybutter says:

    I knew I could count on another fringle to comment on the clothes :D

  62. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    I first read this as "fagtastic" and was like

    HEY

    NOT OKAY

    then i learned to read.

  63. dasmondschaf says:

    I wasn't a teenager until the late nineties, but I was a child/preteen (born in '85) and Buffy was the epitome of everything I thought was cool and wonderful about being a high schooler. Well, Buffy and Clueless. Which I guess use the same high school for their exterior shots? I only just learned that, hahaha.

    I love the pasted-on Valley Girl speak more than words can say.

    • Dru says:

      Born in '84 and not American, so Buffy was pretty much what formed my image of what high school/teenagerhood must be like (minus the vampires and demons and Hellmouth).

      *sigh* it was my first TV love, and returning to it is like meeting an old, beloved friend. And it is still awesome. Besides, the made-up teenspeak was part of why I loved it so much – they did the same thing with Juno and got it as far as the Oscars, but Buffy did it first and better.

  64. Valykos says:

    The moment I fell in love with this show was the moment I saw the library. I immediately wanted to live there. Then Giles showed up, and I amended that to "live there with Giles."

  65. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    I was born in '83, so it's this weird snapshot of junior high and high school. Dead-on at times, and other times laughably hilarious. I LOVE IT.

  66. shyfully says:

    Is this the fastest a fandom has broken the site? Is this a new record?

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Oh god. I think so??? Not even the Avatar: The Last Airbender liveblog broke the site within 60 seconds of launch.

      • shyfully says:

        The Buffy fandom is TERRIFYINGLY BIG, INCREDIBLY COMMITTED and haven't had new content in A NUMBER OF YEARS!

        Did you know that tvtropes started as a Buffy fanforum? Yeah.

        Basically what I'm saying, Mark, is that YOUR SERVER MAY BE SUFFERING FROM A WOEFUL LACK OF PREPARATION

      • MelvinTheBold says:

        and this wasn't even a liveblog!

  67. arctic_hare says:

    YAY THIS IS FINALLY STARTING

    I haven't seen this episode in ages and don't have access to it, so don't expect a super long or deep comment from me. I do really really enjoy this episode, though! Sure, it's cheesy and awkward in parts, but it's fun and a great introduction to the show. I love the twist with Darla being the vampire, that Buffy comes in with that history, I KNEW YOU'D LOVE WILLOW, and omg Giles <3 <3 <3 I think you may end up loving him as much as I do. I hope you do, anyway! It would really BITE if you didn't.

    Also, LOL ANGEL. His dialogue and acting are SO BAD. xD Thankfully, Boreanaz improved later, but oh man. This is top quality cheddar right here.

    Everything is so 90s, but that's not a minus for me, it's a PLUS. NINETIES RULED.

    Yes, there will be pumpkins, Mark. The Master is going to raise an army of pumpkins, like the army of brooms in the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" short in Fantasia and take over Sunnydale.

    You are not prepared!

    • Karen says:

      I recently rewatched the series over the summer because I was forcing my mom to get into the show, but I think I'm still going to be rewatching along with Mark because idec I LOVE THIS SHOW THAT MUCH.

    • krystalreid says:

      Angel's dialogue in the first couple episodes really is atrocious. V engvbanyvmr vg ol guvaxvat ur jnf whfg areibhf gb gnyx gb Ohssl sbe gur svefg gvzr naq jnf gelvat gbb uneq fvapr ur unq nyernql snyyra sbe ure juvyr fclvat ba ure va YN. Rira gubhtu vg'f fvyyl gb guvax gur jevgref cynaarq gung sne nurnq, V unir gb qb vg gb trg guebhtu uvf fprarf.

  68. kte says:

    I am so excited for this! My 14 yo dog is named Willow… that is how much I love the character. I watched the pilot when it originally aired and was immediately hooked. Nothing else like it on TV at the time. You know, strong female character whose authority/abilities are not constantly in question (except for Scully). I can't say much else without it ending up in spoiler territory. Enjoy!

  69. settlingforhistory says:

    Omg, I don't know what to say that is not spoilery, I'll have to really concentrate.
    Ok, I really love the opening, it shows directly what Buffy and Mark Reads/Watches is about: You are not prepared!
    I remember the first time I saw Willow, I immediately wanted her to be my friend, she is just wonderful!
    Naq ab, Qnex Jvyybj jba'g punatr zl zvaq nobhg gung! Abguvat pbhyq.

    Anyway, Giles is great, the way he just jumps her with that Vampyr book, he has to work on his social skills, a lot.
    But I have to admit, I had a little crush on him for a while, he is just my kind of nerd.

    Angel, is there anything I can say about him, that is not a spoiler?
    Oh yes, my 12 year old self thought him totally handsome, strange how tastes change, but I still like the character. (gubhtu sbe fbzr ovmnee ernfba V cersre Natryhf, ur tvirf zr tbbfr ohzof. )
    Pna lbh oryvrir, Jurqba unq abg cynarq gb znxr uvz n inzcver?
    Gung erznxe "Qba'g jbeel, V qba'g ovgr vf fb cresrpgyl nzovtbhf, V pbhyq jbex rvgure jnl.

    I'm glad Mark, that you don't immediately hate the show.
    I'll look forward to all the surprises that await you.
    A quick question: Will all the Buffy reviews start so late? It's 10pm here already and I should probably go to bed, but I'm too excite!

    And YES YES YES YES to a Musical Liveblog, that would be AWESOME!

    • RoseFyre says:

      Yeah, Mark Reads goes up at…8 am Pacific time? Mark Watches goes up at 1 pm Pacific time. So whatever that is for you – I'm guessing you're in Europe based on what you said.

  70. Guest says:

    Mark, dont feel bad about not finding Buffy til now…I just finished it myself! Enjoy!

  71. rabbitape says:

    I love the idea of liveblogging this, especially with a couple of seasons of Buffy under our belts for optimum comparison.

  72. rabbitape says:

    I love the idea of liveblogging it, especially with a couple of seasons of Buffy under our belts for optimum comparison.

  73. cait0716 says:

    I love when Buffy broke into the locker room. In the commentary, Joss mentions that he had originally planned for her to like do a backflip in through the skylight. But then he realized that he had a budget, so she just broke the lock instead.

  74. arctic_hare says:

    It was the 90s, of course he was EXTREME!

  75. shyfully says:

    Charisma Carpenter has such wonderful comic timing <3

  76. Meltha says:

    The budget for this season was pretty darn low, but personally I think they did a really good job with what they had.

  77. Karen says:

    One of the things Joss was trying to do with this show was to subvert of lot of typical horror clichés while at the same time embracing them in scenes like the one with the Master and the other vampire in their underground lair or Willow and the vampire wandering in the graveyard. But there is also a lot of subversion in this show. So right from that cold open, instead of the blonde girl being the victim, it turns out that she’s the vampire. Buffy herself is the type of character who would be killed early on in a horror movie. She’s blonde and sometimes a bit ditzy. But in this show, she’s not the victim. She’s the hero with the super strength and the weird dreams and the all important destiny.

    So this is Buffy’s story. She’s in a new town, starting over, and it looks like it might not turn out too badly for her! The most popular girl in school reaches out to her. But then Giles confronts her with the “Vampyr” book and Buffy is like “nope not happening”. Being a vampire slayer is clearly a destiny that Buffy would like to run away from. She just wants to be left alone and live a normal life. She’s been there, done that as a vampire slayer and it SUCKED. I love that moment where Buffy and Giles are talking, looking out over the Bronze and Giles comments how unaware everyone down t here is, and Buffy quietly responds, “lucky them”. She has the knowledge of what really lurks out there in the dark and that’s a huge burden for a 16 year old to bear. Then her social life comes crumbling down when she goes after a vampire and accidentally grabs Cordelia. So much for starting over.

    Willow is sweet. She’s nerdy, and as you said, very practical about it. It’s definitely endearing. She’s the loser and she knows it. She’s resigned to the social hierarchy of high school, and it doesn’t bother her TOO much.

    Xander is a kinda a creep. His first words to Buffy are “Can I have you?” He’s the kind of character that’s easy to like on first glance. He’s self-deprecating and awkward. But his intereactions with women are really obnoxious.

    Cordelia is definitely a Mean Girl. But um… she still makes me laugh. She’s just so over the top. A lot of things in this show, especially from the beginning, are playing off of stereotypes. There’s Willow the geek, Xander the awkward Loser, and in order to round out the cast of high school characters, you need Cordelia the Popular Mean Girl. So it’s a bit… standard as of now. But I still think Charisma Carpenter is really fun in the role, asking Buffy what her childhood trauma is and then calling everyone she’s ever known.

    Sidenote: David Borenaz is so YOUNG. He’s so babyfaced in season 1! He’s not really my type, but I can see why he became a ~heart throb~ back in ’98.

    And here is a bit of rot13 to close out this comment: V UNGR KNAQRE. V ERNYYL UNGR UVZ. Ur’f n fyhg-funzvat, frys-nofbeorq, ragvgyrq nffubyr. Xrrcvat zl srryvatf nobhg uvz gb zlfrys ng guvf cbvag va gur fgbel jnf irel uneq sbe zr. Naq V ybir Pberqryvn juvpu vf fbzrguvat gung vf uneq gb frr ng guvf cbvag va gur fgbel gbb. V’z n yvggyr fnq gung Znex vfa’g tbvat gb or jngpuvat Natry orpnhfr ur jba’g trg gb frr Pbeqryvn orpbzr nyy gung fur pbhyq or. Pbeqryvn unf bar bs gur zbfg ornhgvshy nep bs nyy bs Jurqba’f punenpgref, naq vg’f fnq gung Znex jba’g trg gb rkcrevrapr gung. Ohg V’z nyfb unccl orpnhfr gur jnl Wbff unaqyrq Pbeql va frnfba 4 natref zr gb ab raq.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Oh man, I forgot about that awful line from Xander. Gross. I knew there was a reason he rubbed me the wrong way from the getgo, I just couldn't remember it.

      As for the rot13: YES, THIS. TO ALL OF IT, I AGREE SO MUCH.

    • notemily says:

      Karen, I am so looking forward to your comments on this entire show. V wbva lbh va ybivat Pbeqryvn. Vg fbhaqf sebz jung Znex fnlf urer gubhtu gung ur zvtug jngpu Natry jura jr trg gurer?

    • fandomphd says:

      I actually don't think the "Can I have you?" line is creepy, if only because I know that being nervous or frazzled or just not thinking can lead to word vomit that doesn't make sense and has no relevance to what you're thinking. (I don't really buy Freudian slips as anything other than joke-material.)

      Ohg RIRELGUVAT RYFR ur qbrf rire ohtf zr FB zhpu. V'z bayl n yvggyr bire n frnfba vagb Ohssl naq V qba'g haqrefgnaq jul Knaqre naablf zr fb zhpu. V rira vzqo'q uvz gb frr vs znlor V jnf cerqvfcbfrq gb yvxr uvz orpnhfr V fnj uvz va fbzrguvat ryfr jurer V jnf nirefr gb uvf punenpgre — ohg ur jnf Tnepvn'f oblsevraq va Pevzvany Zvaqf! V fubhyq unir orra cerqvfcbfrq gb yvxr uvz! Vafgrnq V svaq uvz perrcl naq naablvat naq gur hygvzngr crefbavsvpngvba bs rirelguvat gung'f jebat jvgu Avpr Thlf.

  78. rabbitape says:

    As a brief aside to everyone snarking on James Spader as a heartthrob in 1997… "Stargate" came out only 3 years earlier and "Secretary" was just 5 years later. I was 17 then, and my friends and I definitely had huge crushes on Spader, and we made sure to get our hands on a VHS of "White Palace."

    Point being, there was still some juice in that tank, y'all.

    • Dru says:

      Mmm mmm. It's like someone complaining about Nathan Fillion being a considered-legit heartthrob now (ok, only to spaceship lovers like me, but still), if the person saying it was a teen who loved Firefly. "juice in the tank" is a great way to put it.

  79. Brieana says:

    "my sister was obsessed with the WB, especially Seventh Heaven, and that show’s morality made me want to vomit and WHY AM I TALKING ABOUT THIS."
    You know, as bad as that show was, I have to admit that there's a soft spot in my heart for Seventh Heaven.

    • redheadedgirl says:

      It was fun going to see Blade…. was it II? or III? and saying "Awwwww! little Mary Camden is all growed up and SLAYING VAMPIRES! Her daddy the preacher must be SO PROUD."

  80. Meltha says:

    Oh and also (into rot13 for the first time for me)…

    Nalbar guvax Znex vf tbvat gb nyy ohg unir n urneg nggnpx jura ur ernyvmrf Natry vf n inzcver jub riraghnyyl rawblf fgnevat ng Ohssl juvyr fur'f fyrrcvat?

  81. misterbernie says:

    I have been looking forward to this for ages, Mark, ages.

    Also, Brian Thompson is in all the things.

    Also also the fight scenes are so awfully staged in the first season what is this omg the music/sound effects are so bad and unengaging.

    Triple also, teenage!me ate all of this up.
    Now I finally get to feel like HP fans must’ve felt who read along from the beginning and nearly died not spoiling you.

    Quadruple also, fucking excite.

  82. psycicflower says:

    A quick question: Will all the Buffy reviews start so late? It's 10pm here already and I should probably go to bed, but I'm too excite!

    There's people from a lot of different time zones here so what's late for you might be early for someone else and if I'm not mistaken it's afternoon time where Mark is. The reviews are always put up at the same time though, so they'll be 10pm for you everyday. (Apart from when wordpress messes up or the few times Mark has surprised us.)

  83. Elexus Calcearius says:

    *waves*

    Okay, finally back on watches, after getting miserably behind in Battlestar. I am also going through this the first time…although, not nearly as blind as you, as I've seen at least ten episodes here and there, and tvtropes has spoiled me to the end of the universe. But let's do this!

    Firstly: I did enjoy this episode, although I don't think it was stunning. That's okay, though, because I know I need time to get into the characters, and the first episodes of a show can often be a bit awkward. I really liked Willow and Xander and Giles, although Buffy's yet to really interest me.

    Is it weird that I really like shows that keep the secret a secret a little bit longer? I know its cliche and been tonnes of times, but I love the dramatic irony, and I especially love the reveal. There's something that makes me shdudder with excitement when the truth comes out, and people need to reasses their opinion of a character. I don't know. But it is interesting that Buffy's already been dealing with this for a while, and is officially fed up and sick of it. I don't blame her. I can imagine this whole vampire thing is going to ruin her life, even more than it already has.

    Ah, Cordelia. I am not very familiar with you, yet I feel as though I've known you for years. You seem like every stereotypical preppy female bully I encounter in any High School set story ever. I too hope for further development from you.

  84. Hahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. YES.

  85. I've just been working on someone's first feature film and fight scenes are literally the most difficult thing in the world to do well AND Buffy is pre-Matrix as well. Dark times, dark times…

    • misterbernie says:

      Of course, difficult and pre-Matrix, and considering the first season's budget and that it was a half-season and all, it's just when you compare it to some of the later stuff they did… you notice the difference even more (and I've watched the show, er, multiple times).

      Gur Ohssl irefhf Snvgu svtugf va frnfba 3 naq 4. Nyy gur jnag.

      Rfcrpvnyyl gur fgntvat va Tenqhngvba Qnl 1 vf whfg… atttu fuviref qbja zl fcvar.

  86. tigerpetals says:

    We need a Bechdel Countdown.

  87. Elexus Calcearius says:

    Huh, good point about the Bechdler test. I hadn't noticed this.

    Speaking of that, there's one thing I've never quite been sure about. When it says "not talking about guys", does that mean only romantically? Or are the female characters not able to mention a guy at all?

  88. Yeah, that seems reasonable; it's not like it has any spoilers, and it's probably better for you to watch it before you get too ensconced in the show so you can enjoy it on its own terms.

    Or you can take it the other way and watch it, like, after season five or something.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Pna lbh guvax bs jung rcvfbqrf Znex fubhyq yviroybt nfvqr sebz "Bapr Zber jvgu Srryvat?" Gung jnl jr pbhyq fhttrfg n gvzr gung qbrfa'g ernyyl pbvapvqr jvgu bgure yviroybtf. Nyy V pna guvax bs ner frnfba svanyrf (V xvaqn jnag uvz gb or pbzcyrgryl hacercnerq sbe "Gur Obql.")

      • Gur bayl bar V pna guvax bs vf "Uhfu." Naq znlor "Fhcrefgne." Nygubhtu "Onaq Pnaql" pbhyq or sha gb qb nf jryy. Znlor "Orjvgpurq, Obgurerq, naq Orjvyqrerq"? Be, sbe gur qenzn, "Cnffvba"/"Vaabprapr." V qba'g xabj! Vg'yy cebonoyl qrcraq ba gur fpurqhyr, fvapr yviroybtf ner ba jrrxraqf.

        • monkeybutter says:

          V'z fvggvat urer, fperjvat nebhaq jvgu n pnyraqne gb frr vs "Tenqhngvba Qnl" naq "Uhfu" yviroybtf ner obgu cbffvoyr, naq V ernyyl arrq gb fgbc orpnhfr gurer'f ab cerqvpgvat jura gurer zvtug or n zvavfrevrf. Fhecevfr/Vaabprapr pbhyq jbex, gubhtu! Naq frnfba 2 fubhyq raq ba n Sevqnl, fb znlor ur pbhyq jngpu gur zbivr gung jrrxraq.

        • notemily says:

          V guvax Uhfu vf gur bayl bar bs gurfr V'q cvpx bhg sbe n yviroybt. Gur bguref V jbhyq yvxr uvz gb whfg qb erthyne erivrjf bs naq abg xabj jung'f pbzvat.

  89. hassibah says:

    I like Flutie too. He's way underappreciated IMO and it bums me out.

    The 90sness of the Bronze and the show in general KILLS me and it is one of my favourite things about it (possibly because I didn't get to watch this show till 2008.)

  90. Elexus Calcearius says:

    So many weird names. Is that what characterises Sunnydale? Odd names?

  91. kaleidoscoptics says:

    OH MY GOD MARK I AM SO HAPPY YOU'RE FINALLY ON BUFFY

    I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS ABOUT THIS SHOW BUT ALL I CAN REALLY SAY RIGHT NOW IS THAT YOU ARE NOT PREPARED.

    (Personally I didn't see Buffy until just a few years ago! But I sat down and pretty much marathoned seasons 1-6 in a couple of weeks over the summer. Why was this show not a part of my childhood)

  92. rabbitape says:

    I say just schedule it for when it's convenient, since it doesn't depend on reaching any specific point in the series. Anytime after Season 1 — by which point you'll have a good grasp of what Joss Whedon's going for — would work.

  93. buyn says:

    YOU ARE NOT PREPARED AND NEITHER IS THE SERVER. WE'LL KILL IT SO MANY TIMEEEEES. Also, this is exciting. I'm relatively new to buffy, I watched it december '09 to may '10? Something like that. With Angel too. I had finished Firefly, and I needed more Joss, so I watched that. I wasn't prepared either, even since I had seen two episodes. Two very spoilerish episodes, and I wasn't prepared at all. Just remember, there is something that must be said. Something as old as time. Something I must say.
    BUM
    BUM
    BUM.

  94. Karen says:

    WE HAVE VERY STRONG FEELINGS.

  95. lyvanna says:

    This person is doing a current rewatch of the series and focussing on viewing it through a feminist lens (including rating each episode for the Bechdel test) obviously don't read if you haven't seen the whole series!

  96. lyvanna says:

    This person is doing a current rewatch of the series and focussing on viewing it through a feminist lens (including rating each episode for the Bechdel test) obviously don't read if you haven't seen the whole series!

  97. echinodermata says:

    Oh! Neg and pos and neg-ly. That makes sense and thanks for the transcript cause I never knew what they were saying.

  98. Fuchsia says:

    i'm so excited that you're finally watching buffy! i'm sure you're going to have a lot of interesting things to say about many facets of the show, and i can't wait. and yes, the pilot is pretty nineties typical but that's part of its charm, at least for me. plus, that element tends to fade as time goes on.

    i can't say much because it's only the first episode and i don't want to spoil a single thing, but there definitely should be a liveblog for the musical episode, and the movie if you choose to watch it. the movie's not necessary [although i love it for its campy goodness] and it's not really canon for the show, but there are a few continuity things that would be explained if you did watch it.

    also: season eight is comic books. do you plan on reading those later? i'm guessing this is dependent on how much you enjoy the show but it's something to keep in mind.

  99. cait0716 says:

    I think it characterizes Joss Whedon, actually. Odd names are not unique to Sunnydale.

    • tanbarkie says:

      In particular, odd shortening of relatively normal names, which starts here with our very own (ale)Xander.

      A later example Mark is familiar with is Captain Tightpants himself, Mal(colm). And to a lesser extent, Kay(winnet)lee and Wash(burne).

  100. RoseFyre says:

    Alyson Hannigan is attractive, yes, but I think she pulls off nerdy well enough to conceivably be an outcast. She doesn't have cool clothes or a cool hairstyle, which would both be as important as your innate attractiveness, and she definitely doesn't have the attitude. I don't think I'm that ugly, but I was a nerd too, and I was never popular growing up – even back when I wasn't chubby at all. Yeah, I mean, if Willow acted like Cordelia, she's pretty enough to be popular, but I can totally believe she's unpopular due to a) the attitude, b) the clothes, and c) doing well at school.

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