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:


  • 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 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.

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.
  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.
  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.
  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.)

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 Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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637 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S01E01 – Welcome to the Hellmouth

  1. cait0716 says:

    I've seen that it means not talking about guys at all. Live, even on Bones when Bones and Cam are talking about a dead body and the conversation is technically all about work, people won't count it if the dead body happens to be a guy. Which is a little extreme in my opinion.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Yeah, that does seem a little extreme.

      I really like the concept of the test, but sometimes it can be a little extreme. Its like an entire conversation can be completely ruled out if a guy is even mentioned, even if its just "I'm staying at my grandpa's house" or "Mr. Barkin assigned us an essay" or "Jeez, I can't believe Doug set fire to the gym!"

      Certainly not the most perfect litmus test in the world, I suppose.

  2. tigerpetals says:

    Are you on TWOP? I'm Bleu there.

  3. settlingforhistory says:

    Thanks for the info!
    It wasn't meant as any kind of critic, I just haven't participated in Mark Watches yet (only Mark reads until now) and didn't now the time.
    I will get a bit less sleep for the next months but this is worth it!

  4. t09yavosaur says:

    Holy 90's Batman.

    Let me start off by saying how excited I am to be able to play American Actor Bingo* for once. I've got Danny and Booth in the Crime Shows column and a Willow in the Comedy pocket.

    While me and my Power Rangers t-shirt, Gameboy color, and have been celebrating our 90's heritage for a while, I have not been immersed in it like this in a long time. (PS: I was 6 when this aired) Its a weird feeling as I do see it all as "retro" and yet I also still think it is pretty cool.

    I dont have anything to say about the plot. There are Vampires, they eat people, Danny got dead, and Buffy kicked butt. I will say that a better plan then jumping in the crypt with her would have been to shut her as that is what I though was going to happen.

    Also, I couldn't study for finals until it read the review so thank goodness the sight came back for me. 😛
    *Also applicable with Charmed and Friends and probably others I have never watched.

    • notemily says:

      I didn't even recognize Danny until I was like "who is that actor? He looks familiar…" and looked it up. Then I was like O____O because I was a huge CSI:NY fan for a while.

  5. Dru says:

    Is it explained how Buffy is so strong and agile? Did she train?

    I thought the answer was in that voiceover at the beginning, you know, the bit that explains how she's the only girl in her generation/the Chosen One/the one who'll fight the forces of evil.

    I automatically assumed some beating-stuff-up mojo came with the territory of Slayer-ness. And OH MY GODS I LOVE GILES AND WILLOW.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      I'm now imagining a prophecy that made someone the chosen one, but didn't give them any way to cope with it.

      Chosen One: So…do I get magical powers?
      Chooser: Nope.
      Chosen One: Any special agility?
      Chooser: Nope.
      Chosen One: Special Information? Strength of Heart?
      Chooser: Nuh-un.
      Chosen One: How about a trainer?
      Chooser: Well, you could always look into your local martial arts academy.

  6. echinodermata says:

    I try to keep my interpretation of a true pass as not talking about a guy for any reason, but the Bechdel Test is a limited test aimed at simply questioning how much women get to do and if they have personalities/relationships outside of being a love interest for a guy. Imo, anyway. So the spirit of the test is more important than the letter of the "law" – I think if say a female cop and female medical examiner are discussing a dead male extra, it would probably pass the spirit of the test, even if not fully the letter.

    Buffy and Cordelia talk about James Spader, but the point of that scene was to characterize these two characters and have them "bond" so even if that entire exchange between them doesn't fully pass, I think it does in spirit.

  7. Marv says:

    I've never commented on here before, but I have to say these puns are amazing! You guys SLAY me!

  8. arctic_hare says:

    I want to rewatch it too, just, I don't own it. 🙁 I think it's on Hulu, though, so I shall do so there! (I know some channel on TV airs them, but I think they're showing later seasons now and all out of order and most importantly, THEY CUT STUFF OUT. Like when I watched Onaq Pnaql ba gurer, gurl phg bhg Wblpr'f "V pna unir zber vs V jnag!" yvar, juvpu V nyjnlf sbhaq uvynevbhf. V jnf abg unccl.)

    • Karen says:

      I got the Chosen collection for Christmas last year. 😀 I <3 my Buffy DVDs. If you have Netflix, Buffy is on Instant Watch on there. Sadly when you watch it online you don't get to experience the ~amazing~ DVD menus. lol

    • RoseFyre says:

      Pretty sure it's on Hulu Plus, not regular Hulu, but at least it's available online?

  9. Shanna says:

    Ah! I saw the post (and read it) at 4pm EST…before it broke. Then I was commenting and it BROKE!

    I am very excited for you to start this journey. I was 14 back in 1996 and home one night when I saw "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" on the TV listing and thought it was the movie so turned it on. It was this new show! I have loved it ever since.

    This, along with HP, is my favourite thing that you have reviewed so far. Enjoy and thank you for the fun. 🙂 Your list of observations/questions definitely had me laughing.

    • Shanna says:

      Oh and…Trust the Whedon. Grr…Arrgh.

      • Shanna says:

        Er, I guess 1997 and I was recently 15. Whatever, my brain is old and tired. It was in grade 9 though and I was having a weird year b/c 1) it was grade 9 and 2) my parents told me and my brother in October that we'd be moving cities (and of course schools) in June…so I was feeling a bit untethered to my current situation. Buffy was a source of joy.

    • kte says:

      I found the pilot the exact same way

    • Noybusiness says:

      The first half of the season is *set* in 1996 at least.

  10. echinodermata says:

    I would totally read that thesis if you ever want to share it.

  11. Suzannezibar says:

    Hahaha YAY finally got through to the site!!

    Odds are, Mark, you are going to finish Buffy before me. I am halfway through Season 4, but I started watching Season 1…two and a half years ago now? I love it, but other shows keep distracting me! Perhaps this will be the incentive to FINALLY FINISH.

    Also, by the time you are finished with Buffy I will have graduated from college. THAT IS SCARY.

    WILLOW! GILES!! LOVE! That is all.

  12. lula34 says:

    Mark, the reason I'd get on my knees for you (were I not married and were you not gay, but that's beside the point, LOVE ME) is that you jumped on the Willow train from the get-go. My undying love to you, Mark Oshiro.

    OMG, MARK WATCHES BUFFY. One whole year. Been waiting one whole year for this. I am beyond excited.

  13. Eric says:

    This makes me so happy! Technically the first episode isn't the pilot though – the pilot was never aired.

    • Noybusiness says:

      I think it's still a pilot if it replaces one that wasn't canon.

      • maccyAkaMatthew says:

        People use pilot to mean "opening episode" but it's technically only the correct usage if it was made as a one-off to see if a series was would be worth making. Usually, but not always, it becomes the first episode, sometimes with a few changes.

        In the UK, it's much more common for a series to made without a pilot, so the first episode is just the first episode. So, technically, the vast majority of UK series start with just the first episode.

        As far as I can work out, Fox sold the series to the WB on the basis of the unaired pilot, so this would have been made as part of a 12 episode mid-season replacement order. So, it's not a pilot.

  14. misterbernie says:

    Born in '87 and also not American so… yeah, this formed my picture of American high schools, too.

    And yeees first real, non-kiddie TV love… first fandom, first fanfics (I wrote slash before I knew that it had a special name)… good times, good times.

  15. Jess says:

    OMG! I didn't realize you were watching this, as I haven't checked your site in a while. So psyched! Duh, of course you're not prepared, and it's going to be beautiful. 🙂 *insert gushing here*

  16. tigerpetals says:

    He deserved his win in the sexiness contest we had on the TWOP forum.

  17. RoseFyre says:

    Heh, my knowledge of Buffy first came from HP/BtVS crossover fanfiction as well, but then I actually watched the show. I would definitely give yourself a season to get into it, or even more – it really does improve from the first season, which is one of the weaker ones. I don't think there's ANYONE who has season 1 as their favorite, though it's not often a least favorite either – probably because it's not very controversial. Seriously, get through at least the first 12 episodes (i.e. all of season 1) before deciding it's not for you.

  18. @unefeeverte says:

    When I first dipped a toe into the Buffy pool, all I could think was OMG HOW TERRIBLY NINETIES IS THIS (PS: The action is the worst thing since Charmed). I can promise you now: You'll get over it! (Mostly.)

    And I totally knew you were gonna love Willow and Giles.

    And, frankly, if such a place as the Bronze existed here today, I'd probably live there. It is a TRAGEDY that I wasn't a teen in the 90s and lived in a fictional American small town.

  19. plaidpants says:

    I'm in the same boat as you. I feel like I probably "know" a lot of stuff from the internet, but either don't realize that I know it or it never actually happened and thus I don't really know it! I'm going to have to be careful with my speculating/comments I guess, because I could possibly accidentally spoil Mark by unconsciously drawing on some now-forgotten mention online, but I think this will be fun!

  20. Dru says:

    The first season is a good one (and it is short, only 12 episodes, much like BSG) ,but the show didn't really move into greatness till someway into Season 2. (let's just say, SHIT GETS REAL). Buffy Summers is basically the spiritual predecessor to most of the protagonists on female-centric shows in the last decade and a half, including Kara Thrace, so do give the show a chance.

    Also, pretty much everything else on tv seems cheerful and upbeat after the devastation that is Battlestar Galactica, but a word from the wise: this show isn't always upbeat, and might make you cry. Consider yourself warned 🙂

  21. cait0716 says:

    I'm fine with all the DVD menus except the second season. Why did they think that was a good idea?

    Except one of my season 5 DVDs is scratched beyond watchability, so I'm really hoping that the Mark Watches schedule aligns with season 5 being free on hulu.

  22. CrisA says:

    If you ever want a massive disconnect, watch an episode of first season Buffy immediately followed by an episode of Bones. You spend the whole time marveling at David Boreanaz's magical new acting skills.

  23. RoseFyre says:

    I like the DVDs…mostly. The voiceovers at the beginning of the Season 1 episodes are stupid (I mean, seriously, they give away half the plot of Natry). And the cover for Frnfba Fvk shows Qnex Jvyybj! Which, no. No, you do not give away the major ending plot on the COVER of the DVD CASE!

  24. James says:

    Haha, I had the exact same thought process with Giles! "OH GOOD, he likes Giles! …well, of COURSE he does!" I'm having this worry with all of my favourites, though. Except Willow. Pretty sure everyone called that Mark would love Willow forever!

  25. Karen says:

    I 100% endorse this comment.

  26. notemily says:

    OMG, after I got into Buffy I watched this random movie that was on TV one night called Valentine. HORRIBLE DAVID BOREANAZ ACTING AT ITS FINEST.

  27. cait0716 says:

    Agree wholeheartedly

  28. misterbernie says:

    Ahahha oh god yes. I have a lot of conflicted feelings about Bones, but man, I just adore David Boreanaz on it.

    V guvax va cneg vg'f whfg gung Obernanm vf fvzcyl orggre ng tbbsl/bppnfvbanyyl frevbhf guna NYY OEBBQL NATFGL INZCVER NYY GUR GVZR.

    (On a purely ~superficial~ note, I also just prefer his more mature, beef-y look than the mid-20s heartthrob one, too).

  29. quenstalof says:

    Yay, so I'll be watching this along with Mark for the most part (I've seen some random episodes on FX, but I have no idea which ones or where they fall in the chronology). I'm so excited to be watching along with Mark for the first time!

    Darla was bugging me because she looked so familiar. I looked her up and she's Rita from Dexter.

    The opening reminded me of Power Rangers for some reason, which makes sense since that and Buffy were on during roughly the same

    "The thing is….we didn’t have anything like this in Riverside." I don't think my parents would have been all too keen on me going to a place like that at sixteen even if we had. My younger sister went to an all ages club here in Riverside a about four years ago (omg how is she almost 20?!), but I doubt it was anything like Bronze.

    I never realized she was supposed to be so young in the show either, so that's something for me to think about as I watch.

  30. tigerpetals says:

    The soundtrack was the first piece of merchandise I ever bought of the series. I have been sad that I am not near any karaoke screenings of it. I actually relate the lyrics to pretty much any remotely similar situation I encounter in a story. And imagine explaining to the characters how to view their emotions through the lens of song.

    I play them with little provocation and am going to do it right after this bath I have to take now.

  31. notemily says:

    Yeah, it's definitely Southern California. One of the TWOP recappers speculated that Sunnydale was based on their hometown of Lompoc, CA, which is in Santa Barbara County.

  32. Gabby says:

    Definitely Southern California. Friend who lives there tells me it's a completely different climate than that portrayed in Buffy once you start getting into the more northerly regions. It also would make sense as the 90s were kind of Cali-obsessed. California Love? Valley Girls? Clueless? We… had a thing. We sought help for it. It… hasn't gotten much better but we're trying.

  33. notemily says:

    I was talking about how on TWOP, when they had little drawings to represent shows instead of actual photos like they have now, it used to be this bulb-like vegetable. And in the FAQ there was the question "Why is the logo an onion?" or something, and the answer went on for a whole paragraph about unwrapping the layers of meaning on the show and analyzing them before going "yeah, or maybe it's garlic." Cracked me up.

  34. Jack_of_Hearts says:

    I'm glad that nobody here seems averse to puns, they would've been rePULSEd by these comments!

    …somebody stop me.

  35. Gabby says:

    I was so excited for the first X-Men movie for the first few months, y'all…

    And I noticed that trend too (for Marsden). Which is why I was so upset that his big rom-com movie so spectacularly underperformed (27 Dresses). It may have had something to do with Katherine Heigl since I don't really sense too many people want to see her outside of Grey's Anatomy but I really, really wanted to be swept off my feet by Cyclops! And then dance with him while he sings songs from Hairspray to me! ;_; In Heaven, it'll happen. *crosses fingers*

  36. Gabby says:

    "Buffy Summers is basically the spiritual predecessor to most of the protagonists on female-centric shows in the last decade and a half" — didn't I read somewhere that Russell T. Davies basically wanted to revive Doctor Who for the new generation with a format that hedged on a format similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer because he had been such a huge fan of that show?

    ALL I'M SAYING IS, MARK, IF YOU'RE READING THIS — We may have Buffy to thank for nu-Who and I am all for giving due credit where credit is due.

  37. Gabby says:

    The show spans seven seasons (I think — I dropped off somewhere between five and six) so there's a possibility you may have just seen episodes that didn't play so much to the earlier story arcs. Regardless, her age… Friend, trust when I say I believe very strongly there will be dissonance and you may be someone who's just getting there early. You just hold onto that. We'll see you back here soon.

  38. Angie says:

    Someone else probably mentioned this above in all the comments I don’t have time to read, but you know this was a movie first, right? That’s why Buffy has a backstory. It’s called Buffy the Vampire Slayer, if you want to go find it. 🙂

    I watched the movie and enjoyed it, then however long later I heard they were making a TV series out of it. Up to that point, my experience was that TV series made from movies sucked rocks, so I didn’t bother watching it. Somewhere around the third or fourth season or so, I ran into some Buffy fans online and discovered that a whole lot of people thought the TV show was pretty awesome. I hate coming into things in the middle, though, so I figured I’d probably watch the DVDs at some point. I haven’t yet.

    I was at WorldCon when two of the Buffy episodes, one of which was the musical, were up for Hugo awards. They had a local SFish theater troupe doing short skits about all the shows up for Best Short Media, and they were hilarious. Imagine people playing the Buffy characters singing things like, “Iratrnapr Qrzba, you’re the one…” to the tune of Ernie’s rubber duckey song from Sesame Street — I was laughing so hard it hurt. 😀


  39. Angie says:

    Someone else probably mentioned this above in all the comments I don't have time to read, but you know this was a movie first, right? That's why Buffy has a backstory. It's called Buffy the Vampire Slayer, if you want to go find it. 🙂

    I watched the movie and enjoyed it, then however long later I heard they were making a TV series out of it. Up to that point, my experience was that TV series made from movies sucked rocks, so I didn't bother watching it. Somewhere around the third or fourth season or so, I ran into some Buffy fans online and discovered that a whole lot of people thought the TV show was pretty awesome. I hate coming into things in the middle, though, so I figured I'd probably watch the DVDs at some point. I haven't yet.

    I was at WorldCon when two of the Buffy episodes, one of which was the musical, which IIRC was called "Once More With Feeling," were up for Hugo awards. They had a local SFish theater troupe doing short skits about all the shows up for Best Short Media, and they were hilarious. Imagine people playing the Buffy characters singing things like, "Vengeance Demon, you're the one…" to the tune of Ernie's rubber duckey song from Sesame Street — I was laughing so hard it hurt. 😀


  40. Gabby says:

    I don't care so long as he's playing an American. Egads are there some horrible accents lurking in that fine studly frame.

  41. Stephanie says:

    Honestly, though, I love Giles. So much. Mostly because he's a librarian. And British. And he likes books. Because he's a librarian. Too many periods?

    Vg'f nqbenoyr gb zr gung ur qbrfa'g xabj nobhg Natry.

  42. TalentedKitty13 says:

    OMG! It's FINALLY HERE!!!!!! I have been waiting for this for such a long time. As soon as I heard that you were doing Buffy I told my friend who is a HUGE Buffy fan. She hadn't heard about your site before but she said she'd definately have to check it out.

    I would have to say that in my opinion, the seasons get better as they go along but I know many people would probably disagree with me on that. I'm going to have to save some money now though, I only own seasons 1 and 2 on DVD and I would love to rewatch along with you.

    I will leave you with: YOU ARE NOT PREPARED!

  43. Rob M says:

    Grey's Anatomy? Bah! Give me back my Isabel Evans!

    And yes, bizarrely, I too get Marsden and Marsters mysteriously confused. It's not as if they even look all that much alike!

  44. Dru says:


    I kinda assumed magical powers HAD to be at work if a tiny teenager is kicking the crap out of things with fangs and about a foot in height on her, but I would pay to watch a show with the prophecy you describe 🙂

  45. NB2000 says:


  46. misterbernie says:

    …oh. Oh yes. Oh dear lord yes.

  47. Gabby says:

    Willow also has that speech pattern that, while endearing for us as viewers, may have tended to soilicit condescension from the people around her because, broadly speaking, teenagers don't want to be endearing. They just want to be taken SERIOUSLY, GAWDMOM, I can take care of myself now, y'know!?

    I can really imagine people sitting in class, thinking Willow was alright for a school-time buddy but never having any desire to pursue emotional intimacy or even camaraderie outside of a certain, preset environment. At least, that's how I always looked at it. Willow wasn't like offensively uncool (to those who were 'in the cool crowd'… other than Cordy), she just wasn't someone they wanted to run around empty swimming pools on a skateboard while playing billards and taking shots… (that's what teenagers do, right?)

  48. NB2000 says:

    Fb zhpu ybir sbe Bm!

  49. Dru says:

    Gnen'f wardrobe, though, that was ALL TERRIBLE and needed to be burned.

  50. Ryan Lohner says:

    The one memorable thing about that movie was how Boreanaz's agent completely screwed the writers over by announcing that he would be expanding his range by playing a serial killer, not caring at all that it was supposed to be a mystery.

  51. Elexus Calcearius says:

    How did I not know of this before?

    Now I simply need I way to have it work in real life…

  52. Dru says:

    Shit, I'd forgotten how cute Nicholas Brendon was. (no lie, I actually began watching the show because I read a short interview with him in YM magazine – RIP, YM! – back in '98, and thought he was cute. In my defence, I was 13).

    Once I actually began on the show, I fell hard for Willow and she, not Xander, was my favourite person to watch. And now that I'm 27, which is probably how old some of these actors were when filming the show, I find Giles is more my speed, lol.

  53. Rob M says:

    For goofy / occasionally serious Natry Gur Frevrf qvq n ybg orggre guna Ohssl ng tvivat uvz qrprag zngrevny gb jbex jvgu. Can we get a Fzvyr Gvzr? Oh, no wait, I'm struggling to find another… I read the episode listings and everythings just so soul crushingly dismal…

  54. Mark says:


    2: I'd highly recommend watching Angel in tandem with Buffy if possible once you reach the appropiate point in Buffy, even if you don't chronicle it for the site. I did this for my first viewing of the Buffyverse, and it really does work as one big criss-crossing odyssey. In as non-spoilery terms as possible, there are several things throughout BtvS that aren't fully explained/resolved unless you watch Angel. There are handy-dandy timelines all over the interwebs so you know what episodes to watch when in both series. BUT YOU SHOULD WATCH IT ANYWAY BECAUSE IT IS JUST AS AMAZING AND OMG AS BUFFY.


  55. BradSmith5 says:

    I heard whispers that you would soon be reviewing a classic work––one that speaks to all ages and weathers the scrutinous test of time. And now I see that day has arrived! BUFFY! YEEEEAAAAH!

    I'm looking forward to seeing the entire series; I missed some episodes when the originals ran. I used to tape them on VHS so that I could watch them together with my little brother, but those blasted things would record "Home Improvement" or something instead. And then the show switched from WB to UPN. I didn't get that channel. My life is so hard. 🙁

  56. dasmondschaf says:

    Basically my exact feelings on the matter!

  57. Genny_ says:

    All this punning leaves one DRAINED.

    (Am I stretching it? I think that's kinda a stretch.)

  58. Shanna says:

    Born in '82…not American – Canadian. I lived in a small town and no one was dressed in such a "polished" manner as the "kids" on BtVS but some of the trends are definitely dead on – even for my little town. Watching the first few seasons of Buffy harkens me back to those heady days of the mid-late 90s when I loved my YM and TEEN magazines and all fashion therein. Plus the hair…oh the hair…and the music. And the CLUNKY shoes. It is a precious time capsule of parts of my teenage experience, Buffy is.

  59. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    Russell T Davies wanted to revive Doctor Who because he was a huge fan. Given the opportunity, he'd have brought it back at any time after it was cancelled. Davies is a huge Whedon fan, but apart from some very specific references in Rose (where Rose gets a Buffy-style monologue, some acrobatic rescuing and the line "I got the bronze") and in School Reunion (which has a lot of Buffy-style lines because Anthony Head was in it) I think its influence can be overstated. I think if Buffy had never existed then Doctor Who would have come back in roughly the same way as it did, simply on the basis of 26 seasons of the original series (plus all the books and audio dramas made in the years it was off-air) to draw on and the track records of the writers before the wrote for Who – especially those of Davies and Moffat.

    I don't want to belittle Whedon's achievements, but there were similar developments in other genre TV areas – the likes of Hill Street Blues and Cagney and Lacey and Babylon 5 in the US and Between the Lines and Cracker in the UK. Most of Davies' previous TV work had storylines playing out over multiple episodes and a focus on character (as did Moffat's). So, I think there was a generational thing going on – writers who had grown up loving genre TV approaching it with the concerns and techniques that would have previously been reserved mainstream dramas.

    Having said all of that, Davies and Moffat happily name-checked Whedon at around the time of the launch of Doctor Who:

    RTD – “[Buffy the Vampire Slayer] showed the whole world, and an entire sprawling industry, that writing monsters and demons and end-of-the world isn’t hack-work, it can challenge the best. Joss Whedon raised the bar for every writer—not just genre/niche writers, but every single one of us.”

    I can't find the Moffat quote, but he specifically mentioned Buffy in the pre-publicity for Doctor Who before it launched.

    However, later quotes give more of the context that I was talking about at first. Here's Russell in an interview, talking about inspiration:

    "AVC: Did you have other shows in mind as models for what you wanted to do?

    RTD: Well, every well-written show, really. I mean, I loved what Joss Whedon did with Buffy The Vampire Slayer, obviously. Particularly, I love The West Wing. I loved all sorts of modern dramas in Britain, this drama called Shameless written by Paul Abbott that’s got a ferocious energy to it. To be honest, my own shows, too. I have a long history of inventing my own shows for British television. It’s the first time I’ve gone to someone else’s property and revived it. And I have to feel, whether it’s arrogant or not, that when the BBC came to me, they wanted me to write it like I write my shows, in the voice of the writer of Queer As Folk and The Second Coming and the other dramas I’ve done. So I had to have the nerve and the confidence to write it in my tone of voice. That was the important thing. And for once, it worked. [Laughs.] It doesn’t always. ",3

    And Moffat in another interview:

    "When the show re-launched, original showrunner Russell T. Davies talked about being influenced by Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Is the show still being influenced by Buffy?

    I think when you start on a show like that… You are looking around [for things to compare it to]. Where does it sit now? What is like this now? What can I give as an example of this? Buffy is a good example: it's young-skewed, adventurous, funny and irreverent. But the moment you start making the show, you stop thinking of Buffy [and] you start thinking of Doctor Who. Doctor Who is a huge, fantastic, important show now."

  60. MidnightLurker says:

    Oh, Alyson Hannigan. The things I would do to… FOR you. The things I would do FOR you!


    The fight choreography will eventually improve. That's not a spoiler, right?

  61. Inseriousity. says:

    I don't dare look at page 2 and 3 just in case the site ends up sucked into the Hellmouth or something but I've decided to rewatch and its amazing all the little funny stuff that makes you laugh again cos you've forgot it the first time.

    There are certain Buffy episodes that I have ~~~~~childhood memories~~~~~ about as we used to watch it with our nana but it wasn't frequent enough for me to really get into it. It was ten times better than that Star Trek rubbish she made us watch before it. 😉 uhoh hope there's no trekkies in here!

    I really like the whole banter that they have. It seems to be so natural even though it's scripted. Sign of good script and acting! 😀

  62. inseriousity. says:

    Oh forgot to mention, note to Twilight:

    These are proper vampires!!!!!!

  63. mediamadmeg says:


    Okay. YES I WAS RIGHT I KNEW WILLOW AND GILES WILL BE YOUR FAVORITES! Willoooooow! So adorable! She’s so earnest and clever and sweet and…love her. She’s kinda Hermione-ish, no? And Giles…guh. Even just from re-watching the pilot I’m like I MUST NOW MARRY A BRITISH LIBRARIAN WHO DEALS WITH SUPERNATURAL STUFF OH GOD MY DAD’S NOT GOING TO BE HAPPY ABOUT THIS HE WANTED ME TO MARRY A DOCTOR OR A LAWYER.

    And you’re right, throwing us into the middle of Buffy’s story was a really smart move. I don’t think I realized that until re-watching how nice it was that we didn’t have to go through the whole “OMG WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME?!” stuff in the first episode. You get sucked in much more quickly this way because things are able to happen much faster. But she’s still a well-rounded character that we feel sympathy for, and there ARE Willow and Xander and Jesse who need to have things explained to them.

    Oh, the 90’s cheesiness…that wears off. And the writing gets better.



    Finally: “WILL THERE BE PUMPKINS?” I love you so much I’m crying.

  64. Smurphy says:

    Mark. Welcome to Sunnydale.

  65. enigmaticagentscully says:

    So I'm really late to this party and I guess no-one will read this anyway because HOLY SHIT MILLIONS OF COMMENTS. But anyway, since I'm watching along with Mark this time, my first impressions of Buffy!

    – GILES GILES GILES you are going to be my favourite I can tell.
    – A lot of it was cheesy as hell and SOOOO 90s but it doesn't bother me much since all my favourite shows are from the 90s basically.
    – Buffy seems cool. I like her, and I like her no-nonsense attitude
    – The dialogue is great. It's the kind of slick witty stuff that I expect from a Whedon show and it makes up for a lot of the cheesy
    – Willow is adorable and I kind of want to be her friend
    – I'm not really into either of the guys. Xander especially annoyed me from the moment he comically skateboarded on screen
    – It's gonna take a lot to stop me thinking of that mysterious guy as 'Booth'
    – The makeup is actually pretty well done on the vamps
    – To be continued? Colour me intrigued…

    So yeah, I'm not entirely sold on it yet. I think I need to get into a certain frame of mind to watch this properly and it'll take a while. I also heard 9as with many things) that season one is patchy, so I certainly won't give up on it or anything. But I like most of the characters and the premise is neat.

  66. NB2000 says:

    ATY Fzvyr Gvzr vf bar bs gur srj gvzrf V npghnyyl yvxrq Natry nf n punenpgre (vg'f bar bs gur srj rcvfbqrf bs gur fcva-bss V'ir frra, n sevraq pbaivaprq zr gb jngpu vg orpnhfr CHCCRGF!).

  67. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    I wasn't just thinking of the number of years as a performer. In terms of craft and carrying a show, I'd generally say that years spent as an adult performer are more valuable than those spent as a child.

  68. Maya says:


  69. Patrick says:

    Me three, even though I've only watched bits and pieces of Supernatural.

  70. misterbernie says:

    Nal fprar jurer ur fvatf xnenbxr. Bbbbu Znaql…

  71. ghaweyriao says:

    oooooooooomgggggg I am excite. Haha I didn't realize how much I really liked this series until I realized how excited I was that Mark is watching it! I've been meaning to rewatch the series along with Mark, I should probably rewatch "Welcome to the Hellmouth" today.


    Gur orfg cneg vf gung, nf sne nf V erzrzore, guvf arire trgf zragvbarq ntnva.

    20. Ab, frevbhfyl, V jnag gb yvxr Pbeqryvn. Fur’f tbvat gb svaq bhg nobhg Ohssl naq gurl’yy orpbzr sevraqf, evtug?

    Jryy … fbegn. V qb yvxr Pbeqryvn, ohg fur ernyyl vf whfg n pyvpur va gur rneyl rcvfbqrf, nygubhtu fur trgf fbzr tbbq yvarf.

  72. Kickpuncher says:


  73. Noybusiness says:

    Oh, this is so exciting!

    Technically, it wasn't a dead coach. It was the boy Darla killed in the opening. Cordelia mentioned the coach and then the body.

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

    Bu, lbh cbbe vaabprag ivetva lbh. V qvqa'g guvax vg jnf cbffvoyr gb unir urneq bs gur Natry GI frevrf ohg abg xabj ur jnf n inzcver.

  74. Don't you mean, Karen in Nick's slot?

  75. RoseFyre says:

    The problem I had with Emma Watson for Hermione had to do with them un-bushy-ing her hair WAY before Hermione ever did anything like that in the books. I mean, it's pretty much her only descriptive trait in the book! Well, other than the teeth, but…I don't think they could do the shrinking thing well. Other than what they did with her hair, I liked her a lot.

    But yeah, looks don't have anything to do with popularity…at least, unpopular people can be pretty OR ugly. It takes a lot for someone who's really ugly to be popular, and doesn't happen often. But Willow also doesn't wear makeup or nice clothes, and, well, socially awkward, yeah.

  76. todd says:

    I know I'm late to the comment party here, but I just wanted to stop by and say how absolutely thrilled I am that the "Mark Watches Buffy" Expedition has finally taken off. I'm a long-time lurker, rare commenter, but for "Buffy" I'm hoping to make commenting here a regular thing – even though I'll be a little behind the crowds. I don't know when "Buffy" wasn't a part of my life; my baby-sitter used to watch it when she came over on Tuesdays when my mom was doing her whole… thing, now that I think of it I don't know what she was doing, and the whole mythology kind of became a part of my identity. Which is cool, because Buffy Summers was my baby-sitter and you cannot ask for more, can you?

    I know the first season often gets a brush off from fans, but I actually adore it. The episodes accomplish exactly what they set out to do, which is introducing these lovable characters, give a hammy yet scary villain, a heroine to subvert horror tropes, and tell some great stories with heart. First episode definitely gets 8/10 from me.

    Looking forward to seeing more!

  77. notemily says:

    V trg xvaq bs natel nobhg gung orpnhfr V guvax Nzore Orafba vf TBETRBHF, naq gur jnl gurl qerffrq ure jnf pevzvanyyl hasynggrevat.

  78. Brian Fowler says:

    Yeah, took me two or three tries to get the page loaded, too, several hours later. But as a long time Mark Watches/Reads fan and a Buffy fanatic, it was more than worth the effort.

  79. notemily says:

    Hahahaha, I had no idea about that! As I recall, the movie does leave it a little ambiguous, or has more than one twist ending, or whatever. I don't know, the plot was nonsensical anyway.

  80. Brian Fowler says:

    Born in '81, but way over in Michigan, so I just thought high schools in California must be way different.

  81. notemily says:

    Ybbx ng vg gelvat gb jnyx ba gubfr yvggyr jbooyl yrtf!

  82. notemily says:

    Hey, this gives me an idea. Psych is set in Santa Barbara. CROSSOVER TIEM?

  83. notemily says:

    Hahaha, it took me forever to START thinking of David Boreanaz as "Booth."

  84. RoseFyre says:

    …be znlor zvqtrgf.

  85. rabbitape says:

    Surely we commentariat will make any shaky episodes worthwhile? So glad you're watching along! We're gonna have such a great time with this. 🙂

  86. Allan Cornett says:

    In 1997 I started watching BTVS with my 12 year old son. A show with such an outrageous name we had to see. From the beginning to the end my son and I rarely missed an episode. I wish I could do a spotless mind procedure and have all of Buffy erased from my memory so I could take this journey with Mark. Mark the first season is spotty but, the second season is one of the best seasons of any series EVER. I am a TV junkie, from the X-Files to the British Misfits I have searched the web for fantasy and SF shows, and the story of Buffy matches or exceeds anything I have seen in my 57 years.

  87. echinodermata says:

    That is a very good point.

  88. Fuchsia says:

    i would also love to read that thesis.

  89. notemily says:

    Buffy: Today I will go to school and be normal 😐
    Everyone: Tell us about yourself!
    Buffy: My plan has a flaw, it seems.

    ahahaha yeah this is great.

  90. echinodermata says:

    I still prefer the pylons one, although the MWB gif gave me an excuse to download some Buffy fonts, so that's good.

    I was debating mentioning Cordelia's green pants since they're questionable yet she's bagging on someone else's clothes, but to be honest I still think Carpenter looks good in them so I can't hate.

  91. echinodermata says:

    I LOVE THAT ARCHIVE! It's an archive dedicated to crossovers – be still my heart! So many fics I've read there.

  92. ghaweyriao says:

    Qbrf vg pbhag nf n fcbvyre gb fnl Knaqre'f fxngrobneq arire fubjf hc ntnva?

  93. ghaweyriao says:

    Oh Lord, Boreanaz's acting is terrrrrible in these first episodes. Every time I rewatch the series I am kind of startled by how bad it is at the beginning. Ubjrire, uvf Vevfu npprag arire, rire fgbcf orvat uvynevbhfyl onq.

  94. stefb4 says:

    What is it with 90s television shows set in high school casting actors who are OBVIOUSLY NOT IN HIGH SCHOOL? As underclassmen too.

    I do like to reminisce about the 90s though. So much cheese.

  95. Kickpuncher says:


Comments are closed.