Friday 10th March 2017 marks 20 years to the day – yes, two decades! – since Buffy Summers first walked through the doors of Sunnydale High and into the lives of grateful geeks everywhere.
Six years, seven seasons and one spin-off series later, Buffy had saved the world for the zillionth and final time and staked a place in fantasy history, as a fully-rounded character who showed us that female empowerment is as much about inner strength as it is about kicking vampire ass.
Happy birthday Buffy! Here are the letters of your lore…
A is for Angel/Angelus – Buffy’s first demon lover (you have to start somewhere). Angel (David Boreanaz), is the brooding vampire with a soul. Formerly a sadistic killer known as Angelus, he has his soul restored to him by a gypsy curse, leaving him to suffer the guilt of hundreds of murders – until he sleeps with Buffy, that is. In that “moment of perfect happiness” (a euphemism if ever I heard one) Angel loses his soul and once again becomes Angelus.
Angel is also the name of the Buffy spin-off in which the vampire moves to Los Angeles to become a supernatural private detective (only in LA, right?)
B is for The Bronze – the nightclub in Sunnydale. A place to meet, hang out and – if you’re that way inclined – find teenage victims to sink your fangs into. Also, apparently, the dream place to gig for a whole host of musicians and bands, ranging from Blink-182 to Aimee Mann, The Dandy Warhols to Coldplay.
C is for Cordelia Chase – chief cheerleader, popularity queen, materialist and all-round high school mean girl, Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) underwent a gradual redemption via her supernatural experiences with Buffy and co and an unlikely romance with Xander (see X). After series three she moved to LA for Buffy spin-off Angel.
D is for Death – of course there’s plenty of it in Sunnydale, mostly that of vamps getting dusted or demons sent back to hell by Buffy. But there have been a fair few human fatalities too. Buffy herself died twice – once briefly in the first series (causing a new Slayer to be activated) and once at the end of season five, when she sacrificed herself in order to close a portal to hell. Meanwhile, a moving episode, featuring a superb performance from Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy, sees her mum die of a brain aneurysm. And at the end of series six, Willow’s (see W) girlfriend Tara is shot dead by Warren Mears (see T), unleashing the witch’s raging dark side, which threatens to consume the world.
E is for Evil – it’s everywhere you look in Sunnydale, as you’d expect from a town located on a Hellmouth (see H) but in particular there’s The First Evil, the ancient “big bad” to end all big bads, which can appear in the form of any dead person it chooses.