It’s been 10 years since Buffy and the Scooby Gang defeated The First, leaving Sunnydale nothing but an imploded crater. Buffy the Vampire Slayer — Joss Whedon’s cult series about the slayer and her ragtag team of friends — aired its final episode on May 20, 2003. In honor of this anniversary, here are 10 reasons why Buffy kicks ass.
10. The Killer Wardrobe
Buffy Summers (Sarah Michele Gellar) knows how to stake vamps in style. From her midriff-baring tops to her platform heels, her late ’90s and early aughts’ wardrobe always adds flair to her night job.
9. The Emotional Moments
There are many times when BtVS will bring you to tears — when Buffy tells Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) that she’s only 16 and doesn’t want to die; when Giles searches doggedly for the runway slayer; when Jonathan (Danny Strong) awards Buffy the “class protector” umbrella; when Buffy sacrifices her life for her sister. But nothing brings out the waterworks more than Joyce Summers’ (Kristine Sutherland) death. Watch it below:
8. The Silent Episode
Many might argue that “Once More With Feeling,” the musical episode, is the series’ most iconic. Yet, it’s the Whedon-penned “Hush” that works as a superb showcase for Buffy. In the mostly silent hour, she takes on The Gentleman — a group of baddies who steal all the voices in Sunnydale. Just watch this scene below for a mix of the eerie and the hilarious, entirely without dialogue.
7. The High School Problems
Who didn’t worry that once they finally agreed to lose their virginity to their high school boyfriend, he would turn into a monster? Well, that’s exactly what happens when Buffy and Angel (David Boreanaz) do the deed on her 17th birthday. True, he becomes an actual monster — not that of the teenage boy variety. However, this moment reminds us that while Buffy is tasked again and again with saving the world, she also faces her share of everyday anxieties.
6. The Quips
Part of what makes Buffy great is that it never takes itself too seriously — its biting humor (pun intended) serves to cut through the sometimes serious tone. (It IS a series about a young girl fighting vampires, after all.) A discussion of the best Buffy quotes led to this gem from a friend’s coworker:
Xander: I’m still spinning on this whole “fairy tales are real thing.”
Oz: So what do we do?
Xander: I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna go trade my cow in for some beans.
5. The Big Bads
Each season, Buffy fights one big bad, beginning with The Master, and each season, the stakes (another pun intended) are raised. With the exception of the Initiative misfire of season 4, the adversaries Buffy confronts challenge and humble our heroine. In season 2, she overcomes her heartbreak to kill the soulless Angel, thus stopping the portal to hell from opening. The Mayor’s (Harry Groener) ascension threatens everyone in season 3; season 5 sees the God Glory (Clare Kramer) focus her wrath on Buffy and co; season 6 ups the ante when dark Willow (Alyson Hannigan) unleashes her fury; and season 7 brings them all together with The First — an amalgam and genesis of all the evils.
4. The British Mentor
A mix of Dumbledore, Gandalf and the father Buffy never really had, Rupert Giles guides his slayer through the defeat of many demons — of both the monster and human kind.
3. The Tortured Lovers
Whether you prefer Angel or Spike (James Marsters), both vampires give Buffy a love fans can really sink their teeth into. (Someone, please stop me.) Each had their cons. Angel can’t have sex with Buffy, otherwise he turns into the evil Angelus. He also always thinks he knows what’s best for her, often martyring himself and their relationship in the process. Spike, on the other hand, spends many years trying to kill Buffy, before falling in love with her. And there is that attempted rape situation. But, we can all agree that they are both better than Riley (Marc Blucas).
2. The Loyal Scoobies
From day one, Buffy found a misfit group of friends — the brainy Willow Rosenberg and the bumbling Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon) — who always had her back, and she theirs. Even though the Scooby Gang evolves throughout the years — rotating members include the ditzy Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), Oz the werewolf (Seth Green), the demon formerly known as Anyanka, aka Anya (Emma Caufield), and the tragic Tara Maclay (Amber Benson) — their relationships form the core of the show. And if you eliminate the supernatural threat, BtVS would stand on its own as a great series about friends. (Although we already had one.)
1. The Blond Bombshell
Usually, the Buffys of the world go out to investigate a noise and never come back. Thankfully, Whedon always said he wanted to turn that stereotype on its head. Instead of the blond bimbo, we have a beautiful, yet flawed, heroine who constantly saves the day — and isn’t just arm candy for the men in her life.