Editor’s note: Click here for subsections to watch “Buffy” episodes online, to get information about the animated series, the cast and vampires, to learn about the blu-ray disc, or see our episode guide and trailers.
When one views the entire “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” series and TV show, it first becomes apparent that the classic show transitions from a charming — if somewhat-cliched and not-always-good — first season to the seventh (and last) one that is darker and more apocalyptic.
While most people will want to watch the “Buffy” series from the beginning, there are multiple so-called “entry points” that are suitable to the new viewer. The first season’s characters and themes are more black-and-white (humans, good; vampires, bad) and simplistic, but the second season is the first to deliver quality story-lines, character-development arcs, and the situational ethics that reflect the haziness of the issues in real life.
The third season of the “Buffy” TV show escapes the soap-opera theme that dominates the second half of the second season (we won’t spoil the events) and focuses more on the senior year of high school and how it affects teenagers, like our slayer and her friends, who are preparing for adulthood. The season culminates in a youth-versus-adult conflict that ends with an action that all teenagers have wished they could do to their high school.
The fourth season is a type of revamp — it sees the characters transitioning into college (with the difficulties in doing so) while becoming adults who are no longer children. The main themes are the much-discussed realization by a main character that she is a lesbian witch and the less-discussed duality and conflict between science and myth in the context of the final “Big Bad” that Buffy faces in the second half of the season.
More on “Buffy” the Series and TV Show
The fifth season focuses on family as the characters grow older. Buffy “gets” a little sister (again, we won’t spoil the reasons) and then deals with the health issues of her aging mother. A couple fights over living together and finding a better place than the guy’s parental basement. The girlfriend of a main character deals with her family lack of acceptance of her “lifestyle choices.” Buffy needs to re-establish a relationship with her professional mentor in a way that accounts for the fact that she is no longer a child. The main villain is causing trouble just because she wants to “return home.” In the end, Buffy makes a choice to sacrifice more than can be understood for her family.
The sixth season deals with what can be termed today the “quarter-life crisis.” Buffy is depressed at her situation (which, when one sees the finale of the prior season, is understandable). Her sister develops a habit of stealing to compensate for self-esteem issues. Another character develops a drug habit (though, in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” it takes on a mystical component). A main character wonders whether he can truly marry another character, who is his fiance by this point. In the end, one character in the “Buffy” series saves the world by helping another with her depression.
The seventh (and final) season of the “Buffy” TV show brings the entire series full-circle. It is a combination of the humans-good-vampires-bad theme of the first season, but all of the characters have grown as people and can address the calamity as adults rather than children. The evil-to-end-all-evil finally decides to balance accounts, and the world hangs in the balance. In response, Buffy and her friends build an army of “potential” slayers to help them.
Here is the video with clips of Season One: