This mystical calling endows her with powers that dramatically increase physical strength, endurance, agility, accelerated healing, intuition, and a limited degree of clairvoyance , usually in the form of prophetic dreams.
She has returned from death twice and is known as a reluctant hero who wants to live a normal life. However, she learns to embrace her destiny as the vampire slayer.
Giles, rarely referred to by his first name it is later revealed that in his misspent younger days he went by "Ripper" , is a member of the Watchers' Council , whose job is to train and guide the Slayers. Giles researches the supernatural creatures that Buffy must face, offers insights into their origins and advice on how to defeat them, and helps her stay in fighting form. Buffy is also helped by friends she meets at Sunnydale High: Willow is originally a wallflower who excels at academics, providing a contrast to Buffy's outgoing personality and less-than-stellar educational record.
They share the social isolation that comes with being different, and especially from being exceptional young women. As the series progresses, Willow becomes a more assertive character and a powerful witch, and comes out as a lesbian. In contrast, Xander, with no supernatural skills but very athletic, provides comic relief and a grounded perspective. It is Xander who often provides the heart to the series, and in season six, becomes the hero in place of Buffy who defeats the " Big Bad.
The cast of characters grew over the course of the series. Buffy first arrives in Sunnydale with her mother, Joyce Summers portrayed by Kristine Sutherland , who functions as an anchor of normality in the Summers' lives even after she learns of Buffy's role in the supernatural world " Becoming, Part Two ". A vampire tortured with a soul in return for horrific deeds committed in the past to many, including a young gypsy girl and her family, Angel portrayed by David Boreanaz , is Buffy's love interest throughout the first three seasons.
He leaves Buffy as he believes he isn't good enough for her. He goes on to make amends for his sins and to search for redemption in his own spin-off, Angel. He makes several guest appearances in the remaining seasons, including the last episode. At Sunnydale High, Buffy meets several other students besides Willow and Xander willing to join her fight for good, an informal group eventually tagged the " Scooby Gang " or "Scoobies. Daniel "Oz" Osbourne Seth Green , a fellow student, rock guitarist and werewolf, joins the group through his relationship with Willow.
Jenny Calendar Robia LaMorte , Sunnydale's computer science teacher, joins the group after helping destroy a demon trapped in cyberspace during season 1. She later becomes Giles' love interest. Anya Emma Caulfield , a former vengeance demon Anyanka who specialized in avenging scorned women, becomes Xander's lover after losing her powers and joins the group in season four.
Although Faith initially fights on the side of good with Buffy and the rest of the group, she comes to stand against them and sides with Mayor Richard Wilkins Harry Groener after accidentally killing a human in season three. She reappears briefly in the fourth season, looking for vengeance, and moves to Angel where she voluntarily goes to jail for her murders. Faith reappears in season seven of Buffy, after having helped Angel and his crew, and fights alongside Buffy against The First Evil.
Buffy gathers other allies: Spike James Marsters , a vampire, is an old companion of Angelus Angel and one of Buffy's major enemies in early seasons, although they later become allies and lovers. At the end of season six, Spike regains his soul. Spike is known for his Billy Idol -style peroxide blond hair and his black leather coat, stolen from a previous Slayer, Nikki Wood ; her son, Robin Wood D.
Woodside , joined the group in the final season. Tara Maclay Amber Benson is a fellow member of Willow's Wicca group during season four, and their friendship eventually turns into a romantic relationship. Buffy becomes involved personally and professionally with Riley Finn Marc Blucas , a military operative in " the Initiative ," which hunts demons using science and technology. Buffy featured dozens of recurring characters, both major and minor. For example, the "Big Bad" villain characters were featured for at least one season for example, Glory is a character who appeared in 12 episodes, spanning much of season five.
Similarly, characters who allied themselves to the group and characters which attended the same institutions were sometimes featured in multiple episodes. Setting and filming locations[ edit ] Main articles: The show is set in the fictional California town of Sunnydale, whose suburban Sunnydale High School sits on top of a " Hellmouth ", a gateway to demon realms.
The Hellmouth, located beneath the school library, is a source of mystical energies as well as a nexus for a wide variety of evil creatures and supernatural phenomena. In addition to being an open-ended plot device, Joss Whedon has cited the Hellmouth and " High school as Hell " as one of the primary metaphors in creating the series. The high school used in the first three seasons is actually Torrance High School , in Torrance, California , the same high school used for Beverly Hills, From Season Two more permanent sets were built, including the full interior of Buffy's house, Angel's mansion, Giles' apartment, and extensions to the high school set the addition of a dining hall and commons area.
While the show is mainly a drama with frequent comic relief , most episodes blend different genres , including horror , martial arts , romance , melodrama , farce , science fiction , comedy , and even, in one episode , musical comedy. The series' narrative revolves around Buffy and her friends, collectively dubbed the " Scooby Gang ," who struggle to balance the fight against supernatural evils with their complex social lives.
Though elements and relationships are explored and ongoing subplots are included, the show focuses primarily on Buffy and her role as an archetypal heroine. In the first few seasons, the most prominent monsters in the Buffy bestiary are vampires , which are based on traditional myths, lore, and literary conventions.
As the series continues, Buffy and her companions fight an increasing variety of demons , as well as ghosts , werewolves , zombies , and unscrupulous humans.
They frequently save the world from annihilation by a combination of physical combat, magic , and detective-style investigation, and are guided by an extensive collection of ancient and mystical reference books.
Storylines[ edit ] Season one exemplifies the "high school is hell" concept. Buffy Summers has just moved to Sunnydale after burning down her old school's gym, and hopes to escape her Slayer duties. Her plans are complicated by Rupert Giles , her new Watcher , who reminds her of the inescapable presence of evil. Sunnydale High is built atop a Hellmouth , a portal to demon dimensions that attracts supernatural phenomena to the area. Buffy befriends two schoolmates, Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg , who help her fight evil throughout the series, but they must first prevent The Master , an ancient and especially threatening vampire, from opening the Hellmouth and taking over Sunnydale.
The emotional stakes are raised in season two. Vampires Spike and Drusilla weakened from a mob in Prague , which, it is implied, caused her debilitating injury , come to town along with a new slayer, Kendra Young , who was activated as a result of Buffy's brief death in the season one finale. Xander becomes involved with Cordelia , while Willow becomes involved with witchcraft and Daniel "Oz" Osbourne , who is a werewolf.
The romantic relationship between Buffy and the vampire Angel develops over the course of the season, but after they have sex, Angel's soul, given to him by a Gypsy curse in the past, is lost, and he once more becomes Angelus, a sadistic killer. Kendra is killed by a restored Drusilla. Angelus torments much of the "Scooby Gang" throughout the rest of the season and murders multiple innocents and Giles' new girlfriend Jenny Calendar , a gypsy who was sent to maintain Angel's curse.
To avert an apocalypse, Buffy is forced to banish Angelus to a demon dimension just moments after Willow has restored his soul. The ordeal leaves Buffy emotionally shattered, and she leaves Sunnydale. After attempting to start a new life in Los Angeles, Buffy returns to town in season three. Angel has mysteriously been released from the demon dimension, but is close to insanity due to the torment he suffered there, and is nearly driven to suicide by the First Evil.
He and Buffy realize that a relationship between them can never happen; he eventually leaves Sunnydale at the end of the season. A new watcher named Wesley is put in Giles' place when Giles is fired from the Watcher's Council because he has developed a "father's love" for Buffy; and towards the end of the season, Buffy announces that she will no longer be working for the Council.
Early in the season, she meets Faith , the Slayer activated after Kendra's death. She also encounters the affable Mayor Richard Wilkins , who secretly has plans to "ascend" become a "pure" demon on Sunnydale High's Graduation Day.
Although Faith initially works well with Buffy, she becomes increasingly unstable after accidentally killing a human and forms a relationship with the paternal yet manipulative Mayor, eventually landing in a coma after a fight with Buffy. At the end of the season, after the Mayor becomes a huge snake-like demon, Buffy and the entire graduating class destroy him by blowing up Sunnydale High. Season four sees Buffy and Willow enroll at UC Sunnydale, while Xander joins the workforce and begins dating Anya , a former vengeance demon.
Spike returns as a series regular and is abducted by The Initiative , a top-secret military installation based beneath the UC Sunnydale campus. They implant a microchip in his head that punishes him whenever he tries to harm a human.
He makes a truce with the Scooby Gang and begins to fight on their side, purely for the joy of fighting, upon learning that he can still harm other demons. Oz leaves town after realizing that he is too dangerous as a werewolf, and Willow falls in love with Tara Maclay , another witch. Buffy begins dating Riley Finn , a graduate student and member of The Initiative.
Although appearing to be a well-meaning anti-demon operation, The Initiative's sinister plans are revealed when Adam , a monster secretly built from parts of humans, demons and machinery, escapes and begins to wreak havoc on the town.
Adam is destroyed by a magical composite of Buffy and her three friends, and The Initiative is shut down. During season five , a younger sister, Dawn , suddenly appears in Buffy's life; although she is new to the series, to the characters it is as if she has always been there. Buffy is confronted by Glory , an exiled Hell God who is searching for a "Key" that will allow her to return to her Hell dimension and in the process blur the lines between dimensions and unleash Hell on Earth.
It is later discovered that the Key's protectors have turned the Key into human form — Dawn — concurrently implanting everybody with lifelong memories of her. The Watcher's Council aids in Buffy's research on Glory, and she and Giles are both reinstated on their own terms.
Riley leaves early in the season after realizing that Buffy does not love him and joins a military demon-hunting operation. Spike, still implanted with the Initiative chip, realizes he is in love with Buffy and increasingly helps the Scoobies in their fight. Buffy's mother Joyce dies of a brain aneurysm , while at the end of the season, Xander proposes to Anya.
Glory finally discovers that Dawn is the key and kidnaps her. To save Dawn, Buffy sacrifices her own life by diving into the portal to the Hell dimension and thus closes it with her death. At the beginning of season six , Buffy has been dead for days, but Buffy's friends resurrect her through a powerful spell, believing they have rescued her from a Hell dimension.
Buffy returns in a deep depression, explaining several episodes later that she had been in Heaven and is devastated to be pulled back to Earth. Giles returns to England because he has concluded that Buffy has become too reliant on him, while Buffy takes up a fast-food job to support herself and Dawn, and develops a secret, mutually abusive relationship with Spike.
Dawn suffers from kleptomania and feelings of alienation, Xander leaves Anya at the altar after which she once again becomes a vengeance demon , and Willow becomes addicted to magic, causing Tara to temporarily leave her. They also begin to deal with The Trio , a group of nerds led by Warren Mears who use their proficiency in technology and magic to attempt to kill Buffy and take over Sunnydale. Warren is shown to be the only competent villain of the group and, after Buffy thwarts his plans multiple times and the Trio breaks apart, he becomes unhinged and attacks Buffy with a gun, accidentally killing Tara in the process.
This causes Willow to descend into a nihilistic darkness and unleash all of her dark magical powers, killing Warren and attempting to kill his friends. Giles returns to face her in battle and infuses her with light magic, tapping into her remaining humanity. This overwhelms Willow with guilt and pain, whereupon she attempts to destroy the world to end everyone's suffering, although it eventually allows Xander to reach through her pain and end her rampage.
Late in the season, after losing control and trying to rape Buffy, Spike leaves Sunnydale and travels to see a demon and asks him to "return him to what he used to be" so that he can "give Buffy what she deserves. During season seven , it is revealed that Buffy's second resurrection caused an instability that is allowing the First Evil to begin tipping the balance between good and evil.
It begins by hunting down and killing inactive Potential Slayers , and soon raises an army of ancient, powerful Turok-Han vampires. After the Watchers' Council is destroyed, a number of Potential Slayers some brought by Giles take refuge in Buffy's house. The Turok-Han vampires and a sinister, misogynistic preacher known as Caleb begin causing havoc for the Scoobies.