Friday marked the 20th anniversary of the debut of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on the WB, and to celebrate, star Sarah Michelle Gellar took to Instagram to release a letter to fans.
20 years ago today, I had the greatest privilege to bring Buffy to your tv screens for the first time. It was a long and challenging road to get there. First the movie, then a passed over pilot presentation, and eventually a mid season time slot on a little known network. That first season, we liked to think of ourselves as the little show that could. While we knew the potential, I don’t think any of us saw the lasting impact our show would have. As an actor, you wish for that one role where you can leave your mark and forever be remembered, with Buffy I got so much more. She’s a feminist challenge to gender hierarchy. Buffy may have been the Chosen One, but I was the lucky one. Thank you to Gail Berman for always believing there was a show in that movie. Thank you to Joss Whedon, for trusting me to give life to one of the greatest female characters ever created. Thank you to David, for always being my Angel. Thank you to James for understanding that while Buffy and Spike may have been love/hate, I have nothing but love for you. Alyson, as any woman knows, you are nothing without the love and support of great female friends, so thank you for being that. Michelle, you will always hold a key to my heart. Thank you to all the incredible actors for seven seasons of amazing performances. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible crew that worked tirelessly (and also really tired) to bring this show to life. And lastly, but most importantly thank you to all of you, the fans. We made this show for you, and your unwavering support has kept this show going long past our seven years. You are everything. And always remember…”if the apocalypse comes, beep me” #buffyslays20
As Gellar notes, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” had quite an interesting journey to the small screen. Before the cult television series, there was the 1992 film starring Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland and Luke Perry that met with decidedly mixed critical and commercial success. Yet the WB, then a fledgling network, saw potential, which led creator Joss Whedon to flesh out the character and concept, keeping the core of Buffy the same while adding some slight changes, including the decision to make her a Slayer from the get-go.
Of course, while the show seemed to find an audience in its first season, those involved had no clue just how important it would continue to be 20 years on. Even with its flaws, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” remains a pivotal series. From its smart writing to the ever-important female relationships to the ability to craft characters fans can care about, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is for many just as important today as it was in 1997.