I still can’t believe that today marks the 10 year anniversary of the finale of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. Many will debate whether it is one of the best shows or if it is THE best show — but for me, it is one of the most satisfying seven seasons ever to air on television. It’s not perfect, but the creator and writers of the show respected the viewers and gave the fans a series that they could go back to again and watch from episode one to the finale and cherish the journey each time.
I’ve told this story before but I will tell it again: BtVS renewed my faith in storytelling on television. I had been an avid X-Files fan and was still sorting through the rubble of that disaster. The show had no regard for it’s own past and the so-called “clues” to the conspiracy were quickly debunked by the show as writers came and went and the creator stopped caring. My friend took me aside after one bad episode too many and showed me the Angel/Angelus arc from Season 2 (available on VHS! LOL). It was 4-5 key episodes from the end of the season and in those few hours, I fell in love. The show had everything I wanted in my entertainment – great story, great characters that I cared about, a good mix of humor, and heart. You could feel the heart of the show, the message about empowerment and being strong and surviving growing up.
I started watching the show in real-time during Season 4, which synced up nicely with me starting college along with Buffy and the Scooby gang. And I was a faithful viewer up until the final episode aired.
That was a rough night.
Season 6 and 7 hadn’t been as light as previous years, but the show still had that strong heart beating behind it and it was hard to stop. I’m so happy I stayed with it. The finale made me so happy and broke my heart at the same time. I cried because I knew these fictional friends were going away and I would not get to have any more adventures with them. I cried because the show ended as well as it had started. I cried because there was no other voice like this on television and I didn’t want it to go.
It’s been ten years now and Buffy still holds up for me. I’ve rewatched it several times and each time I pick up on some other subtle nuance of the writing. Foreshadowing here, a sly wink to a previous episode there – it doesn’t get old. The humor and wit is still strong enough to bring in new viewers all these years later — I managed to get my co-worker to watch the entire series this year and when she would come in to work after a long weekend of marathoning episodes, and I would listen to her talk about the show, the characters, her feelings about everything going on — I could still hear that heart beating. Even beyond the grave.