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Feature: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Spring into Summers

Sarah Michelle Gellar and the Season Four gang

Ultimate DVD talks to Sarah Michelle Gellar and co about the changing face of everyone’s favourite Slayer…

Forget vampires, demons and lesser gods with anger management issues – as any fan of Buffy The Vampire Slayer will tell you, the really scary stuff is puberty, dating, lack of confidence, high school and finding your way as an adult.

These are the things that Buffy Summers has been karate chopping at, metaphorically speaking, since the series' début almost six seasons ago. Fans worldwide are celebrating the release of the show's earlier seasons on DVD (the June 11 DVD release of Season Two in the US and the May 13 release of Season Four in the UK), and the current Buffy team has gathered on the set of The Bronze, the show's fictional nightclub, to reminisce about those seasons.

"I feel old now," laments series star Sarah Michelle Gellar. "I feel like I finally got to the place where I look around and crew members are younger than me and I don't understand when that happened." Yet Gellar is still enthusiastic about the series' impact. "We were all aware that we were doing something incredibly special and different from the beginning," she says. "I think we kicked the mould. We were really one of the first shows that showed a female kicking butt and we've paved the way for young heroines. Now, shows can evolve around a three-dimensional female character and if you look at how the trend has gone since then, I really feel like we started that."

"I got a question from a journalist who was writing about all the new female heroines on television," adds Marti Noxon, former Buffy scribe and current executive producer. "She asked me where I thought it started, and I replied oh-so-modestly, ‘I think it started when Joss Whedon wrote Buffy The Vampire Slayer'." She pauses, laughing. "Even though Sarah plays a supernatural character, she is, in fact, a real girl. She has all the concerns of a real girl, gets boy crazy, all the stuff that you weren't able to reconcile before. We sort of said you could be both human and fallible, and you can be the star and the hero."

During the fourth season, actor Seth Green's sudden departure from the role of werewolf Oz surprised both fans and the show's creator. "Seth walked out on us. He bailed on us," says Joss Whedon. "He said, ‘I don't wanna do this anymore' and left. And, you know, I like Seth. He's a good guy, he's very professional and fun to work with. But it was kind of one of those situations where we were trying to find how to work a character who is by nature very taciturn and silent, so we were sort of struggling with it. And I did feel like we wanted to give him more opportunities. And then he turns around and says, ‘I'm leaving'. He's a wonderful actor. And a fascinating character. But he bailed on our asses, he really did, and we had to scramble."

Audiences who stick with the show into its mature years are promised a much darker, sexier Buffy. "You cheat your audience if you try to keep it in one place – if you pigeonhole it," Gellar argues. "We have worked very hard with the show. We've seen Buffy go from a high school student, to all of a sudden having this other job, to her first love, to college and now she's a single mother that has to get a job and I don't envy her."

Gellar has enjoyed the series' second life, which now includes DVD shelves. "Oh my goodness," she laughs. "Are you crazy? I love to watch the old episodes. Actually, I confess I have been catching them in re-runs. I love anything from the first season, I really love that stuff. I live for it, and think it's great. I'm always, like ‘look at my hair, what was I thinking'?"

by Steve Gidlow

Read the full feature (including Anthony Stewart Head and Alyson Hannigan's thoughts) plus our run-down of the Top 5 Big Bads and Big Deaths from Buffy, and a full review of the Region 2 Season Four box-set - all in:
Ultimate DVD #30

Image © 20th-Century Fox Home Video
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Ultimate DVD #30, see below for ordering options
Ultimate DVD #30
May (Spy Game) 2002
ships from Apr 11 2002
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UK £3.99 / US $7.99

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