It's the eighth day of the TV meme, and the topic of the day is: a show everyone should watch. There's tons of possibilities from The Big Bang Theory to Supernatural. Heck, I was gonna post Chuck again, because that's how much I love the program and want its popularity spread. But truth be told, there's one specific show everyone should watch because it is so cleverly written and speaks to basically every human being on the planet (even those grumpy ones at nursing homes) because it beautifully chronicles chapters of each our lives...just with a extra dose of vampires and soul-sucking demons.
Buffy, the Vampire Slayer started off as a rather pathetic movie production in the mid '90's starring Kristine Swanson are the main title character. Joss Whedon (Firefly, Angel), the mastermind behind the operation, wasn't as thrilled with the film production either, and sought a avenue that would allow his creative control and the ability to explore the character and her friends as they survive high school and try to live normal lives. The WB, in the midst or airing family and teen oriented dramas like 7th Heaven and Dawson's Creek respectively, picked up the show for a first season 13 episode order. This time Sarah Michelle Geller, a relative unknown with the exception of a few small roles, was given the role of Buffy Summers, a 17-year old girl who has been kicked out of her previous school for burning down the gym (from vampires).
Now at Sunnydale High, she meets Xander (Nicholas Brenden) and Willow (Allyson Hannigan, How I Met Your Mother) who quickly become her besties. There's also the enigmatic Angel (David Boreanaz, Bones) who helps her just when she needs it most..and strangely doesn't like sunlight. Ah, and there's also Giles (Anthony Stewart Head, Repo! The Genetic Opera), her Watcher and librarian who trains her to become a better vampire/demon slayer.
Although her life is drenched in blood and demonology, Buffy's main concern is, of course, high school life, boys, having fun, and being with friends. The first three seasons are all dedicated to Buffy and her high school environment, going through the trials and tribulations high school entails with just a bit of demon lore sprinkled in for good measure. She experiences her first true love and her first true loss, she matures as a person through her ordeals and strengthens her bonds with her friends and (sometimes) enemies. As she graduates high school and heads to college, the show changes with her - she enters the world of adulthood, and all the responsibilities and ridiculous problems that come up with. Finally by the end of the series, she's content. As she says in the finale, she's not, to use her analogy, fulled formed cookie dough yet, but she's mature, and she's able to face whatever life will throw in her face with confidence and style. The Pilot, "Welcome to the Hellmouth" introduces a girl who is insecure and afraid, and by the finale, "Chosen", the world is basically her bitch.
Why should a show about teenagers fighting vampires and demons and indulging in the occult be seen by everyone? Because although it is about that, it's not about that. It's about people. It's about life. It's about choices. It's about heartache and love. Friendship and betrayal. Having and losing. Sacrifice and rebirth. Every audience viewer can relate to these characters, and it doesn't hurt that every script (even the less-than-stellar episodes) are brim-full of hilarious dialogue that can only be found on a Joss Whedon show.
Buffy is a show about much more than teenage problems and vampire fighting. It's a show about us, about being human, about enduring and living our lives. The super duper awesome storylines about demons, vampires, a bazillion apocalypses, and vampire romance is just icing on the cake. Those stories that Joss Whedon, David Furry, Tim Minear, Jane Espenson, and Marti Noxon crafted are some of the best television has ever produced. 10 years from now, Buffy will be a show still looked back on with fondness, and every ounce of its storyline and characters will be just as relevant as it was '98-'06.
For a show about monsters lurking in the shadows, there has never been a show more human. And that is why everyone should watch Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.