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The first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer originally aired on The WB television network from March 10 to June 2, 1997. It served as a mid-season replacement for the soap opera Savannah and only contained 12 episodes.

Synopsis

After moving to Sunnydale, California, Buffy Anne Summers just wants to be a normal teenager. Back in Los Angeles, her first Watcher had died; she inadvertently burned down the school gymnasium at her old high school; and her parents got a divorce. The move to Sunnydale is supposed to give both her and her mother, Joyce, a clean slate. But then she meets the school librarian, Rupert Giles, and quickly learns there is no escaping her destiny.

With Giles as her new Watcher, she reluctantly steps back into her role as the Slayer. But this time she is not fighting alone. She now has an inner circle of special friends — Willow, Xander, Cordelia, and a mysterious young man named Angel — ready to join the fight and drive in a stake or two if need be.

Summary

The first season began several months after the events of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer film, with Buffy Summers arriving in Sunnydale with her mother, Joyce.

After moving with the hopes of leaving her Slayer duties behind, Buffy inevitably came into contact with her Watcher, the librarian Rupert Giles, and the two friends who would fight demons alongside her through the series. They soon realized that Sunnydale High was located on a Hellmouth, a portal to demon dimensions, which attracted supernatural phenomena to the area.

The first season included mostly standalone episodes, exploring the problems faced by the student population as a result of the centrality of the Hellmouth that it has. Such issues explored include: ignored students turning invisible; witches; demon teachers; and the never-ending supply of vampires.

With the high emphasis on teenage angst and metaphorical nature of the episodes, Buffy’s inevitable love interest came in the form of Angel, who frequently turned up with cryptic warnings for Buffy. However, the relationship became complicated when the truth about Angel’s past is uncovered. Angel is a vampire with a soul that was restored by the Romani Clan Kalderash many years prior to the series’ beginning.

The overarching plot concerned the Master’s attempts to reach the surface. He was an ancient and very powerful vampire who was trapped by an earthquake caused by his attempt to open the Hellmouth decades ago. Buffy and her comrades managed to stop each supernatural threat, typically employing a combination of detective work, frequent physical combat, and extensive research of both ancient mystical texts and computer-accessible records.

Ultimately, the Master recruited a prophesied Anointed One who brought Buffy to her death in The Master’s underground prison. He used her blood to escape to the roof of Sunnydale High, but she is quickly revived by Xander, who had tracked her with the help of an unfed Angel. She managed to throw the Master onto a shard of wood, and the Hellmouth is closed.

The main antagonist of this season was the Master.

Episodes

# Image Title Airdate
01 1HellMouthFirstEp Welcome to the Hellmouth March 10, 1997
is the season premiere of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the first episode in the series. Written by Joss Whedon and directed by Charles Martin Smith, it was originally broadcast on February 7, 1997 on The WB network. Buffy Summers arrives in Sunnydale and is not happy to meet her new WatcherRupert Giles. Angel, a mysterious friend, offers guidance, but Buffy resists her destiny until Willow and Jesse are abducted.
02 2TheHarvestEp The Harvest March 10, 1997
is the second episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the second episode in the series. It was written by Joss Whedon and directed by John T. Kretchmer. After escaping from Luke, Buffy goes in search of Jesse with a little help from Giles and Willow, and her mystery friend, Angel, and from Xander. The Master plots the Harvest, a ritual designed to imbue him with enough strength to open the Hellmouth.
03 03Witch Witch March 17,1997
is the third episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the third episode in the series. Written by Dana Reston and directed by Stephen Cragg, it was originally broadcast on March 17, 1997 on The WB network. Buffy tries out for Sunnydale High cheerleading squad and discovers that there are strange things happening to the other contestants.
04 Mrs French epi Teacher's Pet March 25, 1997
is the fourth episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the fourth episode in the series. It was written by David Greenwalt and directed by Bruce Seth Green. It was originally broadcast on March 25, 1997. Xander is smitten by the substitute biology teacher, Ms. French, who turns out to be something the Scoobies never expected.
05 Never Kill a Boy Main Never Kill a Boy on the First Date March 31, 1997
is the fifth episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the fifth episode in the series. It was written by Rob Des Hotel and Dean Batali, and directed by David Semel. It was originally broadcast on March 31, 1997. Buffy's love life is looking up when she goes on a date with the normal Owen, but the plans of the Master to rise the Anointed One, puts her into conflict.
06 Pack The Pack April 07, 1997
is the sixth episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is the sixth episode overall. It was written by Matt Kiene and Joe Reinkemeyer, and directed by Bruce Seth Green. It originally broadcast on April 7, 1997. Xander and several other students are possessed by the spirit of a demonic breed of hyenas that wreak havoc on Sunnydale High School.
07 Angel Episode Angel April 14, 1997
is the seventh episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the seventh episode in the series. Written by David Greenwalt and directed by Scott Brazil, it was originally broadcast on April 14, 1997 on The WB network. Buffy discovers something shocking about Angel that nobody anticipated.
08 09IRobotYouJane I Robot, You Jane April 28, 1997
is the eighth episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the eighth episode in the series. It was written by Ashley Gable and Thomas A. Swyden, and directed by Stephen Posey. It was originally broadcast on April 28, 1997. Willow accidentally releases the demon Moloch the Corruptor into the internet.
09 Sid and Buffy Main The Puppet Show May 5, 1997
is the ninth episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the ninth episode in the series. It was written by Rob Des Hotel and Dean Batali, and directed by Ellen S. Pressman. It was originally broadcast on May 5, 1997. Buffy Summers suspects a ventriloquist's dummy may be harvesting organs from classmates who are participating in the school talent show.
10 10Nighmares Nightmares May 12, 1997
is the tenth episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, television show, and the tenth episode in the series. Written by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt, and directed by Bruce Seth Green, it was originally broadcast on May 12, 1997 on The WB. The residents of Sunnydale are in a dilemma when their nightmares start to come to life.
11 11OutofMind Out of Mind, Out of Sight May 19, 1997
is the eleventh episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the eleventh episode in the series. It was written by Joss Whedon, Ashley Gable, and Thomas A. Swyden, and directed by Reza Badiyi. It was originally broadcast on May 19, 1997. Buffy must protect the thorn in her side, Cordelia, when she becomes the target of an invisible former student who wants revenge for the way she was treated in the past.
12 Prophecygirl Prophecy Girl June 2, 1997
is the twelfth and final episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the twelfth episode in the series. It was both written and directed by Joss Whedon. It was originally broadcast on June 2, 1997. Giles discovers an ancient book foretelling Buffy's death at the hands of The Master. Will she stay true to her destiny or abandon her calling?

Cast

Main Cast

In order of character appearances:

Regular Cast

In order of character appearances:

Trivia

  • This is the only seasons of both shows in which there are only 12 episodes as opposed to the normal 22.
  • This is the only season of both shows in which there is no vampire among the main characters.
  • This is the only season of Buffy in which Spike does not appear.
  • This is the only season of Buffy in which no members of the Trio appear (although Jonathan Levinson appears in the unaired Buffy pilot).
  • This season features the fewest vampire deaths of the series.
  • Joss Whedon has stated about this season: “In season one, we found that we had a show that people liked. I really thought people were going to laugh at the Buffy/Angel thing and say, ‘Well, he's a vampire. This is so hokey’. But they couldn't get enough of it. It definitely made me realize the soap opera aspect of it; a continuing story of the romance and the people and their emotions was really what was fascinating. The monsters were all very well and good, but in the first season we were, like, ‘Let's take our favorite horror movies and turn them into high school stories’.”[1]

References

  1. Ed Gross, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer Turns 20: Joss Whedon Looks Back". Empire, March 09, 2017.