After moving with the hopes of leaving her born slayer duties behind, Buffy inevitably comes into contact with her Watcher, the librarian Rupert Giles, and the two friends who would fight demons alongside her through the series. They soon realize that Sunnydale High is located on a Hellmouth, a portal to demon dimensions, which attracts 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 turns up with cryptic warnings for Buffy. However, the relationship becomes complicated when the truth about Angel's past is uncovered. Angel is a vampire with a soul that was restored by gypsies many years prior to the series beginning.
The overarching plot concerned The Master's attempts to reach the surface. He is 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 manage 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 recruits 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 manages to throw the Master onto a shard of wood, and the Hellmouth is closed.
Season 1 Episodes
Aired: March 10 to June 2, 1997
|150px||Welcome to the Hellmouth||Writer: Joss Whedon||Director: Charles Martin Smith||March 10, 1997||4V01||001 1x01|
|Buffy Summers arrives in Sunnydale and is not happy to meet her new Watcher, Rupert Giles. A mysterious "friend" offers guidance, but Buffy resists her destiny until Willow Rosenburg and Jesse McNally are abducted. Buffy saves Willow from an ordinary vampire, but loses track of Jesse in a confrontation with Luke, the Master's vampire vessel.
|The Harvest||Writer: Joss Whedon||Director: John T. Kretchmer||March 10, 1997||4V02||002 1x02|
|After escaping from Luke, Buffy goes in search of Jesse, with a little help from Giles and Willow, from her mystery friend, Angel, and from Xander, who braves the dank, dark sewers with her. The Master plots the Harvest, a ritual designed to imbue him with strength enough to open the Hellmouth, but Buffy defeats his minions in a showdown at The Bronze.
|150px||The Witch||Writer: Dana Reston||Director: Stephen Cragg||March 17, 1997||4V03||003 1x03|
|Buffy tries out for Sunnydale's cheerleading squad. The Scoobies at first suspect that Amy Madison is causing all the havoc but discover that her mother, also a practicing witch, has swapped bodies with her.
|150px||Teacher's Pet||Writer: David Greenwalt||Director: Bruce Seth Green||March 24, 1997||4V04||004 1x04|
|Xander is smitten by the substitute biology teacher, Ms. French, who turns out to be a giant praying mantis terrifying enough to make vampires run for cover. Angel's warning gives Buffy a vital clue and she rescues the virgin male students—including Xander—chosen to fertilize the creature's eggs.
|150px||Never Kill a Boy on the First Date||Writer: Rob Des Hotel & Dean Batali||Director: David Semel||March 31, 1997||4V05||005 1x05|
|Buffy's lovelife is looking up when she goes on a date with the normal Owen Thurman, but when Owen nearly gets killed during Buffy's battle to save Giles and the others from The Master's vampires, she decides that "normal" dating might be too dangerous after all.
|150px||The Pack||Writer: Matt Kiene & Joe Reinkemeyer||Director: Bruce Seth Green||April 7, 1997||4V06||006 1x06|
|At the zoo, Xander and four other students sneak into the off-limits hyena habitat and become infected by an evil demon spirit. Xander and his pack grow more and more feral until Buffy, Giles and Willow reverse the spell.
|150px||Angel||Writer: David Greenwalt||Director: Scott Brazil||April 14, 1997||4V07||007 1x07|
|Sharing their first kiss, Buffy is horrified to discover that Angel is a vampire. Bent on slaying him, Buffy learns that Angel's soul was restored by a Gypsy curse, making him unique—and reviled—among his fellow undead. Angel stakes Darla, the vampire who made him, as she attempts to assassinate Buffy for The Master.
|I, Robot... You, Jane||Writer: Ashley Gable & Thomas A. Swyden||Director: Stephen Posey||April 28, 1997||4V08||008 1x08|
|Willow meets a boy on the Internet, but "Malcolm" is really Moloch the Corrupter, an ancient demon released from bondage after Willow scanned his "book" into the school's computer. With help from Jenny Calendar, Sunnydale High's computer teacher, Buffy foils Moloch's plan to upload himself into a giant robot.
|The Puppet Show||Writer: Rob Des Hotel & Dean Batali||Director: Ellen S. Pressman||May 5, 1997||4V09||009 1x09|
|After Principal Flutie's death, the new sheriff in Sunnydale High, Principal Snyder, forces Buffy and her friends to participate in the school talent show. When a girl's heart is harvested, Buffy suspects a fellow student and his strangely talkative dummy.
|Nightmares||Writer: Joss Whedon (story) & David Greenwalt (teleplay)||Director: Bruce Seth Green||May 12, 1997||4V10||010 1x10|
|Sunnydale residents find their worst nightmares coming true and Buffy learns that a little boy in a coma is the cause. To solve the problem, the gang must wake him up and help him confront his fears.
|150px||Out of Mind, Out of Sight||Writer: Joss Whedon (story) & Ashley Gable & Thomas A. Swyden (teleplay)||Director: Reza Badiyi||May 19, 1997||4V11||011 1x11|
|Ignored by students and teachers alike, Marcie Ross literally becomes invisible, then uses her affliction to terrorize Cordelia and her friends. Sympathetic at first, Buffy nevertheless stops Marcie when she goes too far. Men in black come to take Marcie away.
|Prophecy Girl||Writer: Joss Whedon||Director: Joss Whedon||June 2, 1997||4V12||012 1x12|
|Buffy quits Slaying when a prophecy predicts she will die in battle against the Master and The Anointed One, but soon puts aside her fear and enters the fray on her own timetable and terms. In fulfillment of prophecy, The Master indeed kills the Slayer and opens the Hellmouth, but learns too late that Buffy is resilient, unpredictable—and lethal.|
Regulars: Buffy Summers, Xander Harris, Willow Rosenburg, Cordelia Chase, Rupert Giles
Supporting: Angel, Joyce Summers, The Master, Principal Flutie, The Anointed One, Darla, Jenny Calendar, Principal Snyder
Last Appearances of
Supporting: Principal Flutie
- Cemetery scenes for this season were filmed at Rosedale cemetery in Los Angeles. 
- ↑ The Watcher's Guide, Vol.1 by Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder, 1998.