Fans and cast members of the WB/UPN series Buffy the Vampire Slayer are taking to social media to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the monster series’ landmark debut!
“Welcome to the Hellmouth,” the two-part opener of Buffy’s seven-year long TV story, originally aired on March 10, 1997, and ushered in a new starting point of the titular demon hunter that mostly erased the image many had of the more lighthearted version of the from the 1992 movie of the same name.
Director Joss Whedon, who penned both the original Buffy film script and several of the 144 episodes that make up the entirety of the series, would go on to replace actress Kristy Swanson, who portrayed the likable yet somewhat vapid Buffy Anne Summers in the big screen version, with former All My Children star Sarah Michelle Gellar for the TV transformation, while also hiring on a bevy of new faces, including actors Anthony Stewart Head (Giles), Nicholas Brendon (Xander), and Riff Regan as the nerdy but lovable Willow Rosenberg (actress Alyson Hannigan took over the role afterwards), to assist Buffy on her occasionally life-threatening, save-the-world-from-evil adventures.
And the rest, as a direct Buffy quote-turned-book title explains, as Amazon currently sells, was history.
Taking to her Instagram on Friday to share her thoughts on the monumental history-making anniversary of Buffy, Gellar, now 39 and still happily married to her Scooby-Doo and I Know What You Did Last Summer fellow acting sweetheart Freddie Prinze, Jr., the mother of two couldn’t help but to gush on the spectacular ride that she and her fellow Buffy stars traversed through while filming the show.
“20 years ago today, I had the greatest privilege to bring Buffy to your TV screens for the first time,” she shared.
“It was a long and challenging road to get there. First the movie, then a passed over pilot presentation, and eventually a mid-season time slot on a little known network. That first season, we liked to think of ourselves as the little show that could. While we knew the potential, I don’t think any of us saw the lasting impact our show would have.”
Gellar then got a bit more personal about her own attachment to the titular vampire slayer.
“As an actor, you wish for that one role where you can leave your mark and forever be remembered, with Buffy I got so much more,” Sarah Michelle mentioned.
“She’s a feminist challenge to gender hierarchy. Buffy may have been the Chosen One, but I was the lucky one,” she continued.
Later in her Instagram post, Gellar specifically called out fellow Buffy brethren Whedon and executive producer Gail Berman for having enough faith “to give life to one of the greatest female characters ever created,” as well as co-stars James Marsters (Spike), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers), and David Boreanaz, the man behind Angel, Buffy’s eternal vampire lover “for seven seasons of amazing performances.”
Incidentally, actor Nicholas Brendon, who portrayed the wisecracking Alexander “Xander” Harris and has been attached to several alcohol-related and domestic violence issues throughout the years, as CNN notes, was not mentioned once in Gellar’s Buffy anniversary post.
She did, however, make sure to close out her message by addressing the still-hardcore fan base of Buffy followers, who continue to heap praise onto the series more than 13 years after the final frame of the show’s finale, “Chosen,” first faded from television screens.
“We made this show for you, and your unwavering support has kept this show going long past our seven years,” Gellar proclaimed.
“You are everything, and always remember, ‘if the apocalypse comes, beep me.'”
Pop TV reportedly aired both parts of “Welcome to the Hellmouth” early Friday as part of their own 20th Buffy anniversary tribute. All 144 episodes of the series are currently streaming on both Netflix and Hulu. Gellar’s full note can be read here.
[Featured Image by FOX Television Distribution]