Welcome Back to the Hellmouth
Buffy Summers and Daria Morgendorffer are turning 20! Fictional characters don't age like we do, so it may be slightly surreal to learn about the milestone birthdays of these two iconic teenage heroines. Fun fact: their TV shows premiered in 1997 within a week of each other — Daria first aired on March 3, followed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer on March 10. Although the two are spiritual sisters when it comes to the horrors of high school, Buffy has always had a larger fanbase, as evidenced by the wealth of new merchandise released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first episode, "Welcome to the Hellmouth." We're talking games, an encyclopedia, a clothing line and plenty of other stuff we probably don't need but will buy anyway in an impulsive surge of nostalgia.
The beloved show about a high school girl who defends her town against the forces of darkness has achieved a cult status that transcends genre. In the early seasons, the adolescence-as-hell metaphor (Sunnydale High was built on top of a portal to hell, making it a hotspot of supernatural activity) resonated with viewers, and the show evolved as Buffy and her friends faced the demons of life after graduation. BtVS is a teen drama with elements of horror and comedy. It's also about the transition from apocalyptic adolescence to adulthood, about female power and agency, about growing up and fulfilling your potential.
Reminiscing about the show reminds me I'm overdue for a rewatch! Fellow fans, how did BtVS change your life? I can't say I became a librarian because of Rupert Giles, though the Slayer and her Scooby Gang provided me with much-needed inspiration during my undergraduate days (I wrote at least five papers about various aspects of the Buffyverse). But I feel I'm obligated to mention that we watched a Giles fan video in one of my library school classes! A classmate made the shocking confession: "I've never watched the show but he seems more like an action hero than a librarian." The professor responded that, "Giles did a lot for the profession."
Never visited Sunnydale before? The monster population puts a damper on tourism, but it is quite the thrilling destination. TPL can help you find your way there:
Wait, you say, didn't the show end after seven slaying seasons? Yes, but the story continued in graphic novel format! Also available on Hoopla.
Of course, there are also tons of other related works. Some are only available in the Merril Collection, but these ones you can check out and carry with you down memory lane:
- Bite Me! The Unofficial Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Nikki Stafford
- Sunnydale High Yearbook by Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder
- Buffy and the Heroine's Journey by Valerie Estelle Frankel
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale edited by James B. South
- Fighting the Forces: What's At Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer edited by Rhonda V. Wilcox and David Lavery