More TV Memories – Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (WB, 1997-2001, UPN, 2001-2003)

I have never been that interested in the drama genre, but having enjoyed the likes of Alias and Dark Angel, I thought that I should give this one a go too. This is a show that is well documented online, but as I became a fan I thought I might as well add my piece. Buffy The Vampire Slayer started out as a film in 1992 that starred Kristy Swanson and had more of a comedic style. Then in 1997 it was decided to return to the idea, but this time as a fantasy TV drama series, and with Sarah Michelle Gellar in the lead role.

Buffy Summers attends a school at Sunnydale, but there is no getting away from her destiny. If there are ever any vampires, werewolves, zombies, or any of those kind of things around, and there are a rather surprising amount of them it seems, Buffy has to come to the rescue. Can Buffy save the world and still get her project in on time? Well hopefully. vlcsnap-00420

There were plenty of other characters that we meet in the show of course, including Angel, Cordelia, Spike, and Buffy’s shock secret younger sister Dawn who turned up in the later episodes. So those zombies better watch out. Also playing a major part was the school librarian Rupert Giles, who was played by the English-born Anthony Head. vlcsnap-00297

Now to some he will always be best-known as Giles, and to some he will always be best-known as that bloke in the Gold Blend advert. But my parents were once in the studio audience for the BBC Radio 4 sitcom Bleak Expectations that Head starred in, so to them he will always be best-known as Mr Gently-Benevolent (and we mustn’t forget his role as terrifically-voiced Captain Hercules Shipwright in Cabin Pressure either). But either way, he always put in a great performance. vlcsnap-00298

The show was also full of pop-culture references, and Buffy soon became a reference in itself after gaining a decent-sized fanbase, and was referenced in Spaced among other shows. A few creative ideas were tried out too, including a musical special. There were 144 episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer in seven series, they have all been released on DVD uncut, and extras include outtakes and scripts. vlcsnap-00299

The show has been on several channels in the UK, including BBC2 and Sky One, but they were usually shown in an evening slot, meaning that most of the slaying was edited out. Other merchandise included computer games and a monthly magazine that contained a comic strip and posters, I did have a few of these, but I do wish that I managed to have more. vlcsnap-00300

There have also been three books released called The Watcher’s Guide, that contain everything that you could ever want to know about the show, including episode guides, a look behind the scenes, and interviews with the cast and crew. Along with the main show, the Angel character went on to have a long-running spin-off series that was well-received too.

More TV Memories – Clueless.

Clueless (ABC, 1996-1997, UPN, 1997-1999)

I want to go back again to the time when I decided to set the video for some children’s TV shows in the late-90s. During GMTV’s Wake Up In The Wild Room, there were often trails for Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Clueless, which were shown as a double for a short while early on Saturday evenings on ITV in 1997, around the same time that The Simpsons was on BBC1. They still managed to do well in the ratings, and this might have been a factor in Homer and co. quickly being moved to BBC2.

It seems that Clueless if I dare say it was more aimed at teenage girls, but because I was in my early-teens at the time and in the target audience, and having seen the trails constantly, I thought that I might as well give this a go. Clueless started out as a comedy film released in 1995 that was loosely based on the 19th century novel Emma, with the lead role being played by Alicia Silverstone. vlcsnap-01002

This did well, and in 1996 it was turned into a TV sitcom (made by the same production team). The lead role was recast and now played by Rachel Blanchard. The main character in Clueless is Cher, a rich Beverly Hills teen really into fashion who was living with her dad, and when she wasn’t at school, often confusing her teachers with her rather vacuous observations, she was often talking to hunky guys on the phone. vlcsnap-00986

Cher would set up the story at the start of episodes, and we’d also hear her thoughts on the situation as the episode went along. Also among her circle of friends were Amber and Dionne. Episodes centred around such exciting things as having a new hairstyle, going to a party, or deciding which guy to go out with. It seems that compared to the film, Clueless began to lose its edge, and by the end it seemed to be a little too simple and fluffy for most viewers, it had turned into the thing that it had originally aimed to spoof. vlcsnap-00985

Another link to Sabrina The Teenage Witch is that Melissa Joan Hart appeared in an episode in character. There were 62 episodes of Clueless in three series, and the later episodes were shown as part of SMTV Live. There were also some books released, but as far as I know the show hasn’t had a DVD release in this country, although it went on to be repeated on various channels including Paramount Comedy and Trouble. vlcsnap-00981

After Clueless ended, some of the cast went on to further success. Donald Faison who played Murray, another classmate of Cher’s, was Dr Turk in the long-running sitcom Scrubs. And Rachel Blanchard was in two series of the British Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show, it was a surprise to see her turn up in a rather different comedy show. I’ll also review Sabrina The Teenage Witch soon.