TODAY SEES SARAH Michelle Gellar celebrate her 35th birthday.
Obviously we all know and love Sarah (or SMG as true geeks call her) from her stint as the titular lead on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
A spin-off from a disastrous (no, really) 1992 movie, the Buffy TV series debuted in the US in 1997 and by 1999 was a huge hit here and in the UK.
The show ran for seven seasons and 144 (!) episodes before wrapping up in 2003, which means plenty of us spent more than few evenings catching up with the adventures of Buffy and co (remember when it was one of the big shows on the newly launched TV3? Ah, memories.)
To celebrate Sarah Michelle Gellar’s birthday we’ve picked out some of the reasons we still love the show.
1. That amazing theme song
It does feel like fewer shows are bothering to have a proper opening credits and theme song these days but we’ll be damned if the Buffy one wasn’t amazing. The work of a Californian band Nerf Herder (it’s a Stars Wars reference apparently) they even rerecorded it for season 3.
Some helpful fan has compiled all 7 takes on the opening credits and theme song 7 times which is quite amazing
ProjectDJX / YouTube
2. The Buffy and Angel romance
There were plenty of big romantic storylines on Buffy from Willow & Oz, Willow & Tara, Xander & Anya to Buffy and Spike’s torrid love affair.
But let’s not kid ourselves, the real standout was the back and forth between Buffy and Angel. It all got very emotional when Angel left (to get his own show) just as Buffy was finishing high school. Just watching this promo for those episodes will leave you a bit emotional. Sob.
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3. The musical episode
A surprising number of US shows have had musical episodes (everything from Xena to Grey’s Anatomy and obviously there’s Glee) but the Buffy one was particularly brilliant and became a deserving fan favourite.
Once More With Feeling took place in the rather dark season 6 and sees everyone in the cast get their own moment to shine (except for Willow because apparently Alyson Hannigan wanted to do as little singing as possible)
This trailer gives you a good indication of just how much singing and dancing they managed to squeeze into one episode.
VerySpikyCactus / YouTube
4. The scary but brilliant silent episode
Another standout episode, Hush in season 4 saw spooky demons The Gentleman come to Sunnydale and rob everyone of their voices.
Although they were plenty of laughs to be had in the cast trying to explain themselves without voices the demons in this one were particularly scary. Eeek.
(Honourable mention to the totally harrowing The Body episode too where the gang react to the death of Buffy’s mom.)
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5. The animated series that never happened
In 2001 Buffy creator Joss Whedon (who has since gone to create several cult TV shows and wrote and directed The Avengers movie last year) teamed up with comic book writer Jeph Loeb to work on an animated take on the series. It would have taken place with the first season when the gang were still in high school. It even roped in some of the cast to voice their characters.
Sadly the show never made it to series but there is this small sneak peek of the show on YouTube and it actually looks quite fun. Anyone got a few quid to fund a Buffy cartoon?
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6. How funny it was
Buffy might have been chock full of demons, vampires and various supernatural things but it was also really, really funny.
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When bad slayer Faith appeared the show got even better. Even when she was kind of good girl again she was the rough-around-the-edges counterpart to Buffy.
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8. The time they had a reunion
Although there are comics telling the continued adventures of Buffy and friends, there’s still no sign of a new TV series or follow up movie (apparently there was a failed attempt to launch a remake recently) but in 2008 the cast reunited at the 25th Annual Paley TV Festival.
They all seemed to be delighted, Sarah Michelle Gellar in particular:
Tammy Arroyo/AFF/EMPICS Entertainment
Thankfully, the whole thing was filmed and you can watch it below, Emma Caulfield (Anya) wears a nice hat throughout
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9. That time when Sarah Michelle Gellar was a big star
Because Buffy became such a runaway success, SMG (go with it) became one of the “teen stars” of the late 90s and parlayed her fame into interesting non-Buffy roles.
She turned up in a rake of horror flicks including Scream 2, I Know What You Did Last Summer and most famously The Grudge
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There was also the raunchy teen drama Cruel Intentions which is still a good trashy flick. This film was quite the scandal back in the day between SMG’s full-on lesbian snog with Selma Blair and her taking drugs (!) from a cross necklace (!!). Shocking stuff.
Olivia Haar / YouTube
She even did things like co-host the MTV Movie Awards with Jack Black in 2002.
They did plenty of movie spoofs including The Lord of The Rings
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And a typically over the top musical number that saw Sarah Michelle Gellar do this move:
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It’s been relatively quiet for Sarah Michelle the last few years after a few flop movies and a new TV series called Ringer that only lasted one season. We’ll always have Buffy though.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR
Image via Cake Nouveau