In terrifying news that will make any TV viewer of a certain age realise their own mortality, 90’s TV cult phenomenon (and my personal favourite) Buffy the Vampire Slayer turned 15 years old last week. Yes, FIFTEEN years since Sarah Michelle Gellar’s body double back-flipped into our hearts with a quick pun before turning the undead minions to dust.
For those who don’t know (and if you don’t you must), BtVS was the creation of Joss Whedon, the writer/director also responsible for Firefly, Serenity, Dollhouse and the soon-to-be-massive Avengers movie. It told the simple tale of a perfectly normal all-American cheerleader called Buffy Summers who discovers her destiny is to battle vampires and demons. She was only girl in the world who could do it, but had to do so while balancing her day-job as daughter, friend and schoolgirl. It was YA before YA was a thing. It was smart, moving, funny, heart-breaking and (in places) musical.
The series concluded in 2003 with the feminist masterstroke of finally allowing Buffy to decide if she WANTED to be the Slayer, and saw the hero and her surviving chums leaving the town of Sunnydale as rubble. But what was the true destiny of The Slayer and her Slayerettes? The last decade has been kinder to some than others…
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers: The post-Buffy future initially seemed bright for SMG. On the back of her starring role she landed high profile parts in Scream 2, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions and Scooby Doo. However, once the show ended, Gellar’s star waned and after lacklustre horror spots in The Grudge and The Return, Gellar focused on her baby daughter, Charlotte. In 2011, Gellar, now 34, returned to television in the ludicrous but addictive evil twin drama Ringer.
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg: Arguably the most consistent post-Buffy alum. Canny career moves saw Hannigan (37) position herself as a comic actor – securing a popular franchise in the American Pie movies and a starring role in the hugely successful sitcom How I Met Your Mother (currently in its 7th season, matching Buffy‘s run). In real life, Hannigan is still married to Buffy co-star Alexis Denisof (Wesley Wyndham-Pryce) and the couple are expecting their second child.
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris: Life after Buffy hasn’t been easy for Buffy’s stalwart friend. Brendon, now 40, has fought a very public battle with alcohol and sleeping pill addiction. This sad state of affairs culminated with his tasering and arrest for battery of a police officer in 2010. Shortly after he received a suspended jail sentence he voluntarily entered rehab. On a personal note, this breaks my tiny heart. Professionally, Brendon’s post Buffy resume contains theatre and a recurring role on Private Practice.
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles: As long as TV and films need silver British villains, Head (58) will be able to find work. Buffy’s former watcher has notched up numerous screen appearances since 2003 in such gems as Little Britain, The Iron lady, The Imbetweeners Movie, Doctor Who, Merlin and Ghost Rider 2. Head’s eldest daughter, Emily, is also making a name for herself as Carly D’Amato in the massive Imbetweeners franchise.
David Boreanaz as Angel: Early Cullen prototype Boreanaz, now 42, has aged spectacularly well and retained his heartthrob credentials. After Buffy, the spin-off Angel ran for five (slightly patchy) seasons before Boreanaz went straight into a lead role on dreary police procedural Bones – now in its seventh year. On a personal front, Boreanaz has been no angel (LOLOLOL), admitting to numerous extra marital affairs and being sued for sexual harrassment by an extra on Bones.
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers: Buffy’s ball of energy sister was only 18 when the show finished, the role marking the start of a promising career. Since Buffy ended, Trachtenberg (now 26) is better known as the coniving Georgina Sparks on Gossip Girl as well as roles in 17 Again, Black Christmas and Weeds. Miss Trachtenberg is also a lad’s mag regular and friend of very pale makeup.
James Marsters as William ‘Spike’ Pratt: Marsters (49) capitalised cleverly on his cult status. After stretching out the role of Spike from 1997 – 2004 (even his death in the last episode of Buffy didn’t stop him becoming a series regular in the last series of Angel), Marsters was airlifted into various cult TV shows as ‘the guy who used to be Spike’. Canny. Marsters has popped up as a guest on Torchwood, Smallville, Supernatural and Caprica.
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase: Carpenter (41) graduated from Buffy into Angel, where she was the female lead for the first four seasons before bizarrely vanishing without much explanation. Since then, Carpenter hasn’t been off our screens even if she has failed to attain star status. Keen eyed viewers may have spotted her on Charmed, Veronica Mars, Greek, Supernatural and now in the YAtastic The Lying Game as MILFy Aunt Rebecca.
Emma Caulfield as Anya/Anyanka/Aud Jenkins: Caulfield, now 39, was spectacular as hilarious vengeance demon Anya, so it’s a little disappointing that her post-Buffy career stalled. Although she was the lead in ‘evil tooth fairy’ horror Darkness Falls, her only noteable effort since was a mockumentary about herself called Bandwagon which failed to be distributed. Recently, Caulfield appeared as ‘Blind Witch’ on fairy-tale drama series Once Upon A Time.
Seth Green as Daniel ‘Oz’ Osbourne: Back when Willow ‘drove stick’ (thanks, Faith), her boyfriend was Seth Green’s werewolf, now 38. Green left Buffy midway through season four to focus on his blooming Austin Powers film career. Since the early 2000s, however, things have been quieter. Green is now better known, perhaps, as the writer/creator of cult favourite Robot Chicken and for his voice work on Family Guy and American Dad.
Eliza Dushku as Faith Lehane: Dushku (31) can turn gay men straight. Fact. It was all meant to go so well for Dushku. After her recurring role as the rogue slayer on both Buffy and Angel, her career got off to a flying start with turns in Bring It On, Wrong Turn and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Rumour was that Joss Whedon had envisaged a Faith spin-off with the anti-hero fighting vampires on the road. Dushku declined, opting for the dreadful Tru Calling before returning to Whedon for the uneven Dollhouse, which was cancelled after two seasons.
Marc Blucas as Riley Finn: All-American beefcake Blucas, 40, was meant to be Buffy’s perfect boyfriend. Sadly fans disagreed. LOUDLY. Since being packed off to Peru (!), Blucas has, like Charisma Carpenter, worked solidly, but not in anything you’d give a tiny rat’s ass about. Last year he popped up in awful Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz vehicle Knight and Day.
Amber Benson as Tara Maclay: Last, but by no means least, it was important to include Willow’s dearly departed lover, as Benson (35) appeared in easily the best/worst post Buffy CV entry. Allow me introduce One Eyed Monster, in which poor Benson is terrorised by the possessed and severed member of legendary porn star Ron Jeremy. I’m seriously not making this up. Possibly even weirder is that Benson, who recently popped up with old chum Gellar in Ringer, is dating Adam Busch. The same Adam Busch who played Warren – killer of her character on Buffy!