Welcome Back to the Hellmouth: Rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 20 Years Later

In 1997, I was a senior in college, a fact which sometimes makes me feel like the oldest person on the internet who is still obsessed with pop culture. I lived in a tiny “two bedroom” apartment on Orchard Street, on the Lower East Side—the second bedroom was roughly the size of a large closet (for which it was occasionally mistaken). Rent was the unlikely number of $1187, if memory serves; the living room could not fit an actual sofa, just a loveseat. There was no buzzer, but we were only on the second floor, so we’d just toss the keys down to whoever was downstairs. After they called us on our landline.

It was a different time. And it was a time when I spent a lot of Sunday afternoons somewhat hungover, watching whatever bad movies were on the WB or UPN. So I knew Buffy the Vampire Slayer existed, at the very least. I’d liked the movie a lot—it fell into a nice space between Heathers and The Lost Boys—but the concept seemed unlikely for a TV show. It also seemed unlikely that it would be my friend Jon who would tell me to watch it, but it was. It’s better than you’d think, he said. We were probably talking on the phone while watching TV.

Eventually, I did. But not right away. I don’t remember what the first episode I saw was, only that there was a time where the rerun I caught was always, always “Out of Mind, Out of Sight.” The first season came out on VHS and I borrowed Jon’s copies to catch up. Eventually, he gave them to me for my birthday.

1997 was a rough year. I’ve never really thought about the timing of Buffy appearing in my life; I’ve read a million pieces where people talk about finding Buffy as a teenager, and always felt like I couldn’t claim their kind of connection, since I wasn’t a teen anymore. But Buffy was a girl trying to figure out an increasingly frustrating, difficult world in which it was hard to get to class and keep your shit together, let alone succeed.

Let’s just say it resonated.

More on that, eventually, over the course of the next seven years, as I rewatch each episode 20 years after its original airdate. Each post will appear sometime in the following week.

These are not recaps, and not reviews. It’s a project. We’ll see what it becomes.

Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2: “Welcome to the Hellmouth”/”The Harvest
Original airdate: Monday, March 10, 1997
Rewatch: Friday, March 10, 2017

“This is not going to be pretty. We’re talking violence, strong language, adult content…”

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Welcome Back to the Hellmouth: Rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 20 Years Later