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"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" on WB.

By Devin D. O'Leary

JANUARY 20, 1998:  In 1992, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, brainchild of writer Joss Whedon, saw the light of theatrical day. The horror-comedy starring Kristy Swanson was a minor hit, but Whedon wanted more for his cheerleader-by-day/vampire-killer-by-night. After a few seasons cutting his teeth as story editor for the acclaimed "Roseanne" show, Whedon decided to try producing his own show. When the spanking new WB network came a-callin', Whedon dusted off his old Buffy concept, and TV's hippest new hit was born.

Since last March, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" has been a runaway success, garnering WB its highest ratings, racking up cover stories in Entertainment Weekly and inspiring more than 50 fan pages on the Internet. Like the film that inspired it, "Buffy" relates the adventures of Buffy Summers (now roled by hot TV poster-girl Sarah Michelle Gellar), a typical Southern California high schooler who is "chosen" to be this generation's mystically-endowed Demon Slayer. Now our poor heroine must wrangle with such teenage woes as popularity, grades and crushes in addition to battling bloodsuckers, mummies and the occasional reptile boy.

Building on the movie's concept, Whedon has created a detailed, workable mythology and some of the most creative teenage dialogue ever uttered. "Slayerspeak," as it has come to be dubbed, is one of "Buffy"'s funniest facets. Carbon-dated, for example, is an adjective meaning "beyond passé"--as in, "That outfit is positively carbon-dated." Gene and Roger (noun) means "unsolicited criticism"--as in, "I know what I'm doing, I don't need your Gene and Roger!" Scully (verb) is "to explain away paranormal activity with scientific skepticism"--"I can't believe you, of all people, are gonna Scully me."

Buffy is assisted in her vampire dispatching duties by pals Xander (Nicholas Brendon), the cute but gawky guy who's in love with her, and Willow (Alyson Hannigan), the cute but geeky girl who's in love with Xander. Buffy, meanwhile, has the hots for sensitive but hunky vampire boy Angel (David Boreanaz). Seems Angel had his soul returned to him thanks to a gypsy curse (he still has to suck blood, but he feels really bad about it). On the good guy side, there's also Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), the school librarian and Buffy's mentor. On the bad guy side, Buffy's had several run-ins lately with toe-headed British vampire Spike (James Marsters) and his spaced-out girlfriend Drusilla (Juliet Landau).

WB will be moving "Buffy" from Mondays to Tuesdays to anchor their brand new Tuesday night line-up (which will include the new teen-dream soaper "Dawson's Creek" from Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson). To ease the transition, WB will gift us with a special two-part episode. Part one will air Monday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. Part two will air Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m.

Starting Jan. 20, "Buffy" will air Tuesdays on the syndicated WB network.


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