On March 10, 1997 the fledgling WB network launched a show that would define a generation and put its own network on the map. That show was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Starring a little known actress at that time, Sarah Michelle Gellar made Buffy Summers an iconic character for a generation and generations to follow. The series ran for 5 seasons on The WB, then for another 2 on UPN, forever changing the world’s vision of the little blond girl.
When creator Joss Whedon first envisioned Buffy, it started with the concept of a woman who seems to be completely and utterly insignificant who turns out to be extraordinary. This idea evolved into the scenario in which he would invert the Hollywood custom of the little blond girl who goes into the dark alley and gets killed in every horror movie. But Whedon wanted his little blond to be the strong heroine, not the victim. His mission statement? “The very first mission statement of the show was the joy of female power: having it, using it, sharing it,” said Whedon.
Whedon’s first attempt at making his vision happen was the 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Kristy Swanson in the title role. Unfortunately, the director saw the movie as pop culture, a comedy about vampires. Whedon wasn’t amused. “I had this scary film about an empowered woman, and they turned it into a broad comedy. It was crushing.” Enter Gail Berman onto the scene. Gail was a Fox Executive who wanted to develop the concept of Buffy into a television series. Whedon developed the central concept of Buffy as a High School horror movie, made a 25-minute pilot that was shown to the networks, and the WB snapped it up! And the rest, as they say, is history!