The first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer originally aired on The WB television network from March 10 to June 2, 1997. It served as a mid-season replacement for the soap opera Savannah and only contained 12 episodes.
In order of character appearances:
- Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers (12/12)
- Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris (12/12)
- Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg (12/12)
- Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles (12/12)
- Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase (10/12) (Does not appear in "The Pack" and "I, Robot... You, Jane")
In order of character appearances:
- Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers (7/12)
- David Boreanaz as Angel (7/12)
- Mark Metcalf as The Master (6/12)
- Ken Lerner as Principal Flutie (4/12)
- Andrew J. Ferchland as The Anointed One (4/12)
- Julie Benz as Darla (3/12)
- Eric Balfour as Jesse McNally (2/12)
- Robia LaMorte as Jenny Calendar (2/12)
- William Monaghan as Stephen Gregory (2/12)
- Mercedes McNab as Harmony Kendall (2/12)
- Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder (2/12)
- Brian Thompson as Luke (2/12)
- Jeffrey Steven Smith as Adam (2/12)
- Elizabeth Anne Allen as Amy Madison (1/12)
- Dean Butler as Hank Summers (1/12)
After moving with the hopes of leaving her slayer duties behind, Buffy inevitably came into contact with her Watcher, the librarian Rupert Giles, and the two friends who would fight demons alongside her through the series. They soon realized that Sunnydale High was located on a Hellmouth, a portal to demon dimensions, which attracted supernatural phenomena to the area.
The first season included mostly standalone episodes, exploring the problems faced by the student population as a result of the centrality of the Hellmouth that it has. Such issues explored include: ignored students turning invisible; witches; demon teachers; and the never-ending supply of vampires.
With the high emphasis on teenage angst and metaphorical nature of the episodes, Buffy’s inevitable love interest came in the form of Angel, who frequently turned up with cryptic warnings for Buffy. However, the relationship became complicated when the truth about Angel’s past is uncovered. Angel is a vampire with a soul that was restored by gypsies many years prior to the series’ beginning.
The overarching plot concerned the Master’s attempts to reach the surface. He was an ancient and very powerful vampire who was trapped by an earthquake caused by his attempt to open the Hellmouth decades ago. Buffy and her comrades managed to stop each supernatural threat, typically employing a combination of detective work, frequent physical combat, and extensive research of both ancient mystical texts and computer-accessible records.
Ultimately, the Master recruited a prophesied Anointed One who brought Buffy to her death in The Master’s underground prison. He used her blood to escape to the roof of Sunnydale High, but she is quickly revived by Xander, who had tracked her with the help of an unfed Angel. She managed to throw the Master onto a shard of wood, and the Hellmouth is closed.
The main antagonist of this season was The Master.
- "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
- "The Harvest"
- "Teacher's Pet"
- "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date"
- "The Pack"
- "I, Robot... You, Jane"
- "The Puppet Show"
- "Out of Mind, Out of Sight"
- "Prophecy Girl"
- This is the only season of both shows in which there is no vampire among the main characters.
- This is the only seasons of both shows in which there are only 12 episodes as opposed to the normal 22.
- This is the only season of Buffy in which Spike does not appear.
- This is the only season of Buffy in which no members of The Trio appear.
- This season features the fewest vampire deaths of the series.
- Joss Whedon has stated about this season: “In season one, we found that we had a show that people liked. I really thought people were going to laugh at the Buffy/Angel thing and say, ‘Well, he's a vampire. This is so hokey’. But they couldn't get enough of it. It definitely made me realize the soap opera aspect of it; a continuing story of the romance and the people and their emotions was really what was fascinating. The monsters were all very well and good, but in the first season we were, like, ‘Let's take our favorite horror movies and turn them into high school stories’.”