View Full Version : 15 'Facts' That Almost Destroyed The Show

28-02-18, 09:42 AM

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: 15 BTS Facts That Almost Destroyed The Show
by Kayleena Pierce-Bohen

Since it first aired in 1997, and now over 20 years later, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is still considered one of the best television series of the last several decades. It was celebrated as a genre-pushing teen series with heartfelt drama, clever dialogue, and innovative storytelling. It deftly blended special effects with practical magic on a shoestring budget, but never came to rely on cheap camera tricks or thrills to appeal to its fanbase. The show may have followed the adventures of Buffy Summers and her friends fighting evil forces, but it’s supernatural premise didn’t make it inaccessible or unrelatable for normal teenagers or adults. Like the best genre projects, the Scooby Gang’s conflicts with vampires, demons, and demigods were a means to explore themes of friendship, loyalty, love, and loss.

While crazy storylines may have been happening on screen, behind the scenes was just as entertaining. Whether there were feuds erupting between actors, pranks being pulled on cast members, or allegations of harassment surfacing, there were more secrets than the inventory of the Magic Box. Whether you’ve seen every season of Buffy or are just figuring out who Mr. Pointy is, CBR has found 15 behind the scenes secrets that would impress even The First!


Though they seemed like the best of friends while Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran for seven seasons, tension lurked beneath their friendship like the Hellmouth under Sunnyvale. Alyson Hannigan, who played Buffy Summer’s best friend Willow, wasn’t the actress who originated the role in the pilot. However, when that actress wasn’t right for the part, her perky charm and personality won Whedon over.

What started as an underdog series about a group of teenage misfits battling the supernatural, it became a fixture of primetime cable’s lineup and the cast suddenly got a lot of exposure. Hannigan said that Gellar, struggling to deal with newfound fame, seemed to pick fights with her out of nowhere, and generally be hostile with her at the beginning of the third season.


While most young adults were out partying and doing things they’d later regret, Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar was taking her position of being a role model for young women very seriously. On the series, Buffy Summers went through the trials and tribulations that any teenager does: smoking, drinking, hooking up, etc, all while fighting vampires, demons, and magic users.

When she was off the set, she kept out of the spotlight because she didn’t want any of the activities in her personal life to carry over into the perception of her character on the screen. She kept her life outside of Buffy the Vampire Slayer private, and in the years since has said that the pressure made her feel like a lot of her formative years were spent isolated, but that she didn’t regret it.


There’s no denying the sex appeal of David Boreanaz, who’s smoldering good looks and animal magnetism made the brooding vampire Angel a fan favorite on the show. A vampire with a soul, Angel was Buffy’s great love in season one, and they shared plenty of steamy scenes together involving very little clothing. However, Boreanaz took things a step further between takes.

A fan of doing anything he could to make his co-stars break character, Boreanaz would do all kinds of things to get a reaction from his fellow actors, including dropping his pants when they least expected it. He became well known for doing it mostly when a particularly dramatic scene had just wrapped to lighten the mood. As far as anyone knows, his co-stars found it hilarious.


When the series began, Nicholas Brendon played Xander Harris, one of the three original members of the “Scooby Gang” including Buffy Summers and Willow. Xander was an awkward teen with big ears, a dopey grin, and a goofy sense of humor. He was smart, congenial, and though he was afraid of the supernatural baddies Buffy had to face as the Slayer, he proved his bravery time and time again by sticking by her side.

As the series progressed, and Xander changed from a gawky kid to a young stud, a lot of the metamorphosis could be attributed to Brendon’s workout routine. He got so buff at one point, that creator Joss Whedon specifically told him to tone it down because his body type wouldn’t be believable belonging to a nerd.


Season six was a turning point for Buffy the Vampire Slayer — it was darker, grittier, and dealt with more brutally adult themes than any of the previous seasons. While the series had seen Buffy, Willow, Xander, and the rest of the Scoobies grow into competent young adults, their experiences with loss, grief, love, and death had all been communicated through the lens of tongue in cheek humor.

Comedy was sparse in season six, which saw a newly resurrected Buffy pulled from the afterlife by well-intentioned friends, but unsure of her path in a world she wasn’t certain she wanted to still inhabit. Sarah Michelle Gellar fell into a deep depression during this season, often challenging Joss Whedon on his creative choices for her character, and even questioning her commitment to the show.


In recent years, as Joss Whedon has gotten more notoriety for making films such as both the Avengers movies, stories of his behavior on the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer have come to light. His ex-wife has reported to numerous sources that during their marriage he constantly made inappropriate comments to the young female stars on the set.

It’s not a surprise that Joss Whedon, like anyone famous, would have negative detractors proportionate to his rising fame. It’s also not a surprise that Joss Whedon, as he became increasingly powerful, would allegedly decide to abuse that power by coercing the young women around him, many of whom trusted him as an employer, mentor, and friend, into doing things they didn’t want to do for the sake of maintaining their careers.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer might as well have been known as Buffy the Budget Slayer, because it became well known for working within the parameters of an extremely thin monetary grant. Unable to film on a soundstage in Los Angeles, the crew had to film in a warehouse in the Valley, which reached record temperatures in the summer.

The warehouse where they filmed contained one hallway, a hallway they would dress and redress over and over to depict different corridors of Sunnyvale High School. Creator Joss Whedon hoped nobody would notice that it was the same set every time. When filming in a real cemetery became too costly, they built one outside the warehouse and, though it wasn’t nearly as big, they moved headstones around when it needed to look like the characters were walking through different sections.


Faith was a character brought to the series because Joss Whedon wanted to show other types of slayers and highlight the difference between their personalities and Buffy. While Buffy’s archetype was originally based on the blonde cheerleader in classic horror movies being lured into a dark alley and then getting murdered, she was made tougher specifically to counteract it. Faith was already tough and confident, sure of her place in the world of the supernatural in a way Buffy would grow to be.

Having grown up a Mormon, Eliza Dushku refused to do nude scenes on the series, and even had to get signed waivers to work long hours on set because she was a minor. This moral stance is indirect contrast with Faith’s depiction as an “up for anything” free spirit.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer can be praised for being one of the very first network television series to depict a genuine and authentic same sex relationship. It revolves around Buffy’s best friend Willow, and her fellow witch and lover, Tara. Joss Whedon always knew that he wanted at least one of the main characters in the cast to be gay, but he didn’t know which.

Originally, he thought he might make the character of Xander Harris, the other member of the original Scooby Gang, the gay lead. This would have brought another male character into a predominantly female cast, which he felt would balance it out better. Ultimately though, he loved the actress who played Tara, especially her on-screen chemistry with Willow, so he wrote them as a couple.


The episode of “Hush” that takes place in season four was one of the most well-received (and incredibly terrifying) episodes of the series. The entire episode takes place without sound, as evil beings called “The Gentlemen” have entered Sunnyvale and removed its citizens ability to speak (and also cut out the still beating hearts from people’s chests and put them in a box…).

Fearing he’d fallen into a torpor writing the same types of episodes every week, Whedon wanted to push himself creatively by writing an entire episode where no one could talk. He felt that the humor and heart of the show could be communicated just as effectively non-verbally, and he was right, as the episode would go on to earn him an Emmy.


When Faith, a slayer character like Buffy (and her antithesis in every way) shows up in Sunnyvale, all Hell(mouth) breaks loose. Faith is depicted as a troubled young woman who makes her own rules and breaks all the others. After she accidentally kills the Deputy Mayor, Whedon decided her character would be so wrecked by guilt that she would take her own life.

Not only would that act prove extremely unlikely for someone with Faith’s tough personality, it also meant losing Eliza Dushku from the cast of recurring characters. Luckily, Whedon came to his senses and rewrote Faith’s eventual exit from season three, allowing her to reappear as a guest star in the later seasons of the series and become one of Buffy’s most powerful allies.


From enemies, to begrudging allies, to friends with benefits, and finally to lovers, the tempestuous nature of the relationship between Buffy and Spike was anything but romantic. Though she hadn’t had the best track record with human love interests, Buffy’s first love was a vampire named Angel that made her swear off supernatural suitors altogether by the time Spike realized he was in love with her.

When she decides once and for all that their love can never be in the episode “Crush”, Spike insists that Buffy still loves him and goes to her house, forcing himself on her in a scene that left actor James Marsters in the fetal position between takes. He stated in interviews that he could never condone what Spike did to Buffy, and it was extremely difficult to get into the headspace of someone that would do that to another person they cared for.


While many Buffy/Angel fans hold their relationship in high regard and think they should have ended up together by the time the show ended, a look behind the scenes of their interactions during season one paint an altogether less romantic picture of their tristes.

While David Boreanaz was known to do whatever he could to make co-stars break character between takes (including taking his pants off), he probably didn’t expect Sarah Michelle Gellar to go to similar lengths. Because they spent much of season one lip-locked, the two stars decided to eat the most disgusting smelling foods they could (sandwiches loaded with pickles and onions, entire gloves of roasted garlic, pickled herring, etc) before they had a makeout scene to see who could gross the other out more. Ahhh, love!


Due to the nature of butt-kicking and vampire slaying associated with the show, lots of undead creatures bit the dust, but there were many more breathing characters that should have ate it too. Many major characters like Cordellia, Tara, and Faith were all characters that were intended to only have multiple episode arcs, not last entire seasons, much less become recurring cast regulars that would show up every once and awhile.

Creator and writer Joss Whedon spent a lot of time investing in the storylines of his characters, but even more time watching how those storylines interwove due to certain actor interactions. Sometimes chemistry was undeniable, or audience affection so palpable, that he was inspired to write more action for characters that had relatively bit parts to begin with.


There are numerous rumors as to why Sarah Michelle Gellar decided to leave Buffy the Vampire Slayer behind her. An extremely popular series that by it’s last season showed no signs of creative fatigue, nevertheless ended after seven years on network television. The final season had introduced a lot of promising plot points, from the formation of the Slayer Academy where potential slayers honed their skills, to Sp27ike finally acquiring a soul in the hopes of winning Buffy’s undying love. What made it’s lead star walk away?

Gellar has said that after seven years she wanted to broaden her acting career, and to have a stable personal life. She had also been feeling for some time that she wasn’t getting back as much as she was giving for the role, and that feeling underappreciated and devalued ultimately was the stake that broke the Slayer’s back.

28-02-18, 10:15 AM
I'm sorry but the author of this article has simply made a lot of this up. Alyson Hannigan has never said that about SMG, SMG has never said about feeling undervalued, Whedon has never been accused of harassment, and SMG never claimed to fall into a "deep depression" about S6. What a load of nonsense.

All the author has done is used rumours and heresy and then taken extreme liberties with the truth claiming that actors "said" this or that which she has absolutely no evidence of. The comment about SMG feeling undervalued came from, I believe Douglas Petrie or Drew Goddard, who said that he believed both Joss and SMG felt that neither gave the other enough credit for the success of the show. That was his interpretation of their relationship by the end of S7 and there could be some legitimate basis for that but to suggest that it's a fact SMG "said" that is completely untrue.

SMG has also expressed her disappointment about S6 on multiple occasions but she has certainly never claimed to have fallen into a "deep depression" about the season.

Whedon has also never been accused of harassment in any substantial way unless you're counting fan speculation as serious accusations now. I assume this comes from his ex wife's public letter about his affairs and then the subsequent discussions amongst fans as to whether or not this constituted an abuse of his power and position. The author makes it seem like there's actually been direct accusations made against Whedon by people working on the show, which there never has been.

The "fact" about Alyson Hannigan also seems to come from a comment she made about SMG being exhausted on the show by S3. She never has said anything about SMG picking fights, least of all with her, and by all accounts the two of them got along very well in the early seasons. There's been rumours that things became strained between them towards the end of the series with SMG's announcement that she was leaving the show but never anything in S3. And whatever did happen is clearly water under the bridge now judging by social media.

I've also never seen anything stated about Cordelia only ever intending to be a character with a "multiple episode arc." I think they clearly didn't plan for her to develop the way she eventually did but she was in the opening credits from the very first episode and no one has ever stated that they didn't plan to keep her around for a long period of time.

Articles like this really bug me. At the end of the day it's not really a big deal but it's pretty irresponsible for the author to blatantly make things up like this and for CBR to publish it.

28-02-18, 03:22 PM

15.) Alyson Hannigan during BtVS was more famous for the American Pie movies than for BtVS. Even years later, she was known as a 'Buffy alum'.

Looking on IMDb now, https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004989/?ref_=nv_sr_1 , American Pie is listed as the thing she's more known for.

It's conceivable that there was competition with Alyson Hannigan from SMG's POV.

From the BtVS S6 dailies I've seen, it's shocking to me that Alyson seems almost scared of SMG's power. In my opinion, Alyson isn't treated at all differently from the non-SMG and non-James Marsters's cast members.

14.) SMG seems was a relatively private person and mostly didn't seem to like the paparazzi. I remember it was a relatively long time before her relationship with Freddie Prinze Jr. was public and that their 'public announcement' was theirs eating ice cream together in public.

People also seem to forget that Sarah and Freddie were the original Bennifer and Brangelina and whatnot.

I remember before Freddie that SMG kept her sex life relatively very private and I remember she publicly admitted only to having sex with Freddie.

I remember SMG didn't like the idea of doing 'sexy photo shoots'. She was dressed sexier in BtVS than she was in photoshoots. I remember SMG relatively liked the idea of being a role model.

13.) I remember that only happened on AtS. BtVS was very serious, David wasn't even one of the O4, and such things wouldn't be tolerated. David was the star of AtS and so had more leeway.

12.) That's relative. Xander Harris was in underwear in "Nightmares" (B 1.10) and obviously was relatively fit. Xander's not being 'too buff' isn't exactly comparable to Amber Benson and Jewel Straite needing to remain 'not slender'.

Nicholas Brendan simply didn't have enough power to refuse to 'not be buff'. James Marsters in BtVS S7 and AtS S5 is noticeably bulkier than in BtVS S6 and prior.

11.) Possibly true but I've never heard of it before. The only two times in the dailies I've seen where there's any 'angst' or 'pathos' is in the Balcony Scene in "Dead Things" (B 6.13) and the Dumpster Sex scene shot during the filming of "As You Were" (B 6.15). But that seems because of what SMG and James Marsters had to play in those scenes. Sarah seems relatively happy in all other dailies that I've seen.

For BtVS S6, the only actor I remember who was threatening to leave the show is James Marsters because of how the Buffy/Spike relationship was being done and the effect on him and his personal life (such as I remember he got letters from women who were dating 'bad boys', abusive boys, and/or staying with 'bad boys' and/or abusive boys because of Buffy/Spike in BtVS S6).

I remember SMG tried to refuse to do the Balcony Scene-again, because of the angst and pathos. But the Attempted Rape scene in "Seeing Red" (B 6.19) I remember James needing to be threatened with legal action to do the scene.

Moreover, SMG signed for 2 years. I remember James Marsters purposefully signed yearly contracts. I remember that until "Lessons" (B 7.01) aired that it wasn't even certain James was going to be in all of BtVS S7.

10.) Huh? I remember Kai Cole alleged that Joss Whedon had affairs with some actresses and writers who he'd previously hired. I don't remember anything about Joss "constantly made inappropriate comments to the young female stars on the set" or any inappropriate comments.

I don't recall this either: "[Joss] would allegedly decide to abuse that power by coercing the young women around him, many of whom trusted him as an employer, mentor, and friend, into doing things they didn't want to do for the sake of maintaining their careers".

If anything, it seems insulting to Joss. He became a rich and powerful person. He's smart and relatively charming. His wife was relatively attractive. It's not inconceivable that others would have sex with him.

9.) It was a mid-Season replacement in BtVS S1. The cast and crew were more concerned whether it would be renewed and all the cast wanted it to be renewed.

From BtVS S2 on, BtVS had a relatively big budget, especially for a series that got such relatively low ratings. BtVS was more used to better the reputability and prestige of the WB and then UPN to increase the ad rates for the entire network.

I remember the Friends cast only got paid so much because Friends was used to promote other NBC shows to increase the ad rates for the network.

After BtVS ended, UPN had almost no reputability and almost no prestige. After BtVS ended, the WB was still trying to coast on BtVS and ending AtS was a very bad decision. The WB and UPN eventually had to merge and became the CW, which essentially survived on DVD sales because much of the programming actually lost money given cost versus ad revenue. Gossip Girl was the 'prestige' show.

Now, the CW survives on superhero series that relatively few watch versus previously when it survived on superhero series and vampire series.

8.) Eliza Dushku was THE sex symbol of BtVS, more than SMG. Eliza was on the cover of Maxim . Eliza essentially played 'Faith' or 'sexy girl' in many of her movie roles. Not 'getting naked' and not doing nude scenes had relatively zero effect on the popularity and desirability of Faith. I remember the only time in the Buffyverse in which we even see Eliza's legs is in the training scene in "Homecoming" (B 3.05).

I remember Juliet Landau had a 'no nudity clause' and even a 'no sex scene' clause. That is why we never saw a Spike/Dru sex scene. And even in "Destiny" (A 5.08), David Boreanaz is merely standing between Juliet's legs, the sex scene was done with another person

I didn't know that Eliza had a 'no nudity' clause, though that would make sense given-as I mentioned-we only even saw Eliza's legs once.

7.) Um, no. Tara was a character specifically to be Willow's girlfriend. Amber Benson was cast to be Willow's on-screen girlfriend. Anya was brought in at the end of BtVS S3 and in BtVS S4 to be Xander's girlfriend. Cordelia was moving to AtS.

I also remember the Xander being gay idea revolved around the possibility of Xander/Spike, which simply wouldn't happen. Buffy/Spike was already being set up, Spike was signed on as a regular because of Spike's popularity and because of Buffy/Spike, and because Spike could fill in the roles of both Angel and Cordelia.

6.) Joss didn't earn an Emmy for "Hush" (B 4.10). "Hush" was a great experience for the cast and the series. The only bad thing about "Hush" is it shows Buffy/Riley was happening instead of Buffy/Spike.

5.) The author seems to have a fixation on Eliza Dushku. It's simply a popular character was originally conceived as a character who would be killed off.

- Angel isn't even in the regular cast in BtVS S1 because he was originally going to be killed in "Angel" (B 1.07). David Boreanaz is lucky SMG liked him, became friends with him, and had such great chemistry with him.

- Spike was originally supposed to be killed sometime in BtVS S2, whether by Buffy or Uncursed Angel. Spike simply became too popular to be killed. In addition, the writers liked James Marsters.

- Oz was going to be killed off, then wasn't.

- Faith was too popular to be killed off.

- Willow was originally supposed to 'go dark' in BtVS S5. That saved Tara for another Season.

Anyway, while Faith was very popular, she was merely a guest star and didn't have any romantic connection to any of the main cast. Her death would be relatively less harmful to the Buffyverse than if Drusilla were killed off simply because Dru was popular and Spike/Dru also remained popular.

Killing Angel in BtVS S1 likely would have resulted no BtVS S2.

Killing Spike in BtVS S2 likely would have resulted in no BtVS S3.

Killing Faith in BtVS S3 still allows for Spike to be in BtVS S4. As-is, Faith after BtVS S3 is relatively more used on AtS. In BtVS S7, Faith is mostly actually there for the Faith the Vampire Slayer thing and James Marsters actually preferred AtS S5 because he'd get paid more than he'd get paid for a new series.

4.) Including that link, it seems the author or even CBR in general is very anti-Buffy/Spike. It's rather common that personal opinion gets put in place of Buffyverse canon whenever someone discusses Buffy/Spike.

Anyway, James's feeling about how Buffy/Spike was being done in BtVS, in my opinion, actually almost ended BtVS. "Hells Bells" (B 6.16) had that rewritten scene that was shot during a later episode. After the Attempted Rape, Buffy in "Villains" (B 6.20) is clearly still pro Buffy/Spike and wonders when he'll be back. Spike gets his soul back. "Lessons" (B 7.01) and "Beneath You" (B 7.02) are about as pro-Buffy/Spike as could possibly be believable.

3.) Sarah and David being such good friends and liking each other so much is the main reason Buffy/Angel worked so well. I remember they were rumored to actually having dated each other, though there was no actual proof of that.

2.) Um, no. Charisma Carpenter was a series regular in BtVS S1. Tara originally was going to die in BtVS S5, which is more than one Season from her introduction.

If anything, actor power was more the problem, but it ended up benefitting the series. Seth Green leaving led to Willow/Tara, which was more popular than Willow/Oz. Eliza Dushku doing movies probably benefit James Marsters and made Buffy/Spike more interesting because Spike had to deal with the realization that Buffy had wanted him before she decided to be with Riley instead. Juliet Landau not being available made Buffy/Spike more believable. Juliet was used in AtS to prop up its ratings.

Even on-screen "Spuffy" i.e. Buffy/Spike BtVS S6 sex scenes ending in "As You Were" (B 6.15) made Buffy/Spike more ambiguous and interesting and kept the fandom alive for years after BtVS and AtS ended. Did Buffy/Spike 'make love' in "As You Were" (B 6.15)? The ambiguity of Buffy/Spike in BtVS S7 worked well for the Buffyverse canon but not for the viewership at the time.

1.) I remember Sarah Michelle Gellar was offered $750K and even up to $850K an episode if she were to return for BtVS S8. She was even offered to do only 10 episodes that Season if she wanted to work on her movie career.

I remember SMG decided to leave mostly because of the work hours and hers not being able to see Freddie relatively much. Plus, she got a huge payday for her post-BtVS Esquire interview and she was finally getting 'real money' for her movie roles such as $4.5MM for Scooby Doo 2 and possibly around $10MM for The Grudge when including her 'backend'.

I remember she said during a Howard Stern interview for Scooby Doo that she wanted Howard to talk to the producers for her because she considered she wasn't getting paid enough for BtVS. I remember her salary went from around $100-150K per episode for BtVS S6 to around $350K per episode for BtVS S7. I also remember that during BtVS S3 through BtVS S5 that she got paid more for her Maybelline contract (I remember it was around $5MM per year, which was HUGE at that time) than for BtVS. I remember that I reasoned much of her complaints about Buffy/Spike in BtVS S6 is that she no longer had the Maybelline contract and that probably was because Buffy was no longer as 'wholesome' because she was now with Spike. But her BtVS S7 payday somewhat even out her Maybelline loss.

Anyway, SMG's leaving is the only thing that actually destroyed the series, as it ended it. I remember the WB felt it wasn't getting enough reputability and prestige from AtS with BtVS gone and ended AtS after AtS S5. BtVS didn't return until BtVS S8 and the Angel part of it and its aftermath forever tarnished the series.

28-02-18, 04:09 PM
Ha...that's just redefined my understanding of the word "fact". :down: I've had to google CBR to find out what the "B" stood for. Apparently, it's "BOOK" - which wasn't at all what I was expecting. :blink:

28-02-18, 06:08 PM
It's Comic Book Resources, I believe. They tend to publish terrible click bait articles - the garbage under titles like "15 photos that the cast of [this or that show] don't want you to see" (which are usually 90% composed of promo pics or scenes from other roles that the author of the article considers silly or just finds their costumes silly or whatever :rolleyes: ), but this is the worst so far.
Has anyone already gone to the site to comment on how awful and untrue the article is?