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'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' at 25: Sarah Michelle Gellar remembers 'uphill battle' for success

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read
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For Sarah Michelle Gellar and some of the other cast members, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a career-making experience. And many of them paid tribute to the supernatural show, which featured the butt-kicking central character taking down not just vampires, but also zombies, ghosts and a slew of other supernatural monsters, on Thursday, the anniversary of its its debut.

"Twenty-five years ago today I had the honor to introduce the world to my version of Buffy Anne Summers," Gellar wrote. "It was an uphill battle. A mid season replacement, on a new network based on a movie, that was by no means a giant success. But then there was you. The fans. You believed in us. You made this happen. You are the reason 25 years later we are still celebrating. So today we celebrate you as well. #wwbd."

The show debuted in 1997, almost five years after the movie of the same title, starring Kristy Swanson as Buffy, alongside Luke Perry, Donald Sutherland and Paul Reubens, underwhelmed at the box office. A series based on the concept was picked up as a mid-season replacement for the two-season drama Savannah, which starred Melrose Place's Jamie Luner and Robyn Lively, the star of cult classic Teen Witch and the older sister of Blake.

Both the movie and TV show were the brainchild of Joss Whedon, who has been effectively ostracized from Hollywood after several of his female cast members, including Buffy star Charisma Carpenter, accused him of toxic behavior behind the camera.

The TV version of Buffy lasted for seven seasons, and it brought a loyal core of viewers to its networks, first the WB and then UPN. In fact, it was considered one of WB's biggest successes. Both that show and its spinoff, Angel, were among a handful of those the network aired on its final night of programming, before it shut down in June 2006. A quarter of a century later, Buffy continues to be applauded for its strong female lead and other ways that it influenced television, despite the tarnished legacy of its creator.

Here's what the show's stars had to say:

While there were reports of a planned reboot of the show in 2018, there haven't been any real updates since. There have been, however, cast members accusing Buffy's creator, Joss Whedon, of having been verbally abusive and running a toxic workplace on the set of that show and others. He denied it.

No matter what happens with the reboot, Gellar, now 44, said in February 2021 that she's too "long in the tooth" to be part of it.