Online Edition



Season 1, episode 01
Season 101
1st release (U.S.): 03/10/97
Production number: 4V01
Last update: 02/26/05

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SYNOPSIS by Sally Dye

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers)
Nicholas Brendan (Xander Harris)
Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg)
Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase)
Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles)

Mark Metcalf (The Master)
Brian Thompson (Luke)
David Boreanaz (Angel)
Ken Lerner (Principal Flutie)
Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers)
Julie Benz (Darla)
J. Patrick Lawlor (Thomas)
Eric Balfour (Jesse)
Natalie Strauss (Teacher)
Amy Chase (Aphrodesia/Girl #1)
Tupelo Jereme (Girl #2)
Persia White (Girl #3)
Carmine D. Giovinazzo (Boy)

Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Charles Martin Smith

WB, Monday, 9pm


Buffy Summers, The Chosen One, arrives in Sunnydale, California trying to forget all the talk about her destiny and the vampires, only to discover that the quiet, small American town sits atop a Hellmouth and a master vampire is about to be brought forth. With the help of her new Watcher, Giles; and new friends Xander and Willow, Buffy tries to do her sacred duty while also leading a normal teenagers life. TVTome


This synopsis is by Sally Dye.

Sunnydale High School at night. A boy and a girl, Darla, break a window and enter the school. Darla is a little reluctant, but the boy says that the view at the top of the gym is great. She hears a noise, but the boy reassures her that no one is there. Darla says okay, and then turns into a vampire and bites him on the neck.

Asleep, Buffy dreams of a cemetery, a candle-lit room and lots of vampires marching. She awakens when her mother calls out that she doesn't want to be late for her first day at her new school.

Later, Joyce (Buffy's mother) drops her off at school and encourages her to try not to get kicked out. Buffy promises. Xander is skateboarding down the walk and runs into a railing when he sees Buffy. He meets up with Willow and asks her to help him study in math. They discuss the new girl in school with another friend, Jesse.

Principal Flutie welcomes Buffy to Sunnydale High. He comments on her "colorful" transcript. Buffy starts to defend herself by saying that the gymnasium she burned down was full of vampires, but changes her mind, rightly supposing that Principal Flutie will not be impressed.

Buffy drops her satchel in the hall, and Xander rushes to help her pick up her things. After Buffy leaves, Xander berates himself for not acting very suave, and then notices that Buffy forgot something -- a sharp wooden stake.

In class, Buffy meets Cordelia, who directs her to the library to get a textbook. They run into Willow, and Cordelia treats her like a loser and advises Buffy to avoid her and others like her. Cordelia then invites Buffy to join her at the Bronze, a local hangout, that night.

Buffy goes to the library and meets Mr. Giles, the librarian, who recognizes her as the slayer. He tries to give her books on vampires, but Buffy says that's not what she's looking for and runs out.

In gym class, some girls find the boy's dead body in a locker. Much screaming ensues.

Buffy approaches Willow during lunch, shocking Willow, who tells her she can't "legally" hang with both her and Cordelia. Buffy says she wants to get along with everyone, and she needs to pass all her classes and has heard that Willow is the one to help her study. Willow is agreeable and suggests that they meet in the library, but Buffy doesn't want to go there. Xander and Jesse join them, and Xander returns her stake. Cordelia comes to tell them that gym is cancelled because of the dead body. Buffy rushes to the gym and checks the body, finding bite marks on the neck. She goes to the library and tells Giles she was not expecting there to be vampires here and she is no longer in the business of slaying. Giles says her presence is not a coincidence. He is there to be her watcher -- to train and prepare her for her destiny. Buffy is not thrilled with this news and leaves. Xander comes out from the stacks, having heard everything.

Down in the sewers, several vampires chant about "the sleeper" awakening.

As Buffy is heading for the Bronze that evening, she is followed by someone. She confronts him in an alley. It's Angel, but he doesn't introduce himself. He says he wants to help her and gives her a necklace with a cross pendant. He says she needs to be ready for the Harvest. When she asks who he is, he says "a friend."

Buffy arrives at the Bronze and finds Willow there. They discuss boys -- Willow says she doesn't date a lot because she can never think what to say and boys probably are more interested in a girl who can talk. Buffy: "You really haven't been dating lately." Buffy says her philosophy is to seize the day because life is short and you might be dead tomorrow. Willow is impressed with this. Buffy sees Giles and goes to talk to him. She says she already knows about the Harvest and assumes that Angel was sent by Giles to tell her about it. Giles asks if she is ready for whatever might happen. He asks if she can detect any vampires in the building, and she immediately points one out. Then she sees that Willow is talking to the guy and rushes to intercept them before they can leave. While she is searching for them, she runs into Cordelia and frightens her with the stake, so that Cordelia rethinks her plan to hang with Buffy. Buffy leaves to look for Willow, passing Jesse, who is flirting with a blonde. The girl turns and we see that it is Darla.

Below the city, the Master rises from a pool of blood and is greeted by Luke, the leader of the vampires. The Master says he needs strength, and Luke says he and the others will bring "food."

Buffy runs into Xander, and he reveals that he knows she is the slayer. She enlists his help in trying to find Willow.

The boy Willow left with, Thomas, takes her on a "shortcut" through the cemetery. Willow is nervous and wants to go back, but Thomas pushes her into a mausoleum. Darla is there and asks if this was the best he could do. Thomas asks why she didn't bring her own, and Darla says she did. Jesse staggers in, holding his neck. Willow says she and Jesse aren't staying around. Darla says they can't leave until they "feed", but is interrupted when Buffy and Xander arrive. Darla wants to know who Buffy is. Buffy: "You mean there's actually someone in this town who doesn't know?" She stakes Thomas and yells to Xander to get the others out while she fights Darla. Buffy is winning, when Luke shows up, seemingly out of nowhere. He sends Darla away, and he and Buffy fight. He throws her into a sarcophagus and jumps in after her.

To be continued.


Brian Thompson is no stranger to playing a vampire. He played Bocworth the vampire in the 1989 movie Fright Night II, and was Eddie Fiori head of the Bruha clan of vampires in the 1996 TV series Kindred: The Embraced. Brian Thompson is no stranger to playing a vampire. He played Bocworth the vampire in the 1989 movie Fright Night II, and was Eddie Fiori head of the Bruha clan of vampires in the 1996 TV series Kindred: The Embraced.

Although the credits merely list Persia White as Girl #3, Cordelia refers to her as Aura.

Persia White, who played Aura/Girl #3, once appeared with Charisma Carpenter in an episode of Malibu Shores called "Hotline" in 1996.

"Welcome To The Hellmouth" and "The Harvest" exist in both original feature-length Pilot and two-part formats. (When in feature-length format, the title 'Welcome To The Hellmouth' is used for both parts).

Joss Whedon has said that originally he wanted to include Eric Balfour (Jesse) in the opening credits for this episode, to trick viewers into thinking that he is a regular character, only to shock them by having him killed. This idea was eventually deemed too timely (having to develop alternative opening credits for use with just this one episode) and was dropped.

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) originally auditioned for the part of Cordelia Chase and Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia), auditioned for the part of Buffy. Julie Benz also tried for the part of Buffy but eventually landed the role of Darla.

"Mutant Enemy", Joss Whedon's production company, was the name he gave to his first typewriter when he was 15. The logo was created in 20 minutes when he was told he had to have one

Joss Whedon supplies the voice of the Mutant Enemy mascot which says "Grr...Arrgh" heard at the end of almost every episode.

The first ever band to play at the Bronze is Sprung Monkey.

Joss Whedon has originally planned for viewers to never see Buffy's parents, however he realized this could get complicated and therefore wrote in Buffy's mom Joyce, who would become an important character for the rest of the series.

The first person to have a line in this series is Darla, setting a trend for not having Buffy not always be in charge of the series.

Fast National Rating: 3.4. Which means 3.4 x 970,000 = 3,298,000 watched Buffy.

David Boreanaz (Angel) and Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase) are the only actors to appear in the pilots of both 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel'.

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