The universe of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, some Spike comics, and in a later time period, the comic series Fray: Future Slayer. It has been given various different names by fans: Slayerverse, Jossverse and Whedonverse, but most often Buffyverse.
The series follows one Buffy Summers, the most recent in a long (but not hereditary) line of "Slayers": young women who are empowered with Super-Strength, Super-Reflexes and occasional prophetic dreams by mysterious higher forces to fight off the supernatural threats that would try to destroy or take over the world. Most of these of course coming from demons, frequently in the form of blood-sucking, undead vampires. While Buffy is a very formidable and capable fighter, she nonetheless has to learn to balance her Slayer duties alongside her daily life starting from her high school days and into adulthood as well, which is not easy when the supernatural side of things seems determined to mess with her other life as much as possible. As a Slayer, she is aided by a Watcher sent by the Watchers Council, a guide who will train her and provide information on the threats she faces. As well as some loyal friends nicknamed the Scooby Gang who, thanks to her saving them, are now privy to the dangers of monsters and help her out where they can.
The series began life in 1992 as a movie that Whedon wrote. But since he didn't have creative control of it, the studio ended up changing a good majority of the story and it didn't come out quite as he intended, coming across more as a parody comedy with horror elements (though did have its share of drama as well). Despite the film performing pretty decently, Whedon viewed the final product with disappointment. However, four years later, the WB had just launched its own network and were looking into producing original programming. When Whedon was approached to write a show for the network, he decided to give the concept another shot. The series pilot now acted as a kinda sequel to the movie (or rather a sequel to Whedon's original script, not what was filmed) in which Buffy moves from Los Angeles, where the film was set, to a new town named Sunnydale, but finds that it's teeming with not just vampires but various other monsters as well, due to being on top of a nexus point between the human and supernatural realms known as the Hellmouth.
She teams with a new Watcher named Giles (her original Watcher, Merrick, died in the movie), befriends fellow students Xander and Willow, and is aided further by the mysterious vampire named Angel. Along the way, she gains new allies and combats various beings and sometimes even evil humans, all seeking to further their own plans. Though not every victory is a clean one, and Buffy often has to deal with the fallout, struggling to keep fighting the good fight in spite of setback and tragedy. Not that there aren't plenty of Crowning Moments of Funny as well. The series's chief strengths are the witty dialogue and the Character Development for each member of the main cast over the course of each season.
The series was a major success and what finally elevated Whedon as a talented writer in the industry during its heyday. It ran for seven seasons from 1997-2003. During and after which it gained many multimedia that expanded the universe, such as comics, video games, and even a TV spin-off in the form of Angel, which focuses on the titular vampire as he heads to Los Angeles and deals with both supernatural and everyday evil while running his own detective agency.
Works that form the Buffyverse Canon and Expanded Universe:
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992): The theatrical film and the first product of the franchise. As stated above, however, Executive Meddling changed the story too much from what Whedon had intended and thus the film is not considered canon with the series except for Broad Strokes. Rather, the script that was initially meant for the film is what the TV series carries on from (for example, Buffy is said in the pilot episode to have burned down the gym at Hemery High in LA, as in the original script, which doesn't happen when she fights the vampires there in the actual movie).
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003): Original series. The initial five seasons were on the WB Network but the remaining two aired on rival network UPN. Seven seasons, 144 episodes total.
- Angel (1999-2004): The spin-off of the series which follows Angel moving to Los Angeles and starting up a detective agency to combat supernatural threats there. Five seasons, 110 episodes total. Ran concurrently with Buffy during Seasons 4 through 7 of the latter, and lasted for one season after Buffy came to a conclusion. Remained on the WB when the parent show jumped to UPN.
- The Angel: After the Fall and Spike: After the Fall miniseries: Comics set after the end of the Angel TV show, which unlike Buffy had ended on a cliffhanger. 2007-2009.
- The first comic book series ran during the show's run. While some stories did act as sequels to certain episodes, they weren't considered canon, with the possible exception of The Origin, based on the original film script by Joss Whedon. Lasted from 1998-2003, original run ending at 63 issues, though there were various miniseries and one-shots.
- Fray: A comic spin-off in which a Slayer named Melaka Fray fights vampires in a dystopian future. 2001-2003. Eight issues. Though the character would return in Seasons Eight and Twelve.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Seasons Eight through Twelve: The canonical continuation of the series picking up about a year and a half after the TV series left off as Buffy continues her duties away from the now-destroyed Hellmouth. 2007-2018. Also including the miniseries Willow: Wonderland, Spike: A Dark Place and Giles: Girl Blue, and one-shot Spike: Into the Light. Season Twelve is subtitled The Reckoning and brings the overall storylines of Buffy, Angel and Fray to a close.
- The Angel & Faith comic series, featuring the titular vampire-Slayer duo, running concurrently with the main Buffy title as a part of Seasons Nine through Eleven. 2011-2018.
- The Tales of the Slayers and Tales of the Vampires comic series: Two limited edition series/stand-alone books that showcase various Slayers and vampires through the ages. 2002-2004.
- Buffy: The High School Years: A Lighter and Softer take on the series which returns to Buffy's days at Sunnydale High. Only got three volumes published through 2016-17 due to Dark Horse losing the license to the series.
All Ages Series
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer All-Ages Series
- New School Nightmare: An All Ages Book set in its own continuity that once more sees Buffy, here a twelve-year-old, moving to a new town in Cleveland but having to deal with the rising vampire threat. Giles, Willow and Xander are not part of this continuity. In this version Buffy has a female Watcher named Mrs. Sparks and two new young friends, a werewolf named Alvaro and a witch named Sarafina, as they band together against the undead.
- The Cursed Coven: 2nd Book in the series. Buffy goes to camp along with Sarafina but finds herself tangling with witches.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2019): A Continuity Reboot of the series under the Boom! Studios banner. Starts over from the beginning of the series with the Scooby Gang being in high school (now in the 2020s instead of the 1990s) but re-imagines familiar characters and adds new twists to the lore. 2019-2022.
- Angel (2019): Likewise a reboot of the spin-off series. In this case, the series starts from when Angel comes to Sunnydale and explores his past with new lore and his role in the new universe. Part of the same continuity as the Buffy reboot. Renamed Angel & Spike halfway through. 2019-2020.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chosen Ones: A few one-shots that focus on Slayers of the past in the rebooted canon, in the vein of the Tales of the Slayers from the original continuity. 2019 & 2020.
- Hellmouth: 2019-2020. Five-issue miniseries, part of the reboot continuity's first Crisis Crossover and meant as a companion read alongside the rebooted Buffy and Angel. Focusing on Buffy and Angel's journey through the Hellmouth dimension to stop Drusilla from expanding it and seal it off.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow: 2020. Five-issue miniseries that focuses on Willow from the Buffy reboot and how she comes into being the magical prodigy in this incarnation.
- Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer: 2021-2022. A four-issue alternate reality story where Buffy is in her fifties, the other Slayers are gone, the sun has been magically blocked out, and vampires are at the top of society. The world's only hope lies with a plan to restore the sun and the appearance of Thessaly (Tara and Willow's daughter), the only new Slayer to be called in ages. Kind of the Old Man Logan of Buffy.
- Angel (2022): An eight-issue series set in yet another alternate reality, where Angel is a real supernatural detective vampire at Angel Investigations but also moonlights as an actor playing a fictionalized version of his own life, with Cordelia as his co-star playing Detective Kate Lockley.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tea Time: 2021. A one-shot where the Scoobies speculate about what would happen if Giles were ever turned into a vampire. Set in yet another AU (as Sunnydale High is still standing, but Willow mentions being married to Tara).
- The Vampire Slayer: An ongoing series premiering in 2022, in a universe where a spell meant to relieve Buffy's trauma has caused her to lose her memories of being the Slayer and her powers, with Willow taking up the role. In this reality, Buffy has always lived in Sunnydale and been friends with Xander and Willow since childhood, rather than moving there at the start of the series as in the TV show and the 2019 comic reboot.
- The series had quite a number of novels based on it, as well as a few Gamebooks as well. However, like the first comic series, the stories are non-canon.
- Slayers: A Buffyverse Story: A 2023 Audible Original Audio Play taking place 12 years after the TV series finale (and three years after the comics finale). Spike and Clem encounter a rookie Slayer named Indira and end up having to look after her, at the same time as Cordelia from an alternate dimension where she is the only Slayer shows up to ask for Spike's help with a couple of Big Bads terrorizing her world... none other than Spike's ex Drusilla and her new lover, a possessed and corrupted Tara.
- A Game Boy color game in 2000.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2002): An Xbox Exclusive game. The story deals with forces trying to bring back the Master, and Buffy and the Scoobies' efforts in trying to stop him.
- Wrath of the Darkhul King (2003): Game Boy Advance game set in season 4 in which Buffy must contend against the Gentlemen and Adam.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds (2003): The only multi-console game in the franchise, appearing on Xbox, Playstation 2 and Gamecube. The game has the Scoobies dealing with reality going haywire around them and bleeding alternate realities into theirs, which revives previously slain foes. Buffy must find a way to stop it before the world is destroyed.
- Quest for Oz (2004): A mobile game in which Buffy must rescue Oz (her werewolf friend from the series, not the Magical Land) from Drusilla.
- Sacrifice (2009): A Nintendo DS game styled after the original Resident Evil with fixed cameras. Was only released in the European market.
The primary setting elements that make up the Buffyverse are:
- Angels, Devils and Squid:
- An interesting case is that all demons, including the Satanic Archetype, are squids or half-squid in their origins but no angels actually appear. Even the servants of The Powers That Be are often demons, such as Whistler and Skip. Angels do appear in comics; Willow encounters an angel while traveling The Multiverse in the Season Nine comics, and Angel & Faith establishes that Whistler is an angel-demon crossbreed.
- Jasmine, a former Power who's the Big Bad of Angel's fourth televised season, also appears squiddy in her true form while feeding.
- Artifact Title: Zigzagged.
- Despite the Slayer's official title being "the Vampire Slayer", it would be more technical to call her a monster slayer, as the series had Buffy taking on not only vampires but demons, ghosts, werewolves, cyborgs, heck even a god at one point, and the Big Bads of Seasons 1 and 2 were the only seasonal Big Bads who were vampires (until Season 8, and even then the Big Bad was really a sentient universe possessing a vampire's body; then Season 12, the final comics season and wrap-up of the entire original continuity, finally has an actual vampire as the Big Bad again, Melaka Fray's twin brother Harth), owing to the principle that the Big Bads of each season represent an escalating level of threat compared to the one before. Vampires are by far the most populous demonic nuisances in the Buffyverse, however, given the way they spread, and even episodes focusing on some other creature will often show Buffy skirmishing with minor vampires as part of her nightly patrols.
- Also, technically, Buffy is only the Slayer during Season 1 of her show. After her brief clinical death in the season finale, she becomes an anomaly, a surviving former Slayer who nonetheless retains her powers, while the new chosen Vampire Slayers are Kendra in Season 2 and Faith from Season 3 onward.
- Character Overlap: Angel, Cordelia, Wesley, Spike and Harmony all became Angel regulars after debuting on Buffy. A few recurring Buffy characters, including Darla, Drusilla and Faith, were also transferred to Angel. In the canonical comics, Illyria from the fifth televised season of Angel crossed over to the Buffy issues for a while.
- City of Adventure: Sunnydale and Los Angeles.
- Continuity Overlap: Buffy and Angel interacted so much during their respective fourth and first seasons that watching them in concert is almost a necessity to understand what's going on in either. This would continue to a lesser degree in later seasons; in particular season four of Angel had several hints about the events of Buffy's seventh (and final) televised season.
- Eldritch Abomination: Pretty much all so-called "higher beings", from the demon Old Ones to the Powers That Be.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Throughout both TV shows and the comics, we have such things as magic, vampires, werewolves, dragons, X-Men-style Mutants like Gwen Raiden, and Ridiculously Human Robots.
- Feminist Fantasy: While feminists (particularly third wave) are happy to point out the places where Whedon's writing chops don't quite make the grade, they'll also point out that his work a) is intended to be feminist, b) actually is feminist 90% of the time, c) is miles ahead of most other television, and 2) is damn good television in its own right.
- Functional Magic: Played with. Magic apparently works off of physics, and the laws of thermodynamics i.e. conservation of matter and energy apply to sorcery, but overall magic has little to no rules and it can do anything, though this often has unintended consequences.
- Greater-Scope Paragon: The Buffyverse has the Trope Namers for Powers That Be, who hundreds of years before Angel created a prophecy regarding a vampire with a soul. However, they're unable or unwilling to directly help the protagonists, instead sending visions of people in trouble to Doyle or Cordelia, or speaking through intermediaries like Whistler and the Oracles. This may be for the best; the one former PTB who did decide to break her compatriots' rules, descend to Earth and intervene directly was Jasmine, the Big Bad of Angel Season 4, who set about eliminating The Evils of Free Will.
- The Hero Doesn't Kill the Villainess:
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Recurring female vampires Drusilla and Harmony are either repeatedly spared or not pursued by the heroes in a way that no other vampire in the show benefits from. This is somewhat understandable for Harmony who is an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain when she tries to be evil, and goes on to become a reality star who encourages other vampires not to feed from unwilling victims for pragmatism's sake. Not so much for Drusilla who has killed numerous people, including the Slayer Kendra.
- Maggie Walsh is not only responsible for creating the monster Adam, but she also tries to have Buffy killed. Walsh is killed by her own creation rather than dying at Buffy's hands, though it is likely Buffy would have spared her anyway for being human. Adam, of course, is killed by Buffy.
- Glory is female and the first Big Bad Buffy doesn't kill. This is partly justified by the fact that her human host, Ben, is an innocent person. That doesn't stop Giles from killing Ben to be rid of Glory when Buffy refuses to do the deed herself.
- Justine Cooper slashes Wesley's throat and steals Angel's baby son so Holtz could take him away to a Hell dimension. She is last seen abandoned by Wesley to start a new life.
- After causing all sorts of apocalyptic mayhem in order to give birth to herself and then attempting to create peace on Earth through a Hive Mind, fallen Power-That-Was Jasmine is killed not by Angel, who tries to offer her a second chance, but by her own loyal follower and "father" Connor, after she is partially de-powered and Connor crosses the Despair Event Horizon.
- Eve helped Lindsey McDonald in his plan to demoralize and destroy Angel. While Lindsey is killed by Lorne, Eve is last seen facing an uncertain fate as Wolfram & Hart collapses, with it being ambiguous if she will heed Angel's advice and flee the building or Lindsey's death and the loss of any resources, influence and purpose she once had has pushed her past the Despair Event Horizon ("Go where?" she says).
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Human-Demon Hybrid:
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: According to Anya, most of the demons that walk the earth have some human blood in them, which accounts for their humanoid forms. "True" pure-blood demons such as the one the Mayor turned into are monstrous, primal creatures who have more in common with Lovecraft's gods than humanity.
- Our Souls Are Different: As well as carrying a person's consciousness, souls are a MacGuffin to make vampires become good again by restoring their conscience, though obviously having a conscience and acting on it are two different things since ensouled humans are capable of evil.
- Our Vampires Are Different: In this series, vampires are people who die from the bite, are fed the blood of their attacker, and rise again as soulless, demon-possessed Nosferatu with a Game Face as a result, who use the memories of the people they were to "inform" their existence in a sense (without which, the demon part of a vampire would be feral and animalistic). As their souls have passed on, vampires often act on the suppressed darker impulses of the deceased humans whose bodies they now inhabit. They also have the traditional weaknesses of vampires, including the religious ones.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Lycanthropy can be transmitted by bite regardless of transformation state (Oz became a werewolf when he was bitten by his baby cousin Jordy, before he even knew Jordy was a werewolf), and werewolves display a heightened sense of smell and a vulnerability to silver. They change three times every moon cycle: the night of the full moon and the two surrounding nights. They retain very little of their human intelligence or personality when shifted, usually killing and eating people they come across indiscriminately. With meditation, chanting and herbs, Oz and the other werewolves at a Tibetan monastery were able to overcome the lunar cycle and remain in human form under the full moon, but now can change even during the day if they get upset enough.
- Our Zombies Are Different: "Zombie" appears to be used indiscriminately in the Buffyverse to refer to a variety of types of "walking corpse that isn't a vampire":
- In "Dead Man's Party", the zombies are Voodoo Zombies under the control of an evil spirit inhabiting a cursed mask.
- In "The Zeppo", the undead juvenile delinquents are raised by voodoo rituals, but have a Revenant Zombie's independent volition and intact personality.
- In the Angel episode "The Thin Dead Line", a Knight Templar police captain raises dead cops as Voodoo Zombies and has them continue patrolling the streets, ignoring their tendency to gratuitous violence.
- In the Angel episode "Provider", a character becomes a Revenant Zombie through, it appears, pure will to transcend death.
- In the Angel episode "Habeas Corpses", the Wolfram & Hart building's mystical security system has a last-ditch emergency mode of raising all dead employees as Flesh Eating Zombies, to ensure the death of whoever invaded it.
- Possessing a Dead Body: This is explicitly said to be what a vampire is. You die, and an evil demon takes over your body. There is a remnant of the human's personality in the vampire, though (to varying degrees), especially since on its own the demon part is one of the more bestial, non-sapient species of demon, so the memories left in the human brain are really all there is to form an actual personality with. But without the human soul, they have no real grasp of right and wrong and are drawn to the evil side; at best, they can fight with the good guys because of an emotional attachment to specific people (pre-soul Spike) or avoid drinking unwilling victims so they won't be staked (Harmony and the other vampires following her rules). That's unless their soul gets restored by magic, as with Angel and Spike.
- Present Day: Generally speaking, the televised Buffyverse took place around the same time it was broadcast.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Both the Scooby Gang and the Angel Investigations team are this, at least at the beginning of the respective series.
- True Companions: Both heroic teams.
- The Unmasqued World: After Harmony is caught on tape taking a bite of Andy Dick in Season 8, the existence of vampires becomes public knowledge (and unfortunately subject to a lot of in-universe Misaimed Fandom), as well as the rest of the supernatural by extension.
- Urban Fantasy
- Vampires Sleep in Coffins: Defied.Angel: Vampires don't sleep in coffins. It's a misconception made popular by hack writers and ignorant media. In fact, you know, we can and do move around during the day! As long as we avoid direct sunlight! GOT IT?!
- With the exception of Dracula, who embraces all the tropes.
- Weirdness Censor: Before The Unmasqued World, a lot of everyday citizens in both Sunnydale and LA either rationalize away supernatural events and creatures, no matter how flimsy the explanation, or just ignore them and treat it as no big deal.
- World of Snark: It would easier to list the characters who aren't Deadpan Snarkers.