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 different names by fans: Slayerverse, Jossverse, and Whedonverse.
The series follows one Buffy Summers, the recent in a long lineage of "Slayers": women who're empowered to fight off the supernatural threats that would try to destroy or take over the world. Most of these of course coming from the undead, usually in the form of vampires. While Buffy is a very formidable and capable fighter, she likewise 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 most of said problems can come the supernatural side of things. Though, alongside her adventures she gains the aid of a Watcher, a guide that will train her and provide information on the threats faced. As well as some loyal friends who, thanks to her saving them, are now privy to the dangers of monsters and help her out where they can.
The initial series began life in 1992 as a movie that Joss wrote. But since he didn't have creative control of it, the studio ended up changing a good majority of the the story and it didn't come out quite as he intended, coming across more as a comedy with horror elements (though did have it share of drama as well). Despite the film doing pretty decent, Joss 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 Joss was approached to write a show for the network, he decided to give the concept another shot. The series now acting as a kinda sequel to the movie (at least in the case of the original script, not what was filmed) in which Buffy arrives in a new town named Sunnydale but finds that it's likewise 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 realm known as the Hellmouth. She teams with a new Watcher name Giles, befriends fellow students named Xander and Willow and aided further by the mysterious vampire named Angel. Along the way, gaining new allies and combating various beings and even humans, who seek to further their own plans. Though not every victory is a clean one and Buffy often has to deal with the fallout of such, struggling often to keep fighting the good fight in spite of setback and tragedy.
The series was a major success and what finally elevated Joss as a talented writer in the industry during it's heyday. It ran for seven seasons from 1997-2003. During such it gained many multimedia which expanded the universe, such as comics, video games and even a spin-off in the form of Angel which focus on the titular vampire as he heads to Los Angles and deals with supernatural business there under a detective agency.
Works that form the Buffyverse canon:
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992): The theatrical film and the first product of the series. As stated however, Executive Meddling changed the story too much from what Joss had intended and thus the film is more a Broad Strokes version and not considered canon with the series. However the script it was initially meant for is where the TV Series carries on from.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003): Original series. 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
- A comic book series that ran during the shows run. While some stories did act as sequels to certain episodes, they weren't considered canon. Lasted from 1998-2003, Original run ending at 63 issues though there were various mini-series and one-shots.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Seasons Eight-Twelve: The continuation of the series picking up from where the TV series left off as Buffy continues her duties away from the now destroyed Hellmouth. 2007-2018.
- The Angel & Faith comic series
- The IDW Angel: After the Fall and Spike: After the Fall comic series: Comics set after the end of the Angel TV show which had ended on a cliffhanger and meant to give closure.
- 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:
- Fray: A comic spin-off in which a slayer fights monsters in a dystopian future. 2001-2003. Eight issues. Though the character would return in season 8 and 12.
- The Origin: Based on the original film script written by Joss Whedon.
- The High School Years: A Lighter and Softer take on the series which returns back 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.
- New School Nightmare: An All Ages Book set in its own continuity and 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. In this version she has a female Watcher named Mrs. Sparks and two new friends, a werewolf named Alvaro and a young witch named Sarafina as they band together against the undead.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Boom! Studios): A Continuity Reboot of the series under the Boom! Studios banner. Intends to start from the beginning of the series but add new twists to the lore.
- The series had quite a number of novels based on it, as well as a few Choose Your Own Adventure style books as well. However, like the first comic series, the stories are non-canon.
- A Game Boy color game in 2000
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2002): An X Box 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 Gentleman and Adam.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds (2003): The only multi-console game in the franchise, appearing on X Box, Playstation 2 and Gamecube. The game has the Scoobies dealing with reality going haywire around them and bleeding in alternate realites 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 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 are demons. Angels do appear in comics; Illyria fights against a Fallen Angel Liandra and the AI team is contacted by a Potentate, who is actually a demon in disguise, and Willow encounters an angel while traveling The Multiverse in the Season Nine comics. In the case of the former two, Canon Discontinuity is in effect.
- Artifact Title: Despite the series toting her as "The Vampire Slayer", it would be more technical to call Buffy a monster slayer as the TV series had Buffy taking on not only vampires, but demons, ghosts, werewolves, cyborgs, heck even a god at one point.
- 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) season.
- Character Overlap: Angel, Cordelia, Wesley, Spike, and Harmony all became Angel regulars after debuting on Buffy. A few recurring Buffy characters, including Darla and Drusilla, were also transferred to Angel.
- City of Adventure: Sunnydale and Los Angeles.
- Eldritch Abomination: Pretty much all so-called "higher beings", from the Old Ones to the Powers That Be.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Throughout both TV shows and the comics comics, we have such things as magic, vampires, werewolves, dragons, 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 physics, and the laws of thermodinamics 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 to directly help the protagonists because their physical avatars got destroyed.
- Our Souls Are Different: Souls are a MacGuffin to make vampires become good again, though it's never explained why 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 become 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. Though later storylines in the show start indicating there's more to it and that the demon side really corrupts the victim then outright kill them. 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, displays a heightened sense of smell, and a vulnerability to silver and deadly injuries, like a ripped throat or bullet wounds. They change three times every moon cycle: the night of the full moon and the two surrounding nights.
- 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. Again though, this gets more layered over time.
- 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.
- 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?!