Vampire-Slayer Buffy Battles Master
This article was obtained from The Associated Press, May 29th, 1997.
By Dennis Anderson
Thanks to Lawless for providing this article.

      LOS ANGELES (May 29) - At the end of her freshman season, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" has to face the legions of hell, battle a satanic majesty called ''The Master'' and decide whether to attend the prom without a date. This is apocalypse SunnyDale High School-style: The earth opens up. The Undead rise. Buffy Summers is all dressed up, but has no one to go out of this world with. In the series' season finale on The WB, airing at 9 p.m. EDT Monday and rated TV-PG, it's just another night on the job for Buffy, full of shocks and scares, mixed with martial arts and hip California girl humor that's dead-on funny. ''Oooh, here comes a bad guy,'' Buffy, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, deadpans as she high-kicks a fanged creature to kingdom come. Buffy is the brainchild of Hollywood screenwriter Joss Whedon, whose writing career got launched in the heaven and hell that was ''Roseanne.'' He went on to the big screen, receiving an Oscar nomination for the ''Toy Story'' script and writing blockbusters like ''Speed'' and ''Twister.'' When he felt the movie version of ''Buffy'' didn't realize the potential of the character he created, he ignored his agent's protests and dived back into series television. ''Television's a writer's medium,'' Whedon said. ''There's a better chance things will come out the way you originally envisioned them.'' So Whedon envisioned a bittersweet, smart girl battling all the minions an underworld can serve up. Vampires, yes - but also demons and zombies, and even a sex-starved praying mantis. ''If it would have just been vampires, I'm not sure if we could have carried it off,'' Whedon said. ''But when you added zombies and demons, I began to believe we'd have a series here.'' Some critics have compared Whedon's work to a dark and clever 1988 film comedy called ''Heathers''. But Whedon says the source goes back much further than the film that gave Winona Ryder her breakout role. ''If you look at movies like 'I Was a Teenage Werewolf,' you'll see this combination of teen angst and horror has been going on for a long time,'' he said. Anyone watching ''Buffy'' for the first time probably feels a vague sense of recognition when they first spot actor Anthony Stewart Head, who plays Buffy's mentor, Rupert Giles, or ''The Watcher.'' He's also that charming Englishman who romanced the glamorous lady next door in those Taster's Choice coffee commercials. On ''Buffy,'' Head is the only adult up to speed with the teen-age crowd about the vampire threat at SunnyDale High. ''Because I'm English, I'm strange anyway,'' he explained. Head is a stranger in a strange land that he's wanted to visit since the days he thrilled to ''Rin Tin Tin'' and ''Whirlybirds'' on the telly. ''I love Los Angeles. You can almost feel the creativity in the air,'' he said in a telephone interview from his home near Bath, England. ''I always wanted to play a vampire,'' Head said. ''It doesn't look like I'll get to on 'Buffy,' but you never know. I have no idea what Joss has cooked up for the second season.'' It's going to have to be big: In the season-ender, Buffy gets way dead. As he delivers the killing blow, The Master stares at Buffy's prom gown. ''I like your dress,'' he quips. Buffy's not likely to stay down for long, of course. If there's one theme that enlivens vampire lore and all things Undead, it's that resurrection is just part of the deal.

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