Unaired Pilot
Written and Directed by: Joss Whedon
Air Date: Never aired, but filmed in 1996

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So before I get back into any Buffy episodes, I figure I’d best go back to high school one last time. The easiest way to accomplish this was to watch the pilot episode Joss Whedon funded out of his own pocket, something so awful I never thought I’d actually watch it. Its bad. And I mean BAD. But if you remember that this takes place during the same era as the first seasons of the show, the jokes are suddenly not as corny, the attire makes more sense, and the lack of anything resembling a special effect is acceptable.

Following the plot of the very first episode, though its probably more safe to say that the first episode followed this with some additional embellishments, the pilot has a special feel to it; its cheesy, hopeful, and downright cute at times. But it is still bad. How Joss convinced anyone to bank roll him after this – and the movie… which I will someday get to, by the way – is a mystery. Joss himself hates this thing, hasn’t allowed it to be commercially available. I had to scope it out on YouTube for Christ’s sake. Everything is unbelievably laughable, even by Season 1 standards.

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The decision to get Allyson Hannigan instead of Riff Regan was the best move the Buffy team ever made. Regan doesn’t do a bad job, per se, but her demeanor, deliver, and personality are all severely lacking. Switching to the Principal Flutie we ended up with was also a good call. Its hard to see these choices as anything but right, of course, because we’ve all seen “BtVS” as is. But, I mean, they obviously went out of their way to get different actors, so even Joss and co. must have known better.

The thing is short and “sweet” at just under 30 minutes, but that’s enough. If they’d taken less time showing the outside of (the much, much larger) Bronze, the inside of the (much, MUCH larger) school library, and if they’d taken five minutes less to show that vampire turn to dust (in what was possibly the most painful moment to watch as a “BtVS” fan, thus far… counting those Spike & Dru comics, I might add)… maybe the pacing would have been better. As it stands, I’m glad to have seen this, finally, but am equally glad that I will never, ever have to see it again.

FINAL GRADE: D+ ….SEE ME AFTER CLASS

Additional Notes:
-No Angel, though I read that his scene was cut from the pilot
-Does Darla get Crucifixed to death?! Jesus… pun intended
-The fight scene with the vampires in the middle of the play set was still worlds better than the fight between Buffy and Luke at the end of The Harvest
-Buffy the brunette

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