Newly Available Behind-The-Scenes Badassery With Buffy Is Way Worth Watching

Vanessa’s Team Pick:

Remember the time I told you my life goal is to keep Buffy the Vampire Slayer relevant forever? Well today I am totally excelling at that life goal, because I have a specific reason to talk about Buffy again!

i'm seriously considering buying a large framed print of this for my bedroom, that's a reasonable thing to do right?via heymonster.tumblr.com

i’m seriously considering buying a large framed print of this for my bedroom, that’s a reasonable thing to do right?
via heymonster.tumblr.com

I mean to be honest, between you and me, I feel like I always have a reason to talk about Buffy. I could tell you that my girlfriend had never watched Buffy before she met me so I decided we had no choice but to marathon the entire series together, and right now we’re on season 3 and I’m remembering how fun it is to love/hate Faith and am already seriously dreading Riley Finn’s arrival in season 4. Or I could tell you that I’m reading the season 8 comics for the first time (I know, I know) and I just finished “Retreat” and frankly I’m having a little bit of trouble with most of the story lines at this point. And I’m always down to talk about the sex/gender/power dynamic between Buffy and Spike, or about how Anya is the best character of all time, or about whether or not it’s fair to hate Dawn just for existing!

But no, I’m not here to chat with you about any of those things today. (Although we can, if you want! Do you want to? I always want to!) Today I’m here to tell you the very exciting news that BtVS stunt coordinator Jeff Pruitt recently found a batch of never-before-seen home videos from various Buffy fight scenes, complete with goofs and giggles and retakes, and he’s been so kind as to upload them to his YouTube page!

Which means you can go watch them.

Right now.

(Also, how adorable is it that he has Buffy home videos? I’m so envious!)

I think this one’s my favorite; who doesn’t love to kick things off with a good Slayer vs. Slayer face off?

Go watch the rest and then come back here and tell me how much you loved them all, and also maybe tell me if I should persevere with these comics because seriously, what the fuck is going on in season 8?

Vanessa is a queer feminist writer and photographer currently based in New York. She really misses Portland. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 277 articles for us.

67 Comments

  1. Buffy! Everything Buffy! All of it..flooding my brain..I can’t even…

    Willow: That’s me as a vampire? I’m so evil and…skanky. And I think I’m kind of gay.

    Giles: You might have let me in on your plan while he throttled me.
    Spike: Poor watcher. Did your life pass before your eyes? Cup of tea, cup of tea, I almost got shagged, cup of tea?

    • okay i am going to share a very personal secret right now…

      i don’t hate dawn. i even kind of like her a little bit.

      DON’T HATE ME / EXCOMMUNICATE ME FROM THE BUFFY VERSE PLEASE.

        • haha i like that this is the major point everyone took away from my post. clearly dawn evokes All The Feelings.

          but yes, many people hate hate hate show-canon dawn. i don’t. i like her and i love her as the plot device she is, even though it is such a blatant device. like geneva said, i think it really upped the ante in season 5 / made it the incredible season it is.

          also, how can anyone hate harriet the spy?!?!

          • I recently read that Dawn and Joyce weren’t in the early drafts of the show. Joss wanted Buffy to be stand alone, without the trappings of a family but this would be problematic on several fronts. I don’t hate Dawn, I just wish she was written a little less whiney.

      • I understand the Dawn hate, but when I first watched Buffy I was 12 and totally had a crush on Michelle Trachtenberg (though I didn’t recognize it as such.) I also started watching syndicated episodes and some of the earliest I ever saw were season 5, so for me, it was just kind of part of the show from the beginning.

        That said, as an adult, I understand why people hate her character, but I still don’t, really.

    • Disagree. Season 5 was the best of the series, partly because bringing Dawn/Joyce into the show in a big way raised the stakes (heh) for Buffy.

      Yay for realistic sisterly relationships on TV!

  2. I don’t hate Dawn. I just thought it was a super weird direction to take the show. But it did give us more of the Spike/Joyce friendship, and I’m sorry, but Glorificis (dear God, Clare Kramer *swoon*) was often funny as Hell.

    • i think a lot of the reason i don’t hate dawn is i didn’t watch the show when it was actually on air, so i missed a lot of the community’s feelings about a lot of things — like i didn’t even know hating dawn was a thing until i finished the series and started seeking out more buffy-obsessives, ya know? the way a fandom feels about characters/plots/etc can really influence a viewer’s feelings, is my feeling.

      • Same. I have a theory that she’s much more likeable if you don’t have I wait a week between episodes like fans while the show was on-air did. Because I hated her at first…I didn’t know why she was there and it was weird and confusing and she came out of nowhere and WHY. But once she was explained, she didn’t bother me and I actually grew to like her. But I can understand how that hatred would be drawn out and more likely to stick if you were forced to wait months until things were clear and nice w/r/t Dawn.

  3. Wow — not that I didn’t respect SMG before, but this footage raises my opinion of her physical fitness a million times — I had no idea she was doing so much of the fighting herself and often in such long takes.

    RE: Anya. Can we talk about how she was also the most criminally under-developed character on the show?

    Vanessa, would love to hear your thoughts on Season 8 so far! I ultimately did not persevere because I hated the artwork so much (besides Jo Chen’s covers, omg) & found that it made a hard to follow story even harder to follow. But I’m also really bad at watching/reading things that require waiting, so maybe I’d get into Season 8+9 if I had the full season in front of me?

    • None of these videos has a single bit of Sarah Michelle Gellar. It’s all work by Sophia Crawford, who was also the stunt double for the Pink Power Ranger. The videos were put up by Jeff Pruitt, Sophia’s husband and stunt coordinator for Buffy Seasons 1-4.

      Watching these is really refreshing, but it’s also reminding me of the stupid Hollywood-typical drama that happened when Jeff and Sophia left the show after season 4. I only bring it up because one of their big gripes was how much credit was given to Sarah for stunt work that was done by Sophia.

  4. I feel like a crazy for liking Dawn, maybe it’s just because I have a younger sister and so that empathy. I mean, I wouldn’t want to interact with her on a day-to-day, but I like her being in the show.

  5. I just took a break from working on a Buffy paper (hopefully to be published in Slayage) to check Autostraddle.

    Most relevant break ever.

    Also, does anyone else get overly turned on by watching these scenes? I mean, c’mon….

    • guys, if you write buffy papers, I WANT TO READ THEM.

      i’m really not kidding.

      someone mentioned a buffy thesis paper in my last buffy post. i want to read that! i want to read your short essays. i want to read your books. i want to read ANYTHING YOU HAVE EVER WRITTEN ABOUT BUFFY, especially if it touches on gender/sex/queer theory. i’m not kidding.

      vanessa [at] autostraddle [dot] com. i am being so serious. is that clear? I REALLY WANT TO READ ALL YOUR WORDS ABOUT BUFFY.

        • [if you want to] you should send me your paper

          i wrote about dollhouse for my gender studies class senior year at nyu

          i feel that whedon like, hands people pop culturey things to reference in academic papers at queer-friendly schools

      • That was probably me who mentioned the Buffy thesis. The project I’m working on now is converting that thesis (which is about 90 pages) into a journal article (around 30 pages or so). Once I’m finished, I’d gladly send it your way!

      • Oh my god I have this very same want. One of my main homework-procrastination methods is to read scholarly essays about Buffy. Also, I want to talk about Buffy with you! This is my one critique of autostraddle: that the groups are not more chat-friendly and that I can’t seem to find a way to chat about Buffy in the Buffy group.

  6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Always relevant, all the time. I just broke up with my girlfriend and there is nothing like marathoning Buffy to mend the bruised heart. I too just broke into season 3 and also have mixed feelings about the later seasons. Season 6 is probably my least favorite, but there are some gems in there. Tabula Rasa, The Body, Life Serial, all good. The best part of season 5 is in Hush when Willow and Tara hold hands and move that, soda machine?, with their energy. Swoon.

  7. I love that you keep Buffy relevant, or is it that you realize that Buffy is relevant…I’m not sure but I love it either way.

    As for the marathoning, I’m in Season 3 or 4 too and I’m not digging the Riley factor at this point.

    Season 8 is a mess, and as long as you try not to think of it in terms of the show it stands OK on its own as a wild comic. Season 9 is much better but a little sad with things missing and what not. Don’t want to spoil anything for you so I won’t say specifics. I really like the Spike series that they are just about wrapping up now though.

  8. Can we talk about the reason that everyone hates Dawn is because she had the unfortunate position of being fifteen when the rest of the cast was grappling with early adulthood? When we met Buffy, she was literally just as whiny and immature and stupid, but for some reason she gets the excuse of being fifteen while Dawn is not afforded that luxury. I don’t understand how Dawn’s identity crisis is any different from Buffy’s post-death drama, and I personally think Buffy’s little sister eclipses her in maturity at an accelerated rate.

    Let’s also keep in mind the fact that one of the leftovers of Dawn and Buffy’s relationship being magically constructed rather than organic is that Buffy is a really really terrible sister. She pulls a fair amount of only-child shit that in my experience just doesn’t happen in an all-female sibling household. Buffy is bad at sharing the spotlight and bad at sharing in general and has always considered her life-or-death teenage problems to be more important than they would be if she were a “normal” teen. She learns the important parts of being a big sister much too late and that is about the time that Dawn stops being percieved as “whiny” and starts being her own character.

    As the big sister to two little sisters raised in a matriarchal household, Buffy and Dawn’s issues are very familiar, the only thing I find incongruos is the way that Buffy handles them. Does she love Dawn as a fully-realized person, or as an object, and how does she express those feelings? She certainly protective, but she’s so far out of her teenhood when Dawn is in the midst of puberty that she reacts like those amped up emotions aren’t a completely normal and legitimate part of development, like what she’s feeling isn’t real because only she is feeling it at the moment.

    I don’t understand how great swaths of the audience bleed into Buffy’s perspective on this one. If you’re going to accept that Buffy is a flawed if not completely unreliable narrator, I think you have to accept that the show is tilted out of Dawn’s favor and some of the perceptions of her are colored by that. But then, I have a lot of the same problems with Faith, as well.

    • I agree with you that Buffy is not a very good older sister, and I loved some of the early Dawn stuff, but I still had problems with Dawn. My problems are personal, though. I just get annoyed with certain pretty arbitrary combinations of characteristics.

    • Michelle Trachtenberg’s voice sealed the deal on my hatred for Dawn.

      Buffy was a lousy older sister, but that wasn’t really surprising given that the situation wasn’t natural and she hadn’t had a lifetime to grow into her role. Plus, by season 5 we already had a full cast of characters we loved; some of whom were really underused. I would rather have seen Dawn’s screen time go to Tara and Anya.

    • Thank you for making this comment so I didn’t have to. I love Dawn a lot. I cannot imagine being 14/15 years old and having my older sister be a big deal superhero, having awful monsters around all the time, and then in short succession finding out my entire life was a lie, having my mother die, and then having my sister die too in order to stop me being lost in a Hell dimension. Kid was TRAUMATISED, and the way she eventually dealt with it and grew up and became her own woman was pretty impressive, imo.

      I would much rather see the Buffy fandom hating on Xander’s constant gross Nice Guy behaviour towards all the women in his life or Whedon’s constant lionising of Spike despite him being, you know, a brutal rapist and a murderer. But god forbid fandom ever have a bad word for a white guy.

  9. I don’t have the Dawn hate either, but I came into it late.

    I think season 8 is worth reading, and season 9 is getting better–but even Whedon himself admitted that that season 8 got out of control.

    I still like the villains they brought back, though, so I’d say it’s worth finishing.

  10. Really funny this article came today. I’m actually watching Buffy for the first time right now, and I’m about half way through season three as well (just finished the one about Xander and the dead guys baking a cake). Maybe I’m your girlfriend in disguise? Who knows!

    Don’t quote me on it, but I’ve actually heard before that Sarah Michelle Gellar was a trained kickboxer even before she auditioned for Buffy. Probably need to have some sort of combat experience for that role, anyways!

  11. Well now I know how I’m going to spend my weekend….watching all these Buffy videos! And then probably getting all geeked out and marathoning the series again over the course of two days.

    Maybe this is why I don’t have a girlfriend…..

  12. I love how you can see them so clearly not hitting each other. It’s amazing what sound effects and camera angles do for TV shows and fight scenes.

    Also, for all of you watching Buffy: take a shot whenever glass breaks. You’d be amazed at how drunk you can get.

  13. Does anyone else hate Xander? I didn’t when I first watched the show, but through subsequent marathon Buffy sessions, I’ve started to really dislike him. He’s like the stereotypical “nice guy” that goes on and on about how girls don’t like nice guys, and then tries to have his crush’s boyfriend killed.

    • YES, Xander is AWFUL. Don’t believe his charade, he’s bad bad news. Biggest homophobe, even more misogynist than Spike, the lead metaphorical bigot on the show, borderline abusive partner, and yes, a typical “nice guy.” Buffy is literally out to save the world and he constantly opts to get someone who could help killed because he dislikes his rival for Buffy’s affection. I have been president of the “we hate Xander” club since the day he decided to get Angel killed.

      • You make a really excellent point here. I didn’t realize it (it’s been forever since I watched Buffy; I really need to marathon it again… after I finish Veronica Mars and 30 Rock), but he is pretty ick.

    • I go back and forth between hating and not hating him. I think I hate him w/r/t his relationship with Buffy and outside characters, but I have a soft spot for him when he’s dealing with Willow. I think their relationship reminds me of myself and a friend of mine who exhibited most of Xander’s character flaws, but at the same time managed to always be there for me when I needed him.

      But also I feel like Xander throws himself too many pity parties and sometimes I hate him for entire seasons before said hatred lets up for a few episodes.

    • i have complicated xander feelings. my gf actually loves him — and i promise she is a wonderful feminist awesome not “nice guy” apologizing human! — but i think it’s because she can identify with his goofiness and his insecurities. i both enjoy him at times and really really dislike him at times — this essay from bitch flicks’ buffy week actually sums up my feelings about xander best: http://www.btchflcks.com/2012/08/buffy-vampire-slayer-week-xander-harris.html — side note, their entire buffy week was amazing, everyone should go read all the essays!

      • Interesting article, the dad stuff does help to put some of his behavior into perspective. I’m going to have to think about this some more.

        One thing that still bothers me about his portrayal is the whole “he has it tough because he doesn’t have superpowers and his friends do” thing, so we should cut him a bit of a break. All of his “super” friends did not start out that way, they worked for it.

        Willow is an awesome witch, but she worked really hard at becoming one. Magic came easier to her than to other people, but she still researched and practiced a lot.

        It was basically the same situation with Tara, she worked at her magic. She did this even though her family told her that she was an evil demon most of her life.

        Riley did not have superpowers (well the steroids during his time at the initiative, but he still fought demons after those were gone), he just went through a lot of training and practiced.

        Yes Spike is a vampire, so he counts as having superpowers, but he wanted to be better, so he went through trials and got his soul.

        While Dawn is the other character credited as not having superpowers, she uses her free time to get Buffy to train her/ learns obscure ancient languages. That way when she is 21(6) maybe she will no longer feel like she is the only one who’s not special.

        Buffy has superpowers, but she still trains a lot.

        In seven years of fighting demons Xander never had the thought, “You know, this is dangerous and there are things I can do to make it less so, I’m going to take up kickboxing/kung fu/karate/something.” Even his “army skills/knowledge” came about as a side effect of a magical spell.

  14. As someone who has done a tiny bit of fight choreography, these videos really drive home how insanely talented the professionals on this set were/are. I mean, choreographing all of 5 seconds of fight is incredibly difficult, and then pulling it off on camera is even more so. The fact that they were shooting such long, unbroken sequences, and at such high speed, is really amazing.

    Honestly, I wish we saw more of that in TV/movies these days. Too much jump cutting and shaky cam. I WANT TO SEE THE FIGHT, DAMMIT. Which is why “Haywire” was amazing. Well, that and Gina Carano.

  15. I am marathoning Buffy /at this very moment/ and actually for the first time because it seems I only watched through S2 when it aired then, I don’t know, horribly wasted all the years between then and now?

    So when I bang out the rest of S6 and S7 hell yes I want to talk about sex/gender/power dynamics between Buffy and Spike. I have so many complicated feelings about that one aspect of the show alone. And then Anya is the best.

  16. Yeah, Spike. He’s sexist, homophobic, and just generally awful (not to mention a murderer/rapist). And, as a character, I still like him. What. (It might be because of that New York subway scene, where he killed his second slayer, and they both looked fly as fuck. That was (oddly enough?)one of my favorite fighting scenes in the whole show.)

    • that scene is one of my favorites, too.

      i have a hard time talking about vamps as murderers because like…it’s their job? i know they don’t have to kill their prey but it seems different than a human killing a human. maybe i am very wrong. in my head that’s just always how i’ve seen it. like i could never watch the show if it was straight up humans committing all the murders (joss is so intense about killing so many people in every episode! he’s like, YEP WE ARE GONNA KILL OFF TONS OF EXTRAS EVERY TIME COOL OK?!) but somehow because it’s super natural i’m ok with it? i’m not really sure how i feel about that, haven’t thought about it before…hmmm.

      but yes, re: rapist. that scene. the buffy/spike dynamic. i have a hard time with spike.

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