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Buffy The Vampire Slayer 1997-2003 (144 episodes)

Moral Rating: Avoid
Primary Audience: Teen to Adult
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Length: 1 hr.
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Boreanaz

American supernatural drama series based on the 1992 film of the same name

narrative follows Buffy Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar), the latest in a line of young women known as “Vampire Slayers,” or simply “Slayers.” In the story, Slayers, or the ”Chosen Ones”, are “called” (chosen by fate) to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness. Buffy wants to live a normal life, but as the series progresses, she learns to embrace her destiny. Like previous Slayers, Buffy is aided by a Watcher, who guides, teaches, and trains her. Unlike her predecessors, Buffy surrounds herself with a circle of loyal friends who become known as the “Scooby Gang.”

viewer comments…
Avoid—This program is a direct offense to God and his commandments. This show is satanic, and its content is heavily surrounded with witchcraft, divination, curses and sorcery. In Exodus, God told Moses and the children of Israel to kill any sorceress, because God considered that idol worshiping. Exodus 22:18.
Yuvette, age 30
Editor’s Note: Yes, God’s Word clearly indicates that He despises the sins involved in these practices. Just a reminder to readers, the execution of practicers among the Israelites is an Old Testament law, not New Testament for followers of Christ. God will deal with such people in His own time and ways, including of course The Final Judgment, when they will be eternally separated from God, together with Satan.
Avoid—I somewhat agree with the comments from 24 year old Todd. Many times it seems that in an attempt to ascribe evil to something, some Christians go a little overboard without having the insight to see a broader picture. However, I personally would not watch 'Buffy' again and I would suggest that Christians should not. It isn't about shielding ourselves from every little questionable thing.

If that were the case, then most of us could not even work a job, where the majority are going to daily see or hear some sort of ungodly things. The issue is more of a question that each Christian has to answer, and that is 'Does this material and the time I'm giving to it really please God?'

We shouldn't be content to think 'Well I can handle it.' Instead we should desire to please God so intensely that we become spiritually mature enough to say “I don't even want or desire to handle it.” 'Buffy' may not be the most evil of evils, but why should Christians purposely expose themselves to portrayals of lust, a 'good' type of evil, and ungodly principles for the sake of TV pleasure. That is not being holy, and God has commanded us as Christians to be holy in the way we live and conduct our lives.

So be bold enough and serious enough about God to pass up the 'Buffy' hour and try spending that hour in God's word or in deep prayer. It will change your life - 'Buffy' won't, at least not for the better. 'Buffy' gets an F-.
Jason R, age 24
Caution—I have watched Buffy since it began. Although it started out as a light-hearted satire of the “demons” that normal high-school students must face, it has, admittedly, gone downhill since then. When all of the young main characters lost their respective virginities in seasons two and three, the situations were all coupled (no pun intended) with dire consequences.

It was also disquieting when one of the main characters became a lesbian witch. The sexual immorality is fairly blatant on this show, as are the occult practices.

On the other hand, the show does some interesting things with forgiveness and redemption. There are several instances, both on "Buffy," and on its spin-off, "Angel," of previously evil creatures who do a 180 and begin working for good. For some, it's to earn redemption and try to atone for their former evil deeds; for others, it's an accident, but the outcome is the same. It was stated on the show once that even monsters have free will—they can choose whether to do good or evil.

The obvious implication is that humans can, too—and the main characters are just humans who have chosen to work for good. (One of whom is a librarian, who can research by day and kick the derrieres of the evil-doers by night. It's a very empowering show if you happen to be a librarian! But that's neither here nor there.) The show is unusually well-written and acted, but because of the sexual immorality and the occult practices, I would advise, if you watch it, watch it carefully.

Be aware of the spiritual ramifications of what's going on in the show. If you can treat it as pure fantasy, it's probably harmless. But if you start taking spiritual lessons from it, then you should turn off your TV and go do something else.
An, age 30
Caution—Ok, “Buffy” is definitely not a Christian show. But it does bring up interesting topics such as demons and witchcraft to discuss with those around you. It isn't particularly edifying to watch, however it is one of the funniest, wittiest and most well written shows on TV.
Christa K., age 25
Avoid—Sorry to every pre-teen, teenager and even adult out there, this show is a major distraction to your relationship with Jesus. Buffy and her friends are more then naughty—God calls pre-marital sex a sin. None of the morals displayed in this show are REALLY Christian—more humanistic worldliness, if you really pay attention. So Buffy and her chest—oh sorry—didn't anyone notice her breasts? They're only in every shot. So Buffy knocks down demon vampires—yeah, um, did she call on God for that power? Hmmm. No. And what about her trip to Hell (and back) last season? (This show has been a semi-constant source of debate with a close Christian friend of mine and myself. He thinks its no big deal. I avoid the show.) Also, Buffy's friend is a practicing witch. Hello? Wake up. There is no such thing as white magic. Any supernatural power outside of God is demonic and has roots to Satan. That's just the way it is, folks, so lets stop whitewashing these glossy youth shows playing into our natural attraction to the supernatural, filling our minds with lust and indifference… This is our ONLY life we live on this world. God has more important things for us to deal with. I suggest avoiding this show.
Blake Morrow, age 24
AvoidBuffy's TV rating fluctuates from episode to episode between TV-PG and -14, virtually always featuring a V for violence and D, S, or L as the episode warrants. Buffy the Vampire Slayer depicts engagingly, and with great wit, the battle between good and evil. It sports well-couched commentary, primarily railing against falseness. A running analogue throughout the series is the “terror” of adolescence and particularly of high school, but here too good wins out. It stands apart from many TV shows in not excusing the bad or neglecting to portray consequences. However, Buffy is not family viewing. It appeals to older teens who identify greatly with Buffy and her trials (including the ever-present History tests when least expected). There is a fair deal of violence, though most is rather discreet (little blood). Sexual innuendo is at times discomforting, and some episodes get naughty with profanity. A few episodes have been overloaded with seriously demonic portrayals of invocation of evil. Set in the realm of vampire lore, Buffy necessarily isn't Christian. While many of the virtues the series extols are Christian, others are decidedly worldly.
Christian Campbell, age 18
Usually Okay—Almost everyone here is missing the symbolism of Buffy. Buffy is a pg rated C.S. Lewis book with a twist. The vampires are symbolized as good people gone bad but that they can change (spike). The show also reveals that going into temptation can put you, your friends and your family in danger (Buffy losing her virginity). It keys into teen anxiety and what people of the younger generation go through. For example Willow turned into an evil magic addict because of her grief for her dead lover and that she got into magic in the first place (like drug addicts today). The demons represent flaws or bad feelings or demons.

They once had a guilt demon for Angel (bornieaz) because of all of the people he killed when he didn't have a soul. Just like a murderer if he becomes a Christian or someone who has hurt some one that didn't deserve it, the guilt can cause them so much pain. Spike still doesn't have a soul but he changes to fight against evil because his “love” for buffy. Buffy also shows that being the a litte not to seriously it is over all a substantial program. I suggest you watch it carefully, even take notes. For three or four episodes and then see if the people who break the Ten Commandments get punished or if you see the parallel between it…
Gaia, age 25
Usually Okay—…I have found this show rather enjoyable, and deeper then most shows you will find currently on television, the characters are realistically depicted (magick and super human powers aside) where there are direct consequences for their actions, often times if they have done something wrong there will be a negative consequences, and if they do something right they will be rewarded. Also, their problems are not solved in an hour period, but often takes an episode to a full season, and only with the “moral” support of their friends. You can say that this show teaches a valuable lesson of loyalty, honor, and friendship.

The demons in the show are metaphors for life's difficulties and challenges. The Bible is full of such metaphors that reflect life and the possible pitfalls that one might run into. My suggestion is to watch the show, enjoy the lessons that it has to off and have the knowledge that your faith will hold you strong.
Daniel, age 25
Usually Okay—Christian groups are always so quick to attack Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BtVS) and its spinoff, Angel. Too often, they see the violence, the witchcraft, the demonology, the sex, etc., and regard it as somehow evil. It's true, Buffy and Angel have all these elements, but what Christians often miss is the deeper truths of the show.

These elements are never shown without also showing the dire consequences—for example, when Buffy lost her virginity to Angel, he lost his soul, reverting back to a pure vampiric state, and spent the rest of the season stalking her and making her life hell, before Buffy ran him through with a sword banishing him to hell.

Sex that brings with it a heinous stalker isn't glamorized sex; just the opposite, it's a cry for celibacy. Any violence is handled in such a way as to keep it fantasy-based (vampires don't look human when they fight Buffy for a reason, so that a message of glamorizing the harming of human beings is never inferred, for example)…
David Crenshaw, age 34
Usually Okay—I must confess to being very fond of the 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' series, and to being somewhat perplexed by the furore which certain branches of the Christian church, particularly in America, have generated around the series. Firstly it is accused, along with 'Harry Potter', of glamorizing the 'occult' and encouraging disenfranchised youth into seeking spiritual answers from magic or witchcraft. If this is so then medieval texts dealing with the interplay between the mortal and immaterial worlds such as 'Gawain and the Green Knight', or, in the 16th-century Christopher Marlowe's 'Dr Faustus' and Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' - all written within a far more censorious Judeo-Christian culture than our own, and amongst the most ethically involving texts of their age - should be immediately disregarded… It is to the credit of creator and producer Joss Whedon that the 'loose-ends' of such incidents are not routinely and neatly tied-up and dismissed, but that their emotional and ethical consequences are constantly discussed and re-evaluated.

A remarkably sophisticated emphasis on ethical characterization has been one of the show's main attractions, Ethics are discussed, but without moral brow-beating or the proferrment of platitudes or easy spiritual solutions. And that's the crux of it. The show does not claim to offer spiritual guidance. It's far less likely to influence the culturally-specific spiritual bias of its viewers than most family viewing. 'Bonanza' and 'The Brady Bunch', to take but two examples, would pose a moral question as an incidental detail of plot or characterization, then crudely dismiss it with a glib piece of comfort-counseling.

Realizing that sophisticated modern audiences are dissatisfied by such a simplistic approach 'Buffy' takes another approach. It returns to its legendary and literary progenitors. It is a gothic fancy, a fantasy. Ethics are addressed as within a genre-specific narrative template, and questions are posed which may or may not prompt viewers to further thought - but the show offers no more 'guidance' than 'The Flintstones'. …It's a fiction. It's fun. It does all this without pretention. It raises moral questions. In these four respects 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' is an improvement on most modern TV.
Dr David Kinnaird, age 35
Usually Okay—Buffy the Vampire Slayer is getting a bad rap here. Some of those here who have reviewed it have only looked at the surface. "It has premarital sex." "It has breasts." "It has witches." But instead of just seeing that and turning it off, intelligent Christians have to realize that sometimes the only way to show the effect of worldly things is to show them in use. Just because there are 'demons' it is a sin to watch? No, not when you look at how the show USES them. It is all metaphor for challenges that people—mainly teens—confront. And these can VERY EASILY be applied to Christian life.

The 'demons' are not what we assume they are as Christians. They are a created vehicle to examine what we are go through. Very few shows have no meaning at all. Peer pressure, personal loss and temptation are regularly tackled. I encourage Christians to really look at not what is IN the show, but how it is handled. Maybe you haven't noticed what happens to people who drink excessively in “Buffy” (they become ignorant and violent) or to those who have pre-marital sex. In season two, it is premarital sex that causes Angel to lose his soul.

Another reviewer brought up the Wiccan powers of Buffy's best friend. But currently, these powers are corrupting her. At first innocent, her experimentation into the world of magic is turning her evil. Are you going to tell me this show does not have a lesson for Christians? In fact, a major theme this season is that Buffy recently died--and no she didn't go to Hell. She went to Heaven.

As the season unfolds, this will be explored more and for the first time on Buffy—real theology is being addressed. Also, the show is not exploitive of the female body. At all. I am sickened by those who suggest that Buffy's breasts "are in every shot." I suppose it would be hard to edit them out since they are located on the front of the person. There are not sexy bikinis or spandex uniforms. This is not Baywatch. Just because a show may have an attractive actor or actress doesn't mean the show hinges on sex appeal. It does not. No one is exploited here… what is important, is not that those things are there--but WHY they are and how they are handled.
Todd, age 24
Usually Okay—After reading the two “reviews” of “Buffy”, I just had to speak up. Apparently, the two “reviewers” have not watched the show since its conception and kept up with the story lines; therefore taking liberties to capitalize on certain aspects which they might not understand… All Buffy is doing is taking the powers she has been given - - like Gary's day early paper in "Early Edition" - - and using them to save / make a difference in the world in her part of "TV land." Yes, obviously this is fantasy and not reality… One of the greatest Christian authors of all time created multiple fantasy worlds where the characters traveled in / through different realities, time-traveled, and used their special powers / gifts to do good. Think of: the Chronicles of Narnia, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, (especially) the Screwtape Letters, etc. by C.S. Lewis - - What would some people have to say about a television portrayal of these, especially if they were presented and set in a modern day times? Please try to keep things in perspective, equal, and honest. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is the most well written (and acted, usually) television show on television today.
Allison Melton, age 28
Comments from young people
Caution—I only started watching Buffy about a year and a half ago but ever since I saw my first episode I've been hooked. Yes, there have definitely been quite a few episodes that have made me cringe. But one of the main reasons I watch the show is the phenomenal writing of Joss Whedon, creator of the show. Someday I hope to be a TV screenplay writer and I think I can learn a lot from the way he constructs his stories. One main problem with the show that bothers me is the characters Tara and Willow. They are lesbian witches-- but since recent episodes Willow has stopped witchcraft and she and Tara have broken up so there hasn't been much of that. I hope the show continues to move away from the lesbian/witchcraft themes.

Some Bible verses that come to mind: Romans 14:2 "for one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs". | Romans 14:20 "For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed [are] pure; but [it is] evil for that man who eateth with offence."

The way I interpret these two verses is that the first one is saying that some people have more self control than others that don't should stay away from things that are a distraction for them.

The second, I believe, is saying that a Christian, whose heart is the dwelling place of God can, if their mind desires it, indulge in worldly things without being harmed in a bad way. But I think if a person is struggling with getting out of things such as witchcraft, they should not watch a show like Buffy because it would be too distracting for them. For me this show is not a distraction and that's why I think its okay or people with good self control to watch a show about a girl fighting vampires…
Aaron, age 17
Caution—I, personally, watch this show on a regular basis, but I would not recommend it for everyone; it obviously is not suitable for younger audiences, and some older audiences wouldn't find it appealing. As for its Christian value, no, it is not necessarily the most productive use of time. However, it is generally pro-Christian, especially the first three (and, in my opinion, best) seasons: Buffy fights demons with few “good” demons, there is little Wiccan content (it becomes more obvious in season three), it seems that Christ is seen as a savior since part of the ritual to prevent an invited vampire from reentering a house is hanging crucifixes (the Jewish Willow makes a joke about this), and real life situations are interspersed with and, at times, symbolized by the supernatural.

A mature teenage Christian can definitely watch this show with no repercussions so long as he knows that the demons portrayed are not real, and the characters (specifically the lesbian, Wiccan Willow) are not the best role models.
Eric, age 16
Usually Okay—I have watched Buffy since episode 1 and the show is awesome. Some material is questionable and is definitely only for teen and up. It has gotten racier though but isn't as bad as other things on TV. But I don't watch the “gross” episodes. Willow has become a lesbian and they have all openly lost their virginity but despite this it is quality television…
Liz, age 15