Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Watch the Animated Series Pilot — What Happened?

Buffy the Vampire SlayerHas it really been five years since we said goodbye to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and demon-filled Sunnydale? Sure, Ripper is supposedly still in the works and we’ve got the “season 8″ comic book series to read but there’s still no new weekly adventures of the “Scoobies” on TV. Creator Joss Whedon has certainly tried — including one interesting concept that would have kept the gang at Sunnydale High. A cruel supernatural trick?

Back in 2001, while the Buffy series was still in production, Whedon developed an animated version of the show. He invited a number of the series writers to participate and several scripts were written. Illustrator and animator Eric Wight designed the look and feel of the characters.

Buffy: The Animated Series was initially intended to be part of the Fox Kids lineup as early as 2002. Unfortunately, the programming block was a money-loser and was eliminated before the series could be produced. The studio, 20th Century Fox, shopped the concept to other outlets but there wasn’t any interest.

In 2004, a year after the live-action Buffy had ended, the studio had renewed interest in the series and produced a four-minute presentation pilot. Unfortunately, a buyer still couldn’t be found. The reason? Likely the subject matter — too mature for a children’s network, not mature enough to attract a mainstream adult audience.

Budgetary issues also came into play. Whedon told The Hollywood Reporter, “We just couldn’t find a home for (it). We had a great animation director, great visuals, six or seven hilarious scripts from our own staff — and nobody wanted it. I was completely baffled. I felt like I was sitting there with bags of money and nobody would take them from me. It was a question of people either not wanting it or not being able to put up the money because it was not a cheap show. One thing I was very hard-line about was, I didn’t want people to see it if it looked like crap.”

The animated Buffy series would have had essentially the same cast and take place in the same time-frame as the first season of the regular series — with Buffy and friends still in high school. Buffy’s sister Dawn, who was added later in the series as part of an altered continuity, would have been part of the cast as would Giles, Xander, Cordelia, Willow, Angel, and Buffy’s mom, Joyce.

Would you pay to see an animated version of Buffy?

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Most of the live-action cast had reportedly agreed to participate in the series and voice their regular characters. Unfortunately, Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn’t interested as she jokingly called herself a “commitment-phobe” after being obligated to several projects for so long. She said, “I was contractually bound to Buffy, to the Scooby movies, to whatever it was. I don’t do something unless I can commit 110 percent, and I just can’t say that three times a month or this week I could actually, absolutely do an animated show.”

This created a real challenge for Wight as he had to design Buffy to be recognizable but the character couldn’t look too much like Gellar. Giselle Loren was ultimately cast to voice Buffy. The actress had previously voiced the slayer in a couple video games.

Though the Buffy animated series has been considered a dead project for awhile, there’s still interest from fans and the creative team. Could the slayer actually return to regular television one day? Is the animated version worth doing? Take a look at the four-minute pilot and post your thoughts below. Stay tuned! TV Series Finale home page

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22 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Roy says

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were one of the best shows on television ever. The animated series looks fantastic. I have idea for Joss Wheadon. If he has the money to produce the first 13 episodes, then he should go to fox so he can complete it and release it only on dvd. If it sells a whole lot for fox, then they could see that it is a profit machine, and then they could produce more episodes. Finally premiring it on television. Adult Swim should be able to carry the show without any problems.

  2. Kelly says

    they are worried about if the kids will watch this. I know my nine year old loved watching Buffy with me and she would love to watch a cartoon based on the show. I would watch it too. So either do the cartoon or give us a Buffy movie.

  3. Gabi says

    This pilot is promising, but the voice of Buffy doesn’t fit to her. It should be Sarah Michelle Gellar – every fan of Buffy will tell you that it’s impossible to accept. She just doesn’t sound like we know her. If the animated series doesn’t work out- why don’t you make a Buffy movie? It’s what everybody is waiting for! Please give us Buffy back.
    Take care.

  4. melanie says

    you guys are ******** if you think this weak ass cartoon can make up for the series your wrong.there was only the original buffy with sarah michelle gellar and everyone and this cant top that

  5. Ed says

    I saw the pilot and thought it retained the series quite well. I watched the show every week. So an animated series? Yes, I would definitely watch it. It would have to be dark so I don’t think it could be for children. Maybe on late night Spike or FX? There are a few shows that are ending on FX. I think it would do well and be just as popular as the live action series. Just as long as the stories are interesting, I would tune in.

  6. says

    As the notorious Samuel Johnson said: “When people find a man of the most distinguished abilities as a writer their inferior while he is with them, it must behighly gratifying to them.” – thanks for sharing…

  7. greko says

    Just saw the mini pilot for Buffy and have to give it a high score….its just as creative and hilarious as the live series and think its the right time for buffy to make a comeback….

  8. Michelle says

    I absolutely loved the Buffy series, and miss it a lot… looking at the animated series i would definitely watch it, looks great, i don’t really watch cartoons but i’d watch this, i’d say give this a go, i think it would be a very popular animated series!

  9. Celia says

    This is pretty amusing, I’d love to see it air on tv! Courage the Cowardly Dog was ADORED by adults and it was meant purely for children so I dont see the real problem as far as audiences are concerned…

  10. Jules says

    I found about this animated version of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and watched it with my son. We both enjoyed watching the clip of so much that we decided to watch it again.
    If they actually market it and put on any of the networks; we would defitinely watch.

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