Welcome to The Hellmouth (Season 1, Episode 1)
The episode opens in a high school late at night. Various jarred organs come into focus: a heart, a brain; what appears to be a liver. In what is soon to become a Whedon signature during season 1, high light contrast and long shadows set the mood. Smash. Enter Darla and company.
Two attractive teenagers have seemingly broken into their school, intent on a littlle risque tete-a-tete. This is the first time the audience the Buffyverse would gaze upon the mutant horror that is Das Vampyr—as Darla reveals her true visage.
Welcome to the Sunnydale Highschool—A.K.A. The Hellmouth: the centre of mystical convergence in the entire world. A pseudo-portal to hell itself, Sunnydale High finds itself in the middle of near-daily strange and unexplained phenomena. In layman`s terms? It’s a big ole clusterfuck of spooky.
Who better, then, to frequent Sunnydale than a sexy, blond L.A.-transplant: Buffy Summers? Oh, did I mention she is the once-in-a-generation slayer? A young female endowed with superhuman speed, strength and reflexes derived from the essence of pure demon? Don’t think I could find a better match myself.
Of equal importance in this episode is the introduction of Mr. Rupert Giles. Giles is a Watcher, one in a group of individuals sworn to guide and protect the slayers, trained from a young age. Giles at first is the only person other than Buffy herself aware of her unique condition. This fact changes, however, as Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris—two less-than-popular classmates—come to find out about Buffy’s slayer status.
This episode single-handedly propelled Buffy The Vampire Slayer to commercial success and cult classic status overnight. Everything from the costuming and lighting, to the music and make-up were all done very deliberately and with an occult flare—quickly distancing Buffy from the bland archetypes and cliches from which most shows in the action-horror genre suffer.