Am 20. Mai 2003 ging wiedereinmal ein Stück Fernsehgeschichte zu Ende. Buffy packte fürs erste ihren Pflock ein und wir müssen warten, bis wir neues vom Höllenschlund zu hören kriegen.

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Buffy Sails Into Sunset

The reality of the end came when "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" executive producer Marti Noxon drove into the Fox Television parking lot and found a man wandering there. It wasn't just any man, but the creator of the show she has worked on for the last seven seasons. It was Joss Whedon. "I asked, 'What are you doing?' and he said, 'I don't know,'" Noxon recently told CNN's Andy Walton. "He said, 'It's all gone, Marti,' and we looked in one of the buildings, and sure enough, all of the sets were gone. And that really hit hard, that Sunnydale High is no more. It's in boxes and crates somewhere."

With that, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" will say good-bye Tuesday night at 8 EDT on UPN with a gut-wrenching finale that could have fans talking for quite some time. But the little series that couldn't back in 1997 has quickly become a iconic success. And that's no accident, Noxon said. "Joss's master plan was really to create an icon," Noxon said. "Of all the people I've ever met, Joss is the most organized, creative thinker. More often than not, he knew exactly where we were going in the big picture." Even those who have studied the series can agree with that, like Lynne Edwards, a professor at Pennsylvania's Ursinus College that teaches a course called "Deconstructing Buffy."

"What's neat about 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' is that on one level, it appears to be pure pop culture: hot-looking girl runs around killing things, kicking, screaming, it's all good," Edwards said. "But on another level, for those of us who were kind of nerdy in high school, we get the literary references, like saying that a girl is so late she makes Godot look punctual." Whedon was able to plan much of the series far in advance, and used that type of planning to tease the future to audiences. One instance occured in Season 3 during a dream sequence about events that wouldn't actually happen until the fifth season. "Certain storylines, Joss just knew what he wanted to do, and had plans a year in advance, and we could plant a reference," Noxon said. The Scoobies "were conceived as outsiders. They were conceived as sort of misfits. That certainly was part of the whole mythology that I think people really responded to, was this idea of 'geek on the outside, supergeek on the inside,' special powers and abilities, hidden depths." Edwards said that the show easily moved from pop culture into reality. "Young people see what's going on, they see it in their high schools, then they come home and see it played out on television," Edwards said. "Granted, the football player is a demon, but it's all still kind of the same. I'm not even sure you can really call this pop culture any more, because of the way it reflects what's really going on in the world."

The last episode has been especially hard for star Sarah Michelle Gellar, despite the fact that her desire not to return served as one of the catalysts for the show's cancellation this season. "The whole time I kept thinking, 'When am I going to cry?'" Gellar told the Associated Press recently about filming the last episode. "I remember when it finally came, it was like getting hit with a brick wall."

'Buffy' creator on show, final episode

LOS ANGELES, California (Hollywood Reporter) -- Virtually no one thought that the show with the funny name on the then-fledgling WB Network would ultimately become a critical darling and cult favorite. Yet somehow, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" did exactly that during its seven-season run. With the series signing off next week, "Buffy" creator Joss Whedon spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the show.

The Hollywood Reporter: With "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" about to end its run, what kind of legacy do you hope the show will leave behind?

Joss Whedon: Honestly, I hope the legacy of the show would be that there's a generation of girls who have the kind of hero a lot of them didn't get to have in their mythos and a lot of guys who are a lot more comfortable with the idea of a girl who has that much power.

THR: How did you arrive at the decision that this would be the last season for "Buffy?"

Whedon: The decision came about largely because I was like, "I can't do this anymore! I'm so sleepy!" (Sarah Michelle Gellar's) contract was up, and I knew that she wanted to branch out. She always gave her best and was very professional, but at the same time, I knew that she was getting worn down by it, and so was I. Just physically, not mentally. I feel like the show could run forever in terms of the stories you could tell, but it's just that eventually the process grinds you down; you're going to start letting things slip. I didn't want that to happen. So this whole year was designed to be the last year of the show.

THR: Would you say the series has had something of a bumpy ride?

Whedon: I would say probably less than most shows in the sense that wherever we were, we got to make the show we wanted to make. We were never really clamped down on. It's very difficult to make this show. It took a lot out of us because in a show that does every genre -- sometimes simultaneously -- it's very hard for a director to get it right. So you have to be ever vigilant if you want it to be what it can. But actually, the biggest problem a show can have ultimately comes from the network or the studio or from the stars. We didn't have those problems. I would say it was actually a pretty smooth ride. So smooth, in fact, that "Firefly" (which Fox canceled during its first season on the air) was such a slap in the face to me because I just assumed this is how it worked.

THR: But the ratings did drop during "Buffy's" run on UPN. Was that something that concerned you?

Whedon: I stopped (paying attention to) ratings at a certain point. I thought (that) if we're not being canceled, then I have more important things to do. But the last year came in for a huge amount of criticism. People always (say), " 'Buffy' is great except for Year 6." I believe that as time passes, people will look at Year 6 as part of the whole and realize how important it was. It was a pretty dark year, so I get why people didn't respond to it.

THR: There's been a great deal of talk about a spinoff series. Is that something you're planning to do in the future?

Whedon: What happened was, I came up with a premise, and then Eliza Dushku (Faith) landed in our laps. We talked about the possibility of a spinoff, but that fell through. Although it was a good premise, it would've required a great deal of energy on the part of a lot of people, most of whom were like, "I feel the need to do something new." When it didn't happen, we realized that we were clutching our stomachs with relief. Even those of us who might be involved in another spinoff -- and I think there's great potential in a lot of different directions for spinoffs -- we need a breather.

THR: What happened to the plans for the animated series?

Whedon: 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. I wanted it to be on a level with "Animaniacs" or "Batman: The Animated Series." And that's a little pricier. But I just don't think it's worth doing unless it's beautiful to look at as well as fun.

THR: Do you think you'll take a year off and then jump back into the franchise?

Whedon: I don't know. Everything is completely misty right now, which is very nice for me. I'll obviously be working on "Angel," but I have such a good team there that it won't rule my life the way "Buffy" has for seven years. Beyond that, there's movie potential, there's spinoff potential, there's all sorts of potential.

THR: How does it feel to say goodbye to something in which you've invested so much of yourself?

Whedon: I had dinner with the writers the other night, and we listed the title of every single show, which was hard. Just the weight of the thing, the bulk of the thing -- every single one of those episodes had a message and a meaning and a very specific purpose. It wasn't always completely realized; it wasn't always as tight as it could have been. But the fact that 144 times we sat down and broke our backs to make a story worth telling is something that makes me feel enormously proud.


Another day, another apocalypse
'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' goes out with a bang

Editor's note: This article reveals significant plot points for the final episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Readers who have recorded the show for later viewing and fans from areas where the show has not yet aired might wish to read our spoiler-free preview article instead.

(CNN) -- How do you bring closure to a story line in which the lead heroine has already died twice?

That was the challenge facing Joss Whedon and his team Tuesday in the final episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." The critically acclaimed show ended its seven-year run by averting yet another apocalypse and defeating the First Evil, an elemental force of nature that amassed an army of "uber-vampires" to take over the Earth.

Plot lines hinted at in the penultimate episode -- the return of Buffy's vampire ex-boyfriend Angel, the jealousy of vampire boyfriend Spike, and evil preacher Caleb's stubborn refusal to die -- were dispatched in the first few minutes. When The First taunts Buffy, telling her she'll die alone, she hatches an audacious plan to storm the vampire army on its own turf. In this, the last hour of the series, Buffy rewrites the "one girl in all the world" myth central to the other 143. With the help of a mystical superweapon and the powerful but skittish witch Willow, she makes all of the "potentials" -- slayers in training, or awaiting training -- full-fledged butt-kicking superheroes like her. But it is Spike, the bad boy who has spent the season seeking redemption, who saves the world in the end. With the help of a bauble conveniently dropped off by Angel, he becomes a conduit for sunlight -- incinerating the ubervamp army and himself.

The Hellmouth -- the mystical portal that serves as a demon magnet -- collapses, taking the town of Sunnydale with it in a CGI-intensive mad dash. With the Hellmouth gone and a worldwide army of slayers waiting for orders, Buffy is freed from the destiny that has been her burden. When asked how she'll cope with being just another girl, her only answer is a wry smile. What is next for the Buffyverse, as fans dubbed the show's fictional world, is equally murky. The finale rewrote the show's premise, so fan speculation on spinoff series and possible movies is starting from scratch.

And Spike -- last seen as a collapsing column of ash -- is scheduled to appear in the fall on the spinoff series "Angel," which should be interesting. Buffyverse heroes never say die -- not even the dead ones.

A Letter To Buffy

Dear Buffy,

For seven wonderful years, you have proven that you are not just any slayer, but the slayer that could win over anyone's heart. Whether we be television fans sitting at home, a wisecracking friend named Xander, or guys who are older than the country you live in.

But that's why you were so special to us. It was your charm, your leadership, your laced top that fans are rushing to fork over thousands of dollars to buy. You broke the stereotype that women -- especially beautiful blondes -- should turn and run at the sign of danger. You proved that learning martial arts is important if you live in California, and you proved that Joss Whedon could definitely do much better than a 1992 movie by the same name, may it rest in pieces.

I didn't find you, Buffy, until just a couple years ago. I had been writing about you for some time, but never sat down to watch you, until someone I was very close to (don't worry, they were not from the Hellmouth ... at least I don't think), had me sit down and watch your adventures on FX. And there was no turning back from there.

You were great with long hair, even better with short hair. We loved you when you were an only child, and didn't blink when you suddenly got a little sister out of nowhere. We gripped our seats when you turned Angel into Angelus, and we cried when you found your mother dead.

We know Angel was your true love, and Spike was just the guy you liked to tumble in bed with. We know you never returned those loving looks Willow gave you, and could see that knowing look in your own eyes whenever Willow was with Oz.

Giles became the father you always wanted to have around. But we know that you only had him, because he was better than that machine John Ritter. And I know you didn't give a second thought to the fact that Xander seemed to only be attracted to snobs, slayers and demons.

Thank you, Buffy, for being the leader, for being strong, for being compassionate. Thank you for killing demons -- big and small -- and dying for us ... twice. Thank you for letting Willow and Amber move in, for defending Spike, even against a principal who wanted to avenge his mother's death. Thank you for taking in one of my favorite people, Andrew, despite the fact that no one knows whether he's in love with Buffy or Xander.

There are so many people we will miss. Cordelia, you provided such wonderful shallowness to the show that seemed to disappear when you moved to Los Angeles. Riley, Riley, Riley, where art thou? Jenny Calendar, your life was cut way too short.

Mayor Wilkins, your love for Sunnydale was so evident, even if you did try to ascend into a higher evil being and ate Principal Snyder in the process. Glory, your magnificence is astounding. And Drusilla, oh so lovely Drusilla ... please come back someday.

As "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" ends, I just want to stop and say ... thank you.

Matt Roush – TVGuide

Although it's difficult to put the words "happy" and "the end of Buffy" in the same sentence, I've got to say that I'm happy about the end of Buffy — that is, I'm pleased that Tuesday night's long-dreaded finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was about as satisfying and entertaining a final chapter as I could have hoped to go out on.

In retrospect, what genius to have announced that James Marsters would be joining Angel before we saw his character of Spike incinerated as he paid the ultimate sacrifice to save the slayer he loved. Takes some of the sting out of the shock, doesn't it? I haven't a clue how Spike is resurrected, but Joss Whedon's world is always full of miracles. And the last hour of the marvelous Buffy was itself a miracle of cleverness and craft, displaying all of the elements of humor and horror, of tragedy and humanity, of wit and action, that made its fans so proud to be in on the cult secret.

Buffy and Angel, such funny banter masking such deep feelings. Buffy and Spike, clasping hands in a ring of fire with a final declaration of love. As Willow said after casting her spell that awakened and empowered a world of nascent Slayers (what an inspired twist), "That was nifty." The most glaring problem with the "Chosen" episode is that an hour simply wasn't enough time to do justice to the emotions generated by the show's farewell. The enormity of Sunnydale being swallowed into the Hellmouth, with Anya and Spike among the victims of the final battle, demanded more of a eulogy than a few last choice quips.

But I'm cool with being left wanting more. What's more, I'm thrilled that Buffy is still alive and supported by this new army of magically activated Slayers. I have no doubt that someday we'll learn what was beneath Sarah Michelle Gellar's beautiful and enigmatic smile in the final shot as Dawn asked Buffy, "What are we gonna do now?"

Like Buffy, Fox's thrilling 24 spent its last hour of the season Tuesday night saving the world. For all of those fretting that nothing would be resolved, the exact opposite was true. In a mere 60 minutes (minus commercials) of improbable but irresistible action, a war was stopped, Jack Bauer — with an able assist from a redeemed Sherry Palmer — thwarted the bad guys despite his chest pains, Tony and Michelle were restored to power at CTU, Kim didn't get into a lick of trouble for a change, and President Palmer reclaimed his presidency. For a while.

C'mon, you didn't think the show's diabolical plotters would give us an entirely happy ending, did you?

I admit I spent the final hour guessing and second-guessing what would come next, minute by minute. That's what I love about watching 24. You never know what, or who, will turn up next.

And so, just minutes after the noble president graciously forgave his traitorous cabinet, but sacked the chief of staff who should have stood by him through his ordeal (although without Mike Novick, all would have been lost), Palmer was felled by the most unexpected source.
No, not Nina.

Re-enter Mandy, the cold-blooded assassin from the first episodes of the first season. You remember, the deadly vixen (played by Mia Kirshner) who blew up the plane in the opening hour. Pretending to be a big Palmer fan, she clasped the president's hand as he worked the cheering crowd, transferring some unknown biological agent to his palm. As the clock ticked its final seconds to the end of a riveting (though sometimes ridiculous) second year, the stricken Palmer gasped for air with presumably his last breaths.
We were gasping right with him.

Bravo, 24. And farewell, Buffy. What a night of TV it was.