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PaleyFest: The Buffy Cast Reunites!


Buffy, Tara, Spike, and Xander, together again! A large part of the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer took the stage Thursday night at the PaleyFest in Los Angeles, revealing some secrets from their eight years of working on the series and taking questions from appreciative fans who often credited Buffy with shaping their whole lives.

And when I say appreciative, there really should be a capital A. This crowd of more than 800 cheered at everything — from the opening clip of one of Sarah Michelle Gellar's 1994 scenes on All My Children to the introduction of the panel's moderator. (In terms of cast members, James Marsters seemed to get the most applause, but show creator Joss Whedon was the only person to get a standing ovation.)

In attendance: Whedon, writer/producers Marti Noxon and David Greenwalt, and cast members Gellar, Marsters, Amber Benson (Tara), Nicholas Brendon (Xander), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia), Seth Green (Oz), and Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn). Both Eliza Dushku and Alyson Hannigan were listed in the program, but neither showed — bummer. But the others kept the conversation lively — especially Green, who had a one-liner for everything, for better or worse.

The night really got going with a screening of the musical episode "Once More with Feeling" (not a sing-along, sadly). The episode proved to be a perfect starting point for talking about what's made Buffy so enduring, so for the scoop (update: here's part two of my report), just

.

  • Noxon introduced the episode screening by saying that, frankly, the writers had some doubts about whether Whedon could actually pull off a musical: "We were — not nervous, we just hadn't ever seen him write a song before," she explained. For his part, Whedon said he was actually more terrified to put together "Hush," the mostly silent episode.
  • One theme that kept coming up was the way Buffy consistently pushed the envelope, whether by shifting the formats of its episodes, killing off beloved characters, or even taking Buffy herself into a deep, dark hole during the sixth season. Gellar cited the opening shot of "The Body," which was done in one long take, as another example. "We were constantly doing things that had never been done," she said. "We were constantly doing things that challenged both the audience and ourselves.
  • This is probably not news to anyone who's ever been to a Buffy event, but Nicholas Brendan talks so much like Xander, it's creepy.
  • Gellar on the initial reaction to getting the role of Buffy: "All of my friends felt sorry for me because I'm on a midseason replacement on a network nobody had heard of, based on a movie that wasn't all that."
  • Marsters had a great description of what went into the writing of Buffy, saying the writers took the worst things that happened to them in high school and "put fangs on it." Whedon said he and Greenwalt used to call Gellar "Jimmy Stewart" because she picked up his baton of having to deal with tremendous pain on film.
  • One of the biggest bursts of applause in the entire evening was when the moderator (TV Guide's Matt Roush) mentioned that the Spike/Buffy sex scene had recently been named the steamiest TV scene of all time by his magazine. Gellar noted that the way Buffy shows up on those lists, and the way the fan community has reacted to the show over the years, means way more to her than any Emmys the show could have won.
  • Gellar said she had no idea until five minutes before the panel took the stage that Buffy had gotten it on with slayer Satsu in the latest comic book. Trachtenberg also had no idea what had happened to Dawn in the comic series. "If these guys were real nerds," Whedon said, "we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Click here for more, including video highlights.

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Suzaila Suzaila 8 years
One of my fav TV shows ever and I simply love Spike.
Geminispoppy Geminispoppy 8 years
I think it's pretty amazing that smg showed up, i mean, in all the extras and commentary on all seasons of the Buffy dvds, she's only been on maybe one. So it's fairly obvious that she's not very involved with the show anymore. I love her and Buffy to death, so i'm not trying to talk bad, but it's what i've observed. I would love to see her doing more!!
aoitenshi aoitenshi 8 years
That was awesome! It's kinda sad how David Boreanaz and Alyson Hannigan weren't there though.
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
muymuymuy — he was supposed to send in a taped message, but he didn't do it! sad.
muymuymuy muymuymuy 8 years
where was david boreanaz?
reesiecup reesiecup 8 years
gosh, that show followed me from middle school through high school. those were the glory days of teen television!
brunettefury brunettefury 8 years
jpullman - Meh, I still don't think she's any part of why the show ended. It was ready to go and Joss was ready to let it go for quite some time. Here's a quote about the end of the series from: http://chud.com/articles/articles/4435/1/EXCLUSIVE-INTERVIEW-JOSS-WHEDON---PART-2/Page1.html Q: When in season 7 of Buffy did you know it was going to end? Whedon: Pretty much before season 7 began. Sarah and I had talked about � I had talked about 5 years for a long time and it became apparent that wasn�t going to happen. There was a whole thing about it being in Entertainment Weekly and the crew wasn�t informed and everybody was unhappy, and I was just like, �There was somebody who didn�t know?� Some of the actors were upset and I said, �You guys I�ve talked to specifically about this.� The crew I actually went and apologized to. I said, �I don�t know how this isn�t already public knowledge and I apologize if you guys felt the carpet pulled out from under you.� But I kicked the actors off set before I did it because they knew. It was wear and tear. It wasn�t like anybody wasn�t getting along. That�s what season 3 is for. By season 7 everybody is doing their jobs. We�re all pros and my writers were all full of brilliant ideas and my actors were getting it done but the tonnage starts to wear on you. We knew this going in that it was going to happen. We talked about other ideas, like the Faith idea and stuff, but we knew that this particular show was going to come to a close and should, before it did start to show up on screen. They were obviously considering continuing without SMG. She had been to the Paley fest for Buffy before. Paley isn't exactly a convention and it's a great honour to get a reunion panel there. I'm sure she recognised that fact. She obviously doesn't get the whole convention atmosphere and imo, most of the conventions aren't that big/important. A lot of the actors who go to those things get money for doing the convention circuit, money that Sarah doesn't need. It's probably best that she stays away from conventions so that the other actors can at least get paid somehow (conventions can run out of money, I'm not exactly sure many of them would be able to afford her). I'm sure you don't hate her, I'm just clearing up some stuff.
EllaDee EllaDee 8 years
little miss me, watch the dvd's. I envy you a little having the whole series to discover for the first time. :)
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
rubiesymusica — not as good as being there, I know, but there are some brief video highlights in this post. I hope that helps!
Wicked Wicked 8 years
One of my favorite shows :)
rubiesymusica rubiesymusica 8 years
so many were not there, boo! i wanted david to be there as well as anthony, alyson, alyson's hubby (can't think of his name)and eliza. is there anyway those that could not be there to watch it?
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
You know, I'd heard all about how SMG never does stuff for Buffy, and I was expecting her to seem a little above it all or full of herself or something, but she really seemed very gracious, both in terms of appreciating the fans and understanding what the show really meant for her career. She stayed out for a while signing things and seemed kind of in awe of how many people were there and all the applause, etc.
littlemissme littlemissme 8 years
I'm starting to regret that I never watched Buffy :cry:
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 8 years
I just started a group for Buffy Fans. Join here!
partysugar partysugar 8 years
Buzz, not fair. Why didn't you take me with you? You know how much I LOVE Buffy. I can't wait to see more of the coverage!
jpullman813 jpullman813 8 years
Okay well that still makes her PART of the MAIN reason... I didn't say she was the ONLY reason. But you can't have Buffy the Vampire Slayer without Buffy, and you can't have Buffy without SMG (they couldn't very well recast Buffy). Hence, she was part of the main reason. And also, all I was saying is that at these sort of events, SMG rarely makes an appearance, where as a lot of the other cast seem to embrace the show more than she does. Maybe its because she's a bigger star than the rest of them, and is busier? Who knows. I don't hate her or anything, although Buffy the character was the least of my reasons for watching the show (I liked the Scooby Gang better), all I was saying was it was nice to see her embracing the show and the fans.
brunettefury brunettefury 8 years
1. Sarah has never not wanted anything to do with Buffy. She mentions that show in every interview I have ever read/seen. People choose to believe stupid rumours and nonsense because they're too lazy to do their own research. 2. It wasn't her decision to end the show. There's an interview with Joss Whedon on chud.com wherein he explicitly states that it was his decision, Marti's and Sarah's due to the fact that they were all burnt out.
Beauty Beauty 8 years
Sigh. I'm so envious! This sounds like so much fun. Thanks for letting us know what went on!
EllaDee EllaDee 8 years
I think SMG has changed her mind about how she feels about Buffy. It was her decision to end the show. I love her even still. Buffy! I wish I could have been there but it does feel lacking. I wish more would have been able to appear.
jpullman813 jpullman813 8 years
Easy CatepillarGirl. I stopped watching because to me, Cordelia was my favorite part of the show, along with Fred. I couldn't stand Gunn, or Connor, and I never liked Spike on either show. Angel was never a favorite character of mine, although I liked his chemistry wtih Cordelia. Wesley was cool though, but not cool enough to keep me watching. So, simply enough, it was my personal taste.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
The show ended also because the WB had dumped it into UPN's hand and the numbers werent good enough. Jpullman, how on earth could you stop watching after she left? it got soooo good, besides she returned for the final season!
jpullman813 jpullman813 8 years
I like that SMG was there. She seems not to want to do much related to Buffy, and it pretty much has been confirmed that she was the main reason the show ended because she didn't want to do it anymore. Its nice that she realizes that most of her fame came from Buffy, and she appreciates the fans (I adored her on All My Children as well...). But as a die hard fan of Buffy... I'm kinda sad that the original 4 weren't all there (Anthony Stewart Head, Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendon, and SMG). But big ups to Charisma! She was my favorite part of Angel (in fact, I stopped watching after she left the show).
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 8 years
Hush was actually one of the episodes that scared me the most. The fact that the men in suits had feet but floated instead of walked was a specific thing that freaked me out for some reason.
avienndha avienndha 8 years
So cool! I wasn't into the show when it was on tv, only caught random episodes, mostly later ones. Now I'm on season 4 and it's just so amazing. Even my husband is into it...and he pretty much never watches tv. Love seeing them all together again : )
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