Hosts Alaina Urquhart and Ash Kelley of the weekly Wondery podcast, The Rewatcher: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, spoke with me about the series, 90s aesthetics, spooky season traditions, and what they love about the slayer herself. Each week on Rewatcher, listeners will follow along as Alaina (a longtime Buffy fan) introduces Ash (a newbie) to the world of slaying – soaking in the cult-favorite '90s series, episode by episode, re-watching, and watching for the very first time.
Bleeding Cool: What is your earliest memory of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" or something that you connected to early when first hearing about the series?
Alaina: I would say my earliest memory was watching the pilot when it was on, and I remember immediately being hooked. As soon as Darla turned around and her face looked like that, I was like, "Oh! I'm In. Like I don't know what this is, but I'm in." When it was on, I was going through a tough time with school; I was going through a tough time with bullying. I think it was a nice world to connect to because it's this strong girl who likes kicking ass, and she gets this misfit group of friends that help her out. It was just a really cool story to me, and it rang as something I needed to see at that point, and it's kind of stayed that way for me. Even now, looking back, I still feel the same things that I felt when I watched it.
Ash: I would say my earliest memory of Buffy is being in Alaina's room, like her room at her parent's house, and seeing a couple of characters in signed pictures on her wall. She had the yearbooks from the school, and I remember flicking through the pictures just being so curious about what it was. But I also was six years old at the time, so I was not allowed to know what it was. They're like, "This is a scary show that you cannot watch."
Is there an episode of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" you're looking forward to people hearing you discuss?
Alaina: You know what? I have a few actually, now that I think about it. I've been talking about season two episode three a lot; it's called "School Hard," and it's the one when Spike shows up. I'm feeling very remiss. I have Giles, but like we need Spike. And I'm also looking forward to Ash seeing these too. I'm one of those people that will show somebody a movie or TV show, and I'll just watch them the whole time like I watch their reactions. I think "Hush" is definitely one; it's one of the best episodes, in my opinion. It just like blows your mind when you watch it. "The Body" is another one for a lot of reasons, and people who watch the show will know why I'm picking these. And the other one I love is "Reckless." It's one where they all have dreams; I like the ones that are weird or kind of off the normal path.
Ash: I'm watching real-time, so I don't have that many under my belt yet. But I would say my favorite one thus far has been the witch episode because ever since I was little, I've loved anything witchy at all.
Does either of you have a favorite character that continues to speak to you or that you really like?
Ash: Angel is my favorite character; I want to watch him forever and ever. Any moment that Angel comes on the screen and any exchange he has with Buffy, I rewind it like five times just to see it all over again.
Alaina: I've always loved Spike, but Giles is definitely my guy. We haven't met her yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing Faith. I think Ash will love her too.
Bleeding Cool: Alaina, when do you think you would introduce your kids to "Buffy"?
Alaina: I would love to introduce them to Buffy. I'm just waiting for that moment. I was probably like 15 when the series came out, so I would think around the 13-year-old mark. They're pretty good at determining that it's just a character; this is a fake thing. They used to love watching the show "Face Off" with me, it's that show about special effects makeup, and I think it kind of helped them see that these are characters and this is makeup.
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" tends to be continually popular for multiple generations. What do you think drives that and pushes the series to the forefront of everyone's mind?
Ash: I think this is a show that honestly could stand the test of time because, of course, there's going to be silly things that we don't say anymore because times are different now. But the central themes of the show, I think anybody can see themselves in this group of friends. It's a high school experience that I think, I mean, put aside the vampires and the witches, we can all remember being in high school and being with those friends that you could do anything with. So I think if you're watching it in high school, it's super relatable. I think if you're watching after high school, like Alaina's been saying, look back with that nostalgia, and it opens up memories for people. And I think it's just a really fun show to watch, and it makes you feel good.
Alaina: I think it always stands the test of time because they did a good job with vampires. The lore that they have for them is really unique, and everybody accepts it like they don't sparkle in the sunlight or anything. It's a very basic lore that they give them, and it's easy for everyone to digest. And they bring little aspects of other creatures in, too. It's like escapism in that way.
Does "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" influence any topics you would cover in "Morbid"?
Ash: I don't think that it does because we're viewing them as two totally separate subjects. Buffy is honestly kind of just our escapism into a fantasy world, whereas we're wearing a totally different hat when we're getting together for Morbid.
Do you think you'd ever go into detailed vampire lore on "Morbid"?
Ash: That would be fun. Alaina's done a case similar to that.
Alaina: I did an episode about the New England vampire panic. My wheelhouse on Morbid is super old cases, like going into those strange pathways like vampire panics and witch trials. I would love to do a very detailed vampire lore episode for sure. I think it's really fascinating.
Is there an episode from "Morbid" you would recommend to new listeners before they join in the "Buffy" one?
Alaina: Any "Listener Tales" episode would be great. With those ones, we're able to joke around a little more. When people write to us, they are so funny; with the way they write, it's as if we have so many undiscovered comedians out there right now. I think it's a good way to separate it and hear more of our personalities and who we are as people.