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Discussion of 1.01 "Welcome To The Hellmouth" - Aired 3/10/1997 (WB-US)


Nov 9, 2010
Just watched it, really enjoyed it. They all look so funny. Joyce's hair, Angels shiny suit, Xander's sleazy see through shirt..
And I wasn't a teenager during the 90's, but was James Spader considered to be like hot back then? cos I don't see it :p

It's a great episode, 7/10.

Best line:

Buffy: So, you like to party with the students? Isn't that kind of skanky?


Five By Five
Jan 5, 2011
Newark, DE
I absolutely love the pilot episode, it just has that "vibe" of being the beginning. Thinking about the first episode makes me want to re-watch the entire series again (for the 100th time).



... in a tutu. Pillock.
Feb 22, 2011
Just watched this last night in my inaugural rewatch. It really did have a "new," exciting feel to it. It was so much fun to watch and to think about what's ahead for all of the characters. And of course the foundation of the show -- the relationship between the core four -- is laid, and done well.


Peanut Bear
Oct 8, 2010
Auckland, NZ.
So, I did this before but I'm going to finish it this time and possibly even see how my opinions have changed upon gaining access to all the DVDs and having been a part of the fandom for awhile. I'm going to review every episode (but it seems a section like this is missing from season three? am I wrong?) Anyway, listen up because here are my Short to Long Buffy Reviews.

I watched Welcome to the Hellmouth a few weeks ago for possibly the seventh time in my short period of watching Buffy. I often have to watch it again because I'm trying to convert people to the series. But this time was because of the fact that New Zealand is playing the series on Channel Four (and I have manged to get a friend watching it..she is now going to buy the DVDs).

This episode is never dull. I've seen it many times and I can still say that. Sure, it's campy-ish, somewhat corny and the like but it has the season one Buffy feel that I actually love. Many people hate season one, but I adore it. This episode does a great job at introducing us to the characters, making us love them, making us laugh and leaves us with a small cliffhanger that, although isn't as good as some later ones (Uh, 'Who Are You', 'What's My Line' etc) but is decent and is a good way to keep you watching.

I remember falling in love with Willow when watching her in this episode. They really show her as the shy wallflower and she does break out of that rather quickly although not fully until much later seasons. But she was so adorable and I believe Alyson Hannigan had her perfect right from the very begining. Giles also had me laughing in this episode. Most of his delivery was spot on and for some reason I always crack up when he says "The boy" in that 'isn't it obvious?' tone.

Could Buffy's shirt be any shorter? Uh, yes...just wait.

Cordelia kind of bugs me in this episode...I mean, I love her same as usual, just a little less. Her best line was not "God, what is your childhood trauma" but rather something that comes right after that. "Excuse me, I have to call everybody I have ever met, right now!" I don't knwo why that cracks me up. But it's mostly the scene in which she goes on, and on, and on that bugs me. However, Charisma Carpenter is gorgeous and charming as ever. Her name suits her, don't you think?

Joyces hair cracks me up, that was her worst look in the entire series!

I used to like Angel's line "I didn't say I was yours" but now it just bugs me and his outfit means I can't take him seriously, AT ALL! It's just hilariously....horrible and I don't like Buffy's jacket in that scene either. However, their acting was good despite how differently Angel was portrayed back then.

It's a little weird for a teacher to be that close to a student in the hallway. Awkward much, Giles.

Funniest Lines/Moments
Xander on his skateboard..just all of that cracks me up--especially how distracting a pretty girl seems to him.
"In the library, where the books live"
"All the students here are free to call me Bob""Bob""But they don't"
"Can I have you? Duh, can I help you?"
"Xander...Is me...Hi"
"We just wanted to welcome ya, make ya feel at home...unless you have a scary home" - I liked Jesse.
"Like totally, dead...waaay dead""So not just a little dead then?"
"A slayer slays, a watcher-""Watches?""Yes, uh....no!"
"But you didn't....hone!"
"Who the hell are you?" - Why is this line funny? Uh, Julie Benz's delivery with the teeth and her voice...ah, it cracks me up.
"Who are you?""Don't you know?""I don't care" - HAHAHA, I don't know if you find this funny.

Rating 8/10. It's a solid, however it doesn't have the fire that later episodes have...so sadly I have to compare. I adore it, however.
Mar 7, 2010
Toronto, ON
I've recently started a really geeky Buffy rewatch. I'll also be doing all the Angel episodes for the first time ever. Wish me luck. Oh, and my notes will be terribly unorganized and random.

"Welcome to the Hellmouth" by Joss Whedon

- I'm not sure how I feel about the opening narration. It's used inconsistently throughout the first two seasons and it does a good job of setting up the story as well as the campy feel of these opening episodes. However, it does soon feel like it's not doing the show justice.

- Right away this show is about death. Darla and her victim break into a room with fake skeletons in it. The teacher delivers a lecture about the Black Plague. And, of course, it's also a show about fangy people who vant to suck your blood, meh-he-he.

- Did anyone expect Darla to be Buffy the first time? We know from the movie that Buffy is a blonde teenager who kicks vampire butt, and horror movie rules dictate that the overly confident male is going to be a monster and will murder his timid, frightened girlfriend at the most shocking moment. But, no, we get a spectacular reveal of Darla's vamp-face (especially shocking since that wasn't in the film), followed up by the ominous piano and werewolf howls that quickly descend into 90s rock as we meet our stereotype-defying teens.

- Slayer dreams are fascinating. Buffy sees a bunch of stuff that will pop up throughout the season, but what exactly is she supposed to be learning from this dream? Obviously, her death at the hands of the Master and the ensuing mob of attacking vampires are foreshadowed, but it's all so cryptic. It's a shame we never learn the specifics of the prophetic dreams.

- Ah, Xander's skateboard. The original comics feature it as well, but I think he only ever carries it again in-show during "Angel". An explanation for this might be that he only boards to look cool, given that he doesn't seem to be very good at it.

- Joss is right. Nic Brendon is far too "pretty and muscular" to be a loser in high school. I guess this happens in every high school show ever (most irritatingly with Rachel Berry on Glee).

- Alyson is just the most adorable actress ever. Full stop.

- Let me just say that I fully supported Buffy/Xander for exactly twelve episodes before jumping on the Bangel brigade in "When She Was Bad". Watching it again, I find that I can't get behind Xander as easily when I observe how often he ignores Willow's obvious love for him.

- The main characters first appear onscreen in the order they are credited.

- It's great to see that Cordelia is initially nice to Buffy. Is this genuine interest or simply trying to get into the good graces of a former L.A. resident? I do like how Buffy has clearly moved past her shallow days, not really wanting to be friends with someone as vapid and cruel as Cordy turns out to be.

- ASH's youthful enthusiasm is the reason Giles is great. Otherwise, he really would be the stock horror exposition guy.

- Notice how Xander verbally spars with Cordelia but becomes a "bliberring idiot" around Buffy, while Jesse is fine with Buffy and falls over himself for a chance with Cordelia.

- If Buffy's trying to move on past her Slayer experiences, why is she carrying a stake in her school bag? Force of habit? A vague feeling of unease from her intense dreams?

- Angel is creeping me out. What on Earth is he trying to accomplish? Why is he being so cryptic and artificially charming? There is never an explanation for his behaviour in the first two episodes, after which his demeanor becomes the one we are used to.

- Presumably Buffy is so angry with Giles because she has already lost friends to the vampires. I wish they would have mentioned the fact that Merrick died to save her from Lothos, given that it sets up her daddy issues at a time before Hank left.

- I'm sure I would have liked Jesse if he had actually been a main character, but without Xander's wit or Willow's timid charm, he's a bit of a third wheel.

- Buffy pinning Cordelia to the wall sets up very quickly how dangerous a Slayer can potentially be among humans.

- Cordelia has a cell phone and will never use it again.

- Willow gains self-confidence and tries something new thanks to Buffy. This will become something of a pattern.

- Xander doesn't seem to think it likely that Willow will score a date at the Bronze.

- How do Xander and Buffy find Willow at the mausoleum. Buffy asks "Where would Willow go?" and they go to the middle of a graveyard?

- The ending is pretty dramatic and tense. Luke appearing out of nowhere, grabbing Buffy, smacking her around, then leaping on top of her and snarling as the other teens are cornered by the vampire troops... Good, promising stuff for the premiere of a low-budget mid-season replacement.


May 23, 2011
I've just started my Buffy rewatch (inspired by Nikki Stafford's blog which i stumbled upon), watching Welcome to the Hellmouth feels like I'm seeing old friends again :)
These first few episodes are good fun, relationships are being established and some of the dialogue is so funny! Can't wait to continue watching more!


Hostile17 stole my ♥ !
Nov 28, 2010
Spike's crypt
I love the episode.. But I must admit that her clothes is.. special. I'm not fond of it! I'm not fond of her style in general, but it gets a *little* better later.
I love Buffy's high school years.. and my favorite quote from the episode is "Morbid much", which I still use xD


Fish of the Day
Jun 3, 2011
Potato-Land, USA
The pilot got me. Is it the best Buffy episode? Definitely not. But it has everything we love about Buffy: relatable and loveable characters, intriguing storyline, humor, action, and a main heroine whom we instantly relate to and fall in love with. I love this episode. :)


Jul 22, 2011
Terrific opener for the BtVS series! I really love how the style is so "teen horror flick." The dialogue from Season 1 is my favorite. The characters always have something funny to say and it accentuates their personalities so well. I remember when it first aired I actually had a crush on Cordelia over Buffy. I completely ignored her bitchy attitude because she was so damn hot : lovey :
Now there's no dispute for me, Buffy owns me :lmao: I do think Buffy was most attractive in this season though compared to the later ones. The characters are so interesting and have such great chemistry and dialogue with each other that it just makes you want to watch more, which is exactly what one should aim for in a pilot episode :)

It's always a pleasure going back and watching that first episode after a long while, brings me back to my childhood.


Aug 4, 2009
I've just started my first ever rewatch, and have a few observations I thought I'd share ...

- So did they move to Sunnydale literally the day before Buffy started school? There are so many unpacked boxes in her room. This was badly planned and Joyce, I'm blaming you.
- Is that a bowling pin brooch on Willow's dress?
- I understand that the authorities are pretty lax in Sunnydale, but how long is that body going to be in the locker room for before somebody removes it?
- Buffy has an amazing sense of direction - she made it all the way to the Bronze with no directions.
- Willow sitting alone in the Bronze eating her little box of raisins makes my heart melt.
I love your sig <3 The young scoobies


Feb 1, 2012
Along with the one from LOST this is the best pilot I have ever seen, it's funny, it's different and I instantly liked the characters.


SHE (Darla) is the bad guy

Xander's accident when Buffy distracts him

Xander's lame flirt with Buffy and the look on his face when he picks up Buffy's stake.

Flutie: All the kids are free to call me Bob. Buffy: Bob Flutie: But they don't haha so ****ing funny

Giles presenting the VAMPYR book and the look on Buffy's face.

Buffy spotting the vamp by the look of his outfit

What I didn't like:



Bite Me
Jun 18, 2003
Black Thorn
I've just relistened to the commentary by Joss. From the start not only do they have Buffy as the girl who is the hero rather than the victim, you have Darla whose the monster the victim.

The opening episode is for both fans that had seen the film and those who hadnt. Joss also wanted to put Jesse in the credits but it was too expensive. When he did it on Angel it didnt go down to well with the fans.

Cordy is originally shown as being nice but changes almost immediately when she's shown as being mean to Willow. A bit of foreshadowing for Cordy is when she's telling Buffy she's always wanted to live in LA.

Joss also points out that in this episode they have a lot of people in the Master's lure. They are meant to be vampires but it was too expensive to put the make-up on them and Joss said it didnt come across well, so by later episodes they get rid of all those extras. They also dropped the theme that vampires dressed in the same clothes from the time they were made in.

The Jesse/Cordy scene when he asks her to dance is something that actually happened to Joss.

Joss uses Willow as a victim because she shows a lot of physical vulnerability and with Buffy being the hero he has to put Buffy in situations were she's emotionally vulnerable.

When fighting Luke, he refers to her as a ''little girl'' because he doesnt know who she is. They couldnt do this later in the episodes because her reputation grew to were pretty much every monster knew who she was.


Minuscule Redheaded One
Feb 8, 2011
Northern Minnesota
The Jesse/Cordy scene when he asks her to dance is something that actually happened to Joss.

When fighting Luke, he refers to her as a ''little girl'' because he doesnt know who she is. They couldnt do this later in the episodes because her reputation grew to were pretty much every monster knew who she was.
It made me so sad that Joss actually had that happen to him! People are so mean. :(

This always bugged me about the movie, even before the show started. In the movie, Buffy wasn't supposed to let the vampires know her name...why? So they can't look her up in the phone book? Obviously, that wasn't part of the lore carried into the series. I was pondering on that the other day.


Feb 13, 2012
I love this episode because it shows all the relationships that could have started if things had gone differently. For example the one between Buffy and Cordy. Obviously if Buffy and Cordy started to be friends right off the bat there wouldn't be much of a show in some cases, but it does show the conflict between the Cordy "realm" and the Buffy "realm".

I really LOVE how awkward the first interaction between Buffy and Giles is. Buffy is not someone that Giles is used to :p

The awkward speech that Xander gives to Willow when they are in the courtyard is hilarious.

"Don't you have an elsewhere to be?"


Feb 4, 2012
witney, oxfordshire
I haven't watched all of the original un-aired pilot yet but imagine had they not recast willow, oh I shudder to think. Love this EP and enjoy rewatching it again and again.


Jun 27, 2003
Whenever Buffy walks into the library and says "What's the sitch?" all I can think about is Sarah Michelle Gellar having no idea that it was slang for "situation". She had to ask them during her audition what that meant. :laughing:

Buffy Summers

Staff member
Nov 20, 2001
The City of Angels
She clearly never watched the movie ;)

I'm watching this again now and it's occurring to me how strange it is that Darla didn't recognize that Buffy was the Slayer. I guess because they hadn't written Darla's backstory yet, but still.
Fuffy Baith
Fuffy Baith
I thought that too, because she knew about slayers. But yea they just didn't develop her yet.


Member of the Church Of Faith
Dec 23, 2013
The Moot, England
Just started rewatching the series all the way through, and try and comment on each ep as I go.

I had actually forgotten how good this was. All the dialogue is spot on, and the characters are great, they feel like we've known them for a while by the time the end credits roll by. Great chemistry as they all interact with each other. :)

And SMG looks quite different, more baby-faced, a little more solid than she'd look later on. Also, she doesn't look quite as...'valley girl' as she would later, maybe its the make-up or something. I always picture 'highschool' Buffy with a cute bob rather than the big hair she's got here.

Bits I like: The opening with Darla. (Actaully forgotten that.) Buffy meeting Xander (on his skateboard), Giles, and Willow for the first time, all memorable in their own way. Buffy and Willow chatting at the Bronze, and then Buffy's subsequent talk with Giles is great. ('It's carbon dated.' 'But you didn't...hone.') :)
Buffy's first encounter with Darla and the vamp dressed like DeBarge.

Bits I didn't: Not a big fan of Flutie, I remember I used to like him. :(
Sad that Jesse got killed, although his 'hitting on ' Cordelia is a little cringe-worthy. Plus some of the imagery (Buffy's dreams, vamp dialogue) is a little low-budget, horror movie cliche.

Overall I remember being pleasently pleased with it from the off and went on to watch more, and looking back I can see why, its all so sharply written. Great first ep. :)

Fuffy Baith

2017 (and 2016) Cutest BB member
Mar 14, 2014
Just re watched the un-aired pilot and Welcome to the Hellmouth, yesterday to compare them. The un-aired pilot isn't that bad just low quality and a different Willow. When we first see Alyson Hannigan as Willow, I was like. "wow, big difference" shes adds a personality to Willow and better chemistry with Xander. I love Xander falling off his skateboard! The cool thing the un-aired pilot had was a better library, but the one we get works better for the show, it's just not as fancy.

I do like Giles telling Buffy she needs to hone her senses. It's also funny to see Giles being kind of like Wesley at first. I also forgot that Angel was in this. Oh he looks so young. When thy do flashbacks with him I try to imagine him like season 1 Angel. I think that this is a great pilot and I'm gonna watch The Harvest today. "It was also cool seeing The Master rise up from the goo. He's one of my favorite Big Bads.
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