Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 1 Episode 0

Unaired Pilot

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Unknown on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (24)

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out of 10
292 votes
  • could it be "Buffy" without Alyson Hannigan???

    well, it has many moments from the original pilot. it has everyone from the original cast... except for the girl who portrays Willow! and there's the question, guys: could "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" become that popular if instead Alyson Hannigan Riff Regan played Willow for all seven (not sure they would shoot seven, though) seasons. I mean, it's so hard to imagine her playing those awesome Willow's scenes and so on... just can't explain in the words how glad and happy I am that they re-casted :) it's not "Buffy" without Aly the same way it couldn't be "Buffy" without Sarah, Nicky, Tony and others...

    though I give 8 to this epi just 'coz it actually represents the very beginning of the whole Buffyverse that all of us partly live in... plus, Sarah and Nick are so cute and young in it!

    FAVE SCENE: the end of the episode.

    FAVE QUOTE: Buffy: You can never watch too many movies.
  • that's what got it started?

    amazing the show got picked up. I just saw this for the 1st time and it is bad , comically bad almost. I agree with the others in that the library site would have been nice to keep around but that wasn't possible as it wasn't a set but an actual schools library , Torrance High according to IMDB.
  • Hard to live up to the legend of Buffy!

    I've seen all the episodes of Buffy (most of them fifty times) except for this one, until now. I didn't even know it existed. I really loved the Xander-Buffy interaction as well as the Giles-Buffy interaction, both of which weren't in the aired pilot. However, I was disappointed about the original willow, and am super relieved that they switched her. Alyson Hannigan really made Willow into the lovable, quirky witch we all love.

    This pilot isn't nearly as good as the aired one. The opening scene wasn't appealing at all, the special effects . fight scenes, vamp dusting) are poorly executed, and the casting was disappointing (no joyce? fake willow?). I'm glad they changed it before airing, because Buffy deserves a proper start.
  • Great Good Gods

    This pilot had a couple things that would have been nice to incorporate in the actual first run of the show, like more banter with heavier references between the characters and the larger library. It also had a lot of things that thank the gods above were left out. It was a very cheesy pilot, but it does get the general idea across, which is the point of such an episode. It's wonderful to see where something that ended up successful started.
  • Moderately interesting, but what can you expect from a pilot.

    Most all of the greats had, shall we say, unsatisfactory beginnings, so this was no surprise. But anyone so interested in the show that they would take the time to read this review already knows it's all up hill from here. The story line is alright. It opens up the door to the season's major arch. Not to mention, the introduction of Darla. Willow is simply adorable. How on Earth did she get her hair so flat? I ask you, is it magic? I have a general love for Xander's character. Its good to see him back before he becomes the somewhat useless part of the group. It wasn't as bad as some make it out to be. Still, it wasn't my cup of tea.
  • Thank god they didnt use that episode in the show.

    I know the story is mostly the same as welcome to the hellmouth but the acting was crap, especially from Riff Regan, whio played Willow. the special effects are pitiful. when Buffy kills a vampire it looks like sombody just dropped a big bag of sand.

    Improoved on the movie, but not as good as the show that came months later
  • A Different Willow!

    I think watching the unaired pilot made me realize how essential Alyson Hannigan was to the success of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The original Willow was just soooo wrong! You could say it was due to looks, since the original Willow is a little frumpy, and Alyson has a cute factor that makes her endearing and appealing (despite the horrible jumper she wears in the aired pilot). However, though appearance may be somewhat of a factor, I think it's clear after watching the two pilots that Alyson brings a spunk and humor to the character that the original Willow does not. Her facial expressions and line delivery just seem to light up every scene she is in, whereas the original Willow seems to fade into the background.

    The original pilot, being shorter and without the real Willow, does not come close to the quality of the aired, hour-long pilot. That said, it's not awful either! It's just interesting to see what the Buffyverse would have been like without the real Willow!
  • The beginning!

    You have to love this episode simply because it started it all! Cheesy special effects, but otherwise very solid considering it was never meant for television. Willow was the only really weak character, and I am happy to see that she was replaced. I enjoyed it, and even found some of the dialogue to be better written than in the first episode. The scene between Buffy and Giles specifically comes to mind. Their first conversation goes much more in depth than in episode one. I really enjoyed the way they tied the movie in by having Buffy strongly reference her life in L.A., and former watcher. All in all I was really happy with the pilot!
  • After the disappointment of the feature film, Joss created this pilot to bring back interest to a character he had a specific vision for.

    Watching this pilot I was impressed with how similar it was to what eventually became the two part pilot of the series.

    Sarah, Nick, Charisma, Anthony and even Mercedes had their characters down cold. I saw no real difference in their portrayal in this than the series.

    The writing already had the vibe and grasp of the Sunnydale vernacular. There were even several great quips and banters between the characters that I wish had made it to the series. More than once I laughed out loud, enjoying the old-school Buffy feeling I haven't known since the last millenium.

    I loved the library set! The series set was no doubt more economical and easier to shoot on but the visual of the pilot library is much more impressive. With the circular stairway and second floor there was alot of lost potential there (but it looks similar to the factory in season 2 so the idea apparently wasn't completely forgotten). The Buffy and Giles scene after discovery of the dead guy just felt more real. They weren't confined to just a few feet. They were allowed to walk around and interact more with the environment, making it more believable. Xander's hiding in the book stacks is also more believable with the extra space.

    The final fight between Buffy and the vamps was rather impressive (and humerous). Parts of it were similar to later confrontations in terms of her physical prowess and using the surroundings as an advantage. The vampire dusting itself looked more like something out of a bad horror movie, with the gaping hole in the vamp's chest as it layed there waiting to dissolve into nothingness.

    The weakest link for the pilot was unfortuenately Riff Regan as Willow. It isn't because of her performance either, she was able to convey the quiet outcast rather well. But with Buffy as both the star and our entry point for this new environment and set of characters there had to be a connection between these two future best friends. Buffy and Xander made an immediate bonding, and she got along well with both Giles and Cordy. The interaction between Buffy and Willow felt more like the one Buffy had with the guy in line at the Bronze: awkward and impersonal.

    This pilot definately shows the great potential that was lost from the movie. As a fan it is intersting to see this "what if" scenario of what could have been. But the changes that were made were necessary and we got a much better show for it.
  • ---

    Buffy is "the best show ever" (in caps)!!! This episode sort of skiped the story line a little too fast, like, a new student! Oh, a slayer! And the "chosen" form of a vampire "decaying" was much better graphics. It was a good story line with a good ending, though. I downloaded it from buffyworld.com, after I had finished the complete series. So, I was used to Allyson Hannigon as Willow. And that kind of threw of my review. But all in all, it was a good episode. Between "Awesome" and "Poor" is where it falls on my rating chart. :-) ---
  • Yikes. Well, it wasn't meant for TV so we will let them off the hook on this one.

    This is the unaired pilot that was used to market the series to the studios. Buffy is one of my favorite shows of all time, but I don't think I would have discerned the coming greatness by watching this. Predictably, the special effects were bad, and I don't remember a musical score, so it was a bit awkward to watch. What I remember most is how great a decision it was to replace the first actress that played Willow with Alyson Hannigan. The original actress delivered her lines like she didn't understand Joss Whedon's (writer, creator) sense of humor.
  • This is Buffy on a budget.

    Everyone who's giving this episode bad reviews (in the "terrible" range) needs to realize it was never meant to be aired as an actual episode! Enjoy it for what's it's worth; a rough draft of what was to come!

    Like many others, I didn't like the former actress meant to play the role of Willow (she was more spunky than shy, you could tell the character was just made for Alyson), but I would have still liked her to play another supporting character of her own. Riff Regan also looks a little older, but then again, most high school students during that time were played by people in their 20s.

    Still, it was an entertaining preview of a great show and an enjoyable 20-30 minutes of an intro to one of tv's fave heroes.

    The Good
    -Campy, funny, not too serious

    The Bad
    -No Joyce or the Master (couldn't care much for Angel)
    -Riff Regan playing Willow (though like I said, I still would have liked Riff Regan to be in some other role)

    The Cheap
    -The vampire dusting was so cheaply done it's hilarious...lmao. Like I said, enjoy the episode for what it's worth...a rough draft!
  • An alternative beginning for Buffy in Sunnydale falls a bit flat but is still entertaining

    This is basically an early version of Welcome to the Hellmouth with slightly different cast (Willow and Principal Flutie) and some major characters left out like Angel, Joyce and the Master. Despite it being quite basic if you think about what it was supposed to be used for, which is to demonstrate a potential show to a Network it works quite well.

    The cast changes for the regular series in my opinion are good changes. Willow as we are used to is a shy and nervous girl at this point whereas in this she is fat and less nervous, so having less chance of developing throughout the series because her main issue seems to be her weight. Her crush on Xander isn't played well by the actress either and frankly she seems to be a little too old for the part. Principal Flutie is completely miscast as well, it's Bob from Heroes Season 2 and the tone feels wrong from him.

    The other little things that are different is the basic special effects and the fact that the dumb sense of humour from the Film pops up now and again. The episode doesn't have a sense of direction either - It's very much setup for the characters and then save Willow (although Darla and the dead body in the locker were even here at this point). Joyce, the story of the Master and the intrigue of Angel was gladly added for the proper first episode to give it momentum, and for the series on a whole they were all important additions.
  • A hint at what's to come...

    This was a watered down half hour version of the classic tv show. Most of the elements were in place during this pilot but in condenced versions.
    The only noteable difference is the actress who played Willow was changed before the actual show came to air. She was originally played by a chubby dark haired girl who sounded like she was reading her lines instead of speaking them like a normal person talking. I didn't really care for her and am glad they changed out the actress for the far more likeable Allison.
    The half hour run time kills the show for me. It doesn't give any time for the story to unfold. I'm glad this run time wasn't intended for the show. It takes all the power from it.
    It was interesting to see the evolution from that to the show that actually aired but it really isn't worth watching except for a need to see all things Buffy.
  • Welcome To The Hellmouth + The Harvest - Some average acting, fighting, make-up and sets = Unaried Pilot

    So yeah basically this was a 30 min deal that Joss and the guys chucked together to pitch the show. It's hard to think that the great show Buffy The Vampire Slayer came from such muble beginings.

    None of the sets really resemble the any of the ones we came to love, some of the actors aren't there yet due to teh fact there is no Angel or Buffy's mom in this episode. Also Willow isn't acted by Alyson. The Willow in this episode is nothing like teh Willow we come to love. I'd hate to think what the show would have been like if Joss didn't change actors.

    Most of the stuff that takes place in this epsiode get's transferred to the real pilot episode Welcome To The Hellmouth. And it's a good thing that they learnt some lessons from this and improved alot. The fighting is fairly lame and the vampire make-up isn't great.

    If you're a Buffy fanatic like I am then no matter how lame it is you're definetly going to want to get your hands on this one.
  • Not the best.

    Well, let's just say I'm glad that the BTVS cast was revised and this original Pilot episode was scrapped!
    It wasn't awful, but it was no where near up to the standard of the BTVS Pilot that we all know and love.
    The main issue I had with this was the character of Willow played by Riff Regan. It really didnt fit and just seemed so pointless (along with the acting ability!).
    Using this actress as Willow would have been a devastating route to take and I'm glad that it wasnt in the end.
    This episode seemed a little tacky up against the rest of BTVS. The effects just weren't there... But I guess that was just a budget issue.
    Over all, I wasn't impressed with this Pilot, but I'm glad I watched it and it was interesting to see what route Buffy could have gone down as apposed to where it is now.
  • Considering the low production values and the length it wasn't that horrid.

    I actually saw this after the series itself had already ended but considering how low the production values must have been and how short it actually was this wasn't a bad attempt at a pilot. Thankfully we got a proper one that was an improvment but all the same this wasn't that bad. The special effects were defenitely lacking but as I said that's to be expected considering it was only a pilot. One thing that I didn't like though was the actree that played Willow. This may be because I was already so used to Alyson Hannigan as our beloved Willow but all the same the actress who they had cast at her didn't seem to really have any acting chops at all. I didn't feel as though she made you want to watch her at all in a cast that really was full of people you wanted to watch, both in this pilot and throughout the series. That was part of the allure for me, you wanted to watch these people and what they went through week to week. The original Willow didn't seem to convey that very well. One thing I did have issue with though was the final fight scene in the auditorium. I wasn't to pleased with it all, another thing that was seriously lacking but then again this was a rough pilot so I think I can cut it some slack.
  • Ridiculous

    I had to laugh when I first saw this episode because it wasn't until after watching many well written and well acted episodes that I came across it and I have to say Joss deffinatley made the right choice in the changes he made. The original Willow sucked severly, she was so dull and boring, no charisma whats so ever. The fighting scenes came across as bordering on stupid and silly and the vampire make up wasn't done half aswell. I have to say personally if this had been the episode that aired on that first night it would probably have been the last I would have ever watched. Good job it was nothing more than a test before we got the real thing.
  • This episode was funny to watch, since the vampire dusting was very strange and to see the original Willow and Principle Flutie. I saw nothing wrong with this Willow at all.

    This episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer was very funny to watch since the vampire dusting was very strange to see, and to see what the differences between this version and the reased version of the pilot. I understand why Joss Whedon does not want to release this out onto DVD, because he has a right to release it or not to release it. This episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer should only be seen by people who would not criticize the person who plays Willow, because she did a good Willow but not the Willow that we are all familiar with.
  • Buffy is new at sunnydale and shes trying to forget her past life but it comes back to haunt her...

    The first episode was kind of the same but some charecters were different such as Willow's charecter The name of the school and the principal But the humor was funny Cordelia was much meaner it was low-budget the dusting was horrible im sure glad that this wasnt the episode that started off the seris because it sure was horrible i dont think anyone would've watched the series if the charecters were the same Regan Riff(willow) Did a horrible job im glad they found Alyson Hannigan and the dusting was sure different!
  • Really not that bad.

    This is a pretty good pilot seeing asthough the money came out of Joss' own pocket. There is just one huge problem: Riff Reagan as Willow. She just donsent have the energy and she just isnt a good actress. Julie Benz looked BAD in this pilot. Her hair was just all over the place. Its pretty well put together for only being 25 mins. A true 'Buffy' fan should really check it out. Its fun to watch.
  • An underrated episode

    Though of course the final released pilot is much superior, it's shocking to see just how many elements of the classic Buffy mythos are already in place, in this short but satisfying primer to the series.

    In this, Joss Whedon's writer-director debut (he didn't even direct the aired pilot!), Joss carefully lays out all the major characters and their relationships, the basic mythology of the show, and an exciting climax, all with the trademark humor and witty dialogue familiar to fans of the show.

    Smartly, Joss leaves out the storyarc of Season 1 involving the Master; he focuses on one vampire attack on a character that, right from this pilot, we already care about: Willow. (Riff Regan nicely matches Willow's personality, even if she doesn't have the energy that Alyson Hannigan brought to the role.)

    Amazingly, Angel is also not seen as crucial enough to rate an appearance. But Jonathan, of all characters, does pop up! (Jonathan would make a few background appearances in Season 2, before becoming a recurring character in Seasons 3 and 4, and becoming a major part of Season 6.)

    Since this was just a rough pilot meant to be shown to networks, no music was produced for the episode, and the special effects are hilariously simplistic. But if you keep in mind that this was always meant to be "rough," there's a lot of charm in this pilot.

    While not the best place to start one's Buffy-viewing experience, it's a fun alternate take on how it all started.
  • Never intended to be aired, this is the 30-minute treatment that Mutant Enemy put together to shop Buffy to the networks. There's a lot of the heart and humor here, but it pales in comparision to the final product.

    You have to understand what this was. It's often called the "unaired pilot", but it was really what's called a treatment, never intended to be seen outside of the networks. It was just a low-budget short that Joss and his team produced to show to the various networks what they were thinking about doing, it was never intended to be the true pilot.

    I think the later re-casting was a brilliant stroke. I'm not sure why they even went with Riff Reagan as Willow in the treatment since from everything I've read, they were never really that happy with her performance. Guess they must have just been having zero luck trying to find just the right person and needed to get the thing shot. The odd thing is that Alyson Hannigan did try out for Willow early on, but somehow flew below the radar; they didn't really go for her until she came back and tried again during the re-casting readings.

    I did like Stephen Tobolowsky as Principal Flutie in the treatment, though I did like Ken Lerner better. In this case, I could have lived with the original person; I am soooo glad that they re-cast Willow, though.

    A lot of the best jokes were later used in the show. I wish they'd used Xander introducing Buffy to the various clicks on campus at some point, that was a classic moment that a lot of fans have never seen. Also, the one point when Buffy lands on her back and says "That was my favorite spine" is a classic line that never got used, either.
  • It's fun to see how it started but don't get your hopes up.

    First of all I'm happy that they didn't use this episode although it would have been fun if they put it on the DVDs as extras just for everyone to see the episode.

    Now for the story, the most things are like Welcome to the Helmouth,
    some of the funny stuff is in this one to
    like aphrodesia and so on, so that's a plus.

    The effects are crap, the vampire that turned to dust (and how) was terrifying (not in a scary way).

    And the acting to, Darla does it better in the actual episode and I'm really happy to see Alyson as Willow in the real series, although this Willow wasn't super bad.

    So as I said before it would have been fun to have had it on the DVD’s as an extra. But don't expect it to be as good as the series.