Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 1 Episode 1

Welcome to the Hellmouth (1)

29
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Mar 10, 1997 on The WB
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (134)

8.8
out of 10
Average
1,180 votes
  • it is really great start for the show that gave us 7 fantastic years of Buffyverse where many of us want to live and actually partly live in.

    9.5
    "In every generation there is a Chosen One. She but wait, no way. such girl as Buffy Summers can't be alone even in the first day in the new place -- Sunnydale High School. she immediately finds the friends: Willow -- too smart girl, Xander -- too funny guy, Cordelia -- too... (well, just too :), Angel -- too handsome vampire, and Giles -- too old librarian to hang out with the 16-year-olds :) and it's the beginning not only of the great show or of the war between Scoobies and forces of darkness, but it's the beginning of the "fantastic four's" friendship that will last till the end, it's the beginning of the pure love between the Slayer and the vampire that will lead to painful consequences. and it's really beautiful! it's something you've never seen before. it's something you will carry through the life. it's something you want so hard. and it gives the hope that we'll have it someday.



    it's the beginning, the very powerful one, that made fans all over the world watch every single episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and re-watch the show again, and again, and again...



    FAVE SCENE: Buffy/Willow first talk on the school yard.



    FAVE QUOTE: Buffy (to Giles): Prepares me for what? For getting kicked out of school? For losing all of my friends? For having to spend all of my time fighting for my life and never getting to tell anyone because I might endanger them? Go ahead! Prepare me.
  • "In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is The

    8.5
    Those are the first words of Buffy's first episode, delivered in a breathless rush that precedes the series' opening scene, in which a meek teenage girl roams the halls of a darkened high school with a slicked-up lothario, then turns the tables on him by pulling a monster face and chomping down on his neck. Five minutes into Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Joss Whedon's already developing themes: high school is dangerous, desire is dangerous, and beautiful girlswell, you get the idea.



    Much of "Welcome To The Hellmouth" is dedicated to introducing the cast and the premise, which Whedon and director Charles Martin Smith accomplish fairly fleetly. Our heroine, Buffy Summers, arrives for her first day at a new high schoolwhile the soundtrack plays a song with the lyric "we are the anti-heroes"and from her mom's worried tone and Buffy's first meeting with the principal, we quickly learn that she was kicked out of her last school for torching a gym full of vampires.



    When in history class, while the teacher lectures on ancient plagues, Buffy has her first encounter with curt, curvy popular chick Cordelia, who initially seems sweet and helpful, until she starts picking on the two people who were first friendly to Buffy at Sunnydale: smart-mouthed slacker Xander and sweet, wallflowery Willow. It's a dilemma for Buffy, right off the bat: Her mother wants her to fit in at her new school, and the easiest way for her to fit in would be to click with Cordelia's crowd, which Buffy is certainly pretty enough and hip enough to do. But she also been gifted with special powers that require to take a stand against evil, and while Cordelia's not exactly demonic, she's certainly not that nice.



    Once we meet the last major cast player, Rupert Gilesthe school librarian, who doubles as Buffy's "watcher" and an expert in all things supernaturalwe're plunged into the plot, involving a clan of vampires preparing for "the harvest" by bringing young bodies down to their pasty master. The best place to find those bodies is The Bronze, a nightclub with post-grunge bands playing nightly. Drawn into the danger at The Bronze, Buffy manages to embarrass herself in front of Cordelia, then she fails to keep Xander's friend Jesse from getting vampire-ized while she goes scrambling after Willow, who's picked the wrong time to get flirty in a room full of predators.



    There are a few kinks with "Welcome To The Hellmouth," including some dialogue that sounds more faux-clever than actually clever, and an overall flatness to the action/horror sequences that will carry over into Episode Two. But there are some poignant moments too, like when Buffy first meets Angel, the mysterious stranger who we'll learn in "The Harvest" is a vampire tortured by a conscience. And I especially liked the scene where Buffy prepares to go clubbing and mutters to herself, "I used to be so good at this," already mourning the normal teenage life she's lost for good.



    So, all in all, a good introduction to the show, establishing the characters and the premise quickly and cleanly, before ending on a cliffhanger
  • "Live for today, because tomorrow you might be dead"

    8.5
    In this episode, we are introduced to new girl Buffy Summers, who also happens to have a secret life as the one and only Vampire Slayer. As far as pilots go, pretty good! The characters are introduced in a fun way that holds true throughout the series (thankfully they went with this version, and not the unaired one- eek!). The fast-paced and witty dialogue is impressive, unlike most pilots. Definitely love this one way more than the unaired version.

    A great balance of action and comedy, however, I found it to be a bit more icky than future episodes. The underground layer with its pools of blood, for example, were a bit much.
  • Sassy Beginnings

    8.5
    The attitude and the costuming are really where this show starts. The witty banter between characters, the references to pop culture, the satire of high school... and throw in those vampires and it's the equation for success. A little corny at times, but who doesn't enjoy comedy in their drama? This series is the starting point for so many aspects that have become staples. Hooray for Buffy.
  • AWESOME! Take it from someone who knows!

    10
    FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER SEEN BUFFY AND ARE THINKING ABOUT IT:

    I have 4 notes. SHORT Ones I promise!

    1: All I can say is ignore the 90's styles and references, remember that the graphics were CUTTING EDGE when this was made, and forgive them little things that show their budget was not fantastic because THOSE THINGS GET BETTER!!!!!!!!!

    2: Yes it's old but this show is not cliche. It's pioneer!!! Today we think... vampires and girls guh!!!! AGAIN?????

    BUFFY WAS THE FIRST! Cute little teenager and dark handsome 100+yo vamp? Who do you think invented all this stuff?

    THE DIFFERENCE:

    Buffy Summers was THE FIRST decent female heroine on TV. She doesn't need rescuing (anyone think women on TV may have regressed a little since then - ahem, Elena and Bella); she's smart, capable, and also dealing with all the normal problems of life (Growing up! Only in high school for the first 3 seasons!... heh heh heh LOVE WHAT HAPPENS TO THE HIGH SCHOOL lol). Plus she can kick some serious butt all on her own! Strong females are a MAJOR theme throughout the series... also, side note, first lesbian kiss on American TV.



    3: Buffy is FUNNY! Classic Joss Whedon humour (eg. Firefly). They take the piss out of themselves all the time. This show has a smart script! ... Maybe you do have to go a couple of episodes in to see it really flower but there it is. Stick with it and you won't regret it. NOBODY I have introduced this to has, and that's quite a few people.



    4. It's one of those shows that keeps getting better. Characters who start out one way evolve fantastically into something else over an acceptable period of time. My personal favourite is Season 5... then 7... then 6... then 2.... DO NOT WATCH THEM OUT OF ORDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    They ended it after 7 seasons because they didn't want to be one of those shows that goes on forever and ends up sucking. JW specifically said he wanted to end on a high. It ends REALLY well!



    That's it... I think. I hope I've convinced you to give it a go, because no, it probably wouldn't have lasted in today's market, but that's because it wouldn't have been given the chance to flourish. How many shows do we complain about that ended before anyone had the time to realise how good it was?

    There is a reason this show still has a cult following all over the world 10 years after it finished.
  • Price you pay

    10
    I tell people that season 1 is the price you pay to get to every other season. Buffy sets the standard for what a series should/could be. Push on through, it's worth the effort.

  • This is about average of first season's episodes.

    8.0
    This is barely a good episode. This should make us to be sure to watch this show again and provide most important information about show. Does this episode do that? I would say barely. There are some scenes that are worth to remember. Like when Buffy first arrive at sunnydale high or Snyder is meeting Buffy at his office. Also the scene when Buffy first time meets Giles is worth to mention. Basic information about show's main storyline is provided by Giles at scene when Giles tells Buffy about her destiny, fair enough way to do it but not great. End part of the episode is not very interesting. After all I think that this is about average of first season's episodes.
  • Welcome to the Hellmouth

    9.0
    This series is my favorite television show, period, and I hope that you'll feel my love for the material while I analyze it. My goal with these reviews is to provide a focus on the characters rather than the plot and to thoroughly and clearly explain why I see things the way I do. Even if you don't agree with me, my hope is that you'll still understand where I'm coming from. Regardless of all of that: welcome!



    Series premieres are a tough cookie, much like (but in most ways less tricky than) series finales. While "Welcome to the Hellmouth" is not one of the very best series premieres I've ever seen, it is still pretty good and certainly better than most out there. The key things the episode does right are (1) establish a set of likeable characters with some depth and/or the potential for a lot of growth, (2) establish its own voice with very fun, snappy dialogue, and (3) set up some thematic underpinnings that will fuel the show as a whole for a long time to come, but also more immediately in the first season.



    There are a series of important scenes in the episode that are quite adept at weaving introductions with character depth and theme. The opening scene of the series actually has quite a bit to like about it. For one, it gives us the initial mission statement of the show: high school is hell. More than that, though, it also sets up the concept of subversion, which ends up playing a big role throughout the series and is often tied to Buffy herself. This scene conveys the dangers that lurk in this universe while also subverting our expectations of how the scene will play out. One would expect based on both conditioning and the way the characters are acting that the blond girl here is about to be the victim of the bad boy who's lured her into the school for mischief. Instead the blond girl turns out to be the 400 year old vampire Darla who takes him out. The expectation has been subverted, and it won't be the last time. Even to this day I feel this scene remains clever and serves a wonderful introduction to some of the core themes of the series.



    For me, a show is only as good as its characters. This is an area where a lot of other quality shows end up falling short for me. Without being able to understand and identify with anyone, it's difficult to emotionally invest in anything that's happening. While we all know that these characters will evolve into tremendously complex and well-developed adults, what we see here in "Welcome to the Hellmouth" are mere children; children that are completely innocent and ignorant of both the horrors and wonders that lie ahead of them. Most of the main characters are drawn with decent depth and also have a lot of room for growth. I admit that if that growth had never been capitalized on, this episode wouldn't rub off nearly as well as it does.



    I enjoyed how we're introduced to all the major characters and how they first interact with each other. The first conversation we see between Xander and Willow nicely establishes several basic characteristics: Xander has the hots for Buffy, Willow's both smart (we find out with computers too a bit later) and adorable, the dialogue between the characters while not quite fully refined yet is snappy, playful, and fun, and that Eric Balfour's Jesse needs to go away quickly and he does. Overall: a definite success.



    A brief exchange with Joyce the caring but somewhat clueless mother -- aside, the first real scene we get with Buffy is in the principal's office with Mr. Flutie. This scene is just entertaining in general, what with the report card being ripped apart and subsequently taped back together again, but it also establishes his trademark 'sensitive' personality and the first hints at Buffy's futile urge to be normal.



    After the meeting with the principal, Buffy bumps into someone in the hallway causing Xander to immediately flock towards her. It's amusing and telling that his first words to Buffy are "can I have you?" This little statement speaks to early-series Xander quite succinctly in his romantic pursuit of her throughout S1 and his hatred and jealousy of Angel that grows through S2 and S3. Jesse's capture and subsequent death in "The Harvest" [1x02] goes on to setting up his hatred of vampires in general on top of these other issues. It all starts with these revealing words here.



    Things get interesting when Buffy meets Giles for the first time. Giles, himself, actually rubs off as a little one-dimensional to me to start off with though. Whedon went a little bit overboard with the stuffy British persona early on. Buffy, on the other hand, is drawn very nicely showing off a bit of complexity and depth right from the start. Sarah Michelle Gellar is immediately comfortable in this role and largely carries this episode. When Giles says "I know what you're after" and throws down the Vampyr book, Gellar portrays the humanity and hurt in Buffy with wonderful subtlety.



    In my eyes, the entire episode is anchored on the subsequent interactions between Buffy and Giles as we see their interesting relationship begin to form. When Buffy returns to the library after finding the dead guy in the locker we get to see the first glimpse of one of her most intriguing characteristics. In regard to the vampire attack Buffy says "and I don't care." Giles responds, "Then why are you here?" Despite Buffy's desire to leave all this slayer stuff behind, she still feels the pull to help others nonetheless, often sacrificing of herself and her desires in the process. This little scene resonates throughout the series. "The Gift" [5x22] is an example that offers a nice capper of how this quality will manifest itself over the years.



    Another key scene between the two of them that furthers this discussion is on the balcony at the Bronze. Buffy is envious of the crowd's ignorance down below thus symbolizing her feeling of being superior to them, in both strength and knowledge, but at same time feeling inferior to them due to the weight the burden of being the Slayer puts on her (a topic "Conversations with Dead People" [7x07] specifically sheds light on) at the danger that surrounds them. Giles tells her that there is "so much you don't know about them, about your own powers," and he's completely right. Oh how true this statement is, both literally and thematically.



    Giles tells Buffy, amusingly, to "hone" her senses to locate a vampire in the crowd something that is and will be effective for her down the road but she instead spots one by using a personal strength rather a supernatural one: recognizing outdated clothing. This entire conversation is the very first hint of what makes Buffy a unique slayer. Buffy doesn't submit to things, but instead subverts them using her power both external and internal in new and unexpected ways but almost always for the better. This scene also ties into the very first scene of the series with Darla in how we experience a reversal of expectations.



    All of this talk about subversion also nicely connects with the villains. The Master and his followers while fairly corny very much represent the old way of things. This group of vampires the Order of Aurelius -- is trying to instigate the return of the old ones. While they wait for their moment they live below ground and only go up to feed or make more of their kind. Buffy as a character and as a show are all about subverting the outdated and the old. This is why Buffy will defeat the Master in "Prophecy Girl" [1x12] and why Spike will gloriously scorch the Anointed One in "School Hard" [2x03] with a proclamation about less ritual and more fun. Down the road, we also see how this theme ties into the patriarchal nature of the Watcher's Council and Giles' involvement in it. All the seeds are planted right here, in "Welcome to the Hellmouth."



    Unfortunately, though, the episode certainly isn't without flaws. Obviously the music score is just terrible, being corny, overly synthesized, and trying way too hard to be surprising and suspenseful making it neither surprising nor suspenseful in the process. The production values are mediocre at best, the villains are extremely one-note and trite (which becomes a bigger problem in "The Harvest" [1x02]), and the secondary characters rub off as overly simplistic.



    Despite the episode's flaws, though, it gets the most important things right. At the end of the day the plot takes a back seat in "Welcome to the Hellmouth," which is precisely why it succeeds so well. It launches this wonderful series on the right foot in terms of the core characters and has strong thematic relevance to boot. Funny likeable characters will take you a long way in a pilot episode. This is a very solid start to the series, one that provides some initial depth that launches the incredible journey that awaits both the characters and the viewer.

  • A Solid First Episode

    8.0
    A lot of the characters seem one-dimensional so far; they present no depth or interest (Xander, Cordelia, Giles, and most definitely Jesse), which needs to be established in the first episode. Jesse is a disaster waiting to happen, if he is going to be on the show, he needs to do his job and get the hell out of there. Not only is Jesse one-dimensional, to me he seems to be better suited as a plot device (it's a good thing he does leave). He also just seems like an extension of Xander, and seems to be a third wheel. The Villain characters are also far too one-dimensional, not only that, they are clichd. The Master and his followers are pretty cheesey, and provide only a small interest.

    I didn't really appreciate the setting either. The idea of it is actually fine; it's the way it was set up at night. At night you can tell that they were filming this in a warehouse. For example, when Buffy meets Angel, the lights in the alley don't look much like streetlights to me. Also, when Buffy has Angel pinned you can see, in the background, the warehouse door open up into daylight. This setup was pretty sloppy; I mean the least they could have done was shut the door.

    There are also problems with the plot as well. For one, there isn't much plot at all, not until the end at least. The episode focuses way too much on establishing the characters, which in many respects is a good thing, as long as you're not overcrowding the plot. They should have developed the plot and the characters at the same time. We're rushed into the plot at the end of the episode, rather than building ourselves up to a decent cliffhanger. So far all we know is that the Master is stuck underground and wants to get out. They make the plot too unimportant to the audience so that the audience doesn't appreciate the cliffhanger as much.

    What happens in most first episodes, happens in this one as well. The actors tend to overact in their roles because they are uncertain on how to act out their character. This problem distinguishes the first few episodes from the rest of the series, in terms of acting at least. Plus David Boreanaz isn't a very good actor at this point.

    The score is awful. It is way too cheesy and it over exaggerates, making the moment less than it is. The score adds nothing to the show, in fact it seems to take away from this episode, and makes the episode a little boring.

    Alright, let's get into the more positive aspects of the episode.

    Despite some discrepancies in the characters they are well established and each character has their own unique personality. Buffy is very spunky and tends to live in the now causing conflict with her "slayerness" as she attempts to have a normal life; Xander is very boyish, geeky, and comes off as a bit of a loser; Willow is cute, nerdy, and seems to be very smart, she also has a crush on Xander, which becomes a huge part of her character down the road; Giles is dedicated to his job as a Watcher, which brings him into conflict with Buffy, as Giles seems to represent part of her slayer qualities; Cordelia is the bitch of the show, who is completely devoted to being popular and doesn't care how much this might hurt someone, just as long as she stays popular, she also seems to represent who Buffy was, which is probably why Buffy appears to have success talking to her at the beginning of the episode; Angel is mysterious and is definitely hiding many things which becomes more apparent in the next episode. I like the chemistry and relationships all these people begin to develop, it definitely becomes a big part of the show.

    I also like the way they name the town: Sunnydale. It has a certain irony to it: SUNNYdale. The name sounds so lighthearted and happy, when in fact the town is most certainly not.

    The plot also offers a nice way for the characters to interact and connect through problems. The plot, though not well established yet, is entertaining so far.

    The theme of this entire series is presented to us quite clearly without it having to really be mentioned: in the end you must except who you are, even if you don't like it. The fact that Buffy goes after Willow to save her from the vampire, shows that she is drawn to her duty as a Slayer, even though she doesn't want it and never asked for it.

    Overall, I enjoyed watching this episode, despite some of its flaws. The plot needs to be more addressed, and the production setup and actors need to improve. Other than that he characters are well established and have room to grow, despite minor problems, and the theme and meaning of the show become quite clear to us in this episode.
  • A coming-of-age pilot that sets the bar high for the best series of all-time.

    7.0
    Lets just pretend this pilot was premiered in the year 2012. Would the show last? I doubt it. Although the episode really shows the potential this show has, it is definitely filled with a lot of bad 90s fashion as well as cheesy dialogue and music that may make this pilot too heavy for this day in age. But boy, do I wish I saw this episode on premiere night, but I was only 3 years old and I barely remember what happened last weekend.



    We start this episode off with a teenaged couple breaking into a school. The guy is feeling rebellious and frisky with his girlfriend, but the girl is a little scared of the dark and quiet school. After checking if the coast was clear, the boy turns around to find his girlfriend in a monstrous state; a dark, bumpy grin with sharp fangs, in which she uses to bite into his neck.



    What a great opening to a series. It states that this show is not what you expect. It may seem like a campy, teenaged-drama with the supernatural thrown in, but it's so much more than that.



    We meet Buffy Summers. She's cute, she's sweet, she's witty, and she has a past. What good is a main character without a past? We learn she got kicked out of school for burning down the gym (to secretly kill a bunch of vampires), therefore having her and her Mom move away to the town of Sunnydale for a fresh new start.



    Buffy makes a few new friends including Cordelia, Willow and Xander, which of course she keeps being a slayer a secret from them (although Xander ends up finding out from overhearing a conversation between Buffy and the new librarian Giles who is actually a Watcher).



    We also meet Angel who ends up being a prominent character throughout the series as well as his own spin-off (which I admit I haven't bothered to watch most of yet). He gives Buffy a cross necklace just before he walks away into the night... Hm, fishy...



    After Willow and Xander, along with their good friend Jesse run into some vampires, Buffy is there to save the day... Or is she? Because we're left with a cliffhanger of seeing a vampire about to bite Buffy.



    I love this show, and I love season 1, but my god it can get cheesy... But come on, it started in the 90s. Even so, as the show goes on, it gets less cheesy and much more deep in a short amount of time.



    It's definitely not the best episode of the series, but it's a great start to it.



    "Seize the moment, because tomorrow you might be dead." - Buffy Summers
  • Welcome to the Hellmouth

    6.0
    WTTH





    The Good; Great opening scene, straight from every slasher flick ever but with a Joss twist. Brian Thompson is an excellent villain with a real sense of menace about him as anyone who saw him on the X-files can tell you. He plays a very similar role in the excellent Fright Night pt2. The Master is pretty OTT but like Darth Vaders first appearance in Star Wars you really get the sense this is the baddest guy in the universe and no mistake.



    The bad; not much although it's early days yet. The one thing they could have improved upon is putting Eric Balfour in the opening titles, when you don't see him it's a big clue that Jesse isn't going to make it



    Best lines; Instantly fell in love with Giles when he states that "You didn't hone". Also a good one from Xander when he recovers Buffy's stake "All I can think of is that you're building a really small fence"



    Observations and questions; And here we have the REAL Willow although we'll never again see her so nerdy, from now on she dresses more like Cassandra from the movie. We also never see Buffy wear either her Jehovah Witness dress or her PVC number which is a shame on both counts. Nonetheless both Buffy and Cordy dress scandalously in these early eps, obviously going for the ratings. Darla is also lovely although she really does look too old to be a schoolgirl. But everyone looks SO young. SMG is a little more voluptuous and DB is a lot thinner and it suits both of them

    We see Buffy's vamp sense again but it now seems more based on her fashion taste than cramps. Presumably Aura who has the dead guy in her locker is the same girl who calls Cordy in the Angel ep 'Rm w/a vu'? (Do the Cordettes stay constant or do they change over time?)

    Cordy has a mobile phone! We won't see one of those again until season 1 of Angel and the Sunnydale Scoobies won't have them until season 7

    Another point against Normal Again, Buffy doesn't want to be the Slayer and is trying to leave her past behind her. Presumably either the council or PTB arranged Joyce's job in Sunnydale? Buffy/Cordy fancy James Spader presumably for Pretty in Pink (although that's an 80s film when Cordy and Buffy would both have been toddlers). You wonder what they thought of him in S&M fest 'Secretary' although considering what both get up to in later seasons maybe that would be ok with them (or they'd like him MORE?). Still I guess Buffy is over her Christian Slater phase?

    Who's John Tesch?

    A strong opener that hints at great things to come but not overtly brilliant in itself, I'll give it 3/5

  • The Pilot of the series introduces Buffy, Giles, Willow, Xander, and Cordy. While the pilot explains the premise of the show it leaves you a tad bored, until the end in which it ends with a cliff hanger.

    10
    A good first episode certainly not the worst pilot in existance, Buffy starts out slow and somewhat builds up speed, the episode does a good job of explaining Buffy's birth right and destiny, and sets the foundation for the rest of the series, it also introduces the Scooby Gang and Angel (who will later leave and start his own show). The Master is possibly one of my favorite Big Bad's. Over all Welcome to the Hell Mouth is a pretty decent episode to kick off the series and will lead right into The Harvest, you can expect a lot of great episodes from this series.
  • Vampire Slayer Buffy Summers arrives with her mother to start afresh in Sunnydale, California, determined to keep out of trouble. But that's no easy task due to the horde of undead creatures lurking under the town. A terrific start to a terrific series...

    9.5
    Just as in every generation there is a chosen one, every few years, a TV show comes along that really shakes things up and redefines thing. 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' is one such example. It spawned many wannabes, clones and imitators, and probably contributed in no small part to the teen horror movie resurgence of the 2000s. But BTVS, the one that started it all, in many ways remains the best.

    The series didn't start on terrestrial TV here in the UK until 1999, shown on BBC Two. Immediately I loved it. (Ironically, on this first episode, shown in original feature-length version with 'The Harvest' in a 9pm slot before the following series moved to it's regular 6:45pm Thursdays haunt, I was in a play the night it was shown, and accidentally only set my video recorder – as we still used back then – for an hour; I had to wait for the story to be released as a stand-alone VHS release, pre-box sets, to see the end of the story!!).

    As much as I loved the series at the time, it's one I hadn't yet come back to, to watch again. Part of the reason of this is because of some of the later episodes (I'll dare to say it – in particular, the terrible season 6!) which lacked the charm of the earlier ones, maybe made my interest wane a little; and they maybe turned up dial on the many "feel sorry for Buffy" storylines a little too high. At the start of the series, I loved how the main leads (Buffy, Xander and Willow) were basically nerds and misfits, but by the end of the series they'd become a little too "cool" for my liking.

    But I've recently bought the complete DVD collection (after having Season 1 sitting on the shelf for years), so I've decided to re-live this, for the most part, excellent series.

    'Welcome to the Hellmouth' sets the scene perfectly. Following on from the 1992 movie (a take-it-or-leave-it popcorn flick that probably would have been forgotten by now if not for it's connection to this series), there are a few vague references to that film, but for the most part, things stand on their own, and you don't need to have seen that movie to get into this series.

    Sarah Michelle Geller is perfectly cast as the Slayer of the title. Her quips here are really funny - they did verge on being a bit grating in some later episodes. In fact, with the quips and aforementioned "feel sorry" storylines, I'll make a big confession – if it was purely Buffy herself, I probably wouldn't have really got into this show; it's her oddball friends and associates that really give this series its appeal. (By the way, I hated when people in my local area started trying to talk like Buffy and her little sayings... but then, imitation of TV programmes is something that has gone on pretty much since the invention of TV way back in what, 1975 or something).

    I instantly like Xander (Nicholas Brendon), back in the day I wanted to be like him. But the star for many is Willow; Alyson Hannigan brings the character to life incredibly. Again ,Willow is one of the characters who totally changed later on (again, falling slightly into the "cool" syndrome). Fellow Brit Anthony Steward Head, star of a hundred 1980s coffee adds, is likewise terrific as 'Watcher' Giles; and as Cordelia, Charisma Carpenter is delightfully catty about everyone and everything. Then there's David Boreanaz as Angel... another shock confession: I often hated this character! To my 20 year old mind back then, he loved himself way too much; I MUCH preferred Spike (introduced in Season 2). But in fairness, here in WTTH, he plays the mysterious card well, and hey, I'll admit it, back then I was probably a bit jealous of him!!

    I'm surprised how many reviewers have decided they don't care for WTTH very much. Certainly its pace isn't as tight as the typical episodes – it has a LOT to introduce and set up; and both it and the first season have a slightly different approach to much of the later series. But for a Pilot, I think it works incredibly well, finding it's footing from the off.

    I should also mention the music. The main theme, by Nerf Holder is great (I didn't like when they re-recorded it for Season 3; this original version is far punchier). The series is also notable for eschewing the typical commercial tripe of the time, and instead featuring underground and up-and-coming bands, something which worked really well.

    Watching WTTH on DVD this evening, I enjoyed it every bit as much as I did when I first saw it way back in 1999 (until my video timer cut off, of course... d'oh!). I was also presently surprised at how well the series has dated – not bad considering it's 14 years old (wow, has it been that long?)!

    All-in-all, I enjoy 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' enough to give it a high-ranking 9.5.

    (Review continued in Part 2, 'The Harvest'...)
  • Start to this great series is equal parts clever and cheesy

    6.0
    When I first saw this episode back in 1997 I really enjoyed it. It was smart, hip and fresh with great dialog and music. However, it doesn't seem to have aged too well. Rewatching it is painful at times. There are very clever moments and then there are cheesy moments. I still enjoy the characters, dialog and music, but the story seems pretty weak. However, it was still a good start to a great series, just don't watch it and expect the rest of the series to be more of the same. It gets much better.
  • The Start Of A Beautiful Friendship...

    8.0
    First episode, I can even remember that I watched it and was glad that another show had surfaced dealing with the supernatural. (even though these days that's pretty much "normal") Anyway, I loved the whole concept that a tiny white blond girl is the chosen one and is kicking some serious @ss while dealing with all the drama that is teenlife. I'm not sure what I've would have rated this show back in the day but now that I'm rewatching it, I thought it was a good basis for all the characters and some of the jokes still made me laugh. I am spoiled a little(or just a little older) becausenow the vampires look really ...well halloweenish to me and a lot less scarier than first but maybe that's also because it's the pilot. All in all a good episode with a great cliffhanger!
  • Season 1, Episode 1.

    9.5
    The beginning of an epic classic in television history. I really liked this episode a lot. I love Buffy, and I also like Sarah Michelle Gellar. She gets a lot of good roles and she's marvelous in all of them. I liked when she said, "That gym was filled with vampi---asbestos." Haha. Her facial expression was so good too. I loved the introduction to everybody, especially when Buffy and Giles met. David Boreanez is extremely hot! Woohoo! He's too sexy. He should never be allowed to wear clothes and this show should be for adults, in that case. ;) Weird cliffhanger, though. Nonetheless, enjoyable episode, and an excellent beginning.
  • Episode 1 ok

    5.0
    So i watched this episode. it was ok. But not super.

    It's good thing to start off this series with a bang. Get to see Buffy Starting at school and slaying her first vampire. Not a big fan of the vampire look and I'm guessing the speacil effects get better as the series goes along.

    Not sure with the whole master being stuck in the cave and sending his followers out to get Buffy and her friends. And they seem to have endless amount of vampire soldiers.

    It would be great to show other people being turned to show how they become vampires before they are killed off. or a bit of back ground.
  • Where the best show ever all began!!

    9.5
    A great episode in one of the greatest shows in all of the world... Buffy The Vampire Slayer. With this episode they will lead to seven seasons of greatness, and even a comic book continuation. But this episode shows you the introduction of the "Big Bad" of the season, The Master. It captivated all of this and it is only the first part of a two-part episode. The episode's title is also a parody of one of the best songs to be made in the 19th century. Right from the Teaser it shows you what you don't expect which has always been a specialty of Joss Whedon.
  • The Begining of the Greatest Show ever. It is interesting to see all of these amazing actors in this episode as this series was the platform that catapulted their careers.

    10
    Welcome to the Hellmouth, indeed,I would declare that this is my favorite show of all time. The first episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is Exceptional!!! This episode introduces viewers to the main heroine, Buffy Anne Summers, and also introduces us to her future friends, and enemies. I really enjoyed watching this episode, it is a cult classic. I think that this episode is the begining of a classic series that is original and unique. I think that all of the characters fit into their places well. Buffy's Punning is the Best Ever, and the villians are awesome! The writers, directors, and actors of this show are all to be commended for their debut performance of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. This is one of the best Television series of all time!!!
  • Welcome To The Helmouth is about Buffy Summers, who, after she's moved from LA to Sunnydale, finds out that her Slayer duties aren't over. Only when her new friends get involved in them, it turns out that this time, it might be a little less hard.

    9.0
    The opening scene of WTTH sets the theme of the show by showing us a girl, looking innocent and schoolgirl-like, and a guy, in a closed school, at night. The guy is obviously searching for danger but the girl seems to be a little bit scared. Only after a minute or so we find out that the girl is actually the one who would never be scared of the dark, because she is a vampire. She kills the boy after she's made sure there's no one around. Now, why is this such a good introduction? Mainly because it is very unexpected that the girl turns out to be the 'bad guy'. It shows that in BtVS girls are not (always) innocent and they can be strong; weater good or bad. The rest of the episode pretty much contains of an introduction of the Scooby's and other main characters in the first season: Xander, Willow, Giles and Cordelia.

    Xander and Willow's friend Jesse dies in this episode, and even though the three of them seem good friends they aren't very sad when he gets killed (after being turned into a vampire, by the way). Because we never get to know this character it doesn't really matters that he dies, however weird that may sound. Anyway, if you do care, you are going to be in trouble while watching the rest of the show, because in (almost) every episode people die. Trust me, you'll get used to it.

    Besides from the character's being introduced in this epispde, we also get to know their relationships with one another. This is probably always the case in a pilot, otherwise you wouldn't know what and who you are watching, but anyway... Nerdy but cute Willow is being picked on by Cordelia because of the clothes, Cordelia [Cordy] seems to be popular among the other students (or groupies; whatever you call them), Xander appears to be a bit of an outcast on his skateboard, bumping into other students and getting snide remarks from Cordy. And Buffy. Well, she wants to get along with everybody (except maybe Giles, at least at the beginning of the ep), but soon learns that she 'can't' hang out with both Xander and Willow, and Cordelia. Ignoring those unwritten rules, she get's excepted by Cordelia's gang but also has lunch with Willow. This not only shows the viewers the relationship between the characters (Xander&Willow vs Cordy) but it also shows that Buffy does what she wants, which makes her stand on her own. That's something that'll come back in the show, especially towards the end of season seven (the last season), when her friends are against her leading them. I won't go into detail because this review is only about the first episode so I won't jump to the finale. ;) Overall, I love this episode. I have no idea why I rated it a nine in stead of a nine and a half or even a ten. I know why I didn't rate it an eight: Because it's better than that;) No seriously, I can't really explain. I guess some episodes are better, but it depends on what you look at. I love the characters' introduction in this episode, but the overall storlyline (vampire related, I mean) might be less good than in other eps? I don't know. Rating eps is the hardest. The show overall? A ten, for sure!
  • A great opener to a fantasic series, this pilot episode does exactly what it says on the tin.

    8.0
    ------------------------------------------

    What is the point of a pilot episode? Why, to introduce the series, of course, a feat that 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' accomplishes with startling ease. It introduces us to the characters, the setting and the overall feel of the series, and let me tell you, what a series it turns out to be.

    Let's start from the top: the episode teaser before the main credits was great, a perfect example of one of the 'spook-outs' that Joss loves to pull on us throughout the series run.

    We are of course first introduced to our main heroine, the Buff-Buff. Whedon succeeded in the task of making Buffy an immediately likeable character, what with her quick wit and preference to Willow and Xander rather than Cordelia. Willow and Xander are equally lovable, goofy and shy yet somehow cool at the same time (at least, to me anyway. Am I weird?). Cordelia, on the other hand... ah, you love to hate her! As for The Master, well, struck no fear in my heart! He was just goofy-looking. I think it might have something to do with him rising out of the pool of blood - and yet not covered in blood. Budget-fault and all, but still...

    Favourite scene has to me Buffy's first encounter with Angel, although that velvety look he's got going on does nothing for me. Also loving the first fight scene of the series - obviously no where near as epic as some other examples in the series, but it still manages to firmly stamp the 'action' genre into our minds.

    The cliffhanger at the end was a bit pointless, in my opinion; we KNOW she's going to get out of it alive, for Pete's sake, she's the titular character, so why bother? On the wit front, this episode had some superb dialogue; something we viewers can get used to for the rest of the series:

    Principal Flutie: 'You burned down the gym.'
    Buffy: 'I did, I really did, but... You're not seeing the big picture here. I mean, that gym was full of vampi...asbestos.'

    Xander: (holding Buffy's stake) 'The only thing I can think is that you're building a really little fence.'

    Buffy: 'I'm going to a club.'
    Joyce: 'Oh. Will there be boys there?'
    Buffy: 'No, Mom. It's a nun club.'

    Willow: 'When I'm with a boy I like, it's hard for me to say anything cool, or witty, or at all. I can usually make a few vowel sounds, and then I have to go away.'

    and, my favourite:

    Cordelia: (after being attacked by Buffy) 'God! What is your childhood trauma?'

    Overall, great opening episode, introduces the character's well, and already makes us, as the audience, feel at home.

    8/10

    ------------------------------
  • This episode isn't the best in the series, but a great introduction to the characters and series which has become a classic.

    7.5
    Buffy is a sophmore in high school who has transfered to Sunnydale High after being kicked out of her old school. After a brief interaction with Cordelia, Buffy meets Xander, Willow and Jesse, as well as librarian Giles, and they become sort of friends. However, the Master is preparing for the harvest, and Buffy is warned about this by Angel, while Darla and Luke fight with Buffy.

    This episode had some classic moments, including the introduction of all the central characters, as well as Buffy meeting the gang. It's a pilot episode, so it needs to set the scene for the rest of the series. I loved when Xander discovered Buffy was the slayer, and also when Buffy first meets Angel.

    This episode of course has some weak moments, such as the teaser scene. I think Cordelia should have a bigger role in the series - she is definately a favourite character of mine, and this episode is great, but compare it to things to come, and this episode is slightly weaker.

    Overall a nice introduction, a jam-packed pilot episode which gives us valuable insight into the characters that will become like our family.
  • A good start for the show...

    9.5
    All in all, a nice beginning to the show. Clearly, if you're going to watch BTVS, it helps to see this episode first. It introduces us to Buffy, Xander, Giles, Willow, Angel and Cordy, setting up the BTVS cast for the next several seasons. It explains Buffy's conflicted feelings towards her slayer-ness, neatly covering the vampire/slayer rules and starts the battle with the season's Big Bad, The Master. It's important that the characters establish real relationships and this episode has some funny moments where Willow and Xander adjust to the idea of vampires among them. Xander dubiously returning Buffy's wooden stake and her strained explanation that everyone in LA uses them for self defense because "mace is so passé" is pretty humorous. And it's cute to go back and see all Scoobies looking so young.

    Honestly, season one isn't the show's best, though. It spends a lot of time trying to build its backstop and define itself. While important to the overall story, this episode doesn't have a lot of repeated viewing potential. Also, Angel's character is a little bit too... cool. The Angel who Buffy meets in this episode is far more verbally confident than the endearing, socially baffled Angel who emerges later. (Although, it is sort of funny that Buffy assumes Angel and Giles are friends,considering the problems that will arise between them next season.) Angel gets a lot more interesting as time goes on, eventually becoming a supernatural champion whose favorite past time is sitting in the dark alone reading philosophy, brooding, listening to Barry Manilow and, occasionally, watching hockey. And that outfit... Ugh! No way Angel would wear that weird shiny coat. If Spike saw him, poor Angel would never hear the end of it.

    My favorite part of the episode: Cordy's increasing confusion and disgust as Buffy questions her about the kid Darla killed. "Geez, morbid much?"
  • buffy not only moves to sunnydale but lso moves to the hellmouth which is loning for trouble.

    10
    buffy and the hellmouth go together like stripes and polka dots. this episode is one in a million. but the main thing that stands out is WILLOW!! with her long gorgeous hair and her beautiful voice. Xander is also really very funny and will do anything to get buffy to notice him. WILLOW!! has a crush on xander but will help him in anyway to be with buffy as a true friend would, but as for cordy the spoilt rich girl of sunnydale high isn't what she makes out to be. When buffy first meets giles buffy isn't soo keen as she moved to sunny dale unnaware of the hellmouth. she moved t sunnydale after getting kicked out of hr old school henrie 'cause she burnt down the gym.
  • Buffy and her mom move to Sunnydale california to start a new life, after Buffy burnt down her former schools gymnasium in LA.

    10
    This Episode was amazing! It starts off the show Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Buffy Summers and her mom move to Sunnydale California. There Buffy meets four new people her own age, who all at first want to be her friend. Superficial Cordelia, who decides near the end of the episode that Buffys to much of a freak to be caught seen with. Brainy Willow, who actually becomes her friend along with dorky Xander. And Jessie, who gets turned into a vampire before him and Buffy can actually become friends. Buffy also meets the new llibrarian, Rupert Giles, he creeps her out a bit at first. Hes actually her new watcher, sent by the watchers counsil. She also meets a stranger, Angel, who seems to annoy her. Buffy wants more then anything to be a normal girl, but she cant fight her destiny. She soon learns that her and her mom moved to the home of the hellmouth. And vampires and demons constantly try to open it. In this episode she has to save her new friends from a gang of vampires. This is such an interesting episode, I was at the edge of my seat. Although the graphics are better in later seasons, it was still believable enough for me.
  • My So Called "Chosen" Life

    8.7
    Welcome to The Hellmouth-Buffy Summers is the Slayer, but after being expelled from her old high school for burning down the gym (it was full of vampires) she just wants to forget about her destiny and be a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She and her mother move from L.A. to Sunnydale, California. A new school, new friends, and a chance to start over. But Sunnydale is on top of a Hellmouth -- a center of mystical convergence that draws evil and demonic forces -- and Buffy soon realizes that she will have to pick up her stakes and holy water in order to save her new friends.

    In a time where female action heroes were rare, but at the same time where "girl power" was becoming popular (Xena, Spice Girls). Joss Whedon picked the perfect time to revive the concept of Buffy the Vampire Slayer into a series. While his first shot with Buffy came as a box office flop in 1992, The WB thought the idea was perfect as TV show for it's young audience. By March 1997, Buffy premiered and TV was literally never the same again. Never had an hour of television been so hilarious yet scary at the same time! Joss really put some thought into how Buffy was suppose to be this time and it began with this great premiere. I mean it's been over 10 years since Buffy premiered yet the teaser immediately catches you're attention as you think this young blonde girl with her boyfriend are about to get jump by some monster when it turns out she's the monster! The rest of the episode is filled with unforgettable introductions to which all the actors fit into their roles very quickly. Our leading lady, a then 19-year-old Sarah Michelle Gellar is great as Buffy, as she's just a valley girl trying to fit into her new school and trying to forget her past. Then, Xander, the goofy yet funny man played wonderfully by Nicholas Brenden, Willow, which Alyson Hannigan brilliantly captures the character's dorky, innocent nature. Also, Anthony Stewart Head is perfect as the librarian/Buffy's new watcher Giles and Charisma Carpenter nails the mean, self-obessed teen queen that is Cordelia Chase. Lastly, of course, is Angel, the mysterious drifter who runs into Buffy. Even as though as David is a great actor, he is so-so in the premiere episode, although maybe it's because the character so far is very limited and one-note at this point.

    The scenes flow well together as the refreshing dialogue was so fresh and still is today. Scenes like Buffy in Principal Flutty's office, her meeting Xander, Giles, and Coredlia, and her running into Angel have some memorable dialogue. One of my favorite scenes is when Buffy confronting Giles in the library after finding out about the dead, the introduction of Buffy being the slayer is played well by both actors, also I love Buffy's comment about "the Time Life series". The episode also introduces the whole town of Sunnydale well, and the Hellmouth concept was always a genius idea. So clever how it's literally under the Sunnydale High as the metaphor for high school being hell is set up flawlessly by Joss Whedon. Our vampire villains are good, with Luke being the brutal if not a little cliche leader of the clan of vampires and Darla, played well by Julie Benz. Althought the character isn't as great as she would be much more developed in the future, she is still a pretty good foe in this episode. Then there's the Master, the first Big Bad of the series and he is pretty msyterious but nothing special about him in this episode. I liked how all characters came together for the firsst vampire encounter, Willow and Xander being afraid yet Buffy keeping her cool with her pre-fight jokes like "Live in the now, I mean you look like DeBarge." Of course, the first time you saw Buffy stake a vampire was cool back in 1997, but now, the special effects look sub-par even cheesy. But the conclusion with Luke about bite Buffy leaves you hanging on to your seats for part 2 of the premiere. One Great start!
  • Downright ridicilious introduction to the plot. Shame, because the characters are actually good.

    4.0
    As an avid fan of Lost/Alias/Veronica Mars, my friend gave me the Buffy dvd's. He said "you'll like this." Now, I just don't know what I should tell him tomorrow when he asks how I liked the pilot episode. How I liked it? I didn't like it.

    To start off with the good: the characters are good. I mean they are not all that amazing as everyone says(though I'm positive the show gets much better than this as it progresses) but they are likable and the dialouge was good.

    It was funny seeing Allyson Hannigan and Charisma Carpenter so young. And the plot is actually somewhat intriguing, but...

    (here comes the negativity)

    ...its ruined by the unbelivable cheese factor. What the heck? Why do they have to make vampires so... unreal? Why can't they just be normal human beings? I mean these crappy masks are not scary at all. It'd be more bizarre if vampires were actually perfectly normal.

    Also, what the hell was up with the "Master?" SRSLY. That was so lame. Felt like watching an old cartoon. Actually, it's almost like that. The budget was low, yet they tried to make it look compelling with the (once again) stupid masks and seriously over the top and cheesy sets. As good the dialouge was between the "normal" characters, the dialouge between the "vampires" was downright atricous. Horrible. Disastrous.

    I'll probably watch one or two more just for the lulz. I understand that the first season is probably the weakest of the show(many say this)... but I just don't feel like watching 13 or so episodes to finally get to the supposedly good stuff.
  • Sieze the moment, because tomorrow you might be dead

    9.9
    What a brillant pilot episoe !

    All shows should be like this

    This is most deffiently better then the original film (which i liked) It shows Buffy as sassy yet cool. I have seen the unaired pilot which is crass, The beginning was quite scary (not jump out of my skin scary) with the whole woman/man whos the vampire. "What kind of name is buffy" "Hey afrodisea"... hilarious.

    Anthony heads portrayl of Giles is superb (i know hes english but WOW)the scene in the libary with him sending off the the times life series and the phone.

    I found it quite comical how 'the master' was trapped in an underground church. Angels intoduction was cool too.

    Buffy being so nice to willow in the bronze even though she was accepted into the b*tch squad.

    i loved how buffy faced up to her responsiblity when willow was taken ! and the to be continued kinda annoyed me !!
  • Buffy begins with a bang!

    8.3
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer is new to me. I just started the show and am already hooked, however I give a fair and critical review. This episode was a perfect introduction to the show. The characters are already likeable even though some feel pointless or unfleshed out. SMG is the true find as she brings vulnerbility and immortality to the same character, Buffy. Also Xander is a great goofball and Williow is hilarious- you have to love the geek. Good plot, chese factor a wee bit high for my test but still a very solid episode with a cliffhanger to boot (not a very intense one, mind you)!
  • An average Pilot

    7.9
    I have found very few shows that have a fantastic pilot episode, so it isn't surprising that this episode isn't so great. Although it is one the best episodes of the 1st season, season 1 is my least favourite so that isn't a great achievement.
    Buffy moves to Sunnydale after being expelled from her school in LA after burning down the gym which was full of vampires. Buffy wants a fresh start but the new librarian won't let her quit her calling. She meets Xander, Jesse and Willow, but Cordelia the school b***h doesn't approve of her befriending those she considers nerds. Xander overhears her discussing vampires with the Librarian (and watcher) and thinks she is crazy. She confronts her only to discover that Willow has been kidnapped by vampires, so Xander and Buffy walk into a trap of vampires. Buffy is pinned down by a vamp..... to be continued

    Well it is a good introduction for the characters, but some corny writing, bad vampire masks and not the best acting from several actors. But a very interesting episode for big Buffy fans landing this a rating of 7.9
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