"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 Slayer."
If only they didn't feel the need to cram that montage down our throats at the beginning of every episode. Perhaps it was a matter of excitement when the show was on the air, much akin to the opening theme, but I have to tell you, watching it when the entire series is at your fingertips it gets damn annoying.
Our first episode starts with a dream sequence by our heroine, Buffy. We get random images, previews from the first season, random graveyard shots, and for some reason images like the popular bronze casting of Shiva. Shiva, really? I mean, I get that he is the 'demonslayer' of Hindu tradition, but in that case 'demon' refers more to man's personal demons. Ah well, go ahead and use an image of Shiva if you really must.
After a night of bad/prophetic dreams, Buffy wakes up to a first day at a new school. Presumably this is a continuation from the movie, with Buffy being kicked out of her old school in LA for arson (it was full of vampires). In a need to make sure the audience gets what's going on, Buffy makes a lot more slip ups about vampires and whatnot than she does in the rest of the series. Really, you try to explain to your principal that the reason you set the school on fire was to kill the vampires? Nuh-uh, that doesn't fly.
Enter our mentor archetype, Giles. He's the stereotypical English type, also very against technology. We get a good look at Buffy being angsty and denying her destiny. Understandable considering her Calling lost her all her friends and got her kicked out of school.
Here we establish this show's own flavor of Vampire lore.
1)To become a Vampire they must suck your blood and you must suck their blood. That particular brand of lore was established by Anne Rice I believe.
2)Common methods of Vampire deterrence/killing: Stakes, holy water, crosses(not just of silver), daylight, sometimes fire. The usual, though oddly no mention of garlic.
3) Vampires have no reflection. Traditional lore.
4) Vampires cannot enter a home without being invited. Not as common, surprisingly. You hear about it mostly because of this show/the movie, though I'm not sure this is the origin of that bit of lore.
We meet Xander and Willow, Buffy's friends/sidekicks, and are introduced to Angel. Ah, Angel! *swoon* Mr. Tall dark and Handsome himself. Angel delivers a cryptic message message about the 'harvest' coming...and really, Harvest. That tells you everything you need to know right there. Willow manages to get herself snagged as a Vampire meal as well as...well, third 'long time' friend who dies after this and is never mentioned again.
Buffy comes to save Willow, Xander tags along, they both find out about Vampires and Buffy loses all three of them again when she starts getting her butt kicked by a mini-boss. End first episode. Sorry, not much to critique during the establishment of the series.