Buffy the Vampire Slayer

TV review by
Paul Trandahl, Common Sense Media
Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV Poster Image
Cult vampire series has witty bite and strong role model.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 40 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 105 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Themes include courage and teamwork. Gender roles are progressive, and everyone works as a team to support a female hero. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Buffy is a strong, nuanced role model. She's powerful, loyal, and committed to her role as fighter-of-evil. She sacrifices herself for others regularly, and is a thoughtful, caring friend.

Violence

Cartoonish action violence, including stabbing vampires with stakes, fighting sequences, and a scene in which Buffy is attacked by a severed arm.

Sex

Sixteen-year-old Buffy has sex with her vampire boyfriend, who is considerably older. Many romances among the teen characters, including a lesbian relationship. The vampire myth is traditionally a very sexualized one.

Language

Ocassional mild cursing -- "hell," "damn," etc.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while even grade-schoolers may enjoy the horror-movie aspects of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the mature themes of this hugely popular vampire series are not a good fit for kids that young. Even kids as young as 12 -- who will enjoy the action and have fun with the one-liners -- probably aren't quite ready for the dark, adult issues the show tackles. Buffy is in mortal danger in most episodes, she loses her virginity to her (much) older boyfriend, and monsters are everywhere. On the upside, the series encourages strength in girls, mentoring, and teamwork. The series is best for teens and adults, who will appreciate the multi-leveled story and the Romeo and Juliet subtext of some of the episodes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written byElspeth M June 18, 2010

Perfect for 16 and up, extremely inappropriate for those under 15.

While I think this show is fun for older teens (16 and up) and adults, it is WILDLY inappropriate for kids under 15. I am watching an episode right now from lat... Continue reading
Parent of a 14 year old Written byJames Taylor April 3, 2009

Please keep in mind the aging of the series

Although the consensus is that Buffy is a "13 and up" series it is important to note that there are some episodes -- especially in season 6 -- that ar... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBallet_Dance January 30, 2011

Really like this show for so many reason.

I started watching this show when I was younger and then stopped when I was about 11. When I was 12 I became anorexic. I started to watch this show again when I... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bydreamofthe90s July 28, 2014

Sometimes the best of things have a rough side

Buffy is my favorite TV show of all time. It makes a fantastic pastime for dull summers. The characters are dynamic and awesome, with sassy superhero Buffy, goo... Continue reading

What's the story?

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER contrasts the bright, mundane world of high school with the menacing, shadowy world of the vampires. Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as Buffy, the tough, blonde titular slayer; the rest of the group includes friends Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Willow (Alyson Hannigan), mentor Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), werewolf Oz (Seth Green), vampires Angel (David Boreanaz) and Spike (James Marsters), and many more. Buffy just wants to be a normal teenager, but she can't escape her destiny as the Chosen One when she moves to Sunnydale, Calif., which happens to be right over the Hellmouth -- a mystic spot that allows demons and other evil creatures into the world.

Is it any good?

Clever writing and an appealing cast make this cult series eminently watchable. The show's content can sometimes be gruesome and disturbing for younger or more sensitive teens, but excellent writing and a light hand take away some of the intensity. Teens will definitely identify with Buffy's sense of dread, even if their own dread is over a test, rather than the appearance of vampires.

Though Buffy the Vampire Slayer is by no means educational, characters place a great deal of importance on integrity, working as a team and learning to sacrifice for the greater good.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Buffy deals with the pressure of her "calling" in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. How do teens deal with the pressures they face every day? Can they draw any parallels between Buffy's life and "normal" high school experience?

  • The show's characters place a great deal of importance on integrity, working as a team, and learning to sacrifice for the greater good. Families can talk about how they apply those values in their own lives. What do they consider the greater good?

  • Families may also want to discuss the series' sexual content, including their views about virginity and sex.

  • How do the characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer demonstrate courage and teamwork? Why are those important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love strong characters

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate