So, why Buffy The Vampire Slayer, you ask? Well, that's a pretty easy question to answer. For one thing, the series is absolutely nothing like the movie whatsoever. The movie tried to be dark and funny and instead came off looking campy. The series, however, is totally different.
It picks up where the movie left off, with totally new characters and situations. The writing is absolutely brillaint and the cast is incredible. The structure of the show in general gives it a unique edge.It perfectly achieves the balance between humor and fear, which makes for a pretty incredible program. Just for the sake of those who aren't yet 'initiated' into this show (which airs Tuesdays at 8pm on the WB network, by the way...) I've put together this table of characters and some information about each. It's just a rough sketch to give you a feel of what they're like. It's also not in any particular order, aside from according to my own preferences:

Willow A computer "nerd" but all around loyal chic, Willow is well known for her spacey sense of humor, her extreme intelligence and her painful crush on her best friend, Xander. Nevertheless, Willow has been 'getting a life' recently and although she'll always pine after Xander, she's moved on to bigger and better things...namely a sweet guy named Oz.
Xander Xander and Willow have been best friends since childhood. He's quite possibly the funniest character on the show, and is always ready with a brilliant one-liner to lighten even the darkest situations. He's somewhat unlucky when it comes to women, having been rejected by Buffy, almost eaten by a praying-mantis disguised as woman, and killed by a mummy-girl..but then, that's another story. He's best known for being sarcastic but lovable. And naturally, like any typical boy, he's completely oblivious to Willow's feelings about him and basically treats her like a little sister...except of course when he gets jealous about Oz.
Oz Oz is, as of last weeks episode, Willow's new boyfriend. He's a guitarist in a local band and attends the same school as the other teens. He's a relatively new character but is extremely kind and in love with Willow. He's pretty much the one who intiated their relationship (he even took a bullet for her once, what a guy). The only problem is that he's a werewolf (he found that out during the most recent episode, "Phases"). However, he's still a good character and has never harmed anyone-yet.
Buffy Buffy is pretty much the main character of the show. She's the Slayer. Essentially, at any given time, there is one slayer present in the world. The slayer's job is to kill vampires and fight off demons. They're always female and when one dies, another one receives her powers and takes over in her place. Although the slayer is already endowed with supernatural strength, she still needs to be trained. That job is taken care of by her Watcher.
Angel Angel is one of the few "good" vampires on the show. He tries to help the slayer and her friends because he, unlike normal vampires, has a soul. He regained it as a part of a curse inflicted upon him. He was cursed in retribution for a crime he committed a long time ago. Because he has a soul, he has emotions just like any normal human as well as immense guilt over the fact that he's killed many innocent people. He's Buffy's boyfriend, or at least was. In one of the more recent episodes, he lost his soul and has become evil again.
Giles Giles is the Watcher. Basically he's the one who trains the Slayer and tells her about various prophecies and important events she needs to be prepared for. He serves as the brains to Buffy's brawns. He works as the school librarian, in order to keep a low profile. He's extremely bookish and techno-phobic which is why he needs someone to hack into various systems and search the web for him, like Willow.
Cordelia Cordelia is the classic popular girl/snob. She's in control of the social aspect of the school and takes every opportunity to exercise her power. Lately though, she's become somewhat more..tolerable... and occasionally helps Buffy and the others.

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