9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Loyal fans of the television show created by Joss Whedon stand behind the idea that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the most influential cult show to date. Along with her friends, Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is the slayer who battles evil, including vampires. One reviewer stated, “Buffy showed that there was an audience for this kind of genre.”
The role of a strong, empowered young woman appealed to a wide fan base and the show averaged between four and six million viewers. In a recent interview, Whedon marveled at the strangeness of creating a show that acquired such a cult status and a “rabid, almost insane fan base.” He says that people were ready for a female lead role capable of “taking names, and kicking some serious butt.”
Known as Buffy since its premier episode in 1997, Sarah Michelle Gellar cannot shake the association. “Back then, if you’d called me Buffy I would probably have been really annoyed,” she told Bullett nine years after the finale. “Now, of course, I get it and I’m appreciative of it. But that’s something that comes with maturity.”
Even scholars appreciated the show’s concept. Academics have written hundreds of articles on the theme and find the show’s fusion of myth and culture to be socially relevant. It provides “access to social problems and issues and hopes and anxieties that are often not articulated in more ‘realist’ cultural forms,” wrote Douglas Kellner, professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.