Over the course of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's seven seasons, Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) changed TV for good. So many of today's tough action heroines, witty teens, and supernatural love triangles all owe something to Buffy. A whole 25 years later, it's still influencing culture. There's never a bad time to rewatch, but you can always try branching out, too.
If you're missing the Scooby Gang but looking to check out something new, you'll find pieces of Buffy in all of the shows on this list. These are 10 shows that wouldn't have been possible without Buffy the Vampire Slayer that Buffy fans can watch next.
Rob Thomas' neo-noir Veronica Mars — which missed overlapping with Buffy on UPN by a little more than a year — is one of the clearest and best Buffy successors. With a snarky blonde for its heroine and cases of the week operating in tandem with season-long arcs (the Big Bads are swapped out for clever mysteries), the show takes everything that Buffy did well and translates it to a non-supernatural existence. While Buffy slayed literal monsters in Sunnydale, Kristen Bell's eponymous teenage sleuth spends her free time taking down their human equivalent in yet another sunny Southern California town with a seedy underbelly. And while Buffy had the Scooby Gang, Veronica slowly finds her own small group of friends, including BFF Wallace (Percy Daggs III), computer whiz Mac (Tina Majorino), and reformed boy Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring).
But the connections run deeper than surface level too. If Buffy's job as the Slayer made her an outsider and cost her relationships, Veronica became a social outcast in the wake of events that were also out of her control — namely, the murder of her best friend Lily (Amanda Seyfried) and the subsequent investigation, which cost her father (Enrico Colantoni) his job as sheriff and their family its reputation. And yet, despite it all, Veronica never gives up and is there when her fellow students need her help. And there's nothing more Buffy than that.
Is it cheating to include Angel on this list? Yes, but we're doing it anyway. Buffy the Vampire Slayer's only spin-off, which starred David Boreanaz's vampire with a soul, obviously wouldn't exist without Buffy, but the more adult series features some overlap behind the scenes, while many of the same themes that appeared in its parent show pop up on Angel as well. (Plus, some argue that Angel, which maintains a sense of humor despite its often darker approach to the material,is a better and more satisfying program overall. It definitely has a better series finale.) The five-season show follows Angel after he departs Sunnydale for Los Angeles and becomes a private eye in order to "help the helpless." During his efforts to take down everyone from run-of-the-mill supernatural scumbags to world-ending threats, Angel is aided by fellow Sunnydale alum Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), a half-human, half-demon named Doyle (Glenn Quinn), former Watcher Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Alexis Denisof), streetwise hunter Charles Gunn (J. August Richards), and the exceptionally bright Winifred "Fred" Burkle (Amy Acker). It is not to be missed.
The only monsters you'll find in MTV's canceled-too-soon Sweet/Vicious are of the human variety. Created by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, the show is a middle finger to the patriarchy, giving voice to people that society has repeatedly ignored or attempted to drown out: sexual assault survivors. The first (and sadly only) season follows Jules (Eliza Bennett), a popular sorority girl, and Ophelia (Taylor Dearden), a whip-smart slacker, as they team up to deliver vigilante justice to accused rapists on their college campus when the system inevitably fails victims of sexual assault. But like Buffy — and despite its difficult subject matter — the show is surprisingly warm, with a keen awareness of when and how to use humor to balance out the inherent darkness within its narrative. And with its empowering spirit and a dedication to taking power from the hands of abusers and giving it to survivors, who are primarily women, Sweet/Vicious is a worthy successor to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its own commitment to dismantling outdated and harmful patriarchal power structures.
The CW's version of Nancy Drew owes much to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and not just because Nancy has her own Scooby Gang and some episodes feel as if they were directly inspired by some of Buffy's own adventures. The series, which stars Kennedy McMann as the famous girl detective, breathes new life into the cultural icon by seamlessly introducing the supernatural into her world. While the story eases you in with a murder mystery tied to an urban legend, the show quickly evolves beyond ghosts to include more creative and unique villains, like vengeful sea witches, ancient Viking gods, and even a haunted wedding dress. (If you told us Drew's hometown of Horseshoe Bay was another hellmouth, it would make a lot of sense.) But Buffy's influence doesn't just extend to the presence of the supernatural, but also how it's utilized in the story. Nancy Drew similarly uses it as explanations for physical manifestations of real-life issues, like when a wraith attaches itself to Nancy and becomes a metaphor for the quiet drain and isolation of mental illness. So while Nancy Drew might not seem like the most obvious IP to draw inspiration from Buffy, there's plenty of evidence to prove that it's not just possible, but also worth your while.
Most people would point to the success of Twilight as the pop culture phenomenon that allowed The Vampire Diariesto take flight. But it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer that really paved the way, and not just because it was set in high school and featured vampires. It's fun to point out some of the obvious connections between the two shows, like how TVD also features a heroine (Nina Dobrev's Elena Gilbert) whose life is tied to a mysterious prophecy. Or how she also falls in love with two vampires, one whose humanity is turned on (Paul Wesley's Stefan) but who has a violent past, and one who delights in being evil (Ian Somerhalder's Damon) but eventually redeems himself through love. But this ignores how TVD holds a mirror up to its headstrong heroine through its doppelgangers in a move that calls back to the introduction of Faith on Buffy. It discounts the show's willingness to blow through plot like me with a bowl of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. It disregards how often the show is able to surprise fans with its depth of character and captivating mythology. These things are more important than the more superficial storytelling similarities to Buffy, but it sure is fun to point them out.
Some have described Crazyhead as the British Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And it's easy to see why. The show, created by Misfits' Howard Overman, mixes a similar sense of humor with the right amount of horror and heart in its story about two women in their 20s — Susan Wokoma's Raquel and Cara Theobold's Amy — who become unlikely friends after learning they both have the ability to see demons (they're not crazy!). After they team up to save Amy's roommate who's possessed, they quickly discover there is a group of demons who want to bring about the end of the world, so they make it their mission to stop them. Along the way, secrets with potentially huge consequences are revealed, and all the while, the two must figure out how to navigate the complicated trials of young adulthood as well.
Before Marvel got really into making TV shows about the Avengers that tied into the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there was Agent Carter, the low-rated but critically beloved series about Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter that ran for two seasons on ABC. While there's an argument to be had about whether or not the events of Avengers: Endgame messed with the series' timeline, one thing remains true: Peggy is one of the most complex and competent heroines TV has ever had, and a lot of that is because Buffy Summers paved the way and proved that women like them had a place on TV. Set in the 1940s after the events of the first Captain America film, the show follows Peggy's adventures as the lone female agent at the Strategic Scientific Reserve. Frequently underestimated by everyone from colleagues to foes, she's able to use that to her advantage time and again. And because of the time period and her status as the only woman in the SSR, she must frequently combat blatant misogyny and unfriendly power structures in addition to whatever nefarious baddies come her way.
While the movie upon which it's loosely based predates Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its own cinematic beginning, Teen Wolf is clearly inspired by the WB show, with an initial cheese factor that is balanced out by the use of horror and well-deployed moments of comedy and heart. However, instead of a teen girl being chosen and gaining powers to fight the forces of darkness, the MTV show gives us the dorky, lacrosse-playing Scott McCall (Tyler Posey), who is turned into a werewolf by chance after he goes looking for a body in the woods with his best friend Stiles (Dylan O'Brien). At first, the two teens attempt to conceal Scott's powers while taking on dangerous enemies on their own, but they eventually form a pack with other werewolves, a werewolf hunter who falls in love with Scott (Buffy and Angel much?), and even a banshee. Throughout the show's six wild (and totally insane) seasons, the pack must balance the familiar pressures of high school with saving their hometown of Beacon Hills from the sinister supernatural forces drawn to it. So yeah, you could say it's a lot like Buffy.
If Buffy the Vampire Slayer flipped the supernatural horror genre on its head by turning the stereotypical blonde victim into a butt-kicking feminist icon, Wynonna Earp takes it one step further by redefining what a heroine can be (and should) be. Adapted for TV by Emily Andras from the comics of the same name, Wynonna Earp is a supernatural western with a crackling sense of humor. It follows the titular Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) as she sends revenants — the men and women her ancestor, the gunslinger Wyatt Earp, killed while he was alive and who became demons upon his death — back to hell. Though she is flawed, often directionless, and suffers bouts of self-doubt, Wynnona never wavers in her sense of duty to her hometown of Purgatory, her sister Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), or the small family they've created with their friends.
When it comes to Buffy's influence, there is usually a focus on women kicking butt (as this list can attest), and it's easy to understand why. But another reason the show was so beloved and influential was its natural ability to perfectly blend genres, and Reaper, the short-lived CW comedy from Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters about a twentysomething who captures and returns souls to hell, does something similar. Bret Harrison stars as Sam, a college dropout working at a home repair store who discovers upon his 21st birthday that his parents promised him to the Devil (a deliciously good Ray Wise) in exchange for restoring his father's health before he was born. Sam thus gains new powers and learns he has a destiny of his own, meaning he must serve as a reaper, chasing down escaped souls and returning them to hell. It's a perfect blend of supernatural drama and comedy, and is boosted by some scene-stealing performances and a perfect metaphor involving the DMV being an entrance to hell.