Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American supernatural drama television series created by Joss Whedon under his production tag, Mutant Enemy Productions with later co-executive producers being Jane Espenson, David Fury, David Greenwalt, Doug Petrie, Marti Noxon, and David Solomon. The series premiered on March 10, 1997, on The WB and concluded on May 20, 2003, on UPN. The series narrative follows Buffy Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar), the latest in a line of young women known as "Vampire Slayers", or simply "Slayers". In the story, Slayers are "called" (chosen by fate) to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness. Being a young woman, Buffy wants to live a normal life, but as the series progresses, she learns to embrace her destiny. Like previous Slayers, Buffy is aided by a Watcher, who guides, teaches, and trains her. Unlike her predecessors, Buffy surrounds herself with a circle of loyal friends who become known as the "Scooby Gang".
The series received critical and popular acclaim, frequently being listed as one of the greatest TV shows of all time, and usually reached between four and six million viewers on original airings. Although such ratings are lower than successful shows on the "big four" networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox), they were a success for the relatively new and smaller WB Television Network.
The success of Buffy' has led to hundreds of tie-in products, including novels, comics, and video games. The series has received attention in fandom (including fan films), parody, and academia, and has influenced the direction of other television series. The series, as well as its spinoff series Angel, and extensions thereof, have been collectively termed the "Buffyverse".