In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.' Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran for seven seasons, from 1997 to 2003, and in that time revolutionised American TV. Created (and often written and directed) by Joss Whedon, author of the 1992 movie of the same name, this was a television series which single-handedly reinvented the high-school genre, splicing it with action, comedy and the supernatural and captivating its core teenage audience while providing enough formal experimentation, existential reflection and above all pitch-perfect writing and acting to extend the show's appeal to viewers of all ages. Series by series, Anne Billson unravels the magic of Buffy, examining the Slayer's antecedents and influences and exploring how, in a broadcasting environment inimical to long-running series, Whedon and his collaborators were able to push the outside of the envelope, take so many risks and create a fully realised mythology in which the fantasy elements are underpinned by an emotional honesty that beings fresh relevance to the age-old story of the struggle between Good and Evil. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a superheroine for our times: an all-in-one role model, icon and iconoclast. Not only that, but she's funny as well. Television would never be the same again.