As Entertainment Weekly so kindly pointed out yesterday, it has been 13 years since Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of the most watched cult shows of all time, originally aired on The WB. Not only did Buffy win Emmy’s and introduce us to the likes of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, and Michelle Trachtenberg (as well as countless others like funny man Seth Green), but it helped put the WB on the map in the late 90’s as the go-to network for teen television.
In the 1990’s Nickelodeon had great preteen shows like Clarissa Explains It All, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, and The Secret World of Alex Mack. FOX owned the teen drama market with Beverly Hills 90210, Party of Five and Melrose Place.
And what did The WB have? Aside from the amazing series Sister, Sister and (the then rarely watched) 7th Heaven, not much as far as teens were concerned. But when 1997 rolled around, Josh Whedon blew our minds with a butt-kicking, stake-wielding teen named Buffy. Things were never the same.
Following Buffy‘s success, the WB built on it’s new teen market with shows like Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, Charmed and Smallville.
After it’s 1998 debut, Dawson’s Creek became the highest rated show amongst teen girls. New life was breathed into 7th Heaven, which would be The WB’s longest running show ever. And Buffy‘s ratings went through the roof as the cult following began.
To this day, The WB’s shows are highly popular and still have massive followings, both online (blogs, Web sites, fanfiction, fan art, etc.) and on DVD. Buffy, Dawson’s Creek and the Gilmore Girls, just to name a few, have huge DVD sales thanks to old fans hoping to reclaim the magic.
We can thank The WB for giving us Katie Holmes, the Dawson’s Creek theme song (“I Don’t Want to Wait”), Michelle Williams, the spinoff Angel, Jessica Biel, Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill and it’s theme song, and the short-lived Roswell and Popular.
Sure, they made mistakes – please note picking up Sabrina the Teenage Witch and running it into the ground or dropping Shannen Doherty for Rose McGowan and eventually forcing the Charmed Ones to lose, well, their charm.
However, The WB was able to offer teens an alternative to the offbeat Nick shows of the 90’s and FOX’s rich kids drama sex fest. The WB gave us good music, lots of magic, mythical creatures and great angsty plots.
So, this week, we salute you WB. We forgive you for Michigan J. Frog. We admire your hard work. And most of all, we thank you for some of the greatest teen television of all time.