'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' which gave Philly's David Boreanaz his start, turns 20. (It's still great)

Still vampy campy

Twenty years ago Friday, one of the great characters to grace the small screen made her debut. Buffy Summers, the title character of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, began killing off bloodsuckers all while navigating high school social politics.

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" turns 20.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was always considerably better than its premise - teen girl fights vampires - made it seem. Even the movie the show is based on - both created by Joss Whedon, who has become a celebrity in his own right - is pretty good.

Sarah Michelle Gellar's Buffy, of course, wasn't just fighting vampires, but larger issues that happened to take the form of Big Bads who terrorized her seemingly picturesque town of Sunnydale. Whedon and his writers filled scripts with crackling dialogue meant to be spoken at screwball-comedy pace, and each episode played with genre conventions in unexpected ways.

There are a lot of reasons to watch Buffy: It's smart, it's funny, it has a legion of loyal fans for a reason, and it still holds up after 20 years. But perhaps our favorite reason to stream is why we started watching in the first place: Its first few seasons star David Boreanaz, then known as the son of 6ABC's Dave Roberts, now known as the costar of Fox's Bones.

- Molly Eichel
Where to stream: Netflix.

Like this? Binge these: Whedon's other excellent genre entries - Buffy spinoff Angel, starring Boreanaz's character (Netflix); space Western Firefly (Netflix); and the futuristic Dollhouse (available for purchase) - are all worth a watch.