Hated Buffy's Season 6? Well, Sarah Michelle Gellar Feels The Same

Hated Buffy's Season 6? Well, Sarah Michelle Gellar Feels The Same
Image credit: UPN

The cast and crew of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are as divided about Season 6 as the fans.


  • Today, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is considered a legendary show from top to bottom.
  • However, during its original run, some seasons proved to be divisive among the series' massive fandom.
  • Season 6, for example, is still sparking heated online discussions.
  • As it turns out, the cast and crew of Buffy are also divided about this chapter.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the show that will forever remain a symbol of the turn of the millennium and a warm memory for millions of viewers who were peers of Buffy Summers when the show aired on The WB and later on UPN.

Today, the story of a teenage vampire slayer is considered iconic from start to finish. But back when it first aired, some seasons sparked a lot of controversy in the show's massive fandom. Perhaps the most divisive among viewers was Season 6. On Rotten Tomatoes, for example, it has contrasting ratings from critics and viewers (67% vs. 90%).

Some loved the sixth season, some hated it. If you are one of the latter, you are not alone. In fact, the show's star, Sarah Michelle Gellar, once called the season a 'betrayal' of her character.

Controversial Season

Season 6 marked a significant shift for the supernatural series. It was produced during the transition from The WB to UPN. Showrunner Joss Whedon stepped down and handed the reins to executive producer Marti Noxon, who wanted to dive into a more mature, darker atmosphere.

Tara Maclay's tragic death and Buffy's intense battle with depression after her recent resurrection set the tone for a season that felt very different from its comedic predecessors. For Sarah Michelle Gellar, all the changes on screen and behind the scenes were too much.

'I've always said that Season 6 was not my favorite,' the actress told EW in 2017. 'I felt it betrayed who [Buffy] was.'

Questionable Relationship

The gloomy vibe of the season was not the only reason why Sarah Michelle Gellar found it out of character for Buffy. That year, Buffy entered a relationship with Spike, the fan-favorite blond vampire. Their affair was anything but healthy.

Hated Buffy's Season 6? Well, Sarah Michelle Gellar Feels The Same - image 1

For Buffy, it was a desperate attempt to reconnect with life. For Spike, it was a destructive obsession. Their first sexual encounter, after a violent argument, literally brought down the house, and served as a metaphor for their chaotic relationship, which lasted six episodes.

In that short time, Buffy repeatedly beat up Spike, and he nearly assaulted her. Such a self-destructive behavior understandably left Gellar, who identified with her character, feeling uneasy about the season.

'It was definitely tough for me. It's so hard to separate myself from her, so it was tough for me to see these situations and think, "But Buffy wouldn't do this…"' Gellar said at the 2008 Buffy reunion. 'It just felt so foreign to me.'

Showrunners Weigh In

Both showrunners, however, side with the part of the fandom that adores Season 6. They feel that the chapter's darker tone and adult storylines helped show the deeper themes of losing oneself after a big life change (graduating high school), battling depression and unhealthy relationships.

It all helped Buffy grow up, experience the darker side of life and her own personality, and rediscover her voice for the final season.

'She found the darkness within herself,' Whedon told EW, describing the Season 6 Buffy. 'This has to do with the consequences of power.'

Sources: Entertainment Weekly, Internet Archive.

Which side are you on? Do you love or hate the penultimate season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?