20 years ago today, Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered on TV and staked a claim on genre -- and pop culture as a whole -- with a legacy still being felt to this day. While there are a lot of reasons to love Buffy Summers and the entire Scooby Gang, one of the show's most memorable characters didn't arrive until the third episode of Season 2.
The episode "School Hard," which aired Sept. 29, 1997, introduced viewers to Spike, the surly, punk-rock bad boy vampire with an East London accent and penchant for a bit of the old ultra-violence. And as the character stuck around far longer than creator Joss Whedon initially intended, he went from villain to anti-hero to love interest.
And regardless of whether he possessed a soul or not, actor James Marsters brought Spike to life in a way that still makes him one of the best vampires in fiction (sorry, Angel).
In honor of his work on Buffy and to celebrate the show's anniversary, Marsters joined me for an extended conversation about his work on the show. We discuss where he was in life before Buffy as well as his instant awareness that the show would have a long legacy. We also chat about his fond memories working on the show, when he fell in love with Spike as a character and how he felt alone when filming -- and couldn't even go outside without being mobbed.
On another note, we talk a bit about his new nonfiction travelogue show Vidiots, his upcoming Ghost of the Robot album and touch briefly on his work on Hulu's Marvel Comics project, Runaways.
In the interest of full disclosure, I've known Marsters for a few years now, having hosted for him at countless fan events. I have always appreciated his sincerity, graciousness toward fans and the thoughtfulness with which he applies to Spike (as well as his other characters). For this reason, I've chosen to present our interview in audio format so you can hear him dig deep with his answers.
Give it a listen and sound off in the comments below with your favorite Spike and Buffy memories.