Buffy the Vampire Slayer
A wildly influential cult hit that escaped the shadow of an unsuccessful film incarnation, helped establish the teen-centric WB network, and spawned a long-running spin-off, Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran for 144 episodes between March 1997 and May 2003. Approached by Fox television executives about the possibility of a series, Joss Whedon, screenwriter of the original 1992 film, saw the chance to revisit a concept he thought had been mishandled. Refashioning the jokey film back into a mixture of drama, comedy, romance, action, and horror, Whedon and his Mutant Enemy production company found a home for their show at the nascent WB. Originally airing Monday nights and then moving, with much fanfare, to Tuesdays during its second season, Buffy the Vampire Slayer quickly became a hit -- at least by the standards of its demographically targeted network. Ratings peaked in the second and third seasons, but Buffy maintained its status as critics' darling throughout its run. By the time the show moved to the UPN network for its final two seasons, it was selling like hotcakes on DVD and airing in syndicated two-hour blocks on the FX cable channel.