In addition the the excellent score and badass selection of youth-targeted pop songs, Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured frequent live bands, mostly favoring up-and-coming artists over already established acts. Each of the bands play at the local hangout, The Bronze, amidst some kind of Scooby Gang revelry. The live music showcase is reminiscent of older shows like The Monkeys or The Young Ones.
Even as the opening credits run we were assaulted with harsh and vibrant guitars as a departure from the classical horror inspired organs and symphonic fugues, asserting modernity and a contemporary cultural relevance. The score itself delves into late 90s culture for acts like Curve, Blink 182, and The Sundays.
Focus was made predominantly on on live acts, each hosted by the fictional Sunnydale hangout The Bronze. Instead of going for acts with well established names, the musical cast is comprised of small, lesser known, and often local bands. Many of the bands are either returning underground champions or have since created a name for themselves, including: Aimee Mann, Michelle Branch, Cibo Matto, Bif Naked, and The Breeders. Because of this, the television show becomes accessible and opens up to a younger crowd that had remained unaddressed by the other shows of the time, like: E.R., Seinfeld, Friends, and Home Improvement. I believe this to be the cornerstone of Buffy’s success.
Not only is the frequent showcasing of live music generally awesome, it also bears homage to classic television variety shows, most of which also target a younger demographic. Buffy pays tribute to the format of earlier shows like The Young Ones, which featured bands at a local bar in between episodic shenanigans. Shows like The Monkees were also borrowed from heavily, by integrating the bands into both dialog and the story.