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Posted by motoman 03/03/2009 @ 12:15

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WHYY to close Del. TV news show - Philadelphia Inquirer
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series)

Buffy logo 0001.jpg

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an Emmy-Award Winning American cult television series that aired from March 10, 1997 until May 20, 2003. The series was created in 1997 by writer-director Joss Whedon under his production tag, Mutant Enemy Productions with later co-executive producers being Jane Espenson, David Fury, and Marti Noxon. The series narrative follows Buffy Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar), the latest in a line of young women known as Slayers. Slayers are chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness. Like previous Slayers, Buffy is aided by a Watcher, who guides and trains her. Unlike her predecessors, Buffy surrounds herself with a circle of loyal friends who become known as the "Scooby Gang".

The series usually reached between four and six million viewers on original airings. Although such ratings are lower than successful shows on the "big four" networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox), they were a success for the relatively new and smaller WB Television Network. Reviews for the show were positive, and it was ranked #41 on the list of TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time as well as #2 on Empire's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. Buffy was also voted #3 in TV Guide's Top 25 Cult TV Shows of All Time and included in TIME Magazine's 100 Best TV Shows of All Time. It was nominated for Emmy and Golden Globe awards. The WB network ceased operation on September 17, 2006 after airing an "homage" to its "most memorable series", including the pilot episodes of Buffy and its spin-off Angel.

Buffy's success has led to hundreds of tie-in products, including novels, comics, and video games. The series has received attention in fandom (including fan films), parody, and academia, and has influenced the direction of other television series.

The concept was first visited through Whedon's script for the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which featured Kristy Swanson in the title role. The director, Fran Rubel Kuzui, saw it as a "pop culture comedy about what people think about vampires." Whedon disagreed: "I had written this scary film about an empowered woman, and they turned it into a broad comedy. It was crushing." The script was praised within the industry, but the movie was not.

Several years later, Gail Berman, a Fox executive, approached Whedon to develop his Buffy concept into a television series. Whedon explained that "They said, 'Do you want to do a show?' And I thought, 'High school as a horror movie.' And so the metaphor became the central concept behind Buffy, and that's how I sold it." The supernatural elements in the series stood as metaphors for personal anxieties associated with adolescence and young adulthood. Whedon went on to write and partly fund a twenty five minute non-broadcast pilot that was shown to networks and eventually sold to the WB Network. The latter promoted the premiere with a series of History of the Slayer clips, and the first episode aired on March 10, 1997.

Joss Whedon was credited as executive producer throughout the run of the series, and for the first five seasons (1997–2001) he was also the show runner, a role that involves serving as head writer and being responsible for every aspect of production. Marti Noxon took on the role for seasons six and seven (2001–2003), but Whedon continued to be involved with writing and directing Buffy alongside projects such as Angel, Fray, and Firefly. Fran Rubel Kuzui and her husband, Kaz Kuzui, were credited as executive producers but were not involved in the show. Their credit, rights, and royalties over the franchise relate to their funding, producing, and directing of the original movie version of Buffy.

Script-writing was done by Mutant Enemy, a production company created by Whedon in 1997. The writers with the most writing credits include: Joss Whedon, Steven S. DeKnight, Jane Espenson, David Fury, Drew Goddard, Drew Greenberg, Rebecca Rand Kirshner, Marti Noxon and Doug Petrie. Other authors with writing credits include: Howard Gordon, David Greenwalt, Matt Kiene, Joe Reinkemeyer, Ty King, Tracey Forbes, Thomas A. Swyden, Rob Des Hotel, Dana Reston, Dan Vebber, Carl Ellsworth, Ashley Gable, Elin Hampton and Dean Batali.

Jane Espenson has explained how scripts came together. First, the writers talked about the emotional issues facing Buffy Summers and how she would confront them through her battle against evil supernatural forces. Then the episode's story was "broken" into acts and scenes. Act breaks were designed as key moments to intrigue viewers so that they would stay with the episode following advertisements. The writers collectively filled in scenes surrounding these act breaks for a more fleshed-out story. A whiteboard marked their progress by mapping brief descriptions of each scene. Once "breaking" was done, the credited author wrote an outline for the episode, which was checked by Whedon or Noxon. The writer then wrote a full script, which went through a series of drafts, and finally a quick rewrite from the show runner. The final article was used as the shooting script.

The title role went to Sarah Michelle Gellar, who had appeared as Sydney Rutledge on Swans Crossing and Kendall Hart on All My Children. At age eighteen in 1995, Gellar had already won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Leading Actress in a Drama Series. In 1996, she was initially cast as Cordelia Chase during a week of auditioning. She decided to keep trying for the role of Buffy, and after several more auditions, landed the lead.

Anthony Stewart Head had already led a prolific acting and singing career but remained best known in the United States for a series of twelve coffee commercials with Sharon Maughan for Taster's Choice. He accepted the role of Rupert Giles.

Unlike other Buffy regulars, Nicholas Brendon had little acting experience, instead working various jobs — including production assistant, plumber's assistant, veterinary janitor, food delivery, script delivery, day care counselor, and waiter — before deciding to break into acting to help him overcome a stutter. He landed his Xander Harris role following only four days of auditioning.

Alyson Hannigan was the last of the original four to be cast. Following her role in My Stepmother Is an Alien, she appeared in commercials and supporting roles on television shows throughout the early 1990s. In 1996 the role of Willow Rosenberg was initially given to Riff Regan for the unaired Buffy pilot, but Hannigan auditioned when the role was recast for the series proper. She described her approach to auditions in an interview through her treatment of a particular moment: Willow tells Buffy that her Barbie doll was taken from her as a child, and Buffy asks if she ever got the Barbie back. "Willow's line was 'Most of it.' And so I thought I'm gonna make that a really happy thing. I was so proud that she got most of it back. That clued in on how I was going to play the rest of the scene. It defines the character." Her approach subsequently helped her win the role.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer first aired on March 10, 1997 on the WB network, and played a key role in the growth of the Warner Bros. television network in its early years. After five seasons, it transferred to the United Paramount Network (UPN) for its final two seasons. After its original run, the show went into syndication in the United States on local stations and on cable channel FX; the local airings ended in 2005, and the FX airings lasted until 2008. Buffy is currently not shown on U.S. television. In the United Kingdom, the entire series aired on Sky1 and BBC2. The BBC gave the show two time slots: the early-evening slot for a family-friendly version with violence, objectionable language and other stronger material cut out, and a late-night uncut version. Sky1 utilised a similar method, in which the show would be edited for an afternoon encore presentation besides the uncut prime-time slot. From the fourth season onwards, the BBC aired the show in anamorphic 16:9 widescreen format. Whedon later said that Buffy was never intended to be viewed this way. Despite his claims, Sky1 and FX UK now air repeat showings in the widescreen format.

While the seventh season was still being broadcast, Sarah Michelle Gellar told Entertainment Weekly she was not going to sign on for an eighth year; "When we started to have such a strong year this year, I thought: 'This is how I want to go out, on top, at our best." Whedon and UPN gave some considerations to production of a spin-off series that would not require Gellar, including a rumored Faith series, but nothing became of those plans. The Buffy canon is continuing outside the television medium in the Dark Horse Comics series, Buffy Season Eight. This has been produced since March 2007 by Whedon, who also wrote the first story arc, "The Long Way Home".

As of July 15, 2008, Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes are available to download for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable video game consoles via the PlayStation Network.

But the theme changes: "The opening sequence removes itself from the sphere of 1960s and '70s horror by replaying the same motif, the organ now supplanted by an aggressively strummed electric guitar, relocating itself in modern youth culture." This music is heard over images of a young cast involved in the action and turbulence of adolescence. The sequence provides a post-modern twist on the horror genre.

The brief clips of characters and events which compose the opening sequence are updated from season to season. The only shots that persist across all seven seasons are those of a book titled Vampyr and of the cross given to Buffy by Angel in the first episode. Each sequence ends with a long shot of Buffy, which changes between seasons. The only exception was in the Season Four episode "Superstar", which featured a long shot of Jonathan Levinson, and frequent other clips of Jonathan, in reference to the episode.

Buffy features a mix of original, indie, rock and pop music. The composers spent around seven days scoring between fourteen to thirty minutes of music for each episode. Christophe Beck revealed that the Buffy composers used computers and synthesizers and were limited to recording one or two "real" samples. Despite this, their goal was to produce "dramatic" orchestration that would stand up to film scores.

Alongside the score, most episodes featured indie rock music, usually at the characters' venue of choice, The Bronze. Buffy music supervisor John King explained that "we like to use unsigned bands" that "you would believe would play in this place". For example, the fictional group Dingoes Ate My Baby were portrayed on screen by front group Four Star Mary. Pop songs by famous artists were rarely featured prominently, but several episodes spotlighted the sounds of more famous artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Blink-182, Third Eye Blind, Aimee Mann (who also had a line of dialogue), The Dandy Warhols, Cibo Matto, and Michelle Branch. The popularity of music used in Buffy has led to the release of four soundtrack albums: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Album, Radio Sunnydale, the "Once More, with Feeling" Soundtrack, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Score.

Most of Buffy was shot on location in Los Angeles, California. The main exterior set of the town of Sunnydale, including the infamous "sun sign", was located in Santa Monica, California in a lot on Olympic Boulevard. The show is set in the fictional California town of Sunnydale, whose suburban Sunnydale High School sits on top of a "Hellmouth", a gateway to demon realms. The Hellmouth serves as a nexus for a wide variety of evil creatures and supernatural phenomena, and lies beneath the school library. In addition to being an open-ended plot device, Joss Whedon has cited the Hellmouth and "High school as Hell" as one of the primary metaphors in creating the series.

The high school used in the first three seasons is actually Torrance High School, in Torrance, California. This school was used until the residents of Torrance complained about loud sounds at night. The school exterior has been used in other television shows and movies, most notably Beverly Hills 90210, Bring It On, She's All That and the spoof Not Another Teen Movie. In addition to the high school and its library, scenes take place in the town's cemeteries, a local nightclub (The Bronze), and Buffy's home (located in Torrance), where many of the characters live at various points in the series.

Some of the exterior shots of the college Buffy attends, UC Sunnydale, were filmed at UCLA.

Buffy is told in a serialized format, with each episode involving a self-contained story while contributing to a larger storyline, which is broken down into season-long narratives marked by the rise and defeat of a powerful antagonist, commonly referred to as the "Big Bad". The show blends different genres, including horror, martial arts, romance, melodrama, farce, comedy, and even, in one episode, musical comedy.

The series' narrative revolves around Buffy and her friends, collectively dubbed the "Scooby Gang", who struggle to balance the fight against supernatural evils with their complex social lives. The show mixes complex, season-long storylines with a villain-of-the-week format; a typical episode contains one or more villains, or supernatural phenomena, that are thwarted or defeated by the end of the episode. Though elements and relationships are explored and ongoing subplots are included, the show focuses primarily on Buffy and her role as an archetypal heroine.

In the first seasons, the most prominent monsters in the Buffy bestiary are vampires, which are based on traditional myths, lore, and literary conventions. As the series continues, Buffy and her companions fight an increasing variety of demons, as well as ghosts, werewolves, zombies, and unscrupulous humans. They frequently save the world from annihilation by a combination of physical combat, magic, and detective-style investigation, and are guided by an extensive collection of ancient and mystical reference books. Hand-to-hand combat is chiefly undertaken by Buffy and Angel, later by Spike, and to a far lesser degree by Giles and Xander. Willow eventually becomes an adept witch, while Giles contributes his extensive knowledge of demonology and supernatural lore.

During the first year of the series, Whedon described the show as "My So-Called Life meets The X-Files." My So-Called Life gave a sympathetic portrayal of teen anxieties; in contrast, The X-Files delivered a supernatural "monster of the week" storyline. Alongside these series, Whedon has cited cult film Night of the Comet as a "big influence", and credited the X-Men character Kitty Pryde as a significant influence on the character of Buffy. The authors of the unofficial guidebook Dusted point out that the series was often a pastiche, borrowing elements from previous horror novels, movies, and short stories and from such common literary stock as folklore and mythology. Nevitt and Smith describe Buffy's use of pastiche as "post modern Gothic". For example, the Adam character parallels the Frankenstein monster, the episode "Bad Eggs" parallels Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and so on.

The feminist issue comes out especially when facing misogynist characters; the most misogynistic characters, Warren and Caleb, both die in gruesome ways (the first tortured and skinned alive by Willow, the second eviscerated and cut in two by Buffy).

Season One exemplifies the "high school as hell" concept. Buffy Summers has just moved to Sunnydale after burning her old school's gym and hopes to escape her Slayer duties. Her plans are complicated by Rupert Giles, her new Watcher, who reminds her of the inescapable presence of evil. Sunnydale High is built atop a Hellmouth, a portal to demon dimensions that attracts supernatural phenomena to the area. Buffy meets two schoolmates, Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg, who help her fight evil through the series, but they must first prevent The Master, an ancient and especially threatening vampire, from opening the Hellmouth and taking over Sunnydale.

The emotional stakes are raised in Season Two. New vampires Spike and Drusilla (weakened from a sickness), come to town along with the new slayer, Kendra Young, who was activated as a result of Buffy's brief death in the Season One finale. Xander becomes involved with Cordelia, while Willow becomes involved with witchcraft and Daniel "Oz" Osbourne, who they soon find out is actually a werewolf. Buffy and the vampire Angel develop a relationship over the course of the season, but after they sleep together, Angel's soul, given to him by a curse, is broken and he once more becomes Angelus, a sadistic killer. He torments much of the "Scooby Gang" throughout the rest of the season and murders Jenny Calendar, a gypsy that had been sent to make sure that the curse that gave Angel his soul was never broken, as well as many other innocents. Buffy is forced to kill him (right after Willow restores his soul) and leaves Sunnydale, emotionally shattered.

After attempting to start a new life in Los Angeles, Buffy returns to town in Season Three. Angel is resurrected, but after he and Buffy realize that a relationship between them can never happen, he leaves Sunnydale at the end of the season. Giles is fired from the Watcher's Council because he had developed a "father's love" for Buffy, and towards the end of the season Buffy announces that she will also no longer be working for the council. Early in the season she is confronted with an unstable Slayer, Faith Lehane, who was called up after Kendra's death near the end of season 2, as well as affable Sunnydale Mayor Richard Wilkins, who has plans to become a giant snake demon on Sunnydale High's Graduation Day. Although she works with Buffy at first, after accidentally killing a Human, Faith becomes irrational and sides with Mayor Wilkins, although she is placed into a coma after a fight with Buffy. At the end of the season, Buffy and the entire graduation class defeat Mayor Wilkins by blowing up Sunnydale High, killing him in the process.

Season Four sees Buffy and Willow enroll at UC Sunnydale while Xander joins the workforce and begins dating Anya, a former vengeance demon. Spike returns as a series regular and is abducted by The Initiative, a top-secret military installation based beneath the UC Sunnydale campus. They implant a microchip in his head which prevents him from harming humans. He reluctantly helps the Scooby Gang throughout the season and eventually begins to fight on their side after learning that he can harm other demons. Oz leaves town after realizing that he is too dangerous as a werewolf, and Willow falls in love with Tara Maclay, another witch. Buffy begins dating Riley Finn, a grad student whom she later realizes is a member of The Initiative. Although appearing to be a well-meaning anti-demon operation, it is realized that it had more sinister plans as its demon/Human/computer hybrid secret project, Adam, escapes and begins to wreak havoc on the town. The season also marked the first year in which Joss Whedon oversaw other TV series.

During Season Five, a younger sister to Buffy, Dawn, suddenly appears in Buffy's life, and although she is new to the series, to the characters it is as if she has always been there. Buffy is confronted with Glorificus (Glory), an exiled hell-God that is searching for a "Key" that will allow her to return to her Hell dimension and in the process would blur the lines between dimensions and unleash Hell on Earth. It is later discovered that the Key's protectors had turned the Key into Human form as Buffy's sister Dawn, concurrently implanting everybody with lifelong memories of her. The Watcher's Council aids in Buffy's research of Glory, and she and Giles are both reinstated by the Council. Glory later discovers that Dawn is the key and kidnaps her. Buffy sacrifices herself to save Dawn and prevent the portal to the Hell dimensions from opening. Riley leaves early in the season after deducing that Buffy does not love him and joins a military demon-hunting operation, while Spike, still implanted with the Initiative chip, realizes he is in love with Buffy and continually helps the Scoobies in their fight. Buffy's mother, Joyce, dies of a brain aneurysm, while at the end of the season, Xander proposes to Anya.

At the beginning of Season Six, Buffy's friends resurrect her through a powerful spell. Although believing that they had taken her out of Hell, it is later revealed that she was in Heaven during her death and she falls into a deep depression for most of the season. Giles returns to England after realizing that Buffy has become too reliant on him, while Buffy takes up a fast-food job for money and develops a secret, mutually abusive relationship with Spike. Dawn suffers from kleptomania and feelings of alienation, Xander leaves Anya at the altar, after which Anya once again becomes a vengeance demon, and Willow becomes addicted to magic, causing Tara to temporarily leave her. They also begin to deal with The Trio, a group of nerds led by Warren Mears who use their technological proficiency to attempt to kill Buffy and take over Sunnydale. Warren is shown to be the only competent villain of the group and, after Buffy thwarts his plans multiple times and the Trio breaks apart, he comes unhinged and attacks Buffy with a gun, killing Tara in the process. This causes Willow to descend into darkness and unleash all of her dark magical powers, killing Warren. Giles returns to face her in battle and infuses her with light magic, tapping into her remaining humanity. This causes Willow to attempt to destroy the world to end everyone's suffering, although it eventually allows Xander to reach through her pain and end her rampage. At the end of the season, Spike leaves Sunnydale and travels to see a demon and asks him to "return him to what he used to be" so that he can "give Buffy what she deserves". After passing a series of tests, the demon restores his soul.

The instability caused by Buffy's revival enables the First Evil and a sinister preacher to amass an army of powerful vampires against humankind during Season Seven, while simultaneously seeking out and killing every currently-unactivated Potential Slayer. Willow invokes a spell that activates all the "Potentials" in the world. After an epic battle, an amulet delivered by Angel and worn by Spike channels solar energy through the battlefield, killing all of the Turok-Han and apparently incinerating Spike. As the Scoobies flee Sunnydale, the town collapses into a crater, its Hellmouth destroyed.

Buffy Anne Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) is "the Slayer", one in a long line of young women chosen by fate to battle evil forces. This mystic calling endows her with dramatically increased physical strength, as well as endurance, agility, accelerated healing, intuition, and a limited degree of clairvoyance, usually in the form of prophetic dreams.

Buffy receives guidance from her Watcher, Rupert Giles (played by Anthony Stewart Head). Giles, rarely referred to by his first name, is a member of the Watchers' Council, whose job is to train and assist the Slayers. Giles researches the supernatural creatures that Buffy must face, offering insights into their origins and advice on how to kill them.

Buffy is also helped by friends she meets at Sunnydale High: Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon). Willow is originally a bookish wallflower; she provides a contrast to Buffy's outgoing personality, but shares the social isolation Buffy suffers after becoming a Slayer. As the series progresses, Willow becomes a more assertive character, a powerful witch, and comes out as a lesbian. In contrast, Xander, with no supernatural skills, provides comic relief and a grounded perspective. It is Xander who often provides the heart to the series, and in Season Six, becomes the hero in place of Buffy who defeats the "Big Bad". Buffy and Willow are the only characters who appear in all 144 episodes; Xander is missing in only one.

The cast of characters grew over the course of the series. Buffy first arrives in Sunnydale with her mother, Joyce Summers (portrayed by Kristine Sutherland), who functions as an anchor of normality in the Scoobies' lives even after she learns of Buffy's role in the supernatural world ("Becoming, Part Two"). Buffy's teenage sister Dawn Summers (Michelle Trachtenberg) does not appear until Season Five.

The vampire with a soul, Angel (portrayed by David Boreanaz), is Buffy's love interest throughout the first three seasons. He leaves Buffy to make amends for his sins and search for redemption in his own spin-off, Angel.

At Sunnydale High, Buffy meets several other students willing to join her fight for good (alongside her friends Willow and Xander). Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), the archetypal shallow cheerleader, reluctantly becomes involved, and Daniel "Oz" Osbourne (Seth Green), a fellow student, rock guitarist and werewolf, joins the Scooby Gang through his relationship with Willow. Anya (Emma Caulfield), a former vengeance demon (Anyanka) who specialized in avenging scorned women, becomes Xander's lover after losing her powers, and joins the Scooby Gang in Season Four.

In Buffy's senior year at school, she meets Faith (Eliza Dushku), the second current-Slayer who was brought forth when Slayer Kendra (Bianca Lawson) was killed by vampire Drusilla (Juliet Landau), in Season Two. Although she initially fights on the side of good with Buffy and the rest of the Scooby Gang, she comes to stand against them and sides with Mayor Richard Wilkins (Harry Groener) after accidentally killing a human in Season Three. She reappears briefly in the fourth season, looking for vengeance, and moves to Angel where she goes to jail for her murders. Faith reappears in Season Seven of Buffy, having helped Angel and crew, and fights with Buffy against The First Evil.

Buffy gathers other allies: Spike (James Marsters), a vampire, is an old companion of Angelus and one of Buffy's major enemies in early seasons, although they later become allies and lovers. Later Spike, like Angel, regains his soul. Spike is known for his Billy Idol-style peroxide blond hair and his black leather duster, stolen from a previous Slayer, Nikki Wood; her son, Robin Wood (D. B. Woodside), joined the Scoobies in the final season. Tara Maclay (Amber Benson) is a fellow member of Willow's Wicca group during Season Four, and their friendship eventually turns into a romantic relationship. Buffy became involved personally and professionally with Riley Finn (Marc Blucas), a military operative in "the Initiative", which hunts demons using science and technology. The final season sees geeky wannabe-villain Andrew Wells (Tom Lenk) come to side with the Scoobies, who initially regard him more as a nuisance than an ally.

Buffy featured dozens of recurring characters, both major and minor. For example the "Big Bad" (villain) characters were featured for at least one season (e.g. Glorificus was a character that appeared in 13 episodes, spanning much of Season Five). Similarly, characters that allied themselves to the Scooby Gang and characters which attended the same institutions were sometimes featured in multiple episodes.

Buffy has inspired a range of official and unofficial works, including television shows, books, comics and games. This expansion of the series encouraged use of the term "Buffyverse" to describe the fictional universe in which Buffy and related stories take place.

The franchise has inspired Buffy action figures and merchandise such as official Buffy/Angel magazines and Buffy companion books. Eden Studios has published a Buffy role-playing game, while Score Entertainment has released a Buffy Collectible Card Game.

Joss Whedon was interested in a film continuation in 1998. While it has merely been entertained, at the 2008 Paley Festival, Whedon remarked that he would be enthusiastic to reunite the cast to continue the story in the form of a movie or another show. The festival featured a reunion of the major cast and contributors to the show, who all seemed excited at the idea.

Prior to this, Sarah Michelle Gellar has said that she personally did not feel a Buffy movie would work but that she would be willing to do a film depending on the script.

Whedon announced that there will not be a film version in February 2009.

The spin-off Angel was introduced in October 1999, at the start of Buffy Season Four. The series was created by Buffy's creator Joss Whedon in collaboration with David Greenwalt. Like Buffy, it was produced by the production company Mutant Enemy. At times, it performed better in the Nielsen Ratings than its parent series did.

The series was given a darker tone focusing on the ongoing trials of Angel in Los Angeles. His character is tormented by guilt following the return of his soul, punishment for more than a century of murder and torture. During the first four seasons of the show, he works as a private detective in a fictionalized version of Los Angeles, California, where he and his associates work to "help the helpless" and to restore the faith and "save the souls" of those who have lost their way. Typically, this mission involves doing battle with evil demons or demonically-allied humans (primarily the law firm Wolfram & Hart), while Angel must also contend with his own violent nature. In Season Five, the Senior Partners of Wolfram and Hart take a bold gamble in their campaign to corrupt Angel, giving him control of their Los Angeles office. Angel accepts the deal as an opportunity to fight evil from the inside.

In addition to Boreanaz, Angel inherited Buffy regular Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase). When Glenn Quinn (Allen Francis Doyle) left the series during its first season, Alexis Denisof (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce), who had been a recurring character in the last nine episodes of season three of Buffy, took his place. Carpenter and Denisof were followed later by Mercedes McNab (Harmony Kendall) and James Marsters (Spike). Several actors who played Buffy characters made guest appearances on Angel, including Seth Green (Daniel "Oz" Osbourne), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy), Eliza Dushku (Faith Lehane), Tom Lenk (Andrew Wells), and Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg). Angel also continued to appear occasionally on Buffy.

Outside of the TV series, the Buffyverse has been officially expanded and elaborated on by authors and artists in the so-called "Buffyverse Expanded Universe". The creators of these works may or may not keep to established continuity. Similarly, writers for the TV series were under no obligation to use information which had been established by the Expanded Universe, and sometimes contradicted such continuity.

Dark Horse has published the Buffy comics since 1998. In 2003, Whedon wrote an eight-issue miniseries for Dark Horse Comics entitled Fray, about a Slayer in the future. Following the publication of Tales of the Vampires in 2004, Dark Horse Comics halted publication on Buffyverse-related comics and graphic novels. The company is currently producing Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer season eight with forty issues beginning in March 2007, to pick up where the television show left off — taking the place of an eighth canonical season. The first story arc is also written by Whedon, and is called "The Long Way Home" which has been widely well-received, with circulation rivalling industry leaders DC and Marvel's top-selling titles. Also after "The Long Way Home" came other story arcs like Faith's return in "No Future for You".

Pocket Books hold the license to produce Buffy novels, of which they have published more than sixty since 1998. These sometimes flesh out background information on characters; for example, Go Ask Malice provides lots of information about Faith Lehane. The most recent novels include Carnival of Souls, Blackout, Portal Through Time, Bad Bargain, and The Deathless.

Five official Buffy video games have been released on portable and home consoles. The most recent, Chaos Bleeds, was released in 2003 for Gamecube, Xbox and PlayStation 2. On July 11, 2008, 505 Games announced that they were working on a Buffy game for the Nintendo DS, entitled Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Sacrifice.

The popularity of Buffy and Angel has led to attempts to develop more on-screen ventures in the fictional 'Buffyverse'. These projects remain undeveloped and may never be greenlighted. In 2002, two potential spinoffs were in discussion: Buffy the Animated Series and Ripper. Buffy the Animated Series was a proposed animated TV show based on Buffy; Whedon and Jeph Loeb were to be executive producers for the show, and most of the cast from Buffy were to return to voice their characters. 20th Century Fox showed an interest in developing and selling the show to another network. A three-minute pilot was completed in 2004, but was never picked up. Whedon revealed to The Hollywood Reporter: "We just could not find a home for it. We had six or seven hilarious scripts from our own staff — and nobody wanted it." Neither the pilot nor the scripts have been seen outside of the entertainment industry, though writer Jane Espenson has teasingly revealed small extracts from some of her scripts for the show.

Ripper was originally a proposed television show based upon the character of Rupert Giles portrayed by Anthony Stewart Head. More recent information has suggested that if Ripper were ever made, it would be a TV movie or a DVD movie. There was little heard about the series until 2007 when Joss Whedon confirmed that talks were almost completed for a 90 minute Ripper special on the BBC with both Head and the BBC completely on board.

In 2003, a year after the first public discussions on Buffy the Animated Series and Ripper, Buffy was nearing its end. Espenson has said that during this time spinoffs were discussed, "I think Marti talked with Joss about Slayer School and Tim Minear talked with him about Faith on a motorcycle. I assume there was some back-and-forth pitching." Espenson has revealed that Slayer School might have used new slayers and potentially included Willow Rosenberg, but Whedon did not think that such a spinoff felt right.

Finally, during the summer of 2004 after the end of Angel, a movie about Spike was proposed. The movie would have been directed by Tim Minear and starred Marsters and Amy Acker and featured Alyson Hannigan. Outside the 2006 Saturn Awards, Whedon announced that he had pitched the concept to various bodies but had yet to receive any feedback.

Buffy has had a cultural impact on a number of media. It has impacted television studies and inspired fan-made films, it has been parodied and referenced, and has even influenced other television series.

Buffy is notable for attracting the interest of scholars of popular culture as a subset of popular culture studies. Academic settings increasingly include the show as a topic of literary study and analysis. National Public Radio describes Buffy as having a "special following among academics, some of whom have staked a claim in what they call 'Buffy Studies.'" Though not widely recognized as a distinct discipline, the term "Buffy studies" is commonly used amongst the peer-reviewed academic Buffy-related writings. The response to this attention has had its critics. For example, Jes Battis, who authored Blood Relations in Buffy and Angel, admits that study of the Buffyverse "invokes an uneasy combination of enthusiasm and ire", and meets "a certain amount of disdain from within the halls of the academy". Nonetheless Buffy (1997–2003) eventually led to the publication of around twenty books and hundreds of articles examining the themes of the show from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives including sociology, Speech Communication, psychology, philosophy, and women's studies.

The popularity of Buffy has led to websites, online discussion forums, works of Buffy fan fiction and several unofficial fan-made productions.

The series, which employed pop culture references as a frequent humorous device, has itself become a frequent pop culture reference in video games, comics and television shows, and has been frequently parodied and spoofed. Sarah Michelle Gellar has participated in several parody sketches, including a Saturday Night Live sketch in which the Slayer is relocated to the Seinfeld universe, and adding her voice to an episode of Robot Chicken that parodied a would-be eighth season of Buffy. There are also several adult parodies of Buffy, web comics, and music.

Buffy helped put The WB on the ratings map, but by the time the series landed at UPN in 2001, viewing figures had fallen. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a series high during the third season with 5.3 million viewers, this probably due to the fact that both Gellar and Hannigan had hit movies out during the season (Cruel Intentions and American Pie respectively), and a series low with 3.7 million during the first season. During Season Seven, the show rarely reached above 4 million viewers. The show's series final "Chosen" pulled in a season high of 4.9 million viewers on the UPN network.

Buffy did not compete with shows on the big four networks (CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX), but The WB was impressed with the young audience that the show was bringing in. Because of this, The WB ordered a full season of 22 episodes for the series' second season. After the episode "Surprise", Buffy was moved from Monday at 9 p.m. to launch The WB's new night of programming on Tuesday. The first episode aired, "Innocence", became the highest rated episode of the entire series, attracting over 8.2 million viewers. Due to its large success in that time slot, it remained on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. for the remainder of its original run. With its new timeslot on The WB, the show quickly climbed to the top of The WB ratings and became one of their highest-rated shows for the remainder of its time on the network. The show always placed in the top 3, usually only coming in behind 7th Heaven. Between Seasons Three and Five, Buffy flip-flopped with Dawson's Creek and Charmed as the network's second highest-rated show.

In the 2001-2002 season, the show had moved to the UPN Network after a negotiation dispute with The WB. While it was still one of their highest rated shows on their network, the WB felt that the show had already peaked and was not worth giving a salary increase to the cast and crew. UPN on the other hand, had strong faith in the series and quickly grabbed it along with "Roswell". The UPN Network dedicated a 2 hour premiere to the series to help re-launch it. The premiere episode on UPN, "Bargaining, Part One", attracted over 7.7 million viewers, making it the 2nd highest rated ratings of the entire series run.

As well as influencing Doctor Who, Buffy influenced its spinoff series Torchwood.

Meanwhile, the Parents Television Council complained of efforts to "deluge their young viewing audiences with adult themes." The FCC, however, rejected the Council's indecency complaint concerning the violent sex scene between Buffy and Spike in "Smashed" The BBC, however, chose to censor some of the more controversial sexual content when it was shown on the pre-watershed 6:45pm slot.

The first season was introduced as a mid-season replacement for the short-lived night-time soap opera Savannah, and therefore was made up of only 12 episodes. Each subsequent season was built up of 22 episodes. Discounting the unaired Buffy pilot, the seven seasons make up a total of 144 Buffy episodes aired between 1997 and 2003.

Buffy has gathered a number of awards and nominations which include an Emmy Award nomination for the 2000 episode "Hush", which featured an extended sequence with no character dialogue. The 2001 episode "The Body" revolved around the death of Buffy's mother. It was filmed with no musical score, only diegetic music; it was nominated for a Nebula Award in 2002. The fall 2001 musical episode "Once More, with Feeling" received plaudits, but was omitted from Emmy nomination ballots by "accident". It has since been featured on Channel 4's "100 Greatest Musicals". In 2001, Sarah Michelle Gellar received a Golden Globe-nomination for Best Actress in a TV Series-Drama. Recently, the series was both nominated and won in the Drama Category for Television's Most Memorable Moment at the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards for "The Gift" beating The X Files, Grey's Anatomy, Brian's Song and Dallas although the sequence for this award was not aired.

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Batman (TV series)

1966 Batman titlecard.JPG

Batman is a 1960s American television series, based on the DC comic book character of the same name. It aired on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) network for two and a half seasons from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968. Despite its short run, the series had two weekly installments for most of its tenure, giving the show a total of 120 episodes (the equivalent of roughly five regular seasons). It currently airs on the AmericanLife TV Network and on BBC Four in the UK.

In the early 1960s, Ed Graham Productions optioned the TV rights to the comic strip Batman, and planned a straightforward juvenile adventure show, much like Adventures of Superman and The Lone Ranger, for CBS on Saturday mornings. Mike Henry, who would later go on to star in the Tarzan franchise, and is best known for his portrayal of Jackie Gleason's not-too-bright son Buford T. Justice, Jr. in the Smokey and the Bandit movies, was set to star as Batman.

Reportedly, DC Comics commissioned publicity photos of Henry in a Batman costume. Around this same time, the Playboy Club in Chicago was screening the Batman serials (1943's Batman and 1949's Batman and Robin) on Saturday nights. It became very popular, as the hip partygoers would cheer and applaud the Dynamic Duo, and boo and hiss at the villains. East coast ABC executive Yale Udoff, a Batman fan in childhood, attended one of these parties at the Playboy Club and was impressed with the reaction the serials were getting. He contacted West Coast ABC executives Harve Bennett and Edgar Scherick, who were already considering developing a TV series based on a comic strip action hero, to suggest a prime time Batman series in the hip and fun style of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

When negotiations between CBS and Graham stalled, DC quickly reobtained rights and made the deal with ABC. ABC farmed the rights out to 20th Century Fox to produce the series. Fox, in turn, handed the project to William Dozier and his Greenway Productions. Whereas ABC and Fox were expecting a hip and fun, yet still serious, adventure show, Dozier, who loathed comic books, concluded the only way to make the show work was to do it as a pop art camp comedy. Originally, espionage novelist Eric Ambler was to write the motion picture that would launch the TV series, but he dropped out after learning of Dozier's camp comedy approach.

By the time ABC pushed up the debut date to January 1966, thus foregoing the movie until the summer hiatus, Lorenzo Semple, Jr. had signed on as head script writer. He wrote the pilot script, and generally kept his scripts more on the side of pop art adventure. Stanley Ralph Ross, Stanford Sherman, and Charles Hoffman were script writers who generally leaned more toward camp comedy, and in Ross' case, sometimes outright slapstick and satire. Instead of producing a one-hour show, Dozier and Semple decided to have the show air twice a week in half-hour installments with a cliffhanger connecting the two episodes, echoing the old movie serials. Initially, Dozier wanted Ty Hardin to play Batman, but he was unavailable, filming Westerns in Europe. Eventually, two sets of screen tests were filmed, one with Adam West and Burt Ward, the other with Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell, with West and Ward winning the roles.

The typical story began with a villain (often one of a short list of recurring super-criminals) committing a crime, such as stealing a fabulous gem or taking over Gotham City. This was followed by a scene inside Police Commissioner Gordon's office where he and Chief O'Hara would deduce exactly which villain they were dealing with. Gordon would press a button on the Batphone, a bright red telephone located on a pedestal in his office. The scene then cut to stately Wayne Manor where Alfred the butler would answer an identical Batphone beeping loudly on the desk in Bruce Wayne's study. Frequently, Wayne and his ward Dick Grayson would be found talking with Dick's Aunt Harriet (who wasn't aware of their dual identities). Alfred would interrupt with some pretext so they could excuse themselves and answer the Batphone. Upon learning which criminal he would face this time, Bruce would push a button concealed within a bust of Shakespeare that stood on his desk causing a bookcase to slide back and revealing two poles. "To the Batpoles!" Wayne would exclaim, at which he and Grayson would slide down to the Batcave, activating a mechanism on the way that dressed them in their costumes. Often, at this point, the animated title sequence would begin.

Similar in style and content to the 1940s serials, they would arrive in the Batcave in full costume and jump into the Batmobile, Batman in the driver's seat. Robin would say "Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed" and Batman would respond "Roger, ready to move out" and the two would race off out of the cave at high speed. As the Batmobile approached the mouth of the cave (actually a tunnel entrance in Los Angeles' Bronson Canyon), a hinged barrier dropped down to allow the car to exit onto the road. Scenes from the Dynamic Duo sliding down the batpoles in the Batcave, to the arrival at Commissioner Gordon's building via the Batmobile (while the episode credits are shown), are reused footage that is used in nearly all part 1 and single episodes.

After arriving at Commissioner Gordon's office, the initial discussion of the crime usually led to the Dynamic Duo conducting their investigation alone. During the investigation, a meeting with the villain would usually ensue, with the heroes getting involved in a fight and the villain getting away, leaving a series of unlikely clues for the Duo to investigate. Later, the Duo would face the villain again, and he or she would capture one or both of the heroes and place them in a deathtrap with a cliffhanger ending which was usually resolved in the first few minutes of the next episode.

The same pattern was repeated in the following episode until the villain was defeated in a major brawl where the action was punctuated by superimposed onomatopoeic words, as in comic book fight scenes ("POW!", "BAM!", "ZOKK!", etc.). Not counting six of the Penguin's henchmen who disintegrate or get blown up in the associated Batman theatrical movie, only four criminal characters die during the series: The Riddler's moll Molly (played by Jill St. John in Episode 2) who accidentally falls into the Batcave's atomic pile, a fake "Commissioner Gordon" who gets shot by the "Bookworm," and two out-of-town gunmen who shoot at the Dynamic Duo toward the end of the "Zelda the Great" episode, but end up killing each other instead. In "Instant Freeze," Mr. Freeze freezes a butler solid and knocks him over causing him to smash to pieces. In "Green Ice," Mr. Freeze freezes a policeman solid, and in "The Penguin's Nest," a policeman is electrocuted by Penguin's accomplices. It is unclear if these last two characters survive or not.

Robin, in particular, was especially well known for saying "Holy (insert), Batman!" whenever he encountered something startling.

The series utilized a narrator (producer William Dozier, uncredited) who parodied the breathless narration style of the 1940s serials. He would end many of the cliffhanger episodes by intoning, "Tune in tomorrow — same bat-time, same bat-channel!", or, just "... same time, same channel!".

Only two of the series' guest villains ever discovered Batman's true identity: Egghead by deductive reasoning, and King Tut on two occasions (once with a bug on the Batmobile and once by accidentally mining into the Batcave). Egghead was tricked into disbelieving his discovery, and Tut's recurring amnesia made him forget both times. Also, of the big four criminals (Riddler, Joker, Penguin, and Catwoman), only Riddler never entered the Batcave. However in the movie Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt, Riddler finally entered the Batcave.

In Season 1, the dynamic duo, Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward), are super crime-fighting heroes, contending with the villains of Gotham City. It begins with the two-parter, "Hi Diddle Riddle" and "Smack in the Middle".

Aunt Harriet was reduced to just two cameo appearances during the third season, due to Madge Blake being in poor health. (Aunt Harriet was also mentioned in another episode, but was not seen; her absence was explained by her being in shock upstairs.) The nature of the scripts and acting started to enter into the realm of the surreal, specifically with the backgrounds, which became two-dimensional cut-outs against a stark black stage.

At the end of the third season, ABC planned to cut the budget by eliminating Chief O'Hara and Robin. Batgirl would become Batman's full time partner. Both Dozier and West opposed this idea, and ABC canceled the show a short time later. Weeks later, NBC offered to pick the show up for a fourth season and even restore it to its twice a week format, if the sets were still available for use. However, NBC's offer came too late: Fox had already demolished the sets a week before. NBC didn't want to pay the $800,000 to rebuild, so the offer was withdrawn. Batman was replaced on ABC by the sitcom The Second Hundred Years.

Several cast members recorded records tied in to the series. Adam West released a single titled "Miranda", a country-tinged pop song that he actually performed in costume during live appearances in the 1960s. Frank Gorshin released a song titled "The Riddler" which was composed and arranged by Mel Tormé. The track captures Gorshin's insane portrayal perfectly. Burgess Meredith recorded a spoken word single called "The Escape" backed with "The Capture", which was The Penguin narrating his recent crime spree to a jazz beat.

Other popular villains included George Sanders, Otto Preminger, and Eli Wallach as Mr. Freeze, Victor Buono as King Tut, and Vincent Price as Egghead.

Tallulah Bankhead's role as the Black Widow turned out to be her final screen appearance. Three other actors also played their final parts on Batman: Francis X. Bushman as Mr. Van Jones in episodes 31-32, Reginald Denny as Commodore Schmidlapp (in the Batman movie), and Douglass Dumbrille who portrayed the Doctor in episode 10.

Many sports, music, and media personalities, and a number of Hollywood actors, looked forward to and enjoyed their appearances as villains on the Batman show. They were generally allowed to overact and enjoy themselves on a high-rated TV series, guaranteeing them considerable exposure (and thus boosting their careers). The most popular villains on the show included Cesar Romero as the Joker, Burgess Meredith as The Penguin, Frank Gorshin as The Riddler, and Julie Newmar as Catwoman. Other famous names from the "rogues gallery" in the comic book series made appearances on the show (notably The Mad Hatter), and some were taken from other superheroes, such as The Archer and The Puzzler (Superman villains) and The Clock King (a Green Arrow villain). Many other villains were created especially for the TV show, and never did appear in the comic books (e.g., The Siren, Chandel, Bookworm, King Tut, Lord Ffogg, Dr. Cassandra, and Louie the Lilac), while some were hybrids. The comics' Mr. Zero was renamed Mr. Freeze (a name change that was copied in the comics with lasting effect), and the comics' Brainy Barrows was reworked as Egghead.

Other celebrities often appeared in scenes where the Dynamic Duo were scaling a building wall and the celebrity would suddenly open a window and have a short conversation with the superheroes. Lesley Gore, a popular singer of the '60's, played "Pussycat" one of Catwoman's henchwomen. On the January 19, 1967 episode, she sang her top 20 hit "California Nights". Gore was also the niece of Howie Horwitz, one of the show's producers.

Adam West enjoys the story that he was part of two of the three Big B's of the 1960s: Batman, The Beatles and Bond. West says he was actually invited to play Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service based on his popularity as Batman, but declined the role as he felt it should be played by a British actor (ironically, the role went to an Australian, George Lazenby).

The popularity of the TV show did not translate well to the silver screen, however. A movie version of the TV show was released to theaters (see Batman (1966 film)), but it did not become a large box office hit, even though creatively the movie was generally regarded to be just as good as the first season episodes, and superior to most of the second and third season episodes. The movie continued to be profitably re-released to theaters, TV, and video for decades. Originally, the movie had been created to help sell the TV series abroad, but the success of the series in America sold itself, and the movie was brought out after season one had already been aired. In fact, the movie's budget allowed for producers to build the Batboat and Batcopter, which were used in the second and third seasons of the TV show.

The live-action TV show was extraordinarily popular. At the height of its popularity, it was the only prime time TV show other than Peyton Place to be broadcast twice in one week as part of its regular schedule, airing at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. Episodes of the show were often filmed as two-part cliffhangers, with each storyline beginning on Wednesday and ending on the Thursday night episode. At the very end of the Thursday night segment, a little tag featuring the next week's villain would be shown, e.g.: "Next week -- Batman jousts with The Joker again!" (this started the third week of the series' run and continued until the end of season two). The first episode of a storyline would typically end with Batman and Robin being trapped in a ridiculous deathtrap, while the narrator (Dozier) would tell viewers to watch the next night with the repeated phrase: "Tune in tomorrow — same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!" Even now, many years after the show ceased production, this catch-phrase is still a long-running punchline in popular culture.

Batman would even have influence in the sports world. During the height of the show's popularity, the Pittsburgh Steelers--a team that rarely experiments with uniform changes--unveiled new uniforms influenced by Adam West's Batman outfits. The uniforms were introduced for the 1966 NFL season, and had gold triangle-like diamonds on the shoulders of both the black home jerseys and white away jerseys. However, the jerseys turned out to be very unpopular and, coupled with consistent losing, were discarded in 1968 in favor of the team's current-style uniforms.

In 1972, Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig reunited as Robin and Batgirl, with Dick Gautier stepping in as Batman (Adam West was, at the time, trying to distance himself from the Batman role) for a Women's Liberation Equal Pay public service announcement. In 1977, Adam West and Burt Ward returned to the Batman universe in animated form. West and Ward lent their voices to Batman and Robin respectively, on the Filmation-produced animated series, The New Adventures of Batman. West would once again reprise his role as Batman in animated form when he succeeded Olan Soule in the final two seasons of Super Friends. In 1979, West, Ward, and Frank Gorshin reunited on NBC for Hanna-Barbera's two Legends of the Superheroes TV specials. In the 1980s, several cast members would team up for a series of celebrity editions of Family Feud.

The series' stars, Adam West and Burt Ward, were typecast for decades afterwards, with West especially finding himself unable to escape the reputation the series gave him as a hammy, campy actor. However, years after the series' impact faded, West found fame and respect among comic book and animation fans, who appreciated his work on the TV series. One of the more popular episodes of Batman: The Animated Series paid tribute to West with an episode titled "The Grey Ghost". In this episode, West played the role of an aging star of a superhero TV series Bruce Wayne had watched as a child, and would be inspired by as a crimefighter, who found new popularity with the next generation of fans. He would also play Gotham City's Mayor Grange as a somewhat recurring role in The Batman. In addition, the most frequent visual influence is that later Batmobiles usually have a rear rocket thruster that usually fires as the car makes a fast start.

In 2003, West and Ward reunited for a tongue-in-cheek telefilm titled Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt which combined dramatized recreations of the filming of the original series (with younger actors standing in for the stars), with modern day footage of West and Ward searching for a stolen Batmobile. The film included cameo appearances by Newmar and Gorshin, as well as Lee Meriwether, who had played Catwoman in the 1966 film and Lyle Waggoner, who had been an early candidate for the role of Batman. Yvonne Craig did not appear in the movie because she reportedly disliked the script. The movie received high ratings and was released on DVD May 2005.

A line spoken by Robin (Chris O'Donnell) in Batman Forever is a straight homage to the TV Robin's catch-phrase. During the movie he says, "Holey rusted metal, Batman," (referring to the island's land-scape which is made from rusted metal and has holes in it) which sounds intentionally similar to lines spoken by Robin beginning with the word "Holy" and ending with "...Batman".

Despite considerable popular demand, no official home entertainment release (VHS, laserdisc or DVD) of the series has occurred to date in North America, with the situation seemingly unlikely to be resolved in the near future.

The series, under the Fox/ABC deal, is however still in syndication, and regularly shown on a number of channels around the world. Thus far, though, only the 1966 feature film is available on DVD for non-broadcast viewing in North America. This also affected the 2003 television movie reunion Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt, which was only able to make use of footage from the 1966 movie.

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Apple TV

The Apple TV's software is based on Front Row used on Mac OS X.

Apple TV is a digital media receiver device manufactured, marketed and sold by Apple. It is a network device designed to play digital content originating from any Mac OS X or Windows computer running iTunes onto an enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen television. Apple TV can function as either a home theater-connected iPod device or a digital media receiver, depending on the needs of the user. It was first announced at a special press event in San Francisco, California on September 12, 2006, by Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

The devices started shipping on March 21, 2007. This initial version shipped with 40 GB of storage. A second version with a larger 160 GB hard disk started shipping on May 31, 2007.

Apple TV was first announced at a special press event in San Francisco, California on September 12, 2006, at which Apple CEO Steve Jobs also announced enhanced fifth generation iPods, the addition of films to the iTunes Store and the release of version 7 of iTunes. The final product name was not announced at the event, but was instead referred to by its codename iTV.

Jobs again previewed Apple TV during his January 9 keynote speech at the 2007 Macworld Expo, where he announced that Apple would begin taking pre-orders for the device. Apple TV started shipping on March 21, 2007.

A second version with a larger 160 GB hard disk started shipping on May 31, 2007. On January 15, 2008, Jobs announced a major software upgrade to the Apple TV system (dubbed "Take Two") at the 2008 San Francisco Macworld Event. The free update removed the requirement for another computer running the iTunes software client to stream or load content to the device. The update also added the ability to rent and purchase movies and music from the iTunes Store directly from the device, as well as download podcasts and stream photos live from MobileMe (.Mac at the time) and Flickr.

Apple TV connects to a television or other video equipment through either High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) or component video connections. The product does not come with any connecting cables in the box (other than an AC power cable), so the user must supply either a HDMI cable or component video/stereo audio cables.

Although Apple's website states that an enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen television is required, Apple confirmed to MacLife that the unit does work with standard definition TVs with component video connectors, but the picture may be vertically stretched if the TV does not support anamorphic widescreen (a video encoding technique used to optimize the vertical picture by aspect ratio). Audio is supported via a digital optical port, analog (RCA connector) audio ports, and through the HDMI port. The device connects to other computers either through an Ethernet connection, or wirelessly through the standard IEEE 802.11b, g, and n wireless protocols. A USB port is also included on the device, but is reserved for service and diagnostics.

AirTunes allows an AirPort-enabled computer with the iTunes music player to send a stream of music to multiple (three to six, in typical conditions) stereos connected to an AirPort Express or Apple TV.

The AirPort Express' streaming media capabilities use Apple's Remote Audio Output Protocol (RAOP), a proprietary variant of RTSP/RTP. Using WDS-bridging, the AirPort Express can allow AirTunes functionality (as well as Internet access, file and print sharing, etc.) across a larger distance in a mixed environment of wired and up to 10 wireless clients.

AirTunes can be controlled by a Keyspan USB-enabled infrared remote control plugged into the USB port, but the Apple Remote's volume buttons cannot control AirTunes. However volume control can be adjusted using the slider within iTunes. Unfortunately, AirTunes will not stream a video's audio.

Several third-party AirPort Express clients can connect an AirPort Express to sources other than iTunes, including Airfoil for Mac OS X, Windows, JustePort for Windows, and raop-play for Linux.

Apple TV comes with the standard Apple Remote, although after the 2.3 software update, the Apple TV can be programmed to recognize commands from virtually any infrared remote control. Apple TV can optionally be paired with one particular remote to prevent conflicts from other IR-capable devices.

Out of the box, the default setting is unpaired which means any Apple Remote works with the device. Apple plans to continue offering new features through automatic software upgrades, leaving the door open to further utilization of its hardware capabilities and new software developments.

On July 10, 2008, Apple released Remote, a free application that allows for a Wi-Fi-based remote control of the iTunes library on the Apple TV and computers of the Mac line using Apple's line of devices with iPhone OS 2.0 (currently the iPhone and iPod Touch), on the App Store. That same day, Apple released the Apple TV 2.1 software update that added both recognition for the iPhone and iPod Touch as remote control devices and support for MobileMe. The remote control now allows for adjustment of playback volume.

In synchronization mode, Apple TV works in a similar way to the iPod. It is paired with an iTunes library on a single computer and can then synchronize with that library, copying content to its own hard drive. After syncing, Apple TV is not required to remain connected to the network for the device to continue functioning. Sync modes include "automatic" for synchronizing all iTunes content to the hard drive (in a specific priority), or "selected content" to only synchronize specified content.

However, syncing iTunes content to Apple TVs hard drive is not required, and Apple TV can also function as a peer-to-peer digital media receiver, streaming content from iTunes libraries and playing the content over the network. Streaming performance of movies and TV shows purchased from the iTunes Store over an 802.11g wireless network was described by CNET's John P. Falcone as "impressive". Apple TV also includes the unapproved wireless-n standard for streaming 720p High-definition video (HD) content.

Practical Technology comments that using the built-in streaming capabilities of Apple TV negates the need for more storage and Macworld's Christopher Breen says the "cramped" space and slow synchronization on the 40 GB model would be an issue if not for Apple TV's good streaming capabilities. Third-party functionality extends streaming beyond the home network to enable streaming of Apple TV content across the Internet.

Apple TV can stream content from up to five computers/iTunes libraries and five Apple TVs can be linked to the same iTunes library. On a single network, iLounge's Jeremy Horwitz tested "two Apple TVs with one computer, multiple computers with one Apple TV, and multiple computers with multiple Apple TVs" and all tests passed successfully. However Jeremy did note that syncing multiple Apple TVs simultaneously in the same environment might cause network slowdowns.

With the 'Take 2' software update announced by Steve Jobs at Macworld 2008, Apple TV is capable of acting as a pure stand-alone device, no longer requiring a computer running iTunes on Mac OS X or Windows to stream or sync content to it. The update allows users to access the iTunes store directly through the Apple TV and purchase music, movies, and television directly. At the same announcement, Apple unveiled movie rentals through iTunes, which can be streamed/synced from another computer running iTunes or downloaded directly.

Apple TV presents a simple interface based on the Front Row software for Mac OS X 10.4+ computers. Content is organized into six groups (Movies, TV Shows, Music, YouTube, Podcasts, and Photos), and is presented in the initial menu along with options that allow the user to change "Settings". These initial menu options then lead to other submenus. The included Apple Remote is used to navigate through the menus by using the up or down buttons and selecting options with the play button. The left/right buttons are used to perform rewind and fast-forward functions while viewing video content, but also perform previous song/next song functionality when selecting audio-only content.

Aside from "Movies" and "TV Shows" content, the "TV Shows" options allows the user to sort contents by show or date and the "Movies" option also allows the user to view movie trailers for new releases, just as the Front Row software does on a Mac. All video content, including movies, TV shows, music videos, and video podcasts, includes bookmark functionality. Apple TV automatically bookmarks video content midstream to continue playback at a later time. The "Music" submenu offers similar options to those found on an iPod, presenting the available music sorted by Artist, Album, Songs, Genres, and Composers, as well as offering a shuffle option and listing available audiobooks. As categories are selected with the remote, animated album art is displayed on the side of the display for the contents of the selected category. While playing "audio-only" content such as music and audio podcasts, Apple TV periodically moves album art and content info on the TV display to prevent burn-in on video displays.

The ability to access pictures from MobileMe and Flickr was added to the Apple TV with the "Take 2" software update in February 2008.

Content has to be in certain formats to play on the Apple TV. It supports video encoded with either the H.264 video codec for a maximum resolution of 720p (up to 1280x720 pixels) at 25 frame/s or the MPEG-4 video codec for a maximum resolution of 720x432 (432p) or 640x480 pixels at 30 frame/s. Audio can be encoded with AAC (16-320 kbit/s), MP3 (16-320 kbit/s, with VBR), Apple Lossless, AIFF, or WAV audio codecs. It also has support for files encrypted with the FairPlay Digital Rights Management technology. For photos it supports the JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, and PNG image file formats. Attempts to sync unsupported content to Apple TV will result in iTunes error message(s) because iTunes supports more formats than Apple TV.

Apple TV supports content purchased or rented from the iTunes store. A user can purchase iTunes Store content from Apple TV itself or stream/sync purchased/rented content from a computer running the iTunes software client.

Apple TVs audio chip supports 7.1 surround sound, and some High Definition rentals from iTunes are offered with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. In 2007, the Apple TV only officially supported Dolby Pro Logic simulated 5.1, though unofficially the full 5.1 Surround Sound digital discrete works if a 5.1-capable receiver is connected via the optical cable to Apple TV and the audio content is encoded as lossless.

Aside from content obtained from the iTunes Store, Apple included an "Export to Apple TV" option in an update to their QuickTime software that was released days before Apple TV started shipping. This allows content in some formats that the device does not support to be re-encoded into accepted formats for playback on the device. Applications which make use of QuickTime to export media also have access to the "Export to Apple TV" option, for example iMovie. Some third-party content conversion tools also provide "Export to Apple TV" options and Macworld has created a guide for using the tools to convert media to Apple TV-compatible formats.

As soon as the Apple TV was released, users began examining it to see if it could be modified. Hacks were available for Apple TV within days of the release. Apple is not currently preventing users from installing Apple TV hacks, but users are warned that applying hacks will void the product's warranty.

News sites were reporting that some users had worked out how to upgrade the hard drive on their Apple TVs, add AC-3 (Dolby Digital) 5.1 channel support, add support for other codecs, allow the Apple TV to display Composite (non-HDTV) color output and create Front Row plugins. and offered a US$1,000 reward for an external USB drive hack to utilize the USB "service port". On July 28, 2007, the USB hack was released for version 1.0 of the Apple TV firmware; it does not work on the "YouTube" version 1.1 firmware.

Particular attention was paid to the device's operating system, which had been described by Walt Mossberg before the release as "a modified version of the Mac operating system". Users worked out how to access the device remotely through SSH, how to get Apple TV's version of Front Row running on other Apple computers, and how to install regular versions of Mac OS X v10.4 or Linux on the device.

Initially, hacking required physical changes to the hardware; the bottom rubber panel must be removed (which is near impossible to do perfectly) and the hard drive connected to a computer. This leaves the rubber not fully connected and a sticky residue on the bottom metal. It is an aesthetic barrier to modification. Nevertheless, the community-created "Patchstick" project enabled Apple TV owners to add software modifications since spring 2007. All a user had to do was download a Patchstick image to a USB drive and reboot the Apple TV from the drive.

In 2007, Mauricio Pastrana found and published a way to enable the Apple TV to output color through composite video. Albeit not a product-changing modification, this hardware-based hack, which requires inexpensive hardware to trick the built-in operating system, enabled users with non-HDTV TV sets, for which the Apple TV was originally designed, to connect Apple TVs to them.

The Apple TV 1.1 update removes any hacks that are installed. The device can easily be re-hacked, but support for remote file system mounting is removed along with RemoteManagement, AppleFileServer and many other components. By late June, hackers restored most capabilities that were lost after the update. A "safe update" process was created to retain Apple TV network and USB capabilities by manually installing updated files from Apple TV 1.1 (such as the YouTube player) onto an Apple TV while retaining the 1.0 kernel.

The same happened with Apple TV "Take 2" (the 2.0 update), where all hacks were erased upon update. However, many options have surfaced which allow for the full feature set to be reinstalled. The most common method used to install the hack is the patchstick.

It is also possible to have a repair company like iResQ install hard drive upgrades with data transfer. The company offers upgrades to 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, and 250GB hard drives.

Concerns were raised about the Apple TV when it was originally released regarding the dependency on connectivity to a home computer via iTunes. Although users can view YouTube as well as movie and TV previews directly through the Internet, most functionality used to depend on content originating from an iTunes-connected home computer. Some of Apple TV's competitors could download movie content directly from the Internet, but an Apple TV user could not purchase or download iTunes content directly from Apple TV until the January 2008 update, which now allows all Apple TVs to download content from the iTunes Store directly without the use of a computer. Apple's Mac mini in many ways is a more expensive, and fuller featured substitute that addresses many issues of past and current Apple TV models.

Other concerns have been expressed about the lack of personal video recorder capabilities on Apple TV, Apple TV does not contain a TV tuner, but a tuner and PVR capability can be applied on the connected home computer through a third party. The PVR software will connect to iTunes, enabling scheduled HDTV recordings to automatically appear on Apple TV for playback.

Some people feel that the Front Row interface is lacking standard iTunes functionality, including rating items, synchronizing from more than one computer, shuffling, interrupting a shuffle, displaying a video timeline, Internet radio support, and games.

A major limitation is that Apple TV/itunes is "not designed" to sync content such as photos from networked drives to Apple TV. Content which can be synced has to be on the local drive or an external drive directly connected to the syncing computer.

Apple TV is seen by some to have limited out-of-the-box support for video and audio codecs, although Apple TV supports the same MP4 and H.264 codecs the video iPod and iPhone do. Media conversion tools are available, but conversion "almost always" involves a loss of quality as well as the time and effort costs to perform the conversions.

Image quality of Apple TV content has also been noted as a concern. 1080i or 1080p HD content (e.g. content originating from HD cameras) must be downgraded in quality for use on Apple TV. Users without the technical knowledge to convert HD content to lower quality may have to resort to downloading low-quality iTunes Store movie content. Note that iTunes Store 720p HD-quality content is available via video podcasts. Apple also offers 4 Mbit/s H.264 720p HD movies for rental via iTunes. For comparison, broadcast and cable HD movies are up to 19 Mbit/s MPEG2 720p and Blu-ray HD movies are up to 40 Mbit/s H.264 or VC-1 1080p.

Yahoo!'s Ben Patterson has criticized Apple for having "lost interest" in the Apple TV with "a full six months passing since the last Apple TV software update". However, this criticism, while warranted, was stated in advance of the Apple TV "Take 2" update in February 2008.

Apple TV content cannot be used with older televisions, although 480i is unofficially supported as long as the TV supports component video connectivity. RCA/composite video and F/RF connectors are not included on the Apple TV device. Reviewers have noted that Apple is "future-proofing", and "if you do not have HDTV now, you will in the future".

An Apple Remote can be used on a Macintosh computer for both Front Row navigation as well as volume control, but cannot be used the same way on Apple TV. Mainstream universal remotes have been updated for use with Apple TV and can be used to control volume.

Apple TV comes with only a power cable. Apple has teamed up with a third party to provide cables for its customers. A USB port is included on the device, but it is reserved for service use only.

The Apple TV device runs "very hot", sometimes reaching 44° C (111° F). According to Apple, this is normal. There is no off button or function on the Apple TV (although there is a sleep function) so the only way to cool the Apple TV is to unplug it in sleep mode.

In March 2007, reviewers mentioned the lack of expansion options once the hard drive on the 40 GB model fills up. In late May 2007, Apple introduced a version of the Apple TV with 160 GB of storage space. Another former limitation required photos to be synced to the device, but this was fixed in a June 2007 iTunes update.

In 2007, the Apple TV was unable to purchase content without streaming or syncing it from a computer. It was also unable to play Dolby Digital 5.1 surround as QuickTime and Apple TV did not ship with an AC-3 codec, and iTunes Store content only supported 4.0 surround sound. In January 2008, Apple announced the 'Take 2' software update, allowing users to purchase TV shows and movies directly from Apple TV, and to rent movies in standard or high definition with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. The update also allows pictures to be viewed from Flickr.

The 2.2 update added the ability to add songs to On-The-Go playlists as well as the ability to generate Genius playlists. Many users complained about the lack of "Genius" functionality after the release of iTunes 8.0. It also meant that users could buy HD television shows.

Within the first week of presales in January 2007, Apple TV was the top selling item at the Apple Store. Orders exceeded 100,000 units by the end of January and Apple began ramping-up to sell over a million units prior to the 2007 holiday season. Analysts began to see the device as a "DVD killer" that has the ability to enable multiple services. Analysts also predicted that Apple could sell up to 1.5 million units in the first year. Besides the Apple Store, Best Buy was one of the first retailers to carry the device; Target and Costco followed shortly thereafter.

Two months into sales, Forrester Research predicted that Apple will only sell a million Apple TV units, since advertisement-supported content will win the war against paid content. Forrester predicted that cable companies will be the clear winners over content providers such as the iTunes Store. Shortly thereafter, Apple released YouTube functionality and Jobs stated that Apple TV is a "DVD player for the Internet". Market analysts immediately saw that YouTube on Apple TV "provides a glimpse of this product's potential and its future evolution", but overall, analysts have mixed reactions regarding the future of Apple TV. Some negative reactions followed after Jobs referred to the device as a "hobby", implying it was less significant than the Macintosh, iPod, and iPhone.

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Source : Wikipedia