5 times 'The Vampire Diaries' and 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' had the same plot

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Friday, March 10, marks the 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as the series finale of the CW's The Vampire Diaries. While the two shows have the word "vampire" in their title, they couldn't be any more different. Buffy is about a young woman destined to fight the things that go bump in the night, while The Vampire Diaries is about two vampire brothers and a girl who gets between them. But with that said, they did share a lot of similarities. Check out five times The Vampire Diaries and Buffy the Vampire Slayer had the same plot.

1. The premiere episode similarities

Surprisingly, both premiere episodes start off in the same manor. A random person is killed before the opening credits and the death kicks off the drama. In the case of Buffy, which first premiered in 1997, the victim is killed by a vampire named Darla and stuffed into a gym locker for a student to find the next day. That draws Buffy's attention, ultimately helping her to accept her role as the Slayer. For The Vampire Diaries, which premiered in 2009, the random death at the beginning is committed by Damon, but blamed on an "animal attack." No one in town is suspicious, except for Stefan Salvatore's uncle, who knows that vampires are to blame.

The pre-opening credits death is not the only thing that the two premieres have in common. They also use a new student's first-day of school to introduce the characters. For Buffy, Buffy is the new student at Sunnydale High and meets Xander, Willow, Cordelia and Giles. In The Vampire Diaries, Stefan is the newcomer to Mystic Falls high school and meets Elena, Bonnie, Caroline, Matt and Tyler.

2. The teacher who gets involved with everything

Every high school seems to have that "cool" teacher who knows about all the supernatural stuff going on. In Buffy, that was librarian Giles and computer teacher Jenny Calendar. Alaric is The Vampire Diaries version of the well-informed school teacher. And similar to Jenny secretly keeping an eye on Angel, Alaric moved to town so that way he could find the vampire who killed his wife — Damon.

3. Some very painful venom

It's easy to compare Angel with Damon. Both the characters want to do good, but they also have a very dark and dangerous past. They also have getting poisoned in common — and close to graduation day, no less! In Buffy season three, episode 21, slayer turned baddie Faith shoots Angel with an arrow on the day before Buffy's graduation. The arrow is laced with a special poison that can kill vampires, and the blood of the Slayer is the only cure. 

Damon gets similarly poisoned right before Elena's graduation in season four, episode 23. He's shot with a bullet that is laced with werewolf venom, and the only cure is to drink the blood of Klaus, who is a werewolf/vampire hybrid.

4. The body switch-a-roo

In season 4, episode 15 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Faith awakens from a coma to find her father figure, the Mayor, has been killed. But he did leave a present for her — a magical tool that allows her to switch bodies with Buffy.

The Vampire Diaries played with the same idea in season five, episode 11. Elena's doppelgänger, Katherine, is on her death bed and uses an ancient spell to transfer her into Elena's body. They technically don't switch bodies, but the scenes are definitely similar. 

5. Secret college organizations

College wouldn't be any fun if there weren't any secret organizations wreaking havoc on campus. Buffy introduced a group called the Initiative. The Initiative is a military operation at University of California — Sunnydale that fights and experiments on supernatural beings. The Vampire Diaries version of this is Augustine. Like the Initiative, they experiment on vampires. However, they are not a government organization and are mainly scientists.

Bonus: The locked in a box plot

This similarity is a bonus because technically The Vampire Diaries borrowed the "locked in a box" plotline from Angel, the Buffy spinoff series. In season four, episode 23, Stefan is locked in a giant safe by his evil doppelgänger and thrown into a water-filled quarry. Angel faces a very similar fate in season three, episode 22. His son Connor overpowers him, locks him in a metal container and throws him into the ocean.

Mic has ongoing Buffy the Vampire Slayer coverage in honor of the show's 20th anniversary. Check out our main Buffy hub here and the main Vampire Diaries hub here.