The Scooby Gang, or "Scoobies", are a group of characters in the cult television series and comic book Buffy the Vampire Slayer who battle the supernatural forces of evil. The team consists of Buffy Summers and her friends and colleagues who assist her in her duties as the Slayer. First forming in the Season One episode "The Harvest" to prevent The Master from opening a portal to hell, the line-up of the group varied from year to year, but the core that remained intact throughout the series' run was Buffy herself and her best friends, Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg, as well as her Watcher, Rupert Giles.
The group was first referred to as the Scooby Gang by Xander in the Season Two episode "What's My Line, Part One" as a reference to the group of ghost-hunting teenagers from the cartoon Scooby-Doo. Coincidentally, Sarah Michelle Gellar, the actress who plays Buffy on the show, would later also appear as Daphne Blake in the films Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.
The Scooby Gang usually take an unimpressed, flippant attitude towards extraordinary events and supernatural occurrences. Originally a group of teenage friends attending Sunnydale High in a town built on top of a Hellmouth, the group gradually expanded, eventually merging with the Watchers' Council to become a global organization dealing with demonic threats worldwide and training thousands of Slayers. In the beginning, Buffy often had to protect her friends from monsters, but over the course of the series most of them gained superpowers and fighting skills of their own, with Xander the only notable member with no mystical abilities or connection to the supernatural, though he does acquire extensive military knowledge thanks to a spell. Due to the show's strong themes of female empowerment, the most powerful members of the team are often female (Buffy and Willow), while the men play passive roles such as that of father-figure (Giles) and supportive best friend (Xander). Also, in keeping with the show's themes of redemption and moral ambiguity, Willow, Angel, Faith, Anya, and Andrew have at some point in their lives descended into darkness, even to the point of killing other people.
At least initially, in Season Eight (a canonical continuation of the series in comic book format), the Scoobies are scattered across the world. In addition to the primary gang, there are short of 2000 Slayers, many of whom work with the expanded organization in addition to witches, psychics and other staff. The core Scoobies now each act as important figures in the new Watcher's Council and maintain a role of leadership and authority amongst the Slayers they employ. With the group scattered, communication is maintained primarily through phone calls, and the group leaders (in particular the core three) now assume more superhero positions and parallels than in previous seasons. Former allies in Season 7 such as Andrew and Rona now lead squads of their own.
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