Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Superstar

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Season 4, Episode 17
Airdate April 4, 2000
Production Number 4ABB17
Writer(s) Jane Espenson
Director(s) David Grossman
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Superstar is the seventeenth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the seventy-third episode overall.

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Marc Blucas (Riley Finn), James Marsters (Spike)

And: Anthony Stewart Head (Giles)

Guest Starring: Danny Strong (Jonathan Levinson), Amber Benson (Tara Maclay), Bailey Chase (Graham Miller), Robert Patrick Benedict (Jape), John Saint Ryan (Col. George Haviland), George Hertzberg (Adam), Emma Caulfield (Anya)

Co-Starring: Erica Luttrell (Karen), Adam Clark (Cop), Chanie Costello (Inga), Julie Costello (Ilsa)


Plot Overview


Monster of the Week

Jonathan performed an augmentation spell that transforms the sorcerer into a paragon—the best of everything and everyone's ideal. However, the spell has the drawback of creating an exact opposite force, a demon which resembles everyone's greatest nightmare. When the demon was killed by Jonathan, the world reverted to normal and Jonathan assumed his old position at the bottom of the social food chain.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Vampire Buffy Staked Cemetery
2 Vampire Buffy Shot with Crossbow Nest
3–4 Vampires Jonathan Shot with Crossbow Nest
5 Vampire Buffy Shot with Crossbow Nest
6 Vampire Jonathan Shot with Crossbow Nest
7 Librarian Adam Shot with Crossbow Nest
8 Demon Jonathan Pushed Down a Hole Cave


  • "Trapped" performed by Royal Crown Revue: In the first scene at the Bronze, before Jonathan comes on stage, Royal Crown Revue is on stage performing "Trapped", a song from the band's 1999 album Walk On Fire. The band is often credited with starting the swing music revival of the mid-1990s.
  • "Serenade in Blue" performed by Royal Crown Revue: After Jonathan takes the stage he, and the rest of Royal Crown Revue, perform a swing version of "Serenade in Blue". The song is a big band standard which most popularly was performed by Glenn Miller and his orchestra. Danny Strong is not the one performing the vocals, however. He's lip-syncing to vocals performed by Brad Kane, who played Tucker Wells in "The Prom".

Arc Advancement


  • Big Bad: Adam is apparently powered by a trace of uranium which effectively will power him forever. Additionally, Jonathan claims that cutting off Adam's head isn't going to destroy him.



  • 3x18 - Earshot: Jonathan makes a direct reference to the time when he was contemplating suicide in the Sunnydale High School bell tower. He holed up with a rifle, but was stopped by Buffy during her brief stint as a mind-reader. She didn't realize that Jonathan was planning to kill himself though, she thought she was averting a school shooting.
Jonathan: After the thing with the bell tower and the gun...


The Show

  • Opening: The opening credits sequence was recut in this episode to insert about 10 shots of Jonathan performing stunts from this episode between the billed characters. The end of the credits, usually signified with a close-up on Buffy, is also changed to into a near parody of the last scene in the Angel credits (except shot from the opposite angle).
  • Comics: The Jonathan comic book on Xander's coffee table is real, although at the time that the episode first aired it was not available for purchase. Dark Horse Comics published a one-shot story in January 2001 set in Jonathan's alternate universe, written by Jane Espenson (who also wrote this episode).

Behind the Scenes

  • International: Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been dubbed into many different languages and the title translated for each different international version. Some international translations of this episode's title are:
    • French: "Superstar"
    • Italian: "Superstar"
    • German: "Jonathan Superstar"
    • Spanish: "Superstar"

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments