In “Joss Whedon: The Biography,” author Amy Pascale details how the writers would think of interesting and compelling moments and then work backwards to “break” the story around them. The example Pascale gives is season one, episode five, “Never Kill a Boy on the First Date” where the writers had the concept of Buffy being on a date that goes awry when her date is cornered by a vampire, but had to work backwards to develop the story surrounding it.
For season one of “Buffy,” there were several of these concepts that the writing team was never able to “break.” These included such simple ideas as the Scoobies finding a box in Sunnydale High School that they didn’t know how to open. Writer Dean Batali claimed the team “spent four or five hours one night” trying to figure out the story beats that would lead up to the box’s discovery and the reason why it couldn’t be opened, but that ultimately, none of the writers could figure it out and the concept was dropped.
Batali revealed another abandoned episode idea which Whedon was quite enamored with. As the writer explained, “There was another story about the idea of a race of demons that are aliens. Joss really liked the idea that demons were actually aliens, that they were from outer space.” Hey, the show has done weirder. In a season that saw demons being uploaded to the internet and Xander becoming possessed by the malevolent spirit of a Hyena — one of the spookiest episodes of “Buffy” — demons from outer space wouldn’t have seemed too out of place. But another potential narrative that was never written might well have stretched credulity a tad too far, which in this show is saying something.