I recently had the chance to interview over the phone in anticipation of her appearance at Dallas Comic Con Feb. 7-8.
Emma Caulfield’s stint as Anya Jenkins on ended more than a decade ago. But like Star Trek and The Brady Bunch, the program is more popular now than it was during its original run.
“We were on a low-rated, not-even network,” Caulfield says of the show, which ran on the WB from 1997-2001 and on UPN from 2001 to 2003. “It wasn’t this huge show like Lost or something. It was a small group of people that grew and grew.”
Caulfield, who tickled viewers’ funny bones as a former vengeance demon, credits a certain streaming service for Buffy’s staying power and its iconic status as a cult classic.
“Netflix has a lot to do with it,” Caulfield says. “Netflix is responsible for a lot of shows that didn’t have necessarily the best go at first. Like Breaking Bad, for example. Netflix singlehandedly saved that show. It was on Netflix while new episodes were still coming out, and people were like, ‘This is amazing,’ and it grew from there.”
Caulfield has a great deal of affection for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, calling her former co-workers “the best crew I’ve ever worked with,” but she “only saw the show once during its run” and hasn’t watched it since. She knows that Anya, one of the quirkier characters on the program, has a place in pop culture history, but she has moved on to other projects.
“The fans know so much more about Buffy than I do,” Caulfield says. “When I go to a comic con or someplace where the groups gather, then it hits me that yeah, I am totally a part of this cultural icon.”
Caulfield’s next stop on the convention circuit is Dallas Comic Con Fan Days, taking place Saturday and Sunday at the Irving Convention Center. She’ll be barraged with Buffy questions, of course, but she’ll also be happy to field questions on her work in films, including a sci-fi rom-com hybrid called TiMER (2009), which, like Buffy, has devoted fans and is currently streaming on Netflix (it’s available on DVD as well).
“TiMER was in theaters for maybe two weeks, and it just came and went,” Caulfield says. “It is a small indie movie that a handful of people saw, and then it got on Showtime and then Netflix, and it grew like crazy, like watching a Chia Pet grow. It now has an enormous cult following. I’m very proud of TiMER.”
In 2014, Caulfield appeared in three films, including Back in the Day, which also starred Morena Baccarin, of V and Firefly fame, and Michael Rosenbaum, best-known for playing Lex Luthor on Smallville.
“Michael and Morena I hadn’t met, but they were both involved in the past on cult shows, so we ended up gravitating together,” Caulfield says. “Back in the Day is this very fun coming-home comedy, and we had a blast filming it. I think I laughed the whole time.”
Dallas Comic Con Fan Days will be Caulfield’s first trip to the Metroplex, but she says she probably won’t have time to visit the Stockyards in Fort Worth or The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas.
“When I do these conventions, I never see anything,” she says. “You’re in the convention hall until the show closes. You’re tired, you go get something to eat. You get room service, and you go to bed. And you do it again the next day, and then you leave. All I see is the inside of the convention hall.”
Despite the lack of sight-seeing, Caulfield enjoys traveling to different cities, meeting and greeting fans.
“Everyone’s always real nice,” she says. “People are just happy to be there and happy to meet you. It all goes by very quickly.”
For Caulfield, a self-professed nerd (she says she knows every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation by heart), one of the perks of working the convention circuit is schmoozing with fellow actors.
“It’s always nice seeing people you haven’t seen in a while, or people you’ve wanted to meet,” she says. “That’s always cool. You kind of fan-girl out.”
This weekend, at Dallas Comic Con Fan Days, Caulfield and everyone else can “fan-girl out” in the presence of such celebrities as Stephen Amell, who plays Oliver Queen on Arrow, Melissa McBride, who plays Carol on The Walking Dead, and Billie Piper, who played Rose Tyler on the new Doctor Who.
Other guests set to appear include Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek), John Barrowman (Torchwood), Chris Sarandon (The Princess Bride) and Terry Farrell (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), among others. Most celebrities charge an extra fee for autographs and photo ops.
Caulfield spends most of her time at comic cons behind her table, but this weekend she hopes to make time to browse the convention floor, where attendees can shop for comic books, super-hero T-shirts, action figures, trading cards and other geeky memorabilia.
“I’ve always been a nerd,” Caulfield says. “And I’m fine with it. I like it. I don’t know any other way to be.”
Dallas Comic Con Fan Days
Irving Convention Center
Sat. 10-7: $39
Sun. 10-5: $29
Two-day pass: $59
Children ages 6-12: $5 with paid adult admission
Children ages 5 and under: Freedallascomiccon.com