Ever since she was retired with grace back in 2003 rumors have been doing the rounds that Buffy is going to make a comeback, every now and then one of the cast would pipe up with a comment about how they’d love the old gang to get back together and Joss himself said it’s not something he’d rule out. Just over a month ago, Warner Brothers announced they were dragging Buffy back from the grave (how many times can one Chosen One be resurrected?) without a single name from the original series. With the help of the Kazui’s (who some would argue contributed nothing more than cash to the original film and series and no creativity) and Newbie Whit Anderson, hard core Buffy fans the world over are up in arms before the details have even been finalized.
So why’s everyone upset? Surly in our vampire crazy world where teenagers everywhere want the dark brooding stranger to bite them this was inevitable?
Back before vampires were sparkling on the big screen, and undead brothers were falling in love with high school girls the spitting image of their 500 year old ex, Joss was showing us his version of the vampire and we loved it. OK, so the original film kind of sucked (no pun intended) but the TV series very quickly acquired a true cult following. It was simple; vampires were the bad guys and our fearless blond hero killed them. There was only one exception, the brooding and dark Angel whose entire character was based on the torment of the evil he’s carried out before he got his soul back. Even as the series progressed and we fell in love with Spike (soul or no soul) Joss never let us forget that he was a vampire and first and foremost he would also be evil, if any of us were under any illusion that he could be good the bathroom scene in Seeing Red reminds us that his evil side can be very human.
So what made Buffy so loved? This will depend on who you ask. Joss said more than once that Buffy is ‘bring your own subtext, in other words there was no right or wrong way to read Buffy, you could love it for what you loved it for and it was written for multiple interpretations. This meant Joss had faith in his audience and assumed they had a certain level of creativity and intelligence. On a more simple level, she was a young strong blond chick who could fight vampires and still find time to complete high school, the generation that grew up with her could relate to her. At a time when any pretty blond in a horror situation was always the first to get picked off by the bad guy Buffy was refreshing. She was inspirational to a generation of teenagers growing up in what looked like a scary world.
Right from the very first scene of the very first episode, we see an ‘innocent’ looking blond school girl alone at night with a big guy. She’s jumpy and scared and before we have a chance to decide whether the guy she’s with is going to protect or kill her, she vamps out and kills him. That’s when we know the rules are being turned on their head and anything can happen. The little girl is not innocent and the big strong guy is not going to be the one to always save the day.
Back in the mid nineties this was refreshing, we loved Star Trek Voyager, X Files and the Alien movies but these days we know women can have power. The original premise of Buffy is not going to work anymore. These days vampires are romantic whether they’re ‘evil’ of not and the pretty high school girl is always going to fall in love with them and they’ll have an eternal love. Don’t get me wrong, Twilight and The Vampire Diaries and all the others must be doing something right, they get the audience and generate revenue, but personally I really don’t have faith that this generation are truly going to understand Buffy and I certainly don’t have faith in anyone other than Joss to try and show them. I’ll certainly watch it to see what Whit and her team do with this cult classic but Buffy belongs in the late nineties. She’s fought her demons and for the hard core fans Joss even continued her story with the season eight comic book so surly it’s time we just let her retire in peace.
Kim works for Holiday Rentals who offer an extensive selection of cottages to rent
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