‘In every generation a chosen one is born. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.’
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American supernatural drama created by Joss Whedon that aired 1997-2003 starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan (for all 7 seasons), David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Seth Green, Emma Caulfield, Michelle Trachtenburg, Marc Blucas, James Marsters and Anthony Stewart Head (for some of the seasons).
I was introduced to it by my sister, and watched spin-off Angel after that. Being already aware of Joss Whedon’s work from Firefly I was more than happy to watch what might arguably his greatest creation. I have finished re-watching it all again – and now again watching Angel and the lovable Captain Forehead. So I have made a list of the top five reasons for why I like Buffy. There are way more than five, and they might not all be agreed upon, but here goes.
1. The Writing – A lot of the shows popularity came from the writing, and the brilliant dialogue. A core group of writers helped keep up the level of writing, being consistently good start to finish, the group expanding as seasons went on. The writers were able to take risks and try new things, which happily paid off, see the episode ‘Hush’ written by Whedon, who challenged himself by creating an episode where no one speaks. With so many interesting characters and detailed story lines there was always room to do different things. The show also spawned it’s own language ‘Buffy Speak’ a sort of slang talk the characters used, taken from the way Valley girls talk in California. It is also easy to adapt into your own life. I found how fun it was to add ‘y’ to the end of normal words and ended up talking like Buffy – though very incorrect.
2.Feminism – Buffy provided a show for young women that had a great female role model. Buffy was strong, powerful, beautiful, funny, but not perfect, never perfect as she struggled to balance her life and face her demanding responsibilities. And the Slayer is a woman, a cute little blonde who would be first to die in a horror, but here kicks ass and fights back and saves the world a lot. Buffy is also surrounded by a lot of other strong women. Willow, the most powerful witch in the western hemisphere, Anya a vengeance demon turned business savvy human, Tara a timid but incredibly strong and loving Wicca. Even Cordelia, who went on to be in Angel shows a mean girl in High School can change and help avert the apocalypse. None supernatural beings, the other Summers women Joyce (Kristine Sutherland) and Dawn are wonderful women. Joyce the ever loving mother to the Slayer and Dawn the overshadowed younger sister who goes on to be an important Scooby.
3. The Scooby Gang – Buffy, the Slayer should stand alone against the evil, but due to Xander overhearing her and Giles, her friends become her back up and eventually a family. Buffy without the Scoobies is not good, she needs their support and love to be a better Slayer and they also keep her grounded. Due to the amount of evil and danger they face, they are often blasé about coming apocalypses, particularly Xander. However, the importance of Willow, Xander and Giles’s role in helping fighting evil is shown in the episode ‘Primeval’ as they joined their essence to defeat Adam. The Scoobies members have changed and grown over the show with previous villains joining them, notably Spike and Andrew (Tom Lenk).
4. Everyday mixed with Supernatural – Even though she is the Slayer and wanders around grave yards on a nightly basis dusting Vampires, Buffy is also a high schooler and has to deal with a lot of everyday issues. Like any other girl she has boy problems, though they are a tad more dangerous when they actually turn evil (grr Angelus) and her suspicious activities put her in trouble with the Principal and her mother. As she starts college she has problems fitting in, a place where Willow thrives. The worst moment is when her mother dies, and it cannot be blamed on a supernatural event like so many of the other deaths she comes across. This mix of what happens in real life when she is surrounded by demons and magic produces a metaphor for many of the things that happen in school or college, and makes Buffy very easy to relate to.
5. Spike – Originally meant to be a villain who was killed off, his popularity allowed for him to stay, and after appearing in a single episode in season 3 ‘Lover’s Walk’, convinced Joss Whedon of making Marsters a permanent cast member in season 4. He became one of the most fully developed characters, from a villain to a neutered villain (with the chip) to an ally after falling in love with Buffy. As a vampire, Spike was second to Angelus for being the worst vampire to live, and similarly the second vampire to gain a soul. I find Spike to be one of my favourite characters in the show, due mainly to his sense of humour.He helps save the world and fight evil, but always with an upbeat attitude. His love for violence (he laughs as he sees Sunnydale destroyed) makes him the typical bad guy yet he is a romantic at heart, even as a human. Though initially he has an obsessive love for Buffy it develops to be an emotional and physical love. His transition from the bad guy to the hero shows great writing, acting and makes Spike one of the best things about Buffy. Apologies to Angel.