For anyone reading that might not already know, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was my show. Which is saying a lot, because I’ve got a lot of shows that people might think that about. But Buffy was “the one.” It’s the one that I grew up with, the one that I connected with the most, the one that inspired me in a lot of ways, and the one that sticks with me today. I’ve written about my love for the show here before. And this weekend, it was unveiled that it will soon join the dozens of other legendary titles to get a contemporary update.
Yes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is getting a reboot. For your reading, via The Hollywood Reporter:
I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this. In fact, I’m not sure there’s a single fan of the original series that hasn’t voiced their opinion on it just yet. If you never watched it though, understand that Buffy was special. It was one of those shows that not only perfectly captured the culture of the time, but it became something of a zeitgeist in and of itself. In the way that Bewitched and Happy Days is sort of emblematic of those time periods, Buffy is that shining television moment representing the late ’90s and early 2000s. And on top of that, it had so much heart. Yes, it was set in a supernatural fantasy world, but the vampires and monsters of Buffy were stand-ins for the hell of real-life. Unlike Twilight or The Vampire Diaries that only exist to make vampires and the undead sexy and cool, the so-called “Buffyverse” is a fictional world populated by gothic metaphors. It was hard not to connect with something in it somewhere.
There has obviously been a lot of sequels and reboots and revivals since then. And some of them have been great. For example, nobody was more excited than I was to get the Gilmore Girls revival a couple of years ago. I was even gently reminded by a friend on Facebook when this story broke that Buffy is essentially, in itself, a reboot of a failed movie from 1992. I know that reboots don’t always have to be a bad thing. But it’s a Hollywood trend that the studios have balanced very precariously as of late. The new Charmed and Roswell reboots coming this fall, for example, do not leave me with a lot of hope for their quality. That being said, I can’t say that I’m terribly excited for the prospect of a brand new Buffy.
I will give it a chance, make no mistake. The fact that original creator Joss Whedon is involved in some way with the reboot gives me hope that they won’t strip or undermine the magic of the original. The fact that they’re going more inclusive with the cast is really cool to see, too. But there is definitely a line that they aren’t going to want to cross with this series. Casting a new, younger girl and calling her Buffy and have her staking vampires in a town called Sunnydale won’t do. We already know who Buffy Summers is and Sunnydale was destroyed. Nobody asked for those stories to be retold when we can just as easily watch the original on Hulu. The Buffyverse, however, is still ready and waiting to be tapped into. Should the show somehow mold into a revival that reunites the original cast, that would be great, but it’s not terribly likely to happen. Most, if not all of them, have moved on to greener pastures. But the same could also have been said about the dozens of folks who returned for Gilmore Girls.
If a new Buffy is to work, it can’t be the same characters and enemies we knew. Introduce us to a new Slayer. Populate her world with new and interesting people. Life and pop culture has changed in a lot of significant ways since 1997. Those metaphorical “vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness” could get pretty fascinating now, too. Going this route also leaves open the door to guest appearances from cast members of the original. Sarah Michelle Gellar or Eliza Dushku cropping up to coach and train a new Slayer or two would be amazing! Whether any of this actually materializes though remains to be seen.
Keep your fingers crossed, fellow fans! We’ve got a lot to follow as this story develops…