The other day I was thinking about how I haven't shared any books on the blog recently. And that's because the books I've been reading have all been non-fiction about health or business. And that's no fun to talk about in the Storytime Series! So I thought I'd share my recent TV obsession. It's an oldie but a goodie... and a rare show that Erik and I can enjoy together! Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
Now if you're like I was... just the premise of this show alone will turn you off completely. I know it did for me, back when this show was originally airing. My dad said he thought I'd enjoy it, probably because I liked Charmed (a show about three witches). But somehow to me, witches were acceptable and the idea of a high school girl running around killing vampires just was not.
When I learned that Joss Whedon's entire idea for Buffy was to take the girl who is weak and dies in horror movies and empower her to be the hero of the story, I realized the show probably had a lot more to offer than I'd originally thought.
Buffy Summers: Now, we can do this the hard way or... well, actually, there's just the hard way.
Darla: That's fine with me.
Buffy Summers: Are you sure? Now this is not gonna be pretty. We're talking violence, strong language, adult content.
Buffy is the slayer. She has super strength and durability and it's her responsibility to slay the vampires and save the world! But! She's a 16 year old girl dealing with high school. What a conundrum.
But it doesn't take itself too seriously about all that. They know it's funny and they play with that. They love irony. And by "they" I mean the show and its writers.
“Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”
― Joss Whedon
Each season usually has its "big bad" that Buffy's trying to take down and then there are the "monsters of the week" and plenty of extraneous vampires for Buffy to stake during her diligent patrols at the graveyard.
The real story, of course, is how all these great characters interact.
We have Buffy of course. She's the female Spiderman in a way. Underdog made into a super strong hero who reluctantly takes on that power and does so with quippy one-liners to make it all a little more fun. She's dynamic and fantastic and everyone wants to kill her. Naturally.
Buffy's best friend is Willow. Willow begins the series as a shy, bookworm/computer nerd type and grows into something much more. Her evolution is one of my favorite parts of the show and I think the actress who plays her, Alyson Hannigan, might be the best actor in the whole series. Willow will break your heart repeatedly. And be adorable at the same time.
Xander is... not my favorite haha. This picture really sums up my perspective on Xander. But he's the third member of the Buffy/Willow/Xander friendship trio and he rounds out their awesomeness in a goofy way. You might call him comic relief, but everyone's pretty funny. Basically, he and Willow were friends before Buffy arrived and he was part of the package ;) He's not as bad as I'm making him out to be. I just don't find him nearly as interesting as anyone else on the show.
Giles is Buffy's "Watcher" who serves as a mentor and guardian. He's British and he's got the books with all the knowledge. He's more awesome than he sounds and rounds out the group of teenagers very well.
Angel is the vampire who wants to be good and who Buffy accidentally fell in love with. Whoops. These things happen sometimes. And Buffy did it before Twilight so back off, haters.
There are a lot of other wonderful characters. I didn't even list one of my favorites. But that's because they generally come and go and this is more of our main cast, especially for the early seasons.
Who will like this story?
If you enjoy irony and a little bit of camp... or maybe a lot of bit of camp... you will enjoy Buffy. If you enjoy action/adventure type fun with good guys fighting bad guys, you'll enjoy Buffy. If you enjoy strong female protagonists, you'll also enjoy Buffy. Clever, quippy dialogue? Buffy is a champ at that.
Big Ugly: When I kill her, it'll be the greatest event since the crucifixion. And I should know, I was there.
Spike: You were there? Oh, please. If every vampire who said he was at the crucifixion was actually there, it would've been like Woodstock.
Big Ugly: I oughta rip your throat out.
Spike: I was actually at Woodstock. That was a weird gig. I fed off a flower person and I spent the next six hours watchin' my hand move.
It's certainly not a show without its flaws. Some episodes of season 1 and 2 are disturbing to say the least... but no story is perfect. And especially for a show of the 1990s, it's very well done. You also get some awesome floppy disk/pager era throwbacks that are just amusing and adorable. I think all actiony TV shows would be better if the characters didn't have cell phones. It makes the whole "WHERE'S ____?!" a lot easier to swallow.
This show has a huge following. People are extremely devoted to it, with good reason. It was revolutionary, not just for its time but even now. It marched into feminist territory right off the bat and eventually into LGBT issues that had literally never been on TV until then.
“So, why do you write these strong female characters?"
"Because you’re still asking me that question."
― Joss Whedon
What a boss.
That, of course, just scratches the surface. There's a lot of intelligence in Buffy and even if the earlier seasons aren't everyone's favorites, you can still see that intention there. It's a great series. So if you're like me and judged it by its cover, give it another shot! The whole thing is on Netflix!
Let me and my readers know what you think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you!