Buffy’s Getting A Reboot Because Of Course It Is

Oh hi there, I just remembered that I’m a blogger, if a very crappy one these days but when the I hear the TV show I grew up on, the very show that got me started with my exciting for playing with HTML code and personal websites, is getting rebooted? Yeah, I think this is something for the blog. Strap yourselves in!

A Little Personal Background

I don’t believe I have really talked about my beginnings with personal websites. I use this very awkward wording because I didn’t discover blogging until several years later and I am very uninclined to call them websites, but I digress. We had access to the internet pretty early on in my household, maybe sometime around ’98 or ’99 but it wasn’t until the turn of the millennium when I discovered MSN chatrooms and messenger and communities that I really started using the internet.

This was right around the time when I first discovered Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I think the first episode I watched was Ted, and season 3 was currently airing. I must have been about 10 years old, and I heckin’ loved it.

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When I found MSN chatrooms and noticed a few Buffy-centric ones, I poked my head in and fell somewhat in love with the little community I found. I can distinctly remember a lot about those people, and even that night I entered that room. Then somewhere down the line, I started creating my own fansite. Remember those? I believe mine started on Geocities where I taught myself basic HTML but when I was introduced to Angelfire, I made the jump. I spent so much time on that little space. It had an image gallery, a page of “funny quotes” (incidentally, I have recently found a Buffy quote bot on Twitter that brings a smile to my face), erm… I don’t recall what else. Probably a guestbook, everybody had a guestbook.

Anywho, my point is; I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer a great deal. I watched it religiously from when I first discovered it up until the very end, and while I never quite enjoyed season 7 as much as the rest, I can still sing along to the entire musical episode and some of my own language use may still be ripped straight from that show, it really had a profound effect on me growing up. It was a silly show, sometimes a serious one, but it had a lot of neat messages about life, friendship, and family and I could go on a lot longer about my history with it, I really could.

Regardless, Buffy meant a lot to me and still does despite the fact that I haven’t watched it in several years at this point. So frankly, if the show were to return, perhaps following one of the new Slayers, I would be all over that.

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Reboots, Why Did It Have To Be Reboots?

That then brings me right around to this word: Reboot. It seems to be the cool thing to do in TV and film right now, doesn’t it? While we do get some interesting adaptations and original features, it currently feels like you can’t go 2 weeks without somebody announcing a reboot/reissue and I’m not sure if that’s because creators are running out of original ideas (which I actually doubt), or if it’s more to do with the climate and which pitches networks want to grab a hold of. After all, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is already a known and beloved name among geeks, it’s much easier to grab attention with a familiar name than a brand new one. Why wouldn’t networks and producers lean towards giving those shows the green light over original ideas? I suppose to the people investing their money and faith in a project, it’s more of a sure thing and thus less of a risk, even if it isn’t the best option for the evolution of storytelling.

buffy-reboot-buffy-summers-end-of-daysThat’s not to say that I’m okay with it, however.

Buffy is a product of its time, running from 1997 to 2003, with a spin-off series in Angel (1999-2004) and various tie-in novels and comic series’ adding to the canon and mythos of the “Buffyverse”. While it may appear dated, it’s still a solid piece of TV for anybody interested in sci-fi/fantasy (Den of Geek call it a “teen horror dramedy” which leaves me cringing somewhat but it is a tough show to categorise), but apparently the idea was “to invert the Hollywood formula of ‘the little blonde girl who goes into a dark alley and gets killed in every horror movie.'” (Wiki)

To reboot it is almost to do the original a disservice, which in itself is also a reboot of a 1992 movie (don’t bother if you haven’t already watched it). A reboot implies that there’s a need for a fresher look at a thing, but what of media that still holds up to this day? Wouldn’t it, instead, be better to create a spin-off show that allows the original to stand up as its own thing and the newer show to shine as its own piece of entertainment, given the boost of being related to the original, yet its own thing to a certain extent. It could be set now, with the show’s main Slayer being one of the “Potentials” awakened in season 7, or even set it before the events of Buffy the Vampire Slayer if you didn’t want to deal with the multitude of Slayers and preferred to revisit the idea of the Chosen One.

To play devil’s advocate with myself, however, because discussion is fun that way, we do then run into the problem that Buffy actually lived a long time for a Slayer. This came up quite a lot in the show, with the answer being that her friends were the reason she was so much more than the Slayers that came before her. So to create a prequel version of a Buffyverse show, you’re either prescribing to the necessity of a short-lived story, a rotating cast of characters akin to Doctor Who, or messing with the story that already exists. Besides, the stated point of this reboot is to modernise one of the most beloved TV shows in geekdom. From Deadline:

The new version, which will be pitched to streaming and cable networks this summer, will be contemporary, building on the mythology of the original. Per the producers: “Like our world, it will be richly diverse, and like the original, some aspects of the series could be seen as metaphors for issues facing us all today.”

According to sources, the diversity in the show’s description reflects the producers’ intention for the new slayer to be African American. The sources cautioned that the project is still in nascent stages with no script, and many details are still in flux.

So I mean, I can be persuaded away from my “ew, another reboot” mindset when you put it that way. Diversity and stories that deal with current issues are things that I think all of our stories need more of right now, whether that’s within TV, movies, videos games, books, or even music. I’m just not sure the lead character of this particular show needs to be “Buffy but black”. Slayers and people of colour kick a lot of ass, give her her own identity! That’s how Charmed dealt with their reboot/revival and I have endless respect for them because of that.

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One of the main Producers, by the way? Monica Owusu-Breen, creator of Midnight, Texas (a show I have yet to watch but being another adaptation of Charlaine Harris’s books, it’s been on my list for a while) is currently on board as writer, executive producer, and showrunner, and according to her Wikipedia page has worked on shows like Charmed, Alias, Lost, Fringe, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which brings me on to the name that really gives me pause regarding this news; Joss Whedon.

The Joss Problem

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I will admit to being somewhat ignorant on Joss’s major failings prior to 2017. For years I saw feminists all over groan about the self-proclaimed feminist and I just didn’t know why. I saw him say things that sounded a little askew, misguided, and at the time I just assumed human error. We all say things sometimes that don’t come out right, we don’t really mean… I dunno. People don’t think how they come across at times and I didn’t know what was going on. I’m certainly not excusing him of anything, I was just ignorant at the time.

Fast-forward a bit, and we learn just how much of a hypocrite he is, touting feminist ideals while cheating multiple times on his wife and taking advantage of the women he worked with. In other words, he’s no better than the Hollywood producers he claimed to be against. I won’t go too much into it because I don’t want to misrepresent things, but that original article from his ex-wife can be found here if you wish to read up on this matter further. It’s pretty important reading, in this case.

So by including Joss Whedon as a showrunner, not only do they do distract from the very message of the show – which yes, he did create but no, he does not need to be tied to for it to work – but they also take away from everybody else currently signed on to make this work. Joss had his time. He made a great show, and somehow he’s still around. I think it’s time for him to step aside from this project, and maybe he will. I mean he’s signed on to executive produce and has been working with Monica to write the new script, but he won’t be executive producing solo, as Gail Berman, Joe Earley, Fran Kazui and Kaz Kazui are also signed up for this role and, as Den of Geek points out, he “has a notoriously busy dance card and it’s unknown if he will participate in the reboot beyond shepherding it to a network.” So really, who knows. The show doesn’t have a network yet and is still firmly in the creation process, this is just a confirmation that several big names have signed on to the project and are working on it.

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The Conclusion

Honestly, having thought this idea over. I’m not sure what to think. I am highly uninclined to support Joss Whedon anymore, but is it fair to boycott something over one person? I’m not so sure. It sounds like this project has some amazing people with it who absolutely deserve every chance at success and to tell a great story, and “my childhood fave doesn’t need a reboot” is perhaps not the hill I wish to die on.

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The news makes me uncomfortable, but also mildly excited to see where it can go. If Buffy 3.0 can recapture the same magic as the original show with a fresh look, great sense of humour, and monsters and issues that we can once again really vibe with then you know what, let them have it. And hopefully Joss will fuck off into fuck offsville and we can just see where this goes because at the end of the day, the original will still be there and the reboot cannot destroy that or the memories many of us have with it.

I think these three tweets sum up my feelings pretty well, in very different but no less relevant ways:

 

Those were my rambling thoughts but what about you guys? Did you watch Buffy? Was it your thing? Do you have any thoughts on any of this? Comments, let me know in the!

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2 thoughts on “Buffy’s Getting A Reboot Because Of Course It Is

Add yours

  1. The real reason shows/characters get rebooted rather than revived or relaunched or have spin-offs is that the original always belongs to the generation that was around when it started. That’s why Spiderman and Batman get reboots once a decade (ten years is effectively a generation where popular culture is concerned) rather than just getting a new actor and carrying on from wherever they got to.

    Ownership is key to bringing new audiences to an existing property. You can fairly safely assume you’ll bring a substantial percentage of the already-existing audience with you out of familiarity, nostalgia and goodwill but to get the new viewers/readers you have to let them feel they’re getting something that’s theirs – not their older sisters’ or their dad’s – or even worse their grandparents!

    With smaller children it’s enough to let them ride along on the coat-tails of their parents’ enthusiasms. Little kids are biddable and they love to share their parents’ and elder siblings’ enthusiasms. Once you hit the tweens, let alone the teens, for most people growing into their own identity that just doesn’t work any more.

    Dr Who is one franchise that’s happened by sheer luck on a way to side-step this whole issue. Being able to start from scratch with a regenarated main character every few years and then have him fight all the same villains the old Dotor did is genius. You’d almost think they’d designed it that way – you’d certainly think someone would have copied it. Star Trek almost does the same thing with the jumps in time and the new ships and captains, but even there they went for a reboot when it came to the movies because Kirk and crew are still The Brand outside of the fanbase even now.

    Longtime fans often feel pushed aside by reboots and there’s a good reason for that – reboots partly exist to push them aside. While they stand in the path it’s hard to get a new audience through the door.

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    1. Well said. I guess I just figure they could do something similar to the Doctor Who formula with all the Slayers out in the world, whether they do a kind of “season 7 never happened and it’s still the Chosen One” situation or if they did carry on with the current story beats just with an entirely new Slayer in a different time and place. That then means they probably couldn’t really do “Buffy” the Vampire Slayer without just doing a straight-up reboot, so I understand your points.

      To be honest, I’ll be happy to wait and see. It’s almost impossible to judge anything without seeing it for yourself, and in this case, I’d be happy to do so.. I just hope Joss isn’t too integral a person behind the scenes.

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