SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly
Joss Whedon’s masterpiece Buffy The Vampire Slayer turned 20 years old in March. Entertainment Weekly hosted a reunion and wrote a spread about it in their latest issue, detailing cast interviews, secrets and much more. Whedon said, “The most important thing to me is that I have had people come up to me and say the show made me feel different about what I could be, about what I could do, about how I respond to problems, about being or being with a female leader. People getting strength from my own little terrors, there is no better legacy than that.”
These are the top 5 reasons why Buffy The Vampire Slayer is still relevant today, 20 years after it aired in 1997.
- THE METAPHOR: The physical expression of the horrors of high school becoming literal monsters. As Sarah Michelle Gellar put it, “Buffy is the ultimate metaphor, the horrors of adolescence manifesting through these actual monsters. It’s the hardest time of life.” Whedon stated he thought the show would only be good, that the metaphor and the layers behind Buffy would be something only the creators would understand and cherish but, much to his surprise, everyone immediately caught on – the pretty girl chasing the monster, subverting the horror genre, which leads on to the next point.
- THE TROPES: As with Whedon’s The Cabin In The Woods, Buffy is known for challenging the conventional rules of horror. Most notably is the pretty blonde girl dying, with Whedon instead purposefully making Buffy a slayer of things that go bump in the night. The Chosen One trope was also addressed multiple times throughout the show, with Kendra and Faith also being introduced as slayers, and then the whole premise of season 7 completely destroying the “in every generation, there is one” mythology of the slayer and distributing her power to all potential slayers in an epic feminist monologue (with a little help from Willow’s magic).
- THE ROMANCE: In the EW cover, Whedon says the Buffy/Angel story is the “grandest romance I’ll ever tell, there’s no arguing with it.” But after Angel left for his own titular spin-off, Buffy developed a controversial relationship with her ex-nemesis Spike who even got a soul to be with her. The fandom divided into the original battle over boys with #TeamAngel and #TeamSpike. Angel was Buffy’s Romeo, the brooding tall, dark and handsome first love of her life who became Angelus, his evil counterpart, if he ever achieved true happiness. Spike was the big bad who allowed Buffy to explore her power and darkness but, ultimately, was an abusive relationship that Whedon wanted to portray in length. Gellar made it clear her choice for Buffy was, and always would be, Angel.
- THE FRIENDSHIPS: Xander, Willow and Giles made up the reliable Scooby Gang that aided Buffy in her fight against the forces of darkness, which eventually grew to include Cordelia, Oz, Anya, Tara, Dawn and other characters throughout the seven season run. Friendship was a recurring source of strength for Buffy in her times of despair, depicting some of the strongest and most supportive female friendships in TV history. Willow’s sexuality was instantaneously accepted by the Scoobies, without a second of doubt, and they looked out for each other until the very last vampire was staked.
- THE LEGACY: Buffy spawned so many same-minded shows like The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf, Supernatural, True Blood and Grimm, to name a few. It inspired many networks to take on the strong female heroine lead like Jessica Jones, Supergirl, Orphan Black and iZombie all of which probably wouldn’t have happened without Buffy Summers.
On behalf of so many adoring fans, thank you.