Saturday, October 4, 2014

My Faves-Buffy The Vampire Slayer

“If the Apocalypse comes, Beep me.”-Buffy Summers

Let me say that I completely and unreservedly love Joss Whedon.
Okay, after God, my wife and my children, but I still love Joss.
Ever since Buffy The Vampire Slayer debuted on the WB in 1997, I’ve been hooked. The dialogue (ridiculously witty), the twists (you don’t see coming), the bad guys (Glory, The Master, The Initiative, Darla, The First and The Gentlemen), and the dysfunctional family that is the Scoobies kept me coming back and keep me watching reruns.
BVS evolved from a not so successful movie with Kristy Swanson in the title role.(And notice how this is a reverse of how Serenity came to be a successful movie from a failed TV show...IJS)  The humor that was turned up to camp in the film, was toned down on the show and combined with plenty of action, danger, teenage angst and romance. 
Sarah Michelle Gellar, whose claim to fame at the time was a memorable turn as Kendall Lang on All My Children, embodied Buffy Summers, a California Gurl, who got caught up in some vampire-y hi-jinx that destroyed a gym in L.A., had transferred to Sunnydale High to make a new start.The whole first season was about Buffy coming to terms with being the Slayer, the one girl in all the world chosen to stand against the vamps, beasts and horrors that would emerge from the Hellmouth Sunnydale was built on top of. Along with that, the show had a brilliant under running theme: High school as Hell. Everyone could relate to that. Imagine how much worse it is when you live on a Hellmouth. 
In a way, Buffy and her friends were like any other high school club, except this one saved the world a lot and was sponsored by a librarian who wielded medieval weaponry. The monsters were the reason there was slayage, but the drama between Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, Angel and everyone else who came and went was the reason to tune in every week. 
Question: How many times have girls given themselves to a guy to only see him turn bad and dog them? That happened to Buffy in Season 2. Lose a parent and deal with the resultant surrealism and grief? She dealt with that in Season 5. Had a friend you liked and tried to help and got stabbed in the back by them? See Season 3. I was going to mention saving your fellow classmates from being eaten by your Mayor at your Graduation ceremony or being brought back to life by your best friend who happens to be a powerful witch, but that was uniquely Buffy. Not matter how weird it got, you could relate to how the Scoobies dealt with everything, cuz you'd do the same thing in their shoes or run quickly away to preserve your sanity.
BVS is also famous for being one of the first TV shows to have gay or lesbian characters as a regular part of the cast. When Tara was introduced in Season 4 we saw how she and Willow fell in love and became a couple. The best thing about it was that everything happened naturally and organically and the subject was treated with wit, intelligence and humor. I may not subscribe to the LGBT lifestyle, but I do like how BVS showed that they, like anyone else, are people too.
Strip away all the supernatural, Slayer, vampire stuff and Buffy still stands up because the show focused on the characters and made them feel like real people with problems we all could relate to. That is the magic of Joss Whedon and Buffy in a nutshell: he creates people you care deeply, if not obsessively, about, crafts top notch stories with smart twists and genuine jeopardy, sprinkles it liberally with sparkling dialogue and drama and never dumbs himself down or talks down to his audience.
And to think all this came from Joss feeling sorry for the blonde haired girl who usually met an untimely demise in horror flicks.

The Movie version with Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry

The core BVS cast
L-R: Nicholas Brendon, Chrisma Carpenter, Anthony Head,
David Boreanaz, Sarah Michelle Geller, Seth Green and Alyson Hannigan

The Cabal within the Clique: Buffy, Xander and Willow

Buffy and Giles

Buffy and the Scoobies along with Angel, Spike (James Marsters) and Drusilla (Julliet Landau)


Willow and Tara: Getting Wiccky with it

Willow and Buffy at UC Sunnydale

The Heart of the Show: Angel and Buffy

Willow and Oz

Eliza Dushku as Faith

L-R: 1st row Buffy, Willow, Xander, Cordelia and Angel
2nd row Anya (Emma Caulfield), Tara (Amber Benson), Faith and Giles
3rd row Oz, Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg), Joyce (Kristine Sutherland), Spike and Drusilla

The BVS cast with the man who made it all possible: Joss Whedon

The covers for all seven seasons of BVS

Additionally, BVS continues in comic books produced by Dark Horse Comics. You can pick up Seasons 8 and 9, overseen by Joss and featuring writers from the show, like Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Greenberg and artists like Geroges Jeanty, Karl Moline and Andy Owens.

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