The impact of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and why it still matters

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It’s not exactly an original take on the matter to say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was highly influential, if not pivotal, in terms of how television has developed over the past twenty years.

That does not, however, make it any less true.

Certainly, Buffy was groundbreaking in many key respects – many of the most popular television shows today owe a huge debt to Buffy, and may not have existed without it. In some regards, it’s a little bit like Isaac Asimov’s story about the woman who read Hamlet for the first time and said “I don’t see why people admire that play so. It is nothing but a bunch of quotations strung together”.

And yet despite how familiar certain aspects of the show have now become, Buffy still stands above them – after all, part of the reason why it was so influential was because of just how good it is.

For the 20th anniversary of Buffy on Friday, I wrote this short piece, celebrating the show and arguing why it still matters today.

This piece shall also be dedicated to my real life pal Robbie, who very much likes Buffy. I got him a book for his birthday once that compared Buffy to Hamlet, which I thought was quite clever, since we had exams on Hamlet coming up soon. I’m told he didn’t write his essay about all the ways Hamlet is like Buffy, but I don’t entirely trust his account of it all.

(Oh, huh, I just noticed that I referenced Hamlet in the above anyway. I bet that was for his benefit. Wow, I’m such a good friend. Presents and articles. What a blessing to have me in your life.)

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