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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Yeah, I mean like… if you haven’t already seen this, you’ve probably been living under a rock. (What’s the rent like?)
But you have not, already, heard my thoughts upon it! And so, you lucky people, you shall hear them thusly.
I mean obviously it looks really cool. Do you ever realise, when you’re watching trailers, the most exciting thing about them is just how new everything is? Especially when you’re already so familiar with what’s come before, to see the characters you love in new settings and doing new things is pretty amazing. Somehow in a trailer though it’s a little different to, you know, actually watching the film – maybe it’s the suspense from not having the whole thing yet? Hmm.
Anyways, one thing that stood out. Mostly – and this is probably because it’s the sort of thing I look for anyway – it’s a lines of dialogue, specifically one of Ultron’s.
“You want to save the world, but you don’t want to see it change.”
This was the most interesting line, I think. I find the whole idea of the status quo in world’s with superheros pretty compelling – I mean, in all seriousness, what on earth would you actually do if people like this existed? The idea that the Avengers wouldn’t drastically affect politics, or diplomacy, or people’s lives – that’s ridiculous. But whether they’d be willing to acknowledge the change they’ve made is a bit different, and it seems to be where they’re going with this. Who cares about the real world? Let’s see their world.