My Dad spent the better half of my high school career trying to get me to watch “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” I refused. I wrote it off as a silly teenage show about a cheerleader fighting monsters. Vampires were for dorks. I wasn’t interested.No way was I going to watch.
Then, the writer’s strike hit my senior year. My TiVo record list deflated and my daily intake of new and fresh television shows decreased immensely. I was going through withdrawal. With anxiety and an intense sense of hopelessness settling upon me like a Dementor feeding off my soul, I turned to the show that I had turned my back on for so many years. That was the day Joss Whedon became my hero.
Every aspect of the show enamored me. Could Buffy live the life of a normal teenager, despite her destiny? What kind of monster would The Scooby Gang encounter next? When would the students at Sunnydale High realize that their library was a storage facility for slaying weapons?
Whedon, the creator and visionary behind the original film and television show, took the idea of a cheerleader fighting monsters and turned it into an epic tale of heroism, female empowerment and the pressure of adolescence.
So, naturally, when I heard several weeks ago that a “Buffy” reboot was in the works, my pulse began to quicken. What could be better than Whedon reprising the series that defined an era?
Apparently, Warner Bros. Pictures and I didn’t envision this remake on quite the same level. I knew something was wrong as I read the press release online: “Warner Bros. Pictures optioned the rights from creators Fran and Kaz Kuzi, and Sandollar Productions … for Atlas and Vertigo to produce.”
Fran and Kaz who? As I dug deeper into the story, I learned to my horror that Whedon was not involved in this at all. I could practically see “Buffy” fans around the world raise their stakes in horror, ready to take on whatever evil that is behind this travesty.
“There is an active fan base eagerly awaiting this character’s return to the big screen,” Atlas Entertainment Representative Charles Roven said in the press release. Well, guess what, Mr. Roven. You just opened up the Hellmouth of the fan base. And. They. Are. Pissed.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is synonymous with Whedon’s name. A television show takes a team to become a success, but Whedon was the soul of “Buffy.” Without him, we would not have gotten innovative and memorable episodes, such as the completely silent hour in “Hush,” the musical story in “Once More with Feeling” or the haunting and devastating tale of death in “The Body.”
I have no doubt that the “Buffy” franchise has more stories to tell. I’m sure the announced screenwriter of the upcoming reboot, Whit Anderson, has good intentions at heart. Buffy is the kind of character that should return to the screen. She is smart, sexy, strong, witty and most of all, courageous. She is the polar opposite of the “Twilight” heroine, Bella Swan.
We need a return to the heroism that was presented in characters like Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles. Very few shows have successfully recreated the balance and co-existence between fantasy and reality that was achieved throughout the seven-year run of “Buffy.”
However, it seems unfair and unjust to continue this saga, or even reboot it, without the input of the show’s driving force.
This reincarnation seems to be a lame attempt of Warner Bros. to jump on the vampire bandwagon catapulted by the teen craze of “Twilight.” In a response e-mail that Whedon sent to E!Online, he good-naturedly joked, “But seriously, are vampires even popular any more?”
“I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death. But, you know, after,” Whedon continued. “I don’t love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I’m also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making the show what it was … I can’t wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill.”
Clearly, he is taking this a lot better than the outraged fans who have all but gathered their pitchforks to take down Warner Bros. Whedon’s heartfelt, witty and classy response presents the precise reason as to why his cult following loves him and his shows so much.
Rosenberg is a member of the class of 2012.