There’s No Need To Bring ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ Back From The Dead
We don't need an ill-fated reboot for more 'Buffy' material.
With news of the Buffy reboot hitting social media, it’s time to issue a reminder that not only is the original series still great and available for you to enjoy, the Buffyverse is already continuing on in several unexpected ways. We don’t need a reboot — there are plenty of Buffy stories already out there.
Following the 20-year reunion last year, news broke over the weekend that Fox was resurrecting the Chosen One with Midnight Texas showrunner Monica Owusu-Breen at the helm, and original creator Joss Whedon serving as executive producer. Not much else is known about the reboot, except that Buffy will be played by an African-American actress this time.
Without dipping into all the reasons rehashing the Buffy story with a different cast is a bad idea — Vulture critic Angelica Jade already has a great thread about it — it also seems rather bizarre when there are several continuations of the story happening right now that are pretty damn great.
Hollywood, stop doing lazy gender and race bent reboots and shit. It isn’t progress. It’s insulting as if black people cant lead popular works with their own mythology.
— Angelica Jade (@angelicabastien) July 20, 2018
After a movie, seven seasons of Buffy, and five of its spinoff, Angel, there’s hundreds of hours’ worth of excellent material, world building and character development for you to dive into. But in 2018, there’s also no shortage of current Buffy material to consume that has absolutely nothing to do with an ill-fated reboot.
Buffy Seasons 8, 9 and 10
Although the Buffy The Vampire Slayer television series ended after season seven, the story has continued on with season eight, nine and ten in the comic book world.
Overseen by Whedon himself and much of the Buffy TV team, the graphic novels pick up exactly where the final episode ‘Chosen’ left off. They deal with the ramifications of all potential slayers now having the full power Buffy has.
Without the constraints of a weekly television budget, we get good things — a Godzilla-sized Dawn doing her best not to trample a city — and bad things — Angel and Buffy literally fucking a hole in the universe.
But the story is canonical, meaning that it ties in with everything that has come before and features all of your favourite Scoobies. Plus, Willow, Spike, and Faith & Angel get their own spin-off comics.
For those who weren’t quite ready to let Buffy go, the graphic novels have filled the void and maintained the same Buffyverse, quips, romanticism and action of the TV series, thanks to the involvement of not only Whedon, but Jane Espenson (Game Of Thrones, Once Upon A Time), Drew Goddard (Cabin In The Woods, The Martian) and Brian K. Vaughan, one of the greatest living comic book writers (Y: The Last Man, Saga).
Buffering The Vampire Slayer
With over a million downloads, if you’re any kind of self-respecting Buffy fan and you haven’t been listening to Buffering The Vampire Slayer, then what are you even doing with your life?
Hosted by queer activist Kristin Russo and singer-songwriter Jenny Owens Young, Buffering The Vampire Slayer recaps the entire series episode-by episode and features special guests from Buffy, like Armin Shimerman (Principal Snyder), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), and Harry Groener (Mayor Wilkins III).
Each podcast concludes with an original song — written and performed by Owens Young — which is about the Buffy episode just dissected, with albums released at the end of each season. Bangers include songs like ‘Reptile Boy’ (“what I got was a heaping scoop of the demon lizard patriarchy”) and ‘Band Candy’ (“evil haunted-ass chocolate made my mum and my watcher kiss”).
Named in the top podcasts of 2017 by Time and Esquire, Buffering also gets into some heavy stuff by analysing the lack of racial diversity in the early seasons of the show, misogynistic and patriarchal themes as they pop up, and the queer subtext that rapidly becomes, well, text.
There’s also outstanding breakout episodes, such as when they interview Nerf Herder — the band behind Buffy’s theme song — while getting a tour of the real-life suburb that was the basis for Sunnydale by the savvy female mayor of the town.
They’re currently only a few episodes deep on season four so it’s not too late to dive into Buffering, plus a spin-off podcast has also started called Angel On Top with the shows playing on alternate weeks.
Buffy The YA Slayer
In January 2019, the first in a Young Adult Buffy The Vampire Slayer novel series — from New York Times best-selling author Kiersten White — will hit shelves.
The story is set to kick off exactly where the show ended and will follow a brand new slayer who has to deal with the powers awakened by Willow in the final episode. A vocal Buffy obsessive on Twitter, White is also the woman behind a gender-bent Vlad The Impaler YA series, which is super hardcore and entertaining, making her the perfect choice for this.
I'm not even going to pretend to be chill about this. And you KNOW when @BatgirlEditor offered me SLAYER, I whispered "I am the Chosen One."
— Kiersten White (@kierstenwhite) March 28, 2017
Outside of White’s novel, there’s also an amazing back catalogue of Buffy books all set within the same universe as the television series and comics.
There’s a Faith prequel called Go Ask Malice, which gives you a whole lot of backstory and is “five by five”, but the highlight is really the Tales Of The Slayer series. There are four volumes all up, each comprised of different short stories about slayers throughout history including one in ancient Greece, another in the roaring twenties, but also some hella tragic final battles.
Beyond The Hellmouth
In the nearly 30 years that Buffy has existed in the pop culture realm — whether that be film, television series, short-lived animated show, novel or comic book — it’s clear there’s no shortage of stories to tell within the vampire slayer mythos.
Heck, they’ve even flashed forward to the future and given us Fray the vampire slayer! So it seems weird and more than a little lazy that instead of attempting to tell one of those stories, the story of a new slayer with new characters and a new environment, the reboot will be recycling an arc that already had maximum oxygen.
I’m sorry but literally nobody asked for a Buffy reboot. A revival… yes. But not a reboot. The original TV series told a perfect story and did everything it set out to do (revolutionising television in the process). Why would you mess with such greatness?
— Michael Patterson (@michaelp93) July 21, 2018
Why not mimic the structure of the Tales Of The Slayer novel series, kickstarting an anthology show where each season is a different slayer and a different journey? It has worked for American Horror Story, Fargo, True Detective, Slasher and American Crime Story.
In the context of Buffy, you could jump backwards and forwards through time periods, as well as having an inbuilt mechanism for getting in new creative teams under the main umbrella to shake things up each season.
Alas, it seems we’re stuck with what we’ve got… whether we want it or not.
Maria Lewis is a journalist, screenwriter and author of It Came From The Deep and the Who’s Afraid? novel series, available worldwide.