While it might only seem like a few years back for some of us, as of yesterday it has been 12 years since the final episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” aired after seven seasons and 144 episodes, while leaving with it a legacy that can still be felt today. Honestly this is not too bad going for an idea which started off as “Rhonda the Immortal Waitress”.
While the show creator and general geek legend Joss Wheldon originally developed the idea into a cult film starring Kristy Swanson which was branded a flop making it something of a surprise that Wheldon’s idea would be given a second shot when it was drafted as a replacement series and given a mere 12 episodes compared to the 22 episodes which the seasons which followed would receive. Still with its mixture of horror and Wheldon’s trademark humour and love of pop culture references the series became an instant hit, while for the for the first time since “The Lost Boys” or “Near Dark” vampires were once again cool….let alone hot!
Surprisingly picking up the story several months after the events of the film, with Buffy and her mother Joyce moving to the seemingly quiet town of Sunnyside, unware that it was built on a hellmouth which provides a portal to numerous demon dimensions and in turn allowing all kinds of supernatural creatures to invade the town which Buffy and her friends have to battle as the town’s only real line of defence against the vampires, witches, monsters and seemingly any kind of mythical or fantastical creature the writers could come up with.
Essentially flipping the traditional horror trope on its head, so that rather than the pretty blonde girl being chased by the monsters, here we have the pretty blonde girl who chases the monsters, the show felt like a breath of fresh air especially with Vampires being at this point being an especially tired genre and one which was still bogged down in the traditions and roots laid by the likes of Bram Stoker and Anne Rice, here the show gave them like all its monsters a modern twist, even throwing in a complex romance between Buffy and the Vampire with a soul Angel, years before the likes of “True Blood” and “Sookie Stackhouse” made such things the norm.
But has the show held up after all this time? After all the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia can frequently betray us, which is especially a concern for myself for whom the show formed such an integral part when it was on the air. Well from next Thursday I will be revisiting the whole series, while charting the characters journey as they go from normal civilians to grizzled monster hunters or unlocked powers they never knew they had, while at the same time trying to identify what exactly makes this show so iconic.
Next Episode: Pilot / The Harvest