Insert rating increasage; outsert female stereotypes of the bad.
1997 saw the premiere of one of the most inspirational shows to hit television, featuring a character who would subsequently be seen as a feminist icon and revolutionize the role of women in action media.
She also happened to have been a tiny, 15-year-old blonde valley girl from southern California –something about being that Chosen One with “the strength and skill to fight vampires, demons and the forces of darkness.”
Having Mr. Pointy around also helps.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” a cult favorite following a disastrous movie of the same name, focuses on the bildungsroman-esque adventure of one Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) –the most recently called Vampire Slayer. Unlike her predecessors, however, Buffy simply wants to live the life of an ordinary teenager – who happens to attend high school on the Hellmouth with witches, werewolves and a wide array of other arcane creatures – most of whom are disguised as regular people, of course.
She inevitably makes friends with fellow classmates, social outcasts Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Xander (Nicholas Brendan), as well Mr. Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) – school librarian by day; Buffy’s Watcher by night.
Along the way, she encounters tortured love in Angel (David Boreanaz) – the vampire cursed with a soul, a grudging friendship with the adorably snobby Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) and an enemy-turned-mercenary-turned-lover-turned-friend-turned-confidante in the dangerously charismatic Spike (James Marsters), making for one of the most unique love stories to hit the small screen in ages.
Predictably, she faces various mundane woes of growing up, under the clever literary guise of demons or other supernatural enemies and ultimately matures over the show’s seven year span.
Aside from high school being located on the Mouth of Hell, Buffy’s first love immediately turns on her after a night of passion, other uses of metaphor-iffic find home in the ironically named fictional town of Sunnydale, California.
Coming-of-age allegories aside “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” saw the birth (or rebirth, realistically) of several tropes, as more and more live action television began to focus on a butt-kicking female hero without the crutch of unnecessary masculinization. Femininity and toughness were no longer contradictory terms.
From the ashes of “Buffy,” rose shows like the “Dark Angel,” “Alias” and “Torchwood.” Gellar and Hannigan became household names and show creator, Joss Whedon, a cult legend.
Never taking itself too seriously, “Buffy” nonetheless triggered the production of numerous books and articles on its internal philosophies – some citing Buffy as a Kierkegaardian hero and Faith is a prime example of Nietzsche’s “nihilism.”
To fully hone the awesome, “Buffy” became one with the creation of unique speech patterns for its respective characters. This, the much-quoted “Buffy-speak” was born.
The show ended in 2003, however, as Buffy reached the drink-tastically ripe age of 21 and each season was subsequently put on DVD.
Unfortunately, with the unpredictable state of our economy, few are able to afford conventionally priced television releases.
August of 2006 saw the release of “The Chosen Collection” – a 40-disc box set featuring each “Buffy” episode, commentary and a bonus featuring interviews with the cast, an analysis on the Buffyverse relationships, a short on the stunt woman who played Buffy and others.
Of course, the bonus disc is hardly notable, so the true targets for this collection should be the fans sans DVDs. (At $168.49 on amazon.com, it’s of the thrifty).
After all, slay-age in bulk can only lead to warm happies of the hugs and puppies variety.