Today: May 25, 2024

Buffy – Revisiting a Trashterpiece

From 1997 to 2003, TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer – based on the 1992 film of the same name – followed the titular slayer (Sarah Michelle Gellar) as she learns to embrace her identity and do battle with vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness while trying to live a semi-normal life in high school. Aided by a mentor (Anthony Head) and her rag-tag circle of friends, Buffy encounters a huge number of foes across 144 episodes of trashy fun.

Reaching between four and six million viewers on original airings and met with critical and popular acclaim, the series has earned an enormous legacy with hundreds of tie-in novels, comics, video games and more. Almost 20 years since the final episode aired, does Buffy the Vampire Slayer hold up? 

The answer is yes, it absolutely does – assuming you’re not looking for The Sopranos. This is a trashy and cheesy series filled with cringe-inducing moments and a near-staggering level of clichés. But it works. It feels self-aware and tongue-in-cheek in its delivery, with some of the jokes actually landing surprisingly well even now. The special effects and make-up can be hit-and-miss, but on the whole are perfectly decent. Performances vary but Gellar and Head are excellent as the series’ odd couple of slayer and mentor, while returning characters Spike (James Marsters) and Angel (David Boreanaz) have earned iconic status themselves – with the latter leading his own eponymous spin-off series from 1999 to 2004.

The series’ influence is felt strongly today, not only in other series of its genre like Supernatural, but more so any media that features a strong female lead. Shows of the late 1990s and early 2000s like Buffy, Dark Angel and Alias ushered in a new era of storytelling, and their status as such is secure. 

Although Buffy the Vampire Slayer is available in its entirety on Disney+, the version available is regrettably the HD ‘remaster’ that aggressively cropped and recoloured the series without approval or guidance from its’ creators. Therefore, the only way to truly enjoy Buffy is through the DVD boxset – which would make a perfect present to yourself this Christmas season.

So why not take another trip down to the Hellmouth with Buffy, Giles, Angel and the gang, and remember a simpler time for television when cheesy, trashy high-school vampire slayer adventures were the height of entertainment.

 

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