Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, is widely recognised as a show which defined the 1990s. Though only beginning in 1997, the iconic TV programme, lasting seven years, quickly developed a significant following, which, considering the show’s high quality is no surprise. The large number of academic papers and books which have been published revolving around the programme’s structure, production, and stories, among other features, are a true testament to just how clever ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ truly is. Although its basis being a highly unsuccessful movie of the same name, which everyone pretends doesn’t exist, the balance between graveness and humour, the intelligent writing, and the show’s portrayal of its characters culminate in a series that people can fall in love with, even today.
It is almost impossible for anyone to discuss ‘BTVS”, without referencing the show’s female lead. Buffy Summers, sixteen in season one, was undoubtedly one of the first teenage girls on television who did not have to choose between being ‘girly’, and being strong. Most one dimensional female characters, even in pop culture today, are classified as ‘strong’ due to their rejection of femininity- but the writers of said disappointments are completely misunderstanding the notion of a ‘strong’ character. Buffy Summers is strong because she is well rounded. She is a girl who understands the severity of her destiny, but who is just as likely to worry about what to wear to school, if her crush likes her back, if she’ll get her homework in on time. A protagonist with depth, character, and personality, Buffy is easy for any audience member to connect with, not only making the show ground-breaking, but also a joy to watch.
As the plot dedicates itself to the supernatural, it’s no surprise that ‘BTVS’ can give you Goosebumps! Although not based around horror, there are moments when the audience have no guarantee who lives, and who dies- not even regular characters have a definite life span. This ‘no-one is safe’ ethos is a trademark of Whedon, the show’s creator, writer, and director, creating a tense atmosphere every single time physical conflict takes place. This is balanced by the constant presence of humour, another feature of Whedon’s writing, keeping the audience wondering if a character is going to suffer a horrible fate, or make some form of cheesy pun. This uncertainty is part of what makes the show so interesting, drawing the audience in.
There is no doubt that ‘BTVS’ is a truly iconic show- and not solely due to the writing. It is the first fictional television show to have a token ‘musical episode’ (a demon casts a spell causing everyone to burst into song), as well as an almost totally silent episode, in which the whole town is robbed of the ability to speak. The significant size of the series fans should be enough to convince anyone of its impact- as well as the fact that many who love the show weren’t even born, or were only babies, when it aired. The relationships between the characters, and intelligence of the writing help make it a timeless show, and likely one that will be celebrated for generations to come.