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DVD Throwback: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

This week’s DVD throwback is a bit special for me. I get a some crap from my friends about this but it’s only because they’ve never seen it. So, humor me, cause this week it’s my favorite show of all time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Why Buffy? Also, what type of a name is Buffy the Vampire Slayer anyways? First conceived as a movie, Joss Whedon’s dramady stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as the titular Buffy who, you guessed it, slays vampires. This show was well before vampire were cool so you Twilight fans can thank Buffy for providing you with disturbed romantic fantasies of vamp-sex.

But besides having vampires, Buffy and Twilight couldn’t be further apart. Buffy is less about vampires and more about the life of a teenage girl struggling to survive in high school, college, and eventually life. There are monsters, there are vampires and witches, but that’s not necessarily the point. The series was conceived by Whedon as giving power to the blonde that goes down the dark alley in the horror movie. You know, the one that always get killed? Instead of getting killed, she kicks ass (interesting fact: the original title for Buffy was Martha the Immortal Waitress).

What can you expect from Buffy’s 7 seasons? There is a lot of variability, but the quality is always superb. The reason that Buffy works when most vampire story dissolve in creativity is the level of higher thought that it takes to write the show. It’s self-referential, funny, and sarcastic. Characters are likable and humorous, even the bad guys. Take Spike for instance. He’s one of the villains in the second season but he’s so well written and well acted that it’s impossible not to like him. The show is also extremely metaphorical – Buffy’s virginity, for instance. She falls in love with a man, has sex with him and he turns into a monster. Buffy’s mother Joyce puts it best, saying that he turned out different than she expected and that it happens. It’s a beautiful piece of writing when Joyce can give her daughter advice about the struggles that teenage girls go through that can translate into Buffy’s own struggles with her now-soulless vampiric boyfriend.

One of the other beauties of Buffy is how well it balances sadness and humor. Characters such as Faith are tragic: her journey to redemption takes her over two different television shows, five seasons and a comic book. And then there are episodes like the second season finale. Palpable, moving, and I’ll lose my man-card for it, tear jerking.

The great strength of Buffy easily is the characters. They take on a life of their own. Even characters that initially were thought to be one-shots, such as Anya, come to life and eventually become series regulars due to their strength in popularity and creativity. Of course, there’s also Harmony: initially one of the “Cordettes” in the pilot and the first season, she finally becoming a regular in the last season of Angel, eight years later.

The series creator, Joss Whedon, is a brilliant man who will be directing the upcoming Avengers movie as well as the upcoming horror film Cabin in the Woods. He also has created four of my favorite television shows of all time – Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and the recently deceased Dollhouse. They will all eventually be DVD throwbacks.

If you’d like to get to get the collector’s set, it is $131.49 on amazon.com. Completely worth every penny for seven seasons of slayage.

Seen Buffy? Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.


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