If the apocolypse comes, Beep Me!
As the 20th anniversary of The groundbreaking Buffy the Vampire Slayer rears its fangy head I reflect on how it has influenced and continues to influence pop culture, television genre and even real life.
I was 10 years old when I first visited Sunnydale. The picturesque American town in California where it was always sunny. Everyone’s yards were well kept and teenage problems manifested themselves as real demons or mystical goings on. From Marcy who was invisible to her peers, to angel who totally went bad when he slept with Buffy.
For me when I approached my teenage angst I felt that the only relevant show on TV was buffy. I couldn’t relate to things like the OC or hollyoaks. I wasn’t sleeping with boys for a start and those shoes seemed to focus on the adult part of growing up.
Buffy was paving the way for a torrent of sifi spin offs and copycats before it had even completed its first series.
Not only was it relatable but it addressed (even if indirectly) many issues young people face in their transition to adulthood.
Willows seamless transformation from nerdy shy geek to total sapphic superstar broke boundaries other shows had failed to. Normalising lesbians on mainstream television helped millions (not even exaggerating).
Life wasn’t easy for the residents of Sunnydale.
From homocidal politicians to good guys who have a god complex the series still reflects modern day society.
It’s impressive 144 episodes spanning 7 season broke ground in bringing its niche into mainstream classic. It has a larger than colt following and ask any person and they will be able to tell you about this iconic master peace.
The series itself dealt with these issues as a material object, met with a masterful balance of humour and realism. We can all be invisible some times, and although illustrated literally people were able to relate to this. Not only did people latch onto this full fanged but it was always super hard to wait for the next episode.
“I’m back and I’m a Bloody Animal!”
Many say that BTVS was instrumental in bringing long arcs back into mainstream prime time television.
As well as this it was influential in bringing not only a strong female lead back into view but sub lead characters who were equally powerful. This paved the way for other series like charmed, Joan of Arcadia, dead like me etc.
It showed that these young women were not only relatable but also found themselves in awe-inspiring situations.
Russel T Davis is quoted to have said
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer showed the whole world, and an entire sprawling industry, that writing monsters and demons and end-of-the world is not hack-work, it can challenge the best. Joss Whedon raised the bar for every writer—not just genre/niche writers, but every single one of us.”
For me personally, however hard my life was at the time, I could immerse myself into the storyline at any given point. It made me realise that no matter how hard my life was at least my brain wasn’t being turned to mush by a god, or being hunted by a human-computer-demon-hybrid.
It helped me come to terms with loss, and celebrate life. And for me it played a massive part in realising my own body, sexuality and mind. For others it could be anything in between.
“She saved the world, A lot.”
The score is also something I wanted to talk about.
The score for this series is amazing. They tried to replicate some of the live music setup on charmed when the sisters took on the club. But for me BTVS encorportated relevant, live homegrown music. The soundtrack was wholesome and varied. It introduced me to artists like Sarah McLaughlan and Michell Branch, as well as some well known artists like garbage.
I have compiled a Spotify playlist of songs from buffy, hopefully you give it a listen. (Click here to listen)