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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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November 07 2003

TV or not TV? That is the question. Does Buffy the Vampire Slayer qualify as great art? This article thinks so.

I do feel that Buffy qualifies as great art. It was the most unique show that was on the air and spawned a bunch of copy cats trying to capture the genius of it. Buffy kept me enthralled episode after episode even after some felt it wasn't as good as it used to be. But even it's critics near the end still felt it was better than anything else that was currently on the air. I've recently been watching "Dallas" on the soap net. This was a show I watched when I was a kid and it was the biggest show at the time and had a huge following. It amazes me though how bad the acting and writing seem compared to shows I watch now. I'm sure I thought it was good when I was younger and I am enjoying the nostalgia of it but we have such good writing and such great actors on television now that I can't imagine a show like Dallas doing well in this day and age with all the great shows that are now on. Unfortunately though, great writing and acting doesn't save a show from being cancelled and then being replaced by reality shows which grab larger numbers of viewers. I'm still mourning over Firefly, which in my opinion could've rivaled Buffy in stories and in quality. Yes, I know it's another Joss Whedon show but it was definitely not Buffy and it was no where like Buffy but stood on it's own and had a great story arc. I think people are taking for granted great writing and acting and I worry how that can affect future shows if it's more important for the networks to have reality shows over quality shows.
I have often said to incredulous friends, "Buffy is not only art, it is art of a very high order."

I firmly believe that to be true. This will endure well beyond this generation. The stories are timeless, the characters unforgettable, the themes eternal. In a word, art.

By the way, once I get the incredulity down to mere skepticism and I get friends to actually watch, they, grudgingly at first and then with great enthusiasm, have to agree.
I don't get why people would even have to ask that Q. The answer's obvious.
I think the question is asked because the medium of TV has not produced much that truly rises to the level of art. Hell, over 40 years ago it was already referred to as a "vast wasteland", and it hasn't (for the most part) gotten better.

So, the notion that a true work of art has been produced by TV is in fact worthy of, at the outset at least, a healthy degree of skepticism.

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