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"This house will fall"
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February 29 2012

Let the Slayer live again: why we should reboot Buffy. A reasoned approach to the reboot debate.

Yeah, but "The Once and Future King" was written about six centuries after "Le Morte d'Arthur" (and White follows Malory's plot very closely).* This would be the equivalent of someone doing a new version of Buffy around 2520. Pretty sure no one would have a problem with that.

I realize the author's point is not so much about specific versions of the Arthur story, and more about Buffy's capacity to become a mythical figure greater than any one telling of her story. However, his use of these particular stories as an example undermines his argument somewhat. There's also the fact that the Arthur and Robin Hood stories have no definitive author/creator. So, interesting idea ... but IMO the analogies are not well chosen. At all.

Furthermore, the real question is not "why reboot Buffy," but rather "why reboot Buffy now. And this essay fails to answer that question at all.

*Also, in most versions of the legend, Mordred was the son of Arthur's sister Margaise, not his sister Morgan le Fay. The two sisters weren't conflated until the twentieth century--and remain separate characters in White's version.

[ edited by erendis on 2012-02-29 01:29 ]
Oh boy, it's canon time! So, on the one had the author argues for canon, while on the other saying things like "In both cases, these books were originally recognized as brilliant stories and ideas, but now both have to be filtered through the culture they were written in." Which is all reader response... he wants to have it both ways. :-)

Hey, Simon, can you remove the shrink-size here since I did not code it and do not know how to remove the tiny text? Thanks!

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2012-02-29 01:11 ]
I don't mind a Buffy reboot if it means new stories and adventures about everyone's favorite vampire slayer. Hell, it could just be a sort of continuation like the comics are, and I wouldn't mind. Even if it's done without Joss. There were more writers on Buffy then just Joss Whedon, and I like to think that they managed to do a pretty kick-ass job. A good story is a good story, no matter when it's written, or even who it's written by.

Let the reboot come I say. It'll come eventually whether we like it or not. I say we just learn to embrace it, and hope that it'll turn out to be something new and awesome. After all, the show itself was a semi-reboot of the movie, and that turned out pretty good.

[ edited by SpikeBad on 2012-02-29 01:15 ]
Why can't we just have more stories about other slayers, other people, other vampires, other demons, that take place in the buffyverse? Something that can follow the spirit of the show without needing to re-use characters.

Also, I just can't imagine someone besides James Masters playing Spike.
Sorry about the tiny text ... apparently I know just enough HTML to f*** things up for other people. :-) Fixed now.
Yeah, a better example of a mythical figure would have been Sherlock Holmes. He's more modern, was written by one author, and has had many successful retellings IMO. I guess there's also the Pride and Prejudice phenomenon that has swept the book world in recent years with: continuations of the book, side characters getting their own stories, the story from Darcy's POV, etc. Some of those are okay, I'm not sure they added anything to the original though.

This bothers me a bit:

Some may object to her constant pining to be a normal, pretty girl. In that case, I would say change it. Make her even more badass than she already is.


I'm not sure why wanting to enjoy some of the pleasures of being female is considered unfeminist and that the way to controvert it is to make her more badass. Too be fair, he didn't actually say that, but I felt like it was implied. The reason Buffy is such a feminist icon is because she never accepted that she couldn't be both. (The Buffy from "The Wish" would never be icon material.)
His argument is basically the same one I've been making since the reboot was first announced. Except I think the time for this is still to come, a ways off. It's not now.
I'd be okay with another Slayer story if it wasn't about Buffy. They could approach it any number of ways ... for instance, take advantage of the popularity of "Mad Men" and make a movie about a Slayer in the '50s.

I'm also okay with the idea of a Buffy reboot somewhere down the road--but like bix said, now is not the time.
A good story is a good story, no matter when it's written, or even who it's written by.

Except Buffy isn't about just 'the story' or 'the mythology'. A lot of writers can manage the humour, come up with a great plot, etc. The deep understanding of human nature is what makes Buffy Buffy; and that it's wrapped in a unique mixture of hilarious and unsettling. This is a much rarer combination of skill required to come anywhere close to doing Buffy justice.

It will be rebooted, of course, probably sooner rather than later, but seeing is Hollywood couldn't properly reboot a (far less complex) Charlie's Angels, what chance does Buffy have?

[ edited by Effulgent on 2012-02-29 02:51 ]
The author does fall short in ways others have mentioned (by his implied definition of 'badass' he seems more misogynist than feminist to me, though I may be reaching), but his point is valid.

Bottom line is there's no rational reason to oppose a reboot. It will either be good or great or terrible or mediocre, etc.... but it will never take away from what has come before. In fact, good or bad, it can introduce more people to the idea, likely getting many more to watch/read, and enjoy, what came before.

The likelihood of it being worth standing on it's own is probably pretty low, in which case it is certainly just profiting from a name, which is lame, but business people will be business people, Joss show is still great, and more will go be inclined to watch it.

If it happens to be good or great or stupendous, etc... all the better for everyone involved. Regardless, no one who doesn't want to see it will be forced to.
I'm with those who think we should have future movies and such about new Slayers. They can look to Buffy for inspiration, but having new demon hunters is a better way to go. Heck, I'd like to see Spike and Drusilla forced to replace the Slayers they killed, then decide this is a cool gig to have (he's sold on it more, but she catches on, of course). Let have some Asian girls defend the Bay Area while Faith protects Boston and New England. It would be almost like Japanese TV super-heroes, only done in the US style.
I may be wrong but it sounds to me that the author thinks there was a Buffy movie in 1992, then Joss came along and made a series in 1997-2003, and now it is time for someone else to further expand the original story. Does he know that Joss is the creator of both? It is Joss' exclusion from the project more than anything else that has most fans arguing against it.
There can be no Buffy without Joss Whedon. EVER. Period.
Represent this amazingly positive female figure in as many as you possibly can so that it becomes both an example of our culture’s commitment to woman’s empowerment, and a driving force thereof. Let there be more than one Buffy.


Or write more stories about brand new positive female characters?
I am all for bringing Buffy back. But why reboot her? Why not just tell some more stories with the original cast and world? Sarah Michelle Gellar and the rest of the cast could easily come back and play those characters again (aside from other obligations). I honestly do believe there are more stories that can be told with the original characters. Put them in 2013. Or heck, if they wanted to start closer to when the series ended, they could probably convince us that only a year or two had passed. I don't know. I also don't understand why there hasn't been another spin-off since Angel ended. The universe has so much potential, and I really don't feel like its just the die-hard fan inside of me thats talking.
Simon: Or write more stories about brand new positive female characters?

Yes, this.

And of course, since I'm a member of the Beating a Dead Horse Quote Club:

"I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death. But, you know, AFTER." - Joss, November, 2010

As many have said, while the creator is still actually writing the character is too soon.
Simon: Or write more stories about brand new positive female characters?

Thank you Simon.

Buffy wasn't always an icon. She wasn't an icon when Fox took Joss's brilliant script and turned it into a mediocre movie. It wasn't an icon when the networks wanted a Power Ranger type of show. It's an icon now only because that's what Joss Whedon and the team he put together made it.

Hollywood is drowning in remakes, reboots and sequels as it is. 'We' don't need a reboot of anything at all. What we need is someone with courage, talent, imagination and strength of conviction to create new icons.
A reboot while Joss is alive should have his input. He doesn't need to write it but at least be a consultant or exec producer (like Stan Lee is in the Marvel movies). That was my main objection to the last reboot suggestion, that Joss was going to have no input and the studio wasn't even open to asking him for it.
After the dark day of his passing then, obviously it can go to whomever has the best idea. I wouldn't mind Buffy becoming a Batman-like character that gets rebooted every decade or so. It isn't like Bob Kane and Bill Finger have the capacity to consult on the Chris Nolan Batman movies (because they're both dead) but the movies still have been amazing, as were the first two movies in the 90's.
Thanks for putting that in so many words.
I really hope the reboot comes around.
Buffy is more relevant than its author.
I had long, impassioned comment planned when I came here, only to find that E-Rawk said just what I meant to, and more succinctly as well.

I didn't have a problem with a new Buffy movie (well, not much anyway) but to not make use of the character/concept's creator when he's right there struck me as a bad sign.
I'm fine with a Buffy reboot, but only if they get Peter Beardsley to play Giles. He was to have will been great in Casablanca.
Beyond someone absconding with what I deem to be Joss' very personal story, my major argument against multiple Buffy retellings is dilution and diminishment. While Sherlock Holmes is a great and enduring character, his universe is quite different than what Joss very carefully crafted.

Frankly, I'd rather get excited about other strong women (like a Fray live-action film) than see Buffy's story retold by people who don't understand her/her world.
Buffy is more relevant than its author.

It's only relevant because of its author. Because he made a show 100 people need to see, rather than a show that 1000 people want to see. The next director and writer for hire who come along will almost inevitably dilute Buffy for mass appeal, thus diminishing its relevance.

As a writer, I'm stunned to see how little people understand of what a work of writing owes to its author or what makes a work of writing, well, work. Yes, a lot of people could probably make a decent Buffy flick; but unless you think that Buffy is about a girl who kicks ass and nothing more, then Buffy it won't be. Probably 80,000 painters in the world could copy Munch's Scream, why can't they sell it for 80M at Sotheby's?

On paper, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sabrina the Teenage Witch sound like the same show. Why one is culturally and creatively relevant and the other isn't? I'm sure a lot of talented, funny people were writing Sabrina. Do you know their names? Do you flock to their next projects and their fansites? That's the difference great writing makes.

[ edited by Effulgent on 2012-02-29 22:12 ]
My answer to the author of this is the same as my answer to a whole bunch of Hollywood copycat "creators":

"Because we can" is a pretty shitty rationale for a reboot/remake/reimagining/whatever-the-current-buzzword-may-be.
The main point that I took from the essay - that Buffy should live on - got me to thinking: what if Buffy, or the whole slayer idea was treated like Doctor Who? A new Buffy or slayer every few years, a new scooby gang to work with her, new watchers, etc. I would find that interesting.
But Buffy isn't an alien, so she's not going to turn into a different person. I would think the analogy would be more like James Bond. Even so, I'd rather see Buffy keep being Joss' character, and new, strong women characters be introduced into film and television.

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