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October 21 2004

Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy: Animated and by gosh, she has very strong opinions about it.

Ta to Jonas for the heads up.

"I remember the pitch to me about the cartoon was like, 'She can turn into things and have magical powers,'" Gellar said. "To me, that wasn't what Buffy was about. To me, Buffy was a real girl.
Can anyone confirm this? Sounds kind of....ehe..different. In past interviews Sarah Michelle Gellar usually addresses Buffy in a very posetive OR neutral way. Not the case this time.
Well, she kinda has strong opinions about everything . . . So she doesn't "get" why there'd be an animated show because, for her, BtVS was about a "real girl." While I agree with her that the strength (and heart) of BtVS lay in that reality, it's clear that BAS would just be a different kind of show. One that she's obviously not particularly interested in. That's fine. That's her choice, right? (And it's not like we didn't suspect this all along).

I'm also less interested in an animated thing, but, sure, I'd probably watch it - especially if Joss and some of the other writers were involved.

Jonas: I don't read this as negative particularly. Just as "animated series - not for me".
This doesn't strike me as negative, just forcefully articulated.
I think I understand the point she's making here. Of all the interviews I've read from her fellow cast members, I always pick up a common thread when they discuss Sarah. She's very focused on the job at hand and that she is one of the hardest working actress' they know. She completely dedicates herself to whatever she's filming. She rather not sign on to a series unless she can give it her all. And with the movies she's getting lined up, she just can't do that. As far as her statement, that could be easily misunderstood. Sarah deeply respects BtVS and the fans of such. I honestly believe she doesn't want to risk disappointing those fans by doing something she feels isn't up to par as BtVS. She has said the same about a Buffy movie. She would only do it if she felt it was up to the standards of the series.
If the magical powers bit is true then it would be a completly different show. I always thought Joss wanted to do Tas because he had to leave the high school setting in the live show before he'd had the chance to tell all the stories he wanted to. Changing the basic premise sounds iffy..

And I believe her reasons. With the success of so many animated shows and movies there is no feeling that it's an inferior medium. She had done Buffy for seven years of twelve hour days and she want's a break. I've read other interviews where she talks about being able to just chill out, read a book or do nothing for a while and she likes it.
I`m partially agree with her opinion.
I`m not interested in a "remake" of the series. But i`ll watch it.
I think Sarah has a point. Buffy was about "a real girl". That was the appeal of the show to me.

To go back into highschool and make things into a much more fantasy world would, IMO, alter the Buffyverse we all love. I have difficulty getting into the Buffy novels because I just can't get my head around the characters on the page verses the screen. There is an ambiguity about Buffy that just doesn't seem to occur in the books. Having a Buffy animated version would also interfere with my version of canon.
I've tried reading some of the books myself and most leave me flat. The writer's just don't seem to be able to capture the magic and get the characters quite right. Now, that said, I'm game to check out the animated series, especially because Joss is in charge. The books are done by other people, and I know they have to follow certain guidelines, but they aren't being guided by Joss. I thoroughly enjoyed both the Buffy games and I feel that is very close to being an animated series right there. I know it will be different but if Joss feels he has a great idea for it I know that's good enough for me to want to check it out. He's never disappointed me before.
i'm particularly hoping the animated series will be of the restructured memories due to the presence of the Key in human form. i LOVE to see how the memories work out w/ Dawnie in them.

fyi, kim possible doesn't have magical powers, right? just way cool gadgets. buffy needn't be more than a girl w/ Slayer power. even animated, that would be enough.
Kim Possible: Way cool gadgets, and a seemingly endless supply of people who are willing to drive her places. And of course, heavily influenced by Buffy.

I really hope the animated series happens. Considering that ME writers like Jane Esperson wrote scripts they care about for BtAS, I can't imagine the canon being too loose. Ew, mixed metaphor.
So by SMG's reasoning -- that 'real girls' don't have magical powers, that would mean that Willow & Tara (among others) were not real girls. Huh. Interesting.
No, Willow and Tara were drug users...
SMG certainly has the right to option out of BtAS without stirring up much of a fuss. She's a free woman, and Joss already has an alternate voice for Buffy all lined up. As Kim Possible herself says, "No big."

As for the content, I always assumed it would be EXACTLY like S1 of Buffy, right after the big reveal of Angel as the vampire with a soul (ep 7.5, as it were). The only difference would be that Joss could do all the stuff he couldn't possibly do on a TV budget. Buffy v. 5 million demonic howler monkeys? Xander followed around by a love-struck 50 foot monster? Willow falling down the rabbit hole and winding up in Wonderland? All doable!
Wouldn't that be fun?
I have to say i'm really not looking forward to the animated series, and I doubt very much if it's made that I would watch it, so I can see her point
I would definitely watch Buffy animated if it ever airs. And if it's only released on DVD (like the pilot episode or whatnot) I'll get that too. Because Joss is making it. I'll watch anything that Joss makes.
Hi, my name is Wiseblood. I am a Joss junkie. If it's written, produced, directed, overseen, advised, chaired, touched or breathed on by Joss in any way, shape or form, or connected to him through ME or other designated individuals, collaborative parties or agencies in any of those capacities, I'll watch, read, listen to and/or quite probably buy it on DVD where applicable.

Everything I've read about BtAS sounds like it'll be a blast. If the writers are committed and enthusiastic and the production values are high, which I have every reason to expect will be the case, I'm open to seeing more untold stories from the Buffy-verse on my TV (Saturday morning notwithstanding -- I'll be taping them if it airs before noon) that we won't get otherwise. The man puts out good stuff, and he hasn't steered me wrong yet.

Well, okay. Except for that 'Aliens' movie. I mean, I may be obsessive, but I'm not completely lacking in objectivity. ;)
Elabourating on what I said earlier. I am aware that the novels were not written by Buffy writers, so I allow for the differences and as bswessel said they seem flat to me as well.

On the other hand, I am aware that the comic books were more strongly influenced by Joss' vision. I came into BtVS late, S4. So I esentially have the vision of Buffy as a tragic figure. Viewing the progression of the series just served to re-enforce this point of view. (S4,5,6,1,2,3,7) The early comic books did not appeal to me. The Buffy as generic bubble gum chewing blonde irritated me to the point that I did not want to read them. I did start picking up the "Pre-Buffy" series, Slayer Interrupted. The art work on the Eric Wright illustrations just make me think of the early comics. If I as a fan can't get my head around bubble-headed high school Buffy, how is an actress who has experienced all the highs and lows of Buffy first hand going to get into her. It be like having an out of body experience. IMO

I think it is better for Sarah and Joss to part ways on this animated series. Let both projects find a way to stand on their own. I will watch it, because I enjoy Joss' creativity, but in my mind I probably won't view the cartoon as canon.
I love Joss, but I have no interest in an animated series based on the early seasons of the live-action Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If it were a totally new show with new characters based on the same universe as Buffy, then I would check it out. What I've read about BtAS just doesn't appeal to me. I wish Joss and Co the best of luck though.
I didn't think I'd like the Teen Titans Go cartoon, because I was an avid follower of the original comic books back in the 1980s, and if you have seen the dramatic differences both visually and creatively, you know what I mean about a dramatic difference in storytelling techniques and a different focus of audience. However, Teen Titans Go, while not what I grew up with, is still pretty impressive in its own right. They're similar in some ways but dramatically different in others.

If BAS doesn't tell the story in its own way, starting from scratch, it can't stand alone. It's a matter of quality. If the story is told well, and a lot of creativity and talent are poured into it, then it'll be worth seeing, regardless of whether it holds the original series as canonical or apocryphal.

What would concern me is if the final result looked like Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Then I'd gag.
I agree with MadHatter. I would rather see movies with good acting, than A few movies and an animated show with less than full dedication.
What electricspacegirl said. I've always wanted to type that.
I agree with SMG. I don't want to see Buffy all the sudden "being able to turn into things..." I like the Slayer mystique just the way it is. I too would rather see the universe expanded upon with more characters and new stories...not an animated rehash and reshaping of the show I love.
I agree with Sarah's 'jumping the shark' comment. As bad as my withdrawls were when the series ended, I now appreciate the fact that the show went out on a relatively high note.
I think, as a highly-committed fan, I wouldn't ever fully appreciate something that wasn't 100& BtVS. (Heck, I struggled with getting into AtS for over a year before I could like it.) I think as long as the animated series can be accepted as different - or slightly tangential - to the Buffyverse, then it'd be easier to deal with, at least for me.

I'm going to check it out, because I have a lot of respect for Joss, the writers, and the cast that are already on board, and if nothing else, I want to support them in their future endeavours.

And hey. We'll still have "Classic Buffy" told hold close to our hearts, should the animated series fail, and will be able to appreciate it's magic just that little bit more.
I have a bit of a problem with her answer as well, cause didn't she just do another interview where she talked about doing animation and how there is something to be said for being able just to get up, put on some comfortable close and pull on a baseball cap and go to work. She was refering to her work doing a voice over for an animated film but she has also done guest voice work on King of the Hill and the Simpsons. So to say she has no time to invest in a Buffy animated series just seems a tad bit off. One would think she could play Buffy in her sleep after 7 years, also does she think Joss and ME would really vear that far off course with the character by giving her powers and such, not like she didn't have them occasionally on the series out side of the slayer srength and healing powers. Outside of Marti's character detour in the 6th season (which I loved - good girl goes deep and discovers she's not always the good girl). The animated Buffy is set in the High School era but remaining true to Buffy mythos a bit by bring Dawn as well - like they mentioned in Season 5 (she feels like she's always been there) - I for one cannot wait to see how the animated series plays out. However I do fear it may skew more to a young kid audience although I would love to see BtAS end up as part of the Adult Swim line up on Cartoon Network, not to mention (I know asking for a lot) being an hour long - instead of the normal 30 minutes for animated series.

I mean over the course of the season we got 22 episodes (if you calculate a week for each one) that would leave us with at least 30 weeks a year of stories that never got told. If the animated series can give us that while keeping the cast drawn young then why not. It's pretty descent pay with loads of free time for other things - it's not like she's a method actor. Just some mild observations.
If I'm remembering correctly, Joss has said he envisions the cartoon as a cross between 'The Simpsons' and 'Batman: The Animated Series'. And I found that rather intriguing. Because while somewhat accessible to children, a show like 'The Simpsons' still has a heap of smart, satirical humour. And 'Batman: The Animated Series' was a show that appealed to youth, while maintaining a gritty, mature vibe that catered to an older crowd.

Regarding SMG -- I understand the point she's making. And I agree that one of the strengths of the series was the strong use of metaphor.

But with that said, I get the sense that there might have been some mis-communication during the pitching of the show. When Sarah was told that Buffy would be able to change into things, or use magic? I think that was merely someone trying to explain the freedom that comes with animation -- the way the metaphors can be more imaginative when they're not limited by a makeup/special-effects budget.

For example -- Jane Espenson wrote a Buffy the Animated Series script where high-school Buffy is feeling kind of small and left out. And that becomes fleshed out metaphorically, when Buffy actually starts shrinking.

To quote Jane, herself: "It allowed us to accomplish visuals that would've been impossible with live action. The episode was about feelings of insecurity and obscurity that most of us faced in high school -- a return to the very metaphorical story-telling of seasons one and two of Buffy."

So from the sound of it, the show would still be very metaphorical. Sadly, it seems that wasn't hammered home when the show was pitched to Sarah -- because she seems to think the show was flat-out dumping the use of metaphor. And it sounds like that's not at all the case.

[ edited by inverse on 2004-10-22 02:12 ]
I will watch, read, listen to, and touch anything that in any way comes from the mind of Joss Whedon.

(I am aware that the use of "touch" might raise a few eyebrows. So be it.)
Well... if a Fray movie is relative expensive to do, why they don`t make Fray, Animated Series?
Hm well I can uncerstand Sarah's comments, but then this is absolutely the first time I've ever seen anyone refer to the Animated show in those terms. Magical powers? Turning into stuff? Is she sure they weren't describing what would be the topic of a particular episode? I mean in the way that Giles 'turned into' a demon once?

As I understand it the S7 episode Him was actually taken from an animated-show script. I thought that was a nice indication of how the right type of humor was still in there. Well maybe someone pitched it to her poorly (doesn't sound like it was Joss himself) or maybe everything else I've read about it so far was way off. Can't know until I see it.

But Sarah does seem to have no faith in general that Buffy could succeed in any other medium than the TV show, (she pretty much says the same about the movie possibility) which I don't agree with.

Wiseblood "Well, okay. Except for that 'Aliens' movie. I mean, I may be obsessive, but I'm not completely lacking in objectivity. ;)

Well, if Joss had directed that himself, and would have been able to shoot his original script for that, and with actors that know how to deliver his type of dialogue, it would have been a very different movie (and a far better one I think) than we've seen.
I'm sorry but the bitch in me just resurfaced. Gee, SMG discovers that the buffyverse CAN move onto other things without her and she runs the project down - sour grapes, much?

Sorry, the rational and polite person re-established dominance and said everyone's entitled to their own opinion and, of course, this is something new and it may or may not work. I have faith in Joss that it will be good and leave at that!
I really don't think SMG was in the wrong about her comments. I can understand if SMG doesn't want a long-term commitment to a show right now, especially for something she hasn't seen a script for. Doing a weekly animated show is something different from a few guest spots.

I don't think it's sour grapes or a negative attitude towards the character of Buffy. I think she just has very set ideas about who Buffy is and if she's not interested in committing to a show that she doesn't feel really reflects the character, that's fine wtih me.

Of course, I love Joss, so I'll at least check the show out when and if it ever airs. I couldn't imagine anyone but SMG playing Buffy in a live action show or movie, but I could deal with a different voice actress in an animated series.
I think what inverse and Ed pointed out is right, that the animated series was most likely just not pitched well to SMG, or she didn't get what they were trying to accomplish with it. None of the news material I've read about the show hinted at Buffy developing magical powers or the ability to morph.

Also I think it's really telling that she wasn't given a script of the series to sample. Maybe she's just not aware that regular ME writers are involved? I think she'd still say no to voicing animated Buffy even if she did read a killer script or two, and it's probably best for her that she gives the character a rest (with the exception of a possible live action movie or two, and even without one of those I'd accept "Chosen" as the end of her Buffy career no problem). I wonder why she wasn't offered a script though. Maybe when Joss realized (or SMG told him) around Season 6 or 7 that she was ready for things to wrap, he arranged it ahead of time so that no one would offer/pressure her with the possibility of taking on the role...?

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