When good Tv starts bad: how Buffy the Vampire Slayer was beginning to suction

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Banter, humour, war, feminism, pop-culture epigrams and warmth the Sunnydale Slayer epic had it all. Then, all of a sudden, its blood curdled

To be clear: Joss Whedons 90 s supernatural fantasy Buffy the Vampire Slayer was everything . Funny, moving, acute, operatic, academic, accessible, crammed with classical and pop-cultural cites, innovative in form and contents, a pitch-perfect mash-up of categories and formats years before mash-ups were A Happen. It was all is held by Whedons talent and overarching eyesight and delivered by an ensemble shed without a weak link. Like a bumble bee, it shouldnt have worked but it did, beautifully. For six seasons. Then the seventh happened and it all departed abysmally wrong.

The seventh season overloaded the display with a abrupt cast of thousands of people. Enter Buffys Potential Slayers, exclusively two of whom, Kennedy and Rona, have anything resembling an identifiable temperament( three if you count being unremittingly irritating as a attribute, in which suit you may include Amanda) and none of whom the gathering have the time or the inclination to care about. They crowded out the original Scooby Gang( Willow, Xander, Giles and Cordelia) and compelled Buffy to be more armed general than Slayer. Abruptly, episodes filled with pep talks and tactics instead of act interspersed with droll banter.

Those meddling girls: the Scooby gang. Photograph: Fox Television/ REX/ Shutterstock

In fact, any courtesy paid to the regular cast largely focused on vampire and affiliate Scooby Gang member Spike( James Marsters ). Which was great, because Spikes exploration of what it means to be human had become a happen of grace, plus Marsters without a shirt travelling loco in a cellar was the best James Marsters. But the abrupt demand on him being the greatest boxer and the person or persons on whom success certainly depended seats curiously , is not simply with the previous six seasons( during which Buffy and the mob did pretty well without and often despite him) but with the reveals whole female-centric ethos: the altitude of Spike meant skating delicately over his attempted abuse of Buffy towards the end of season six. I get “thats been” “ve been meaning to” bun that into the sheaf of sins his souls regaining was busy penalise him for, but it was Buffy and it was attempted abuse. She and the audience deserved it to be addressed more specifically.

At the same time, the feminism that always suffused Buffy the Vampire Slayer unexpectedly grew crassly overt, culminating in the crashing route in yet another of Buffys lectures to the Slayerettes to the reasons why exclusively one special slayer is announced per generation. Because a knot of men who died thousands of years ago made up the present rules, she spoke. They were potent gentlemen. But “womens issues”, timing at stalwart Willow, who had become the Wicca of Wiccas is more powerful than all of them combined.

Smaller sorrows bristled: the lack of a respectable extinction for former vengeance demon and comic genius Anya( and no time to show her former fiance Xanders reaction beyond a epigram) did a disservice to all that the specific characteristics had meant to us and each other; the replacing of her beloved Tara with so much lesser a girlfriend for Willow; and nothing of the scoundrels( from Caleb to the First Evil) quite having the heft that was needed for a supposedly climatic send-off. Perhaps everyone was too tired by then.

So, RIP, Buffy. Its OK that fatigue finally set in. You did, after all, save “the worlds”. A lot.

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