Buffy The Vampire Slayer At 20: A Look Back At The Iconic Cult Series
Joss Whedon may have directed big budget films like Avengers: Age of Ultron but we have to insist that Whedon's best works are actually his own concepts and creations, though some tend to do better than others-just take a look at Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and Firefly.
Among Whedon's cult creations, however, we have to say that the director explored ideas other shows did not even dare touch in the Hellmouth called Sunnydale with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which aired its premiere episode on March 10, 1997. Yes, it's already been 20 years but Buffy still remains as iconic as ever.
There is so much to love about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but we will focus on the three reasons — on equal footing — that made the show truly memorable.
Reason 1: It's Supernatural But Still Realistic
The title alone already makes it clear that Buffy and her friends deal with supernatural forces, but the issues they face, though tinged with supernatural aspects, are still wholly relatable and makes the series a fantastic coming-of-age story. It's not just a simple "humans vs. vampires" or" adults vs. teenagers," but the show gave each character a unique, real-world set of issues to face: love, belongingness, acceptance, peer pressure, competition, opposition, death, facing and overcoming or succumbing to adversity, resentment and misplaced rage, and a host of other themes and ideas that everyone experiences in their lives.
Reason 2: It Has Depth
The show explores relationships and motivations through its characters, just like how it pit Buffy against Faith. The two slayers were chosen for their duty but viewers see how differently they navigated through it. On the one hand, there's Buffy who grounds herself through her relationship with her friends and family — fake sister included — and tries to keep her humanity intact and, on the other, there's Faith who is keen on performing her duty but mostly because she considers it a calling and revels in the violence of it.
We get to see how their relationship develops from rivalry to friendship to enemies, but not simply because there was a man to fight over, but because their natures and ideologies clash yet they are most probably the ones who understand each other best due to the position they are thrust in. The exploration of emotional and psychological concepts through characterization — and that involves almost everyone in the main cast — makes the show's themes resonate.
Reason 3: A True Representation Of Feminism
It is obvious that not everyone understands the true nature of feminism, considering all the social media posts of people who believe feminism paints males as the enemy, however, what feminism truly stands for is equality regardless of gender identity.
In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Whedon gave viewers a very realistic cast of characters that embodies feminism because we have a strong female lead who breaks the mold without undermining the male characters, but interacts with them as equals instead. At the same time, the show does not focus on showing macho-type males but, rather, embraces the idea that it does not always have to be men who save the day: men can save the day or be the ones who help save the day but, sometimes, they need to be saved too, and that's completely fine because that doesn't make them any less human.