Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Initial Thoughts

Back in 1997, I didn’t have cable television.  I had a hand-me-down TV with an antenna.  I got ABC (sort of), CBS, CPTV, NBC and Fox.  There were two new networks that I didn’t get, the WB and UPN.  I was really bummed that I didn’t get UPN.  Star Trek Voyager was on that channel and I’m a big Trek fan.  I was able to catch episodes here and there, but I missed a bunch.  All I knew about the WB network was that it had a weird singing frog.  I didn’t care that I didn’t get it.

In just a little while, though, my friends started talking about this show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  They loved it.  Several friends that I trust on these sorts of things said it was their all time favorite show.  I was curious, but I didn’t get the station it was on, so I never watched it.

Now, through the magic of Hulu, I am able to watch it, so I decided to give it a shot.  I knew almost nothing about it going in.  I assumed it was about a girl named Buffy who slays vampires.  I also knew that Alyson Hannigan, who I really liked in How I Met Your Mother, was in it.  Way back when the show was at its peak popularity, Anthony Stewart Head did an appearance in the bookstore I worked at.  I didn’t really know who he was, but I found out from that experience that he was on Buffy and apparently did some famous coffee commercials.  And I had heard that feminists really like the show.  That’s all I knew.

I don’t really know what I was expecting, but the show definitely is not what I was expecting.  It’s like some weird combination of the original Star Trek, Friends and The X Files.  The Friends comparison is really just Xander.  It’s like the director asked him to do a Chandler Bing impersonation with all of his lines.  But like Star Trek, it’s got a solid combination of earnestness and camp.  And like The X Files, it’s a mix of serialization and stand alone episodes and it’s downright bonkers half the time.

I do have a few complaints.  I hate the theme song.  It sounds like what I would do if someone asked me to parody a punk song.  The body count is wicked high.  It’s hard to maintain my willing suspension of disbelief that any parent would allow their kids to attend Sunnydale High.  I’m a bit disappointed in the feminism that I was expecting.  Maybe my expectations were set too high, but I feel like Buffy winds up being a damsel in distress needing to be rescued by one of the male characters just a bit too often.  And pairing Buffy and Angel romantically is just creepy.  Not in the good, I’m watching a horror movie kind of way.  It’s just plain creepy.  In the show he’s 241 years old and she’s 16.  But even if you assume he stopped aging when he became a vampire, that puts him about 30.  Anyway, seeing them together in that way creeps me out.

Otherwise, I’m enjoying the show.  I think I’ll keep watching.  I don’t get why it would be anyone’s favorite show, but it’s solid enough.  And I have a ways to go.  Maybe it will improve with time.  I’m only twenty years too late, but I’m finally going to see what all my friends were talking about.

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