An open letter to the makers of the upcoming new Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie
Dear Warner Bros.
It has come to my attention that both you and Fran Rubel Kuzi – the director of 1992’s original Buffy The Vampire Slayer film - plan to make a new Buffy movie. I write to you today urging you to reconsider this gross act of idiocy.
From the off, I will accept that the idea of a new Buffy movie isn’t in itself a bad thing - my life, and the lives of other fans of the world's best ever TV show, has been considerably worse off these last seven years without a weekly dose of natty wisecracking, shitkicking action and supernatural whimsy. I’ll level with you, The Wire just didn’t fill that void for me.
However, it is your decision to make the movie without the involvement of the TV series show runner Joss Whedon, a man who via his work on Roseanne, Dollhouse and that brilliant episode of The Office he directed, has constantly proved he’s the best writer of episodic TV of his generation even away from Buffy, that has left me scratching my already threadbare scalp in distressed bewilderment.
Allow me to substantiate that ‘best ever TV show’ claim; in marrying real life drama (love, loss, friendship) with fantasy scenarios (vampires), Buffy The Vampire Slayer was a truly original show, essentially the best ever teen drama – think 80’s Grange Hill or season two of Skins - wrapped up in a crispy outer shell of geekery – think World Of Warcraft with a soul. Perhaps it would have been more successful if it had been one or the other, but the six million people who tuned in regularly found (and find) little fault in it.
Furthermore, it is testament to just how original the Buffy TV series was, that the best episode of the franchise was either the one where nobody spoke for 30 minutes (season four’s Hush) or the one that replaced conventional dialogue with musical numbers (season six’s Once More, With Feeling). I really can't decide, yet these are quirks and innovations that are synonymous with the passion Buffy fans feel for the Whedon's series.
What’s more, like other Whedon creations (the writer conceived a brilliantly unique U.S. take on Steampunk thanks to 2002’s Firefly), the very format of the show was somewhere ahead of the curve – it’s unfeasible that True Blood would exist without it; comparatively, it’s entirely possible that the likes of Twilight and The Vampire Diaries wouldn’t be so poorly thought of either. It’s Whedon’s ingenuity which means film fans are looking forward to his forthcoming The Avengers and Captain America films with glee quite unlike other superhero movies on existing release schedules.
I am of course aware you are within your legal rights to reboot the franchise, given you own the rights to the original movie. Yet given that woeful movie contained not one jot of flair for original storytelling (awful dialogue, jaded action sequences, the casting of Kristy Swanson – a lead that had half the charisma the TV series Buffy Sarah Michelle Gellar contained in one of her pigtails) let alone the original take on drama Whedon has demonstrated throughout his career (Whedon may have been involved in the first film, yet the critique “It was funny when I wrote it” after he saw your cuts is quite telling) I question whether you’ve really, truly thought this through.
Far from mere consumers, Whedon fans are passionate, intelligent beings – the embodiment of modern fandom. So incensed were they by the cancellation of the Fox Network’s Firefly after one series in 2002 that they utilized the internet to group together and raise money to buy an ad in Variety, pleading for the show to continue. They failed, but they did succeed in convincing Universal to produce a film of the series, 2005’s Serenity. Who knows what they have in store to stop your Buffy returning to the big screen…
Not only that, but even the most iconic actress to play the Buffy role, that being Gellar - who’s so synonymous with the role, she’s commented that whenever she taken a taxi in the years since the show finished, she’s more often than not been addressed as Buffy by the driver - has questioned whether a story as nuanced as Buffy can be told in 90 minutes. Sure, you can just about squeeze in a story about a girl who kills vampires in that running time – but where’s the room for the feminist subtext? The spirituality? The gender politics?
I conclude my letter to you today reiterating my belief that the idea of a new Buffy movie that isn’t penned by Joss Whedon is an unprecedentedly bad idea. I urge you to consider the views of both myself and other outraged Buffy The Vampire Slayer fans.
P.S. Nerr nerr