It may not have been a ratings bonanza, but Buffy the Vampire Slayer - - which graced television screens from 1997 to 2003 -- was one of the biggest genre hits of the last 20 years and helped put the now-defunct The WB network on the map. The series was even followed by a successful spin-off and lives on in comic books, novels and other media.
So, given the rabid fan base Buffy has, its understandable that the recent announcement that Warner Bros. is moving forward with a Buffy reboot - - without the cast of the series and, most notably, creator Joss Whedon - - has been met with outrage.
What made the series so incredible was the way Whedon fused high school melodrama with a mythology-rich universe involving demons, werewolves, witches and, yes, vampires. Its brilliant in the way it uses its supernatural elements to highlight the coming-of-age tale of its main characters. And Whedons signature dry wit and snappy, pop culture-heavy dialogue is so integral a part of the shows originality and spirit that its impossible to envision Buffy and her Scooby Gang without it.
In another persons hands, one cant help but worry that the series - - which spent the better part of three seasons on the star-crossed human/vampire love story of Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Angel (David Boreanaz) -- will devolve into nothing more than a riff on the whole teen-vamp craze headlined by Twilight and True Blood.
The ironic thing is that hardcore Buffy fans have been clamoring for a film adaptation ever since its spin-off Angel went off the air in 2004. No one ever imagined that anyone would be so arrogant as to think they could recreate the magic of the series without Joss Whedons involvement. And the fact that Warner Bros. is doing just that is not only an insult to the fans and the shows talented cast and crew but the very universe that Whedon created. The studio has essentially spat in the face of them all, instead opting to jump on the reboot bandwagon for a quick cash-in.
Its not as if Buffy is a decades-old series, wherein it would make little sense to cast the same actors to reprise the roles. Quite the contrary, several cast members have said they would be willing to jump on board a potential Buffy film if Whedon was at the helm. In addition, anyone who has seen Serenity - - Whedons big screen directorial debut based on his cult favorite Firefly series - - knows that he has what it takes to deliver a feature-length adaptation of one of his shows.
True, Serenity didnt make much of a splash at the box office, but Buffy was a bona fide hit and one that a lot of fans still hold near and dear to their hearts. A Buffy film written and directed by Whedon would have been a dream come true, and though he is currently busy with a little movie called The Avengers (maybe youve heard of it :), its likely that he would be game to revisit his most famous creation if Warner Bros. was willing to finance the film.
The fact is that -- with a writer/director and cast still able to bring this classic series to life on the big screen -- it makes no sense for Warner Bros. to jump the gun by taking the reboot approach when theres so much life in the established cast and crew. After all, Buffy began life as a failed 1992 film starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry. It wasnt until the show that the franchise took flight. Why ignore its existence to make a totally different version of this story?
Hopefully, the new film will crash and burn at the box office. Maybe then Warner Bros. will listen to fans : and give Whedon a call.
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