29 Nov 2010 10:53 am

Whedon Wars

So you've probably heard the news: there will be a new "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", and Joss Whedon - creator of all things Buffy (along with all things "Angel", "Firefly" and "Dr. Horrible") - will not be involved. Despite the knee-jerk reactions, is this reboot a good thing or bad thing?

First off, this isn't the first time "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" has been somewhat rebooted. The original "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" film - which starred Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland and Luke Perry - differed greatly from the franchise it spawned. With only limited input from Whedon, Buffy was notably more Valley Girl rather than Every Girl. As such, the movie's legitimacy inhabits a very polarized place in the hearts of fans - some love it, some hate it, and some would just rather not think about it.

Of course, a new movie or TV show may be the best - and possibly only - way to get Buffy back in the live-action saddle. Kristy Swanson has, of course, moved on after all this time, and the much-publicized bad blood between Joss Whedon and Sarah Michelle Gellar all but ensures we'll never see another on-screen Buffy from that duo (though Gellar's likeness still appears regularly in the Buffy Season Eight published by Dark Horse Comics and helmed by Joss Whedon). So if a reboot can do wonders for bringing James Kirk and James Bond to the big screen, can't it do the same for Buffy Summers?

The devil is in the details, and as with anything Whedon, there's a lot of details to go around. The difference between "Angel" and "Buffy" versus "Star Trek" and "James Bond" is that the latter franchises had run their creative courses over thirty plus years of storytelling, while the Buffy-verse was barely reaching its prime at the time of Angel's cancellation. With the popularity of Dark Horse Comics's continuation of the "Buffyverse" as well as the announcement the "Angel" title will migrating under the Dark Horse umbrella, it seems less likely the Scoobies will embrace a fresh reboot, especially if it means potentially undermining the house Whedon built all those seasons ago.

The timing - at the peak of "Twilight" - is also more than a little suspect. Letting "Twilight" influence the Buffy is a no-win-scenario on either side of the spectrum. If the reboots tries to pander to the "Twilight" crowd, we'll see a doe-eyed sparkly star-crossed love story, not unlike the popular book series (and not anything remotely like Season Two of the Buffy TV Show). But if the reboot tries to please the "Twilight" haters, we'll probably see less Angel, less Spike and less anything remotely resembling Edward Cullen - even if they are twelve times cooler in the first palce. It's creative compromise either way, and while this is all conjecture at this point, this symmetry is troubling to say the least.

All of this is not to say another Buffy or even another writer other than Whedon couldn't excel in the role - if the timing was right. But this long-winded rant hopefully illustrates why the timing is not right - there's still too much life left in "Buffy" to even contemplate a reboot, and the producers may already be making a grave miscalculation. Think about it. The Browncoats, the self-proclaimed fans of another Whedon creation - "Firefly" - had so much pull they turned a failed TV show into a big-budget theatrical release.

Do you really want to see what the far-more-numerous Scoobies in Buffy's corner could do to a property they consider a threat?

(That's it for this week. Check back Wednesday morning for the next exciting page of Blue Yonder, and if you want more bloggy blogness, there will be a extra rant posted Friday as well!)

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