I’ve had fun re-watching and writing about the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now that I have finished watching the season my impression is that it is generally underrated. There have been calls from many critics to skip Season 1 altogether. But in my opinion the season sets the scene and tone for the show as a whole. It also references coming conflicts and develops the shows core themes.
Before I move on to Season 2, I am pausing to consider some of the often overlooked recurring characters introduced in Season 1.
I’m a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – you may have noticed. As such I have also been a long time fan of Joss Whedon. Not only were Buffy and his other shows great, but Whedon is also a self-proclaimed feminist, who has become as well-known as the show he pioneered. All good so far. But last night I read Kai Cole’s account of how Whedon treated her during their marriage, including having multiple affairs and lying about it. It left me feeling sad and sickened.
My Buffy the Vampire Slayer re-watch brings me crashing into a world of scary new technology in Season 1, Episode 7, I Robot… You Jane. It contains spoilers and a content warning for passing references to cyberbullying and grooming.
I have to confess that in 1997 I had little knowledge of the internet and was probably further behind than Giles. As Ms Calendar encouraged Giles to join us in the 20th Century with three whole years to spare, like Giles, I felt more comfortable “back in the middle ages”.
Continuing my Buffy the Vampire Slayer re-watch, containing spoilers for Season 1, Episode 6, The Pack. The episodesees Buffydealing with high school bullies and a manipulative adult while another trustworthy adult is lost from Buffy’s world …
“You start a new school, you get your desk, some blackboards and some mean kids” – Xander Harris.
The Pack introduces a group of four extremely mean kids. They are mean in a different way from Cordelia and her friends, whose prime objective is to be popular. Cordelia and her friends – later known as the Cordettes – see the less popular kids as a nuisance to be mostly ignored and occasionally derided. Kyle and his friends however, actively hone in on kids to bully, and their meanness has an edge of danger and violence. When they attempt to provoke Buffy on a class trip to the zoo and get no reaction they move onto Lance, a more vulnerable student.
Principle Flutie intervenes referring to the students as “you four”. Although Kyle has been named by Lance, the group are usually not referred to individually by name, they are referred to as a group, given collective nouns – you four, the winged monkeys and eventually the pack…
The first post from my Buffy re-watch adventure, not a blow-by-blow account exactly, but some random reflections and thoughts…
So here I am watching Welcome to the Hellmouth. Of course it is often noted that Joss Whedon wanted to turn around the stereotype of the helpless blonde girl who is killed in the opening scene of a horror movie, by having a young woman who would be strong and fight back.
What always struck me is that in the opening scene of this first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is that the stereotype is turned around in a different way.
We see a nervous young blonde woman who looks like she is about to become the victim of a predatory guy, who has brought her into the school to make out in the dead of night. Surprise, it’s actually Continue reading →
“Into each generation, a Slayer is born. One girl in all the world, a chosen one.”
Giles, Welcome to the Hellmouth, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One, Episode One.
Spoiler Alert: Buffy Season Seven, Buffy Season Nine comics
From the beginning Buffy has been a “chosen one”. Now, while Buffy’s story continues in comic form the Chosen One is exercising her right to choose an abortion.
Having been chosen as a slayer rather than making a choice about it is one of the few ways in which Buffy might be considered a weak or passive character. The title of the final episode of the TV show, Chosen, which aired in 2003 reinforced the nature of her calling. But Buffy created a chance to escape the burden of being the only chosen slayer of her generation. Continue reading →
It’s always risky killing off a major character, but sometimes taking that risk is what a show needs. Joss Whedon was not afraid to take the character kill off risk, and his shows and films benefited no end from the power of such bold steps.