The show Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been off the air for over ten years. And Buffy herself is approaching thirty five. But is the show still relevant? I think it is.
1. She’s still a feminist icon. While some people do have issues with the idea of Buffy as a feminist icon, I think that she is and always will be. Because she’s not just a “strong female character,” she’s a whole female character, with flaws and virtues and quirks and problems. Some problems that are deep and psychological. She’s not a perfect character, or even the perfect slayer. That’s kind of the point. We watch her struggles and they have as much scope as that of many male characters. That alone is worth a look, and depicting a woman as a person? Turns out that’s pretty feminist!
2. It’s Joss Whedon. The director of The Avengers and the beloved cult favorite Firefly spent a long time in the Buffyverse and genuinely thought about and loved those characters. I’ve heard some Whedon fans say that they love every single thing that he did, but Buffy. I think the dismissal has to do with the idea that Buffy is a “chick show.” Which is unfair, and also a simplistic look at the series. Joss Whedon is a great artist, why not take a look at his first big baby?
3. Her struggles are universal. While you may think that you can’t relate to a gal who goes to school and slays vampires, just take an extra second to think about what those vampires are a metaphor for. The monsters and demons on the show serve as great metaphors for the monsters and demons that people face in every day life. Which makes her struggles universal. Which means that, in my opinion, there are a lot of places where the show counts as art and not merely entertainment. While being a teenage girl helps in the understanding of a lot of what Buffy goes through, the show touches on a lot of other issues that affect people in general.
4. It’s still funny. Granted, some of the episodes, and the pop culture referential jokes, haven’t aged well. But the show still has a lot to offer on the humor front. In fact, the whole thing has a very Whedonesque voice, which you can also hear in Firefly and The Avengers, so if you laughed at either of those, you will probably laugh at Buffy too.
5. It never gets old. I know I just said that some episodes haven’t aged well, but that’s not what I mean here. I mean that there are episodes that I have seen about fifty times, perhaps even a hundred, since I first saw the show when I was fourteen, and they don’t get old. This might not be true for everyone, but it is true for everyone I know who loves Buffy. Anyone I’ve talked to who watches the series has watched it through multiple times, and will always click on it when they see it’s on TV.
6. There’s no other show quite like it. While there are other shows that deal with high school, and other shows that deal with sci-fi/fantasy, and even other shows that deal with high school and sci-fi/fantasy, there aren’t any others quite like Buffy. It takes Joss Whedon’s wit, his full characters and whacky story arcs to create a show where the high school students are more than mere caricatures and the monsters work on a metaphorical level.
7. It’s the best vampires get. I spent most of my teen years loving vampires because of Buffy. And I looked into nearly every series, and went all the way back to the beginning and read Dracula. Bram Stoker’s novel may be the original, but for me, nothing has surpassed the goofy, crazy, funny and sad strangeness that is Buffy the Vampire Slayer.