Reboots abound. “Miami Vice,” “Charmed,” “The Munsters,” “DuckTales,” “Roseanne” and “The Jetsons” — all extremely successful television series in their time that have been or will be brought back to life in reboot form.
On July 21, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” a ’90s baby favorite and pioneer of the supernatural television series genre, was announced to join the reboot ranks with an African-American woman playing the protagonist, Buffy.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” premiered in 1997, and the seventh and final season aired in 2003. Its audience significantly increased The WB Television Network’s popularity and competed with “7th Heaven,” “Dawson’s Creek” and “Charmed,” resulting in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” becoming one of the network’s most-watched series.
The series was a game changer in television, attracting an audience diverse in gender due to its strong female lead and action-oriented scenes. In addition, the main character’s typical teen girl struggles managed to attract a younger fanbase.
Series creator Joss Whedon described “Buffy” as a combination of “The X-Files” and “My So-Called Life,” which explains the creepy, supernatural elements and the inclusion of teen-centric drama.
No matter the qualities that made the series a success, “Buffy” was a massive part of television history and gained a cult following. The show’s universe (commonly known as “the Buffyverse”) continued to expand after the show’s curtain call, and a comic book written by Whedon continued further seasons beyond the television show. Buffy’s love interest, Angel, also starred in a spin-off series.
Although the reboot may seem to be good news for hardcore “Buffy” fans, responses to the news have been mixed. Many are confused as to why a series with such a large universe and expansive storyline needs to be recreated instead of revisited with other existing characters.
More importantly, some fans are aggravated that instead of creating a new story for an African-American slayer or focusing on the stories of the multiple African-American slayers in the original series — including the “first slayer,” Sineya — creators are racebending the backbone of the series.
Twitter user @angelicabastien said: “Who the f— do I have to slay to make this not happen?!!??? No no no hell no no. Good luck topping SMG and the original series, you f—s. Also, I’m not interested in seeing a black slayer take on the role of Buffy or even seeing gender and race bent reboots. It’s boring and insulting. We deserve our own mythology.”
Also, I’m not interested in seeing a black slayer take on the role of Buffy or even seeing gender and race bent reboots. It’s boring and insulting. We deserve our own mythology.
— Angelica Jade (@angelicabastien) July 20, 2018
If diversity is the goal, simply changing the race of a Caucasian character is not enough.
Others were simply unsupportive of yet another reboot failing to produce anything creative or original at the cost of defacing a classic.
I already have to deal with this JOKE of a reboot for Charmed, now you want to mess with Buffy?! Literally my two favorite shows of all time and two of the most influential shows ever……just try to be creative for ONCE and make something new! pic.twitter.com/pkZOIKFLT3
— Jiselle (@jisy06) July 20, 2018
Even the creator of the series was concerned about the idea of a reboot when asked by The Hollywood Reporter last year. Whedon said, “You bring something back, and even if it’s exactly as good as it was, the experience can’t be. You’ve already experienced it, and part of what was great was going through it for the first time.”
Despite his concerns, Whedon will be a key partner in the creation of the reboot, taking on the role of executive producer. His involvement will ensure accuracy to the formula that made the original series such a hit, but the reception of the new “Buffy” hinges on the decisions made in the near future about the style and execution of the reboot.
Although many responses to the reboot have been negative, a select few fans are excited to relive their “Buffy” past.
i've been WAITING and WAITING for this buffy reboot for the past GOD knows how many years and i FINALLY RECEIVE no one is raining on my parade!!!! today is a good day!!!!
— watch killing eve (@bargalaxies) July 20, 2018
But the overwhelming majority of old fans are apprehensive, and perhaps best said by a Twitter user who went viral, “did buffy itself not teach us not to raise things that should stay dead”?
did buffy itself not teach us not to raise things that should stay dead https://t.co/UbMcz7CQUu
— elisabeth (@threelisabeth) July 20, 2018
Details are still being released, and the script and casting have not been solidified or discussed with the media. For now, producers have said, “like our world, it will be richly diverse, and like the original, some aspects of the series could be seen as metaphors for issues facing us all today,” hinting about the move toward increased diversity.
For now, fans will have to wait until a later date to see if their backlash guides the deciding hand of the producers toward a better “Buffy” reboot.