7.25.2018

My Needs and Requirements for the #BuffyReboot

Monica Owusu-Breen

By now you’ve read that Monica Owusu-Breen is rebooting Buffy the Vampire Slayer (with Joss Whedon’s blessing, of course). The new Slayer is going to be a Black woman (huzzah), and as is typical, fandom is in a tizzy. Me, personally…I’m too busy drafting my list of needs and requirements.

Take a gander:

Give us a brand new Slayer. BTVS doesn’t need a “true” reboot. In other words, we don’t need to see a Black Buffy Summers (ain’t no Black parents naming their daughter Buffy Anne Summers anyhow). We don’t need to see Willow or Xander. We don’t need any of the previously mentioned Black Slayers either. We need a new Slayer with a fresh back story (minus all the mistakes made with other Black Slayers), and a completely separate storyline from all the others. As other reboots have shown thus far, nostalgia and cult fandom will only take you so far.

Give us a dark-skinned Black Slayer with 4C hair. TV and film are currently rife with “ambiguous”-looking Black women, and we are sick…of…it. Supposedly this show intends to deal with current social issues, and colorism is a huge one. So give us a deep, dark-skinned sista with two big, adorable afro puffs. I want to be able to smell the cocoa butter and monoi oil every time she steps on the scene.

Bring back Spike, platinum hair and all. He’s immortal, after all, and arguably the favorite vampire of the whole franchise. You can’t go wrong with an English vampire who throws shade at everyone all day and looks Billy Idol-chic. We’ll need a new actor, of course, and although James Marsters performed impeccably as the original Spike, it wouldn’t hurt to get an actor who’s actually English this time around.

Bring back Bianca Lawson and Eliza Dushku as Watchers…or something. Kendra (Lawson) and Faith (Dushku) are two of the most beloved Slayers and I don’t feel either ever truly got her due. Despite being the superior Slayer in terms of skill and technique, Kendra was given a horrible accent and killed off after a mere four episodes, annoying fans literally forever. Faith was constantly and deliberately written as lesser, more dysfunctional version of Buffy, even though she didn’t actually need to be. One was Black and the other—according to the show’s stylist at the time—was “poor White trash”. Both were ultimately seen as expendable, with Kendra dying and Faith being imprisoned (until the other characters needed her for something). Keep in mind, while Kendra died in Season 2, Faith was originally slated to die in Season 3, but the fan backlash over Kendra’s death supposedly prevented that.

And speaking of Kendra…

Give us a Slayer whose parents understand. When we first met Kendra way back in Season 2 of Buffy, we learned that her parents gave her up as a child to be raised by her Watcher because that’s seriously her people took the Slayer’s calling. I’m not saying we need to be on that level here, but it would be nice to see a family that’s fully versed in Slayer lore and completely supportive. The whole “can’t let my mom find out” trope is just tired. If anything, a Postmillennial Slayer is likely to livestream her slayage and get into Twitter beefs with vampires.

The “if I can’t go out tonight, it’ll be the end of the world” gag was admittedly funny back in the day, but it’s also tired. If anything, give us a parent who’s constantly reminding the Slayer to put down her phone and go slay.

And for the love of the gods, lose the pedophilia. I’ve always been severely creeped out by the tendency to pair male vampires who are 100-200+ years old with teenaged girls. Like…ewwwww.  There is just So Much Wrong with that. The youthful appearance of the vampires is irrelevant. Their ages have three whole digits and they don’t have a single, solitary thing in common with human children. Whether on Buffy or The Vampire Diaries or in the Twilight franchise, this type of pairing has subjected young girls to condescending, controlling older men. No, no, no, no, no. If you’re going to give a 16-year-old girl a love interest—which at her age isn’t even necessary—then make sure that love interest is age appropriate.

Pair the vampires up with seasoned Watchers, if you really need the whole “forbidden romance” angle. A vampire sparring with a no-nonsense Watcher would make for a much more fitting (and intriguing) dynamic.

What about y’all? What do you want to see?

3 comments:

  1. I will be honest. No I don't want a reboot. And when I found out the new "Buffy" was going to be black I just wasn't feeling it. The same for the reboot of Charmed.


    Now I agree with all the points you made (if they are going to do it), but I would make her mom a former slayer. That way she would understand what her daughter is going through. Maybe even make her dad's mom a former slayer too.

    I would just want something new and different. Not another reboot. I hear they are coming out with a series based on Octavia Butler's Dawn (I just got into her work). Now THAT I can't wait to see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Slayers typically don't live past the age of 25, so it would be unlikely her mom or grandmom would be a slayer.

      I don't mind a new Slayer show, because no two Slayers are alike, therefore if done correctly, no two shows would be alike.

      But we know they're going to fuck this up.

      Delete
    2. Got it. I think if they just did a continuation of the Slayer story, INSTEAD of a Buffy remake, it would be better.

      What do you think of the new Star Trek show for Patrick Stewart?

      Delete

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