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The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Television Collision: Why the Buffy Reboot Is Already A Success

Written by: Phoebe Raven, CC2K Staff Writer


ImageIt’s been a little over a week since news of a Buffy reboot for the big screen blew up any and all pop-culture websites, Twitter and other social networking sites. Mostly, there was a whole lot of backlash and as a long standing Whedonite and Buffy-devotee, I was a part of this hatefest. One of the most iconic TV series of recent times (and yes, Buffy is recent, it only went off the air in 2003, for crying out loud!) is falling victim to Hollywood’s bottomless pit of greed and lack of inspiration in recent years.

All we viewers seem to be getting are remakes/reboots, comic book movies and ill-conceived romantic comedies. And then there is the still/yet again/ popular vampire train all studios are trying to jump on, even though I am fairly certain that ship has sailed. We have a few remaining vamp franchises (Twilight, The Vampire Diaries) which need to play themselves out, but I don’t think any new vamp show/movie could grab hold.
Which is why Warner Brothers isn’t trying their luck with a new vampire franchise, but with an “old” one, only “re-imagined”.

One of the producers from Atlas Entertainment gives one of the reasons the Buffy reboot movie was given the green light: “There is an active fan base eagerly awaiting this character’s return to the big screen.” Uhm, if I am reading my Twitterverse and blogverse right, the active fan base of Buffy and by extension Joss Whedon hates the idea of a reboot. Where exactly are those fans supposed to be who are waiting for this to happen?

I mean, if Joss were involved, sure, most of us would get on board (I would still be hesitant, good things are better left alone so they can stay good), but the fact of the matter also is that Buffy isn’t even really gone anyway. First she lived on in a comic book and now she is still kicking butt in an animated web comic, so why would we want the movie to create a second, separate Buffy continuum? Soon we will talk like all those people who enjoy Superman, disregarding this and that part of the canon, but including X’s issues and Y’s ideas, while Z had no clue what he was doing. In short: the Buffy canon will be a mess, and we don’t want it to be!
The most radical of the Whedonites would even say: “Who is Whit Anderson anyway that she thinks just because she was a fan of the original Buffy she could come along and rewrite her? We’re all fans, we all have our ideas and hopes where Buffy could have gone or could still go. Anyone else here fearing Warner Bros might just be sponsoring a horrid piece of fan fiction?”

Even most of the Whedonverse insiders aren’t on board with the reboot idea.
First, the Joss Man himself, who emailed Kristin Dos Santos of E!Online and says he “sighed audibly” at the news of a reboot. Unfortunately, it’s out of his hands, Warner Brothers owns the rights to Buffy, and they can prance around and be jerk-bezoars about it all they want.

Cruising the Twitterverse, other Whedon alums are less polite and veiled than Joss and share more straightforward opinions.

Long-time writer Jane Espenson keeps it simple and agrees with Joss: “I think Joss’s reaction is perfect — I can’t add anything new.”
The actors, however, are more outspoken.

Eliza Dushku tweeted: “Joss made the “Buffster” & w/out him… I just don’t trust the girl. Or the world.” Warner Brothers, why would you wanna piss Faith off? That’s just a very bad idea.

Juliet Landau, once upon a time our beloved crazy vampire queen Drusilla, voiced her opinion too. “Buffy movie reboot without Joss. So uncool. 🙁 “
Getting Drusilla mad might be an even worse idea than pissing off Faith, just sayin’!

J. August Richards stated: “#Buffy without #Joss… SO WRONG!” I wouldn’t want Gunn against me in a fight either!

Hart Hanson, exec producer on David Boreanaz’s show Bones, tweeted: “I just informed DB that they are remaking Buffy.” and attached this harrowing picture of our beloved Angel:

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Breaks your heart, doesn’t it? Right before it sets you running for the hills fearing Angel’s revenge.

And then there were all the TV critics and bloggers who also didn’t think a Buffy reboot was necessary or could work without Joss Whedon (check the Twitter feeds from Matt Roush, Matt Mitovich, Michael Ausiello etc.)
So basically, we’re all in agreement that this reboot is a sucky idea. We are so much in agreement that this move by Warner Brothers may actually be one of the few (only?) times a campaign is formed to STOP a movie from being made, when usually it’s the other way around and fans rally to save a show or a TV movie and draft endless campaign measures to see a project through (yes, I sent a lightbulb to NBC too, hoping to save Friday Night Lights).
The campaign is inspired by Brian Lynch’s blog entry “I’m with JoJo.” (inspired by the campaign for Conan O’Brian) and Lnych’s picture art is being used for it as well.

ImageI think it is safe to say the most loyal fan base has officially been alienated before any casting has even gone underway. Yet maybe there is hope in this alienation of the radical Whedonites/Buffyholics in favor of a new artistic approach. A point TIME’s TV critic James Poniewozik makes in his Tuned In blog entry about the project. He captures a lot of the feelings the Whedon community has on this reboot regarding the moral implications (Warner Bros are capitalistic bezoars, basically), but also the fear that the movie may just plain suck and put the whole Buffy franchise back to where it was after the first disaster of a big screen movie.

Given all of this backlash my headline and main statement may therefore not be obvious, and yet it’s fairly self-explanatory. Without having to do much of anything, Warner Brothers garnered a huge amount of attention for the project and made sure we would all keep our eyes fixed on its progress. Because we all know the wheel is gonna start rotating again as soon as the first casting decisions/rumors are being announced, the same goes for when the first stills are released, or the promotional art. The Whedonverse is going to debate itself to death over these things. The outpour of disdain and disgust probably won’t stop, but as much as we bitca and moan, we’re all gonna go see the movie, right?

After all, we have to know whether it is an abysmal failure (which we shouldn’t wish for, because we should never wish for anything bad when it comes to Buffy) or actually somewhat successful. Maybe the movie will even be kick-ass, how are we supposed to know if we don’t go see it?
So Warner Brothers may be off in the assessment that we were all itching to see a reboot happen, but they weren’t wrong in calculating that we will all go see the movie, if for reasons entirely on the other side of the spectrum of gleeful anticipation.
In the end, all that matters to them are the dollars we shell out.
As much as I hate to say it: round one goes to the bezoars. What’s gonna be our witty comeback?

Author: Phoebe Raven, CC2K Staff Writer

Born in Germany, lived in the US, now in the UK. Always taking my love for TV and writing with me. Life participator. Blogger. Gaming enthusiast.

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