“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” – Re-launch, Reboot, or Re-imagine?

“Into every generation, a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons,...

“Into every generation, a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. She is the Slayer.”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was initially brought to life in a 1992 movie starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry. This version was poorly received by audiences and critics. The version of the franchise that would inspire a devoted fandom was the show starring Sarah Michelle Prinze Gellar when it premiered in March 1997.

The show centered on Buffy Summers who was The Vampire Slayer of her generation and followed her as she learned to accept the responsibilities of being the Slayer while trying to maintain a personal life. It ran for seven seasons that included 144 episodes. The show came to an end in 2003 and its spin-off show, Angel, would end in 2004. Follow-up seasons exist as comic books from Brian K. Vaughn (Saga), Jane Espenson (Buffy the series), and others.

It has now been 25 years since Buffy the Vampire Slayer was revitalized by television and nearly 20 years since the franchise existed as a live-action show. Though there have been comic books that continued the story as well as undeveloped spinoffs, there are currently no plans for another live-action Buffy television show. With that said, there have been some plans to reboot the series, but these have never panned out. ) When asked about the potential of a reboot, Gellar herself said that she’d like Zendaya to become the slayer.)

So, we at ScifiPulse have decided to do what we do best, pitch various ways that Buffy the Vampire Slayer could be re-launched, rebooted, or re-imagined.

(To refresh yourself on the rules for this article series, you can find them here.)

 

Re-launch – Ruben Diaz (@RMartian)

 

Slayers:

I’m here to tell you that the show should continue on, adding to its legacy with a new generation, and here’s how.

 

Logline: An outcast teenage girl rediscovers her inner strength to defeat a cosmic horror hellbent on ruling the Earth.

In Slayers, the supernatural forces that ran amuck are back in the shadows. Disciples of magic have gone into hiding as pariahs. The slayers’ numbers have dwindled as the world rejects heroes.

On the night of a full moon, a meteor crashes down in a forest outside the small town of Middletown, New York — the site of a dormant Hellmouth. It deposits a large, oily husk that spreads out with roots that creep forward like slow-moving black tendrils.

Alexandra “Alex” Santos, a slayer-in-training, and her best friend Darius James, a fledgling warlock, patrol the streets of New York City in search of a werewolf by the name of Marek Seth. They find the beast, and during battle, the meteor distracts Alex long enough that Marek mortally wounds Darius and then escapes. That same night, a murder of vampires living in Manhattan, led by Peter Mars, witnesses the meteor, and Mars dispatches a scout to investigate.

And that’s just the first ten minutes.

Throughout the rest of the season, the Dark Husk grows while seemingly attracting the attention of all manner of supernatural creatures to Middletown, the same town Alex, her Watcher, and her father, Roberto “Rob” Santos, now live. Alex attends high school, mourning the loss of Darius, his death rumored to be her fault, making her an outcast. But the new girl, Roxy Wright, an over-achieving student, doesn’t know that and makes Alex her new friend. Alex repays the somewhat unwanted friendship by saving Roxy from a vampire and revealing her secret as a slayer, something Alex rejects.

Now reignited by being the hero she’s meant to be, Alex embraces her role and fights the forces of evil with Roxy. But they are not alone. Justin Allen, the school’s football star and latent warlock manifest through physical prowess, joins them, as does Jenny Star, a shifter that turns into a ferocious, werewolf-like creature when angry. Together, they form a new “Scooby Gang” to fight the supernatural forces invading Middletown.

Every week, the new Scoobies will defeat rising threats due to the Dark Husk’s influence, creating the monster-of-the-week vibe that thrived in Buffy. They’ll face vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghouls, goblins, and more with the horror-comedy energy that made Buffy unforgettable. But they’ll also face the “big bad,” as the show would call the main boss of each season, as the Dark Husk grows and gains power and its mysteries unravel. But the worst is yet to come as the Dark Husk’s strange energy reawakens the Hellmouth below Middletown in the final moments of season one.

 

Re-launch – Ian Cullen (@ScifiPulse)

 

The Return:

Since the events seen in the original series finale. Buffy has put down her slaying tools and left Sunnydale in the capable hands of Faith and the new slayers that she and the gang helped create.

As discussed early in the episode. Buffy has gone on somewhat of a road trip to see if she can find the softer more cookie-dough version of herself that can have an ordinary life, marriage, and kids. Things work out for a while, but all good things have to end.

It would take something pretty big for Buffy Summers to return to her slaying ways. So with that in mind. We’d bring the show back with a major upset as a new Vampire comes into its power and starts killing off Buffy’s counterparts across the multiverse and feeding off of their negative feelings and emotions in order to grow its power.

This creature for want of a better word will pay a visit to Giles and murder him as a means to leave a calling card daring Buffy to come after it.

Buffy returns to Sunnydale and is devastated by the brutal murder of her old friend and mentor. She vows to get revenge and gathers together the old gang and begins to learn about this new threat to the world. Of course, Giles being the clever man that he was will have left a few valuable notes behind to help Buffy in her quest.

But this time around. She has an army of slayers at her back.

 

Reboot – Nicholas Yanes (@NicholasYanes)

 

The Slayer of South Africa:

As mentioned here, a “reboot is when a show has a cast and narratives completely disconnected from the original property but remains in tone with the original.” In other words, it is largely similar to the original, but with a slight twist. For a Buffy reboot, I want this slight twist to set the show in South Africa.

Business Reason: For context, I’ve been professionally writing about entertainment industries in Africa since 2015 when I first published “Eye on Africa: Understanding Africa’s Growing Video Game Industry.” I have since gone to publish more pieces about professional creatives throughout Africa. As such, I know that the continent is home to several countries with growing populations and growing economies. For example, Nigeria has a population of more than 200 million people and its economy has drastically grown in the last few decades.

And this isn’t just Nigeria, as The Hollywood Reporter explored in a January 2022 article titled “Why the Streamers Are (Finally) Investing in Africa,” various companies are beginning to invest heavily in Africa.

 

 

 

In short, Africa is home to several growing markets and wealth of talent that studios should already be fighting over. On top of that, the continent is home to natural and human-made wonders that would be incredible to set stories around that global audiences probably know little about. Overall, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a show perfectly suited for bridging audiences in North America and in many African nations.

The Pitch: Set in the late 1990s, Buffy Summers has been forced to return home to home to South Africa. When apartheid ended, her wealthy white parents sent her away to boarding school in the United Kingdom. While Buffy did well as a student initially, the school started reporting to her parents that she would sneak out, get into fights with random strangers, and was arrested for destroying a few grave sites. In a nod to the original, this Buffy was finally expelled for “accidently” burning down the school’s gym.

Back home, another Watcher finds her. This one is also a librarian at her private school. Unlike the original Giles, this new one’s watcher training had him spending half the year in the United Kingdom and the other half in various African locations. He speaks English with a London accent, but knows dozens of African languages. More importantly, he reminds Buffy that even though she is back in South Africa, she still has the responsibilities of being The Slayer.

Now in a nation undergoing a massive transition with Apartheid finally over, Buffy finds herself defending humans from monsters, while struggling to learn that not all monsters are evil and not all humans are allies. Similar to the original, Buffy finds herself forging friendships and allies with humans and non-humans alike. And given the incredibly diverse cultures in South Africa (the country) and southern Africa (the region), these new episodes will be able to explore the area’s various religions and mythologies.

 

 

The show could also highlight folklore Western audiences might be familiar with, such as the Flying Dutchman ghost ship. And think of the landmarks in this region that could inspire several episodes. From the natural beauty of South Africa’s coastline to Adam’s Calendar to The Great Zimbabwe in neighboring Zimbabwe to Namibia’s Hoba Meteorite, these areas are filled with narrative potential.

Overall, I think re-setting Buffy the Vampire Slayer would still enable the show to be about Buffy and her young friends learning to become adults while combating magical threats. But in this new setting it will enable the show to be far more diverse and be designed for a global audience.

 

Re-imagine – Dominic Walsh (@dominicwhovian5)

 

In the year 2100 vampires control the world. Humans are an underclass, bred by their nosferatu overlords as food and sport. A small but powerful resistance movement has risen from the Watchers council’s ashes. And has determined that a rogue time traveler murdered Buffy Summers. The most legendary Slayer in history. A special forces operative is sent back in time to the 2020s to protect Buffy from the rogue time traveler. Only to find that the iconic vampire slayer is a timid, nonverbal autistic girl who has been institutionalized by her parents because of her “vampire” stories. The special forces operative must guide this version of Buffy to her destiny as the chosen one and savior of the future.

I feel that a lot can be done with representation in this idea. Non-speaking autistic people can be represented for one. We could see someone who starts off as unsure of themselves and who they are. Only to grow over time into a confident and kickass Slayer. Possibly in this universe trans and non-binary people are the only ones who are able to time travel. Meaning Buffy’s mentor could be played by a trans or non-binary person. There could also be the storyline of Buffy’s mentor having grown up on this larger-than-life icon. Only to find that she herself is everything that this Buffy wants to be when they meet. I’m thinking that the vampires in this version are a metaphor for incels and the alt-right. And that the Master in this universe is based on Jordan Peterson.

To bring in the neurodiversity is a supernatural trope, maybe this Buffy has a natural proclivity for magic? Making her both a warrior and a wizard? Angel in this version could be an actual angel who has rebelled against Heaven and is trying to help the people of Earth. Xander and Willow could be vampires who end up seeing the light and helping Buffy. And Giles could be the ghost of an old Watcher whose Slayer was never called. Acting as an Obi-Wan Kenobi-type mentor for Buffy that only she can see. Maybe vampires here can day walk and some are students at Sunnydale High? There is a debate over whether vampires are evil or just misunderstood. This could be purposefully left ambiguous.

 

 

Ian Cullen is the founder of scifipulse.net and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: www.scifipulseradio.com When he is not writing for scifipulse.net Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of scifipulse.net You can contact ian at: ian@scifipulse.net
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