Detonation Imminent…

Okay, the news is filtering around the Internet and sure to be causing various Whedon fan message boards to explode with rage, but there’s a new Buffy movie being developed by the people responsible for the original (not exactly exceptional) movie, and Joss Whedon currently isn’t involved. It’s not hugely surprising, especially with the current success of Twilight, that the people who own the rights of Buffy are thinking of doing this (Vampires? Romance? Action? Attractive teen leads? Ker-ching!) It’s apparently planned as a ‘relaunch’ or reboot, and while this does cause a certain rolling of the eyes at yet another example of Hollywood eating its own tail, it isn’t necessarily a bad idea in theory. Not saying it’s a “can’t miss” idea, either – in practice it will, to be honest, probably not turn out well – especially since one of the Exec producers is Roy Lee, a producer who’s been singlehandedly responsible for virtually all of the pale and unconvincing Asian Horror remakes that have clogged up screens for the last few years.

But to be brutally honest, Buffy always worked best when she was at high school. The show was at its strongest, and the metaphor was it its strongest, when she was a 16-17 year old struggling with adolescence and the travails of battling the undead. Not to say there wasn’t some great material after the end of Season 3, but it only rarely hit the heights of earlier episodes (especially my favourite run, the second half of S2) and did, frankly, turn into a bit too much of an extended soap opera at times (especially during S6). Added to which, while there may be a sense of “why can’t they get the original cast back”– they’re all in their thirties (or, as in James Marsters’ case, their forties), and I really think that the time for a big reunion episode has passed. (I actually watched an episode of Buffy for the first time in a while recently (S4’s ‘Something Blue’) and while there’s still some great moments and some great dialogue there, there was something about it that slightly set my teeth on edge – it’s possible that my time as a Buffy/Angel fan may have passed as well…). Dark Horse’s ‘Season Eight’ comic is actually doing a pretty entertaining job of continuing the story on a scale they’d never have managed on TV, and sometimes things reach their natural end.

So while I’d be surprised beyond words if a new Whedon-free Buffy movie was good, it’s not a complete impossibility. And I think that the central metaphor is strong enough to handle different interpretations. It might be interesting. It might not. But whoever does end up doing it would be wise to not ignore everything that the series did get right – and they’d also better be prepared for a rough ride from the fans…

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