Friday, December 9, 2016

Bingeworthy: 7 Reasons Why We Need Another Buffy the Vampire Slayer (religion scholar listicle!)

There are certain shows that you just have to watch more than once (more than ten times?). The more nuanced the show, the more you need to watch it. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is at the top of most religion scholars' lists. Here's why we (the entire religious studies guild... I speak for all of us) need another Buffy!!!

1. Elegant storytelling: There are tons of great shows that draw theologians' attention (The Walking DeadBreaking Bad, & Mad Men to name a few), but none of them beat Buffy for its simple premise and quality execution. A Big Bad wants to destroy the world. Only Buffy can save it. A simple story allows for a lot of nuance and creativity along the way (musical episode, anyone?).

2. Campy villains: We loved to hate the Big Bads, didn't we? They were always bad but still funny and they hammed up every scene. Villains today (even on shows I enjoy like Jessica Jones or Daredevil) can be scaaaaaary but they tend to be (mostly) humorless. We need another Caleb, the cheerful, creepy, misogynist, axe murdering priest (also: Nathan Fillion)!

3. Gender scholars need a muse: Feminists loved (LOVED) Buffy. She's strong! She's a woman! Bella Swan from Twilight and the (slightly less frustrating) Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries are tired throw-backs to the damsel in distress. We can't leave all of the supernatural heroics to Sam and Dean Winchester!

4. It's time to revive some 90s fashion trends: Chokers are totally on point. As are overalls on grown women. And scrunchies! Let's bring those back. I think I've still got my awesome homemade scrunchy collection at my parents' house.
Yours Truly circa 1993 wearing ALL the 1990s trends you can fit on a 16 year old girl 

5. And slang too: What's your damage? Don't go all Dawson's Creek on me. I can't even deal with Destructo Girl. (that was just a fraction of the awesome slang from the "D" entry in Slayer Slang: a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon).

4. Academics need to justify their t.v. watching: There are philosophical, theological, linguistic, etc. treatments of Buffy. Just do a Google Scholar search and you'll see that the academic takes on the show are endless (as are the scholarly puns... we really need to put a stake in those, guys. Seriously).
Screenshots of just two of the many, many, many Buffy articles on Google Scholar

5. We need more accessible discussions of BIG ideas: Want to talk about the nature of good & evil? Of life? Of death? Of destiny? Stick with Buffy. You'll end up thinking about fate a lot, developing mixed feelings for Spike, and you'll tear up (if not all-out messy cry) when one sympathetic character dies in "The Body" (season 5, ep 16).

6. David Boreanaz: (What? Like you weren't thinking it?)

7. Cool librarians!!! Most of the nerds on t.v. these days are science-y. They are usually computer experts or crime scene investigators. Their main function is to provide blood spatter analysis or hacking. Giles the Watcher/Sunnydale librarian rescued the world with his knowledge of ancient pagan myths, and art, and literary themes; in other words the humanities. We need a show with a lead who saves us with Socrates!

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