I have other things that are more important in my life, but one of the things that is important to me is some of the TV shows I watch. Some I enjoy and probably never think of again once they’re done and dusted, while others linger for years. Dr Who is one, aided by the fact it’s run for as long as I’ve been alive I guess. Xena: Warrior Princess is another. Orphan Black will be another I’m sure. But, to make me feel old, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is 20 today, at least in America, it took a bit longer to get broadcast over here.
In America it’s being lauded for the firsts it achieved. While some of those don’t ring true here because some of our attitudes are different, and although there was only two years between them, part of me wonders if Buffy would have seen the light of day without the success of Xena, Buffy is still held up as the standard not just for fantasy/horror shows but for a huge range of female-led TV shows and their storylines. It’s a sad reflection that, 20 years on, most are found sadly wanting.
Whilst the writers of Buffy were guilty of some truly horrible bits of writing they came together and produced some of the most compelling, moving and dramatic bits of television, at least for the fans, as well. If you want to start a fight ask whether Hush or The Body is the best episode of TV ever. There are shows I’ve watched this week where I can’t tell you what the episodes are called. There are shows on my list above where I can’t tell you what happened in many named episodes from the last 4 years. But I can remember huge chunks of those two episodes - although admittedly I’ve seen them a lot more recently than the 16 years or so they first aired.
A silly memory of it all, I used to rewatch multiple episodes on DVD with Heidi on quiet Sundays. The first time we arranged we arranged to do that she warned me “I’m likely to turn up early.” She did, a whole week early! But we still watched four or five episodes.
TV isn’t always art, but sometimes it’s incredibly important. Probably no one will read this, and BtVS didn’t change my life as much as it did some people whose stories I’ve read today but it still had a big impact. So a big thank you to the hundreds or thousands of people who were involved in bringing the Scoobies to my screen and my home for seven years.
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