Saturday, July 21, 2018

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is getting a reboot: complicated feelings... ACTIVATE!


Creepy uncle that loves telling stories about abused girls who kickypunch their way to empowerment, Joss Whedon, is set to executive produce a new series for the character who helped make him a nerdy household name back in the decade of crop tops and rapey presidents. Wow, things sure have changed! Yes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is coming back to television but this time as a black woman because... intersectional feminism?


Look, maybe it's just that I'm having an allergic reaction to all the dust I kicked up after using this website for the first time in over five years, but I'm not sure I feel so great about more Buffy from ol' Josh. And knowing that Monica Owusu-Breen, a black woman herself, will serve as head writer and showrunner doesn't tamp down my uncertainty as much as I wish it would.

Because I should be excited, right? More Buffy was one of the things I wanted most over a decade ago when Tara, Michelle, and I started this fansite which is dedicated to Buffy. A shared love for this character and this show, cliche as it is, is the genesis for the friendships that helped me survive through some of the most tumultuous times in my life. And Buffyfest itself is the website where I learned that the trick to writing is to just do it, that the key to building relationships with creatives is to just ask, and that you can actually make a living off of shitposting on the internet. Buffy and the 'fest she inspired are the building blocks of my personal and professional life.

So why aren't I happy?

At first I thought maybe it was because I, selfishly, always hoped that the inevitable return to the world of Buffy would finally usher in a story about a transgender slayer. The idea that a young trans girl could find affirmation of her womanness through the simultaneous exhilaration and horror that is being the slayer is something I've dreamed of for actual decades now. A trans slayer is a dream I've shared with a lot of other non-cisgender folks over the years -- even Tara herself, Amber Benson, told me at a New York Comic Con several years ago that she thought the new slayer *had* to be trans. 

But I think even if I did get that wish, I'd still be hesitant. Part of that, sadly, is because Whedon is involved, a feeling that would blow 2008 me's mind. Joss's ability to write through a feminist lens has been called into question repeatedly in the last decade. Whedon has rightfully lost the faith of fans for a myriad of reasons, whether it's fridging Felicia Day's character to enable the villanous rise of someone like Doctor Horrible, the repeated use of violence on women's bodies as an avenue towards expressing the power of womanhood, or the allegations that he was having sex with multiple young actresses in a way that suggests dubious consent. Things like that give me pause when I hear that Joss will be even remotely involved in crafting a new Buffy story.

There's something else about this Buffy reboot that rings hollow, too. While, yes, Breen will serve as showrunner, Buffy is not her creation. And yet both before and after the original Buffy film in 1992, there have been stories of vampire hunters written by women of color, a fact pointed out by many culture critics.
I'd ask, "Why not a TV series based off of something like Minion," but I already know the answer. I knew it before, while attending the Nerds of Color Pool Party on Saturday night at 2018's San Diego Comic Con, writer, Valerie Complex, referred to the Buffy reboot as a "cash grab." Valerie talked with me about the obviousness that people like Whedon want to appeal to (and make money off of) black women, but they clearly don't know how to do that.

I've been having a lot of conversations like this lately, even more than usual. That same day, I was sitting down with Orlando Jones and we wound up talking a lot about his friend and frequent collaborator, Bryan Fuller. Jones pointed out how Fuller for all his success, is still the showrunner most famous for always getting his shows canceled -- or, in the case of Star Trek: Discovery, the showrunner who fired before his creation even debuted.

Jones pointed out that part of Fuller's repeated challenges stem from the natural conflict between network and creator. Sure, Fuller bringing his experiences as a queer creator to the world of Star Trek sounds great as a headline, but the reality is never as uplifting or as "diversifying" as what's being claimed. Because, sure, a gay man writing Star Trek is great until he actually wants to show gay people being as sexual and as diverse as straight people are. Then those who hold the purse strings say, "Can we dial this back a little?" And then they keep saying dial it back until we're Will & Grace in space. And that's not diversity -- that's pandering from people who want the LGBTQIA audience but don't want their baggage.

Would it be any different with the Buffy reboot? Whedon has never been very good at getting his way with TV execs (see: the cancellations of Firefly and Dollhouse) and Breen doesn't have the kind of clout to get her way, either.

Buffy who?
And while Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil have been able to escape the oft inevitability of blackness as monolith with The CW's Black Lightning, that doesn't feel so much a sign of the times at it is a sign that Black Lightning wasn't as established a property. Black Lightning could have failed without the CW's Arrowverse having to skip a beat (it's not even part of the Arrowverse). But Buffy, one of the most famous "feminist" properties of the last quarter century is another matter entirely. Buffy is just too big to believe that TV execs would allow for the risk of genuine diversity. "Buffy's black now," and that feels like the most we're likely to get.

That just won't cut it. That's not enough to pull in the viewers TV executives claim they are trying to represent. When Black Lightning exists, when Black Panther exists, when Luke Cage exists, when Shonda goddamn Rhimes exists, that just isn't enough.

And I wish I could say that the reason I'm writing my thoughts about the Buffy reboot on Buffyfest as opposed to SYFY WIRE where my byline has found its home for over 7 years is out of pure nostalgia. But the truth is that I'm also doing it because WIRE is owned by NBC Universal Comcast and what I really feel and want to say would absolutely be tamped down so that we don't offend some of our "less political" readers. Even at WIRE, which is just a website for nerds entirely unaffiliated with Buffy or Fox, any remotely strongly worded criticisms for something like a Buffy reboot would be edited down and finished off with a "these opinions do not reflect those of Universal Comcast."

None of this is to say that a Buffy reboot will be definitely be bad. It might be good! For all we know that new, black Buffy Summers will also be trans and be joined by a host of people of color and LGBTQIA folx that entirely eschew colorism and queer stereotyping (looking at you Warren "bury our gays" Mears).

But I'm not holding my breath. And if it were up to me, we'd be getting a Vampire Huntress Legend series instead of the goofy prospect of a new Buffy/new Charmed crossover. Which, in fairness, I would absolutely watch.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

This Entertainment Weekly 'Buffy' 20th Anniversary Reunion is Evvverything!


If you haven't already watched the 44 minute Buffy 20th reunion video, really stop what you're doing and watch it here online RIGHT NOW on the People/Entertainment Network. It'll make your whole damn day.

Highlights: SMG and Joss are still Bangel 'shippers, Kristen Sutherland (Buffy's mom) has a killer Wednesday Adams-type style going on, Nicholas Brendon seems happy and healthy, everyone looks amazing (cough *Charisma Carpenter*) and more! Oh, and David Boareanz likes to rock a RHCP-eque cock-sock, or nothing at all. lolz!

See a slew of photos below of the cast reuniting from EW's corresponding photo shoot below. Issues are on sale this week!









Anthony Stewart Head didn't attend lol




Friday, March 10, 2017

No Really, Thank You.


On this great day, Sarah Michelle Gellar professed her love and gratitude for Buffy and it's fans on social media in celebration of the show's 20th anniversary and other cast members followed suit. She said:

"most importantly thank you to all of you, the fans. We made this show for you, and your unwavering support has kept this show going long past our seven years. You are everything. And always remember...'if the apocalypse comes, beep me'"

Aww.

Now go and watch along with us, our site-wide favorite episode: "The Gift".

Thursday, February 25, 2016

'Cruel Intentions' Show - WTF Sarah Michelle Gellar?

So Sarah Michelle Gellar is reprising her role as Kathryn Merteuil in a reboot show of the 90's film she starred in named Cruel Intentions but not a Buffy reboot show of the 90's show (and film) of the same name. Yeah ok. What did we ever do to you, girl?





Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Best Gift of 2015 - The Stake Mic!

We received the most amazing gift from my brother! He MADE it: A professional microphone for us to conduct interviews that resembles a stake for the handle!!! Yeah! Dusting Vamps at Mother Effin Comic Con, yo! 

It's made out of real wood...so Buffy could certainly borrow our mic, if need be.

Happy Yule and Merry Christmas everyone! Hope your sibling is as kick-ass as mine and Santa gives you a gift as awesome as STAKE MIC is!





Tuesday, December 1, 2015

'Buffy's' Nicholas Brendon Returns to Dr. Phil After Storming Off

I know this is dark subject matter, dear Buffyfest readers, but Nicholas Brendon is one of ours and needs some support right now. Obviously he's ready to tell his story so we're ok with mentioning it.

Several months ago Nicholas Brendon stormed off the set of The Dr. Phil Show. At the time, he accused Dr. Phil of going for "the jugular" and forcing him to "lay the darkest parts of myself on national TV". Today, our Xander returned to the show after being arrested 4 times this year for various reasons (trashing a hotel room, pub;ic intoxication and most recently, a domestic violence incident with his girlfriend). On today's show, Nicky told Dr. Phil that he blacked out during most of these incidents. He has now checked into a 90-day depression program at a Florida rehab center in October (but was allowed to attend Toulouse Game Show, a French fan convention, last week.)


Nicky opened up about attempting suicide because of his substance abuse. "I cut my wrists with a steak knife," Nicholas Brendon told Dr. Phil McGaw, crying. "Did you want to die that day?" Dr. Phil asked. "I think I wanted to be heard. I think I wanted to be helped, you know?" he said. "Because I think there's a lot of good life to live."

He also insisted he did not choke his girlfriend. "I just felt at that time that my girlfriend shouldn't drive, so I tried to take her keys away. I held her down to get the keys."

"When you wake up in jail and you're not sure why you're there, that's a very, very lonely feeling," Nicholas says.

 He also delved into his childhood trauma of being molested by a music teacher, who went to jail in 1981, when he was about 10 years old. After the teacher was caught, Brendon said he felt "numb, and then the betrayal kind of came to fruition after it all came out, and then anger." "I think about it every day of my life and I wonder how it affected me … did I stop growing emotionally?" he added. "When you're molested for a couple years and you're blamed for it by the people who are supposed to be your protectors, there's going to be a lot of confusion and a lot of sadness."

At the end of the interview, Brendon checked into a dual diagnosis treatment center, HeadWaters at Origins. "Maybe I'm just done," he said. "Maybe I'm ready to be happy now."

See a clip below:



Good Luck, Buddy. We're rooting for you!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Reminder: 2015 Whedonverse Ornament Swap Deadline is Today!

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Today is the last day to join the crafty Holiday fun! If you'd like to sign up for one of our favorite traditions - our beloved Whedonverse themed ornament swap - follow the instructions below before midnight tonight! We'll be sorting the groups immediately and you'll receive your list of recipients tomorrow.

Please make sure to read full details here and if you're down, send an email with the subject "MERRY WHEDON" with the following information to buffyfest@aim.com:

- name
- mailing address
- whether your are willing to ship internationally (note: All of North America will be combined this year).

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The 8th Annual Whedonverse Ornament Swap!

Ho ho ho! The Holidays are finally here and we're proud to once again announce our 8th annual Whedonverse Holiday Ornament Swap. Eight years, can you even believe it!!


We looove this event and every year we are reminded of the wonderful creativity of this fandom. Check out the several hundred photos of coolness from years past: http://www.flickr.com/groups/buffyfestholidayswap/

If you've never heard of this swap then let us do a little explainy: The purpose of the swap is to give and receive a little festive Whedonverse joy. Basically, you will create ornaments with a Whedonverse theme (Buffy, Firefly, Dr. Horrible, Avengers, etc.) and send them to 4-6 different recipients. In return you will receive 4-6 completely different handmade ornaments from around the world. As you can see from the photos, you really can make them out of anything: Wood, knit, sew, paint, draw, sculpt, paper craft, recycle old ornaments (earth friendly!) Have fun with it! There are not rules. (Actually there are some rules, see below.)

If you'd like to join us, sign-ups begin right now and will end next Monday, November 16th at 11:59 PM U.S. EST. And pretty please make super sure you're willing to go through with this entire process before signing up! Deadbeats ruin the holiday fun for everyone. Here are the guidelines in 6 easy steps:

1. Sign up by sending an email with the subject "MERRY WHEDON" and the following information to buffyfest@aim.com by Monday, November 16th.
- name
- address
- whether your are willing to ship overseas* (US and Canada will be mixed together)

2. On November 17th you'll receive an email from us containing the addresses and email addresses of 4-6 swap participants for you to send your ornaments to. Since you'll have each other's personal info, please contact each other with any questions, disputes or praise.

3. Create the multiple Whedon themed ornaments! You'll have 3 weeks to make them.

4. Package your ornaments well (especially if you create something fragile) and send one ornament to each person on the list of swap participants in your group by Tuesday, December 8th.

5. Sit back and relax as you wait to receive 4-6 lovely Whedonverse ornaments in the mail!

6. Then don't forget to share photos of the ornaments you make and receive by uploading to the swap flickr group here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/buffyfestholidayswap. You will need a flickr account to upload photos, which is easy to set up.

*A note on international shipping: Please only select international shipping if you are willing to ship at least 2-3 of your ornaments overseas. Take timing and the cost of shipping into account when you design your ornament. Lighter and more compact ornaments are cheaper to ship.

Any questions? Email us at buffyfest@aim.com

Friday, October 9, 2015

'Buffy: The High School Years - Freaks & Geeks' Announced at #NYCC

Just a short time ago, Dark Horse Comics announced a new Buffyverse graphic novel that will be released in June 2016 titled Buffy: The High School Years - Freaks & Geeks. The Dark Horse peeps told us this story will be set in season one (Yay Buffy, Angel & the Scoobs!) and have more of a YA angle. This story is executive produced by Joss Whedon himself. It will be written by Faith Erin Hicks with illustration by Yishan Li and the cover art will be done by Buffyverse veteran Scott Fischer. Check out the cover below, SO 90's!!:


Apparently, this idea was sparked all the way back in SDCC 2013! Long time Buffy fan Faith Erin Hicks had this to say on Twitter:
The Mary Sue has an interview with Faith Erin Hicks. We'll have something from her too as we get closer to the release. Do you know she lives in Nova Scotia? Nova Scotia in the house!

In the mean time, check out some of the adorable sketches by Yishan Li:



And here are some of the preview pages of the book (click to enlarge). Really looking forward to this!



Dark Horse Panel at #NYCC Currently Underway!

Check out our live blog below for the Whedoverse biggest announcement of #NYCC 2015! NEW BUFFY BOOK ANNOUNCED! (see below for more info).


11:04 Dark Horse PR dude Steve Suno takes the stage! Welcome to the "Dark Horse: CLASSIFIED!" Panel of New York Comic Con 2015.

11:08 On stage is writer Brian Wood, Writer Matt Kindt & new Editor-In-Chief Dave Marshall...so far.

11:12 Announcing "Aliens: Defiance" by Brian Wood and Tristan Jones. "Aliens: Defiance" drops April 2016.

11:16 Matt talks "DEPT.H" his upcoming series created with his wife set underwater.

11:20 Brittney Williams announced as "Legends of Korra" artist and signing at the DH booth Sunday!

11:22 I think to myself "get to the "Whedonverse stuff OMG the suspense is killing me!!"

11:25 Nope, not yet. Next up: "How to Train Your Dragon!" books coming soon. Cute! Love that movie.

11:35 Here we go!!  New Buffy Book announced!!

11:37 The graphic novel will be set in Season 1 called "Buffy: The High School Years". To be written by Faith Erin Hicks, drawn by manga artist Yishan Li. Release Date June 2016! Whew! So glad that's out in the open now...

We'll have an updated high-res of this cover and more deets later today.


11:43 Dark Horse president Mike Richardson then takes the stage to deliver a message from James Cameron, who announces a ten year partnership with DH for the world of Avatar. Big stuff at this panel!