Tuesday, 23 November 2010

GRR ARGH! Jossless Buffy gets the (re)boot.


Oh balls!

It’s official. Atlas Entertainment has announced via press release that they are “…rebooting the beloved franchise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Warner Bros. Pictures.” Charles Roven and Steve Alexander will produce the new film alongside Doug Davison and Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment. Whit Anderson is writing the script. And who be Whit? Apparently she is a young actress with no script writing credits and only three minor acting credits. But who knows, she may turn out to be a great writer. Doubtful I know, but we can but hope.

Producer Roven said:

“Whit approached us with an exciting idea about how to update Buffy. There is an active fan base eagerly awaiting this character’s return to the big screen. We’re thrilled to team up with Doug and Roy on a re-imagining of Buffy and the world she inhabits. Details of the film are being kept under wraps, but I can say while this is not your high school Buffy, she’ll be just as witty, tough, and sexy as we all remember her to be.”


And there was me thinking that the proposal from earlier this year by the original film’s producers to reboot Buffy sans Joss had died a death. Apparently not.

Double crap!

Based on that quote from Roven, Atlas and Warner Bros appear to have no clue as to what the vast majority of Buffy fandom wants. Yes, Buffy fandom is big, active and still growing. Yes, we have been eagerly awaiting her return to the screen (big or small).

But not like this.

If Roven and co. really wants to know what fandom thinks then he needs to check out the most active fan sites such as SlayAlive. Sure, a few on there seem intrigued, some just dismissive. But the majority by a mile are openly hostile to his plans. The main point of hostility being that Joss Whedon, Buffy’s creator and all round genius, is not involved. Nor does it sound like he was even approached.

The truth of it is that Warner and Atlas only have the rights to the name and character of Buffy and to characters and events in the dire 1992 movie which they’ve licensed from the dreaded Kaz and Fran Kazui, producer and director respectfully of that movie. They have access to nothing of the classic TV show's characters and situations as that all resides with Fox and Joss. So this new take will either be a rehash of the original movie or some entirely new story/mythology about a girl called Buffy who kills vampires. And it doesn’t even sound like it’ll be a high school thing either. Maybe she’ll be a cute blond twentysomething waitress in a southern bar with special powers and who falls in love with a broody vampire. Hang on a sec…

If this all sounds like I’m being rather too precious and protective, then you’re right, I am. Damn straight I'm protective of Buffy. And I make no apologies for being that way.

Joss's Buffy is one of the few things in pop culture I do feel immensely protective of. She is Joss’s creation, his avatar as he described her. Despite many writers providing her words it was always Joss’s voice that came through. She’s his girl. End of.

And just so you know, I’m not one of those angry fanboys who bemoan all remakes and reboots. As I’ve said before in previous blog posts, I'm not morally opposed to them. Some of the best films and TV have been remakes and reboots. Buffy itself was a reboot of the failed movie. But I only agree with them when there is artistic merit. Not just for pure financial gain. Another Buffy reboot by others in the distant future post-joss would be fine. But to actively do it while the guy is still writing Buffy (seasons 8 & 9 comics) and while its fandom is still so big and active and vocal is just plain disrespectful to Joss and to the millions of the Slayer’s fans all around the world. It comes across as nothing but a cynical cash grab aimed at the Twilight generation.

Some comments I’ve seen have compared this yucky turn of events to JJ Abrams reboot of Star Trek.

I say no. Not the same.

I thought Abrams’ Trek reboot was brilliant. But there’s a big difference here. Roddenberry is long gone and by the time Abrams came to it, the Trek franchise had been done to death, and, in my opinion, pretty shabbily treated in its latter years with the likes of Enterprise, Insurrection and Nemesis. It needed a reboot in order to survive. And a good one at that. And thanks to JJ and co. that is exactly what it got. Also, Abrams reboot is still very much a part of the classic Trek universe (though a universe now altered by time travel). It has the same characters, situations and is linked by Nimoy's Spock Prime which gives the whole thing instant credibility.

So there you go. Those are my thoughts on this grim turn of events for the Slayer. I just hope that whether the movie is a success or failure (critically and/or commercially) it doesn’t taint the popularity of Joss’s classic series or adversely affect its ongoing comic book continuation.

This is what Hercules, Ain’t it cool news’ TV guy had to say after reporting the news:

“Buffy fans have been craving a movie for more than a decade. Given youngsters’ insatiable lust for young-adult vampire stories of any stripe, I suspect something called “Buffy” will find its way to the big screen. It may even be good. But without Whedon working the script, it won’t be Buffy.”

And I leave the last witty, sardonic words to the man himself, taken from his email response to E-online regarding the reboot news:

“I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death. But, you know, AFTER. I don't love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I'm also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making that show what it was. And there is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly. I can't wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill. I can, however, take this time to announce that I'm making a Batman movie. Because there's a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you. Leave me to my pain! Sincerely, Joss Whedon.”


  1. An interesting debate this has caused. Should another creative group, other than it's original creator, reboot a franchise?

    If you asked me 15 years ago if they should remake Escape From New York without John Carpenter I would have balked. Now, I'm all for it.

    If you'd have suggested that Rick Berman be given an opportunity to reboot Star Trek, after being it's creative force for 20 years, I would have argued the opposite...NO! We need new blood! (thankfully we got it)

    I was in favour of Richard Hatch's planned Galactica remake, since he would have been loyal to the 70's characters and concept, over Bryan Singers reimagining. But Singer was the one given the green light and I recall that turned out pretty well.

    I think Whedon himself has got the issue right. It's OK to reboot franchises...as long as the situations right. And in this case it's not. In Buffy's case, it's creator Whedon not only has a talented and unique vision that can't be replicated...but he's still interested in creating more of his Buffy vision. The Buffy fan base know this and want his vision too. It would be mad to reboot without Whedon. At the moment.

    Whedon's interest may dim, his unique voice may weaken (just as Carpenter's has with the Escape franchise) and it may feel right then. Or like the man says...when he dies.

    So while history has proven that reboot can and do work, in this case they shouldn't try it without Whedon. It's a bad creative decision and it's a bad business decision.

  2. Yep, good way to put it: a bad creative decision and a bad business decision.

    Reboots and remakes do indeed have there place. Just not here. Not now.

    If Joss were no longer interested in pursuing Buffy, if its fandom was pretty much dead, if the concept had been beaten to death and exhausted, then I'd be perfectly open to some new blood coming in and having a go. But the thing is, Joss's Buffy is still very much alive and kicking and still very much loved by millions. It still wins awards inc. an Emmy in 2008 for best dramatic TV moment ever (the end of 'The Gift') and is even able to make headlines still (Buffy's brief fling with Satsu in the comic made headlines worldwide last year). Buffy was even name checked on BBC 2's The Review Show last Friday night as one of the best examples of modern mythology alongside Harry Potter.

    This 'reboot' may end up being a perfectly good film in its own right, but without Joss it won't be Buffy. The pair is intrinsically linked. At least they are to me...right up until he decides to have nothing more to do with her, or when, God forbid, he finally passes on to that great Whedonverse in the sky.

    Right, I'm off to start a rewatch of season 2 for the blog.

    Long live (real) Buffy!