LonCon3 #18: The Daughters of Buffy

Panellists: Foz Meadows, L.M. Myles, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Sarah Shemilt, Christi Scarborough

At the end of last year, to mark ten years since the broadcast of the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the BBC, Naomi Alderman made a special edition of the Radio 4 programme Front Row, featuring interviews with cast, creator, and critics. Among other things, she asked what the show’s legacy had been, and whether the right lessons — female characters written as well as men, given as much narrative importance as men, and surrounded by other women — had been learned. Following on from her discussion, our panel will ask: who are Buffy’s heirs? (And you can listen to the original programme here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03m7zmq)

Buffy presents us with platonic male/female friendship, empowered female main characters, inverting the ‘damsel in distress’ archetype, lesbian relationships and so much more. However, it isn’t perfect. There isn’t much racial diversity.

Buffy’s heirs:

  • Veronica Mars as a successful private investigator while still in high school.
  • Orphan Black – Many female main characters fighting for their freedom.
  • Continuum – Kiera is a futuristic police woman who goes back in time to fight fellow time travellers and militaristic revolutionists whose methods involve the bloody deaths of innocent bystanders.
  • Elementary – Joan Watson educates herself for her new role as consulting detective; learns self-defense and lock-picking
  • Revenge – Emily is The Count of Monte Cristo in high heels.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess – a product of 90s feminism that saw two female warriors as main characters in a lesbian relationship.
  • Serenity – Zoe as an ex-soldier, Kaylee as an engineer and River as a psychic, brainwashed prodigy with martial arts training. In fact most of Joss Whedon’s projects are Buffy-like.
  • Dollhouse – This is a dodgy one that isn’t the most feminist as Dushku rarely kept her clothes on.
  • Sleepy Hollow – Abbie and Jenny Mills, two sisters of colour, as main characters that are both fighters, one of whom is a police office who was about to join the FBI.
  • The Hunger Games trilogy – Katniss is a survivalist who displayed PTSD, however physical disability is erased in the films.
  • I’d add Dead Like Me – George is a teenager who dies, is given a new public facade and is set up as a grim reaper with a father-like boss.
  • Giles-like characters that are great single fathers include Richard Castle (Castle) and Seeley Booth (Bones).
  • In the comic book universe, Marvel has the most female leads.

A man in the audience called himself a feminist. That’s awesome!

YouTube’s Buffy vs. Edward is a firm favourite among panellists.

My Question: What do you think of urban fantasy? It’s heavily influenced by Buffy.
It’s the Buffy genre although Anita Blake came before Buffy.

Recommended Reading

3 thoughts on “LonCon3 #18: The Daughters of Buffy

    1. Yes, I have been following her. I don’t always have time to read her long essays though, but the ones I have read are awesome!


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