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.
- 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.
- The Risen Empire (Succession #1) by Scott Westerfield
- The Privilege of the Sword (The World of Riverside #2) by Ellen Kushner