Countdown to Halloween #23: Buffy Summers

In the world of film and television, there’s a lot of BS going on in regards to female characters, and usually the term BS implies that you’re dealing with people you’d rather avoid if at all possible.  Take one BS-er for example: Bella Swan.  Many girls adore her story, torn between the affections of a shirtless stalker like dog boy and the glorious sparkly immortal who broods all day because he is just to deep for words – but those of us with more developed brains tend to hate her lack of gumption.  There’s one BS-er though, who has consistently earned our attention and admiration, and that is one Ms. Buffy Summers. Resident of southern California, high school cheerleader, and slayer of vampires – among other things the go bump in the night. The character of Buffy was invented by God’s gift to Hollywood, Joss Whedon.  She first appeared in a 1992 movie called Buffy the Vampire Slayer starring Kristy Swanson; it was a comedic action film that didn’t really do Buffy the dark justice that Whedon had originally intended for her.

Fortunately, Whedon had the good sense (like always) that she had a better story to tell us, and consequently developed the TV series of the same title, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. Buffy Summers is the Chosen One, a Slayer with the responsibility of destroying the vampires and other evils that roam our world.  Many of these demonic figures come from the Hellmouth, a portal to the underworld, over which Buffy’s town of Sunnydale is built. That unfortunate bit of fictional engineering resulted in one of the greatest female characters of all time as she battles the entities that escape it.

Buffy Summers has been consistently recognized by critics and companies alike.  Entertainment Weekly picked Buffy as one of the 100 best characters of the last 20 years.  And you’d be hard-pressed to find a top science fiction female characters list without Buffy on it, right next to other favorites like Ellen Ripley, Princess Leia, and Sarah Connor.

Buffy punching
See? Totally worthy of Ripley-esque status.

Now, the fact that we chose Buffy to be on our Halloween countdown list should come as no surprise.  She doesn’t walk around with a black cat-like Sabrina the teenage witch, but her title of “vampire slayer” fits the season perfectly nonetheless.  The character is prime Halloween content because of the dark nature of the show in general, which, admittedly, makes complete sense when you’re dealing with demons and other evil supernaturals.  Additionally, a few episodes of Buffy were appropriately centered around Halloween (though this is definitely not unique, as many TV shows do this, but it helps).  She also dated a vampire before it was considered “cool.”

Despite Buffy’s prominence in the history of TV and science fiction, I’m disappointed in the way some companies have chosen to treat her character.  Take, for example, this little get-up I found when I Googled “Buffy the Vampire Slayer costume.”  I’m sorry, but Buffy did not look like this every time she battled vampires:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
No thanks.

On the other hand, when Fox Interactive and EA released the Buffy the Vampire Slayer game for Xbox in 2002, they handled the character and franchise well, obtaining game ratings of 8.2 and 8.3 out of 10 from IGN and GameSpot, respectively.  Buffy admirers didn’t find much to complain about, other than the fact that Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn’t voicing Buffy.

Joss Whedon gave the world what it needed, the complete opposite of what it was used to at the time – dull, helpless female characters.  Buffy is now immortalized in the minds of science fiction geeks, or just pop-culture nerds as a whole.  I daresay that most people who appreciate this kick-ass female have put her on their favorite Halloween character lists, too.  During this time of ghouls and ghosts, I hope that we can all remember Buffy, who consistently defeated evil, as a woman not to be trifled with.

Well, no one is ‘on’ all the time…

For more on Buffy Summers, check out these links…

The Search for Buffy Summers – Our Casting Suggestions for the Impending Reboot…
Call of Duty: Escalation (Starring Trejo, Rooker, George A. Romero, Freddy Kruger, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Keep an eye out, another character on the Countdown will be revealed at every night at 12:01 am for the rest of the month. You’ll also be able to find them HERE.

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