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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Article Links

October 2007
The Day the Buffy Music Died

March 2007
This Entertainment Weekly article tells what the Buffy cast is up to now!

March 20, 2006
USA Today

May 7, 2003
Chicago Sun- Times - Five Questions with James Marsters
SciFi Wire - Whedon: Buffy Grew Up Fast

May 6, 2003
Star Tribune - Rating the Buffy Seasons - Alyson Hannigan and Alexis Denisof Interview

May 5, 2003
The Buzz - Power and Legitimacy in Buffy
The Buzz - Is the Slayer Destined to be Alone?
Star Tribune - Bye bye 'Buffy': The Slayer Bows Out After Seven Seasons of Wicked Fun

May 2, 2003
Pacific News Service - Choosing Buffy over Bush
The Boston Phoenix - Hail and Farewell

May 1, 2003 - Nathan Fillion: Buffy's Last Big Bad

April 30, 2003 - Bye Bye Buffy - Julie Benz Reflects on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
AJC - 'Buffy' lives... no more
Deseret News - 'Buffy' Will be Going Away, But That Won't Be the End
Chicago Sun-Times - 'Buffy' Boss: It's Not Over When It's Over

April 29, 2003
USA Today - Show's Creator Takes Stab at 10 Favorite Episodes
USA Today - The End of 'Buffy' Feels Like a Dagger to the Heart
USA Today - Rating Buffy's All-World Saves
USA Today - "Our Slayer Won't Go Gently Into the Dark Night"
The Collegian - 'Buffy' Runs Out of Garlic; Series to End in May

April 28, 2003
NY Post - Boffo Buffy
Belfast Telegraph - Fans Say Fangs for the Buffy Memories

April 24, 2003 - Nicholas Brendon on the Buffy Finale

April 20, 2003
New York Times - Getting Buffy's Last Rites Right

VAMPIRES, hellgods, snake demons I've watched Buffy battle them all. But they weren't as scary as the knowledge that, very soon, I will no longer have an excuse to put life on hold every Tuesday night. I admit it: over the last six years, I've devoted an almost embarrassing amount of time, energy and thought, both personal and professional, to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Now, with only a few weeks left until the May 20 series finale, I'm facing my "Buffy"-less future by burrowing into seasons past, trying to imagine a fitting end to the coolest television coming-of- age horror-fantasy-love story ever told.

It's difficult to predict what Joss Whedon, the show's fiendishly inventive creator and executive producer, has devised for the final episode (which he wrote and directed). Mr. Whedon, after all, has already killed his heroine (twice) and jolted viewers with such unexpected twists as the death of Buffy's mom, the surprise ensouling of the vampire Spike and the episode in which everybody sings. Frankly, as long as Mr. Whedon doesn't try to tell us that the whole series was a figment of Buffy's imagination, I'll be happy. I'll be even happier if the finale grandly articulates, one last time, the show's main themes: woman power, friendship, growing up and sacrifice.

WOMAN POWER On "Buffy," women rule the world and men are largely watchers. Part of an ancient line of girls imbued with the power to vanquish demons, Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) has lived longer than any of her predecessors. This season, Buffy traveled through a time portal to the origins of the First Slayer and learned that she was created by shamen, who mated her with demon energy to keep evil away from the village. "You violated that girl, made her kill for you because you're weak, you're pathetic," Buffy sneered. "You're just men." Buffy is strong enough to save the world (which she did "a lot," according to her tombstone at the end of Season 5). But, like that first slayer, she has been rendered a little less than human by her mission. She's been emotionally frozen for the past couple of seasons, unable to drop her guard and let love (her adoring former sex partner Spike) in.

Buffy is not the only one who has been blocked from tapping the positive energy of her better, female, self. Her friend Willow (Alyson Hannigan), the lovable lesbian witch and computer whiz, proved in last season's finale that she was strong enough to (almost) destroy the world, when she went on a vengeful rampage sparked by the murder of her girlfriend. This season, Willow has been as emotionally frozen as Buffy, afraid to fully utilize her Wiccan powers, lest they turn destructive again. We need some healing here. Which is why I think "Buffy" ought to end with both a Wiccapalooza and the most gargantuan release of girl power the show's ever attempted.

I want to see Buffy beat on everyone and everything in sight, save the world again and still find the time to finally admit her feelings for poor Spike (James Marsters). I want to see Willow get her mojo back. I want to see Buffy's rival slayer, the self-doubting bad girl Faith (Eliza Dushku), regain her self-esteem and fight at Buffy's side. I want to see Buffy's teenage sister Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg), a dormant but powerful unearthly being, come of age in a flash of glory. I want to see the dozens of young Slayers in Training, who are wandering aimlessly and namelessly through the Summerses' house, truly become the "army" Buffy has been promising us for most of the season, and make a stand against the current big bad, an incorporeal entity called the First Evil. But most of all, I want to see them thrash that misogynistic preacher Caleb (Nathan Fillion), an agent of the First Evil, who believes women were "born dirty." For some intriguing Christian symbolism, let Buffy's last battle be for the collective soul of womankind, to remove the biblical taint from the gender.

FRIENDSHIP Buffy's "Scooby gang" Willow, Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), Dawn, Spike, Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Anya (Emma Caulfield) has always been greater than the sum of its parts. This pseudo-family of misfits banded together at the climax of each season to save the world. And they were a formidable blend, with Buffy's super powers, Willow's witchy energy (and, when she was a teen, research skills), Giles's knowledge of ancient demonology, Spike's muscle and bravado, Dawn's spunk and Anya's enjoyment of a good fight.

As for Xander, he's Mr. Whedon's stand-in, the "unremarkable" guy who lives in the shadow of the gifted heroine. Or does he? Have you noticed how, time and again, Xander plays a crucial 11th-hour role in enabling Buffy to prevail? I'd feel cheated if the Xan Man wasn't the unsung hero, again, in the finale.

But for all their past harmony, the Scoobies have drifted apart of late. Each member has been battling inner demons: addiction, insecurity, self-loathing, jealousy, guilt. Like its strength, the gang's weakness is greater than the sum of its parts. Earlier this season, Buffy dreamed of her dead mother warning that "evil is always here . . . evil is a part of us. All of us. It's natural." Maybe the Scoobys have brought on this latest apocalypse; maybe the First Evil feeds on each character's psychic fragility, on negativity and unquiet minds. The Scoobys have to get over themselves. They need to learn to trust one another again in order to bring "Buffy" back to the point it's been making all along that friendship, community and love are the greatest weapons of all.

GROWING UP The coming-of-age theme has served "Buffy" well ever since the show's earliest high school-is-hell metaphor. Buffy and her pals have grappled with the usual adolescent traumas, as well as the highs and lows of life as twentysomethings. As the last hour nears, Buffy is fully entering adulthood she has already lost her mother (her dad was always absent) and relations are strained between her and her father figure, her watcher Giles. She is growing more distant, accepting her responsibilities and preparing to fight the final battle alone. I always believed that "Buffy" was the story of a girl finding her place in the big bad world. But now I see that the show is not about our heroine growing up as much as it's about the other characters' maturing enough to let her go.

SACRIFICE Buffy has always been a Christlike figure. She questions her destiny as the chosen one, doubts her abilities to see the mission through, yet always fulfills her role as savior. This was never more true than in the finale of Season 5, when she sacrificed herself to save Dawn from being killed in an apocalyptic ritual. As a reward, Buffy entered Paradise, but she was soon ripped back to earth and the grind of fighting evil by the Scoobys, who used a spell to bring her back to life. She has since grown battle-weary. She longs to lay down her arms, but the only way to do that, as her mother foretold in that dream, is to "rest." The logical end to the saga is for Buffy to get back to Paradise.

Speaking of sacrifice, Spike needs to make one, too. The brash but sensitive vampire has been a central figure in Buffy's story line; they were adversaries in Season 4, wary comrades-in-arms in Season 5, punishing lovers in Season 6. Now, as ex-lovers who've been through hell together, they've approached something like real love. Spike's devotion to Buffy and her mission has set him on a path to redemption; he endured torture to win back his soul for her, then suffered at the hands of the First Evil. But Buffy has yet to tell him she loves him.

In the finale, I want to see Buffy give Spike the moment of happiness he's earned. And then I want my heart to be broken, because one thing "Buffy" does better than any show on television is break your heart. I want to see Buffy and Spike both make the ultimate sacrifice, and both be rewarded for it. But they can't be together; it's not in their destinies. I want Buffy to die and become an immortal god(dess) who rights the balance of good and evil in the universe. I want Spike to die and be reborn as a human (and therefore available for a possible spinoff).

I can see the series's last moments now. As Buffy turns immortal, she shines beatifically, and we finally understand the foreshadowing significance in Spike's puzzling past fondness for the words "effulgent" and "glowing." Buffy's ascension unleashes a surge of positive energy that empowers the forces of good. They rise up as one and drop-kick the First's evil army of gnarled ubervampires back to hell.

Then, everybody sings.

<  >Copyright 2003 <   >The New York Times Company |

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Updated 10/14/07


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