Where Is Buffy Now?



No, I’m not talking about the comic continuation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or even a sort of metaphysical wondering. But we’ll get to that. Welcome back to the Hellmouth, gentle viewers.

You know the drill. If you navigate these demon-infested waters, be prepared…




(Possible spoilers for Buffy, Angel, The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural.)

If you’ve been haunting the Twitterwebs this week, you might have come across this interesting article by Entertainment Weekly. After flipping through the pictures of the leading ladies in recent superhero films, I read a bit of the blogosphere’s reaction to it.

To sum up said reaction: “WE WANT FEMALE SUPERHEROES.”

It’s clear from stuff like this that people want to see well-written, compelling female superheroes. People are tired of tropes and damseling. People want to see women doing their own rescuing — and even rescuing others. Joey Paur of GeekyTyrant.com mentioned that the average amount of screen time for the female leads in superhero movies is 22 minutes.

That’s…not very many minutes.

Those minutes also tend to be full of damseling, falling for the hero, and crying/screaming. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t needed smelling salts since the 1800s or so, and even then it was probably more due to the tight lacing on my corset than falling over at the sight of blood.

People inevitably bring up Buffy when this sort of discussion begins.

But here’s the thing, gentle viewers, this month of Buffy-related posts is a celebration of the sixteenth anniversary of the show’s first episode.

Sixteen years have passed since we last got a female superhero to power her own show for seven years. And in the decade since the final episode aired, we’ve seen nothing hit the silver screens or small screens with her sort of power. Maybe Katniss Everdeen. This isn’t to say there haven’t been some phenomenal female characters in the last decade, but when they’re about to reboot Superman yet again, and Spiderman’s getting a new trilogy again, and we’re getting more Iron Man and more Thor and more Avengers (which is about 80% man-powered) — erm, what about a female superhero up in here?

And not Elektra or Catwoman unless they do it right this time.

Bohemian Geeky Girl voiced it pretty well: “Where’s Buffy?”

Well. The short answer is that Buffy ended back in 2003. And since then, I think we’ve all been waiting for the next Buffy. I know I have. Instead I’ve seen more of the same. More of female characters getting tiny amounts of screen time and sexual assault-filled backstories. More scanty outfits. What they lack in substance and great writing, they make up for in tropes and long-kicked stereotypical dead horses.

Here’s the part where there be spoilers for TVD and TWD and Supernatural…warning.

I’m waiting to see if this season’s Elena in The Vampire Diaries will step up and do some world-saving, anti-Silas heroing. I’m waiting to see if Andrea — strong, resourceful, enduring, intelligent Andrea — will be allowed to save herself or if they’ll send in hesitant everyman Milton to do those honors. Frankly, I expect the latter. And I’m also waiting to see if they’ll do what I expect and write Michonne into the nastiness Robert Kirkman made for her in the comics. I’m waiting to see if they create a female character on Supernatural who doesn’t die.

With EW publishing that very interesting article, it leaves me wondering. Buffy has moved on. Who’s going to take her place?

You and I and a whole lot of others are all wondering the same thing: when are we going to get the SuperWomen we desperately want to see? Why do we keep having to point backwards in time to the same example of Buffy? Where are the new show leaders? The new cult protagonists? The new female faces of the fantasy and sci-fi genres? I’m ready to see them. And I don’t think I’m alone.

I think Buffy would want to see that too. After all, the show ended with the message of thousands of others rising up to stand in her stead.

So where are they?

“I hate this. I hate being here. I hate that you have to be here. I hate that there’s evil, and that I was chosen to fight it. I wish, a whole lot of the time, that I hadn’t been. I know a lot of you wish I hadn’t been either. But this isn’t about wishes. This is about choices. I believe we can beat this evil. Not when it comes, not when its army is ready, now. Tomorrow morning I’m opening the seal. I’m going down into the Hellmouth, and I’m finishing this once and for all. Right now you’re asking yourself, ‘what makes this different? What makes us anything more than a bunch of girls being picked off one by one?’ It’s true none of you have the power that Faith and I do. So here’s the part where you make a choice: What if you could have that power…now? In every generation, one Slayer is born … because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of the scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer…will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power will have the power; can stand up, will stand up. Slayers … every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?”

See the video of this speech here.


About Emmie Mears

Saving the world from brooding, one self-actualized vampire at a time.

Posted on March 22, 2013, in 16th Buffyversary, Buffy, Themes in Buffy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Daniel Swensen

    We need another hero. We need to know the way home! Can’t we all just get BEYOND Thunderdome?

    But yeah, we need another Buffy on TV, post-haste.

  2. Great post, Emmie! I wonder why it’s so hard to write powerful women, the same way I wonder why it’s so hard to write minority characters. Do they have a difficult time believing women could be strong and powerful? That women could be motivated by rage, revenge, patriotism, honor and duty? Is there any backstory currently on the big screen that couldn’t apply to women? Why are we only fascinated with the Hero’s Journey?

    You’re right that we don’t have many female superheroes on TV, but we do have one: Nikita on the CW. I dismissed this show the first couple of seasons, but recently gave it a try and I binge-watched about 40 episodes to get caught up. This woman kicks ass, and they didn’t turn her into a man to do it. There’s even a love story, and while the man she loves is just as strong and fierce, Nikita is the hero of the show.

    • I’ve never watched Nikita–now I’ll have to check that out!

      And I really don’t know where the media gets this block. But I hope we break it down regardless.

  3. Have you ever seen Lost Girl? Anna Silk as Bo seems to kick all kinds of supernatural ass…

  4. What seems to me to be a no-brainer is, why not a great Wonder Woman movie or TV series? Can’t figure out why that can’t get off the ground.

    • The short answer is they don’t think it would be profitable because films like Catwoman and Elektra bombed.

      • Isn’t that because they made crappy movies, not because they were kick-ass women?
        When the first great female superhero movie comes out, Hollywood will do what it did when Iron Man & the Dark Knight showed how you could make a bajillion dollars by getting a serious superhero movie made. That is, they will scramble to duplicate that success with every single female superhero possible. It’d just take one! DC could clean up on this, they have so many people already know! But I suspect it’ll be Marvel that takes a chance on She-Hulk or Wasp or Black Cat or Phoenix or (if they really get their act together…) Elektra.

      • Yeah, that was my point. The product created was so bad that they are really skittish about trying again.

      • Ah. Sorry. Talk about Hollywood underestimating the potential market! Sheesh.
        I wonder if anyone has considered doing a superhero rom-com? A Black Canary/Green Arrow movie would be such a hoot.

      • Ahahahaha, that would be funny.

      • And if done right, a good She-Hulk movie would take off better than any of the “Hulk” ones have (though I liked the Ed Norton one).

      • Yeah. I’d love to see some new, original superheroes as well.

      • I have hope. “Bridesmaids” seemed to tell Hollywood “Hey! Women can be hilarious!” (Dur.) A few more good movies with kick-ass heroines might do the same for this genre too.

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