February 18, 2024

Please Don't Reboot "Buffy". Reboot "Sunnydale" instead.

Ever since Dolly Parton said producers were still working on the Buffy reboot, something's been bugging me.

I was in Facebook group recently talking about The Vampire Diaries, and instead of the usual rants about what they did wrong, we were actually talking about the (few) things they got right. And I said I loved how they fleshed out the lore of Mystic Falls, which was one thing sorely missing about Sunnydale on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

What we know about Sunnydale reads like basic trivia: it sits on a Hellmouth, it's a demon magnet, and there are a handful of people and events we learn about over the course of the series, but nothing ever really feels fleshed out. Even worse, we often learned something specific for an episode that was never referenced before, then never referenced again. I found that particularly annoying.

Now, we're never going to recapture the magic of the original show, certainly not that special magic of the first three seasons. Buffy was the first of its kind in an era now long gone. We're not getting that time period back. So instead of trying to get that back, let's move forward. Step One: reboot the lore of the town and this time, properly flesh it out. The theme of that "one special girl in all the world" has been since done to death. I would keep the Hellmouth element, but instead of the rehashing the very tired Chosen One trope, just (re)introduce us to a town full of demon hunters who once drove the demons out, only for them to return.

And for the love of God, just bring back the original actors. We don't need new (read: younger) people. We just need to do right by the ones we already have.

Sarah Michelle Gellar, Bianca Lawson, and Eliza Dushku
Kendra Young (Lawson) and Faith Lehane (Dushku) were horribly robbed on this show. Kendra died after a measly four episodes. The backlash from fans would later keep Faith alive, but her grand return came during less than stellar seasons of both Buffy and Angel. And Buffy's reward for regularly saving the world was...dying and having her heart broken all the time.

All three women can return as seasoned hunters who've moved on with their lives, had families, and are trying to protect said families from a new evil.

Christine Sutherland and Michelle Trachtenberg
I never liked the killing of Joyce Summers (Sutherland) nor the introduction of Dawn (Trachtenberg). Since it's a reboot, we can now reverse one and embrace the other. There's no reason Joyce can't be a doting grandma, nor Dawn the goth auntie who's handy with a crossbow.

Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendon, and Charisma Carpenter
Not everybody is going to be a good hunter. They won't have the instincts, the agility, or the bravery. But they can still be helpful in other ways. Research, witchcraft, and making weapons--in Sunnydale, it's all hands on deck during a demon attack and I'm pretty sure that after years of dealing with demons, everyone has found their role.

Anthony Steward Head and James Marsters
Since we were robbed of the Ripper series (and I just really, really miss these guys), I'd love to seem them rebooted as these hardened veteran hunter brothers from England. In the pilot pilot episode, they could track an old enemy to Sunnydale and once they arrive, they realize they've found their tribe.

Only...they both have really dark pasts and sarcastic personalities, so it takes some time getting acclimated to the land of sunshine and nonfat lattes.

Eric Balfour, Emma Caulfield, Amber Benson, and DB Woodside
I dub this group "The Spouses". I'd like to see Faith in particular married to Robin (Woodside) and just happy for a change. Jesse (Balfour) could be married to either Kendra or Cordelia; I just need to see some happiness for either of them. I'd also like Anya (Caulfield) to retain her former demon status. I need Tara (Benson) to be a stronger witch this time. I also think Robin could still be the Principal of Sunnydale High while Snyder could just be Xander's really annoying boss.

Elizabeth Anne Allen, Harry Groener, and Clare Kramer
These could be the "gray area" characters. Amy (Allen) could be a witch friend of Willow's who helps battle demons, but also uses magic for personal gain like beauty or in her dating life (I can see a whole discussion about that). Wilkins (Groener), could be Faith's loving father but also Sunnydale's shady mayor who's not above bargaining with demons. And Glory (Kramer) could still be a fallen god from another dimension, but now trapped in mortal form. Taking on the Watcher role, she's extremely knowledgeable about demons, and regularly helps the hunters, but she's also secretly trying to find her way back home through the Hellmouth.

And in addition to bringing back the actors, bring back the original writers--Noxon, Espenson, Petrie, Fury, Greenwalt--all of them (except the obvious). This was the first show where I actually memorized the names of the writers because they were that good. They deserve their flowers.

And bring back the original soundtrack. The Buffy soundtrack is full of cult classics, and I wouldn't mind seeing some of the original bands return to the Bronze. They deserve their flowers too. Because if there's one thing I learned from Star Trek: Picard, it's that as long as the OGs are still alive, there's no need to reinvent the wheel.

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