Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Into Every Generation...

By now, every blogger on the internet has had their say about the new Buffy movie Warner Bros are planning, which will reboot the franchise and features absolutely no involvement from Joss Whedon. In particular, I recommend you read my friend Kirsty's thoughts on it here: http://winskillfull-explains.blogspot.com/2009/05/staking-cash-cow.html

I also recommend you read the words of Master Whedon himself here: http://uk.eonline.com/uberblog/watch_with_kristin/b212644_joss_whedon_reacts_buffy_movie_news_i.html

But what about my thoughts on the subject. They matter, right? Oh. Well. You're getting them anyway.

Warner Bros, this is an awful, awful idea, for a number of reasons. Let's go into them, shall we?

1. No one, absolutely no one, understands the character and world of Buffy like Joss Whedon and the team of superb writers who helped him craft seven of the finest seasons of television in the history of entertainment.

Hush. The Body. Once More With Feeling. Conversations With Dead People. The list of fantastic episodes goes on and on. Sure, Joss may be busy with the Avengers right now, but get him on as a producer, ask Jane Espenson, or Marti Noxon, or Douglas Petrie to write it. That would work fine. Who do we have instead? Whit Anderson. Yeah, I don't know either. One second. *checks IMDB* Oh, right, she "acted" in Yes Man and Zombie Strippers. Yeah, those are the credentials required. Now, in fairness, Anderson could be an excellent writer. I don't know. But some of her comments don't inspire confidence. In the same paragraph, she claims Buffy is timeless and says it's time to update it. If something's timeless, surely it doesn't need updating? She also claims she gets it because she was the same age as Buffy when she was watching it. So were a lot of other people, love. Doesn't mean they know it better than Whedon.

2. This has been tried before, numerous times, and rarely with success. How many reboots do you know which have done well? Let's look at one of the worst examples of a previous reboot as an example.

Back in the late nineties, Marvel decided to reboot Spider-Man. While they would eventually find success with this with Ultimate Spider-Man (the exception which proves the rule), their first attempt was the disastrous Spider-Man: Chapter One. For thirteen issues, writer/artist John Byrne retold stories which had been done thirty years earlier, and about three hundred times better, by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The results were so poor that these days, the readers and Marvel both would prefer to pretend it just never happened. The original Spider-Man stories, like Buffy, are timeless. Yes, there's a very nineteen-sixties sensibility in the way the stories are told, but if you read them, they more than hold up today. In trying to update something which doesn't need updating in the first place, you can only ruin it. This is why things like Ultimate Spider-Man, or J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot, don't try and tell the same story again, but use the same characters and situations to tell completely new stories. Now, maybe that's what Whit Anderson will be doing with Buffy. But, that brings us on to the next point.

3. Yes, Buffy fans would like more Buffy. And they're already getting it.

Okay, it's not the movie we would all like, but let's be honest now, that's never going to happen. Instead, Whedon has transplanted his universe to the world of comics. Dark Horse have been publishing Buffy Season Eight for a few years now, with Whedon overseeing the whole thing and writing some of the issues himself. He's also brought in some of the shows writers, like Jane Espenson and Drew Goddard, as well as some of the best writers working in comics today, such as Brian K. Vaughan and Brad Meltzer, to pen storyarcs. It's not exactly the same as the show. The fact that there is no budget to restrict them, just the imagination of the talented artists who draw the comic, does mean that they can do pretty much anything they like (flying cars, a giant robot rampaging through Tokyo, some rather immense godlike creatures and Dawn as a centaur are among the sights we'd never have seen on screen), and this has lead, at times, to the writers (Joss included) possibly overindulging themselves, but it's still a worthy follow up to the TV show. Season eight is drawing to a close soon, but season nine has already been confirmed. With Buffy continuing in comic form, under the guiding hand of her creator, is there really any need for a new version from someone else?

4. Warner Bros don't care about Buffy. They just want money.

Obviously, we all know that, but the proof, if it were needed, comes when you consider this fact: Warner Bros cancelled Buffy at the end of season five. In order to keep going, Buffy had to move to the UPN network. Warner Bros then cancelled Buffy spin off Angel after its fifth season. There was no saving Angel, unfortunately, which was axeded to make way for a remake of sixties vampire show Dark Shadows. A show which never got passed the pilot stage. When Warner Bros later commissioned Supernatural, a show I do admittedly like, they might as well have been saying "Oh shit oh shit oh shit we cancelled Angel why did we do that". And now, suddenly, they want to make Buffy again? They've seen how well season eight's been doing in comics. They've seen the DVD sales. It's about nothing but the cash.

Despite all of our protests, this is happening. Nothing we can do about that at this point. However, on the off chance that any studio execs are reading this (and I haven't offended them too much), I have the following suggestions for them which would make this a good thing.

1. Wait until after Avengers is done, and get Joss involved.

2. Change the setting in a way that no one really expects. Ooh, here's an idea. Set it in space. And get rid of all the monsters and demons.

3. How about, instead of a high school girl, Buffy is a man. A rogueish man who was on the losing side of a war, and now captains a space ship, taking whatever jobs he can to feed his Scooby Gang, or crew. You know who should play him? That nice Nathan Fillion fella.

4. Instead of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I would like to suggest an alternative title: Serenity 2.

I think that would be a winner. Make it happen studio execs, and I'll call off the mercenaries.

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