The internet rumor mill is churning again. This time with talks of a resurrection of the beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise – without Joss Whedon. Fran Rubel Kuzui, director of the original, Whedon-scripted movie, and her husband, producer Kaz Kuzui, have maintained rights to the Buffy franchise all these years, and are currently talking with Vertigo Entertainment about a "remake or relaunch" of the franchise, not a "sequel or prequel." The Kuzuis seem eager to take advantage of the Buffy tagline "a new slayer for each generation," and not bring back Buffy, Spike, Xander, or any of the other beloved Whedon-era characters.
While Buffy without Whedon is sacrilege to most (myself included), there are a few advantages to a Whedon-less Buffy. But before you start hate-Tweeting, let's look at five reasons why it might not be the end of the world.
Reason 1: No Slayerettes
Bringing in an army of Slayers for Buffy to train was easily the biggest shark-jump in all of television history. Not only was it a horrible, stupid plot point, it completely went against the mantra, the core of the show – one Slayer for each generation. Suddenly there is an army of Slayers? Sure, you might have a handful being trained for when they are "called up," but hundreds? Under Whedon's guidance, the whole mythology of the Slayer has gotten a little muddled. Which brings us to…
Reason 2: I'm Done With Buffy
For starters, the scope of Buffy's powers seemed to vary wildly. One episode she knocked out easily with a kick to the head; the next, she can leap buildings in a single bound and can take a punch like a superhero. Halfway through the series, suddenly she could heal abnormally fast. She's human, people! Besides that, the character of Buffy lost her charm. You kill a girl a couple of times, and she gets all sullen and mopey. I can't remember the last episode she smiled in. She became such a downer! Is the end of the world worth fighting if you can't crack a joke once in a while?
Reason 3: J.J. Abrams Scored with Star Trek
I was never a Star Trek fan, but I enjoyed J.J.'s new film. So did the rest of the country, obviously. He breathed new life into a franchise that was associated with geeks and nerds at comic book conventions. When I think Star Trek, I used to think of bad acting, cheesy sets, and generally crappy sci-fi (I'm looking at you, Enterprise). Now I think of it as a fresh, viable franchise. Perhaps a new Buffy crew would have the same effect, making it seem less like teeny-bopper fare, and more like a strong genre comedy.
Reason 4: Joss Has the Worst. Endings. Ever.
The last few seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer were unforgivably bad. I was totally behind the Evil Willow plotline… until Xander brought her back from the dark side with tales of blue and yellow crayons in kindergarten. The series finale, where Willow uses her magic to turn all the Slayerettes into full-blown Slayers was so mind-numbingly stupid, the only thing that could erase it from memory was the even-worse Angel finale – nothing can be worse than Angel's dragon in a dark alleyway.
Reason 5: Joss Has Enough On His Plate
Dollhouse has potential – it really does. But I think Joss needs to focus on it to make it strong. You simply cannot fall back on new personae for Echo every week, like the first few episodes. It's boring and pedestrian. He keeps promising us a horror movie that will change horror movies as we know them – in a good way. Focus on that. Don't disappoint us – and don't fuck up the ending. You have taken Buffy as far as you can; there is nothing wrong with letting someone else take a stab at it (sorry, had to do it).
And because I still adore (most of) the original series, here is…
One Reason It Won't Be The Same without Joss: That Ol' Whedon Wit
For all of his flaws, there is one thing that Joss Whedon has that few can compete with: his sense of humor. It is funny, inventive, and natural all at once. Who else can get away with lines like, "Let me be sure I have this right – this witch is casting horrible and disfiguring spells… so she can become a cheerleader?" or "Whatever is causing the Joan Collins ‘tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it." Joss has created a new language, one oft-mimicked but never matched.