Picture the scene: the last few years of the twentieth century. The place: Ipswich, Suffolk, UK.
I was there at university and first found a girl who I got to know very well over 7 years; this girl, as Rupert Giles told us every week, "she alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of Darkness. She is the Slayer".
I had settled down to watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine which BBC 2 showed every Thursday. I happily watched that and then the continuity announcer told us that up next was a new show from the US called Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer? That rang a bell! Wasn't that the name of a film in the early 90s that didn't do too well, was only popular because it had what's-his-face off Beverly Hills 90210 (Luke Perry - that was it!) and they made a series out of it? God, they really will put ANYTHING on telly! But we couldn't be bothered to change channels so we stayed on and watched it.
During the episode, my view completely changed, from something I would never have watched to something that was great fun to watch; by the end of the episode, it was something I HAD to watch next week! I ended up watching all seven series and own the DVD boxset now - I still go back every now and then and wonder why we have nothing like this on telly now.
So I guess you are wondering, if you like it so much, why is this article called "I BLAME Buffy Summers"?
The reason is simple; is it just coincidence that there are a spate of vampire TV series of films (Vampire Diaries, True Blood and Twilight) now? I don't think so! I know what some of you are saying, but they're all based on books. Yes, I would not argue with that - but let's see when they were published; ok, the Vampire Diaries was in 1993 (long before the series) but the other two were done in the early 2000s - after Buffy had become popular! I'm not saying that the authors of these didn't have the ideas for these before Buffy, but there are some areas which seem a bit too much of a coincidence.
Just an example - all of them have a vampire that doesn't kill humans but also has a heroine who falls in love with one. Now, this does sound like Angel and Buffy doesn't it? I know he was slightly different because he had a soul, but still...
Also, Buffy was the first time that vampires, that I can remember, were good looking. Sure, Dracula (who appeared on Buffy's season five opener) hypnotised women, etc but was not good looking as such. Now, Stephen Moyer is not my cup of tea but his co-star (Anna Paquin) seems to enjoy him as they started an off-screen relationship and got married in 2010. You cannot deny that Robert Pattinson will get many teenage girls to cinemas and to buy the DVD, and even friends and I cannot agree on which Salvatore brother looks best. This all started with David Boreanaz!
The other reason I blame Buffy is for the series, 'Supernatural'. Once again, this is not bashing - I love Supernatural and the Winchester brothers, but I have been saying to friends for years that it would never have happened without the events of Sunnydale. I won't go into massive details but:
- Good looking main characters? Check
- Quick wit usually with a reference to pop culture references? Check
- The supernatural is real and this is no shock to the main characters, it's just a job? Check
- Mentors? Check
- A whole selection of supernatural beings? Check
That's just a few of the obvious ones, but you can see where this is heading.
You're probably saying that they would have come about without the Slayer, and you're probably right; but in my view, we wouldn't have these shows and films without the success she had. Now, if I can convince the rest of the world that Mr Benn was the template for Quantum Leap...