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Why Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the best TV shows ever

For the past week my Facebook Newsfeed has been in a Buffy 20 year anniversary frenzy. Clearly the algorithms know me well as I'm a massive fan of the show and still rate it as one of the best ever made (and judging by the flood of articles, I'm not the only one). 

So much, that it might surprise you to know that I didn't grow up with Buffy. It first aired in March 1997 meaning I was the humble age of six when it graced our screens. I actually did watch one or two episodes but the scene where Darla creeps up at the window behind Joyce Summer made me hide behind a pillow and I didn't watch an episode again until my teenage years. Heck, I didn't even binge watch the entire show until 2013! Clearly, this show ages well. 

Given that I wasn't born early enough to make the threshold for having grown up with Buffy, I know several adults who haven't watched a single episode. I think this is wrong, and reckon anyone who hasn't watched it needs to do so pronto. Here are my top reasons. (with spoilers, duh)

1. The badass female characters

We all know Buffy herself breaks the mould - feminine but feisty and cutesy but ass-kicking. But the whole show is full of strong female characters, and that strength isn't necessarily supernatural. For girls like me who grew up shy and smart, Willow was our proof that we could grow up to be a talented super-powerful witch who successfully seduces Seth Green. 

2. The metaphors and potential for geek analysis

The local high school being directly on top of the Hellmouth = high school is hell for a lot of us

Angel loses his soul after sleeping with Buffy = guy is nice until he gets to sleep with you

Willow's addiction to magic = general addiction

Love between creatures and bigotry towards different creatures = just general real-life bigotry

3. It wasn't all supernatural

We had Xander who - on the surface of things - was an annoying teenage boy with self-esteem issues. But he represented something important: he was proof that nobody needs superpowers to save the world. Buffy stated herself that he clocked more field time than any of the Scoobies put together, fixed the windows (Dawn was right, they did need fixing) and he - literally - did save the world with words of love. 
Then we had Warren who serves as a painful reminder that humans can be just as evil as vampires and whathaveyou. And the heartbreaking death of Buffy's mother - a death that wasn't caused by a demon but a brain tumour, something we all know too well doesn't just take the lives of characters on a TV show. The same goes for Tara's death. 

4. David Boreanaz

*drool* (#TeamAngel)

5. Successfully transitioning away from the high school setting

There's a lot of awesome TV shows that become not-so-awesome once the characters were forced the graduate. I actually enjoyed Sabrina's college years but I feel like I stand in the minority on that one. During her tenure Buffy transitioned from high school student, to college student (and dropout) to fully-fledged guardian of her younger sister. How many television shows that pulled that one off?

6. The passive humour

I've never been a fan of slapstick humour (JackAss? Not interested.) or punch lines, but give me California cool passive jokes and I'm rolling around. Here's a wee compilation.

7. But the show proved that didn't even need its dialogue

One of the most celebrated episodes of the season - and one of my personal favourites - was The Gentlemen. In case you're unfamiliar, the evil guys steal everyone's voices leaving the show to prove that it had more to offer audiences than just funny quips

8. The questionable clothing choices

The clothes in Buffy were awful. And not just awful in a dated 90s kind of way. Just awful. But that's partially what made the show and has become a massive in-joke for the show.  

9. Willow and Tara

Willow and Tara were one of the earliest examples of a loving lesbian relationship on American TV and, to this day, remains one of the most positive representations. Joss Whedon wasn't allowed to explicitly show their love for each other on screen and he had to get clever prior to showing their first on-screen kiss. 
10. It's a show for the misfits

The fact that the first two seasons were a massive metaphor for high school being hell makes it pretty obvious this show wasn't aimed at the popular kids who ruled the school hallways. If you ever felt out of place, Buffy was your gal.

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