Buffy the Vampire Slayer went off the air in 2003, but you can’t keep a good slayer down. Joss Whedon’s cult hit drama took his original idea, which was made into a fine 1992 movie but not what Whedon had envisioned, and became one of the best shows of its generation, spawning a die-hard fandom with its great characters, sharp writing, and powerful drama. And now that we’re in the age of revival television, it looks like Buffy is making a comeback.
Deadline reports a reboot of the supernatural drama is in development at Fox 21 TV Studios with Whedon returning to executive produce and Monica Owusu-Breen (Midnight, Texas) set as writer, executive producer, and showrunner. Gail Berman, Fran Kazui, Kaz Kazui, Joe Earley will also serve as executive producers on the TV series.
For those unfamiliar with Buffy (all 144 episodes are on Hulu, so you can go watch it now if you like), the show followed Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a young woman given supernatural powers to defend the world from evil. Buffy lives in Sunnydale, which is located over a “Hellmouth”, which caused a lot of evil to spew forth in the form of vampires, demons, and other assorted monsters. The show spawned the spinoff, Angel, where Buffy’s former flame went to Los Angeles to fight supernatural evils.
According to Deadline, “The new version, which will be pitched to streaming and cable networks this summer, will be contemporary, building on the mythology of the original,” and the producers add that it will be “like our world, it will be richly diverse, and like the original, some aspects of the series could be seen as metaphors for issues facing us all today.”
More importantly, the producers intend for the new slayer to be African-American. There was briefly a black slayer in Buffy (there’s only one slayer, but Buffy briefly died, which created two slayers), but it will be terrific to see a black actress in the lead role. However, sources caution “the project is still in nascent stages with no script, and many details are still in flux.” But if you’re just going to do the show again with a blonde, white actress, what’s the point?
I’m eager to see what Owusu-Breen does with the material, and I’m even more eager to see what kind of reception greets the show now that Buffy has a devoted following rather than being the scrappy cult hit on the WB.