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The Chosen One: Where Buffy will Reboot
Enan Heneghan 08/09/2018
It is not lost on any true Buffy fan that this is not the first time her character has come back into being. It was inevitable and, arguably, well timed given the polemic world it will be reflecting through grizzled metaphor. We need Buffy now more than ever, but where will the kitschy action sci-fi land?
Given the merger between Disney and Fox, there are three channels that would make the most sense for Buffy to end up. But the tone and breadth of the Sunnydale Stories could shift dramatically depending on which of these end up calling on the Slayer.
ABC – This is the least exciting destination for The Scoobies, but still a very logical home for the show given the established relationship Whedon already has with the company. It would be a notable upgrade in terms of prestige, when compared to CW. And with ABC being a Big Three channell, it would give Buffy sound footing from the get-go.
Of course, ABC would also be mainstreaming Buffy in a way that may be problematic for narrative potential. Even avid Whedon fans question ABC’s handling of Agents of Shield; fandom that might have otherwise been on board were turned off by watered down themes and lack-luster effects. If it slants more toward ABC’s Lost, it might be salvageable though.
Disney Streaming – Starting a new video streaming platform is a huge feat, even if you are Disney. It requires a handful of a seriously buzzy properties to get those already Netflixing to consider yet another digital option. But , without question, Buffy would be a very chunky piece of bait to catch viewers with.
Similar to becoming an ABC property, if Buffy goes full Disney, the “stakes” of the characters might be aimed at a younger demographic. While it may make sense to grab those tweeners, it may marginalize the fanbase that already exists, I imagine a softer Buffy leaving die-hards a bit miffed. Ultimately, Disney Streaming wouldn't take the kind of chances or tackle transgressive themes in the same way it might other-where…
FX – For many, Buffy was watched for the first time on FX. Certainly, I had my VCR readied when FX began playing Buffy 5 days a week for the first time in 2000. Up until then, the Buffy experience was as fractured as TV has always been up until the new millennium. FX gave viewers the ability to binge Buffy for the first time; to build those Parasocial bonds good. FX is inextricably linked to Buffy's legacy.
In terms of tone and theme, FX would give Buffy the freedom to be hard-core. It would enable more blood, guts, dust, and bunnies. Not to mention, allow for language that would feel more authentic and relevant to a teenager that goes around murdering undead.
Now the truth is, as much as I am rooting for FX, it is not my dream purveyor of The Slayer of Vampires. The aforementioned possibilities are simply the most likely given the merger. A dream Buffy would exist on HBO, but that has been ruled out. A near-dream Buffy would exist on Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu, but they won’t be able to nab it from the clutch of The Mouse.
The only other option might be Fox, itself, as Buffy could exist similarly to its initial incarnation there. It could follow-suit with X-files and Fringe and be a staple genre show for the network. But I would worry, that Fox would turn it in to more of a procedural, which would be tragic.
Which outlet will be the chosen one?! Only time will tell.