Sarah Michelle Gellar discusses how she feels about the continued significance of her iconic titular role as Buffy Summers on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Airing for seven seasons from 1997 to 2003, the dark drama became a television sensation that catapulted Gellar’s acting career to new heights and remains very influential. Although allegations of on-set abuse and professional misconduct leveled against creator Joss Whedon have led many to reexamine their adoration for the formative series, ultimately the empowerment at the heart of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has continued to have a positive impact on both original and recent viewers.
In an interview with SFX Magazine (via GamesRadar), Gellar shares just how much the continued cultural significance of Buffy the Vampire Slayer means to her. Despite the controversies that have dominated recent discourse surrounding the show, and Whedon’s problematic behavior, Gellar remains grateful for its enduring, albeit complicated, legacy. Check out what she has to say below:
“As an actor, all you ever want to do is a show that affects people, that they love and holds up,” she says. “That is your legacy. I am so proud of what we created. It’s been a tumultuous couple of years, and understanding the show and its legacy, there is good and bad to all of it. I have gotten to a place now where we can really appreciate the show for what we created. I am so proud that during the pandemic, the show reached a whole new generation of people that still felt that it spoke to them, that it was still timely and it still meant something to them… Horror is one of the few genres where you get to do that. Having a character like Buffy, who is so three-dimensional and hits all those notes… you don’t just want to be the wife or the girlfriend.”
How Buffy The Vampire Slayer Was Ahead of Its Time
As is true of most television from the ’90s, there are elements of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that are considered offensive by today’s standards. From body-shaming to a lack of racial diversity, there are glaring moments in the classic series that have not aged well. However, considering the show premiered nearly three decades ago, the overall premise and many storylines of Buffy the Vampire Slayer were notably progressive, making it clear why its popularity has held up for as long as it has.
Buffy follows its titular protagonist as she learns to embrace her destiny as a warrior battling evil forces. Facing the vampires of Sunnydale all while experiencing the typical challenges that come with being a teenager, Buffy is ultimately a relatable character placed in surreal circumstances. At a time when women were rarely afforded the chance to be the independent lead of a television show, let alone of an action-driven supernatural series, Gellar’s Buffy role offered an innovative take on the genre.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer has also been applauded for including LGBTQ+ characters during an era of television in which doing so was very stigmatized. Willow, Buffy’s best friend, continues to be viewed as a queer icon, coming out as a lesbian in season 4 and holding one of the most beloved relationships of the series with Tara Maclay. The underlying progressive nature of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ensures that it is just as entertaining to first-time viewers discovering it today as it was to original fans, cementing it as one of the most influential television series of all time.
Next: 5 Things A Buffy Reboot Must Do Differently To The Original
Source: SFX Magazine (via GamesRadar)