It’s a controversial topic to be sure, but Rift Uprising author Amy S. Foster explains why we need a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot.
And if this article has caught your attention, make sure you’re listening to Hypable’s ReWatchable podcast, which is currently discussing both Buffy and Angel on a weekly basis.
About ‘The Rift Frequency’
To save her love and unlock the mystery of who she is, a brave young woman must travel between alternate realities in The Rift Frequency, the exciting second book in Amy S. Foster’s The Rift Uprising Trilogy.
She didn’t mean to, but…
Teenage super-solider Ryn Whittaker started an uprising.
For three years Ryn was stationed at The Battle Ground Rift site—one of the fourteen mysterious and unpredictable tears in the fabric of the universe that serve as doorways to alternate Earths—and then she met Ezra Massad.
Falling in love and becoming a rebel Citadel wasn’t part of Ryn’s life plan, but with Ezra there asking all the right questions, they began to decode what’s really going on with the Allied Rift Coalition, and what they discovered was enough to start a civil war.
When the base explodes with infighting and Ezra gets caught in the fray, he is accidentally pushed through the Rift, taking a stolen laptop—and the answers it could give Ryn—with him.
Now all Ryn wants is to locate Ezra and get back to her Earth. But that’s not easy when she’s traveling the multiverse with Levi, the painfully guarded Citadel who shoved Ezra through in the first place. And Ryn is quickly learning that inside the multiverse there is no normal — it’s adapt, or die — and the one weapon she really needs to win the war back home is the truth.
‘Buffy,’ the reboot
Can you imagine? Like, just take a moment, close your eyes and picture it. Netflix makes the announcement. They are rebooting Buffy. Everyone is shook, a total eclipse appears in the sky (again), Margaret Atwood becomes President of North America and there is peace on Earth because all is right with the world again.
Some of you may be rolling your eyes. Another reboot? Some of you may want the original cast back together, which cannot happen, for several reasons. Buffy has to be a young woman, it’s important. Also vampires. Helloo? I’m not saying David Boreanaz and James Marsters didn’t age well, I’m just saying they aged.
I heard once, on NPR, that Buffy is the single most written about pop culture character in colleges around the world and I believe it. I remember when, a couple years ago, I referenced Buffy in my YA book and my editor was like, “I don’t think teenagers these days will know who Buffy is.” We were on the phone, thank God, so he couldn’t see me do the weird thing my face did. Then again, he’s a dude in his 40s. How could he understand? Buffy has become iconic, especially to females. Ask any 12-year-old who she is and they know.
Recently I wrote an article detailing why we needed to do better with our female warrior archetypes. Not only are there too few of them, but the ones we have are either desexualized or sterilized. We can accept that there is a predatory woman out there, capable of stalking and killing with ease, we just can’t accept that she might also be interested in being a mother or falling in love or finding the perfect pair of shoes. The idea that this sort of woman can exist is bothersome to society. It is seen as discordant. Women are supposed to be the creators, not the destroyers. Because, wait a minute, if women can be both, what can the men be?
And then there is Buffy, the female warrior who decimated all those pesky stereotypes with nothing more than a pointy stick. Buffy is a Chosen One. A once-in-a-generation fighter of Evil. She eye rolls about it sometimes, but it’s a job she takes seriously. There are scenes when Buffy admits she’d rather not be killing vampires in the cemetery, that she’d rather be just out, hanging with her friends or shopping. Buffy is allowed to be very good at fighting and also be a young girl who wants to do the things young girls (like her) want to do.
Buffy falls in and out of love, but it’s not what motivates her. Duty motivates her. Joss Whedon wrote Buffy to be many things at once. She can be mean, sweet, fickle, bitter, materialistic, myopic, afraid and reckless all at the same time. A female warrior isn’t just a warrior. But, usually that’s all we get to see.
The main protagonist of my Rift Trilogy is a girl named Ryn Whittaker. She and Buffy have a lot in common. They both have enhanced strength and dexterity. They both have to fight a lot of bad guys and keep that part of their life secret. They both understand that what they do can be lonely and disorienting. But, they also like their power. They enjoy the fight and they get validation and self esteem from violence, which makes sense, given context. Out of context and in society and the media at large, girls aren’t supposed to feel that way. It’s presented as distasteful, if presented at all. Women are only supposed to be violent if they are rescuing someone, as a last resort or if they themselves are evil.
What makes me prickly, what consistently gets my back up, are readers who have complained that Ryn is solely motivated by her feelings for a boy. That what drives her is her desire to have sex. While it’s true that the boy in question does motivate her, he is solely a plot device — and also, what’s wrong with wanting to have sex? (Especially when your body is so extra!) He is there to flush out her character, not the other way around. Ryn can face down any number of enemy combatants from the multiverse, but she cannot, at the same time, be a 17-year-old girl with raging hormones and natural curiosity? That’s the part of my books that people call unrealistic? Not the cybernetically enhanced teenage super soldiers who guard a portal to an infinite number of Earths?
Some may call it implausible, but what they are really saying is that it makes them uncomfortable. Ryn cannot snap someone’s neck and then hangout with her boyfriend. Ryn is not supposed to have a love interest. She is only supposed to love her family and her friends and her job. She’s is supposed to hate a part of herself for the killing she has to do, which would prevent her from ever feeling worthy of love. She doesn’t though, because she is a soldier, not a murderer. Who else is like this? Our beloved Buffy.
While Buffy had trouble navigating her personal life (given that she had a penchant for vampires and her Calling was to eliminate them) for some reason, Buffy was allowed the ‘frivolity’ of multiple love affairs. For many people, the love triangle between Buffy, Spike, and Angel is what made the show. (Personally, it was all about her relationship with Willow. To me, that’s the greater love story). What’s changed, I wonder? I would argue that the ‘90s was the decade of the woman, with plenty of examples to substantiate that claim. So, have we gone backwards?
For now, I will watch for news of a Buffy reboot. Given our current political climate, we need her now more than ever, but maybe that’s also, sadly, why we might not be seeing her anytime soon.
About the author
Amy S. Foster is a celebrated songwriter, best known as Michael Bublé’s writing partner, and has collaborated with Beyoncé, Diana Krall, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, and a host of other artists. She is also the author of the novel When Autumn Leaves and the Rift Uprising Trilogy. When she’s not in a studio in Nashville, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.