The word on the street is that Buffy Summers, vampire slayer extraordinaire, is making a return to the big screen. Fans of the TV series and rabid Joss Whedon enthusiasts rejoiced—until they learned that the man who made Buffy who she is won’t be involved in the project at all. Not only that, but it’s in the hands of Fran Rubel Kuzui, the woman responsible for the campy, glaringly less popular film that preceded the Buffy series.
Many are doubtful that another Slayer-centered movie without any of the TV show’s characters or plot developments could work. In a battle between the TV and movie versions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who would come out victorious and who would be left in vampire dust?
Round One: Battle of the Valley Girls
Kristy Swanson’s ditzy turn as Buffy might be fun to watch, but Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character is a realistic struggle between naivety and overwhelming responsibility—much more compelling and truer to Whedon’s original vision of the Chosen One. (He wrote the movie screenplay, but walked off the set when he disagreed with its direction.)
Round Two: Old Guys Who Like to Watch
As Watchers over the Slayer, Donald Sutherland’s Merrick is one-dimensional and boring, whereas Anthony Head’s Giles is complex and hilariously British. No contest here.
Round Three: The Romantic Interests
Comparing the brooding Angel on the TV series to the movie’s goofy Pike is like comparing a scorching-hot vampire with a heart of gold to a washed-up fish. Buffy and Angel as doomed soul mates trump almost any other couple on the screen.
Round Four: The Bigger Bad Asses
Lothos from the movie and the TV show’s Spike are both constant pains in the slayers’ sides, but the latter perfected the kind of bad guy we secretly root for. He did turn good, which was pretty lame, but at least he didn’t lose the Billy Idol look.
Round Five: Throwing Punches, Staking Hearts
Maybe it’s because she studied tae kwon do for a few years before Buffy, but SMG’s a more believable fighter than Swanson. Plus, on the TV show, the vampires explode into an awesomely dramatic dust cloud rather than just falling on the ground, as they did in the movie.
Five out of five times, the Buffy TV series annihilates the movie in terms of characters, fight sequences, and overall quality. Clearly, a Buffy without Whedon is no Buffy at all, and who wants to fork over ten dollars to see the poor man’s version? Given the choice, I think most fans would rather see their beloved vampire slayer rest in peace.