Our favourite TV shows live on as repeats. The Daily Shift’s Claire O’Connell has more…
Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel (the only truly successful spin-off ever made), Charmed, Xena: Warrior Princess, Star Trek; these programmes defined a generation. Even now, years after the programmes have come to an end, they are still being shown on television again and again drawing in a new generation of viewers and obsessive fans, like me.
As an example, I give you Buffy The Vampire Slayer, starring the gorgeous, feisty blonde Sarah Michelle Gellar, and her posse of incredibly supportive friends, affectionately titled ‘The Scooby Gang’; which included Oz, who, when not turning into a terrifying werewolf at the full moon each month, divided his time between helping to fight the forces of evil with his friends, and jamming with his band ‘Dingoes Ate My Baby’. Others included Anya, a former revenge demon with perfect hair, Willow, the computer whiz kid/extremely powerful witch who occasionally became evil and tried to destroy the world – you could spot when this was going to happen by the way her eyes turned black and her skin became ultra-cracked and veiny. Attractive. Clearly, someone had more important things on their mind, such as revenge against the entire human race which left no time to worry about appearance, or applying a bit of concealer.
And who could forget the strong, silent, always-dressed-in-black-with-his-perfect-hair-that-never-moved, Angel, portrayed by the still absolutely gorgeous David Boreanaz. Of all the men that would romance Buffy through the duration of the programme, he was definitely up there with the best. I enjoyed the slightly insane, chain-smoking, absolutely hilarious Spike too. Did I mention both Spike and Angel were vampires? A modern take on Beauty and the Beast perhaps – the sexy beast.
So, Buffy involved lots of fighting evil, sassy attitudes, snappy one-liners, love and heartbreak – the perfect recipe for a classic television programme, and strangely addictive viewing. You develop feelings for the various characters. You find yourself actually caring what’s going on in their lives… except for Dawn. Dawn is a scourge, and no amount of repeat viewing could encourage me to warm to her.
So yes, I’ll admit it, I’m in the middle of a huge obsession with Buffy The Vampire Slayer; it’s the perfect programme – female empowerment and all that jazz. Another show with a theme of female empowerment, women in charge, is the ever-fabulous Charmed.
Three sister Phoebe, Piper and Prue (who ‘dies’/is fired after three seasons and gets replaced by Paige) are the Charmed Ones, three ultra-powerful witches who are destined to spend their lives keeping the balance of power between good and evil – destroying demons and vampires and evil warlocks.
They manage to do all this while rocking six-inch-heels and other appropriate combat clothing such as leather trousers; it was the early noughties, after all. As much as I mock, I must admit that I spent this morning sobbing over old-school episodes of Charmed, where the Power Of Three is threatened by Phoebe’s acceptance of her husband’s offer to make her Queen of the Underworld. I find it so emotional to see sisters at war, be it over borrowing beloved clothes and shoes, or turning to the dark side and starting to kill Innocents; it’s all relative, especially when it involves your relatives.
There’s something sad about watching these programmes at the same time – the gift of time, the knowledge of what would happen to the actors after filming ended; some of them wouldn’t go on to do anything half as popular again. Take for example Star Trek. I mean ‘The Original Series’, dating back to the 1960s. William Shatner portrayed Captain Kirk, captain of the Starship Enterprise, and a man adept at getting his crew and himself out of sticky situations, and basically continuously saving the world. As you do. It makes me sad to watch the programme and know that, despite the fact that Shatner would go on to do other successful television shows like Boston Legal, he would also agree to add his name to the list of poor unfortunates that starred in Miss Congeniality 2. Not to mention his musical career.
But in order to fully enjoy cult television shows, it is necessary to close your mind to the future of the actors. So what if they end up in low-budget slasher films with an endless supply of sequels? No, it’s better to enjoy the story lines and the crazy outfits, and the snappy one-liners, and the forced camaraderie between cast members. Live for the moment (or should that be ‘live long and prosper’?)