Caffeinated Clint

Will Buffy stake a claim in Netflix!?

Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos says it’s a series he’d definitely consider bringing back

When Joss Whedon put “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” (and spin-off “Angel”, for that matter) to bed a few years ago, he did it with both a heavy heart and glint of optimism that we’d one day see Sarah Michelle Gellar’s chosen one, and friends, again one day.

In the years that followed Buffy’s cancellation, Whedon would try and convince network bosses to sign off on a series of “Buffy” telemovies, which at one stage were going to fix on primary as well as secondary characters from the show. But as interested as he and the mass audience for the ‘franchise’ was in seeing a ‘Willow’, ‘Spike’, ‘Giles’ and ‘Faith’ movie, those that would have to lend the money to make such things come to fruition weren’t.

The world of “Buffy” would continue on in comic form, but most of its cast and crew have gone onto other things – for some, bigger and better things. Creator Whedon’s now a go-to guy for huge blockbuster tent-poles, thanks to the success he experienced with Marvel’s “The Avengers”, while some of the show’s core cast, namely David Boreanaz, Alyson Hannigan, have gone on to claim success with other shows (Much of the “Buffy” and “Angel” cast appear in this year’s “Much Ado About Nothing”, Whedon’s micro-budget take on the Bard classic).

When online content provider Netflix announced they’d be resurrecting cancelled Fox comedy “Arrested Development”, fans of never-forgotten classics – many that had also had their lifelines severed prematurely – started championing the return of some other favourites. From [another Whedon show] “Firefly” to “Twin Peaks”, there’s been much discussion, since the “Arrested Development” deal, about what might get a second chance of life thanks to the marvelous new medium.

And it was only time before someone mentioned… ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’.

While Vertigo Entertainment continue to develop – booo!- a new bigscreen reboot of the property (which Whedon isn’t involved in, nor or are anyone associated with the TV series; in other words, we’ve been watching it slowly disappear like fog on a shower screen), Netflix might be looking at giving the fans what they want – the ‘Scooby Gang’ they know and love best.

Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos tells STUFF that “Buffy” is indeed on the list of show’s they’d potentially look at doing something with in the future.

“That’s one that’ll come up on everyone’s list. She’s a great character. If it was my property I’d do infrequent movies. There’s not enough kick-ass female characters like that.”

Sounds like might be considering Whedon’s original idea – maybe there’s even been a discussion between the twosome?! – of doing a series of one-off telemovies, fixing on both main and sidekick characters. That would make sense, I guess, if only because a few of the original players – namely Boreanaz, whose busy with “Bones”, and has let it be known he wouldn’t be jumping through hoops to reprise his role of the brooding Angel anytime soon – wouldn’t/couldn’t get involved, for various reasons.

So, who would be involved in such a show? Whedon would obviously play some kind of part in Buffy’s resurrection, while Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, James Marsters, Seth Green, Charisma Carpenter (nobody’s ever really dead in the Whedonverse, so don’t be arguing that suggestion!), Alexis Denisof, Juliet Landau, Eliza Dushku, and Harry Groener (c’mon! Any ‘Mayor’ fans!?) would probably be up for another go-round. Particuarly interested, I’d say, would be Anthony Stewart Head, who with Whedon has been talking about doing a Rupert Giles telemovie or mini-series for quite some time.

In addition to Ron Howard’s long-gestating “Dark Tower” series, old shows that Netflix will consider bringing back are “Twin Peaks” (which many seem to be clamouring form, if all the online chatter and this online petition is anything to go by), “Jericho”, and another of Whedon’s efforts, “Firefly”.

But, says Sarandos, – and I don’t really agree with this statement, I think the audience for shows like “Firefly” and “Twin Peaks” have only grown! – the audience for any of these possible returning shows will be a lot smaller now than they would’ve been back in the show’s heyday.

”Let me give you one broad statement about these recovery shows. In almost every case the cult around the show gets more intense and smaller as time goes by. Arrested Development was the rarest of birds in that the audience of the show grew larger than the original broadcast audience because people came to discover it years after it was cancelled. The Firefly fan is still the Firefly fan from when it was on TV and there’s fewer of them and they’re more passionate every year. Whereas with Arrested Development we’re going to be serving a multiple of the original audience. Any of the other shows we could bring back would be a fraction of the original audience.”

When I spoke to Whedon back in 2005, he said he believed there was still many untold stories about the folks that make up Sunnydale and surrounds – but he didn’t necessarily think those stories warranted a revived full-blown TV series.

“With Buffy, I really felt like seven seasons were it – we were all feeling the wear and tear, and it wasn’t like the actors weren’t bringing it, it was just the time”, Whedon said. But, says the creative force behind that franchise, “Angel didn’t deserve to be axed when it did.”

Whedon was, at the time, developing ideas for the aforementioned telemovies based on the “Buffy” and “Angel” characters – most notably, one concentrating on James Marsters’ sandy-haired Rebel vampire Spike. He was happy to confirm that he was the plan, to do a couple of one-off telemovies, “and possibly more”.

“I can only teasingly hint, unfortunately, until it’s got backing and we’ve got a schedule and a contract. I have been talking to some of the actors, writers, and some executives and are trying to put something together — but it’s not happening fast. [But no] I haven’t left the Buffyverse behind.”

Those last 6 words are hopefully still valid. Let’s get Buffy back stabbing neck nibblers… even if it is online!

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