With Buffy the Vampire Slayer currently celebrating its 20 year anniversary, it seems like the perfect time to reflect on some of the reasons why it is widely regarded as one of the best television shows of all time. After a really sad beginning as a failed movie, and then hitting the air as a low-budget, mid-season, replacement, it still went on to become an icon of popular culture. Not to mention, the colossal level of critical acclaim it has achieved. The series launched Joss Whedon (writer/creator) to stardom; and today, most people agree that he’s a genius, or a nerd-God of some sort. So, what is it about a teenage girl fighting vampires that could be so overwhelmingly successful? It’s simple. The show’s got wit, smarts, and heart. Perhaps most importantly, though, it has some of the most well-conceived characters in TV history.
Ever fascinated by deconstructing human nature, the writers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (almost obsessively) developed and redeveloped characters so that they would grow and change overtime in a realistic way. Not only did this make for engaging storytelling, it ensured that each re-watch would be a more richer experience than the last. To break this down, let’s take a look at the theme of duality as it pertains to the way in which characters mirror each other, and the way in which doubles and dopplegangers draw attention to the complexity of identity.
Image via: 20th Century Fox