“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” officially returns to cable syndication, sans any mention of its creator in press materials. While every generation has a chosen one, Joss Whedon decidedly got the ax when it came to a retcon rebranding of the series. In an announcement shared with press today, Whedon’s name was not included in the release.
Fuse announced on the series’ 25th anniversary that “Buffy” will be back on cable starting October 1 under the network’s “lineup of empowering content” banner. The Latinx-owned, youth-centered multi-platform entertainment company Fuse Media will offer all seven seasons of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” as part of a licensing deal with Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.
The series stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as vampire-hunting teen Buffy, who slays not only the souls of blood-sucking demons but also two brooding vampire love interests, played by David Boreanaz and James Marsters. In its original run, “Buffy” aired from 1997 to 2003 on UPN and The WB. It’s currently available on streamer Hulu, but the series had been out of cable syndication for years.
In an exclusive statement to IndieWire, a Fuse spokesperson said, “Fuse’s core mission is to empower young adults, particularly those whose stories are underrepresented or misrepresented in media. ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ used supernatural stories as metaphors for the struggles of young women coming into their own, and those messages of female empowerment, overcoming adversity and blazing your own path in life fit perfectly with the content Fuse’s audience has come to expect from us.”
“Buffy” series devotees were forced to reexamine their fandom after allegations against showrunner Whedon came to light in 2021. Supporting star Charisma Carpenter took to social media to slam Whedon’s abuse of power, calling the writer-director “casually cruel” during the “Buffy” spin-off, “Angel.”
“[He asked] if I was ‘going to keep it,’ and manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me,” Carpenter wrote on Twitter after “Justice League” star Ray Fisher spoke out against Whedon’s alleged racial insensitivity on the set of “Justice League.” “He proceeded to attack my character, mock my religious beliefs, accuse me of sabotaging the show, and then unceremoniously fired me following the season once I gave birth.”
Whedon admitted that he was “not mannerly” when he learned of Carpenter’s pregnancy, and also acknowledged he was not “civilized” while on set for both “Buffy” and “Angel” in an interview with New York Magazine.
Late addition to the “Buffy” cast Michelle Trachtenberg additionally alleged that there was a “rule” on set forbidding Whedon to be alone in a room with her after “not appropriate behavior.”
Whedon’s ex-wife Kai Cole told The Wrap that Whedon was romantically involved with “Buffy” cast and crew members, citing a letter that Whedon allegedly wrote to her which read, “I was surrounded by beautiful, needy, aggressive young women. It felt like I had a disease, like something from a Greek myth. Suddenly I am a powerful producer and the world is laid out at my feet and I can’t touch it.”
Lead star Gellar wrote on Instagram in response to the allegations against Whedon, “While I am proud to have my name associated with Buffy Summers, I don’t want to be forever associated with the name Joss Whedon…I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out.”
The premiere of “Buffy” on Latinx-owned Fuse also comes on the heels of “Buffy” being criticized for portraying a “whitewashed” representation of high school. Stylecaster previously ran an essay entitled, “How a Black ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Can Change TV’s Villainization of Black Women,” while academic scholars have pointed out the “othering” of racial minority characters in the series.
The official Fuse press statement surrounding the premiere of “Buffy” on the network applauded the series for leading to “the publication of books and articles examining the themes of the show from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives.”