Twilight bashing is a pretty common hobby. Hell, it’s fun. Me and my mates often get together and throw eggs at fifteen year olds pretending to be sullen vampires in the playground at night. But there are moments when these Twilight-bashing feels slightly hypocritical, especially as my favourite TV show of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When people talk about Twilight ruining how we perceive vampires, I cannot help but draw comparisons between the Twilight saga and the dreamy photo of David Boreanaz on my bedroom wall.
Recently I have started watching Angel and I have picked up three things that Whedon added to the vampire canon that could have begun the downward spiral. Buffy had the good sense to become a cult show; I am always surprised about how many people have vaguely heard about it, but have never actually sat down and watched it. Twilight, on the other hand, seems to love the spotlight and has become the source of crazy fan-dom everywhere. Therefore Twilight has taken the blame for destroying vampires, while I cannot help but notice that…
3 – WHEDON HIGHLIGHTS HOW VULNERABLE VAMPIRES ARE
When Buffy began, vampires were strong and had inexplicable knowledge of martial arts. They were pretty decent villains and Whedon didn’t really add to them. However, as time went on, it is hard not to notice how vampires have kind of lost their edge. I blame the structure of a TV series more than Whedon himself, but he had to constantly have the characters fight the vampires. They kind of got diluted by being used constantly. It became very apparent how many ways there were to kill vampires. Stake through the heart, holy water, fire, decapitation, even the sun… Sure, they are invincible, but, as the show suggests, they are hardly tough to fight if you have a basic idea of what you are doing.
There is also the idea that vampires cannot be made any stronger. Sure, there are a few stand-out vampires like Spike and Friday, who impressed us, but the average vampire never really had us worried. To combat this, Buffy and Angel kind of slipped into demon territory, introducing several species of impressive and fearsome monsters. The simple vampire began to look pathetic when stood next to some of the nastier creatures in the Whedonverse. Now, when I watch Angel, especially when vampires often play good guys, I can’t help but feel how vulnerable and exposed they appear to be.
2 – BUFFY IS ALWAYS FALLING IN LOVE WITH VAMPIRES
It makes me feel guilty when people attack Twilight for starting the vampires falling in love trend, when all Buffy is really about is her dealing with her feelings for either Angel or Spike, two vampires. Sure, it is done a lot better in Buffy. Angel and Spike are vampires with a twist: Angel is cursed with a soul, so he should be the only vampire who can feel love. Spike is a vampire that has had Buffy imprinted into his head, therefore making him develop feelings for her. Also, both of them are so awesome, we, as audience members, are falling in love with them.
Twilight obviously liked this side of the series, or this idea in something else – I am not sure when we started seeing vampires as sex symbols. However, the vampire with a soul device is Buffy territory, meaning they had to get their own narrative device. Therefore, it was just easier if all vampires had the possibility of feeling love. Therefore, sure Twilight feels a bit too lovey-dovey, but it is hard to call Buffy and Angel totally innocent with that aspect of vampire canon.
1 – VAMPIRES STOPPED BEING SCARY
I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way Whedon decided that vampires were a great source of comedy. I think it became a full on thing, when Angel kicked off, but vampires started becoming a great punch-line for a lot of the jokes Whedon loved using. There is an episode in the second season of Angel, when the gang team up with a ditsy vampire, Harmony, and take on a cult of vampires, led by a comical life coach. Even though the team was fighting for their lives here, it was hard to be too scared of a group of creatures that Whedon had spent most of the episode mocking.
Just watch any late Buffy or Angel and there is bound to be at least one vampire that is a source of jokes. Sometimes it is just a slightly thick member of a group. Hell, the first real vampire villain, Luke, was killed because of a pretty dumb trick played by Buffy. It gives us the impression that if we were ever attacked by a bunch of Vamps, it would just take a prank to outsmart the monsters. By Angel, they’re not even bad guys; they are just normal blokes, with the occasional bad egg. This is a growing problem of the show: Whedon is always changing his mind on how to depict his universe’s vampires. Saying that, I still love the show. I just think we should stop picking on the Twi-Hards.