Long before Joss Whedon was known as a cult television show mastermind, let alone as director of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, he wrote a screenplay for a movie that would become 1992's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The story was close to his heart: A young and ordinary-seeming woman discovering a great destiny. By defining that destiny as "vampire slayer," he could subvert the classic horror trope of a pretty blonde being attacked and killed by monsters. In Whedon's world, the blonde turns around and kicks the monster's ass. It's the kind of creative genre feminism that Whedon would eventually become known for, but at the time the directors on the project were more interested in making a lighthearted teen horror spoof, and the final product was charming but ultimately forgettable.
So, when Whedon took the wheel of the 1997 TV series based on the movie, he didn't waste the opportunity to return to his original vision. Not only did he fix everything that had been changed from his script, but he built on it with a strong cast and crew and ended up creating seven seasons of a unique show with a lasting cultural impact. It's spawned a spinoff series, stacks of canonical and non-canon comic books and, now, a whole new reboot.
As showrunner Monica Uwusu-Breen has undoubtedly realized, coming into an acclaimed franchise is a lot different from overhauling a might-have-been, and fans are already doubting the need for a new Buffy. It would be too easy to lose those elements that were essential to the show's magic, and anyway, we love the original the way it is -- what is there to fix?
There's plenty. Twenty years might not be long on the grand scale, but it's enough to make the special effects from the early episodes stick out like sore thumbs. The setting is dated, and for a show about modern SoCal teenagers, that matters. Beyond those admittedly cosmetic changes, some legitimate criticisms of the show have surfaced over time: From today's perspective, for instance, the cast looks overwhelmingly white. Not much has been revealed about the reboot so far, but we do know that the title character will be played by a black actress, so it seems that Uwusu-Breen and her team have an eye out for what's worth keeping and what could use an update. With that in mind, here are a few more ideas on fixing Buffy.
Throughout all incarnations of the story of the life of Buffy Summers, nothing has divided the fan base as much as her love life. The tragic, star-crossed romance between Buffy and Angel in the first three seasons turned out to be too powerful for its own good: Left to their own devices, the couple would have ended up in a drama-killing happy ending. Whedon solved this problem by giving Angel the spinoff series that kept him permanently separated from Buffy, which isn't the kind of trick that's going to work twice.