Why you should watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer right now


Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the perfect television show to binge during quarantine, self-isolation, and the COVID-19 crisis. Here’s why.

“If the apocalypse comes, beep me.” The apocalypse just might be here, and humanity is more in need of a superhero than ever before.

It’s safe to say that the past few weeks have been unprecedented in recent memory, with entire cities and countries shutting down, stock markets plummeting, and life seemingly halting in order to slow down the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

In times of uncertainty, panic, and fear, it’s human nature to look for beacons of hope in the darkness. While others may turn to religion, family, or community leaders, I, personally, turn to pop culture whenever I need a boost.

I’m a little biased writing this particular piece because Buffy the Vampire Slayer is easily my favorite television show of all time, and it’s the one that’s had the greatest impact on me. But Buffy Summers is also my pick for the greatest superhero of all time. Put her on the Avengers team or Justice League, and the Slayer could go toe to toe with the best of them, I promise.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is, at face value, a show about a girl who kills vampires, a monster of the week show. For those who dislike teenagers, high school drama, or anything genre, the premise may be enough for you to dismiss it.

But in actuality, Buffy is a show about the human experience, using the lens of monsters as a way to explore what it means to live. And because of this, Buffy is the perfect show to watch right now.

The tension of what it means to be human is explored when Buffy is in high school and beyond through the stereotypical themes of first love and school dances, but also a deep undercurrent of self-sacrifice.

While Buffy always wants to be a normal girl, it is made clear very early on that she never will be — that her personal life, loves, and desires must always be put aside in order to serve the greater good. (See episodes “Becoming Part 1 and Part 2” and “The Gift” for prime examples of this.)

In an era when it’s too much to ask some people to stay home for a few days (okay, maybe more like a few weeks) in order to help prevent your neighbor from getting sick, watching Buffy sacrifice herself to save the world (a lot) is not just refreshing; it’s instructive.

Buffy is not without its flaws. It is embarrassingly white. The few people of color in the show are relegated to side characters who don’t stick around for long. And there are definitely plotlines that don’t age well. But, overall, it is a masterpiece work on friendship, love, and humanity.

For those who are fortunate enough to be able to self-isolate and work from home — and for those who need a break at the end of working a long shift — Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a soothing balm for the soul.

Right now we are being asked to band together to fight a virus we can’t see with very few tools at our disposal. To watch Buffy stake a vampire or fight a literal god can feel not only vindicating, but it also allows for much-needed escapist fun.

As Buffy famously said, “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” We are living through an extraordinary time. With bravery, kindness, hand washing, and Buffy Summers, we might just make it through.

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For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.