Tim Pendry's Reviews > Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Anne Billson
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's review
Oct 10, 2009

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bookshelves: cultural-studies, feminism, north-american, popular-culture, horror, film-television

This is one of a series from the British Film Institute, providing 'critical readings' of TV series. The series follows similar and generally excellent guides to important movies.

Unfortunately, the editorial guidelines have encourage the authors to see these series in the context of their 'personal response', a dangerous licence to self-indulgence especially as the film-related booklets benefited from offering in-depth research on their subjects, albeit from different perspectives, without constant use of the 'I' word.

Anne Billson is not too bad in her judgements. Given the iconic status of Buffy in promoting contemporary 'girl power', it is useful to have a woman outline her responses to the series as it unfolded. She can be tiresome every now and then (especially in her opinionated position on one or two of the supporting cast) but it usually reads right if unimaginatively.

Unfortunately, given the amount of space devoted to recapping the series Season by Season and reminding us of key moments and personalities, the 'experiential' aspect of the book crowds out the information that we might have had on its cultural context and the broader public response.

For Buffy fans, it is a good value 'aide memoire' with a useful selection of websites at the back but, in the end, it is not much more than that.

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