In the foreword to this collection of 22 essays, scriptwriter Drew Goddard asks, "Why do we care so much about Buffy?" After some false but mercifully brief starts, the book hits its stride with a succession of passionate, articulate, entertaining, informative, and sometimes-humorous pieces by professional writers who have no inhibitions about explaining what they love about the show--and what they hate.
Varying widely in attitude and style, chapters analyze the show's literary qualities from a number of perspectives; delve into its "meaning" through its themes of love and growth; look closely at the dark side of the "Buffyverse" and the complexity of its moral structure; and argue the relative merits of its characters and episodes.
Kevin Andrew Murphy's fittingly titled "Unseen Horrors and Shadowy Manipulations" documents instances of censorship and the attempts of network and advertisers to reshape Buffy to suit their purposes.
In "Where's the Religion in Willow's Wicca?" Christie Golden provides a much-needed corrective to the mistake the writers made when they called Willow's fantasy sorcery "Wicca" (a real religion).
In the final essay, "Slayers of the Last Arc," Nancy Holder shows why some are so affected by the story when she argues that, seen in retrospect, Buffy clearly fits the template of Joseph Campbell's "hero's journey."
This outstanding and diverse collection will entertain, challenge, and enlighten anyone familiar with the Buffyverse.
(review from School Library Journal)
Joss Whedon has done some outstanding and highly original work. I just viewed (or revisited) the first episodes of another series of his, Angel (a Buffy spinoff), on hulu.com, and it seemed as fresh and surprising as the first time I saw it. His work ages amazingly well; few other television shows, especially ones that are notably hip when first aired, would hold up this way.