Monday, August 20

Televised Morality - Gregory Stevenson

Subtitled The Case of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this scholarly but readibly treatise explores the role of moral reasoning and consequence in the Buffyverse, clearly articulating how underinformed criticism of the series, at least on this front, is flawed.
Stevenson has read the series like a text, and amply supports his individual claims about the program (that violence is actually less graphic than most other programs, that sex is not graphic, that there are serious consequences, that there is a strong moral ethos in each arc, and that critics look solely at individual events rather than the context in which they occur).
I am a big fan of the series, and found myself nodding in agreement quite often. As Stevenson beautifully puts it: "[the narrative] is a kind of Trojan Horse that sneaks in a message while the viewer is distracted by the pretty horse. In the case of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the monsters and demons are narrative vehicles for a moral message."
Being very familiar with the series, I don't know how easy the references would be to follow for those new to or unfamiliar with it. On the other hand, I suspect that those critical to it (of which there are legion) will not be interested in reading this kind of analysis, even if they would be the ones to most greatly benefit. If you have been wondering why so many people became so enarmoured of a program which blended the supernatural with a perky blonde, this may give you an idea why it's also provoked the biggest volume of academic attention and literature of any popular culture artifact. - Alex

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