The oral history of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
Gross and Altman (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek, 2016, etc.) follow up on their successful two-volume oral history of an iconic work of American popular culture with a similarly organized book on an iconic TV show. They bring together hundreds of comments from actors, directors, writers, and producers to tell the story of Buffy and its spinoff, Angel. In 1992, Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay for the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer because he wanted to see a movie in which a blonde girl confronts a monster in an alley and “kicks its ass.” That movie flopped. When the director, Fran Rubel Kuzui, asked Whedon later if he had any interest in reprising the story for the fledging WB station, he agreed. Whedon wanted Buffy to be both an ordinary teenage girl and a powerful slayer: “I want the show to be remembered as a consistently intelligent, funny, emotionally involving entertainment that subtly changed the entire world—or a small portion of pop culture.” It did just that for seven years and 144 episodes. Inevitably, repetition occurs throughout the book as different participants describe similar material, but there is plenty of insider information and trivia to please fans. Whedon had always thought of himself as Buffy’s friend Xander but later realized, “Oh, I was Buffy! The whole time.” Sarah Michelle Gellar had auditioned for the role of Cordelia (who they originally thought would be black), but Whedon knew she’d be perfect as Buffy: “I think if we hadn’t found Sarah, the series might not have happened or lasted.” Nearly half of the book deals with Angel. Although Whedon—who moved on to Firefly—wasn’t closely involved, it found success for five years and 110 episodes. Surprisingly, neither series won an Emmy or Golden Globe award.
An absolute must for any Buffy or Angel fan.