Cult classic TV series celebrates 20th anniversary this month
MILWAUKEE – A daylong conference on the cult classic television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer will feature speakers from the United States and Canada on April 1 at Marquette University.
The event is being organized by two Marquette professors: James South, an associate professor of philosophy, and Gerry Canavan, an assistant professor of English.
“Buffy’s continuing relevance and resonance is showing us, through seven seasons of television, that significant and thoughtful ideas can be raised in a TV series and that they can be made through art and craft,” South said.
South has written extensively about the TV series and edited two books on the subject: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale, published in 2003, and Buffy Goes Dark: Essays on the Final Two Seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Television.
“Buffy wasn’t the first show I found myself passionately watching, but it was the first one I wrote about (and continue to write and to teach),” South said. “The group of speakers we have assembled for this conference represent multiple disciplines, which reveals the depth and breadth of the show and its impact on viewers.”
Despite Buffy ending production in 2003, Slate magazine in 2012 identified the show created by Joss Whedon as the most written about popular culture text of all time. The series, which debuted on March 10, 1997, featured the character Buffy Summers, a young woman called to battle vampires and other demonic characters.
The Washington Post in a 2005 article called Buffy “one of the best, most influential, genre-defining television series in decades.”
The series, which concluded in 2003, resulted in conferences, journal articles, monographs, edited collections, book chapters and university courses on the show. Those who have studied Buffy work in philosophy, English, sociology, psychology, religious studies, mathematics, law, music, art, women’s and gender studies, film and television studies, rhetoric, and pedagogy.
The show’s 20th anniversary is being celebrated with new merchandise, fashion items, jewelry, books and comics.
Sherryl Vint, a professor of English at the University of California-Riverside, will give the keynote speech, “Being Ready for the Big Moments: Buffy’s Legacy.”