A Positive Look at Reboots

The obviously superior human being known as Siskoid shares his thoughts on the usually obviously inferior works of creativity known as reboots. And comes up with an interesting and, to us anyway, genuinely new perspective:

by Siskoid

So I was perusing the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comics series, kicked off by Joss Whedon himself, and positing what happened after the cult series ran its course. It’s got the Scoobies running an international group of 500 slayers, Giles working with Faith, the military investigating the hole in the ground that used to be Sunnyvale, villains both old and new, and Dawn turning into a giant and a centaur due to… unprotected sex with a demon? Let’s just say it throws you into the deep end from issue one and goes from there.

Continuing celebrated franchises in comics form isn’t unique to Buffy, plenty of movies and television series have spun off into comics to tell interstitial stories and to continue the sagas. Star Wars is an early example, as are Star Trek and Doctor Who, but early examples don’t have the same function Buffy Season 8 does. First, those are franchises that have kept going, putting in doubt the canonicity of any comics (or other media) material, but more importantly, they were crafted at a time when there was no way to easily revisit your beloved franchise. No VCRs or DVDs, no streaming services, no Internet, even movie theaters were simpler and had fewer screens (NOTHING ever stayed more than a week in my local cinema in the 80s)… Even straight adaptations of the material become worthwhile because that’s the only way you can re-experience the material ON DEMAND. Yes, television shows might be syndicated and run an episode (not of your choosing) every week night, but you’re really at the mercy of local stations, and your favorite show might drop off the schedule completely. Movies are even harder to come by.

In this day and age, the world is very different, so the comics continuation really isn’t the only game in town. While older series might have been content with stories that didn’t rock the boat, could be ignored wholesale, and never permanently changed anything about the setting or characters (and regretted it when they did, just look at the convolutions of Movie-era Trek comics), “Series Eights” today want you to think they ARE canon, appointment reading for true fans, and with no further televised material in our future, the actual continuation of the saga you followed for what might be 7 years. There are still interstitial series (Doctor Who, Trek, etc. have comics that fill in holes, but the continuations are still expected to hit our screens), but comics companies now go out of their way to develop material for series that are over (or were cancelled before their time) with the series creators themselves. The name alone tells you this is OFFICIAL and part of the auteur’s VISION.

Sure, a series creator could decide to push for a movie continuation or a sequel series, but those are BIG projects that don’t often pan out. They cost money, and take a lot of time….