The Bionic Woman, Buffy, and the Man of Steel

I recently saw Man of Steel.  Superman was a bit too dark for me, and the special effects struck me as overkill.  All the same, retellings and new approaches to familiar tales fascinate me.  I’m intrigued by questions such as why the storyteller chose to modify the origin story, or the mentor character’s advice, or the overall theme.  Was it to fill empty spaces?  To fit with modern beliefs?  Because the storyteller always believed the “new” backstory existed but was just unspoken before?  (Unfortunately, my date’s only comment on the entire movie, despite my attempts to jump start a conversation, was, “That was a nice little story.”  Probably no long-term relationship potential there.)

This Superman reboot caused me to check on another reboot, one I initially didn’t feel excited about — that of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  As most fans of the TV show — and I am one — know, the new movie version was to be written by a brand new screenwriter, with no input from creator Joss Whedon.  Those of us who love Joss’ writing and directing had a hard time with that, and many vowed never to see the movie.  I almost felt I shouldn’t see it, fearing it might take away from my love for the series.  Similarly, I was not a huge fan of the short-lived remake of The Bionic Woman series a few years back, though it was my favorite television show during childhood.  The new Jaime Sommers just didn’t work for me.  By the way, did anyone else notice the similarity in names between Buffy Summers and Jaime Sommers?  I’m convinced Joss was a Bionic Woman fan, too.

Given my lack of initial enthusiasm, I was surprised to find myself feeling disappointed when I discovered the new Buffy movie is on ice.  Obviously, t’s not because I expected to like the film.  Rather, after watching Man of Steel, I realized how wonderful it is that the film industry contemplated another Buffy reboot.  Buffy is my favorite woman hero, and she’s already had a movie (a bit too campy for my taste, but it had some of the themes later developed in the show), a TV series, and a comic book series.  I love the idea that another reimagining of her myth is already being considered.

Think of how many times Superman has been remade.  Setting aside cartoons, in my lifetime, I saw the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, Lois and Clark, Smallville, Superman Returns (forgettable), and Man of Steel.  And I’m not even a big Superman fan.  I also watched the campy TV series Batman with Adam West, the Batman films that started off with Michael Keaton, and the more recent series of Batman movies.  (I was in an extra for one of those — look for me at a funeral in a gray trench coat.) 

But how many Wonder Womans have there been?  I remember just one in my lifetime  — the TV series with Lynda Carter.  The recent reboot of Wonder Woman, to be written by none other than Joss Whedon, never got made.  Despite the success of the Terminator and Alien franchises, the movie studios still seem inclined to default to male heroes.  But we are seeing more girls and women as heroes in movies — movies that are doing well at the box office.  Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Maya Lambert in Zero Dark Thirty, and Tris Prior in the upcoming Divergent (filmed right outside my door) give me hope that film producers realize there is a vast audience for good movies about female heroes.  Which is great news for me as a reader, author, and filmgoer, as those are the types of stories I most enjoy.

So would I have trouble loving a Buffy reboot?  Probably.  But would I go see it?  Yes, yes, and yes.  How about a double feature with Wonder Woman?


Lisa M. Lilly is the author of Amazon occult bestseller The Awakening.  A short film of the title story of her collection The Tower Formerly Known as Sears and Two Other Tales of Urban Horror was recently produced under the title Willis Tower.  Her poems and short fiction have appeared in numerous print and on-line magazines, including Parade of Phantoms, Strong Coffee, and Hair Trigger.  She is currently working on The Awakening, Book II: The Unbelievers.

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