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"Buffy’s Dead…But Not Really" 

“Uh, no" was the second thought in my head after watching Buffy, the vampire slayer, plunge
to her death in last year’s season finale. My first thought? “Nooooooooo! Nonononononono!" So you see, the writers of the popular television series, now entering its sixth season, knew exactly what they were doing when they played on the emotions of their audience.

Since debuting in 1997, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has become one of television’s most successful breakout hits, launching a powerful franchise that has left an indelible mark on network television. The action-packed drama, cleverly laced with comedy and horror, has garnered an Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for creator / executive producer Joss Whedon’s groundbreaking episode “Hush," as well as the Founder’s Award from Viewers for Quality Television. Named “one of the ten best shows" on television by Time Magazine, TV Guide, USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, this critically acclaimed series moves to its new home from the WB to UPN.

The newsgroups, including the infamous alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer, are piled with posts day after day regarding nothing but Buffy the Vampire Slayer. These newsgroups are powered by the fans.

Which brings me back to the viewer’s emotions. With five years of being televised on the WB and spawning off the series Angel, it’s not easy to see Buffy the Vampire Slayer move to another station. Could the powers that be have planned Buffy’s death to coincide with the death of the show’s run on the WB? With the WB now being dust-ground for Buffy and UPN coming up with some exciting new programming of its own, I had to ask the fans their thoughts on the move to UPN.

Jen, who started watching BtVS in 6th grade because some friends told her it was pretty good, says, “Although its disappointing that BtVS is moving to UPN, a "traditionally" inferior channel compared to the WB, I am open-minded. The channel does not make the show -- the writing, the crew behind the show and the able actors make the show. And BtVS has always been such a high quality show that with its larger budget and more freedom in writing, I think it will be much better than it’s ever been. But it’s already in its sixth season, so you never know how long that quality will last - some storylines can only go so far, and the actors are getting older -- Giles is leaving, Xander and Anya married?! Everyone's so grown up now!"

Madie has been hooked on the show since the beginning. Regarding the move to UPN, she
states, “I guess it doesn’t make that big of a difference although I would prefer Buffy to stay on the WB. That way they would be able to have Buffy and Angel crossovers, however, I think the stars will be so much more motivated now that [there’s more money involved.]"

The person known only as Comfortador, who agrees with most fans that creator Joss Whedon
is a genius, feels that “Buffy's move to UPN should not affect the quality of the show, however, it does minimize the chances for crossover episodes with Angel. Everyone loves the crossovers. It will also be a big change for those of us who are accustomed to watching Buffy then Angel back-to-back. Gone are the days of two solid of hours seeing Buffy and Angel kick ass, sometimes even together."

Felicia watches Buffy “because it's not about some blond girl whose biggest problems are whether to wear the blue or the purple eye-shadow. It's about a girl who has to deal with darkness, and she has experienced a lot of pain and her life isn't just simple. She deals with complicated issues as well as being a teen. She has been through a lot for her age and she has matured a lot as the show has grown." Felicia holds a strong stance regarding the channel change: “I think it was stupid of the WB to give up a show that has so many fans and has become so very popular. I hope UPN takes good care of this show and doesn't just drop it when it loses a few ratings."

Nika, however, feels the network change will do some good. “I feel the move to UPN will benefit the network as much as the show," she says, “The WB wasn't giving Buffy the kind of attention it deserved and was simply noting that Sarah Michelle Gellar was the only star of the show. So far, from what I've seen, it appears that UPN is taking special note of all the actors / characters and is giving them ample promotional display."

Angelia, who has been a Buffy fan since the original movie, only has one problem with this change – the crossovers. “I think it is going to be very good, unless baseball games interrupt the UPN programming. It’s all good anyway because [the show] is still on and it’s a new start and chance for new surprises. The only problem I have is that WB won't sell angel and the two stations won't allow any crossovers."

Michelle is all for the move to UPN: “I love the fact that Buffy has moved to UPN. Although the network offers less of an opportunity for all fans to watch, Buffy is just as capable of being successful on the new network. UPN has done a fabulous job of proving to the fans that they care about the show and the fans that are dedicated to it. They've treated us and the show very well so far and it hasn't even begun to air yet. It's a wonderful opportunity and I have no doubt that UPN will be able to give Buffy a home that is as good as, if not better than the WB did."

UPN’s premiere episode will begin to answer the questions surrounding Buffy’s fate, which
viewers have been asking since she sacrificed her life to save her sister, Dawn, in last season’s shocking finale. From there, the sixth season will explore an “overall theme of growing up," say Whedon and fellow executive producer Marti Noxon. After the unexpected death of their mother last season, Buffy and Dawn now face the daunting task of going on with their lives without their mother’s emotional or financial support. Additionally, Willow, Buffy’s best friend, continues to experiment with the boundaries of her magic; Xander and Anya test the marriage waters; and Buffy and Spike further explore their tumultuous relationship. And for the November Sweet, the Scooby Gang will expose their vocal talent in a musical episode featuring all-original music written by Whedon.

The UPN television trailers and website promos appear to be popular among the fans! Let’s hope UPN takes good care of Buffy and the gang.

 - by Ilana Rapp

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