Joss Whedon’s Biggest Challenge Was Moving Buffy From High School To College

When asked about the biggest challenge of transitioning the Scooby gang out of high school, Joss Whedon replied:

“The biggest challenge was, how do you keep your high school gang together without saying, ‘We’re going to 90210 college now?’ [You’re] treading the line between the reality of the thing and the fact that you want to keep all your characters in the same place. 

“Ultimately, the season became about how fragmented they got and the fact that they didn’t all stay in the same place. That was sort of how we dealt with it, but that was the trickiest part. And also, you know, creating a giant government super-soldier conspiracy on a television budget, where we had, like, a wall and a shrub. Ooooh, it’s James Bond with his wall and his shrub!”

Whedon is talking about the Initiative, a secret military operation that was headquartered under the campus of UC Sunnydale. It led to Buffy’s romance with a certain piece of dry toast named Riley (Marc Blucas, who should not be blamed for this at all). I’m not going to lie; that felt very forced to me at the time, and I absolutely hated the military storyline. It took me out of the supernatural stuff, even though that’s what they were hunting. I did love their ability to get Spike (James Marsters) into the Scooby gang, but the rest of the Initiative was sort of messy. That said, the shifting around of the major characters and the focus on their split was a good move. Adding in the fact that the spinoff “Angel” gave another destination for our heroes helped a lot as well. 

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is currently streaming on Hulu.

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