SFX Issue 66

July 2000

The Whedonverse Through The Ages

Visit an alternative universe where the Buffy franchise just goes on and on…

Buffy , Joss Whedon has often attested, is a show which tackles teenage problems on a metaphorical level. Angel was created to be the show that tackled the problems faced by 20-somethings (well, that was the rough idea at the outset, anyway). So, we asked him, is he going to spend the rest of his life making vampire shows with ever aging protagonists?

“I hope the hell not. No more vampires please! I definitely am more interested in older people the older I get… the more time I spend with teenagers,” he grimaces. “It’s nice to have Angel , which is more adult. Even though it’s ostensibly about 20-somethings, it also deals with an older and darker period of people’s lives. Angel, after all, is 250 something.”

But we wondered what series he might produce if he had to do a vampire show for each decade of life. Here are a few ideas, Joss, if you want to buy them off us…

For 40-somethings: Watcher With Mother

Series premise: Tarquin, a Watcher, and his wife, Henrietta, are rather put out when her mother comes to live with them after her husband dies. Problems arise when mother-in-law wants to know why her son-in-law is hanging around with a teenage girl, and Tarquin has to hide his night-job from the harridan, who is scarier than any demon.

Time-of-life problems tackled: Primarily mid-life crisis. Oh the hilarity that ensues because “mother” thinks Tarquin is cheating on her daughter with a teenage hussy, when really he lusts after a busty cello player.

Typical metaphorical plot device: When Tarquin traps a Keanu demon in a sewer, the beast, in an attempt to bargain for his life, turns Tarquin into a teenager. But will his wife recognise him if he cops off with his Slayer? And is it worth the acne?

50-somethings: The Ferryman

Series premise: Ageing Chicago cab driver Bill Nicholls is a recent divorcee whose fares become stranger than the normal cabbie’s when, after an encounter with a mystical Soul Chaser, he becomes a “Ferryman”. It becomes his job to locate the souls of those who have been killed by demonic forces and “escort” them in his cab to a “safe haven” before they are claimed by more nefarious “soul” hunters with their own designs.

Time-of-life problems tackled: Divorce; dating scary, desperate middle-aged women; losing your teeth; losing your sex drive; a sudden love of grey/brown anoraks, not being able to programme the video; complaining that sport these days is too commercialised and if you were 20 years younger you’d show these hair-preening ponces a thing or two.

Typical metaphorical plot device: A demon tries to bribe Bill to hand over a soul by offering him a magical potion which makes him incredibly virile. One drawback… he’ll need to have sex at least eight times a day! Will his heart take it?

60-somethings: Saints Preserve Us

Series premise: Three pensioner sisters discover that, as girls, they were to have inherited the Holy Grail. But their father, a descendant of the Knights Templar, was eaten by a giant worm when they were too young, and the grail was stolen. Now, all in their sixties, their ageing is stopped thanks to the powers of the reincarnated Patron Saint of useless anecdotes, so that they do not die until the Grail is recovered. Piqued that they haven’t discovered eternal youth, but rather eternal senility, the grannies (and Saints) encounter all kinds of demonic nasties in their quest, but help is at hand from all manner of Patron Saints…

Time-of-life problems tackled: Blue rinses; losing your husband; children leaving home; children who won’t leave home; children who only come home to see you because they’re worried about the will; losing your home; being put in a home…

Typical metaphorical plot device: A friend of the sisters turns out to be a ghost who refuses to admit she’s dead, because she’s worried her money-grabbing son might sell the family home to a chain of alternative comedy night clubs. But the smell in the coal bunker is getting awfully bad.

70-somethings: Jim’ll Crucifix It

Series premise: A jewel-encrusted septuagenarian replies to pleas for help from those being plagued by vampires, leaping into action in his shell suit and rattling his gold-plated crucifixes at the toothy nuisances. To finish them off he uses his special “Jim Crucified It For You” stakes.

Time-of-life problems tackled: Senility; incontinence; where to get your wheelchair serviced; getting slippers every birthday and Christmas; hairy moles; Saga holidays.

Typical metaphorical plot device: A monster is created from a duvet Jim stuffed full of money when he became convinced his bank was stealing his money and closed his account.

80-somethings: Thora, The Vampire Slayer

Series premise: The first Whedon series to be set in the UK, with the nation’s favourite bible-bashing grandma going into action on her electric wheelchair to fight the forces of the devil. Aided by a Scooby Gang including her Last Of The Summer Wine cohorts, vampires are dispatched in a variety of hilarious methods, most involving baths on wheels. Thora ends every episode with a rousing version of a pertinent hymn and a nice cup of tea.

Time-of-life problems tackled: Being nearly dead.

Typical metaphorical plot device: Vampires send Thora a fake telegram from the Queen…