William Faulkner (and more recently, Stephen King) advised writers to “kill your darlings.” Joss Whedon’s approach to this advice is that even beloved, major characters in his shows are “not safe” (with the possible exception of Willow). So at the end of Season Five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he killed his show’s hero, Buffy. Oh. My. Goodness.
Buffy nobly sacrificed herself to save her sister, her friends, and the world. It’s hard to top that for Christ-figure symbolism.
And then, in the real world, the show is resurrected on another network, and everyone knows Buffy has to come back to life too, but how? Whedon’s response, in May 2001:
How will we bring her back? With great difficulty, of course. And pain and confusion. Will it be cheezy? I don’t think so….The fact is, we’ve had most of next season planned before we shot this [final] ep….
(qtd. in Buffy Goes Dark 5).
Thus begins Season Six of Buffy on the Great Buffy ReWatch, where Nikki Stafford and I discuss the difficulties of reviving a Slayer, and the interactive effects of the show’s return and fans’ hopes and fears in October, 2001, barely a month after the events of Sept. 11 changed the world. (As Nikki points out, since the episodes were written & filmed months beforehand, it’s pure coincidence that episode 6.2 includes a falling tower!) Also, don’t lie to your friends. Keep (re)watching.