Buffy the Vampire Slayer – a cross-media pop culture phenomenon

Choose a popular culture phenomenon and describe some of its cross-media and/or intertextual features that interest you.

Few pop culture phenomena have been quite as pervasive as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  The series debuted in 1997, and has enjoyed success in many different forms.  The show ran for seven seasons on television, and continued providing material in many cross-media formats long after its conclusion on the small screen, all of which are considered to be part of the “Buffy Verse”, defined as “the shared fictional universe in which the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel are set” (Wikipedia).

Beginning in 1998, DarkHorse Comics produced a series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics, including a “Season 8” to continue the plot after the show ended.  Additionally, the show spawned a series of original novels – this site provides an annotated bibliography of titles. Five official video games were also created based on the series.

But perhaps the most interesting products to come out of this series were those not made by the network or for profit by the creators of the show as merchandise.  Fans of the show have worked individually and collaboratively to create numerous works of FanFic (Fan created fiction), Fan Art, websites, discussion forums, and wikis.

Furthermore, this article describes Buffy as the most studied pop culture property studied by academics.  A search for dissertations and theses on the topic at the QUT library database returned over 200 results, with subject terms as varied as women’s studies, GLBT studies, philosophy, theology and religion, and postmodernism.  In fact, the topic is so popular, the terms “Buffy Studies” and “Buffy-ology” have emerged to label these academic writings.

The success of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in all its forms is a prime example of cross-media and intertexuality, as well as how the collaborative nature of modern technology allows fans to be a part of the popular culture they love the most.  And who doesn’t love a show with a librarian main character?




One thought on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer – a cross-media pop culture phenomenon

  1. Cross-media and intertextuality are definitely features of the Buffy text world! As well as loving Giles-the-watcher in his librarian-hero role, I like the way this show positions the whole library space as counter-culture, even a bit subversive 😉

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