Let’s talk about the apocalypse

No, not this one. A mythical one. A seasonal one. A Buffy one.

Back in another era, December of 2018 to be exact, we were enjoying the last lingering days of the year with our neighbors and got to talking about favorite TV shows. One of our neighbors, an incredibly busy, serious-minded person with a high-pressure, high-skill job, a degree from a top college and notoriously little free time, unabashedly shared that his favorite series – ever – was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He’d watched it all the way through many times. And Angel. And if someone really wanted to understand the inner workings of his soul, they’d be well served to also watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now Adam and I are Grade A Nerds. (He’s playing RPGs online at this very moment. I’m livetweeting inspirational quotes from “The Return of the King”.) But we were in college and young marrieds without cable when Buffy came out, and we mostly just … missed it. I’d never seen a single episode. (I don’t actually watch a ton of tv most of the time.) But in the brief slack of time that happens so rarely, we told our neighbor that we’d watch Buffy if he’d watch it with us. It was the sort of thing you say a thousand times, but never happens. It sounded like fun! There’s no way we’d actually make time to do it, right?

Then next night, we got together, and watched the first two episodes of Buffy.

And then we did it again.

It took us almost 18 months, but we watched every single one of the 350 episodes of Buffy & Angel, finishing the very last apocalypse only a few days before our real lives took a Sunnydale turn to surreality. It was fantastic. Despised characters became favorites. Favorite characters got complicated. People died – sometimes multiple times. Makeup artists earned their keep. And the writing was mostly superb (I’m looking at you Angel season four and much of Buffy season seven). In the middle years of life, so much can seem to run together and become undifferentiated: work, commuting, the needs of the family, the service to community, the exhaustion at the end of the day. (It seems almost quaint now!) But this antediluvian (antepandemiun?) period in my life will be almost most differentiated by this: the four of us on a couch, watching a master storyteller spin a web.

Our traditional spots: I sit between Adam and Tobin