I know I said very recently that this was going to be a modern Buffy, not a 90s Buffy. But the more I think about it, the better an idea it seems to be to set this in 1996. First, I’m not worrying the tiniest bit about writing a saleable script. This is just fanfic in a different format. The purpose is to have fun and play with the story.
My idea has been that this should be an adaptation of the origin story from the original film which is more in line with the mythology and tone of the TV show. I first started thinking that maybe it was a better idea to put this in a 90s place when I was playing with music to use as a soundtrack. I wanted music that was popular, but also felt right for this story. Sadly, music that is popular right now really doesn’t fit. Dance techno, reggae-inspired grooves, these just don’t say Buffy to me. What does? Alternative rock, preferably indie. When was that a thing? The 90s. (I know it still is now but it’s not part of the teen zeitgeist in the same way.)
I started thinking about the Watcher’s Council, and how they find slayers. As far as I can tell this isn’t canonically settled but I guess there’s a big book of prophecy or something? I was wondering how they might find Buffy and I realized in today’s world, say she’s at a gymnastics meet and breaks the vaulting horse, that stuff would be all over YouTube. It’d be easy to spot. And a Council that didn’t use technology would be kind of ridiculous in 2011. But not in 1996. And it’s dramaturgically significant that the Council as a whole, and Giles in particular (who will have a cameo in my film, now I’ve spoiled the surprise!) not be into technology. Buffy is special because she’s different. She doesn’t play by the rules. If we change the rules by which she doesn’t play, we change the whole world, and I don’t know what to do with her.
Then of course, there’s the fact that I’m the same age as TV-show-Buffy, which means if I’m writing her as 15 in 1996, I lived that stuff. I wouldn’t know where to begin with teenagers now; I haven’t interacted significantly enough to get a bead on pop culture and speech patterns in a school for more than a year and a half. And then there are all the fabulous 90s teen flicks to look to for inspiration. (“Clueless” and “10 Things I Hate About You,” I’m looking at you.)
So I think I’m going back on my earlier statement. This is a 1996 Buffy.