Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Research as a Public Good

This Buffy-centric post by Professor Mark McCutcheon, which I originally found on his blog, Academicalism, is definitely worth a read. It’s a very accessible article that is an enjoyable read, makes some good points about the show, provides a good example of how to break down and analyze a seven-season show, and could be a welcome distraction if you’re trapped in a library prepping for midterms.

Thanks for letting me reblog it, professor! Giles would be proud!


Buffy and her friends spend a lot of time reading. This is uncharacteristic enough for a Hollywood prime-time serial drama (it’s practically un-American). But more specifically, they spend a lot of time doing research: finding the most authoritative sources on a subject, reading up, and discussing what they read. And it’s rare that the research doesn’t pay off, in one way or another; most often, it pays off in critical discoveries and insights, knowledge of the situations, events, and adversaries they face, of the histories that have produced them, and sometimes even of vital knowledge of self. That knowledge reliably then helps Buffy to kick serious demonic ass. Buffy the Vampire Slayer routinely dramatizes research in action as a public good.

Rupert Giles, “watcher” and librarian-turned-entrepreneur

One of the main protagonists, the “watcher” Giles – Buffy’s supervisor and paternal sort of mentor – is a librarian, who runs the…

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