What’s astonishing even now is to look at the cast line-up of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not just Buffy herself, but also best friend Willow the witch, Willow’s girlfriend Tara, nemesis-come-wary-ally Cordelia, ex-demon Anya, mother-in-a-trying-situation Joyce and latterly, the mystically-created sister Dawn.
So often now, a “strong woman” in a TV show or a movie will be almost entirely isolated from other women - from Katniss Everdeen trying to survive the Hunger Games to Sandra Bullock’s character in Gravity, from Carrie Mathison in Homeland to Daenerys Targaryan in Game of Thrones - female friendship, let alone having conversations with several women, seems utterly impossible for many of today’s female characters.
What Buffy showed us is that having one strong female character per show - even if she’s well-written, interesting and complex - just isn’t enough. After all, you can’t pass the Bechdel Test with just one woman in the cast.
When I first saw Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I naively thought it would spell the beginning of a new wave of television and movies - ones where the women characters could be written as well as the men, where women would take the lead as often as men and where they would be surrounded by many other female characters.
It hasn’t happened yet. But I continue to hope that it will. And until we’ve made TV like that, Buffy will continue to seem new, fresh and revolutionary"
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Legacy of the Teen Heroine (x)