High Stakes: A look at ‘Buffy the Animated Series’
In 2001, we almost had a Buffy the Vampire Slayer animated television show. Let that sink in for moment.
According to then executive producer Jeph Loeb*, the series would have taken place in the middle of season one and serve as a perpetual “episode 7.5”. A thirteen episode first season was proposed, featuring much of the original cast members.
Whedon also commissioned members of the original Buffy staff to write episodes for the series, and character designs were developed by artist and animator Eric Wight.
The series was originally intended for release on Fox Kids, but after Fox Kids was dissolved, the show was shopped around. Not finding a foothold, it turned to dust.
One major hurdle for the series was the fact that Whedon insisted on high quality animation on par with Batman: The Animated Series.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on May 16, 2003, Whedon stated that: “We had a great animation director, great visuals, six or seven hilarious scripts from our own staff – and nobody wanted it. I was completely baffled. I felt like I was sitting there with bags of money and nobody would take them from me. It was a question of people either not wanting it or not being able to put up the money because it was not a cheap show. One thing I was very hard-line about was, I didn’t want people to see it if it looked like crap.”
In 2004, after the original series ended, interest renewed in the show spurring the producers to create a three-and-a-half minute “Presentation Pilot”. Unfortunately, it never got made, and with Whedon’s commitment to all things Marvel these days, it likely never will; however, portions of the series as well as its visual style were dropped into the 20th issue of Buffy Season 8 under the title “After These Messages…We’ll Be Right Back!” written by Jeph Loeb.
See the animated presentation below, it’s quite enjoyable. HAPPY OCTOBER!
*Jeph Loeb has worked on everything from Smallville to the current Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. He’s also responsible, with artist Tim Sale, for creating some definitive Batman comics.