Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Mentors feature prominently in the Gothic genre. From Dr Van Helsing in Bram Stoker's Dracula, who leads the young heroes into their quest to annihilate the Count, to Rupert Giles, the Watcher in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, older and more experienced adults have provided essential guidance for the younger protagonists of the genre. The differences in media of expression and the subsequent adaptations from novel to television series has not affected the presence of this character, more than a hundred years after the publication of Dracula in 1897. What also unites the novel and the series is their fin-de-siècle resonance.
According to Elaine Showalter, sexually and socially subversive themes feature strongly in periods of cultural insecurity. In addition to the century that separates Buffy from the Count, there has been a plethora of vampire movies and books of various merits. As a result, the late-twentieth-century average spectator knows the basic facts of vampirism. Therefore, the creators of Buffy the Vampire Slayer need to challenge their audience through another aspect of the series. Turning to their advantage what might have been a serious hindrance, they adopt a self-reflexive ironic perspective on the genre. This tenuous but innovative tension between borrowing from the tenets of the Gothic and moving away from them is especially appreciable when one evaluates the Watcher, Giles. Giles embodies both the principles of continuity and daring innovation that characterise the series and contribute to its appeal.
The similarities between Dr Van Helsing in Dracula and Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer create a sense of thematic and structural continuity through different media. They share a sim...
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