In June 2008, Noel began rewatching and writing about Buffy The Vampire Slayer for the A.V. Club's TV Club Classic. It was a serious gap in our pop culture credentials as a couple. We missed the initial run of Buffymania in the late nineties, and by the time we were trying to catch up a couple of seasons in, we didn't catch the fever by watching it every night in syndication, despite our best efforts. So when the TV Club Classic format debuted, it was a natural for us -- but in a different mode from NewsRadio, my first effort in the format. Rather than something we loved being revisited, it was something that most of our readers would be more familiar with than we were.
Noel brought me along for the Buffy ride (which includes picking up the BTVS spinoff Angel at the point in the series continuity that it premiered). And with the framework of watching, writing, reading, and being shepherded along by commenters who seemed to enjoy seeing the series again through the eyes of complete newbies, we got past the not-quite-Buffyesque first season and quickly appreciated what was so special about the show. We quickly became huge fans. Instead of being a pop culture blind spot we needed to fill out of a sense of obligation, the two episodes we watched every week became a much-anticipated highlight.
A little less than three years later, Noel has reached the end of Buffy. There's still more Angel to go, but there's no doubt that leaving Buffy behind marks a milestone as significant as embarking on the series in 2008. I personally feel a sense of accomplishment and community, working my way into the dialogue and discussion that remains so important to people of the generation immediately behind mine.
But it was a pleasure, not a chore, because Joss Whedon has such a playful and energetic approach to serialized television. I fell in love with all his characters, enjoyed their company every week, and cared deeply about their fates. I'm happy they will always be there for me to revisit, but there will never be a first time again for discovering their stories. That's over -- forever.