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'Buffy' back on big screen without Joss Whedon?

May 26, 2009 | 12:01 pm

Today's news that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" could be coming back to the big screen without TV head honcho Joss Whedon at the helm has already set off a firestorm of criticism. After all, it was Whedon who created the iconic characters for the original 1992 movie. While that film earned a mere 48 at Metacritic and a meager 33 at Rotten Tomatoes, five years later the screenwriter adapted it into the critically acclaimed TV series of the same name.

Buffy the Vampire SlayerHowever, as per the Hollywood Reporter, "Roy Lee and Doug Davison of Vertigo Entertainment are working with original movie director Fran Rubel Kuzui and her husband, Kaz Kuzui, on what is being labeled a remake or relaunch, but not a sequel or prequel. While Whedon is the person most associated with 'Buffy,' Kuzui and her Kuzui Enterprises have held onto the rights since the beginning, when she discovered the 'Buffy' script from then-unknown Whedon." And, as the Reporter notes, "Kuzui later teamed with Gail Berman, then president of Sandollar Television, bringing back Whedon to make the TV series, which was produced by Fox TV and launched on the WB in 1997. Kuzui and Sandollar received executive producer credits on 'Buffy' and its spinoff, 'Angel.' "

In 2003, the Television Critics Assn. honored "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" with the prestigious Heritage Award as it signed off after seven seasons. During its long run on the WB and then UPN, the critics constantly chided the Emmy Awards for snubbing the show.

Out of 14 Emmy nods, "Buffy" won only two – for music and makeup in 1998. And it contended only once for a noncreative award when Joss Whedon earned a 2000 nod for writing (he lost to Aaron Sorkin and Rick Cleveland for an episode of "The West Wing.") When the show ended, the TV academy tried to make up with the cast and crew by throwing them a tribute, but star Sarah Michelle Gellar did not attend.

Since then, Whedon has created a comic book series "Buffy the Vampire Season Eight" that has sated the desire of fans to know what happened to the beloved characters. What will this devoted following make of a movie that does not include any of their favorites?

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