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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while even grade-schoolers may enjoy the horror-movie aspects of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the mature themes of this hugely popular vampire series are not a good fit for kids that young. Even kids as young as 12 -- who will enjoy the action and have fun with the one-liners -- probably aren't quite ready for the dark, adult issues the show tackles. Buffy is in mortal danger in most episodes, she loses her virginity to her (much) older boyfriend, and monsters are everywhere. On the upside, the series encourages strength in girls, mentoring, and teamwork. The series is best for teens and adults, who will appreciate the multi-leveled story and the Romeo and Juliet subtext of some of the episodes.
What's the story?
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER contrasts the bright, mundane world of high school with the menacing, shadowy world of the vampires. Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as Buffy, the tough, blonde titular slayer; the rest of the group includes friends Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Willow (Alyson Hannigan), mentor Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), werewolf Oz (Seth Green), vampires Angel (David Boreanaz) and Spike (James Marsters), and many more. Buffy just wants to be a normal teenager, but she can't escape her destiny as the Chosen One when she moves to Sunnydale, Calif., which happens to be right over the Hellmouth -- a mystic spot that allows demons and other evil creatures into the world.
Is it any good?
Clever writing and an appealing cast make this cult series eminently watchable. The show's content can sometimes be gruesome and disturbing for younger or more sensitive teens, but excellent writing and a light hand take away some of the intensity. Teens will definitely identify with Buffy's sense of dread, even if their own dread is over a test, rather than the appearance of vampires.
Though Buffy the Vampire Slayer is by no means educational, characters place a great deal of importance on integrity, working as a team and learning to sacrifice for the greater good.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Buffy deals with the pressure of her "calling" in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. How do teens deal with the pressures they face every day? Can they draw any parallels between Buffy's life and "normal" high school experience?
The show's characters place a great deal of importance on integrity, working as a team, and learning to sacrifice for the greater good. Families can talk about how they apply those values in their own lives. What do they consider the greater good?
Families may also want to discuss the series' sexual content, including their views about virginity and sex.
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