That's how many episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer I watched today. I couldn't help myself. I only stopped because we were sitting down for dinner, and I decided I needed to do something of relative value today. This was after sleeping in to eleven in the morning. That's late for me. Thankfully, Joss Whedon and tea know how to make everything okay.
When I was a child, I watched this show religiously. My friends and I were obsessed with it. Every week, when the new episodes aired, we would spend all our time out of class talking about it.
We were eleven.
Somehow, the idea that we might be too young for the show never crossed our minds. To us, it was okay to watch a show in which people were hurt and killed or had sex, and we readily accepted the same-sex relationship of Willow and Tara.
Of course, it wasn't the worst thing anyone in the school watched (in terms of how young we were to be watching it.) Plenty of people were watching South Park then, which is clearly and definitively more offensive, less tasteful, more racist and sexist and unsuitable for children than anything else that we laid eyes on.
I think the line, "It's not all like that" got us off the hook more than a few times when our parents walked in on sex scenes. To be fair, that's a true statement. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the original nerd show of the nineties, as far as I was concerned. (That, and Star Trek in its various forms... I watched a few of those, too!) Before my interest in Doctor Who, before Supernatural even existed, there was Buffy.
It was my childhood obsession in the days before we had Internet access, and before HMV closed I managed to buy the entire series boxset for €50. That was money well spent.
Buffy is one of the most influential television programmes of my life. It gave me an interest in the supernatural, it created some amazingly wacky characters, and it stood by a set of values that really stuck with me. Love and friendship and courage were some of the most commendable traits of my youth, and where I could show them I did. I think it's safe to say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed my life for the better.
Today's writing may have been limited to a single flash story, but it's one that reflects some of my childhood influences in fiction, the supernatural and horror. These are the roots I need to return to for The Blood of Leap, and as far as I'm concerned my time spent watching 90s television is well spent.