Wednesday, August 22, 2012

buffy lite

The kid has recently become enamored of a Canadian teen horror/comedy show that airs here on the Disney Channel, My Babysitter's a Vampire. It apparently started with a movie in 2010, which led to the television series, which so far, has had two seasons. I have watched a few episodes with her and what really strikes me is its similarity to Season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The show centers around geeky Ethan (Matthew Knight), a freshman in high school who has visions whenever he touches anything or anyone that is supernatural. Ethan and his wise-cracking best buddy Benny (Atticus Mitchell), who can cast spells, and his little sister's babysitter Sarah (Vanessa Morgan), who also happens to be a (good) vampire, are a bit like the Scooby Gang, tracking down clues and trying to solve spooky mysteries. Two more teen vamps fill out the cast, Sarah's best friend Erica (Kate Todd), and the boys' goofy friend Rory (Cameron Kennedy). Apparently the movie explained how Erica and Rory became vampires, and a whole lot of other stuff, but we haven't seen it yet.

The idea of a bunch of teens trying to battle evil, and that more than one of them is imbued with special powers, is quite Whedon-y. One of the Season 2 episodes that we saw, "Say You'll Be Maztak," featured an ancient Mayan queen, who is not just pretty, but hypnotisingly so. All the boys are rendered helpless under her spell and help her in her scheme to free the Sun King, which will signal the end of  the world — very much like when Xander fell for his substitute teacher (and giant insect monster) Miss French in "Teacher's Pet." The girls save the day, as vamps Sarah and Erica team up with Benny's Grandmother, who seems to be the closest thing the show has to a Giles.

Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. My Babysitter's a Vampire, because it is from another studio, isn't a typical Disney teen comedy, with harsh sitcom lighting and sassy kids. We haven't seen any of the first season episodes yet, so it does seem sometimes as if we came in on the middle of a story. It's unclear how it all started, but my daughter doesn't seem to mind and finds the kids engaging. Are there any break-out stars, like Alyson Hannigan or Seth Greene? It's too soon to tell, but whether there will be a third season or not, it's fun for her to watch and it's making me want to revisit some old-school Buffy, too.
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