Blood Relations

Chosen Families in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel


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About the Book

The television series Buffy and Angel revolve around radical conceptions of family. Indeed, their coherence depends on the establishment of nontraditional families that admit vampires, demons, witches, werewolves, and other bizarre characters without censuring them for their peculiarities. This work argues that what makes these characters enduring and engaging is their critical family connections—for their most involved struggles occur not within the graveyard, but around the dinner table, just as the most challenging adversarial forces that they must face are not demons or vampires but the stuff of everyday life.

What does “family” encompass within these two series? How does it relate to concepts of gender, sexuality, power and the supernatural as they emerge from the shows’ complex narratives? This book explores such questions. It also examines the “chosen family” (an idea marketed specifically by successful programs such as Friends and Sex in the City within the past ten years), juxtaposing it against various images of the fractured biological family displayed in both Buffy and Angel. Through eight chapters addressing various family-related aspects within both shows, this work plots the trajectory of this unstable notion of family, even as it is transformed, remediated, and rendered unrecognizable from a “family values” perspective by the unique and supernatural relationships that proliferate in Buffy and Angel.

About the Author(s)

Jes Battis is an associate professor of English at the University of Regina. His teaching and research focus on intersections between fantasy and sexuality as they occur across a number of historical periods, including the middle ages and the eighteenth century. He is also the author of the Occult Special Investigator series, with Ace Books.

Bibliographic Details

Jes Battis

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2172-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8306-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      1
Introduction      9

1. “She’s Not All Grown Yet”: Willow Rosenberg as Hybrid, Hero and Middle Child of the Scooby Family      25
2. “This Carpenter Can Drywall You into the Next Century”: Xander Harris as Hero, Big Brother and Male-In-Progress      44
3. What It Feels Like for a Slayer: Buffy Summers and the Paradox of Mothering      67
4. “Daddy’s Home—I’m in Real Trouble Now”: Fathers Who Watch in Buffy and Angel      89
5. Demonic Maternities, Complex Motherhoods: Cordelia, Fred and the Puzzle of Illyria      112
6. Buffy, Angel and the Ivory Tower: Open and Closed Family Systems      134

Afterword. Families Beyond Buffy (or Firefly, and Everything After)      156
Notes      167
Bibliography      181
Index      187

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “the first scholarly book to focus on nontraditional family relations in the series…a necessary and welcome addition…well-written,well researched…insightful”—Journal of Popular Culture
  • “new view”—SirReadaLot