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Free Content Emptying the future: Queer melodramatics and negative utopia in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Why should we still care about Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003, WB/UPN)? With more than two hundred scholarly articles, a yearly conference and an academic journal devoted to its study, Buffy has been well explored. Yet compared to current broadcast programming, the show continues to stand out as an uncommonly radical mainstream text. Since Buffy’s last airing, realist images of the ‘good gay citizen’ have proliferated across US broadcast television, depicting lesbian and gay characters as assimilated extensions of the bourgeois heteronormative family and its consumer practices. In contrast, Buffy offers viewers a melodramatic and queerly negative popular aesthetic of the sort that barely exists today. In this article, therefore, the author returns to Buffy and its darkly queer hero, Willow Rosenberg (played by Alyson Hannigan), as indicators of utopian possibilities forgotten – but hopefully not yet lost.
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Keywords: Buffy the Vampire Slayer; futurity; homonormativity; melodrama; negativity; queerness; television; utopia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Grand Valley State University

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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  • Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture (QSMPC) is a refereed academic journal devoted to the study of representations and expressions of queerness in its various forms. International in scope and representing a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, it publishes scholarship on topics at the intersection of media/popular culture and queerness in gender/sexuality. QSMPC invites articles and artwork pertaining to queerness in media and popular culture, as well as reviews pertaining to recently released queer media artifacts.
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