A month ago Buffy the Vampire Slayer was named the winner of TV March Madness, crowned as the greatest show in television history, to much controversy among my friends (none of whom ever watched the show). I'm not one to say I told you so, but I guess I need smarter friends...
Buffy the Vampire Slayer by a mile. More than twice as many papers, essays, and books have been devoted to the vampire drama than any of our other choices—so many that we stopped counting when we hit 200. Buffy even has its own journal: Slayage, a publication of the Whedon Studies Association (named for the show’s creator, Joss Whedon), which features titles like “Real Vampires Don’t Wear Shorts: The Aesthetics of Fashion in Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Killing us Softly? A Feminist Search for the ‘Real’ Buffy.”
While the resulting numbers are by no means exact, Gary Handman, the Media Resources Center’s long-time director and website curator, said the result sounded about right to him. “There is so much written about Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” he said, adding, “it’s bone-breakingly weird.”
While not a fan of the show himself, Handman speculated that academics were intrigued by the devotion of its fans. (NPR’s All Things Considered tackled the question of academic interest in Buffy back in 2003.) Handman couldn’t name a television show with more written about it than Buffy, though he said The Wire seems to be catching up. He also suggested Star Trek and The Sopranos as popular choices among the titles we didn’t consider. “Oddly,” he said, “Mad Men doesn’t have a lot written about it.”