It's the end of 'Buffy,' not the world

Another May, another Apocalypse. To the uninitiated (i.e., most of America), the month means flowers and sunshine. In Sunnydale, Calif., home for two more weeks to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," it inevitably heralds mass destruction.

TV critics have been sobbing onto newsprint for weeks about the end of Buffy, which might puzzle a majority of their readers, who never tuned in to one of the best-written shows on TV. In fact, the amount of ink-stained tears is a little surprising, since the show has been in a creative slump for the past two years. And despite promises from creator Joss Whedon for a fabulous story arc wrapping up the cult fave, so far, viewers have been treated to one long bout of depression, punctuated by icky violence.

Part of it is Whedon's own fault - he's set a very high bar for himself. He's already killed Buffy (twice). Her mom has died, her best friend went mad with grief, and then there was the time she had to kill her boyfriend. Oh, and the entire cast has burst into song. In the words of Buffy's tombstone, she saved the world - a lot. So what is she going to do for her big finish?

The fact is, most TV series weren't designed with an endgame in mind, meaning that even the best tend to go out with a whimper rather than a bang. Or, in the case of "Seinfeld," with a prolonged whine. While more painful in the short term, maybe it's better to not know how it all ends up. Cancellation at a show's peak, like the lovely "Once and Again," might be preferable to, say, the Mulder-less "X-Files." Or so I'll tell myself if the WB doesn't renew Whedon's "Angel," now home to the dry wit that used to put a sparkle in the Slayer's eye. Forget saving the world. Somebody get Buffy over to the WB.

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