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9 ESLJ 1 (2011)

handle is hein.journals/entersport9 and id is 1 raw text is: In this article I will first argue that the two television series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (hereafter
BtVS) and its spinoff series 'Angel' both contain an account of the place of law and legal
institutions in society. However, whilst one series, BtVS, takes a mainly positive attitude towards
law, the central characters usually seeking to live lawfully, 'Angel' shows those involved in the law
to be, at best, morally flawed and the main character, Angel, consistently rejects the idea that any
kind of law should determine his behaviour. If this is so, this appears to create a serious problem
for the academic analysis of ideas about law in such programmes. The initial broadcasting of the
two series overlaps. One man, Joss Whedon, is usually credited with the creation of both of the
series. Given this, the utility of examining conceptions of law and legal institutions in programmes
such as these might then seem to be put in doubt. Two different accounts of law and legal
institutions produced at much the same time by the same person seems to emphasise the pure
fictionality of the series. Interrogating the ideas and arguments in the series ignores the fact that
they say radically different things at the same time. Why look at what the series and thus Whedon
says about law and legal institutions in the two series, given the fact that Whedon seems to feel
free to say anything that he chooses on an almost random basis? In the final part of this article I
will show why, notwithstanding their contradictory nature, both accounts of law still deserve
attention within the academy.
Conceptions of Law, Legal Institutions, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel
The television series BtVS consists of 144 episodes that were first broadcast in the USA  1
between 10 March 1997 and 20 May 2003. 'Angel' consists of 110 episodes that were first
broadcast in the USA between October 5 1999 and 19 May 2004. Both series are now being
continued as graphic novels with 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home' (2007)
being the first novel for BtVS and 'Angel: After the Fall' (2009) being the first novel for
'Angel'. Some of these novels have themselves been the subject of academic analysis
(Abbott, 2010). However this article will just consider the television series. Both TV series are
available as videos and on DVD. The scripts to the programmes can be found on a number of
web-sites such as 'Buffy vs Angel' <htt :/ww .uf-vs-anae .com/au de.s
Joss Whedon neither wrote all of the episodes for either television series nor did he direct 2
every episode htt/o                                   .htm. However, Whedon was
responsible for the initial conception of both series, was heavily involved in writing and
directing them and had final responsibility for determining their content. Because of the
control that he exercised over the television series most commentators have treated the
programmes as being largely the work of Whedon (Lavery, 2004; Lavery, 2002);he is for
Comeford and Burnett the series' 'author/auteur' (Comeford and Burnett, 2010, p.3). Not all
academic accepts this approach. Robert Loftis, for example, has argued that analysis of '
Angel' and BtVS should 'honor the collaborative nature of television by focusing on the
collective author of Buffy, which includes, but is not limited to Whedon, the writers, the
designers, and the cast' (Robert Loftis, 2007, para.6); Williamson takes a similar view
(Williamson, 2005, p.77). This alternative approach raises issues that are similar to criticism
of auteur theory in film studies, where directors are treated as the sole creators of their films
(see, for example, Sarris, 1996 and Watson, 2003, pp.134-138). It is clear that one cannot
for all purposes treat television programmes or films, as being the work of just one person in

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