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The Evolution of Sunnydale

Which Sunnydale

  • Earlier season

    Votes: 11 78.6%
  • Later season

    Votes: 3 21.4%

  • Total voters
    14

nightshade

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Black Thorn
I posted this up on twitter a few days ago, but figured it could be done here to and discussed.

Did you prefer the earlier version on Sunnydale a "one Starbucks town" with The Bronze, a mall and not much else, or the later seasons with an airport, UC campus etc
 

thrasherpix

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Earlier. Once established, I don't want it changed for mere plot convenience (especially when it reverts to the default when no longer convenient).

And I'd think a Hellmouth would be a very bad place to put an airport near to (and it's not like it would mess up the show if they had to go to the next town for that). Seems on a good day it would make the magnets wonky (shades of Bermuda Triangle), and on a bad day they face a dragon, or maybe gremlins tearing apart the plane, possessing spirits to crash it, etc.

Given how many people die and how things get wrecked (so headlines are, again, not monsters, just gangs on PCP attacking a school, or even burning the entire town and tearing down the police station if you count s6), I don't see how it could support too much business (property and rent might be cheap, but I bet the insurance is highest in the nation, if one can get it at all, but it would explain much if the local insurance company was run by witches), which means it would just be a one Starbucks town...and an actual college built is there more as a trap for victims, another buffet like the other schools.

Hmm, now I'm wishing to see an ep where the Initiative moves in and first has to drive out another Reptile Boy, but at least they've then got a foundation to build their secret base (having taken it from a centuries-old cult).
 

Mr. Pointy

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Black Thorn
I went for later as it chimes with my* concept of the elasticity of fictional locations - see my post from prehistoric times - Crater In The Middle Of The Desert....Hang On...
*This may not an original idea but I've never seen it written about by anyone else, so I'm claiming it 😉
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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To be fair, keeping the series working post graduation was always going to be difficult, and would require changes. Revising the setting to include a residential state college is egregious, which is apparently is equidistant from the bronze, but is justified.

In addition, the creators never really stressed Sunnydale as a detailed setting. It's just kind of a collection of locations. It's not like someone built the city on a whiteboard or in Sim City. If they never treated it as important, you can't hold them to it.
 

HowiMetdaSlayer

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I posted this up on twitter a few days ago, but figured it could be done here to and discussed.

Did you prefer the earlier version on Sunnydale a "one Starbucks town" with The Bronze, a mall and not much else, or the later seasons with an airport, UC campus etc
Always wondered if it was supposed to be the 'greater Sunnydale' area. So was more the surrounding areas?
Wasn't there a dock/port (in a S2 or S3 episode too? This might help...
I went for later as it chimes with my* concept of the elasticity of fictional locations - see my post from prehistoric times - Crater In The Middle Of The Desert....Hang On...
*This may not an original idea but I've never seen it written about by anyone else, so I'm claiming it 😉
Yeah, it did look like it was a giant crater in the middle of nowhere as opposed to being by the sea? Hmm? 🤔
 

Hunga Munga

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I prefer a more magical realist perspective myself . Sunnydale is both a one Starbucks town ...and a port town with an airport... at the same time. ;) . Sunnydale is like Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls or Cicely ,Alaska in Northern Exposure , a dreamlike setting that expands and contracts to suit the story . I like to fanwank that it was all arty and deliberate : rather than just careless writing :p .
 

Plasma

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It’s more believable that supernatural shenanigans could go unnoticed in a town that is smaller. It also is a more interesting setting. As soon as S4 introduces the college, questions start to roll in about how big Sunnydale is. The airport was also ridiculous.

It would be like if Twin Peaks was revealed to have a mall, Grand Central Station, and a 5 star hotel at the end of Season 1. You would lose a lot of the “hometown” feeling of the series
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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My understanding is that every county in America has at least an small Airport. Giles probably had a connecting flight. A Seaport, well remember, the Sea is very much associated with both the Old Ones and the Deep Ones, the Mayor would have wanted those deities on his side.
 
T
thrasherpix
Probably most. But not the county of my family farm that doesn't have many things taken for granted by others. When I go by Greyhound, it drops me off one county over (it wouldn't be able to use the roads in my county there anyway).

Stake fodder

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I liked the earlier-season image of Sunnydale, and yet I was glad the Scoobies didn't have to go somewhere else for college, so I'm wishy-washy about it! I did like the idea of its being in central California (desert) better than its being on the coast.

And I'd think a Hellmouth would be a very bad place to put an airport near to (and it's not like it would mess up the show if they had to go to the next town for that). Seems on a good day it would make the magnets wonky (shades of Bermuda Triangle), and on a bad day they face a dragon, or maybe gremlins tearing apart the plane, possessing spirits to crash it, etc.
This sounds like an interesting mash-up of BtVS and Lost!
 

Kendar

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It’s more believable that supernatural shenanigans could go unnoticed in a town that is smaller. It also is a more interesting setting. As soon as S4 introduces the college, questions start to roll in about how big Sunnydale is. The airport was also ridiculous.

It would be like if Twin Peaks was revealed to have a mall, Grand Central Station, and a 5 star hotel at the end of Season 1. You would lose a lot of the “hometown” feeling of the series
Interesting. I'd argue that supernatural shenanigans would be less noticed in a large town/city, esp. since law enforcement and the city government seem to be actively repressing the truth. 3 strange deaths among 38k people (population of SD during first three seasons) should be more noticed that 3 deaths among a million or more.

But at 38k Sunnydale is WAY too small to have all the stuff they showed in later seasons. Might have a small satellite of UC, but not the massive campus we saw. Honestly, I doubt any realistic UC Sunnydale would have dorms.
 

thrasherpix

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Lots of small towns hold shocking secrets, and they don't have to worry about being called crazy if they come forward (as opposed to other things they have to worry about).
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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Right, the Hellmouth is just a man hole in season 7, to a giant cave, that got filled in with a lot of dirt, mostly because the First now wanted to take over the world, instead of just wanting to end the Slayers. Don't change, season 7.

Here's my theory. The Cave was some sort of Pocket dimension created by an Old One for his army, but it was never used. Magical Law requires a one in, one out policy (Just go with it), until the portal was left open by the slayers, which caused it to merge with our world, via chaos physics. But more like Brigadoon.
 

Ethan Reigns

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I thought Sunnydale would have been a better match for San Luis Obispo than Santa Barbara. San Luis Obispo has an airport (that's how I got there) but it would not support a DC-10 which is what we saw flying out. It has a branch of the University of California and its architectural school is well-known. It had a population of 49,000 when I went there in 1982 but I doubt it went through the population decline Sunnydale did (from 38,500 to 32,000 in the show). It is on the coast. Sunnydale in the show is not internally consistent - it has a harbour where Angel tried to leave with a piece of Acathla. It has an airport that a DC-10 can fly out of when Giles leaves. It is in the middle of the desert at the end of Chosen.

On a show about vampires, I am not that worried about things being unrealistic.
 

thrasherpix

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I see it as multiple dimensions. Like the Master summoning the tentacle beast rather than uber-vamps. And probably more or less where the demons came from (more like THROUGH) that included Buffy's first roommate in college.

Heh, I could see Willow helping in the fight by summoning the tentacled beast to fight the uber-vamps, buying more time and cutting down on the number of uber-vamps.
 

ILLYRIAN

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Sorry nightshade but this 'might' be off topic
There you see I got it wrong yet again, I know, odd that. I thought the question was about the evolution of the town of Sunnydale. Who built the town? The Americans, The Irish or the Mexicans or followers of Trump (The First)
 

nightshade

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Sorry nightshade but this 'might' be off topic
There you see I got it wrong yet again, I know, odd that. I thought the question was about the evolution of the town of Sunnydale. Who built the town? The Americans, The Irish or the Mexicans or followers of Trump (The First)
Didn't the Mayor build it, as it was on a hellmouth for his ascension
 
ILLYRIAN
ILLYRIAN
Good point but one person built the town of Sunnydale, that'd be a bit inconvenient for him wouldn't it?

Dogs of Winter

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Definitely the early years. Sunnydale felt more like a real, distinct place with character whereas in the later seasons it was more of a generic anytown, although if one of the writers had come up with a plot involving a space shuttle it would probably have gained a space centre!

But it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the show because other than being a small town with a hellmouth the location was never as important to Buffy as to shows like Friday Night Lights, Top of the Lake, The Wire or Twin Peaks etc

Did you prefer the earlier version on Sunnydale a "one Starbucks town" with The Bronze, a mall and not much else, or the later seasons with an airport, UC campus etc

Although wasn’t there an airport from the very beginning? Im sure there was a S1 ep which mentioned the airport, and then we saw it in S2 and S3.
So maybe the town was always that big and the audience only saw it grow to reflect the character's view of the world becoming bigger as they got older and their interactions with the wider world increased :)
 

ChaseRules

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I would have liked it if there wasn't such a big college there . After all it only an hour or so away from LA so it hard to have a college there with that many buildings & the airport seemed too big . Could have shown small plains but not big ones . Lastly the Mayor had built Sunydale & i don't think he would have wanted a huge college & big air port there since that mean a lot of people would be looking into what happened there .
 

thrasherpix

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I know what I like about Sunnydale as a small town cut off from the rest of the world...not only does it make it easier for me to suspend disbelief, but I have a fascination for "twilight realms" that are connected to the world, but not fully part of it.

It's not uncommon in many stories that there is such a place that serves as both a menace and protection from the rest of the world (and I loved how in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina that you could tell those new or passing through as they had iphones while the locals seemed to be more in the 80s techwise, and I loved the more extreme concept of Storybrooke in Once Upon a Time).

It attracts and holds demonic creatures (without actually imprisoning them, usually). That is to invade the world, they first have to conquer this particular piece of real estate, one in which a town can form without knowing the truth of the area (and social and psychological forces would impede any full awareness or talking about it, and I imagined most of Sunnydale PD being transferred there as a punishment who'd then become much like how they're portrayed).

Magic works easier here (witches and supernatural critters probably feel the difference when they enter, invigorated by it, but knowing that they have rivals also invigorated by it). The laws of physics are just a bit wonky (from the mild seepage of physics of other dimensions, and when made stronger then it becomes more pronounced, like rain of toads, blood from faucets, etc.).

That same trait allows "super science" (androids, ray guns, mutagens, etc) to work, but not to transform the world because they inevitably suffer fatal flaws when taken out of the area, while magic itself is weaker (not only would those like Marcie become visible once under government scrutiny, but they probably couldn't turn invisible again until in a magic-rich area, and the swim team turned into fishmen would need to find a "Bermuda Triangle" spot or likely find themselves dying as the mutagen turns cancerous, as it did before Sunnydale, thus explaining why such didn't seem to exist outside of it in a stable condition).

A demon biker gang can feel they can let loose in Sunnydale (raping and pillaging in the burning town) because the National Guard won't be called (at least not right away, and then they send in the special units).

'Course people like the Mayor and even Master would frown on unsanctioned violence on their turf as challenges to their authority and mastery (and I liked one book where the Mayor tolerated Slayers because they got rid of some competition for him, and only later did he want them removed from the equation).

But all in all, I like the canon to remain consistent (it can change, but there needs to an in-story explanation for it, though magic can always work), I can enjoy the super science without wondering why it doesn't change the world (as it would break down once taken outside since there's no seepage from other universes that allow it to work as well), don't have to worry so much about why feds weren't all over Sunnydale High over the destruction of the school (and given all the kids involved, I think it would be impossible to hide Buffy and Giles, both who would be under immediate suspicion anyway, along with some spotty police records in regards to Buffy), and..most of all...I like to think of it as "a twilight zone" that is slightly "out of phase" (but still reachable, at least safely by car or foot) from the rest of the world as it makes it feel more cut off, and thus more dire (especially as there's very little help from outside, and if Sunnydale falls, then the invasion of the rest of Earth begins from there, mushrooming out).
 
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