A fun article in the Atlantic on why Buffy the Vampire Slayer is beloved of academics.
Back in the mid-Aughts I was invited to write an essay for a volume on the philosophy of Buffy which was being edited by a friend of mine. I was going to write an essay on the concept of God revealed in the show, more on that in a moment. But I ended up backing out not feeling I had the time to devote to the essay by the deadline in order to prepare something of the quality I would want to publish.
I do regret that decision, by the way. Which made reading this article a little melancholy.
In the final season there was so much talk about the "First Evil," I kept wondering when I first watched it if there was going to be a "First Good." Maybe even a literal deus ex machina to close the series. At the time I figured the show would end one of two ways--if Joss Whedon was fundamentally a pessimist or nihilist, then Buffy would be killed and the First Evil would conquer the world, or if Whedon was fundamentally optimistic then Evil would be defeated maybe with this appearance of the First Good.
Of course the finale was not as final as I had hoped, which initially disappointed me. In retrospect, however, I came to realize that the finale had in fact revealed the God concept of the show when Buffy's power is shared among all the potential slayers. It's idea of the First Good was a immanent power, particularly a female power.
But I never did the good work of more fully developing this interpretation.