Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and the good looking criminals of Firefly are finally going to be available for free online for anyone to revisit or watch for the first time. This should be a cause for celebration. But they’re coming back courtesy of Facebook Watch, and as much as I’d love for friends to finally see Buffy—no, not like this.
The three shows, distributed by 20th Century Fox and created by Joss Whedon have, for a time, been fairly untarnished by their creator’s deservedly terrible reputation. They’re really good television, even if, like all old stuff, they’re also very much of their time. They’re also pretty important television. Buffy, alongside The X-Files, really helped create internet fandom, while Firefly was a force in turning Whedon into a major film director (which he later fucked up).
This is TV that should be accessible to everyone, but Facebook Watch? Really? In order to watch Buffy take on a demon with a rocket launcher you have to be willing to sit there and stare at a video on the Facebook platform—the same place your cousin continues to post Daily Caller Trump videos and that friend from high school shares clips of a Tasty casserole made of butter, four tubes of biscuit dough, baked beans, and a hot dog? The price for complimentary access to three of the best shows produced is bargaining away your data and privacy?
But Facebook is hoping we’ll all say yes, please. Facebook’s user growth in the U.S. notably hit a wall over the summer and it’s been trying to fix things. It’s also trying to make itself more “sticky,” so people stay on Facebook to get not just family and friend updates and memes, but also the streams and standard videos more commonly found on YouTube. Last year Facebook launched Watch, its YouTube competitor that was, from the start, filled with trash. But things have slowly improved, with the show Sorry for Your Loss gaining rave reviews.
The addition of three big nostalgia bomb shows like Buffy, Angel, and Firefly are meant to expand Facebook Watch’s portfolio and make it a more fitting competitor to streaming juggernauts like Netflix and YouTube.
But sorry. That’s a big pass. I want to enjoy these shows again, and I’d love to check out Sorry For Your Loss, but I don’t think I can stomach using Facebook for anything more than arguments with relatives and photos of my god daughter. I already feel ill at ease using the network after more and more news reveals how its top brass continue to be repugnant billionaires out to harvest our data and manipulate us like 21st century robber barons.