The idea that was described going into season 7 was "back to the beginning," and there was a definite suggestion that we were going to get sort of the formation of a "Scrappy Gang" around Dawn at the newly rebuilt Sunnydale High. I would have been very much on board with that. My idea for a replacement season 7: I would retain episodes 1-6 of season 7. Around season 7, I'd introduce a "little bad" of some sort that would cause Faith to return. Somewhere around episode 10, they'd face off against and defeat the little bad, but Faith falls in the battle. Given that the monks made Dawn from Buffy, with Faith falling, Dawn becomes the next Slayer. Giles then returns with news from the Watchers' Council that Buffy will be Dawn's watcher, but that Giles will remain in Sunnydale for a while to serve as watcher, while Buffy gets up to speed. Somewhere about this point, while training as a watcher, Buffy encounters a prophecy in one of Giles' long forgotten books that doesn't predict who the big bad is, but it does indicate what would be required to defeat him: destroying the Hellmouth itself. The latter half of the season develop Dawn and her friends as critical to the plan to defeat the big bad and destroying the hellmouth. I would completely lose the Potentials from the season, as well as the idea of "the first" as the big bad. Edit: ooooh... the new Sunnydale High principal would be the little bad... and the *school itself* could be the big bad. They end up determining that the school itself is like a lens that sort of focuses all the mystical evil in the hellmouth. And the only way to defeat the school and save the earth is to destroy both the school and the hellmouth itself, ensuring that the school is never rebuilt. Mmm... I like that.