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’Angel’ Finale Offers Endings and Beginnings

By Kate O’Hare

Monday 28 April 2003, by Webmaster

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - On Wednesday, April 30, at 9 p.m. ET, The WB’s "Angel" airs the new episode "Peace Out," leading into the show’s fourth-season finale on May 7 — which cast and crew fervently hope won’t also be the series finale for the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" spin-off.

At present, rumors are flying.

"We live in the town of rumors," says star David Boreanaz, "so I don’t believe anything. Like when I started the show, I’m just focusing on my day-to-day activities. It’s already in the cards if the show’s going to come back."

In "Peace Out," written by David Fury, Angel uses both his vampire strength and the power of his human soul in a dual mission to save his wayward son, Connor (Vincent Kartheiser), and destroy the evil would-be deity Jasmine (Gina Torres).

Consulting producer Tim Minear wrote and directed "Home," the season finale, in which the outcome of the battle against Jasmine draws the attention of the mysterious senior partners at the evil law firm Wolfram & Hart, which makes Angel and his crew an offer they can’t refuse.

"We tried to design it so that it would basically be a pilot for next season," says Minear. "It’s setting up the new configuration for the show. I guess you could call it a cliffhanger. It’s really not."

"There is some resolution to story threads that have been pushed throughout the season, but it really is a pilot."

"I don’t get too terrified," Boreanaz says. "I let it unfold, as I always have. I’ve always been confident that the writers will steer us in a good direction. Joss [Whedon, the creator of ’Buffy’ and co-creator of ’Angel] has a really long-term vision for the show. In order to get there, you have to go through a lot of stuff, and that’s what we’re doing now."

The WB has expressed concerns that "Angel," while a solid ratings performer, may not be able to significantly increase its audience.

"This new permutation of the show works for that," Minear says. "It’s not the only reason we’ve gone in this direction, but it allows it to break out of its cannibalizing soap-opera-ness a little bit. It’s not quite feeding on itself. There are more opportunities to tell stand-alone stories, but to keep continuing story threads happening."

"It gives all the characters something new to do. You could show up to the first episode of next season and not have been around for the first four years and completely understand it."

With "Buffy" ending on May 20 on UPN after seven seasons, "Angel" could conceivably be the only Whedon show on the air next year.

"We think that, just in terms of a business plan," Minear says, "it makes sense for The WB to pick us up for another year, because people from ’Buffy’ fandom who maybe didn’t really keep up with ’Angel,’ might find that their ’Buffy’-verse fix could be sated by tuning into our show."

The opportunity also exists for guest appearances by "Buffy" characters. In particular, much speculation has centered on the vampire Spike (James Marsters). Introduced in season two as Angel’s protégé, he, like Angel, became Buffy’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) ally and lover.

While no contract has been signed (and likely can’t, until "Angel’s" future is decided), Marsters has expressed interest.

"We really think Spike could add something to the show," Minear says. "He’s a great character and a great actor. I don’t know what configuration it would be, whether he would be involved in an arc, whether he would be recurring or what. We talked to David about it, and he was totally on board. He loves playing scenes with James."

"The addition of someone like him coming over would be fantastic," Boreanaz says. "He’s been stuck in a small town for too long. He needs to get out in a big city and see where the big dogs play."

"It’s not just ’Buffy’ characters," Minear adds, "but we hear that possibly some ’Buffy’ writers would be available to us."

While all this may be in the future, Boreanaz has already made the return trek to "Buffy," beginning with the penultimate episode on May 13. It marked his first trip back in years to that show’s home base in converted warehouses in Santa Monica.

"I’m not a big reunion type of guy," Boreanaz says. "Going back, I was laughing because the ceilings are so low. It was weird. We were shooting in an old warehouse, and I looked up and felt claustrophobic. We shoot ’Angel’ at Paramount [Studios], and it’s high in a soundstage."

"That was, for me, the most difficult thing; it was. Everything else was fine. Sarah and I just stepped in and did our thing."

Whatever happens, Boreanaz is glad to have had a job — and just as glad that other people did too.

"I’m thankful that I can give back jobs for people," he says, "and allow them the opportunity to work, because it’s not a great time for work for people. You operate as a whole. Without [the crew], you got nothing. You don’t have lighting; you don’t have sets; you don’t have construction; you don’t have painters."

"It really is part of a whole, and you have to be thankful for every moment. My dad taught me that."