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From Usatoday.com


’Angel’ fans try like the devil to revive show

By Bill Keveney

Tuesday 13 April 2004, by Webmaster

For Angel fans, cancellation was only the beginning.

Fans haven’t been able to save Angel, but the show was given enough warning so they could wrap up storylines. By Justin Lubin, The WB

Aficionados of WB’s vampire drama are fueling a particularly well-organized and well-financed version of what has become a periodic ritual: a fan-driven attempt to save a show on the brink of cancellation - or in this case, over the brink.

"It’ll go on as long as there are still fans out there who want to support it," says Theresa Fortier, 32, of Salisbury, Mass., one of the organizers of the SavingAngel.org Web site. Angel kicks off its final stretch of episodes on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT; syndicated repeats air on TNT on weekdays at 5 p.m. ET/PT.

Despite the announced cancellation in February, Fortier says more than 600 Saving-Angel devotees have contributed nearly $40,000 toward efforts to save the show, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff from fan favorite Joss Whedon. Two online petitions have garnered 140,000 signatures. In addition to a postcard campaign, some of the tactics have included:

• A billboard truck that traveled to the WB and various studios and networks proclaiming, "We’ll follow Angel to hell ... or another network."

• Two thousand chocolate bars wrapped with the "Save Angel" slogan sent to WB, producing studio 20th Century Fox Television and others.

• A fan rally March 31 outside WB offices in Burbank, along with ads in the Hollywood trade papers.

Canceled shows rarely are resurrected. WB says it won’t reverse its decision, and no other network is trying to pick up the show.

Executive producer Jeffrey Bell, who this week is directing the finale, praises the fans and says they have shown similar zeal over the life of the show. "It’s tremendous. The support has been great," he says.

Perhaps goaded by the prospect that this fall will be the first in years without a Whedon show, SavingAngel fans aren’t accepting no for an answer. They’re in the process of trying to buy an ad in TV Guide. The campaign gets a mention today on The Sharon Osbourne Show (check local listings).

Fans note a radio interview in which Whedon encouraged their efforts, saying they can influence the continuation of "the Buffyverse" and Angel, even if not in its current series form. They still want a network to pick up the show; short of that, some hope for a spinoff, a miniseries, or, as WB has suggested, a TV movie.

Fortier points to the revival of Firefly, a sci-fi series quickly canceled by Fox but now being translated into a feature film by creator Whedon. "To have Angel picked up, we probably have a month," she says. "I’ve been very encouraged. I’m amazed by the number of people still willing to fight."