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From Eonline.com


Angel is not coming back, not as the series we now know

By Kristin Veitch

Friday 16 April 2004, by Webmaster

Fan Fervor Runneth Over to Save Angel—See If All Your Energy Paid Off

I used to consider myself the most die-hard TV fan on the planet. It was a badge I wore with pride, sorta like my "I heart Bo & Luke Duke" T-shirt back in the good ol’ days of the good ol’ boys. (Sigh.)

But you "Save Angel" folks put me to shame.

This week, even though we asked readers to send in questions for the huuugest show on television right now, The Apprentice (those answers are coming Tuesday), you Angel fans still managed to send in more queries than people asking what the bejesus is up with the Donald’s hair. And that’s saying

You’ve written letters. You’ve sent flowers. You’ve organized blood drives and food drives and candy-bar drives and truck drive-by drives. You’ve raised thousands for ads in the Hollywood Reporter and Variety and given the show more publicity in a month than it received in five years at the WB.

Your fervor amazes me...and it breaks my heart.

For weeks now, I’ve been trying to break it to you gently that, sadly, there is no promising news about the fate of Angel. And still, you keep asking. And asking. And asking. To the point where I want to cry because I so badly wish I had something good say.

Instead, I think I’ll just tell you the truth on where Angel stands.

I’ve spent considerable time over the past few weeks talking to network, studio and production insiders, as well as a few of the actors (we’ll get to them below), and I can tell you this with a fair amount of certainty:

Angel is not coming back. At least not as the weekly TV series we now know and love. It sucks, and it’s wretched and wrong. But the sooner we all accept that, the sooner we can move on.

Now, I know from my dear friend Mary that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, so here are two of the sweetest people I know (no dookie) to give it to you straight.

"It’s over," James Marsters (Spike) told me Wednesday. "And we’ve known for a while. It was a shock. I’ve never in my wildest dreams thought they would do that. But it’s their game, their football, and it seems they want to pass it to someone else."

An emotional Amy Acker (Fred) also weighed in Thursday before going to set for her final day of shooting. "I guess they had just sort of decided the cancellation was for good, at a point. So, it seems so sad all these people were working so hard and nothing happened. The whole thing has been so sweet, and we all have been like, ’Oh maybe it will work!’ But it seems like they’re pretty set in their way."

That’s the consensus I’ve gotten from various sources — the WB suits aren’t changing their minds on Angel. Though the cancellation seemed like a whack-job, crack-induced whim to us fans, Frog net insiders tell me the higher-ups feel strongly that Angel had "limited moneymaking potential," due to limited advertising revenue and what they consider to be a substantial budget. The fan base is clearly devoted, but these bigwigs see little hope of that audience expanding.

The final stake through Angel’s heart? Dark Shadows, that remade vampire series the bigwigs believe to have "vast potential." Presumably, the man behind it is John Wells (ER, West Wing). If J.W. created a series about three young witches or, say, a reverend’s family, things may have been different.

Meanwhile, UPN and Fox have both passed on Angel. UPN has a strict new edict not to pick up "other networks’ scraps" (the same message given to the producers of Wonderfalls, though when you read on you’ll find some promising news on that). And even if they did want these "scraps," quite frankly they can’t afford ’em. As for Fox, well, one look at its midseason lineup and you know they’re going for a slightly different angle than quality scripted television. Littlest Groom, anyone?

I’m told the feeling on set is not morose these days—but rather like graduation. Though it’s been rip-out-your-heart difficult, the actors are learning to accept the show’s fate and move on.

"I’m used to things being over," James said. "Coming from theater, I’m used to plays being wonderful or less than wonderful, and even if they’re fabulous, they do have to come to an end. And you kind of come to a point where you’re at peace with that."

And I can’t help but mention that David Boreanaz seemed ready to move on before the show was even canceled: "I’m really itching to explore other characters and do other projects," he told me in January. "I think I’ve been stuck in this medical school for a while, and I need to open up and get out."

Not so much the case for Amy. She admits she’s the weepy one. "I just keep crying, and everyone is like, ’Stop it! Or I’ll cry, too.’ It’s hard because last Friday was Alexis’ last night, and yesterday was Andy’s last day. And today will be everyone’s. It’s hard to imagine you won’t be spending 12 hours a day with them anymore."

All that said, you Save Angel folks, please, for the love of TiVo, do not despair. Though the campaign might not have accomplished exactly what we’d hoped, James points out that it managed to do something else truly magnificent.

"It may not have saved the show," he explained, "but what it does for the entire cast and crew is give us a little pop as we go out. Everyone takes notice that we connected well enough with the audience to give them that passion...And I have to tell you, it feels so good. After all these years of, frankly, battling time and money and always having to give up what you were planning to do and getting frustrated, at the end of it, to see everyone really going out of their way to try and save it, it just feels really, really good. So, big warm vampire fuzzies over here. It really took the sting out of getting canceled."

And really, after five years of stellar television, it seems the least we could do, no?

"I just want to say to the fans, thank you," Amy says. "I think that [Save Angel] has been so awesome and it has made us feel better when we’ve all been so sad. For people to come up and say, ’Did you hear there’s a rally today?’ or ’I saw the big poster today.’ That has been as comforting as it could ever be."

Still, the best news is this: According to sources, the finale is supremely open-ended (Amy says it "opens new doors" and "doesn’t tie up any strings" , and I hear the Powers That Be at the WB have approached Joss Whedon about doing at least a movie-of-the-week or two (possibly as many as six) next season—thanks in large part to the folks at Save Angel. "I think a Buffy movie is more likely to happen now," James said, "and they may be given better budgets, seeing this kind of interest, because there’s a feeling that there’s a guaranteed audience. So, the effort that I’ve seen, it is not in vain."

Rumor Patrol: While we’re in the mood for telling it like it is when it comes to Angel, we should address a few more burning Q’s for any and all conspiracy theorists.

1. Sarah Michelle Gellar isn’t evil, just busy. She truly wanted to guest but couldn’t make it back in time for episode 21, because she was shooting a movie in Japan and had commitments to Scooby-Doo. Sarah said she was available to do episode 22, but Joss already knew exactly what he wanted to do for the finale (and it sounds genius). They then tried to reverse the shooting of the two episodes, but it was logistically impossible to get everything together in time. (Joss hadn’t even written the script.) So, put simply, it didn’t work out.

2. Alyson Hannigan, Michelle Trachtenberg and Sarah Michelle Gellar really are not coming back. Unless this is the mother of all foilers, and/or all my sources are bold-faced liars, these three lovelies all had to decline because of other commitments. Alyson was doing a play and a new pilot, Michelle a Disney movie, and S.M.G. had the aforementioned non-evil conflicts.

3. The finale won’t suck. Despite the surprise cancellation and guest-star disappointments, from everything I’ve heard, Joss really pulled through on the series ender. "The characters are in self-doubt and self-conflict and at each other’s throats," James said of the finale. "I really didn’t think there was any way for these characters to overcome what they were facing, frankly. And it’s really suspenseful as to whether they can or can’t. It’s gonna be bloody, and people are going to get hurt. It’s a Joss Whedon finale, man—blood and tears and death."


7 Forum messages

  • I can’t think of anything to say other then if WB thinks that keeping angel will hurt them financaly wonder what their going to do next season when their station has no appeal for most angel fans anymore. This is just... there are no words to describe how unbelieveably crappy this is, that many viewers and loyal fans and apparently WB dosen’t care.
  • > Angel is not coming back, not as the series we now know

    18 April 2004 02:10, by Wolverine68

    Now wait a moment. Haven’t you hears the expression "nothing is over til it’s over?" Well, I haven’t heard anything to state that angel is buried yet, and I will refuse to be pesimestic until then.

    Yes, I felt from the very begining that it did not look hopeful that the WB would change their minds. They have been out for while now to kill the show. We stopped their attack last year, but it seems unlikely this time. There is the issue of the money for the show, and the simple fact that they just want oublicity from one of their biggest shows ending at the same time as Friends & Frasier. This way they can get some extra media attenion to promote their new shows.

    The fact is, the WB knows Angel can still turn a profit. This is why they offered Joss the chance to do some movies next year to give the story closure.

    Perhaps is they played a promo for the show, they would be albe to get others intrested. All I ever see is promoes before and after the show on Weds nights.

    In all actuality, they are causing their new line up alot of damage by doing this. Had they decided to put Angel & Dark Shadows on the same night, they could use the older show to help establish the new one. But of course it would take a brain to figure that out, so they won’t do it.

    Now they have pissed fans off, replaced the best vampire series with aother. And one that is just a remake, which was remade before, and didn’t work well the 2nd time. If they expect angel fans to watch Dark Shadows they are sadly mistaken. We will not watch anything they do, unless it is a realy great show, that we have been watching aleady. (And let’s face it, that was only Angel.)

    See how much potenial the new show has, when you just pissed off your market audence.

    And what about the other stations? I know UPN declined, but Fox has not said anything. Wouldn’t they want to keep a good show running, especially one they produce? Even if it is different. Let’s face it Angel is different then all other shows, no matter what network it’s on.

    Perhaps it is over. At least the campaign showed the actors, writters, & producers how much we loved the show. If so I will be glad we made it to 5, and went out on top, with better stories then were being told in the last season.

    Oh, and in reguards to Gellar. We know she isn’t evil. Don’t let the loud mouths of a few idiots speak for the masses, ok. And Joss did not say he already wrote a script, he said he doesn’t want the Angel finalle to be about her. Which I feel is the right decision. (Personally, I am sick of Buffy & glad.) However, to say she was to busy to take one day out of her life and do the show, is rediculous., It would take but a few hours to do some scenes.

    Last words: While it seems futile, I refuse to lay down and die, till I see nothing left to do. It is quitters like you that make yourselves lay down in shame. (Do not pass the blame to me, for I won’t take it.)

  • Kristin,

    "...the cancellation seemed like a whack-job, crack-induced whim to us fans..."

    here here!

    thanks for the article.

  • Wolverine - with regards to your comment about SMG "saying she’s too busy is just rubbish" - I don’t think you have a clue how hectic life in the acting world is. She’s in Tokyo, Japan filming "The Grudge". So she’d have had to fly to the states, battle jet lag, sit around for hours waiting till they were ready to film her, then fly back to Tokyo to recommence on "The Grudge". That would be so draining.

    Plus, have you ever heard of a "contract"? She’s signed one for the filming schedule of "the Grudge" so she can’t take any time off without express permission, or else she’ll be sued.

    I wish people would stop making Sarah Michelle Gellar out to be evil - she’s just a woman trying to do what’s best for her career.

  • > Angel is not coming back, not as the series we now know

    22 April 2004 11:46, by purplefixer
  • > Angel is not coming back, not as the series we now know

    23 April 2004 05:55, by Wolverine68

    Slayer- Chill out. I am not the one saying she is evil. I m the one pointing out that most people do not think she is (me included).

    I merely said, it is possible to a few scenes. And who cares about jey lag, it’ll make the scene looks more realistic as a demon throws her across the room, lol.

    Serioully now, they don’t have to make ehr wait all day to do her scenes. If both parties were intrested, she could come in for a few hours, shoot the scenes, go relax, and leave to next day to go back to her other gig.

    All is possible, . . . if there is enough want.

  • Fair enough to you not saying she’s evil - but there is no way she can take a couple of hours out. She’d get sued, plus her reputation across the industry would be tarnished. She’d find it harder to get work, as producers would see that she’s "taken time out" to film for someone else. A day or two - or even so much as a couple of hours - can have a drastic impact on the way a film is made. You have to get filming permission from the government/local council for on location filming - and it’s normally provided on a strict timescale, so there is only that time to film the given scenes. So taking a couple of hours off is out of the question.