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Joss Whedon - "Angel" Tv Series & Comic Book - Tvguide.com Interview

Wednesday 31 October 2007, by Webmaster

Awww, yeah. It’s finally here! Right in time for Halloween, one of TV’s best vampire series ever is sinking its fangs into the shelves with Angel: The Complete Collector’s Set. It’s like a David Boreanaz bender! And just like I promised, here’s some supernifty insight from series creator, executive producer and master of the Whedonverse, Joss Whedon, about our favorite soulful bloodsucker. (Yeah, I have the coolest job in the world. I know.)

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk. I know you have a lot going on.

Hey, it’s my pleasure.

So Angel the Complete Series…this is a big deal!

It is for me, just because I actually use my complete Buffy series all the time. [Laughs]

Yeah, right? I think a lot of people do! Is there anything new included with this collection that’s not in the individual-season sets?

Um, well there isn’t anything that I got to do with this set that I didn’t get to do with the series itself, because this is the series itself.

No extras or anything?

Nah. You know, when they did the Buffy set, they did this sort of round-table discussion… but they didn’t do that with the Angel set. I think they didn’t really come to it ’til so far down the line that everybody had scattered. They’d disappeared into Bones. [Laughs] So it really is just the series, but because so many people are just discovering Buffy now on DVD, this is a great thing to have. And the series gets so entwined in itself that it’s really nice to have it all in one place.

That’s a shame. I so enjoy useless deleted scenes.

[Laughs] I know we live in the age of extras, and there are extras that come with it, but there’s no spectacular skydiving sequences that weren’t there before.

Or musical episodes?

There could never be a musical episode of Angel. [Laughs] David is very large and I did not want him to beat on me.

I imagine this was a great excuse to watch your handiwork all over again.

Embarrassingly enough, I do anyway. Not all the time, but every now and then I go through phases. I’ll watch an episode and go, "Is this the cheesiest thing in the world, that I’m watching my own stuff?" There’s just stuff in here that I adore and honestly, a lot of it isn’t my stuff. A lot of it is Tim Minear’s or somebody else’s, so it can still sort of surprise me in a way that Buffy can’t, because I was overseeing Buffy much more strictly. It’s the show that I love because it kept evolving for five years.

It really did grow into something much deeper than just a spin-off.

You know, the idea was that it would be more than a spin-off. That’s why we didn’t do a spin-off until we had an idea that we thought was worth doing. But it took us a while to figure the best way to service that. We really did think it would be this stand-alone show, unlike Buffy. Then it evolved into the opposite of a stand-alone and became a mythological show. Which is very big now, but back then it was problematic… by the fifth year, they said "make it episodic again"! But by then we had enough characters that everything could come from them. And we had a great ensemble. The people we surrounded David with are the best actors and the best friends that I have.

Do you have a favorite episode or season?

The seasons are all fascinating to me. I did love Season 3 — I got to do my ballet episode. Season 4 is like one long episode, it’s like 24. It’s ridiculous how [serialized] the whole thing was, because we really weren’t doing that on purpose. It just kept happening. And then Season 5, of course, you know, they lowered the budget, we got Spike… all of those new elements caused it to be really fresh. I think for episodes, I do come back to "Darla," which is sort of the sequel to "Fool for Love" from Buffy. It has some of the best dialogue I have ever heard and some of the most perfectly twisted vampire logic.

Dru, Darla, Spike. They were hysterical in their thinking.

Well, there was always something behind it. It was never for an easy laugh… not that we were above a cheap laugh. But it was always an in-character cheap laugh. We always had tremendous fun with the logic of people who were dedicated to evil.

And those types of people are hard to find.

Yeah! The thing is, if you’re not living, you just have a different perspective [Laughs]

Are you still working on the comic-book follow-up, Angel: After the Fall?

The comic book is coming out based on some guidelines I gave them. Again, I’m not overseeing it the way I did the Buffy [comics], but yeah, there is a comic book coming out that I did sanction as sort of a "well, here’s what we would have done and here’s what you can do if you’re a comic book."

So what would you have done if you had another season? Or even just another episode?

Plummeted L.A. straight into Hell!

It’s not there already?

[Laughs] I knew that would be your response, but I like L.A. I’ve been an L.A. apologist for a long time. But yeah, the idea was that we were going to completely change everything without building a new set. We were just going to trash the one we had and make it postapocalyptic. So Brian Lynch, the writer of the comic, is taking that and putting it on serious steroids.

The apocalypse was really going to go down?

Oh yeah!

And who was coming out of that alleyway alive after the finale?

That I won’t say. But you can read the comic book.

Do you go to Comic-Con?

Every year.

Did you ever think, as a 10-year-old kid, that you would grow up to be someone who was so sought-out? That people would want your autograph?

Is there any 10-year-old who hasn’t? [Laughs]

That’s true. But your fans are so rabid.

Well, they’ve had their shots now. [Laughs] No, you always hope that, if you want to be an artist, that you’re going to touch people and they’re going to love you for it and it will be all sunshine and roses. But yeah, it has been different than I expected. A lot of that has to do with timing… the timing of having DVDs and the Internet and the idea of the writer actually entering the public consciousness. I fell into that at just the right time. The way I fell into an emerging network at the right time and then left just as they were going down. I’ve been lucky that way.

Yet you keep it pretty real.

The key is to not get all up in yourself. That’s why I stopped doing interviews for a while. I didn’t have anything new to say and I didn’t want to be the guy who has to hear his own voice. If I don’t have anything to say… you know, it can be a trap, let’s just put it that way. And you can go onto the Internet and read three people discussing you endlessly and think "Oh my god, I have the biggest fan base in the world!" [Laughs] And then your movie opens and you find out what’s really going on. [Laughs]

Speaking of movies, how is Goners going?

Um, it’s going. It’s not going as quickly as I hoped, but then again, it’s movies and that’s part of how they’re different from TV. The script has been done. And I have rewritten it…and have rewritten it again. It’s the kind of the world we live in.

The nature of the beast.

Yes. And I think the operative word there is "beast"!

So there’s no casting in line yet?

Not really. I mean we’ve discussed it, but until the studio signs off on a script, that’s pretty much it.

Any chance there would be a role for Sarah Michelle Gellar in it?

Um [pause] I don’t know. Huh. I don’t think so. And that’s not exactly how it works. Obviously Sarah is a star… but I don’t know if it’s the sort of thing she would do or not — again, we haven’t gotten that far in the process. But you know, she sort of backed off from Buffy because she wanted to make her bones as other characters. Not that she wasn’t proud of what she’d done, and she should be, but you know, you want to sort of make your own way. So it would probably be the wrong idea. Although I love what Sarah can do. I think she has an amazing talent and we worked really well together for a lot of years, I have the same sort of thing: I want to prove that I can do this on my own and not make everything I do just a chance to have a reunion with my friends. That’s not to say I won’t have a reunion with my friends from time to time — I hope to. But the key is to keep an eye on the past, but at the same time, explore new territories.

Ironically, the new territories you explored are now all over the TV landscape. So many shows bear the Whedon stamp. Supernatural, Reaper...

I actually have a stamp, by the way.

You just walk around Hollywood slapping it on scripts?

Yeah. [Laughs]

Do you even watch these shows that would never have made it to air if it hadn’t been for your stuff?

I missed Reaper, which I wanted to see because everyone said it was cool. So now I have to go find a tape of it. I try to watch the new stuff… I watched Bionic Woman and I loved the Buffy-Faith fight at the end of the premiere.


I think they even used the same roof. [Laughs] I’m being catty and silly, of course. That show is totally its own and it’s much more Battlestar than Buffy, but yeah, you look for traces. There are times that people compare things to Buffy and you go, "Yeah, but… what’s the point?" Then there are times when they compare things to Buffy, like Veronica Mars, and you’re really proud to even be mentioned because their work was so tight. The only real downside to the Buffyverse is the extreme overuse of the term "The Chosen One," which I would love to never hear again. [Laughs] It has shown up everywhere. I think there’s going to be one on My Name Is Earl.

How fitting. You created a monster!

I appreciate that people are doing these shows because they’re fun, they’re what I love. But it’s more the way female characters are treated in the shows, in the way they can headline or take charge in a show that’s not necessarily a drama. That they’re taken a little bit more seriously in genre terms than they used to be. I don’t in any way take all the credit for that, but I like to think I was part of it. Every woman doesn’t have to be the damsel in distress. That’s more important to me than if it’s high school or has a supernatural element.

But you have to admit that you’re the best thing to happen to TV demons since Trilogy of Terror.

[Laughs] Dude, Trilogy of Terror rocked!

Seriously, though. Even Ghost Whisperer is going there. It’s going to turn out that the town is over some sort of Hellmouth.

Yeah, but it’ll be more of a Hellnostril to keep things fresh. Seriously, everything that I have done, someone did before me. It’s really how you mix it to make it your own and how much you look after it once it’s moving. How much you care about every episode. It’s not like I invented the wheel, I was just on it while it was turning.