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From Timesstar.com


One Last Stake In Heart As ’Angel’ Bites It

Wednesday 19 May 2004, by cally

One last stake in heart as ’Angel’ bites it

"Angel" 9 p.m. Wednesday Channel 20

AS critics gathered for the conference call with "Angel" creator Joss Whedon to discuss putting the final stake into the vampire series, instead of a publicist making an introduction there was just one lone voice on the line:

"Am I the presentation?" Whedon asked the phone operator. "Because I haven’t really prepared anything."

Seems Whedon can’t get support from the WB for even the final phone call.

Whedon, who also created "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer," is used to critical acclaim, fan support and precious little network support for his allegorical series.

"(The WB) said they couldn’t make any money on repeats and they needed the (time slot) for a new show and they have to concentrate on reality," Whedon says. "There are a lot of arguments for why the show should have been kept on, but since you don’t run the WB, I won’t go on."

In "Buffy," the vehicle might have been a bunch of kids fighting evil monsters, but in fact it was a tale of how to make it through high school that empowered young girls. Whedon is credited for making networks believe that viewers would tune in to see strong, young female leads.

"Angel" came from a much darker place, about a group of adults battling evil and often making bad choices. It could also be a story of the creative Whedon coming to terms with the corporate Whedon.

"The original goal (with ’Angel’) was to do a story about redemption as an adult looking back on a bad decision and atoning for that," Whedon says of his tale of a vampire with a soul. "But we ended up doing even more than anticipated. It was first designed as a stand-alone mystery show, but the characters were the most interesting. So we explored them in great depth and complexity and it exceeded my expectations."

I think we all have base instincts, and sometimes we give in to that, Whedon says. Then you deal with the guilt that it causes and struggle to find something better in yourself.>

This season, Whedon showed how Angel (David Boreanaz) and his friends had lost sight of their goals when they enter a corporate structure.

Whedon admits the more money you make, the more reluctant you are to buck the system. But underneath it all, Whedon remained the angry young artist.

"Cancellation was a horrible blow, more that I thought it would be," Whedon says. "But there was also a bit of relief. I’ve been inhabiting the Buffy-verse every year for a total of 12 seasons and was in charge of that universe. It was exhausting and it was time to take a breather."

Whedon says that universe isn’t dead, just because ’Buffy" and now "Angel" are no longer weekly network shows.

Dark Horse Comics is rebooting the "Buffy" comic and there could be a future spin-off series and perhaps even some TV or feature films with the characters.

Whedon says he had a final statement in mind for the last episode.

"You go into every season not knowing your fate, so you have to be prepared," Whedon says. "But I felt there was more to say about these characters and that (’Angel’) was cut down in its prime.

"The pain of loss that I felt when the show was canceled, I’m going to share that. Where can I twist the knife?"

I don’t think of it as a cliff-hanger at all, Whedon says. The point of the show is that you are never done, there will always be the fight. Could this have led into an exciting sixth season? Yes. But it is a final statement.

Of course, Whedon isn’t leaving the entertainment business and his characters will survive.

"I still have a deal with Fox to develop new shows and ’Serenity’ (the ’Firefly’ movie) shoots in two weeks and we have the entire cast of the TV show," Whedon says. "We created a movie for people who hadn’t seen the show, but it has the same structure."

And now, for New Release Tuesday. Check out Farscape: Season 4, Prime Suspect 6, Providence, Sex and the City: The Complete 6th Season, Smallville: The Complete 2nd Season, Speed Racer: Collector’s Edition Vol. 2, Star Trek: Voyager Season 2 and The West Wing: The Complete 2nd Season.>