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Slayage Conference - Joss Whedon New Spinoffs !!!

By Redsrule1

Tuesday 1 June 2004, by Webmaster

Academic Buffy Conference

Just arrived back from Nashville, and a weekend of seeing baseball and listening to Buffy papers being presented at the “Slayage Conference” at the Renaissance Marriott. Most of the attendees were presenters, but from the registration numbers there were almost as many people just attending (like me). I thought I’d share some notes from the weekend.

Probably the most relevant discussion to the future of Buffy/Angel came on Sunday at the “Cancellation as Apocalypse: A Panel Discussion on the End of Angel.” On the panel was David Bianculli, TV critic for the New York Daily News, as well as host of NPR’s “Fresh Air,” as well as three academics, including one from the UK who still hadn’t seen the finale of “Angel” but was on the panel because she is editing a forthcoming academic book on the show. This wasn’t a particularly helpful choice for anyone, including her, since it’s difficult to discuss a show’s end without mentioning spoilers. This quickly happened anyway when someone mentioned Wesley’s death, but she said that didn’t really surprise her because Wes had gone so dark in S5 that there was really no way for him to return from the places he had gone to and they were going to have to kill him off.

Bianculli mentioned several helpful things he learned from interviewing Joss by phone prior to the finale.

(1) Joss confirmed that Hamilton was supposed to represent the network suits.

(2) “Dark Shadows” was indeed being deliberately pitted against “Angel” by the WB as it was an in-house production that would cost them less. By the time the pilot for DS was greenlit, “Angel”’s cancellation had been decided. Bianculli has not seen the pilot but confirmed it was apparently awful, and plans to get a hold of it and write a review of it when he does, just to make a point of it.

(3) Bianculli disliked “The Girl in Question” as did most of the audience in the room (numbering about 70 people). He felt it was cheaply done and poorly timed.

(4) Joss apparently also mentioned in the conference call that we “haven’t seen the last of Puppet Angel.” (yay!)

(5) Bianculli brought up how the Sopranos was supposed to end this year but instead the creator decided the story wasn’t finished. They will be getting another 10 episodes from HBO to complete the series. He said it was too bad Joss couldn’t get the same and concluded “network TV sucks.”

(6) He felt that while Angel’s treatment of Harmony was consistent, her representation was not. When the episode “Harm’s Way” aired it looked like the show was going to give her more depth and characterization but this didn’t seem to be followed through.

(7) Joss wanted to do more with Illyria, and Bianculli thought that a Spike/Illyria spinoff would be a great idea. Bianculli noted that the rest of Angel’s group accepted that Illyria was here to stay when Spike nicknamed her.

(8) Although he was only speculating, Bianculli thought that Joss wrote the “last day” sequence as well as the final scene.

(9) Bianculli was asked whether he thought the “Save Angel” efforts did any good. He said he thought they mirrored the show’s end, you fight even though you know the fight will be useless. He mentioned that another critic had written an open letter to the producers of “Freaks and Geeks” when it ended to point out to them that the cancellation was not their fault and they had done everything right. Bianculli thought that he should do the same in the future, even if the shows had no chance. He said you never know what good a protest can do. He is surprised that “Enterprise” is getting another season. He has also seen “Joey,” believed it had quality and thinks it may do well.

(10) He was surprised by Gunn’s arc. He believed that Gunn was going to go dark after he murdered for Fred, and was also surprised Gunn got over Fred “because I wouldn’t.” He thought that Hamilton’s offer to Gunn was for him to become another Hamilton. He also believed that Lindsey and Angel both got out of hell free whereas Gunn did not. Another panel member mentioned that Gunn’s search for identity had led him to become an attachment to Fred, and when their relationship ended, Wolfram & Hart’s offer to upgrade him replaced her in this search for identity.

(11) Like apparently everyone else in the room, Bianculli enjoyed Spike’s moments in the finale, and he asked if people thought Spike’s addition to t he show worked. There was agreement it did. He said it was great to see Spike and Angel interact, the character seemed lost for a while, but he was great at being able to knock Angel down and cut to the chase with him. The “briefcase” moment seemed to be an audience favorite.

(12) Regarding Lorne, Bianculli noted that some of the most shocking and unexpected violence in both Buffy and Angel came from a simple handgun.

(13) He concluded saying that 2 years ago he had 3 shows on his TiVO that now aren’t there.

Aside from Bianculli’s comments there were some other interesting points of discussion from either the other panelists or the audience members.

(1) People felt Connor’s use as a character was redeemed in the last episodes of the season. Even though many had not liked him before, they loved his return. On the other hand there was a general dislike of “The Girl in Question.”

(2) It was suggested that Angel HAD shansu’ed - through Connor.

(3) There seemed to be a liking for Illyria’s character and a firm consensus that Amy Acker did a marvelous acting job.

(4) An audience member brought up that Wesley’s role as a watcher came full circle with Illyria at the end, something which the panel had not considered and were taken with.

(5) It was felt Lorne’s last scene was a tribute to the show’s “noir” roots.

(6) There was disagreement about Lindsey’s death, since wasn’t the show supposed to be about choices and redemption? The discussion seemed to conclude that because Lindsey kept coming back to Wolfram & Hart, that he would always revert. He was an opportunist - and both Angel and Lorne showed disappointment in his answers in their scenes with him.

(7) An audience member talked about how one of the show’s writers said that the loss of the female characters on “Angel” was about the hole it left in men’s lives along with a loss of hope. That “Angel” was never about the empowerment of women but rather about the fragmented images of masculinity.

(8) One of the panelists mentioned that some of her favorite moments of S5 were the various “heart to hearts” that took place on Angel’s couch, showing the great range the show had, from the fantastical to the intimate and realistic.

One other interesting point came from the end of the conference in a short panel Q&A with the various Buffy book authors at the conference. Nancy Holder, who was there launching her latest Buffy/Angel crossover novel, discussed the exhausting process of putting together the Watcher’s Guides for both shows and mentioned that Joss was disappointed with the first one. He wanted it to be more academic but the publisher wanted it to be more fan oriented.

19 Forum messages

  • > Slayage Conference - Joss Whedon New Spinoffs !!!

    1 June 2004 17:04, by You Know Who
    Illyria/Spike spin-off hell yer!!! They are the best 2 characters in Angel and Spike was the best ever character in Buffy. If there is a spin-off about them it will be the best television show ever to be shown! Hopefully this will happen but all we can do is hope...
  • please

    1 June 2004 19:52, by mike
    that’s barely enough to merit a "joss whedon new spinoffs!!!" title when it’s just someone hoping for one.
  • Pretty much yeah. Those are definitely the two characters I’d like to see more of the most.
  • > Slayage Conference - Joss Whedon New Spinoffs !!!

    1 June 2004 22:02, by Anonymous

    Im all for the spin off with Spike and Illyria

    matter a fact Id love that

  • I loved Spike as a character, but fear it would be very hard to do a spinoff with him without it turning into Angel but with Bleached hair.

    But that said I have faith in Joss Whedon and suspect alhtough I have doubts he could probably pull it off

  • > Slayage Conference - Joss Whedon New Spinoffs !!!

    2 June 2004 22:35, by Please don’t hate me...

    Great article. Lots of good points made besides that ’spin off’ angle.....

    Hamilton was so much a WB suit and was so in need of what he got from Angel. I’m with the shanshu/Connor line. Angel did say Connor was his destiny, therefore his hope for the future. I have to admit I was one of those who didn’t like Connor much in season 4, please take that as a compliment all the Vincent fans. He’s a great actor and has proved it again this season showing us the ’balanced’ Connor. An apt ending I thought, having Connor save Angel from Hamilton like he did. Now that’s a thought, why not have a spin off with Connor????

    I’m one person who would never watch Dark Shadows if it was the last show on TV!!!

    I know A girl in question upset a few very vocal ppl but what the heck, I needed a laugh. The phrase, "can’t live with ’em can’t live without ’em" come to mind when I think of the Buffy V Angel V Spike story and having Darla and Dru also go doe eyed over the immortal too really gave those boys an inferiority complex to die for. And that scooter ride and the leather jacket!!! rotflol. Yes it was very silly and way out there but I still love you Joss.....

    The vocal Spike fans make me laugh though. He was a great addition to the show, I’ve always loved the way he was written, Spike was so in your face but come on, James is getting way to old to front another spin off guys.... ducking behind the sofa.... let me clarify that ... In any other series I’d say fantastic, James is a supper actor but for a character who isn’t supposed to age? Come on, how long a ’life’ (sorry) are we looking at for this new show? Excuse the pun but any spin off needs some young blood. Spike didn’t do what he was brought into the mix for this year as far as ratings are concerned, it would be a big gamble to make him a lead on another show IMHO. My vote would still go to Connor.

    I loved Lorne’s moments with Lindsey. I can understand how shocked ppl were at Lindsey’s death but the show needed some shock appeal and the deaths of Lindsey and especially Wesley give the finale an edge it would have lacked otherwise. Whoever in the audience thought about Wesley’s watcher arc was spot on there. His ’protection’ and ’kindness’ towards Illyria were the characteristics that made him perfect for the role of a watcher. He tried so hard to guide her through her transition into this world when others were quick to judge her motives harshly. Only his connection to Fred enabled him to do that in a believable manner. I think Illyria had and still has a lot to offer, Joss and his writers are still the master of story telling in my book.

    As for the ’fragmented images of masculinity’.... there is some truth to that, the tone this season has been different, but the key moments of the season revolved around two central female characters deaths, Cordelia and Fred. The show portrayed each of the male characters dealing with the death of these two in very different ways, hence the fragmentation, therefore allowing us all to empathise or find some common ground with them somewhere. Joss showed he was particularly good at this theme before on Buffy with Joyce’s death and Tara’s. Also Angel and Spike’s season 5 arc with Buffy, Darla and Dru made for some interesting images. I loved the way those two bounced off/attacked/held hands with each other. LOL

    I’m sad its all over but happy with the ending. Angel fighting the dragon, what a great image. Does Gunn die? NEVER!! I’ll go hide behind the sofa again now......

  • Illyria/Spike Spin-Off

    3 June 2004 14:44, by Anonymous

    Absitively! And if JM starts to age, Spike can just Shansu and continue as a human hero :)

    Amazingly for such a late addition, Illyria is easily my favorite character now :) AA deserves an stack of Emy’s for her work as Illyria, and Illyria deserves one for her work as Fred :)

  • > Slayage Conference - Joss Whedon New Spinoffs !!!

    4 June 2004 05:21, by Anonymous
    The spin off idea would be awsome, the chemestry they had together in "Power Play". The age thing with James would be an issue, he’s 41 now he’s not going to look young forever. The shansu would seem to be their only way around that, and it would piss alot of Angel fans off. But you never know with Joss, he always has far out ideas. A conner Spin off would have the same issue as a Dawn one, alot of people are annoyed by their charecters. I’d still like to see something more with Illyria. Her story seems far from over, and I’m left hopeing that Fred would surface again.
  • I think a spinoff using Spike/Illyria/Gunn and featuring Conner, or even adding him in there would be good, and there are many ways that Joss could work it so that it wasn’t just ’Angel with bleached hair.’ Could possibly add in or guest star a buffy character or two. Just a thought.
  • > Slayage Conference - Joss Whedon New Spinoffs !!!

    4 June 2004 21:06, by Anonymous
    I like the idea of a Spike/Ilyria spin-off actually possibly with Gunn along for the ride. JM’s age is an issue but they could Shanshu or even kill him after a bit after the show had found an audience. Another possibility is a show based around Lorne, who has after all run off into the ether possibly linking him up with Groo as the muscle I always did wonder what had happened to Groo. Wonder what AD thinks about Wes being killed off BTW?
  • I would just like 2 say that any spin off with Connor, Illyria , spike or Dawn is an excellent idea. WHY CANT WE HAVE A SPIN OFF WITH WILLOW ??? Tonight I watched the last episode of angel S5 I was actually in tears when wesley died I just am finding it so upsetting that these characters (people) that have become so real to me have been taken away so unjustly and with out giving us the fans who have come to love them no say in it!!!
  • > Slayage Conference - Joss Whedon New Spinoffs !!!

    5 June 2004 05:41, by Wolverine68

    I disagree with the save-angel campaign mirroring the end of Angel, in the sense that you fight even though you know it will be hopeless.

    1st off, the campaign worked the 1st time. And efen though not successful the 2nd time, it probably showed the WB what a mistake they made.

    (Dark Shadows has now been cancelled. Hmm, I wonder why. Could it be because the WB knows they just lost it’s accult audience? You think?)

    2nd, the battle the Angel and company have to face once the camera stopped rolling on the series finale is not a hopeless cause.

    A-They have a very stratigic place to fight. (The alleyway limits how many foes can attack them, and retreat can be made through the Hyperion.) B-They have The super storng Illyria, and the still super charged Angel (off Hamilton’s blood). C-If they divide the task right, the battle can be won.

  • Excelent point, Wolverine68.

    I would like to believe that with Angel’s new power and Illyria, they could have beaten those odds.

  • > Slayage Conference - Joss Whedon New Spinoffs !!!

    6 June 2004 03:31, by WillowRocks!
    I have to agree with the one who said about WILLOW’S spin-off!!I absolutely adore Alyson Hannigan!!And Illyria has become my favourite in "ANGEL"!!Everybody wanted her to become Fred again & I was like: "Please let her stay like this!!"LOL!Amy was so much better as Illyria.So a spin-off with her would rock!As far as Spike goes I liked him in "Angel".As long as he’s not with Buffy he’s cool.Thy just don’t click together..Anyway..
  • > Slayage Conference - Joss Whedon New Spinoffs !!!

    7 June 2004 01:57, by Anonymous

    nearly any spinoff with any charactors from the show would be gr8 it would have all the fans of buffy and angel going to them some spinoff ideas

    spike and Illyria - most likely connor vs hellmouth college - very unlikly

    willow and kennedy - very unlikely

    dawn - hope not

    lorne in pileya

    angelus darla spike and dru in the old days before angel got a soul they have loads of flash backs why not make a full show

    for angel to survive make a super episode Angel Illyria Spike and maybe Gunn fighting for there live take on loads kill the 1st wave off then the 2nd wave off bad guys arrives and the dragons still alive then boom the slayers who’v been watching them jump down into the alley Gunns old crew drive up from behind dark willows floating in the middle zaps the darggon

    just think super Angel,Illyria,spike,gunn,buffy with the sie,20+slayers,gunns crew,willow,possibley riley andthe millatry,andrew could summon some demons to help,endless backup

  • > Slayage Conference - Joss Whedon New Spinoffs !!!

    7 June 2004 08:30, by Anonymous
    James’ age really should not matter at this point the man is 41 and looks pretty darn good to me. seems like he is blessed in the aging department, heck if it meant i’d get to see spike in action James can get a face lift or a little botox for all i care!!LOL..... i say bring on the spin offs and hurry Cuz i am already aching for some good JOSS TV especially the demony kind !!!!!!!!!! WHEDONVERSE ROCKS!!!!!!!!!! Please dont leave out Gunn or Lorne or Conner or.....mabey i should stop cuz i am gonna list the whole cast ;0)!
  • > Slayage Conference - Joss Whedon New Spinoffs !!!

    8 June 2004 08:14, by El Steve
    I think a Spike and Andrew show would be perfect. Throw in a slayer and youre set. The match is perfect. you have Spike and Andrew (think Buffy Season 7 with the friend onion convo)and a fairly straight laced, up tight slayer with a heart of gold (wesley on Buffy season 3), set it somewhere like Las Vegas so that the city itself becomes a character (this happened in early seasons of Angel but eventually LA just became a transition scene) and youve got a great show.
  • Why Spike can get what he wants without punishment and torture?Why Angel had to suffer too much,but still can’t get what he wants?There is no justice in Joss’ world!Fine!Destroy the buffy/angel verse!Kill both buffy and angel!Joss,if you can’t make them live togehter,just let them die together!let them become the next Romeo & Juliet!!!!!Give Spike his own show,I won’t watch it any way!!!
  • > Slayage Conference - Joss Whedon New Spinoffs !!!

    11 June 2004 15:53, by EventHorizon

    I’m all for the Spike/Illyria spin off. It’s true, James doesn’t look exactly the way he did when he joined the show... you know what- niether does David.

    I was more than willing to ignore David’s aging, and I’m willing to ignore James’. What’s funny though, is that James has changed in apperance less than David has- perhaps because when a person is younger, there’s a spurt they go through sometimes, and since James is older, it’s a little slower right now.

    Nah, I think I’d agree with him when he says he’d be able to pull it off for another 5 years or so... which is long enough for a series as long as it’s planned out right. (Babylon 5 from the begining was a 5 season arc.)

    I also have faith in both James and Joss that it would not be an "Angel with bleached hair" show. Angel was completely different than Buffy- which is why I ended up being a fan of it first. In his own show, Spike’s character will end up developing even more- which is a good thing, but he would never be like Angel. He might understand him a little more, and might actually start to like him a little more- but he’d never be like him.

    He already respects him, though he’d never admit it. In the 100th ep, Cordy had said something like "You said this guy was a hero?" (Or something like that) and Spike’s face lit up and he said something like "You said that?" in a happy-ish/proud tone.

    So Angel has been an influence, one way or another, in Spike- but it hasn’t changed him into Angel yet, and I don’t think it ever will... even if they did go back to the "Helping the helpless" like Spike was trying to do for Lindsey- it was definitely done with a Spike flare to it- not like Angel at all... further proof I think that a Spike show would be nothing like Angel... I think him yelling at the girl in the alley shows that while Spike might be doing the same sort of thing Angel should be doing... they are, and never will be really alike.