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Buffy The Vampire SlayerStars of the Buffyverse Are Back on TV
Friday 7 October 2005, by Webmaster
Starring in a successful TV series can prove to be a double-edged sword. Sure, an actor reaps the rewards — fame and money chief among them. But there’s also the danger of being typecast. Once the series ends, where does an actor so identified with his or her character go from there?
Some stars manage to excel in their new roles. William Shatner, for example, just won an Emmy for portraying Denny Crane on "Boston Legal," even though everyone knows him as Capt. Kirk. But three of the stars of "Seinfeld," one of the biggest TV successes ever, all bombed in their next outings. For better or worse, viewers so identified Michael Richards with the role of Kramer, his next venture was doomed from the start..
With that in mind, one interesting aspect of the 2005-2006 TV season is the return of many of the actors and actresses who made "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" into long-running cult favorites. Here’s a closer look at the actors and the shows where they’ll attempt to make a new name for themselves:
David Boreanaz / © CBS David Boreanaz
Who he was: Angel, a brooding vampire with a dark past who wants to atone for his sins. Cursed with a soul, Angel first fought alongside Buffy until it became clear that their feelings for each other would complicate matters too much. Angel then moved to Los Angeles in the self-titled spin-off, where he attempted to help the helpless and thwart the plans of the demonic law firm, Wolfram & Hart.
Who he’s become: In FOX’s "Bones," Boreanaz plays Seeley Booth, a brooding FBI agent with a dark past who seeks atonement (sound familiar?). In the pilot, Booth had good chemistry with lead Emily Deschanel as the pair investigated a murder inspired by the case of Chandra Levy, the congressional intern. Booth even suggests that he and Temperance "Bones" Brennan are like Mulder and Scully of "The X-Files." Establishing the tension between the man of action and the woman of science, Booth tells his counterpart, "You know, homicides — they’re not solved by scientists. They’re solved by guys like me, asking a thousand questions a thousand times, catching people telling lies every time." Everything else aside, it is disconcerting to see Boreanaz walking around in the sunshine without bursting into flames.
What are the prospects for the character and the show? There’s a ton of established cop dramas out to go along with "Bones" and the crop of new ones. Some will sink; others will swim. It’s a little early to tell which category "Bones" will be in. Early returns indicate the show is still a little rough around the edges, with more than a few implausible moments. But Boreanaz and Deschanel definitely have the talent to make the show a success. As with any new show, the challenge will be retaining and building its audience. A FOX honcho told Variety that the network may keep the show together with "House" on Tuesday nights in January when "American Idol" will be in high gear. That comment suggests they’ve got a fair amount of faith in Boreanaz and his new vehicle. Charisma Carpenter / © Wire Image Charisma Carpenter
Who she was: Spoiled rich bitch Cordelia was more than a match for witty Xander (see below) and sometimes told the Scoobies uncomfortable truths. But like Xander, she grew into a deeper character, becoming a worthy demon fighter herself in "Angel."
Who she’s become: Kendall Casablancas, a rich trophy wife and stepmother of two classmates of Veronica Mars on UPN’s show of the same name. In her own words, her character is "a bitch in a bikini." In an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, she compared Cordelia and Kendall by noting that "Kendall is a little bit older, she’s 28. She’s honed her skills a lot more, so she’s way more manipulative and hip to how it all works, how to get what you want when you want it. Cordelia was good, but it was on a high-school level. As Cordelia changed and evolved, she started to mellow out. ... There was more humanity to her and she became more fleshed out, three-dimensional and complicated. That’s key for any character to be redeemed, if you’re going to keep them around. But Kendall could totally take her. This fall I’m really looking forward to just causing trouble and having some fun and being mean!" The network says Carpenter will appear in at least six episodes.
What are the prospects for the character and the show? It’s hard to say with everyone being so tight-lipped about the new season-long mystery. Charisma could play a relatively small role or, like Harry Hamlin, could be the major culprit. She could be an apt replacement for Celeste Kane or there could be some awesome catfights with all three. However it goes down, "Veronica Mars" has gotten a boost from CBS showing reruns over the summer and from star Kristen Bell performing in the "Emmy Idol" competition during the annual awards show. How much that raised the profile of the show remains to be seen.
Who he was: Green played Daniel "Oz" Osbourne, a high-school rocker and much cooler teenage werewolf than either Michael J. Fox or Jason Bateman — not that that’s saying much. He and Willow dated, but as always with characters written by "Buffy" writer and creator Joss Whedon, it didn’t work out.
Who he’s become: Green is the voice of Chris Griffin in FOX’s animated series "Family Guy." His character is a far cry from Oz, who was always interesting and a stud. Chris, on the other hand, is dull and unhip. Oz had suaveness in his favor and was skinny. Chris is gross and fat. The one thing they have in common beyond Green is that they are both freakin’ hilarious.
What are the prospects for the character and the show? So far, so good. After the show was canceled, strong DVD sales persuaded FOX to bring "Family Guy" back to life, and it’s been amusing upon its return. Now if they could only have some more Chris-centric storylines. Nicholas Brendon / © FOX Nicholas Brendon
Who he was: In "Buffy," Brendon played Xander Harris, whose heart and sarcasm kept the Scoobies grounded while facing demons, witches and vamps. But it wasn’t all laughs with Xander; he also pulled more than his weight when it came time to save the world.
Who he’s become: Brendon portrays Seth Richman, pastry chef extraordinaire on FOX’s "Kitchen Confidential." Seduced into joining bad-boy chef Jack Bourdain at his new restaurant, Nolita, Richman starts off skeptical that Bourdain will stay on the straight and narrow but still agrees to help out. In a recent episode, Richman fumes over a dish. "That isn’t a pyramid," he says to one of the other chefs. "That’s a tepee." When the other chef talks back, Richman goes off, "Don’t tell me about pyramids. My people built the pyramids!" In another scene, one of Nolita’s chefs demands respect and that he be called by his name after being the victim of a number of pranks. "Relax, champ," Richman says. "We’re just busting your onions." In short, Brendon probably couldn’t get a more Xander-like character to play without Whedon coming up with it for him.
What are the prospects for the character and the show? "Kitchen Confidential" has received mostly positive reviews, and placement between "Arrested Development" and "Prison Break" could be a real advantage. It’ll be nice if and when Brendon gets more screen time, but with a cast this size it’ll take a while to get around to everyone. The bottom line is "Kitchen" should be around for a long enough run that Brendon eventually gets his moment in the spotlight. Alyson Hannigan / © CBS Alyson Hannigan
Who she was: Willow Rosenberg made a journey from shy bookworm and hacker with a crush on Xander to a powerful witch and lesbian.
Who she’s become: Lily, one of a group of close friends who gets engaged to another in the group in the pilot of "How I Met Your Mother" on CBS. In one scene, she says, "I’m exhausted. It was finger-painting day at school today, and a 5-year-old boy got to second base with me." She takes off her coat to reveal a big purple handprint on her blouse. In another scene, she also gets a champagne cork in her eye. Later, when an onlooker sees her with an ice bag on her eye and asks if her fiancé hit her, she laughs. "Hit me? Please! This guy can barely even spank me in bed for fun. He’s like, ’Oh, honey, did that hurt?’ And I’m like, ’Come on, let me have it, you pansy!’ Oh, complete stranger." It’s a part that owes more to her "American Pie" experience than her time on "Buffy."
What are the prospects for the character and the show? Despite being a laugh-track comedy, "Mother" is actually pretty funny. Neil Patrick Harris is particularly funny as the selfish bachelor buddy. Hannigan’s very good in her own right. With some sweetness and some raunchiness, "Mother" seems like it will appeal to people across the board. James Marsters / © Wire Image James Marsters
Who he was: Angry, thuggish vampire Spike blew into Sunnydale with his crazy girlfriend, Drusilla, but soon found himself in love with Buffy. First restrained from hurting humans by a chip and then by his soul, he fought with and alongside Buffy and Angel, but often found himself distrusted.
Who he’s become: Marsters will be legendary Superman villain Brainiac over the course of the fifth season of the WB’s "Smallville." Brainiac assumes the seemingly human identity of Milton Fine, one of Clark Kent’s college professors. Brainiac has a goal and needs Clark to accomplish it, says Al Gough, the executive producer of "Smallville." "He’s a terrific actor," Gough says of Marsters. "He plays a character whose intentions are certainly not as overt as Spike’s. But he brings a level of sophistication and menace to the show. He’s a character who can actually get the best of Lex Luthor, which you don’t see that often. Hopefully, as he did with ’Buffy’ and ’Angel,’ he’ll bring fans to the show, too."
What are the prospects for the character and the show? There’s a certain job security in playing a character whose survival is assured, since Brainiac has to continue on to menace a grown-up Clark Kent. If "Smallville" does survive to a sixth season and beyond, however, it’s doubtful that Brainiac will make further appearances after the current season.