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From Tv Guide Magazine & Fanforum.com


The Big Fang Theory - Angel nearly dies, but Spike’s here to give the vamp show lots more bite

Written By Shawna Malcom & Transcribed By ChickNLittle

Saturday 30 August 2003, by Webmaster

ON THE HOLLYWOOD set of WB’s Angel, the brooding, do gooder title character, played by David Boreanaz, is sitting in his office, lost in thought. He glances up at Wesley, one of his crime busting partners, and asks, "You don’t think he’s really gone, do you?" Within moments, his question is answered: Spike, the trash talking, platinum blond vampire, comes striding in, clad in his trademark leather trench coat.

For a guy who was last seen going up in flames on the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he looks remarkably unsinged. The actor behind Spike, James Marsters, is obviously thrilled by his resurrection. "With the writers we had on Buffy, I felt like we could have gone at least two more years;"he says during a break. Buffy and Angel creator Joss Whedon first approached the 41 year old actor last winter about transplanting his 123 year old character to Angel. Marsters jumped at the chance. "I have never felt bored doing this character. I don’t know when I will be able to do something this delightful again, so why bid it goodbye before you have to?" Spike’s encore will be tied to the amulet that played a key role in Buffy’s finale. "He’s not just going to walk in and go, ’You wouldn’t believe what just happened to me. I dreamt that I was burnt to a crisp,’" Whedon says. "We’re going to bring him back in the most painful and confusing way for him possible."

Spike isn’t the only one getting a second chance. For four seasons, Angel performed consistently, if not spectacularly, for WB, yet it hovered near cancellation last spring. The problem, according to WB president Jordan Levin, was partly financial (in order to stay on the air, Angel ultimately had to cut its budget) and partly the series’ creative direction. "We wanted to brighten the show," Levin says.

So the vampires got a revamp. "Last year’s plotlines were a little darker;" Boreanaz says, relaxing on a leather couch on the show’s set. "This year, it’s a whole different spin. There’s more humor."

Levin admits that incorporating alums from Buffy, the cult hit that WB lost to rival UPN after five seasons, played a pivotal part in Angel’s renewal. "We wanted to be able to fuse the two shows’ worlds," he says. "We wanted to know there was an openness to doing that."

Marsters isn’t the only one who quickly signed on. Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, is in serious talks to make a two-episode appearance, likely during either February or May sweeps. And another Buffy character Spike’s former flame Harmony, played by Mercedes McNab will appear throughout the season as Angel’s new assistant at the sinister law firm he and the gang took over in last season’s finale

Other developments to sink your teeth into: Former gang member Gunn undergoes a mysterious procedure that transforms him into a top attorney; science whiz Fred gets recruited by Spike, who’s desperate to feel like his old self again; and an enigmatic new character named Eve offers up her services as a liaison between Angel and the law firm’s senior partners.

Two major players have vanished, however: Angel’s tortured son, Connor, and comatose Cordelia, who had been with the show since Day 1. According to Whedon, both exits were dictated by the story lines. "It was time for Cordelia to go;" seconds Charisma Carpenter, who will guest star on NBC’s new fall comedy Miss Match. "I really don’t know what was left to do with her."

Whedon has a few thoughts, though he’s reluctant to go into much detail. "We’d like to do arcs with both Cordelia and Connor," he says cryptically. But let’s not be coy here: It’s Cellar the fans really want. Whedon won’t divulge details, but he will allow that Buffy’s presence will create more tension between the two vamps who’ve loved her Angel, her first boyfriend, and Spike, her most recent. "In order for all of them to get along," Whedon says, "one of them would have to die. Again. And I don’t want that."

Neither does Marsters, who came to play, albeit by his own rules. "I’m starting to do what I did at Buffy, which is go off in a corner by myself;" he says. "Some of that’s probably the character. But I suck at team sports. I always have. It’s more like, ’Throw me the ball. It’s my ball.’" The show’s original star doesn’t seem particularly comfortable with that idea. "Remember, it’s called Angel;" Boreanaz says. "Spike is one of my henchmen. He is underneath me."

Sounds like Angel’s already baring his fangs.