Thursday, May 20, 2004

Angel Series Finale and the End of the Buffyverse?

Angel's final episode last night was a triumph of action and drama, wrapping up a beloved show in heart-warming fashion - and leaving our heroes in peril, a cliffhanger befitting their glorious careers.

It was too bad so many good shows are going off the air to make way for the never-ending roll call of Reality Drivel that the networks keep cranking out. Why is it that quality shows fade away and "Enterprise" is still on the air? Or "Fear Factor" or "Vegas" or most of the UPN lineup? The WB's answer for next season: "Commando Nanny," the first scripted series from "Survivor" producer Mark Burnett. It's a sitcom based on Burnett's experiences as an ex-British Special Forces commando who became a Beverly Hills nanny. Wow. Can't wait for that one.

Angel wrapped up his fight to the finish with a daredevil showdown against the Senior Partners and the Circle of the Black Thorn, a newly-mentioned group of bad guys that were supposedly behind all the evil on this planet. One problem I had with this: you cannot introduce a new bad guy with only two episodes to go and then expect a fight to the finish with those bad guys to hold the same emotional impact as fighting someone for a whole season.

Whedon did what he could to wrap up the show after it was uncermoniously dumped by WB to make way for more CRAP programming. He tried to summarize the show by taking Team Angel to an entirely new location this year - placing them inside the belly of the beast by offering them work at the supernatural law firm Wolfram and Hart. As Whedon said in a recent interview, "This year was about, if you're inside of a structure, be it corporate or societal, that is by its nature corrupt, do you affect it or does it affect you?" The sixth year was supposed to be, "When you buck the system and you do your best to make it collapse and it does, the next season would have been some serious chaos."

Few media outlets covered the finale in the way they covered the last episode of Buffy or, obviously, Friends. The Toronto Star has a great summation of the episode and season and some nice insight into the roles and minds of the characters. The Boston Herald also wrote up a nice piece and gave Joss a chance to vent about the WB. And Fort Wayne's TV Gal sums up the show's obsessive following.

According to SciFiWire: The final episode of The WB's Angel has aired, but series co-creator Joss Whedon told Zap1it that the show's finale doesn't mark the end of the "Buffyverse," referring to the universe created in Angel's predecessor series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Whedon told the site that he's talking with Dark Horse Comics about reviving the Buffy comic-book series and making that a place where the two shows' mythology lives on.

Whedon added that he's also had a few discussions about an Angel TV movie or another spinoff, which he says he'd do only if a cogent idea comes to him and he can assemble enough of the cast and crew to execute it properly, the site reported. "I'd rather stop now than do anything by halves," he told the site. But, he added, "I just don't believe that the Buffyverse is dead."

The end of Angel also marks the first season in eight years that viewers won't have a new Whedon show on the air. His previous shows, UPN's Buffy and Fox's short-lived Firefly, ended last year. But that likely won't last long, as Whedon has a development deal with 20th Century Fox TV and says he still wants to develop new shows (nothing is planned for the coming season), the site reported. Whedon's next gig is to direct Serenity, a feature film based on Firefly, which begins shooting later this month.

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