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Angel gets shaken up, Enterprise gets sexy, and the Dead Zone returns

April 20, 2003

[Originally a Billie's Bytes column]

The Dead Zone aired their so-called second season finale a couple of weeks ago. The second season was supposed to consist of thirteen episodes, just like the first season, but if you were counting, they only aired twelve. I hear that one of the episodes, called "The Hunt for Osama," was pulled because of the war. I don't know about you, but I'm really curious about that one; I hope they eventually air it.

The good news is that The Dead Zone's second season was just extended; there will be six new episodes airing in July and August. Just the thing to help us all get through the summer television wasteland, especially now that Farscape is gone. No news yet on a third season for The Dead Zone, but it's looking good.

No such luck for the X-Files religious clone, Miracles, which was cancelled by ABC. But it's looking pretty good for Angel. No official word yet, but there's a lot of interesting and encouraging buzz about Angel right now, and it has a lot to do with the Buffy spinoff that didn't happen.

The initial idea for the Buffy spinoff was supposed to be Faith as a fugitive, and it would have included Spike as a supporting character. Eliza Dushku said in a recent interview that she ultimately decided that she wanted to do something new rather than revisit a character she's already played, and I think we can all understand that. I'm not sure how I feel about Faith as Dr. Richard Kimble with superpowers, anyway.

After Eliza tanked the spinoff, Joss Whedon and his merry band of producers went to Fox and the WB and pitched a whole new direction for Angel. The show has a loyal audience and makes consistent ratings, but it isn't generating big numbers or pulling in new viewers; I'm fairly certain they decided on some radical surgery because Angel is also in danger of tanking.

David Greenwalt told Zap2it a few weeks ago, and I quote: "I'm not sure we're going to blow up the hotel, but the notion is of them going to a place that is more like an advertising agency, lots of glass and light. It's going to be great -- visitors from the Buffyverse, including a possible regular from the Buffyverse. I think these ideas are so strong that it could run two years. It would be a whole new show. We'd put the characters in a new situation, both financially and physically. It's all about us saying, 'OK, you've been on the Greenpeace ship saying, 'Hey, Shell Oil is bad.' What happens if you actually have to go work for Shell Oil? What happens if you had to be on the inside, grow up, get a real job?' I'm really excited about it."

What does this sound like to you? That Greenpeace/Shell Oil thing makes it sound like Angel and his crew are going to work for Wolfram and Hart, doesn't it? How on earth could they make that work? Not long after this announcement, we heard that both Spike and Giles might be moving over to Angel. (To which I say, hallelujah! My two favorite characters? There is a God, and it's not Gina Torres.) The addition of Giles makes one wonder... what if the new direction has something to do with the Watcher's Council? (Thanks to Dan for that idea.)

This week, David Boreanaz told an audience in L.A. that several Angel characters are going to bite the dust. "Several." He said, "several." I'm assuming it doesn't include him. Angel already has seven cast members; if they add Spike and Giles, that's nine, which is too many for a show with a WB budget. Heads are clearly going to roll, and I bet that they'll be making decisions based on who will work best in the new scenario.

I hope they take this opportunity to cut Charisma Carpenter loose; the character of Cordelia has been jerked around and screwed with so much that I don't like her any more. I used to love Cordelia, dammit. And the feminist in me hates to say it, but I'm not a big fan of Fred's, either. I think Connor is fascinating, but I wouldn't miss him. The two characters I like best are Wesley and Lorne. I'm also very fond of Gunn. If the new direction has anything to do with the Watcher's Council, Wesley is probably not gonna get the axe. Yay.

Want to bet that Joss Whedon plans to use the next year of Angel to lay the groundwork for another Buffyverse spinoff?

Okay, moving right along...

Remember awhile back when The Nashville Network acquired Next Generation and tried to revamp their image by changing their name to The National Network? Well, maybe you don't remember because nobody noticed the change, and they're still having ratings problems. So they're changing their name again to, I kid you not, Spike. Really. I'm really not kidding. They're targeting the male demographic, and they wanted a masculine-sounding name. I have a cat named Spike. He's a total wuss.

The National Network, soon to be called Spike, made one good move last week: they started running Highlander again. I forgot how much I loved that show; it's great to have it back. If you've never watched it, do yourself a favor and check it out. I'm considering buying the DVDs, if only to see the sexy European scenes that were cut for American audiences. Does anyone know if the second season is coming out in DVD anytime soon? Or at all?

And finally, there's Enterprise. The latest news is that they're gearing up for a huge finale that will include a great deal of death and destruction on Earth, and some big changes in the storyline. And T'Pol (Jolene Blalock) is going to go through ponn farr. Man, I knew that one was coming.

If you're not a Trek fan, this means she's going into heat, and will undoubtedly be running around in skimpy clothing attacking her male shipmates. You can undoubtedly tell from the implicit sarcasm that I'm leery of this idea, probably from the justifiable fear that they'll screw it up. I wonder if she's going to do the horizontal warp with Captain Archer, though? I can picture them afterward, totally embarrassed and unable to look at each other. Could be fun.

Please, Paramount. Fire Berman and Braga before it's too late.

And that's all for this week in sci-fi,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

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