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Can Angel be saved? Or is Joss Whedon's Buffyverse gone for good?

[Originally published on a now defunct web magazine in 2004. Contains big time spoilers.]

My name is Billie, and I'm a Buffyholic.

I got hooked during the second season of Buffy, and started reviewing the show. Now, after seven years of Buffy and nearly five of its excellent spin-off, Angel, I can't imagine a new season without a show set in Joss Whedon's Buffyverse. Unfortunately, that's exactly what those turkeys at The WB intend to do to us.

With nearly eight years under his belt, Angel (David Boreanaz) himself is now the Buffyverse's longest lived character. With the demise of its parent show last year, many expected Angel to get dusted as well. Instead, Angel went in a new creative direction and was renewed at the last minute.

Angel has hit a creative high this year. The cast is seasoned, the writers are outstanding and know what they're doing, and the addition of popular character Spike (James Marsters) from the parent series was icing on the cake. There have been so many outstanding episodes so far this season that I've run out of superlatives. "Lineage" blew us away as we finally met Wesley's poisonous father; "You're Welcome," their hundredth episode, was a moving farewell to long running character Cordelia; "Destiny" was the ultimate exploration of the dysfunctional Angel/Spike relationship; "Why We Fight" had, of all things, vampires on a submarine during World War II -- and it worked; and "Smile Time," the funniest episode they've ever done, saw our hero Angel turned into a puppet.

Right after the airing of the hundredth episode, The WB announced unexpectedly that they were canceling Angel. Like many fans, I reacted with disbelief, sorrow, and even anger. Campaigns to save Angel sprang up overnight. I've seen campaigns to save shows before; rarely do they have this number of angry fans fueled by such strong emotion. Buffy and Angel fans are PASSIONATE, like their favorite characters.

I recently corresponded with Theresa Fortier, Co-Media Liaison for SavingAngel.org, and she was kind enough to answer several of my questions.

Billie: Why was Angel cancelled so abruptly, without warning? And if you don't know, can you speculate?

Theresa: Our understanding is that Joss Whedon met with Jordan Levin, President of Entertainment at Warner Brothers, on Thursday, February 12. At that time, Joss asked that Mr. Levin advise if he had any intentions of canceling the show this year and if so to please give him ample time to wrap up the Angel story line. Despite the fact that Angel's ratings have increased over last year and is one of only a few shows on the WB to do so and is the fourth highest rates show on the WB amongst 18-49 year olds, Mr. Levin advised that due to the aging slate of one hour programs that they have leaving the air next year (such as Charmed and Seventh Heaven), he intended to cancelAngel this year to make more room in the schedule to carry new programming next season.

Billie: Tell me about the campaign.

Theresa: The SavingAngel.org team was created the day after the official press release regarding the cancellation was posted at The WB website (Friday, February 13). It originally consisted of internet fans on opposite sides of the Spike/Buffy & Angel/Buffy romance shipper groups. It grew to encompass several others with previous experience running ads to support characters and pairings on the shows, web designers, artists, editors, graphic artists, etc. We gathered those with the skills to run successful support campaigns and worked hard to come up with ideas that would garner media attention and rally the support of the fans into a powerful voice.

Billie: If someone wants to get involved, what should they do?

Theresa: Fans should visit http://www.savingangel.org for ideas regarding postcard targets. In order to get our voices heard, we've been heavily targeting media outlets to support our cause as well as network executives who can find an outlet for the show. Additional campaigns will be announced on the website as details become available.

Billie: There was a rally last Wednesday (March 31). How did that go?

Theresa: The rally was a success for us. We were able to include our SavingAngel billboard truck and had over 100 rally participants out to support the effort. We had several media outlets covering the event including NPR (National Public Radio), TV Guide Channel, and The Ryan Seacrest Show. We had the opportunity to get our message out and to support a quality television program. With so few scripted dramas still on the air, television viewers need to find ways to keep the best from leaving before their time.

Billie: The actors are now free to pursue other commitments, aren't they? Do you think this might be a problem if the campaign works and the series is renewed?

Theresa: The cast members' contracts have not yet expired, but will soon. It's important that we do everything we can as soon as possible so that no opportunities are lost and the decisions are made before it's too late.

Billie: Is the campaign working?

Theresa: The initial reaction to the campaign was that there was little that could be done. However, as we receive more media and critical exposure, we have heard only positive things. Joss Whedon himself advised in an interview with Kevin and Bean on KROQ Friday morning that the campaign was having an impact and to keep making news and sending in those postcards supporting the show. That says to me that we are being heard. (See an article in the SciFi Wire for more details: http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/art-tv.html?2004-04/05/10.00.tv "Whedon says, Keep writing")

Billie: Do you think Angel will be renewed?

Theresa: A traditional renewal may not be possible considering the circumstances but we are still pursuing it as our primary goal. However, any support we can give now will help in the long term in proving that any kind of continuation of the Buffy and Angel universe will have an audience willing and waiting to watch.

So there you have it, Angel fans. Get involved! Help Save Our Show, or there will be nothing left but reality shows, sitcoms, and CSI, and that is my idea of a hell dimension.
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

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