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Spike moving to Angel?

April 2, 2003

[Originally a Billie's Bytes column]

With only five new Buffy episodes remaining before the end of the series, fans are in a major state of freak-out about the future of the franchise. That includes me, by the way.

Although there have been no official reports as yet, rumor has it that plans for a spinoff have been permanently derailed by Eliza Dushku's defection to the proposed new Fox series, Heroine. This doesn't mean there will never be a spinoff; we just won't be getting one this fall.

And what about Angel? Angel's ratings are consistent, but not fabulous. Creatively, Angel is having its best season yet. I love Angel for itself, but I must admit that losing it now would have extra added angst. No Buffy, no Angel, no spinoff? Too horrible to imagine.

But there's hope. I'm still braced for the worst... but rumors and hints and other wonderful things are floating around the internet. It started (for me, anyway) with an article on Zap2it, in which Angel co-creator David Greenwalt says that he and Joss Whedon, Tim Minear, and Jeffrey Bell have talked with Fox and The WB about new plans for Angel's next season. These plans would include major re-vamping :) of the main story line, and crossing over characters from Buffy. And, I quote, "a possible regular from the 'Buffy'-verse."

Of course, the first thing that galloped into my brain was, PLEASE LET IT BE SPIKE.

Okay, it could be Willow, too; I adore Willow. But Alyson Hannigan has said repeatedly that she's ready to move on; I bet she'd be willing to do guest bits, especially since her fiance works on Angel, but she doesn't sound willing to sign on full-time.

And it could be Xander... except that his character has been seriously underutilized this year, and I don't think his permanent addition to the Angel cast would add drama or conflict. I think Xander would have been a natural for a Faith spinoff, since Xander and Faith have so much history together. But I don't really see him on Angel.

Giles and Anya are out, of course, because the actors have said so, and I don't think anyone would propose moving Dawn to Angel. Although the idea of Dawn and Connor as a couple is oddly appealing.

Why Spike? Let me count the ways.

Reason 1: James Marsters is an outstanding actor, and he plays a complex and popular character. Spike is second only to Doctor Who on the list of top ten sci-fi characters of all time. His acting talents were recently praised in the New York Times and the Boston Herald; his performance in the October episode, "Beneath You," has been referred to several times as an Emmy-caliber performance. He even made TV Guide's 50 Things to Love About TV, and I quote, "The James Dean of the undead, played with sardonic sex appeal by James Marsters, this peroxide paradox brings a brutally carnal bite and a bitterly anguished heart to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffeted between evil and good, regaining his soul but losing his mind out of love for the slayer, Spike is the sort of romantic antihero fan club cults were made for." And so say all of us.

Reason 2: Marsters has confirmed that he's interested in continuing to play Spike. It hasn't been seven years for him, after all.

Reason 3: Adding a popular Buffy character to Angel (as well as having other Buffy actors guest star) will almost certainly increase Angel's audience, and Angel needs the ratings. Plus it would keep the characters going and serve as a possible launching pad for another Buffyverse spinoff.

Reason 4: The characters of Angel and Spike have a century-long antagonistic relationship, and they're now romantic rivals. Remember their acting chemistry in Buffy's second season? Put them together on the same show, and the possibilities for dramatic conflict go through the roof. I get excited just thinking about it.

I think my two favorite vampires need each other.

A pro-Spike campaign is already in the works. I'm planning to write a postcard or email myself. Take a moment out of your day and help support our favorite blond vampire; letting the Powers That Be know how much we love Spike is a good thing. And while you have those postcards out, stop by and help the Renew Angel campaign. Nothing will happen if Angel isn't renewed.

MediaWeek just reported that Jordan Levin, WB entertainment president recently said, "Angel could return next season on either Wednesday or Sunday, and discussions are underway with show creator Joss Whedon to possibly include some characters from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, which ends its run on UPN this season."

I'm officially encouraged. Especially now that Angel was just named as one of the six shows you're probably not watching (but you should) in TV Guide.

Moving right along... Alias just keeps giving us one great episode after another, and Ron Rifkin is turning into one of the tube's most memorable villains. This past Sunday's episode, "Endgame," gave us an omigod moment as Sloane took revenge on Dixon for Emily's accidental death (see my review for more). I wasn't sure if this show could survive the shake up of its original premise, but it has; I dare say it's even getting better.

Finally, what's up with The Dead Zone? At the end of this Sunday's episode, "Playing God" (an outstanding if slightly maudlin episode featuring Ally Sheedy in a small Breakfast Club reunion), the preview for next week clearly said that it was the season finale. If I take my shoes off and count, that's twelve episodes. Is that all we're getting this year?

That's all for this week,

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

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