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Those anti-Spike hackers part deux, the Angel DVD, and Miracles

March 16, 2003

[Originally a Billie's Bytes column]

My column last week seems to have touched a nerve; I received several well-written messages of support, and one less well-written message full of exclamation points suggesting that I stuff it. I also heard that my opinion was slammed on a certain Buffy board, which is certainly their privilege... although the immortal words of William Shatner, "get a life!" come to mind.

Last week, I referred to letter-writing campaigns. Why would letter-writing campaigns be unfair? Certainly, very few letter-writing campaigns are fixed; a fan letter-writing campaign saved Star Trek back in 1968, giving it that all-important third season (a little ancient history there). If it hadn't been for the fans, the entire franchise -- the movies, the multiple series, the books, you name it -- would never have happened.

But what if a specific group organizes its members, feeds them form letters, and then instructs each member to send in multiple letters and/or messages?

Could this be what happened to Kristin's recent poll on whether Buffy should be with Angel or with Spike at the end of the series? (The results were Buffy/Angel, 56%, Buffy/Spike, 44%). But hey, probably not; perhaps the lack of Buffy/Spike sparks so far this year was the cause. It hardly matters in the grand scheme of things. Somehow I doubt that Mutant Enemy takes internet polls seriously when making decisions about what to do with their characters; focus groups and direct polling of actual human beings will carry more weight.

You know, I adore Angel and David Boreanaz, and I was a big fan of the Buffy/Angel romance back in the day. I just happen to like James Marsters more, and I'm not alone. Do I think Buffy will walk into the sunset with either of her vampire lovers? Come on. Would Joss Whedon go completely against type and give fans a trite Mulder/Scully ending? I don't think so.

The next new Buffy episode airs on March 25, and it is centered around Spike. It's about time. Many Buffy episodes this season have suffered from too much with the slayers-in-training, and not enough Spike, Willow, and Xander.

Spinoff talk is now focused on the character of Willow, possibly because of her crossover stint this coming Wednesday on Angel. By all reports, though, Alyson Hannigan does not sound enthused. Personally, I love all of the Buffy characters and will watch any spinoff... but please, whatever it is, let it include Spike!

Firefly star Nathan Fillion has been signed to play a key role in the last five episodes of the series. And Anthony Stewart Head has mentioned that talk of a spinoff series for his character, Giles, may be moving in a different direction -- a television movie, which would be a much easier-to-execute proposition for Joss Whedon than a BBC series. As far as I'm concerned, any Giles is good Giles; go, Joss, go.

Speaking of Angel, I'm currently working my way through the recently released first season DVD. Although I'm enjoying the uncut episodes, the extras are a non-starter. The four featurettes run a total of only about half an hour, and include short, unsubstantial comments by the producers David Greenwalt and Tim Minear, and actors David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Alexis Denisof, J. August Richards, and Elizabeth Rohm. There is little discussion of Glenn Quinn, which is not surprising considering that the DVD was packaged before his untimely death.

The high point of the DVD is definitely the episodes themselves, which is probably as it should be. There are several good ones, most notably those featuring crossovers with Buffy, Spike, Oz, and Faith; in fact, the two episodes with Faith ("Five by Five" and "Sanctuary") are critical to understanding what is going on with her character in the episodes airing now. "Hero," the last episode with Glenn Quinn, is much more of a tear-jerker now than it was when it aired. I was reminded of how much I originally disliked Alexis Denisof's Wesley, and how quickly he won me over; he's my favorite character now. I was also struck by how different David Boreanaz and Charisma Carpenter look now than they did three years ago.

There are also some colossally bad episodes, such as "I Fall to Pieces," "Expecting," and "She." In fact, there's a lack of cohesion in the entire first season; they seem to be feeling their way in the dark, as it were. Angel improved dramatically in its second year with the return of Darla and Drusilla, and the amping up of Wolfram & Hart characters Lindsey McDonald and Lilah Morgan.

Executive producer David Greenwalt left Angel last summer to co-executive produce the new show Miracles, which debuted just over a month ago on ABC. Unfortunately, I missed the debut and have only caught the last two episodes, but I'm catching up as quickly as I can.

Miracles is intriguing, although the plot lines of the last two episodes have not impressed me and I'm constantly reminded of similarities to The X-Files, Millennium, and The Sixth Sense. But the look of the show is captivating, the religious undertones are fascinating, and the acting is good; the show has promise, and I plan to continue watching.

That's all for this week,

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

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