WB stakes ‘Buffy,’ ‘Angel’ again

From The Hollywood Reporter:

By Cynthia Littleton

The WB network has sunk its teeth a little deeper into “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel,” giving both 20th Century Fox TV series 22-episode orders for the 2000-01 season.

Both shows were a cinch to be renewed — they rank as the WB’s third- and fourth-highest rated shows this season — but the WB gave the official word to 20th early in part to jump-start production for the new season.

Joss Whedon, creator of “Buffy” and co-creator with David Greenwalt of the spinoff “Angel,” will dive into writing new  “Angel” scripts in June, with plans to shift the focus to “Buffy” later in the summer.

“Buffy,” starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, blossomed as a signature show for the WB early on after its March 1997 premiere.  “Angel,” the spinoff focusing on Buffy’s one-time vampire flame, has been the WB’s highest-rated new series this season.

As was the case with Gellar and “Buffy,” “Angel” has made a star out of its lead vampire, actor David Boreanaz. Whedon said there will be a few more regular supporting characters added to  “Angel” by next season.

“We’re looking to build up the ensemble a little more, but you’ll see fewer stories that are peripheral to Angel,” Whedon said.  “We initially saw ‘Angel’ as being more of a guardian for other characters, but we found the audience was much more emotionally invested in Angel, so we’ll be staying closer to home and exploring his character.”

‘Angel’ will explore flashbacks

The set for “Angel” looks like you just descended into the bowels of a deserted inner-city building.  Inside the vampire Angel’s living quarters, we were treated to fruit on a stake (well, skewer) and blood punch (OK, dark fruit drink).  And inside Angel’s refrigerator?

“Blood and butter,” says David Boreanaz, who plays Angel.  “Go figure.  I mean, why butter?”

Above the bathroom sink, there is, of course, no mirror.  Just a bronze artwork that suggested a looking glass, since no self-respecting vamp would own a real one.  Yet it was good to see that he brushes his fangs every day with the ordinary toothbrush and toothpaste sitting near the sink.

Hanging around Angel’s gritty digs were co-stars Charisma Carpenter and new cast member Alexis Denisof, who played Buffy’s recently banishedWatcher on “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.”

Denisof replaces the departed Glenn Quinn.  Quinn was abruptly written out of the show by having his character killed off.  Creator Joss Whedon says that was always the plan.

Look me in the eye and say that, buddy.

So Whedon actually goes eyeball to eyeball, his bulging out at me, and says “That was always the plan.”

Hard to call the guy a fibber after that.

Whedon admits he got quite a bit of hate mail concerning the decision, but thinks that offing a main character keeps the viewers on their toes.

“Not to mention the actors,” Carpenter chimes in.

Whedon says the show will explore Angel’s roots and an upcoming episode will include flashbacks as to how the guy ended up on the dark side.  Boreanaz says he’d like to do more flashbacks.

“I want to go back to the ’60s,” he says.  “Can you see Angel in San Francisco, living in the Haight?”

On the “Buffy” front, Whedon says that popular character Oz (Seth Green) will be returning for a few episodes this season.  Green had left the show because of some movie commitments.  In the meantime, his girlfriend Willow will be delving into a bewitching relationship with fellow sorceress Tara (Amber Benson).