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September 10 2003

(SPOILER) Joss Whedon previews Angel for Entertainment Weekly. "'Any more spin-offs planned, Mr. Whedon? ''I'm working on 'Buffy: Deep Space Nine. It will be dark and badly received.'"

Probably the best Joss quote in a long time.

I always thought Deep Space Nine (My favourite Trek series) was Shakespearian or Greek Drama... like Buffy was in places. So, fitting.
Firstly, bad choice for graphic, since Cordy & Connor have been replaced permanently by Spike and Lorne, Gunn's now wearing a suit and Fred's sporting more leg. They really need to put some money in new promotional shots. I don't mean just "on the set" stuff. Actual glamor photos. When was the last time they did that for Angel? I know they avoided spending money on that for Buffy since the initial network hop the summer after season five. Angel's overdue. Secondly, this little EW blurb says nothing notably new to prospoilers. The DS9 remark notwithstanding. Cute. Hardly newsworthy. But then, this is EW after all. And what a gaudy, garish website they have.

Don't mind me. It's early here. I'm not a morning person.
Did Entertainment Weekly stop trying to charge Net users? I really enjoyed their website last year until they started doing that.
I felt Joss' comment was aimed at the fact that DS9, while arguably the best of the modern Trek series, was pretty much the middle-child (overlooked by TNG and later VGR).

As for EW, yeah, it looks like they stopped doing the subscriber-only content. I'll bet they got a lot of flak for that. Either that or their net traffic dropped big time.
Zachsmind - Good point about the promotion. I've seen WB ads for Tarzan, Smallville & a few other shows in both television and magazines but nothing as of yet for Angel. The show has always been underpromoted (the reason I was so pleased with the TV Guide cover story) so I am really hoping that the WB will put some promotion time behind it in the next few weeks.
I've downloaded The WB teaser trailer (16 seconds) for Angel it's not too bad (along similar lines to the promo poster), I think there maybe an Angel trailer during or just after tonight's repeat of Orpheus (can't swear to this - can anyone confirm?).

And if you notice on the main The WB page, the David Boreanaz interview shares centre stage with some guy called Michael Rosenbaum who appears in Smallville (a remake of the late 80s TV series Superboy?).
Not a remake of Superboy. Smallville is.. well it takes some explanation, both what it IS, and how it relates to Whedon's past and present work.

Smallville's going to be the lead in for Angel this season. This is why WB moved Angel to Wednesdays, rather than move Smallville. Starting it's third year, believe it or not Smallville's not quite as bad as one might think. It's an attempt to retell the Superman origin, without focusing on Clark Kent specifically, or introducing the costume or other trademarks of the character. Clark doesn't even wear glasses. Smallville is not so much a remake of some predecessor as it is a reboot of the young adulthood of Superman. It kind of draws on the entire history of the character from the late 1930s to now.

Some argue that it also draws upon lessons learned in the Whedon School of Hard Knocks. Some storytelling elements and approaches in Smallville look conspicuously similar to Buffy. Nothing literal, but similarities in the balance of darkness and light, similar struggles with the overall plot arc of the season and fly by night one shot plots. Not that Buffy invented these things, but HOW Buffy and Angel deal with them seems reflected in how Smallville does it, to varying degrees of success from episode to episode.

Smallville the tv series shows a young Clark Kent without the Superboy costume. He knows he's different and feels a moral responsibility to help people, but tries to juggle this with the concerns of his family and friends and just living a normal life. Sounds familiar already doesn't it? He is the last of his kind. The only one left. His arrival in Smallville was during a freak meteor storm several years ago, which killed Lana Lang's immediate family, and littered the rural farm town with radioactive meteor fragments. There's no vampires, but every week there's always somebody affected by the meteor rocks (Kryptonite, though I don't think it's yet been named that in the series) in various ways, and the rocks also weaken our poor Clark.

These people are Clark's 'vampires' so to speak. Usually he has to dispatch them in some way, without actually becoming a killer. Many of the plot resolutions involve faith and deus ex machina more than Buffy ever did, because the writers believe we can't see Clark as a killer. He sometimes saves the day literally, and sometimes he comes into the scene and does some things, but acts as much an observer to the madness around him as a participant. I recall Buffy being a more hands-on hero. Clark's..? Not so much.

It's an attempt at approaching the legend of Superman as realistically as possible, without drifting TOO far away from the inspiring source material. The approach is so realistic, that if they ever get around to having Clark dress up in the Superman costume now, it's gonna be absurd and stupid. I mean really in today's world would longjohns and a cape be a fashion statement any sane person could make? However it's also so far distant from the original source material of Superman as to be completely -- I mean really! Where to start? Ultimately the only reason to use the Superman mythos here is to get people's attention and bring more people in to give the show a shot, but they coulda changed the names and would have had more flexibility. Lex Luthor has become a sympathetic character - shades of Anakin Skywalker's fall from grace into Darth Vader going on here. There are times when I find what's going on in Luthor's life far more interesting than Clark's.

The acting is very high quality in my opinion, but the material they're forced to deal with is at times disappointing and strained. Entertaining fluff. It could deal with issues even darker and more surreal than Buffy on her worst days, but often falls flat because it can't decide if it's paying tribute to its inspiration or purposefully desecrating it. However, it's supposedly doing very well in the ratings, so supporting Smallville, be it a hack job or high art, can only help Angel succeed this season. Hopefully there'll be more people watching Smallville who will stick around to enjoy Angel as well.

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