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April 10 2005

Anthony Head Talks To Scifind.co.uk. In which Tony chats about his new series True Horror, drops some tidbits about Ripper and Buffy Animated (has it been picked up?), reveals whether he would play Doctor Who and suggests what Joss should do next.

I'm not sure if he means the pilot for Buffy Animated is being made or whether the actual series is being made.

"Joss Weldon" ???
..they said “We want you to journey around the world and we want you do the interviews and we want you to...” well I said “Well hold on a minute – I cannot do this, I am an actor, give me a script and I am fine.” they said “We'll tell you what to ask, and who knows you might be coming out with questions of you own..”


Woah. Now that sounds like fun! The actor who portrayed Rupert Giles going around looking into actual horror stories? That'd be like if Christopher Reeve (before the accident) had gone around investigating actual real-life heroes, or interviewing writers who had done stories about superheroes and the like. Or like when Douglas Adams investigated near extinct species.. well actually it'd be nothing like that but just as interesting..

Any chance of this eventually finding its way to the states?
Joss Weldon? Geez.

Are the True Horror DVDs going to be released in the U.S.? I'm dying to see it.
Invisible Green: that must be an error made by the writer and editor, ASH could never make a mistake like that!

I love hearing what Tony Head is doing, I wish more of it was available to us here in the US (I did see some of Manchild on BBC-America and I loved that). Thank you, Simon, for bringing us the link.
Who's Joss Weldon? LOL!

If the Ripper series has to be made in the UK, then I'm sorry to say I don't think it will happen. Now, if we had Spike the Animated Series - that would elimate the aging problem and allow James to do other work looking like his regular handsome self. Or maybe just call it "After the Apocalypse" or something so it isn't named after one of the characters. I'm not really interested in reinventing the early days of Buffy, I'd rather move forward.
The UK release of Firefly has the writer of "Our Mrs Reynolds" as 'Joss Wheldon'. Some crazy spelling mistakes.
From what I gather, I think he meant that he only worked on the pilot because the pilot is the only one that has been made so far. And when he said that it is happening I think it means that they shopped the pilot around and someone picked it up. It seems that Joss does still have ideas for the whedonverse, if only he would write them down.....
Is this going to be available for rent anywhere? I totally want to see it...
"Well yes I have – just the pilot but it has gone very quiet on that front, it IS being made and the scripts are really, really good."

To me it sounds like the series, so thankyou thankyou thankyou Simon for posting this link and making me have a big smile on my face! Buffy:Animated! Whoo
ASH's 'True Horror' was quite good. I watched the first one - which was (guess what) "Vampires". A lot of it, he played tongue in cheek interviewing all kinds of 'unusual experts' Except for the trip to the morgue, how decomposition gives the illusion of 'fangs' and 'bloody mouth' on a corpse. His reaction to the pathologists comments on 'putrification liquids' was priceless.

It was shown on the Discovery channel - don't you get that in the US? It is worth a look.
Ah, the infamous vampire aging issue. Sunblock, water, Retin A, lots of time on the Nautilus machines (do you hear me, Mr. Boreanaz?), and judicious use of facelifts are only going to stall things for so long. If only we could have some kind of 'verse spinsoff waiting, I wouldn't be so fidgety.
Unlike in the Spike movie, time is not really a big consideration for the Ripper movie. Spike can't be seen to age, but Ripper can look as worn and world-weary as can be, and all the better.

The only time consideration is for the fans. We don't want to wait.
"Unlike in the Spike movie, time is not really a big consideration for the Ripper movie"

Or y'know Joss not that I'm throwing anything your way, but a Ripper series!
We don't want to wait.

For our liiives to be over...
'"Joss Weldon" ??? "

The article is poorly written. Grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors permeate it.

ASH can age all he wants as Ripper (not that anyone really wants to age). It would be kind of cool to see his life after Buffy.
I'll check out a Buffy Animated show... but I'd give ahecka lot more to see my Giles as Ripper first.

Yeah, killinj,
I'm not really interested in reinventing the early days of Buffy, I'd rather move forward.
I get that. It's not a bad idea, but you are right, there's so much fodder for new stuff, eh?

[ edited by April on 2005-04-11 00:24 ]
Edited to make more sense.

[ edited by April on 2005-04-11 00:25 ]
I noticed that they actually managed to spell Anthony's name incorrectly at least once, the actual subject of the interview, so it's not too surprising that they couldn't get Joss' name right either.

I only saw a couple of episodes of the True Horror series but i enjoyed what i saw. I've been a student of the paranormal for a very long time now so there was very little mentioned that was entirely new to me but it was presented in an interesting enough style and Anthony was very good too. I'd recommend watching it if you get chance.
Of course time is of the utmost essence. I *hate* waiting!
And what better time to attract the 'desperately aching for non-reality t.v. series' fans than now? Not only would a new Buffyverse project bring in existing and past fans, but so many people have GOT to be sick of all of this reality stuff going on, right? I can't see anything negative coming out of something Buffy-related or anything Joss.

I think a year without any Buffyverse is enough for us fans.. for like, ever. :(
weldonesque.com > whedonesque.com
Just finished season 2 again and I'm left wondering what events could have lead Ripper to embrace the tweed so to speak, and become the Giles we know in the first few seasons. It's just under the surface. A librarian who gets bumped on the head alot, but can withstand hours of physical torture...
I always believed that the Eyghon situation made Giles turn a corner in his youth. After his friend was killed because of their carelessness he most likely decided to try and somehow make up for it by becoming the Watcher that his father had been trying to get him to be. The tweed wearing librarian persona was simply his way of disguising who he used to be but the real Ripper was always a part of him, waiting to surface.

When you think about it there are actually a lot of similarities between Giles and Angel. Where Angel had Angelus, Giles had Ripper. He may not have had a demon inside him but he had a dark side that was just as dangerous when he needed it to be. What he did to Ben was proof enough of that. Just goes to show how much depth there could be to a series based around Rupert Giles.
The Discovery Channel is available in the states, but I don't have cable. I was talking about DVD. Is it out in DVD yet? I noticed it's not listed at NetFlix.

As for "wondering what events could have lead Ripper to embrace the tweed," I thought we learned that in the second season episode The Dark Age, young Rupert Giles participated in rituals with some friends that allowed a demon to literally possess his body. However, looking at it again, we only learned what matured Ripper and made him realize magic and demons weren't just for kicks. They weren't to be toyed with, but were to be feared and respected. We didn't actually see what made Ripper follow in the footsteps of his father and his grandmother.

I'd like to see Ripper open with a sequence where we see a young Ripper with his buddies doing the rituals, and one of their friends gets taken over by Eyegon, forcing Ripper and the others to kill their friend. Though Buffy and Angel helped Giles kill Eyegon once and for all (so far as we know) the event probably still haunts him. I wouldn't want the story to focus on Eyegon throughout, but it'd be important to see how Giles used to take his father's chosen vocation so frivolously.

Then a second scene where his father confronts him. Ripper would be afraid and want to run away from magic and demons, want to pretend that whole thing was a drug-induced hallucination or something, and his father would convince him that not only can he not run away from this, but that he must educate himself and empower himself so that he could do something about the evils of the world. And young Ripper would look kinda energized from that and ready to take on the pits of hell and all that.

Then we'd fast forward to thirty or forty years later and see a world weary Rupert Giles (played by ASH of course) facing new horrors and ancient demons, questioning himself like any human would, but also aware of all the accomplishments he's made. This has the makings of a great story. Like, Abraham Van Helsing, Indy Jones and Sherlock Holmes all wrapped up into one. I honestly can't fathom what's keeping this from happening.
Interesting comparison of Giles/Angel, The Watcher. ZachsMind your description brings up something poetentially worthy of discussion: Who should be cast as young Rupert?
I feel like I'm always touting the possibilities of a Giles series, and all anyone else is interested in is Spike or Faith.

Personally, I wouldn't start it in the past and then fast forward though. Flashbacks, revealing the dark past, those are the kinds of things you want to leave till later in the season.
It didn't get Mr. Head's name right either later on!

But barring a dire need of spellchecking, nice find.
There is a series in England called "Most Haunted" which is fairly popular - probably what "True Horror" is copying. Just like the Brits pick up American TV, you can find UK TV on sites like UKnova.
Young Rupert: Orlando Bloom or Jude Law
I almost concur Gonnas. If we were guaranteed an actual 'series' in the American context of the term (20-24 episodes per season), then yes I'd be willing to wait a few episodes before a flashback that showed us young Ripper. However, at best methinks we'd get a 'series' in the BBC/UK sense; meaning six episodes if we're lucky. If we're unlucky, it'd be a one-time two hour TV movie kind of thing, and then ASH would go back to hosting documentaries and performing Manchild type stuff.

If we are not to get more than six episodes of Ripper, I want his whole life laid out up front. Answer all the questions about who he is and why; don't leave us wanting more. Get it all out in the open up front if there's never going to be a second season. That means starting with a 'before' picture, and then fastforwarding (past the Buffy years which might barely get a mention) to what a few decades of fighting evil does to a man.
I wouldn't say that True Horror is copying Most Haunted in any way, TaraLivesOn. Whilst the two shows both deal with the paranormal, they do so in very different ways.

Most Haunted follows a team of ghost hunters who check out various haunted locations in the United Kingdom whilst Anthony's series is more along the lines of a documentary and the subject matter is much more diverse, rather than simply dealing with ghosts. It is like comparing Buffy to the X Files. The same kind of subject matter but very different in design.
Assuming Ripper ever does get made, I wouldn't mind see what Giles got up to during Buffy season 6. There was a reference to this in a cut scene from Hell's Bells (dialogue via the Watcher's Guide 3)

Willow and Dawn are talking about the flowers that Giles sent, and Dawn wishes he was here and Willow says

"Me too. And I'm sure he'd be much rather be here than fighting that nasty demon-"

To which Dawn replies

"Da-e-mon. In England, it's daemon".

Wow, I would love to see that episode on Zombies!
"... until he says he is coming over (to the UK) to do it and going to make it I am not going to push him about it."

This suggests to me that for a Ripper series to happen, ASH wants to film it in the UK. Wouldn't that require Joss being in the UK quite a bit of the time too? As much as I'd like to see a Ripper Series, this is one of the reasons I think its not likely to happen anytime soon.

I'm interested in any continuation of the Whedonverse. I love Spike and think that one needs to happen sooner rather than later, which is probably why you see it mentioned so often. I'd watch a Faith series or anything else Joss came up with as well. It's just that Spike has time contraints that don't apply as much to Ripper or Faith.
And Giles and Faith both have the depth, complexity and presence to carry a show, which Spike lacks. Let's face it: he's about as deep as a brown paper bag.
"And Giles and Faith both have the depth, complexity and presence to carry a show, which Spike lacks. Let's face it: he's about as deep as a brown paper bag."

Thats gonna generate a couple of angry replies! But not from me! Although i disagree, and believe Spike has depth, i totally am with you on the Giles and Faith thing
And Giles and Faith both have the depth, complexity and presence to carry a show, which Spike lacks. Let's face it: he's about as deep as a brown paper bag.

I think Spike one of the most deep and complex characters of the Buffyverse and certainly has great presence.
Speaking of "The Ripper" was he supposed to be some kind of "Teddy-boy" or maybe a "The Clash styled rockabilly guy"?

One of teh reasons as to why I have mentioned a Giles/Spike/Faith show (called something different though) is because there seems to be so many stories to tell. If they intersect or not...well....I do not know. Anyhow it seems like Joss & Co allready have ideas they could "flesh out", right?
Spike is an extremely underestimated character with depths that we have yet to see.

You know the reason why everyone always considers him a secondary character? As a co-star rather than a leading man? Because that is how he has been written up until this point. Which is exactly the way that Angel was written right up until Joss decided to do the spinoff show.

There was no way that the Angel we saw in the first two and a half seasons of Buffy could have carried his own television series. He was the mysterious, ensouled vampire boyfriend of Buffy but his character was far from the point where he would be able to lead his own show. There was no basic story there, other than what he could do to help Buffy. That was what Angel was all about.

Then Joss decides that a spinoff from Buffy is the way to go. Angel is the most obvious choice given his popularity but that alone isn't going to carry a series. So what do they do? They create a whole new status quo for him. They give him a mission as a champion of the Powers That Be. They give him a major new nemesis in the form of Wolfram & Hart. They give him a group of friends and allies, Cordy, Doyle, Wesley, Kate and so on. They give him a reward to work towards with the Shanshu Prophecy. Basically they give a character with limited potential away from being Buffy's boyfriend enough new story material to create one of the best shows ever to hit your television screen.

Now why exactly is it so hard to imagine that they could do the same again with Spike?
Spike is underestimated in comparison with Buffy and Angel. But, he's not underestimated. If there are characters who are underestimated than it's Giles, Xander and Willow. They could all three carry their own show. Without being another Slayer or vampire with a soul.
"And Giles and Faith both have the depth, complexity and presence to carry a show, which Spike lacks. Let's face it: he's about as deep as a brown paper bag."

Could not disagree more. I say this not as a particular Spike fan (I'm not, although I like him just fine) but as a particular fan of the ME brains that conceived and wrote Spike's incredible character trajectory in BtVS and AtS. Joss et. al put a great deal of thought into the evolving character of Spike - Joss, Espenson, Fury, Marti and others have said so in interviews and commentary, repeatedly and in many different ways - and in no way is the character of Spike merely "as deep as a brown paper bag."

Agree completely that Giles and Faith would carry their own shows brilliantly.
"And Giles and Faith both have the depth, complexity and presence to carry a show, which Spike lacks. Let's face it: he's about as deep as a brown paper bag."

Let's face it: not a lot of people, me included, will agree with this rather harsh assessment.

William the Bloody is, for my money, at least as interesting as Angel, because he, from the very beginning (of his appearance on Buffy in "School Hard" and after being turned) has been different...more courtly, even while insanely brutal...capable of immense tenderness while snapping the necks of victims he doesn't even want to feed off of...Angel sans soul is evil incarnate, but Spike sans soul somehow manages to move toward the good side...sure, the chip was part of it, but without his vamp "otherness", he would have always remained a killer...instead, he became a champion...and let's not forget, he actually *sought* his soul, knowing it would be a horrendous burden to bear (knowning and repenting of all of his enormous crimes.)

He is, in my opinion (and let's face it, that's all this is, not a be-all and end-all decision on his worthiness to carry a show) one of TV's most fascinating creations. And when you have a character of such complexity and fascination, played by an actor capable of embodying such complexity and fascination, you have something truly unusual, unique, actually, and really, really beautiful.

One man's opinion.

[ edited by Chris inVirginia on 2005-04-12 00:55 ]
Spike is underestimated in comparison with Buffy and Angel. But, he's not underestimated. If there are characters who are underestimated than it's Giles, Xander and Willow. They could all three carry their own show.

See, I think Spike is underestimated, period, not just in comparison to Buffy or Angel. I've never seen anyone argue that Giles, Xander, Faith or Willow aren't interesting enough to carry their own show, but for some reason when Spike's name comes up someone has to comment about him only being good as a secondary character or take some other negative jibe at him. The fact that he's controversial in and of itself seems to indicate that there's plenty there to exploit for an interesting show with him as the lead. :)
"If there are characters who are underestimated than it's Giles, Xander and Willow. They could all three carry their own show."

STRONGLY disagree. If Joss did a show based on the phone book, I'd probably watch it. If Joss did a show based on Xander.... I just don't know.

"I've never seen anyone argue that Giles, Xander, Faith or Willow aren't interesting enough to carry their own show,"

Now you have. In the last year or so I've been a semi-regular reader of this site, in all the conversations regarding potential new Buffyverse shows, I don't believe I've seen a single person mention Xander. I think that is a pretty accurate measure of interest in a Xander based show.

PS Of course, I may very well have missed one or more such posts. Even if I did, in a comparison of interest in spin-offs of Buffyverse characters, I believe Xander would be down at the bottom with Gunn, Harmony, and Cordy.
For me, as the character currently stands anyway, Xander really couldn't carry his own show. The basic premise of Xander is the "regular joe" among super humans and demons, which works well as a secondary character in order to provide the contrast to the vampires and slayers but is totally inappropriate for a lead role.

Now Nicholas Brendon absolutely has the acting ability for a lead, and there is the potential there to add to the character of Xander in order to give him some kind of super human ability and therefore make him more capable of being the main character of a series, but to do so would destroy that "regular joe" essence of Xander that i think is so integral to what makes him who he is.

Spike, Giles, Faith, Willow, Illyria, any of those guys have both the power and the personality to lead a series. To make Xander akin to them would ruin what he is all about.
Wow, now THAT got the ball rolling.

I don't see how anyone could possibly claim that Spike is underestimated, given the sheer number of spikyphiles around. I would say exactly the opposite.

Angel didn't always have the apparent potential to carry a show, but he definitely did since his return in BtVS S3. It wasn't the PTB that made him a leadable character, it was the depth of purpose, the diammetric opposition of his twin nature, and his general inscrutability that made him a candidate for the role. In seven seasons, however, Spike has never once made me think he could be the centerpiece. Part of that is the fact that he hasn't surprised me. I love him, and the writers intended him to be lovable, and so I don't see how any of this reflects on them. It isn't that he doesn't succeed as a character. It isn't that he doesn't steal scenes. But he is ultimately as simple, unlayered - shallow - as he could be without being a caricature (which he approaches at times). What he feels, he does. This would be fine for a comic lead, but it fails in drama except to set off the complexity of everyone around him. He is a brilliant foil, catalyst and agent, but there's no psychology really to explore. The closest we get is that little piece about his mother and the lullabye, which is ridiculous anyway.

I considered whether you might play on him as someone desperately trying to shake off his effeminate past. But I see no evidence that it bothered him once he became a vampire.

As for the "good side" of evil Spike, that was simply inconsistancy on the part of the writers who I think sold out to the fans. It makes no sense for Spike to continue to care for Dawn's welfare after Buffy's death, for example. I can buy vampire eros, but philia without a soul pretty much throws the whole idea of a soul that the writers have been using out the window. So does him feeling remorse after attempting to rape Buffy. But the seeking of his soul is perfectly explicable - and is explained - in terms of him wanting to get into a girl's pants. Impulsive as he is, he simply doesn't think about the consequences.

As for his "courtliness," it was part of his evil. He worshipped Drusilla with the same single-minded devotion he brought to gratifying his other desires.

Now, JW could turn him into a centerpiece, of course. But he would be rewriting the character. He would have to more or less make the show center around Spike developing a moral and motivational complexity that to all appearances thus far Spike is incapable of developing. I'm open to arguments to the contrary, of course. But after seven seasons, Spike is still about where Faith was in the first few episodes of S3.
A friend today said that online arguments are futile and silly...and Andarcel's pompous, dogmatic, and empty remarks underscore just how right she was.

Out.
Chris inVirginia, if you disagree with something another member has posted, it's a much better idea to continue the discussion noting where you disagree. If you're going to simply state that you didn't agree, especially using the tone you just have, it is better not to post at all.
Herb, i can actually see why Chris inVirginia was as blunt as he was in his previous post. I frankly have never known there to be any character that people are so ready to downplay as a lead character than Spike. The same arguments are always used, such as "Spike is the comic relief" or "Spike works best with others to play off" and no matter how much you attempt to explain otherwise you get absolutely nowhere. Online discussions, for the most part, can lead to some interesting debates, but the Spike argument quite honestly goes nowhere with both sides refusing to bend.

Andarcel, the point i was trying to make with the Angel comparison was that the character needed to be advanced and added to in order to make him a decent lead character. When it comes to Angel's personality and motivations, that advancement may well have been started during season three of Buffy but it wasn't until the first season of his show, with the whole new status quo created for him, that it really paid off. Now you could argue that the developments we saw in Spike shown in episodes like Destiny, Hole in the World, Power Play and Not Fade Away are also attempts to give new depths to Spike's personality, taking him away from being just Buffy's boyfriend or an Angel clone and starting to put him on a path of his own. All we are trying to point out is that Angel was never a surefire hit either so the least the fans can do is give Spike a chance to lead before they make up their minds that it would never work.

And as for Spike being written inconsistently, that was the point. He was never meant to be exactly like any other regular souless vampire. Right from the start he was written as having an almost human quality that managed to outlive his human life. In fact the reasons why he was always different could well be a very interesting subject or story arc for a Spike series. Maybe whatever happened to make him different was intentional, who knows? Either way, that isn't inconsistency, that is uniqueness.
herb, I made my points about Spike (in response to Andarcel's earlier comments at 00:50 CET) in my previous post in this thread on this topic and didn't see the need to reiterate them.
I know Chris in Virginia to be more than capable of writing a great, detailed response outlining exactly why he thinks that Spike is not a cariacature nor a shallow character. In fact, he already has, once.

"...after seven seasons, Spike is still about where Faith was in the first few episodes of S3."

No, he's not. And it's not a useful comparison. Apples and oranges. Faith had a soul and was a human being all along. For the first six seasons, Spike was a soulless vampire. He did not have seven years to develop as an albeit tortured, at times monstrous human (like Faith) might. But this is where I depart from your rather narrow interpretation of "soul" as you believe the writers defined it. During his six soulless years on BtVS, Spike developed in fascinating ways. Where you see inconsistence and giving into fans' wishes, Andarcel, I see psychological complexity, philosophical exploration, and even a bit of theological discussion thrown in. As I alluded in a previous post, the writers were very explicit in interviews and commentary about using the character of Spike as a centerpiece in their deepening and ongoing exploration of what "soul" means, and how it relates to good, evil, choice, morality, love and responsibility. This, to me, is one of the reasons that this show is so amazing. The writers purposely made the concept of the soul as used in BtVS and AtS mysterious and expandable. (See some of Espenson's interviews for more on this.)

What did it mean in Spike's case to be soulless? Before Spike got his chip, The Judge (aka Big Blue) found that Spike and Drusilla "stunk of humanity" (or something close to that; can't remember the exact phrase.) Angelus, on the other hand, did not. This was not fully explained but the suggestion was that not all evil soulless vampires are alike. There was something nebulously humanity-like in Spike and Drusilla that set them apart from Angelus. Their love for each other? That was the suggestion. Their love wasn't just about getting into each other's pants. It was complex, imperfect and deep. Spike's nursing of Drusilla through her post-Prague mob infirmity wasn't, I don't believe, done just so he could eventually get into her pants. There was something there. Twisted, blood-filled, vampiric, but there nonetheless.

Then came The Chip. What a juicy opportunity for the writers and watchers (us) to further explore the concept of having a "soul." Bechipped Spike was still entirely evil - or was he? For a long time after he gets his chip, his desire was still to do evil but the chip forced him to do good by allowing him to exercise his considerable bloodlust in killing what he could kill - demons. Or did the chip force Spike to do good? Couldn't Chip-in-Brain Spike have just gone off and lived off animal blood and eschewed the whole Scooby gang and their disgusting soulful ways? Sure. But Spike was the pragmatist and he wanted to stick around the most likely candidates who'd take down the Initiative thus opening the door to getting the chip out of his brain. Those were the early days of the chip. Take the chip out and Spike would have killed Buffy and her pals in a flash.

But then time passed, and Spike's love/obsession for Buffy grew and he altered his behavior with her in mind. By the time Buffy died in The Gift, Spike was very different in deed than the Spike of S2. But it was not - *not* - entirely because he wished to get into Buffy's pants. How to explain: (1) Spike bringing flowers without identifying card to lay at Joyce's door after her death?, (2) Spike sticking around for the 148 days after Buffy had died in The Gift? Whose pants was he trying to get into then? Why did he even care about staying on to protect Dawn and fight demons with the Scoobies if he were shallow and a cariacature and just acted from his Id? Again, this to me is *not* laziness or inconsistency on the writers' part. They were explicitly - again, do some homework, read some interviews, read some of the excellent academic commentary out there - trying to explore what it really means to have a soul. They did this with Angel/Angelus, they did this with Faith, they did this with Anya, they were beginning to do this with Illyria....they did this with numerous other characters. It's not inconsistency. It's exploration. It's the anti-shallow. Spike had by this point somehow outgrown his chip - almost. Through being forced to do good because of his chip, and through his reluctant (from both sides) membership of the Scooby community, Spike had evolved towards having a simulacrum of a soul. Not a "real" one, certainly, although the writers meant us to discuss this and think about it. Yes, Spike was still evil, but he was now something else as well.

Love Spike, hate Spike, find him annoying, but shallow? What about all of S7? There was more there than his acting on his Id and wanting to get into Buffy's pants. He was coming to terms with his now fully real soul, how it felt, what it meant, and what his new place among humans would be. Would he still do good? Did he need the chip to do good? Having a soul, after all, is no guarantee that you won't be a monster. And what about Spike in AtS S5? Because the show is called "Angel," Spike was not the centerpiece but from my standpoint his character was still growing and coming to terms with his soulfulness. It hadn't been that long since he had regained it, after all.

"In seven seasons, however, Spike has never once made me think he could be the centerpiece."

Ultimately it's immaterial that you are unable to conceive of Spike as a "centerpiece." You aren't the genius who would be masterminding a Spike movie or series (in the unlikely event that any series emerges). As The Watcher very nicely argued, there are indeed ways to change gears and make Spike a centerpiece and not a sidekick. Rewriting characters? Happened all the time on those shows. It's called character evolution. I point you to the cases of Cordelia and Wesley, to name two extreme examples. I doubt anyone could have conceived how Buffy S3 and Angel S1 Wesley could have changed into such a stunningly depths-filled, fascinating character. Again, it doesn't matter what we could or could not have conceived. Joss and David and others conceived it, and they pulled it off. They pulled it off beautifully. I have full confidence that they could do the same with Spike if they wished. And from Joss's recent comments, he wishes.
One addendum to my longest ever post: in my watching of BtVS and AtS, I never needed to read/hear the interviews with the writers to see what was going on with their treatment of the characters and their exploration of emotional and philosophical themes. To me it was clear in the narrative. The writers did their job and did it beautifully. I refer to the interviews/commentaries only as places where the writers made their intentions explicit. You can disagree with me that the writers did a good job writing their intentions into the narrative. Up to you. But I think they did a beautiful job of it. And that includes what they meant to do with Spike.
Very nicely said, Phlebotinin.

With regard to season four, when Spike first had to deal with the chip in his head, i believe that even back then there was already a small part of Spike looking for an excuse to do good.

Obviously, to begin with at least, Spike panicked once he realised that he couldn't attack anyone and so turned to Buffy, realising that her heroic nature would prevent her from killing him whilst he couldn't defend himself and so she was the ideal bodyguard. However this was at the point where he believed that he was unable to attack anything, human or demon. Once he was aware that he could still beat down other vampires and demons in Doomed there was no reason for him to stay with Buffy. It would have been just as easy for him to gather a group of weaker vampires around him who would do his killing for him and bring him freshly dead humans to feed from, as we saw was possible when Dru killed a girl for him in Crush.

Spike could have become the equivalent of the Master. Ruling the local vampires and having them do his dirty work whilst staying out of danger himself. He could have even left Sunnydale and found a whole new town, without a slayer, where doing that would have been ten times easier.

I believe that Spike was devious enough to have known that and that the reason he didn't do it, once he knew he could, was because in his heart he was looking for an excuse to be a hero. Sure, there were times when he reverted, he was a demon after all and the instinct to do evil must have still been present when the chance arose, but the fact is that he could easily have still be a significant threat to Buffy, as far back as the middle of season four, yet he still chose to work with her (or at least stay out of her way). To me that shows that he was never your run of the mill, kill and feed, vampire.

Personally i can't think of any character that is less worthy of being described as "deep as a brown paper bag" than Spike is.
Hmmmmm this thread has veered off at a wild tangent. Back to discussing what Tony Head said methinks.
Great point about what Bechipped Spike could have done on his own, The Watcher! Hadn't thought of that scenario but I agree with you - crafty ol' Spike would have. Nice. Yup, there was definitely more there from the beginning. And that's why he's an interesting character, not a brown paper bag.
The depth and complexity of Spike is determined episode to episode on the depth and complexity of the talent involved in any given episode of Buffy or Angel where Spike appears. In this context, when I say the word "talent" I mean everyone from the writers to James Marsters himself. All the people behind and before the camera have a hand in making every character and plot development rise or fall on the merits of their effort. Any blanket statement saying Spike can or cannot carry as the lead of a two hour one-off or a full-fledged series is shortsighted and oversimplifying the facts: what's going to make this Spike Series concept sink or swim is very dependent on the talent that surrounds Whedon and Marsters, as well of course as Marsters and Whedon themselves (that should go without saying) in order to get this thing off the ground.

With all that said, I strongly believe Spike would be best if he was not on his own in the series. Like Buffy and Angel and even Firefly, you can opt to name a show after one character but the show's not going to work without an ensemble. At this point I really don't want Spike the Series unless he is complemented for the bulk of the teleplay with actors from both previous WhedonVerse efforts in their respective roles. Ideally we need ASH, Hannigan and Acker. Of all the characters in the series, that foursome would really kick the most ass. Acker, predominantly because the character of Illyria is so fresh and ripe with potential story possibilities and I'm also a sucker for Acker cuz she's a fellow Big D Texan. Can't get enough of her. ASH never failed to bring out the best in Marsters those few precious times they were on camera together. I loved their work together in "A New Man" when Rayne turned Ripper into a demon. That bit in the car together was priceless comedy with marvelous timing. Those two are phenomenal together.

Most importantly though, Hannigan's chemistry with Marsters is unprecedented. I cite as just two examples, post-chip Spike's failed attempt to bite Willow in season four, and that amazing scene in season seven's "Same Time Same Place" where Willow meets a post-souled Spike in the school basement. It's in the latter that one can see, whether one believes the character of Spike to be flat and pretentious is one thing: what Marsters DOES with what is given him on the PAGE is sheer excellence. His work in Same Time Same Place is complex and intricate. Marsters MAKES Spike come alive and I challenge anyone to show examples where he failed to make such a difficult character believable.

Whether he were playing Spike or Spritle, James Marsters is a veteran performer of stage and screen and is way overdue as a lead in any production. He's ready. He's accomplished and has proven himself time and again. However, he needs an ensemble of talented supporting actors to help him shine. Not because Marsters isn't capable of commanding the stage: he is. It's because all of Whedon's best work has been ensemble pieces, and Spike the Movie or Spike the Series wouldn't be WhedonVerse without it.
"Hmmmmm this thread has veered off at a wild tangent. Back to discussing what Tony Head said methinks"

Well for my part: i really want to see a Ripper series
Exactly, ZachsMind. I think there are very few of us who'd wish to see a Spike the Movie or Spike the Series if they weren't ensemble pieces. But I don't think that's even a possibility if Whedon were involved and if he weren't involved, well, then it wouldn't be a real Spike show. Or movie. Or whatever. I agree that Hannigan and Marsters have a stunning chemistry. I love your foursome of Marsters, ASH, Hannigan and Acker. Yowza.

Back to Tony Head (sorry, Simon): I adore the actor, the character of Giles, and the very idea of a Ripper series. I want this more than anything but it seems less and less likely. Damn. As for what Tony Head said about Animated Buffy, I am scratching my head. Can it really still be moving along? Huh?
For me, as the character currently stands anyway, Xander really couldn't carry his own show. The basic premise of Xander is the "regular joe" among super humans and demons.

I think this is a wonderfull premis for a show. This is what makes Xander so unique.

To me Xander is someone who has THE connection to the real world. He's built up a career in both worlds and could enspire other 'regular joe's' to do the same. In this way he's the best man to fungate as a liaison between the several parties in the 'demonfighting' business. Especially The Council and Angel's team. Why? Because he's normal. And normal people also have something to say about the safety of their own world.

The whole problem with Xander was alway that he was connected with Buffy and Willow. But, after S7 this is no longer the case.

According to AS5 canon Xander is now a Watcher in Africa. Which alone is a great premis for a show/movie. (Especially if Spike and Faith would join him :)).

God, there are so many arclines possible for him. Xander's best friends with the most powerful witch in the world. He's best friends with the leader of the Slayers, the legend, Buffy Summers. He knows a werewolf. He's one phonecall away with the military's elite demon fighting team. He's a phonecall away from Angel (if he's still alive of course). And he almost married a high former demon, Anyanka.

He also has alot of 'emotional' problems. Lost the only two girls he ever has dated.(Cordelia and Anya). Lost an eye. Is separated from his best friends. He even lost his hometown.

Xander is also the key figure in the Humans vs. Demons thing.

If you can't make a show out of this, how can you EVER make a show?
I've never seen anyone argue that Giles, Xander, Faith or Willow aren't interesting enough to carry their own show, but for some reason.

I don't either. I think that Willow, Xander, Faith, Spike, Giles, Andrew and Illyria could all carry their own show.
Chirs inVirginia, I responded to the substance of your remarks, and you returned with a flagrant ad hominem. I have no emotional investment in Spike not being a leadable character. I am willing to be proved wrong. But the inability to tolerate sustained disagreement, and to engage the arguments rather than the person, is for me the greatest mark of immaturity a person can display in a forum. Especially when punctuated by gratuitous insults.

Spike is a fictional character. He is not a real person subject to being maligned or slandered, so why would anyone get offended by any comment made about him? With the possible exception of the writers, of course, but if we can't say the writers ever made a mistake then we're not simply fans, we're a cult.

Simon, thread has veered OT, but the original topic seems to have played out.

The Watcher: the environment I've seen here has been almost adulatory towards Spike, and those who dare to break the consensus meet with such pleasantries as "pompous, dogmatic, and empty." There's a conviction that to be a Spike fan you have to believe that Spike should be the main character, that anyone who doesn't think that hates Spike, and that the Spike fans are a beleaguered minority surrounded by hostile masses. If you count the number of peope here who believe Spike should be a lead vs the number who don't (and are willing to admit it in front of Chris inVirginia), the opposite is the case.

Now, on Angel, I simply disagree. He wasn't leadable before S3 because we hadn't seen Angelus. Once we had, we could appreciate where his commitment comes from, what he really fears, what animates him, how he thinks, and how screwed up he is. And, as Terry Pratchett noted, being screwed up is what makes a character interesting to explore.

Destiny actual showed me how little Spike had grown or changed. Angel talking about the "burden" of it is annoying, and Spike's flip comment before he drinks is funny, and so our sympathies tend to lie (as they often do) with Spike. But think about what his attitude really tells you. The chalice, the whole Shanshu prophecy, is nothing more than a prize to Spike. It gratifies his image of himself as a hero and gives him a huge one-up over Angel. That's as deep as it goes.

Hole in the World does have that beautiful reflective moment. But I haven't seem anyone say what it actually tells about Spike. He has other quiet moments too, but do we have reason to think that anything else is going through his head at the moment than the melancholy he expresses?

For the other two, I'd need to know more about what you mean specifically or this post will really be ridiculously long. If you're talking about the poetry recitation in NFA, reading poetry is perfectly consonant with Spike as a supremely simple character. Vikings loved poetry recitations.

Fianlly, the writers did not start out with Spike being a different kind of vampire. He started out as an evil side character unlikely to last the season. In any case, portraying ANY side of him as "wanting to do good" is totally inconsistant with a unvierse in which soulless vampires are by definition always and without exception completely evil. There's no way around that.

But, phlebotinin, The Watcher is right in that they did more or less present these impulses in Spike. Had it been accompanied by an examination of what a soul really was, it would have worked. But it didn't. Never that I know of was there any real inquiry into good without a soul. The writers used a number of handwaving devices - a chip, the need for a pack, an infatuation with Buffy - to justify bringing Spike onto the side of the angels, but in places they aren't enough. What you come right down to it, S6 Spike is much closer to AtS S5 Spike than he is to S2 Spike. So he had lots of opportunity to move beyond Faith in early S3, and he didn't.

S7 was a real opportunity for him to grow, but... I just don't see it happening. He starts off tormented, but returns to himself completely by AtS S5.
I've actually been enjoying, for the most part, the exchange of viewpoints about Spike which have been presented, again for the most part, without excessive rancor or personal attacks. Let's try to keep it that way.

It's interesting to me that there are some characters - and some actors - who have this innately polarizing effect. And a tribute to the creators that we care as much about them as we do.
Well, all I can say is that the Spike I saw had growth, depth and complexity in the character. It's too bad not everyone saw it that way because its truly a work of art. However, I've come to learn that we all take away different things from these shows and they're open to all sorts of interpretation. So, while I may not agree, I respect the fact that there are different points of view. Perhaps things wouldn't have degenerated so quickly if opinions had been stated as such, rather than presenting an opinion as a matter of fact. Not to mention, tone is difficult to interpret in text and some of the comments here are coming across rather poorly. Take a few deep breaths, take a step back, and think clearly before responding. Whedonesque has a reputation to uphold. ;)

[ edited by killinj on 2005-04-12 20:06 ]
I don't want to drag this out any longer, firstly because we have let this thread get way off topic and secondly because, as i said earlier on, there is an obvious stand off when it comes to discussing Spike. Those that believe in him as a potential lead character and those that don't think he is up to the task.

Just to finally reply to Andarcel though, whilst you may well have believed that Angel was ready for his own show as far back as season three of Buffy, i personally did not, at the time at least. I remember these exact same arguments happening on posting boards when it was first announced that Angel was to have his own series and i will readily admit that i was one of the doubters. I really did not believe that Angel had enough going for him as an individual character and i suggested on numerous occasions that it should have been Willow who got her own show. These days i will naturally admit how wrong i was, given the fact that i adored every single season of Angel.

The point i have been trying to make, and i think i can speak for some of the others here too, is that you really cannot say how good Spike would be in a lead role until you actually let him try. Until you see the characters who will be working with him or the particular mission that he will choose to take on. Up until now all we have seen him be able to be is the enemy, the wacky neighbour, the boyfriend and the brother. That is who he has been and that is how he has been presented. Once he finally gets chance to take the spotlight then you can fairly judge him in that capacity.
"Simon, thread has veered OT, but the original topic seems to have played out."

Andarcel, Simon didn't drop that hint for nothing. Please don't continue as if he hadn't.

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