When Buffy the vampire slayer’s bloodsucking boyfriend, Angel, split at the end of last season, it became a more permanent separation than creator Joss Whedon had originally intended. Angel (David Boreanaz), of course, was heading off to his own self-titled spin-off (premiering Oct. 5, following ”Buffy”), but Whedon had planned to reunite him and Sarah Michelle Gellar, along with their entire casts, for a two-hour TV movie sometime this season. Unfortunately for the stake-crossed lovers, this has proved unfeasible.
”It was a production nightmare the likes of which I can’t even describe,” Whedon tells EW Online of the impossible logistics of merging two sets of actors and crews for a lengthy shoot on top of their usual grueling schedules. Even arranging cameos on each others’ shows is difficult, since both series film simultaneously. ”We have a couple of crossovers planned [with the supporting cast],” he says. ”It’s just hardest with David and Sarah,” because they appear in nearly every shot of their own series.
Of course, talk of a reunion begs the question, Why did Whedon split his successful crew up in the first place? Last season ”Buffy” ranked 18th with teenage girls and was the WB’s top-rated show among males 18 to 34. But Whedon thinks ”Buffy” will do just fine without Boreanaz and Charisma Carpenter, whose character, Cordelia, will transfer over to ”Angel.” ”In a way, Angel and Cordelia both existed in their own worlds on the periphery of ‘Buffy,”’ he says. ”He’s out there brooding, and she’s out there complaining, so it was very easy to move them out.”
In the spin-off, Angel starts a mystical detective agency with Cordelia as ”his Gal Friday,” says Whedon, who will executive-produce the series and do final rewrites on its scripts. (For ”Buffy” he’ll write four original episodes and also direct them.) Angel’s brooding nature and the spookier story lines will make for a darker show, but there will be enough ”Buffy”-style humor to keep ”Angel” from becoming a deathly (or undeathly) bore. ”We’re very strict about making a dark, scary, challenging show that isn’t relentless and blue,” Whedon says. ”A lot of those shows are just so grim. ‘It’s a serial killer! It’s another serial killer! And next week… another serial killer!”’ Now THAT would really bite.