Straight off of ''Buffy'' David Boreanaz gives EW an exclusive first look at his WB spin-off

By Bruce Fretts
May 21, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

On a blindingly bright Saturday afternoon in seedy downtown L.A., David Boreanaz pulls up outside a dilapidated office building in a jet-black Mercedes. His automotive choice is apt — right down to dark-tinted windows — given that he’s here to shoot his title role as a sun-averse prince of darkness in a pilot presentation for Angel, The WB’s hotly anticipated spin-off of its occult hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

”It’s a darker show,” the actor says of his new TV vehicle, set to debut this fall. ”We’re moving from Sunnydale to Los Angeles, so that lends itself to more adult themes.” Boreanaz’s 240something-year-old vampire leaves Buffy‘s suburbia to help tormented souls battle their personal demons in the grittier City of (appropriately enough) Angels. ”It’s more of an anthology show than Buffy,” explains Joss Whedon, creator of both series. ”There’s not a soap opera at the center of it.”

How about a sense of humor? The premise sounds sort of grim, and without Buffy‘s trademark biting wit, Angel could go the way of this season’s moody casualty Brimstone. ”We want to find the humor in Angel and not have it be some dark dullathon,” says Whedon. The fact that Angel has a sense of humor may come as a big shock to Buffy fans. ”We’ve played him very brooding, and we’ve seen his evil side, but his humor is starting to come out,” says Boreanaz, 28. ”It’s dry and sarcastic, very subtle. It’s not a way-out kind of humor.”

More comic relief will come in the form of Doyle (Glenn Quinn, 28, who played Becky’s husband on Roseanne), an undead dude who serves as Angel’s spiritual mentor at a low-rent detective agency. ”The higher powers have called Doyle to be Angel’s guide, and he’s the last person in the world who wants to — or should — be doing this,” says Whedon. ”He really just wants to play the ponies and drink a lot. But he has unexpected wisdom in the midst of his extreme foibles.”

Angel will also receive assistance from a familiar Buffy face, Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter, 28), who comes to Hollywood to pursue her dreams of stardom and ends up working at the agency. While Whedon promises ”she’ll still be somewhat self-involved and in her Cordelia bubble — which is her charm,” the bratty ex-cheerleader will be forced to grow up when she loses her family’s financial support. Sudden poverty ”brings her a little more down to earth, both fashion-wise and reality-wise,” says Carpenter.

With his old sweetheart Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) still staked out in Sunnydale, will Angel be necking with Cordy? ”We don’t have that in the works,” says Whedon. ”It’s not like Angel is ever going to get over Buffy, but he won’t be whining about her every episode. She’ll just be the spectre of his one true love.”

Don’t expect to see Boreanaz and Gellar crossing over to each other’s shows too often, either. ”Production-wise, it’s difficult because they’re in so much of each show,” says Whedon, who doesn’t rule out the possibility of supporting characters shuffling between series ”when the story suggests an opportunity. It’ll really be a question of, ‘Hey, you know who would be great in this Angel — Willow [Alyson Hannigan].’ Or ‘We really need Cordelia back in this Buffy.”’