JOSS WHEDON RUINS MY TV LIFE
Here's the problem. I spend a few years resisting Buffy, suspecting it will be kitsch-gone-haywire. I try it, I like it, it becomes my new "Must-See TV."
Then, it's cancelled. I watch the waning episodes, acutely feeling the lifeblood ebb away. Favorite characters bite the dust, some literally, and I'm left unsatisfied with the ending. But I take solace in the presence of Angel, the Buffy spin-off that spun off into its own world, apart from the Buffyverse, yet still related by point of origin and sense of humor.
I become involved in Angel, but since I began watching in the middle, I'm missing vital elements of the mythology. I rent the DVDs from Netflix, and watch from the beginning, awed by the construction of characters and their foibles--appreciating the humor submerged in and subverting the drama of every episode--in a nod to the fact that tragedy requires the countering balance of humor.
I'm saddened by the onscreen death of Doyle, knowing that, a few years ago, the actor (Glenn Quinn) died of a drug overdose. Last moments on screen rendered terribly poignant in the post-mortem.
I'm trapped by the storylines, the back stories, the flashbacks, the resurrections of beloved characters and situations; I accept the "what??" moments: two vampires have a child? child goes from age 0 to 15 in three weeks? Connor and Cordelia? Cordy in a coma? Angel gets turned into a puppet?
I survive the deaths of several major characters (Cordy, Fred), and thrill to the reappearance of Andrew, who delights onscreen as himself and as representative of all the Slayers we never met. Thinking of him under the "Watcherful" eye and tutelage of Giles brings me moments of giggling, even when I'm not watching the show. Spike and Angel are a perfect onscreen team, squabbling like the immortal brothers they are.
And then, disaster. Or rather, cancellation.
A shock to the fans, as well as to the actors and creators. A decision made by the evil WB network, determined to deprive me of the smart, compelling vampire tales and instead inflict Superstar USA upon me and the rest of the American public. The word "unfair" seems painfully inadequate, and I'm not sure how to deal.
I hear that one of the major characters will die, and I know in my heart that it's Wesley. I want to eulogize him, but find myself paralyzed. I remember his bumbling first appearances in Sunnydale, as he stumbled over clues and into trouble. I remember his reappearance in L.A. as a "rogue demon hunter", feared by demons who didn't know that he was the same bumbling ex-Watcher. Watching him fall for Fred, even as she fell for Gunn, was a new kind of heartbreaking, and their eventual union was short-lived and painful.
I'm so depressed in anticipation of this moment, and a look at online spoilers could help me come to terms with whatever the final episode contains. But I'm resisting, thus far, hoping that seeing it as a surprise tomorrow night will not devastate me.
I take solace in news of the upcoming release of Buffy Season Six, but to know that there's no new episode of Angel on the horizon seems so unnecessarily final.
I live in hope that Joss will follow through on threats to create Angel mini-movies, or better yet, create a series for Giles ("Ripper") as he had original intended.
Rereading this entry, I feel like maybe I need to get a little bit more of a life. But I will miss Angel, and hope that television will step up to the plate and create shows that challenge the standard set by the creativity of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Here's hoping.