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Feature: Angel

Alexis Denisof

He’s been through the mill over five seasons of Angel, but it seems as though Wesley’s life is finally starting to come together thanks to his new career at an evil law firm. Alexis Denisof explains further…

It’s a milestone most actors can only dream that their TV show will reach, yet on February 4th Angel notched up its 100th episode in the US. It seems no time at all since the formative days of Angel Investigations, when the titular vampire encountered Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) at a Hollywood party, then later added rogue Watcher Wesley Wyndam-Price (Alexis Denisof) to the team.

Over the space of five years the show – and the ensemble – has grown, and while Carpenter has since departed, her character makes a special return in the anniversary story You’re Welcome.

“There’s a feeling of great satisfaction,” smiles Denisof as we meet at the WB press party. “It’s a long run and as anyone who’s completed a marathon will tell you, you train hard and it’s a real sense of accomplishment when you cross that line.

“Also, on a group level, we’ve all done it together and carried each other at times and cheered each other on: it becomes a big part of your life. One hundred episodes is something to look back on, and long may it last. I hope it goes to 300, but we’re all really pleased with the accomplishment. And more than 90 of them are really good!”

When TV historians look back on Angel in a decade or two’s time, it’s probable that they’ll recognize a series that’s never stood still. Every season has been different to the one that preceded it, with the latest year – the fifth – taking Angel and his friends away from their detective agency, and placing them right at the heart of their nemesis, evil law firm Wolfram & Hart.

“There are some obvious changes in the addition of cast members like James Marsters [as Spike] and Mercedes McNab [as Harmony],” muses the actor. “But tonally the show is very different this year: we’ve tried to go back to more contained storylines for each episode and develop the emotional storylines with a throughline for the season, but not have each episode hinge so immediately on what preceded it.

“That was really an effort by the producers and the network to encourage new viewers. With the end of Buffy and the addition of Spike they felt like it was an opportunity to appeal to fans of Buffy who may not as yet have caught on to Angel, and also catch the broader audience.”

Is Denisof surprised by how seamlessly Marsters has blended into Angel’s mythos? “Not really surprised,” he responds. “We’re all small planets orbiting the sun of Joss Whedon, so we’re in the same universe and it’s been a fairly natural fit. James is a superb actor, very profession-al, he’s a great character who brings a wonderful edge, humour and dynamic to the show. A bunch of us knew him at least socially if not professionally, so that was an easy fit. The same with Mercedes; if storylines haven’t overlapped, then the people have in their social lives.”

by David Richardson

Get the full interview with Alexis, plus an interview with Christian Kane in
Cult Times #102

Photo © Warner Bros
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Cult Times #102, see below for ordering options
Cult Times #102
March 2004
ships from Feb 19 2004
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