Sarah Michelle Gellar in the lap of the Angel, David Boreanaz.  Moonglow Pictures Where Angel Fears to Tread

A new term report on the latest adventures of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and her former beau, the reluctant vampire, Angel.
Also in this issue: Miss Calendar speaks, reviews of five Season Three episodes from The Wish to The Zeppo, and your chance to win the Season One Video Box Set! (Sorry, UK readers only)

Warning! Spoilers for Seasons Three and Four of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, plus Angel
A Shivers feature by James Abery selected from Shivers #71

We already know much about the character of Angel, the tormented vampire with a soul who fell in love with a Vampire Slayer. David Boreanaz as Angel and Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy formed one of the most electric pairings of recent years, inside or outside of genre shows. But that union has been split asunder, as Buffy The Vampire Slayer continues for its fourth season without Boreanaz, who stars in his own series entitled simply Angel. This series sees the reluctant vampire relocated to Los Angeles, and pitted against a sinister law firm with some diabolical connections. (Haven’t all law firms got these...?)

Accompanying Angel into the unknown is Cordelia Chase, late of Sunnydale High, played by Charisma Carpenter. Her exact position in the scheme of things is somewhat vague, with the actress commenting that she was nipping, “like a little chihuahua” at Boreanaz’s heels. Cordelia was never one to suffer fools, or indignities, lightly and it is hard to think of her out of place in fashionable LA, where she’s been brought by bright lights other than those in clothing stores at night, intending to be an actress.

But there are still glimpses of the old Cordy in Angel – her first meeting with the vampire has her enquiring: “So you, er… still… Grrrr?” along with the frantic mime of a vampire attack. As she’s said before, tact’s not her style.

Meanwhile, back in Sunnydale, the new season of Buffy sees a number of changes in the set-up of the show. Buffy and friends have graduated (as seen at the conclusion of the last series) and are moving on – but, you may be reassured, not far. Buffy, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Oz (Seth Green) attend the local college, while Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon) gives up on education to find himself in other ways, providing a newer though older character with a neat line in sage-like wisdom which comes more from the summer's film trailers than adventurous summer experiences.

The new location allows for a shift in the show, with both a reinvention (Buffy again the stranger in a strange land, unknown and unknowing) but also progression (a new adult world with new adult problems). The ground is also prepared for a new love interest for Buffy, and hints have been dropped about a character called Riley filling this role. After Season Three getting somewhat bogged down in the impossibility of the Angel/Buffy pairing, it’s a breath of fresh air to have Buffy in a relationship where difficulties don’t include garlic in food, and really big, thick, heavy curtains.

With American TV showing the two shows Buffy and Angel back-to-back (on the WB Network), the franchise has never been so high profile. Initial word is encouraging, and initial fears unfounded. For once, the split of a relationship has done both sides the power of good…

Read a longer version of this feature in
Shivers #71

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Images © Moonglow Pictures • Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 1999. Not for reproduction