<I>Angel</I> Creator Joss Whedon Sees Evolution of TV Shows on DVD28 Aug, 2003 By: Fred Topel
While running a weekly series on a day-to-day basis, Joss Whedon doesn't have much time to get involved with DVDs. However, when DVD producers ask for something he doesn't like, he will put his foot down.
He kiboshed plans to release “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in widescreen, because it was never shot widescreen. However, for the Sept. 2 release of Angel Season Two, Whedon approved widescreen presentations.
“‘Angel' is a widescreen show, starting with the second season,” Whedon said. “So that is presented widescreen.”
“Angel” began as a spinoff of “Buffy.” The title character was Buffy's love interest for three seasons before moving to Los Angeles and into his own series. Whedon admits “Angel's” first season remained in “Buffy's” shadow, with frequent guest stars from the sire show's cast and little more than a “monster of the week” plot line. By season two, however, they had established a weekly cast and began developing character-specific story arcs.
Though he is not directly involved with the interview featurettes and overall assembly of the DVD, Whedon recognizes the value of additional content. Tracking the success of DVD from “Buffy's” first-season release through the latest release of “Angel,” Whedon sees the demand for extra content driving producers to save more footage.
“I think when they started doing the DVDs, they didn't really know the potential of the extras,” he said. “When we started, Entertainment Weekly wasn't separately rating extras. So in Season Two, I think there's just a little bit more of everything they can get their hands on.”
The Season Two DVD has episode commentaries by director/co-writer Tim Minear and director Fred Kellar, but none by Whedon himself. Also included are four featurettes detailing the season's story lines, stunts, sets and monsters.
One extra feature that will have to wait for subsequent seasons of “Angel” is deleted scenes. Though there are always elements removed from episodes, Whedon cannot think of anything before the third season that would be worth showing on a DVD.
“It was in season three, with [the episode] ‘Waiting in the Wings' that I shot, where it was the first time I ever pulled out a scene and said, ‘Okay, I just made a DVD extra.' Because I loved the scene so much and had to pull it,” he said. “Usually when we pull out a scene, it's because it doesn't belong in there and they're not fascinating subplots that have gone south. It's really just tightening what we have.”