Saturday, July 18, 2009

Angel: The Continuation

I've now seen the entire Angel series in order, from the beginning of Season 1 to the end of Season 5. I realize that this is all fiction, so none of this is reality. However, I can't help but come up with the embarrassing question of what really happened after the end of the series? It sure gives me a more clearer definition of those "reality" shows on television, where "reality" is defined only as a bunch of people pretending what they're doing would have normally happened if there were no TV cameras, producers, directors, scriptwriters and editors.

I try to imagine the continuation of the series in a make-believe Season 6. In my warped view, that changes "reality" into two parallel directions. I realize that the character of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (as played by Alexis Denisof) only died because the series was prematurely cancelled. Can I pretend Wesley is still living because a "real" Season 6 would have come into being only if the series was never cancelled? Or do I have to accept Wesley's death because I can't change "reality"? (Which would have happened if the network executives changed their minds and picked up the series again after Wesley already died.)

Could I be justified for thinking that he could be dead and buried, crossed over to the light and gone for good? OR, for hoping that he's a typical Whedonverse character who can be resurrected at a moment's notice and brought back into human form? I'm still pretty new to all of this alternate reality stuff, so this gets kind of weird for me. I know that it's all make-believe, and I have the freedom to accept or reject anything that comes along.

Except, I'm dimly aware of the canonical continuation of the series through the comic book series, After the Fall. I learned that a fictional "canon" means that whatever is created is "genuine". Apparently, Joss Whedon has put his stamp of approval on After the Fall (and Aftermath) as the official continuation of the series. As much as I want to come up with alternate endings or continuations, I'm haunted in the back of my mind that whatever I come up with is "false" and differs from the official "reality". That would be like watching the entire series on TV, and pretending that the gang stayed on in the Hyperion Hotel in Season 5.

Would I be justified in thinking that the "real" series ended with Season 5, and After the Fall was just a crass money-making operation to provide an additional source of income for Joss Whedon and others? Or am I just too narrow-minded to be able to think in terms of a "story" legitimately continuing on in different modes of entertainment media?

I understand that in After the Fall, it's revealed that Wesley had signed a "standard perpetuity" contract with Wolfram & Hart, and, presumably, he spends most of his time in their hell dimension. As far as I'm aware of, he's made some ghostly appearances, (mostly?) acting as a messenger working on behalf of the Senior Partners. So, (unless some really great things happened to him after his death that I'm not aware of), from what I know about After the Fall, added to the fact that I'm a huge Wesley Wyndam-Pryce fan, does anyone really think I'm going to rush out and purchase After the Fall?

That's a pity, since from what I've heard, After the Fall is an excellent continuation series, particularly since Brian Lynch was involved. If you like pure adventure, that's the way to go. If you love the characters and want a happy ending for Wesley, After the Fall seems like it would be a tough pill to swallow. Which brings me to my next thought. Would I ever actually go out and by a comic book?

I'm of an age where I still tend to think of comic books as being strictly for kids. To me, those are things that you buy at the drug store along with your candy bars. I'm a lot better about my prejudices against comic books since several people have educated me about how the best of them can be considered high art forms in their own right. They can even come in hard-covered books!

Another problem I wrestle with is that I worry too much about what other people think of me. My family has been good-naturedly indulgent with my obsession with the Angel series. Would they think I've really lost it if I went out and started buying canonical continuations, spin-offs and alternate reality books? I'm one of those moms who thinks that anything I buy for myself means there's less left over for the rest of the family. I therefore feel like I have to justify every purchase. There's always the possibility of receiving Angel publications as birthday and Christmas gifts, but quite frankly, I would be uncomfortable asking anyone to purchase those items for me. Plus, a part of me tells me that if I actually read After the Fall, it would be that much harder for me to come up with and accept my own world of alternate reality.

I've read a just a tiny bit of fanfiction, and some of it is quite good. However, for the most part, I think of reading fanfiction as just viewing someone else's daydreams in written form. I can rarely accept these works on their own merits. I also recognize that writing fanfiction is a release for the writers, just like writing my series of thoughts in blog form is a release for me. Never say never, I guess. I never dreamed I could become so obsessed with a TV series, so I never dreamed I would ever actually start blogging about a series. I should therefore not count out the possibility that I would ever start writing fanfiction of my own.

I've been writing business contract agreements, pamphlets and manuals almost all of my working career, so it would be kind of a daunting task for me to write something other than a straight series of facts. I don't think I've done any real creative writing since high school! I also think writing fanfiction would be a constructive way to expand my horizons and get different parts of my brain working. I have kind of a "use it or lose it" philosophy regarding how people use their minds, and I think you function better if you use all parts of your brain on a regular basis. My analytical writing could possibly improve if I allow myself to indulge in creative fiction.

In the meantime, I know I still have quite a few regular posts left in me just based on the five seasons of Angel. I still want to devote entire posts to Cordelia, Charles and Spike, and I want to compare and contrast Angel's crises of faith from Season 2 and Season 5. I'd like to do posts on Top 5 or 10 favorites episodes, story arcs, characters, scenes, etc. I'd also like to devote a post to Wesley and how he treated the different women in his life, and maybe delve into his personality a little bit more in other posts. Finally, there seems to be an endless number of posts left in me about the very nature of good and evil, the shades of gray between the two extremes, how one goes about attacking evil, and if we should even bother with attacking evil.

So, stay tuned, I guess.

Idle Thought. Hopes for a resurrection to the series or the production of TV movies starring the main characters become dimmer after each passing year. The likelihood of the series coming back to TV is probably pretty close to zero by now. Much as I'd like to see everyone back on the screen again, the last thing we need is some sort of disastrous anniversary special. Besides, the loss of Andy Hallett would loom too large over any type of TV reunion.

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