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Why there was no Spike spin-off - James' acting or unfavorable circumstances?

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Good writing is only half the formula. A good actor can elevate a bad script whilst a bad one can drag a good script down. JM is a good actor who managed to turn what was meant to be a half-season recurring role into a 5 Season regular role (Buffy Seasons 4-7 and Angel Season 5). Spike was supposed to be killed off during Season 2 but proved so popular with the audience that he was kept around. That's thanks to JM's performance.
Good writing is why Buffy is still such a great show. Spike got kept around because the story changed. More importantly, Angels story changed. Angel was meant to kill Spike, then they had Angelus come back and it makes sense to keep his old crew around.

David Boreanaz is a crappy actor on Buffy. Angel was given crappy writing on Buffy. David does his best acting on Buffy when he's Angelus. It's no coincidences that when the writers actually give him something to do, David acting improves.

Joss has said Spike is his favourite character yet when James asked for his own show, Joss shut him down hard. The only reason to not give Spike his own show is because they didn't believe James could carry it.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Good writing is why Buffy is still such a great show. Spike got kept around because the story changed.
Spike got brought back because the writers like JM's chemistry with the rest of the cast. Cordelia was being off-loaded onto Angel so they needed someone to fill her shoes which initially was supposed to be Spike's role. However, they couldn't get him into the scenes they needed because he would have to constantly come in under a smoking blanket and it was too much for the crew. Anya then fulfilled that particular role instead, however Spike was STILL kept around.

More importantly, Angels story changed. Angel was meant to kill Spike, then they had Angelus come back and it makes sense to keep his old crew around.
Spike was popular with the audience which is why he wasn't killed off. That is down to JM's performance. He even admitted he played Spike a little more sympathetically than what was written. The writers choose what an actor says, but it is the actor who chooses how they say their lines.

David Boreanaz is a crappy actor on Buffy. Angel was given crappy writing on Buffy. David does his best acting on Buffy when he's Angelus. It's no coincidences that when the writers actually give him something to do, David acting improves.
DB was a relative newbie when he got the role of Angel. In Season 1, the writers weren't entirely sure what to do with the Angel character but eventually figured it out. DB's acting had improved by the time Season 2 rolled round and he'd settled into the role- that was pre-Angelus arc. Angelus was a chance for DB to really let loose and where he really shined was in IOHEFY where Angelus is possessed by the female teacher (Joss said that performance is what convinced him that an Angel spin off could work. Even then, DB and CC only agreed to Angel on the condition that they could go back to Buffy if it didn't work out).

Anybody can say a line of dialogue, it's how the actor delivers it that makes it what it is.

Joss has said Spike is his favourite character yet when James asked for his own show, Joss shut him down hard. The only reason to not give Spike his own show is because they didn't believe James could carry it.
That's rubbish. A Spike spin off was floated, as was a Faith one and a Ripper one but none came to fruition. Sometimes projects get stuck in development hell for various reasons and then the time window passes. ED chose to do either Tru Calling or Dollhouse over a Faith spinoff and so was unavailable. JM said he only had a limited time to play Spike again before he looked too old since Spike was meant to be an immortal vampire. JM was 42 at the end of Angel Season 5. Despite looking fantastic for his age, a mid-40s JM is not going to look as youthful as a mid-30s JM.

Sometimes a project can take years to get off the ground even after it's been greenlit for production.
 
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That's rubbish. A Spike spin off was floated, as was a Faith one and a Ripper one but none came to fruition. Sometimes projects get stuck in development hell for various reasons and then the time window passes. ED chose to do either Tru Calling or Dollhouse over a Faith spinoff and so was unavailable. JM said he only had a limited time to play Spike again before he looked too old since Spike was meant to be an immortal vampire. JM was 42 at the end of Angel Season 5. Despite looking fantastic for his age, a mid-40s JM is not going to look as youthful as a mid-30s JM.

Sometimes a project can take years to get off the ground even after it's been greenlit for production.
The faith spinoff didn't happen because Eliza turned it down.
James was completely on board with continuing to play Spike after Buffy. He proved that by signing on for Angel.
The limited time James said he had was 7 years. That's a whole Buffy run. Joss loves money. Spike was a fan favourite. Yet when James asked for a Spike spin off, Joss replied with hmm a tv show about a vampire with a soul... Yeah we already have that and it's called Angel!

Look outside the Buffyverse: The only time James has been noteworthy in a role is because the writing was pretty solid for whatever he was staring in. He's a good actor and has some solid moments but like a lot of actors, he's lifted by great writing. For me, the reason Spike is such a popular character is because 1, great writing. 2, good looks. 3, acting ability. James will never have a character that even comes close to matching Spike because he will never have that level of writing put into one again.
 

DeadlyDuo

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The faith spinoff didn't happen because Eliza turned it down.
James was completely on board with continuing to play Spike after Buffy. He proved that by signing on for Angel.
The limited time James said he had was 7 years. That's a whole Buffy run. Joss loves money. Spike was a fan favourite. Yet when James asked for a Spike spin off, Joss replied with hmm a tv show about a vampire with a soul... Yeah we already have that and it's called Angel!
The reason the Spike movie (it wasn't going to be a tv show) didn't go ahead was because of money issues, not because JM couldn't carry it. It was also supposed to feature AH and AA. Joss was then busy with other stuff so the time window passed.

Also we already have a show about a slayer, it's called Buffy!

Look outside the Buffyverse: The only time James has been noteworthy in a role is because the writing was pretty solid for whatever he was staring in. He's a good actor and has some solid moments but like a lot of actors, he's lifted by great writing. For me, the reason Spike is such a popular character is because 1, great writing. 2, good looks. 3, acting ability. James will never have a character that even comes close to matching Spike because he will never have that level of writing put into one again.
Good writing means nothing if you can't deliver it in a good manner which you need a good actor to do so. Just imagine the iconic line from Jurassic Park "Clever Girl" said by the guy who voiced Iago in Aladdin (the animated film). The writing hasn't changed but the delivery has.

SMG will never have a character that even comes close to matching Buffy, what's your point? None of the Buffy cast will have a character that comes close to the ones they played on Buffy. Also given that JM makes a decent amount from conventions, he's not going to complain about forever being associated with Spike. DB will never escape Angel. Buffy and Angel are shows that have endured and are still popular 20 years later, enough that EW felt a need to do a celebratory spread about both reunions. Joss will never reach the heights he reached with Buffy.

Back on topic, I don't think the writers really resolved any of the issues faced by the characters in Season 6, they just kind of swept it under the carpet in Season 7. Maybe they couldn't get the drama factor out of Anya and Xander like they could with Buffy and Spike, hence why Xander and Anya's breakup isn't really resolved.
 
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The reason the Spike movie (it wasn't going to be a tv show) didn't go ahead was because of money issues, not because JM couldn't carry it. It was also supposed to feature AH and AA. Joss was then busy with other stuff so the time window passed.
If it was a money issue, then the studio didn't see any drawcard that would sell the movie and get them back their money. I would agree!

Also we already have a show about a slayer, it's called Buffy!
James asked for his own show and Joss knocked him back.
Eliza turned down her own slayer show and instead did Dollhouse with Joss.

SMG will never have a character that even comes close to matching Buffy, what's your point? None of the Buffy cast will have a character that comes close to the ones they played on Buffy. Also given that JM makes a decent amount from conventions, he's not going to complain about forever being associated with Spike. DB will never escape Angel. Buffy and Angel are shows that have endured and are still popular 20 years later, enough that EW felt a need to do a celebratory spread about both reunions. Joss will never reach the heights he reached with Buffy.
SMG was the title character of a cult hit. Are you serious? She also had success outside of Buffy. Aly went on to have huge success with HIMYM. David was given his own spinoff because of the acting he did in one episode. After Angel he then did 12 seasons as a lead on Bones and is now in his 3rd season of playing a lead on SEAL Team.
Joss has had plenty of success outside of Buffy.
James makes a decent amount from conventions because he's not getting roles that pay better.

Whatever point you're trying to cram down my throat, you haven't made it.
 

DeadlyDuo

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If it was a money issue, then the studio didn't see any drawcard that would sell the movie and get them back their money. I would agree!
By that logic, then ASH wasn't a drawcard either because the Ripper spinoff never saw the light of day. And the Faith spinoff clearly was so brilliant that ED couldn't afford to turn it down.

Was the Faith project good to go? Was it greenlit and it was all dependent on ED? No. Joss may have approached ED about a Faith spinoff but if she said no then there was no point developing a whole idea around something that was never going to happen because the actress didn't want to do it. Fans wouldn't accept another Faith.

As I recall, Serenity had some fan funding otherwise it never would've happened. Those characters had the benefit of being able to age, vampire characters don't get that. Once the time window has passed, that's it, you've missed your shot.

Studios don't just throw endless amounts of money at a project, they'll give a budget. Sometimes projects require more funding than a studio is willing to give. Given that it was Joss' demanding an early renewal of Angel which got it cancelled (whereas waiting it out could've seen it renewed), it's also possible that Joss wasn't willing to compromise on his funding demands. The studio might have offered a set amount and Joss turned around and said it wasn't enough. We don't know anything for certain. The point is the project didn't go ahead for financial issues, not because people thought JM couldn't carry it.


James asked for his own show and Joss knocked him back.
Eliza turned down her own slayer show and instead did Dollhouse with Joss.
Or maybe Dollhouse was the consolation prize? Maybe ED didn't believe in the Faith spinoff which is why she turned it down and agreed to a main role in Dollhouse instead? The point is there was a Spike project that got stuck in development hell because of lack of funding. Some projects get greenlit and announced but suffer development problems and don't come out until years later or get their release date pushed back indefinitely. When your main character is a vampire, you can't afford the passage of time.
And are you seriously suggesting that the combination of Spike, Willow and Illyria would draw in less of a crowd than Faith solo?

Also the fact that there was even a Spike project to begin with shows that Joss thought JM could carry it.

SMG was the title character of a cult hit. Are you serious? She also had success outside of Buffy. Aly went on to have huge success with HIMYM. David was given his own spinoff because of the acting he did in one episode. After Angel he then did 12 seasons as a lead on Bones and is now in his 3rd season of playing a lead on SEAL Team.
Joss has had plenty of success outside of Buffy.
James makes a decent amount from conventions because he's not getting roles that pay better.

Whatever point you're trying to cram down my throat, you haven't made it.
All the actors have starred in things outside of Buffy but what has SMG done that has been as notable as Buffy? Not a lot, if anything. AH and DB have been in other long running things but DB will still forever be associated with Angel. AH fares better but then in terms of iconic characters, Willow is middle ground rather than top shelf iconic like Buffy, Angel or Spike. Faith is middle ground at best. She clearly wasn't a "must have" character as she only ever stayed at recurring. One of the reasons Angel got a Season 5 was on the condition that Spike be brought over hence why the network advertised his return even though it was meant to be a surprise to the audience. They weren't clamouring for Faith even though she survived Buffy Season 7. SMG has had more success with her foodstirs than her acting since Buffy.

You can't say that JM can't carry a Spike project when even AH and AA being a part of it couldn't get money thrown at it. How do you know a Faith project would've had money thrown at it? At least the Spike project actually got to the stage where Joss was seeking funding for it, the Faith project never got that far.
 

Taake

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Moved these posts out of another thread where it was off topic. If you want to continue this discussion, this is the place
 

katmobile

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Actually it's worth pointing out that the Faith spin off would have had Spike as a supporting character. JW didn't see Spike as a lead character. Also I don't think it's any shade on JM's ability Joss has always praised that. I also don't think Faith or Willow have less iconic value than Spike in fact I think Willow might have a bit more. Outside of the most people know Buffy and Angel and that's it. AH is mainly known for her comic roles which is a shame in a way although she's a very gifted comic actress there's more to her than that. Mark Field in his book 'Myth, Metaphor and Morality in Buffy' singles out SMG, AH AND JM is being especially talented in a very talented cast I'd add ASH to the list and then agree.
 
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There’s a page in the buffy fandom wiki here, I don’t know how true the information in but it does cite all the sources below.
If this does indeed turn out to be mostly true Joss Whedon was setting it in motion and it had a writer, main cast and a network. It didn’t go forward because of funding.
If it isn’t true, Joss Whedon still proposed it, not James Marsters although we all know he would jump at the chance to play Spike again.
 

white avenger

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Eliza turned down her own slayer show and instead did Dollhouse with Joss.
Or maybe Dollhouse was the consolation prize?
Eliza turned down the Faith spinoff in favor of "Tru Calling," not "Dollhouse." which wasn't any sort of consolation prize when Joss developed it several years later. According to Joss, he and Eliza came up with the basic idea for "Dollhouse" over lunch one day, and it sounded so good that he proposed it and it was accepted by the network.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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Joss spread himself way too thin in 2004. Between Angel, untitled Buffy successor series, Firefly revival project and Ripper, along with shopping for a movie project, his devotion to any one project was compromised. Once Supernatural and Smallville were produced, his services were no longer needed.
 

Taake

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Well, Dollhouse is technically thanks to Eliza, not Joss, she dragged him into it. Just pointing that out to be fair, it's not like Joss singled her out as a lead, she was already signed on to be a lead.

On August 26, 2007, Dushku signed a development deal with Fox Broadcasting Company and 20th Century Fox. Under the pact, the network and the studio would develop projects tailor-made for the actress as well as approach her with existing pitches and scripts.[29] Subsequently, it was announced on October 31 that Dushku had lured Joss Whedon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, back to TV, to create a show called Dollhouse. Dushku produced the show and played the main character, 'Echo'. It aired on Fox during the 2008–09 TV season. In an interview, Dushku talked about how Dollhouse and her reconnection with Whedon came about:

I invited Joss Whedon to lunch after I did the business deal with Fox. We'd had a cool relationship in the past and I so wanted to do something else, and I wanted to get back into a television show. I had him on the brain for sure but I hadn't called him yet, but I sort of took a leap of faith and set things up with Fox and then called Joss. We went to a four-hour lunch where I just sort of used my womanly wiles. No, we've become such good friends, kind of like brother and sister and kind of like he was my watcher

For me personally, I can't see Spike the character carrying a show, which doesn't have much to do with James' acting. I thought he was brilliant in The Runaways recently, though he's not a lead there either of course. I just never saw the character as a stand-alone and never felt anything in the shows indicated he could be.

But, that said, so many shows fall to the wayside because of lack of funding. I'm not sure it really speaks to actors abilities or creators passions when something fails. Getting a show on TV seems to be a combination of persistence, sheer luck and all the stars aligning just so. I mean, Pamela Anderson has had how many shows? And she's not exactly a great actress (yet I watched VIP, I have no shame). No one wanting to fund you doesn't really mean that the project was bad. Though it may have been that the story wasn't good/appealing to whomever it was pitched.

I wonder if it would have been easier to get one going now? With Netflix and HBO and Hulu etc creating a lot of their own stuff, it seems like they take more risks than traditional networks did.

*edit
I mean "now" as in, if BtVS had just gone off the air now. Not James Marsters at his current age. That ship has sailed.
 

DeadlyDuo

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@DeadlyDuo Are you serious with this shit?
Obviously it's hit a nerve that someone doesn't think as highly of James's acting as you do. Get over it.[/QUOTE]

Are you just getting pissy that your original point that James couldn't carry a Spike project has been proven incorrect, given that a Spike project was in the works?

By all means have your opinion about JM's acting, I personally don't find ED's acting all that impressive, but don't try to equate a Spike project not going ahead to be because of JM's acting.

Actually it's worth pointing out that the Faith spin off would have had Spike as a supporting character. JW didn't see Spike as a lead character. Also I don't think it's any shade on JM's ability Joss has always praised that.
Interesting. SO ED wasn't going to be the sole "draw" for a Faith spinoff? It's not unusual for other known characters to be brought into a project to "sweeten the deal" so to speak (Angel had Cordy and Wesley plus crossovers) but it's interesting that Joss intended for JM to be in a Faith spin off and a Spike project (it's unclear whether it was both or if it's kind of an either or where if one didn't go ahead then there was the other one).

I also don't think Faith or Willow have less iconic value than Spike in fact I think Willow might have a bit more.
I only said about Willow on account of the fact that Spike has a really distinctive look and personality (something that kind of impinged the writers a little bit in Season 7 because they couldn't change Spike too much personality wise despite his new souled status). Willow's personality is a little more changeable if that makes sense and she also doesn't have a distinctive look.

Outside of the most people know Buffy and Angel and that's it. AH is mainly known for her comic roles which is a shame in a way although she's a very gifted comic actress there's more to her than that. Mark Field in his book 'Myth, Metaphor and Morality in Buffy' singles out SMG, AH AND JM is being especially talented in a very talented cast I'd add ASH to the list and then agree.
That's another reason why I don't think Willow is as iconic as Spike. Whereas JM is best known as Spike, and likewise SMG is best known as Buffy, despite both being in other things over the years, AH is also known for other roles such as the American Pie films and HIMYM. So whilst Willow is a great character, she mixes in amongst AH's other roles whereas Spike, Buffy and Angel kind of stand out for JM, SMG and DB respectively

Eliza turned down the Faith spinoff in favor of "Tru Calling," not "Dollhouse."
I knew it was one of them but couldn't remember which.

Well, Dollhouse is technically thanks to Eliza, not Joss, she dragged him into it. Just pointing that out to be fair, it's not like Joss singled her out as a lead, she was already signed on to be a lead.
Interesting.

For me personally, I can't see Spike the character carrying a show, which doesn't have much to do with James' acting. I thought he was brilliant in The Runaways recently, though he's not a lead there either of course. I just never saw the character as a stand-alone and never felt anything in the shows indicated he could be.
I agree that Spike works better as part of an ensemble. The Spike project was a movie rather than a show so it's possible that they could've gotten away with it because they weren't having to plan a whole season.

But, that said, so many shows fall to the wayside because of lack of funding. I'm not sure it really speaks to actors abilities or creators passions when something fails. Getting a show on TV seems to be a combination of persistence, sheer luck and all the stars aligning just so. I mean, Pamela Anderson has had how many shows? And she's not exactly a great actress (yet I watched VIP, I have no shame). No one wanting to fund you doesn't really mean that the project was bad. Though it may have been that the story wasn't good/appealing to whomever it was pitched.
Exactly. I also imagine that studios have to pick and choose where they spend their money rather than throwing it at everthing so they'd try and focus on something that would benefit them more in the long term rather than something that was a one-off.

I wonder if it would have been easier to get one going now? With Netflix and HBO and Hulu etc creating a lot of their own stuff, it seems like they take more risks than traditional networks did.

*edit
I mean "now" as in, if BtVS had just gone off the air now. Not James Marsters at his current age. That ship has sailed.
I think it would be because they could tap into the existing fandom as almost certain viewers willing to pay to see their favourite characters continue.
 

white avenger

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I mean "now" as in, if BtVS had just gone off the air now. Not James Marsters at his current age. That ship has sailed.
As for James' current age, I would like to point out that Spock, the character from the original "Star Trek" series, was also supposed to be, if not immortal, at least of a species whose life span was far greater than humans, and yet Leonard Nimoy portrayed him in movies until shortly before his death. Obviously, the actor aged, despite the fact that the character should not have. Nimoy's Spock was such a beloved character to the fans that we didn't care about the incongruity, we were just happy to see him once again. I know that Spike isn't Spock, and James Marsters isn't Leonard Nimoy, but I have no doubt that the fans would be just as forgiving of the vampire as they were of the Vulcan.

Besides which, CGI can work miracles these days, so there really wouldn't be a problem in any case.
 

Taake

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As for James' current age, I would like to point out that Spock, the character from the original "Star Trek" series, was also supposed to be, if not immortal, at least of a species whose life span was far greater than humans, and yet Leonard Nimoy portrayed him in movies until shortly before his death. Obviously, the actor aged, despite the fact that the character should not have. Nimoy's Spock was such a beloved character to the fans that we didn't care about the incongruity, we were just happy to see him once again. I know that Spike isn't Spock, and James Marsters isn't Leonard Nimoy, but I have no doubt that the fans would be just as forgiving of the vampire as they were of the Vulcan.

Besides which, CGI can work miracles these days, so there really wouldn't be a problem in any case.
CGI can’t do everything. Samuel L Jackson looks like a young Nick Fury in Captain Marvel, but he moves like 2019 Samuel L Jackson.

Spike is a very physical role.

Besides, then you also need a CGI budget for your lead. Which might be worth it if you’re Marvel and want Sam Jackson, but if you want a tv-show that could go on for years and hope for new viewers... fresh new, cheaper, actor is where I’d put my money.

If it was a movie, maybe, but I can’t see a big fandom cry for a Spike-movie. Fans would probably want more of the old cast to show up as well, more of a reunion than a single character arc (which I think goes for all the characters, I don’t think a Faith movie would sell either)
 

thetopher

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I don't think its down to acting ability or lack of charisma, the fact is that Spike doesn't really work as a main star.
His character, as of the end of S7, has no internal conflict to drive any kind of emotional arc going forward. Buffy had one for 7 years, Angel had one for longer than that. Malcolm Reynolds had it in spades, Echo had it as well. A show needs a protagonist with depths to explore and a journey to take. Faith had that, you could argue Willow had it as well given the events of the last couple of seasons. Spike had always been somebody on the sidelines, never really driving a story forward.

The Faith show would've had Tim Minear as the show-runner (that would've been awesome) and there was a show set-up all ready to go if Eliza wanted it. But she wanted a break from the character to do something new is all.

There was no Spike show in the offing, there was some talk of a Spike movie but Joss never showed interest in the project. I think as a writer he saw that Spike's tale was kinda played out after AtS S5.
 

white avenger

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CGI can’t do everything. Samuel L Jackson looks like a young Nick Fury in Captain Marvel, but he moves like 2019 Samuel L Jackson.

Spike is a very physical role.

Besides, then you also need a CGI budget for your lead.
I only mentioned CGI in passing, but "Walking Dead" had a CGI tiger for one season,(Sheeva didn't appear in every episode, I know, but that was a much more complex effect than just removing a few wrinkles off of someone's face for close upe) and that is a relatively low budget show, so the technology can be applied to the small screen and kept within reasonable limits.

As for the physical requirements of the show, while I haven't seen James in anything recently, there's no reason to think that he couldn't pull it off with a judicious use of stunt doubles. Chuck Norris did it well into his 50's, and was pretty believable doing it

Spike doesn't really work as a main star.
Any show would be done with an ensemble cast, the same way that "Angel" was. Angel was pretty much a sidekick until he got his own show and it would almost certainly have been a flop if not for his costars Boreanaz was able to pull it off, just like he did later in "Bones," and pretty much the same as he is doing now in "Seals." For that matter, Sarah did pretty much the same thing on the original show. No single actor carries an entire series.
 

katmobile

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It'll never happen but I'd love it if they annimated the DH comics and the first part of After the Fall properly and got the original actors or as many of them as possible to voice them. I can dream.
 
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