As some of us mark the 20th anniversary of the premiere of TV's iconic Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Friday, let's take time to remember that the WB/UPN show about "the one girl in all the world … with the strength and skill to hunt vampires" was also the show that helped propel Philadelphia's David Boreanaz to stardom.
As Angel, the one vampire in all the world Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) really, really didn't want to have to kill.
The Malvern Prep grad, who's the son of longtime 6ABC weatherguy Dave Roberts, went on to star for five seasons in the 1999-2004 Buffy spinoff Angel. He'll reach another milestone this month with the March 28 series finale of his much longer-lived Fox show, Bones, where for 12 seasons he's starred as FBI agent Seeley Booth, partner in crime-solving (and now husband) to forensic anthropologist Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel).
From the beginning, the brooding Angel gave off plenty of heat for an undead Irishman, even if brooding never seemed to be Boreanaz' favorite thing. And as a 242-year-old vampire-with-a-conscience, he gave new meaning to looking great for his age.
His appearance in the show's first March 10, 1997, episode, "Welcome to the Hellmouth," didn't (for reasons I can't remember, much less explain), get a mention in my Philadelphia Daily News review of the show. During those first few episodes, he appeared to be little more than a benevolent stalker.
But in an interview a few months later, Boreanaz insisted to me that no matter how Buffy (and her fans) might feel, Angel would be the Big Bad of boyfriends.
"He was a pretty mean vampire. He did some pretty nasty things," said the actor, whose character would eventually prove just that by turning Buffy's loss of virginity into the ultimate cautionary tale. (There was a curse. It was complicated.)
Boreanaz, who was added to the opening credits in Season 2, wasn't Buffy's only local boy. Overbrook Park's Seth Green joined the show in the second season as Daniel "Oz" Osborne, a boyfriend for Buffy's friend Willow (Alyson Hannigan) who had to be locked in chains three days a month because he was a werewolf.
Looking to celebrate Buffy's Philly ties? Here are a few episodes to revisit, available on Netflix and Hulu, along with all seven seasons. (Meanwhile, the cable network Pop is rerunning the first two episodes of the show beginning at 9 a.m. Friday):
- "Angel." Season 1, Episode 7. Buffy discovers what Angel's been hiding, but not before they've kissed for the first time. Awkward.
- "Surprise"/"Innocence." Season 2, Episodes 13 and 14. Acclaimed two-parter has Buffy and Angel consummating their love, only to have Angel revert to his bad old self Angelus.
- "Phases." Season 2, Episode 15. Oz and Willow share their first kiss. And he (and we) find out he's a werewolf.