Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans may be torn about the recently announced reboot of Joss Whedon‘s groundbreaking TV series, but the show’s first — and arguably best — undead heartthrob is all in favor of injecting fresh blood into the dormant franchise.
“I think it’s great,” says David Boreanaz, who played the ensouled vampire Angel on Buffy for three seasons before graduating to his own self-titled spin-off. “I’m sure they’ll find the right storylines and the right people to fill shoes of whatever characters they want to portray. It was great to be a part of it when it first started, and now to see it being revived is just another testimony to the hard work that we did. I congratulate that, and applaud that.”
To be fair, fans also applauded the idea of more Buffy when the news was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con last month. The promise of a more diverse cast, including an African-American star, drew more claps. But it was the word “reboot” that inspired clapbacks, as it seemed to imply that the new series — which will be directly overseen by Monica Owusu-Breen, with Whedon serving in an advisory capacity (when he’s not working on his new HBO series, that is) — would be rewriting the show’s much-loved mythology from the ground up. The intensity of the backlash led Owusu-Breen to issue a statement on social media promising “there is only one Buffy,” and teasing the introduction of a “new Slayer” — potentially one who exists in the same universe as her predecessor.
For his part, Boreanaz indicates he’s unlikely to appear in the new series, no matter what form it takes. “For now, I just let it be and lend my support from afar,” he remarked when Yahoo Entertainment asked him whether he’d reprise his role if asked.
In fact, unlike Buffy fans, the actor doesn’t sound perturbed at the notion of someone else donning’s Angel’s signature leather jacket, should that be the direction Owusu-Breen chooses to go. “[Angel] doesn’t age, so it’s not like he’s not around! Whatever they want to do with the character, it’s such a wide, huge universe, you can really go anywhere with characters. I think the storylines will somehow reflect what the characters were about in the past. It’s all bloodline, so to speak. Ironic that I called it that! There’s always a bloodline somewhere, right?”
It’s not as if Boreanaz has copious free time to revisit his vampire roots anyway. His present job as the star and producer of the CBS military procedural SEAL Team — which returns for its second season on Oct. 3 — is practically a 24/7 proposition. When we caught up with him, he was preparing for a shoot that would stretch well into the evening and involve lots of water work by his alter ego, SEAL Team leader Jason Hayes. “We’ve been shooting Episodes 1 and 3 at the same time, and this Friday we’ll start Episode 2,” he reveals, adding that actor availability was one of the reasons for the nonsequential production order. Boreanaz’s workday frequently extends into the weekends, when he meets with his longtime acting coach, Ivana Chubbuck, to dig into Jason’s troubled psyche rather than just his physicality. “With Season 1, we were feeling him out and seeing how he ticks. His vulnerability is a little more raw going into the first five episodes of Season 2, and I’m looking forward for people to see that,” he said.
He’ll be plumbing the depths of Jason’s vulnerability with some new creative collaborators this year; creator Benjamin Cavell and showrunner Ed Redlich departed SEAL Team between seasons, and John Glenn is now running things behind the scenes — albeit with plenty of input from Boreanaz, who directed the penultimate episode of the first season. “It’s been easy and collaborative — not to say it wasn’t that way in Season 1,” the actor says of the handover to Glenn, who inherited a show that wrapped up its freshman season with its central team scattered. “John has been fantastic and adjusted extremely well. The most exciting part for us going into Season 2 will be exploring how all these characters will have to find the resolve in order to go back to the team. If not, there’ll be a lot of destruction that’ll happen.”
Boreanaz points to the 10th episode of Season 1 — which comes out on DVD on Aug. 14 — as the one where the series really found its voice as, as he describes it, “ER for the military workplace.” Directed by ER veteran Chris Chulack, the story took place largely in a single setting, which allowed for the kind of intense character work that the actor says will be an even bigger part of the show’s sophomore season. “I look at Episode 10 as a big breakthrough for us,” he says now. “The show has that ER pulse that is rapid-fire. And I know going into Season 2, you will see a storyline you’ve never seen before on TV, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
The first season of SEAL Team will be available on DVD on Aug. 14; Season 2 premieres Oct. 3 at 9 p.m.
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