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May 10 2009

Jane After Dark: Is Angel As Good As Buffy? I'm going to try and dive into a deeper answer later tonight, but keeping it as short and simple as I can for now... .

It's better! (Just an opinion).

Link broken.
Need an http:// in your link.
Could we maybe do without that particular parenthetical? It'd be awesome if we could delay the inciting of a riot until at least a few comments in.

Now that the link is fixed I can comment. There isn't much to say really other than I haven't agreed with much of anything Jane said before so it comes as no surprise to me that I don't agree with much of anything she said this time. I'm a huge fan of Angel both the character and the series. I won't bother arguing that it's better than Buffy because, honestly, I like them for different reasons and both hold an equally important place in my very geeky heart.

This, combined with that poll of best Whedon shows where Angel barely got any votes, made me feel like it was worth saying "Hey, I love Angel" because, hey again, I do. Great show, great characters, and a great five years worth of tv watching for me.

[ edited by project bitsy on 2009-05-10 18:19 ]
Am I the only person who liked season one of Angel? Doyle was one of my favorite characters and Hero brought me to tears. It is my favorite episode of Angel!

All in all though, still think Buffy was better...
Spoilers for Angel in this post!!!!

Personally Angel is more of a guilty pleasure for me. It's still great fun to watch, but not as great as Buffy for the following reasons.

Characters change beyond recognition to suit a particular storyline (for example, They ruined Cordelia's character completely).

Also, the writers had people reacting oddly to certain situations in order to get to a new storyline... I can get why Angel turned against Wesley, but I can't understand why fred, cordelia, and Gunn did... I guess it was cool, coz it made Wesley more interesting, but it didn't make much sense to me.

It's basically like a soap opera with much better dialogue.

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-05-10 18:16 ]
I'm always amused by the "Angel is so much darker and more mature than BtVS" stuff. S6 of BtVS is what I would say to that.

S1 of Angel was okay at best. While I liked Angel, Cordy, and Wesley the focus on MOTW storylines dragged everything down all year. Also, I think they went overboard with the Wesley-as-baffoon stuff a bit. As for Doyle, I thought he could have been a good character but he was gone too quickly--and in such a crappy episode. If Doyle hadn't died at the end, "Hero" would be just a horrible episode all around. Almost everything going on in that episode makes ZERO sense.

S2 of Angel was ridiculously better than S1. Gunn annoyed me for the first third of the year until his arrogance subsided a bit and he became more tolerable. Wesley and Cordy's growth this season, especially Wesley's, was what elevated a lot of it. Darla was endlessly interesting for everything she was involved in. Holland Manners was an amazing villain, also. Lorne was always entertaining as well. I'd say the weakest parts of S2 for me were the Pylea arc that closed the season and Angel himself. I liked his fall to darkness but once he was "dark" he seemed like such a mopey, whiny "everything sucks and it's not fair!" emo teenager.

S3 of Angel was...well, not my favorite. Darla was solid, as usual, and Wesley continued his amazing arc but aside from that I really didn't like this much. Holtz and Sahjahn (and Justine) were uninteresting/annoying most of the time. Linwood was no match for Holland Manners and Gavin was lame, also. Lilah was another good point, actually. Could have used more Lilah. Once Cordy gets back from her trip with Groo I think her character is pretty much destroyed until her curtain call. There were just so many sloppily done things and holes in logic that everything is dragged down. Connor himself...ugh. I think that sums up my thoughts on him.

--The fact that Cordy doesn't see Wesley or interact with Wesley the slightest bit once she got back from her trip always annoyed the hell out of me. Her and Wes had been friends for a couple years, side by side in the "good fight" they always speak of, yet she didn't even seem to care in the slightest he was gone or why he did what he did or anything and never once even sees him.

S4 of Angel was another disappointing year. Aside from the Wesley/Lilah stuff (and Faith's appearance) everything this season was subpar. Angelus was annoyingly chatty, the Beast was good until they dismissed him so poorly, Jasmine herself was interesting (Gina Torres is the reason why), but Evil Cordy was painful to sit through. You know who was more painful than Evil Cordy? Connor. Jeez, what a consistantly grating character he was. I know it sounds like I hated everything this season and I don't mean it to, but there were just misfires all over the place.

S5 of Angel started out shaky but then once it got going it was on a roll until the end (not counting "Why We Fight"). This is easily my favorite season of Angel. Aside from Lorne's underuse everyone really had a chance to shine this season, especially (guess who?) Amy Acker as Fred/Illyria. Gunn actually got stuff to do this year, also, which was good. Wesley concluded his amazing run and Spike was a great addition and foil to Angel. This was Angel at its peak.
I defy anyone who says Angel was longer than Buffy.
It felt longer!

(This is my "I am joking don't pile on" face.)
It felt longer!

Certainly season 3 did.

Season 4 on the other hand, top notch. Or as some wags dubbed it, season 24.
I thought Angel's Season 5 went by WAY too fast, I seriously loved that (of course I loved Illyria more than Fred, so I'm weird). But I'll always love Buffy more....
I think season 5 had great moments, but was also dissapointing... there wasn't enough action for my liking.. There was too much talkey talk for me...

I thought tha the episode where Angel and Spike went to Spain to meet up with Buffy, was the worst episode of Angel ever.

However, The last episode was also the best ever episode of Angel.

Personally I think that season 3 and 4 had the best and worst storylines in Angel.. I agree that the Holts storyline was uninteresting, but personally I liked Connor and thought that his arc was interesting. Wesley's arc was terrific in season 3, and Angeles' dialogue in season 4 was so funny and wrong (all of the sexual stuff is so funny/creepy).

Pretty much all of the Cordelia storylines from season 3-4 were really bad in my opinion.
I think I enjoyed Angel more than Buffy. A majority of my love does come from the Wesley arc, but I don't find evil Cordy or Connor as annoying as most people. I actually liked the character of Connor.
I personally loved season three. Lullaby, Waiting in the Wings and Sleep Tight are among my all-time favourites. Plus Holtz provides the 'verse's only Yorkshireman. :-)
Disappointed that my funny little snark had to be cut apparently. Jane herself thought the whole thing was funny and blown out of proportion and suggested we both keep joking about it. Shame really. A series filled with the love of snark and ribbing but the same is difficult to translate to the ol' series of tubes.
Season 1 was probably the worst season of Angel , but it didn't feel like that when I first watched it. For me, the ending of "I Will Remember You" was possibly the saddest moment in all of Whedon's stuff (up there with Tara and Fred/Illyria).

Personally, I've always felt that Angel was at least as good as Buffy. I always feel sad whenever a website does a best Whedon Show poll; Angel usually comes in last. It seems like Angel usually gets treated like the red-headed stepchild.
I completely agree with Animal Mother. I enjoyed every season of Angel from the begining. And while Wesley was definitely the character I loved the most I ultimately loved 'em all... even Connor.

But then I also think Season Four was pretty damned good which tends to be a slightly unpopular opinion. I just loved the study of spirituality, choice and small-f faith.
I like Angel more than Buffy. It's darker,I enjoy the more adult vibe, and it completely reinvented itself every year while managing to succeed. Also, it never have a complete clunker of a season for me like Buffy Season 1 or 4.
Angel has Angel and Wesley's character arcs. I personally think those two character arcs are the best in the Buffyverse.
Just read the header. Sixteen ways to Sunday!
I loved S1 of Angel too! I loved the detective noir style, Glenn Quinn (RIP) was great and 'I Will Remember You' made me cry for like half an hour!

S2 was great - Angel turning dark and all. Though the Angel/Darla sex did provoke a 'NOOOOOO!!! Bad Angel! Bad, bad Angel!!' from me. Angel's meeting with Lorne and his attempts to get back in everybody's good books were great! An of course, we got that brilliant Angel/Kate conversation:
"If there's no great glorious end to all this, if ... nothing we do matters ... then all that matters is what we do. 'Cause that's all there is. What we do. Now. Today. I fought for so long for redemption, for a reward, finally, just to beat the other guy. But I never got it...Not all of it. All I want to do is help. I want to help because I don't think people should suffer as they do, because if there's no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world."

Season 3 was pretty solid too. I liked dark-Wesley, I liked the Connor storyline: On top of having more of his past come back to bite him on the ass, Angel got the one thing he thought could never have and then had it taken away from him - the look in Angel's eyes when Holtz ran into Quor'toth with Connor was heartbreaking! And come on, baby Connor was adorable!

Didn't CC announce her pregnancy in S4, so I'm guessing the writers had to scramble something together quickly. Angelus was more talkative, though he couldn't do much else while locked in a cage, but while I prefer Buffy S2 Angelus (not only because of the leather pants), it was great to see him back!
I assume I had the same 'OMG! ICK!' reaction to then Connor/Cordy sex as everyone else.
On thing I didn't get though: Skip said all the big events in their lives were designed for some higher purpose by Jasmine Was he lying? Because you could take that all the way back to Sunnydale...
I assumed he was lying.

I don't know why a lot of people don't like 'The Girl in Question' from S5 - I thought the Angel/Spike brotherly bickering was fantastic! Season 5 was great with Spike back, Fred/Wes and the Illyria arc (made me cry), and who can forget 'Smile Time'! That one cracked me up - absolute genius!!

So yeah, I absolutely loved Angel (apart from some minor stuff, which I could bitch and whine about all day). The darker, more mature, adult tone was fitting. Buffy was about the struggles of growing up, Angel was about a grown up man in search for redemption. I think it did that extremely well and I was really f-ing pissed when I found out it got cancelled!

IMO, Angel and Buffy were different, but equally as brilliant.

[ edited by Shep on 2009-05-10 19:35 ]

[ edited by Shep on 2009-05-10 19:51 ]
I particularly hated 'The Girl In question' because it made Angel and Spike seem too pathetic.. I didn't want to know they could be that pathetic... plus I don't think the episode was actualy that funny.

and, I hated that Buffy was supposedly dating such a jerk (although this was explained away in the Buffy season 8 comics)
I totally agree with you Mortimer. My sister was watching that episode yesterday and then I dawned on me why I disliked that ep, it just doesn't make sense. Makes Angel and Spike come off as pathetic.
You're surprised that their failed love for Buffy make Spike and Angel look pathetic? Really? It made sense to me.
Angel and Spike bicker over everything ( e.g. Astronauts v Cavemen - stupid argument to have in reality, but good writing and hilarious to watch) so I can accept that when it comes to Buffy, Angel and Spike will be pathetic, at least for the time being (a day may come when one of them acts noble, but then they'll probably try to out noble-ize each other 'You can have her!' 'No, you can have her!' 'Hey! I said it first!'..)

I also thought the episode was quite sad because of Illyria's transformations into Fred - you could almost hear Wesley's heart break.

[ edited by Shep on 2009-05-10 20:21 ]
I didn't care about their patheticness toward Buffy. (God knows I could act like that) It's just that the whole Immortal thing kinda pissed me off.
The link takes me to the TV Squad homepage - it should be not
While I appreciate her thinking Angel is better, she also says she likes Connor. That almost immediately invalidates her opinion :D
Buffy better in the beginning, Angel better in the closing.
It had Wesley. That's all I needed, and why I stopped reading the comics (after Lynch rewound back in time - but not 10 min earlier so that Wes could still be alive!? Come on!!!) To be honest I didn't really get that invested in the other characters.

I liked the Darla arc, and I liked seeing Cordy grow into a more mature, strong character - but that was sort of undermined for me in season 3 when she says "Angel's feelings are the only ones I care about" when Fred asks her to talk to Angel about Wes. I don't see how someone who had been such a good friend of his could act like that. And why does she only care about Angel's feelings at that point? Because she wants to bone him? Not very "championy" in my opinion. Then her arc in season 4 (which I actually liked otherwise.)

John Darc, I like that Connor was a character. I think his arc is pretty tragic. But I definitely DISAGREE with her when she says that the Connor/Cordy sex was strangely hot. Bleh.

Oh, and I loved the Illyria storyline. It was great to realize how awesome Acker was, because I was not a Fred fan at all.

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2009-05-11 00:05 ]
Funny thing. Both in Buffy and Angel, seasons 2, 3 and 5 are my favorites. Of course, with Buffy the order of personal preference is: 2, 3, 5, while with Angel it's 5, 2, 3 (although it's a close thing).

Having said that: yes, Angel is as good as Buffy. It's impossible for me to devide the two. Because although both had their own distinct themes and vibe, it was still one universe and one "thing" in my mind. I was an automatic 'Angel' fan when the show started (although I was slightly dissapointed by much of the first season like most people), and that never let up. The show never dissapointed and I ended up preferring it to Buffy most weeks. In fact, when S2 of Angel and S5 of Buffy was airing, that was pretty much the strongest simultaneous stretch of Whedon-tv to date, I'd say, hitting many a high note all around.

And I'd agree with people saying that Angel was darker. Buffy S6 was bleak and depressing, but not really very dark, I'd say. Plus: Angel felt more adult in its content (despite the fact that Buffy in its latter seasons actually dealt more with how to be an adult).

As for quality: it's simply hard to say. Because while S6 is probably my second least-favorite Buffy season (I "dislike" S4 most), that's still mostly due to personal preferences. It's very good. Just like Angel was for almost its entire run (with the possible exception of parts of S1 which were adequate, but not great). So for me, it's impossible to distinguish.
Won't go into detail on my opinion (as I actually do enjoy Angel much more than Buffy, or at least repeat viewings anyway). But I do think it's sad that the show is kinda the forgotten step child of the family. Buffy gets attention because it was first (and really, truly, literally is a seminal show). Firefly justified in the attention it gets because it is one of the greatest things ever on the small screen. Dollhouse gets a mention because it's new and interestingly hard to nail down. Angel (possibly because it's a spin-off) is rarely brought up in articles about Joss' work, unless they're specifically about the show itself. I never thought it got the respect it deserved. (Also, Tim Minear is right up there with The Joss in terms of talent for me, so that may sway me a bit too). I just realized, has David Boreanaz appeared in more Whedon episodes than any other actor? That's kinda cool for him.

Wilder - You're not alone in the Doyle love. Wesley ended up being a favorite of mine, but I was so sad to see our Alan Francis go. I actually like a lot of S1 of Angel (just don't mention 'She' or that first demon-pregnant Cordy episode).

[ edited by Tycho on 2009-05-11 00:45 ]
Shame she didn't watch the whole thing before writing this, because season 5 was by far by favorite. Personally I started watching halfway through season 2 and really got into it during the Pylea arc as it didn't require much previous knowledge of the characters to enjoy it. At this point I went back and watched season 1, which I enjoyed a lot, but enjoyed season 3 a lot more when it started airing. I loved Season 4 for Connor, dark Wes and The Beast, the Jasmine arc was a bit odd though. And back to season 5, there were a few naff standalones, but with the addition of Spike and (later on) Illyria it was Angel at its very best. And for the record - I always liked Angel more than Buffy.
I love Angel and can't quite really compare it to Buffy as although they are hugely connected they feel like two different kids to me. S2 will always be my favourite for the exploration of Angel's character, but S4 is the runner up. The perfect framing of Deep Down and Home (family dinners!) is wonderful. I'm mixed on S5 as it has a run of poor episodes towards the start and the whole Black Thorn thing seems far too cobbled together for a show that prides itself on foreshadowing et al - I do like some of the standalones though.

And you're right Tycho! David has been in the most Whedon-show episodes by a heafty margin. Top ten (going by imdb but removing the pilot episodes which they insist on listing)

1. David Boreanaz (167)
2. Alyson Hannigan (147)
3. Sarah Michelle Gellar (146)*
4. Charisma Carpenter (145)
5. Nicky Brendon (144)
6. Tony Head (122)
7. James Marsters (121)
8. Alexis Denisof (110)
9. J. August Richards (91)
10. Emma Caulfield (85)

*Well, maybe 147 with that Dr Horrible appearance ;)
**Also I've gone with credited episodes so numbers may be slightly off for you nitpickers due to people not appearing even when credited ie CwDP.
***This list may be a product of procrastination mixed with a joy of calculators.
Amen, Tycho! Well spoken sir.
Haunt - LOL. Thank ya, kindly.

Leaf - Nice research!

Not to derail to topic, but just so I've got it straight in my head for SMG and Ally. That's 144 Buffy's with SMG's two S1 Angels and Ally's 3 (Harmony's a vamp not a lesbian, "It's Buffy.", and Witchy Willow resouls Angel). I think those numbers are right. It always bothered me that Nicky was on the show for seven straight years and appeared in every episode except for Conversations with Dead People. At the time they said it was because he didn't have anyone close to him that was dead, but what about Jesse? That would have been a huge callback for the long-time fans. Ah, I do ramble. :)
Although, the Black Thorn thing felt rushed, it is hard to blame the writers. Up to the episode Underneath they weren't sure if they were getting another season. When they were informed it was cancelled, they did not have a whole lot of time to come up with something worthy to be a series finale. I think even with all the obstacles they did a wonderful job. Not Fade Away is my favorite episode.
I love Angel and I love Buffy and sometimes I love one more and sometimes the other one.

I'm just feeling blessed to have both (and Firefly).
Great discussion! (Where's my 'disappointing,' Haunt? I'm so disappointed. :-)

And it's a thrill to hear so many say that Angel S5 is good. Can't wait to get into it this week.
I probably loved Angel more than Buffy but only slightly. And I agree that Season 1 is probably more underrated than it should be. For what it was, it was cute and funny while managing to still be a dark "nightmare" type of detective show. I'm glad they ultimately moved towards a more "arc" based format, but I feel like S1 gets a little too lampooned because most Joss fans seem to be in love with a story arc and averse to stand alone episodes. In other words, I think it gets judged more severely because of a difference in taste rather than its actual quality. Not that it didn't have its misses.

You know... I haven't seen the series in a while either... See you later!
Obviously both shows had their moments of perfection and their couple of weaker early episodes.

While I loved both series finale's, after several viewings, my opinion has shifted from Chosen to Not Fade Away. I like Angel's finale better. But Buffy still wins the overall victory for complete series. IMO. If only they had Clem working at Wolfram and Hart that would have tipped the scales...
I really liked Angel - but season 4 just killed me with its awfulness. The way the ruined Cordelia, and the whole "Jasmine has been controlling you" stuff. gah. I agree with the people who said there was a lot more sudden character-changes-for-purposes-of-plot-without-internal-logic in angel - especially in second half of s3 and all of 4. It became almost farcically soapie by the end of s4. that said, even within those kinda cringe-worthy episodes there were some very good ones. but s5 was a total return to form!

it is true that angel gets a bad showing in "which is better" contests, i think because a lot of people who love it have a toss up between it and buffy.. and buffy often wins. because.. well, it's buffy!
I can agree that season one is kinda "meh", but after that I thought it was a great show. Seasons 3-5 I think are the best, but season 2 had some brilliant stuff.

I think what really elevated Angel for me was the beginning of the Connor arc, with Darla getting pregnant. It's one of the reasons I was so worried going into season 5 that I wouldn't like it as much. Luckily I was wrong there.

If you asked me to pick a favourite season though, I'd probably say 4. I watched it over a single weekend, and as lame as this might sound, it just might have been the best weekend of my life.
I loved the Jasmine stuff in season 4... she was basically evil Oprah... or eviler Oprah.

I also love the dialogue between the cast about, and with, Jasmine. It reminds me of Narnia stories when people are talking with and about Aslan. They're really having a go at religion during that arc and I love it when shows do that.
Great discussion! (Where's my 'disappointing,' Haunt? I'm so disappointed. :-)

I TRIED to get some disappointment in, I swear. It's not my fault. I'll post another comment on TV Squad and go on and on about all my various layers of disappointment.
heh "Eviler Oprah". Nice one.
The one good thing about S1 episode 'She' was Wes and Angel's dancing - hilarious!

I found the Jasmine arc odd, but creepy in a way.
I was glad Cordy's character developed into more of a heroine, but my problem with her started in S3 - I kinda missed the old Cordy and I didn't believe the Angel/Cordy stuff (got nothing to do with 'ships here). I just couldn't ever see their relationship as more than brother-sisterly. Then of course, she went evil and gave birth to a goddess who tried to take over the world with love, oh and dyed her hair blonde. Actually, I wasn't too fussed about evil Cordy since it wasn't really Cordy, though she did smooch the Beast - yuck!
I have to admit, I'm truly jealous that she gets to experience Angel for the first time. Lucky... those were some good times :)

Angel definetly contained the best character arcs. Cordy, Fred, Faith (arguably) and, of course, Wesley.
Evil Cordy and Connor really aggravated me, though. But in a good, Whedony way- I think it's just a credit to Charisma's awesomeness that I despised her when she was evil, but one line in to "You're Welcome" I was just grinning all over the place.

Truly loved Angel, but still have to convince many of the newly-converted to give it a go, sadly. Still, they're generally hooked by "Hero" ;)
(Something easy, for once!) ;)

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