This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Mission is what matters."
11978 members | you are not logged in | 23 January 2019


March 06 2014

10 things Angel did better than any other show. "Melding many different elements from multiple genres, the show was able to effectively balance action, drama, romance and mystery into a singular hour that was equally adept at making you laugh or cry, while still leaving you unmistakably entertained".

Best. Show. Ever.
After. Buffy. ;)

[ edited by Darkness on 2014-03-07 00:22 ]
What a fantastic article. I agree with all of them except from the humour one, which I think Buffy did just as well if not better.

The romance one is questionable too. While i'd agree to an extent, I don't think they out-did the first few seasons of Buffy.

Its so nice to see praise for Angel, its such a beautiful show, it never gets the credit it deserves.
It got a very patchy first season and a gradually improving second, but it took till season 3 to really hit its stride, at least in my view. Other than that, i love it. When it became good, it became spectacular.
We'll agree to disagree Darkness
I'm currently in the midst of an Angel dvd marathon, after having not seen it for a while.

It's so well crafted that I have trouble complaining (much) about the bits I didn't like. Even they had their own logic and sense of inevitability.

Some of my favorite moments in the Buffyverse happened on Angel.

The only thing I really, really didn't like was being without Cordelia for so many episodes.
It's hard to think of other shows still being analyzed, poured over, and praised years and years later, to the extent Buffy and Angel are. Heartwarming and gratifying don't even come close to good enough sentiments so I guess we need a new encapsulating one... Heartifying? I'm open. A very big thank you to Ken Derrick at What Culture.
I still love Angel's first season. Any show would be lucky to have "To Shanshu in LA"; to have that episode and not have it be a series-best is insane. It's an imperfect season, sure, but I'll take their biggest problem, clunky metaphors for important issues, over slick emptiness any day. Of course, slick metaphors is ideal, which the show at its best (like Buffy) frequently did.

And then two onward is just wonderful all the way through.
First season got some very bad moments. Worse, it just didnt know what to be or do. It tried things and most didnt work. Some very good moments too. Second was much better but it had its uncetainties and problems also. Some things worked spectacularly while others seemed to get short. I always got the feeling that neither Joss nor Greenwald really knew what to make out of Angel as a series until quite late. But boy did it skyrocket from 3 onwards...
This list feels a little off considering so many of these qualities are just an extension of the groundbreaking work on Buffy. I think the list really should have included both shows, but it's nice to see our favorite shows recognized regardless.
Angel is one of my favorite shows, but I have a hard time believing that anyone thinks Angel did all of these things "better than any other show." Character development, sure. Death scenes, probably. But these other categories? Who thinks honestly thinks Angel did romance better than any other show?

And Angel did alternate dimensions the best? Really? Pylea was the low point of season 2, otherwise one of my two favorite seasons (along with 5). Quor'Toth gave us teenage Connor... Neither dimension was particularly innovative, and the overall lore regarding dimensions was pretty generic.

That's all fine, though, because the strength of Angel's characters (and their development) is a lot more important than that other stuff. That's why even though Angel is definitely not "better than any other show" in most of those other categories we still watch it over and over.
"Melding many different elements from multiple genres, the show was able to effectively balance action, drama, romance and mystery into a singular hour that was equally adept at making you laugh or cry, while still leaving you unmistakably entertained".

I this statement applies to BtVS far more than it does AtS. Not that AtS didn't achieve this, at times, but I don't think it as successfully melded these genres together the way BtVS accomplished. And when it did, it really was just working off the tone established by the parent show and that is a staple of all Whedon's (better) works.

I really like AtS and actually just participated in a massive rewatch of the series over on Buffyforums which spanned over a year. So I feel like I've been immersed in that show for quite some time now and it certainly didn't feel like a chore. Angel also happens to be one of my favourite characters too. But IMO I still feel BtVS is the more consistent show quality-wise, that the characters were more endearing, and that BtVS was more groundbreaking.

I've always got the sense that AtS had some really unfortunate luck behind the scenes which tended to effect the story in a negative way. Whether it's Glen Quinn's personal issues, the animosity between Charisma and Joss, Julie Benz becoming unavailable for the end of S2, Elisabeth Rhom leaving for Law & Order, or the unexpected cancellation, it feels like a lot of story lines or character arcs were dropped/ended before they should have. For instance, I adore S2 but after the amazing Angel/Darla arc to end on Pylea was... extremely underwhelming. Imagine if BtVS S2 had ended with the Scoobies going on a wacky adventure to Pylea and Angelus had just, well, left, instead of the heartbreaking showdown in Becoming II. And whilst I had issues with Cordy's arc from S3-onward I still think it's inexcusable that they just killed her off in You're Welcome and then never showed the other characters mourning her or even addressing her death. How can any writer even justify that treatment of a character who had been a main part of the cast for 4 years and who, supposedly, was great friends with this "family" of characters?

So I love AtS but I'll always consider BtVS the stronger series. It always felt more planned and structured and I never got the sense that they were just making it up as they went along.
"But IMO I still feel BtVS is the more consistent show quality-wise, that the characters were more endearing"

Interesting. I feel exactly the opposite. I think Buffy has higher highs than Angel, but it also had lower lows. Angel was, to me, always pretty consistently good.

I also think that the characters in Angel are some of Joss' best (and some of the best, ever), whereas I never really connected to anyone in Buffy.

I think the 2 shows are pretty evenly matched, but they just tend to appeal to different people.
Came to the Whedonverse through Firefly, and then Netflix was the gateway to Buffy. Damn did I struggle getting through the first season, but found myself enjoying a nice groove until maybe the last season and a half or so.

With Angel - dunno, but I was hooked from Ep. 1 to the conclusion - still one of the best wrap up's ever IMO. Buffy gets all the ink as the show that broke new ground, but I've always felt Angel was the one that really delivered on that promise
Season 1 of AtS is the only season of the Buffyverse I've never watched the entire way through (... been meaning to go back and watch it all the way through one of these days).

The difference btwn the two shows lies perhaps in how I feel about the lead characters. With Buffy Summers, I think Joss created an icon that not only grounded the show emotionally, but will live on in wider pop culture along with characters like Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Spock, etc.

Unfortunately, Angel never connected with me as a character, and I honestly think the show was more interesting when it focused on ancillary characters. Dark!Wes and Illyria, especially.
Angel was my way into the'Verse after a shaky start with some Buffy season one eps that just didn't connect with me.

Like ntertanedangel, I connected more to the Angel characters than the Buffy ones. I also think the tone of the show, while similar to Buffy in mixing humour and drama, was different in some key ways that made me appreciate it more.

I also found the metaphor of Angel resonated with me as I moved out of the structured life of school and into the uncertainty of adult life...where nothing I did mattered. (You know the rest :) )

I've still to this day not seen very episode of BtVS, but I've watched every Angel ep many times.
Another great thing AtS had: Tim Minear. I think his contribution to the show was fantastic and his absence was felt when he went to do Firefly.
It's interesting to see so many different perspectives. For me, Buffy was my gateway into the Whedonverse. I started watching Buffy in the summer of 1999 when I was 11 yrs old, the first episode I saw was 'Go Fish'. There were so many moments where it felt like Joss was observing my school life, and adding some demons and vampires to it and filming it. I love all the Whedon shows, but Buffy has always mirrored my adolescent years, so I have a much deeper connection and fondness with it. I'm 25 now, and I am only starting to connect with some of the 'Angel' characters whereas I still feel I can strongly connect to the Buffy characters in the season 9 comics.

I seem to be the only one who liked the first two seasons of Angel. I think it's because the show was still trying to discover itself, which is something I can identify with. Hopefully, when I am(physically, mentally, and emotionally)older I will be able to watch Angel and be able to relate to it more.

[ edited by hpgwbtvs on 2014-03-07 16:33 ]

This thread has been closed for new comments.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.

joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home