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October 15 2016

Ten reasons why Angel is better than Buffy. Controversial, maybe.

While I have a lot of love for ATS, I have alot of issues with the arguments put forward here.
(The writer uses Season 5 of Buffy as an example of a weaker season of Buffy, whereas I'd make an argument for it being one of the best seasons...Simillarly the argument that death had more meaning in ATS is a particularly biased one, epecially with the writer acknowledging they didn't care for Tara.)

I guess I can't really accept the idea that Angel was somehow a better lead character than Buffy (like the writer argues) as I feel ATS was at it's strongest when it had a proper ensemble to carry the show and help drive the narrative, and struggled earlier on when more of the focus was on Angel and having him carry the show on his own.

[ edited by rg253 on 2016-10-15 08:42 ]
I forced myself to watch Angel for I think 4 seasons, but could not go on. Angel is an absolute atrocity in comparison to Buffy. May as well list 10 reasons Dollhouse was better than Buffy.
"Also, of all the characters Whedon should have killed in Buffy, the fact that Dawn never ended up on the chopping block was a grave sin."

Sure, let the girl lose her father, mother and sister. Because she wasn't depressed enough as it is, right?

Anyway, while I prefer AtS myself, I can't agree with several of the arguments here. Especially the hostility towards several of the characters.
I prefer Buffy, but at the same time I agree with almost everything said here (except the hate for Tara) and would probably agree Angel was the better show. I think I prefer Buffy because I LOVED many of the characters, despite disliking Buffy herself after season 3. Spike, Xander, Willow, Giles and Oz will always be my favourite characters because I grew up watching them and loved them like family. I liked Angel's characters, but never loved them the same way. And I HATED season 4. But otherwise it is probably a better show, even though I have an overhwelming fondness for the first 3 seasons of Buffy.
Some of my favorite Buffyverse moments happened on Angel, so for me there's no separating the two no matter how different they might be.
Well, Dollhouse *was* also better than Buffy in many ways. It's almost like Buffy was the first show Mutant Enemy worked on, and most of them got to be better writers as the years went on. But whatever, I am sorry you have such poor taste. :/

Anyway, yeah, I don't feel a lot of the arguments *against* Buffy here (among other things, Buffy got a lot more likable in the later seasons, at least 5 + 6), I am 10000% in agreement about the ways in which Angel was better.
BtVS served a different narrative purpose than AtS. The essayist prefers one of those narratives over the other, and offers explanations for his preferences.

That is not an argument that one series is better than the other. If he could offer reasons why either series did a better job of serving its purpose than the other, that might be a worthwhile argument consistent with the claims of the headline.
If you were to say that to me face, I would smirk and turn away leaving you oblivious to my love of Firefly and Serenity. Something tells me you could never have the same love that I do for them. You like the lousiest seasons, oh...I mean the richest season's of Buffy, so I'll just be over here, smiling with my poor taste in my mouth. I probably wouldn't mention garbage, cause I could write an essay on just those first four seasons. I do the same thing to people who trash talk cats. Smile and turn. :)
I've always liked Angel better but I wonder if I would have liked it as much as I do if I hadn't seen Buffy first, or if Buffy hadn't existed at all. Angel benefits from all that came before.
Um, no. Nothing all that convincing in that list.

Angel had a lot of good stuff. Some bloody fantastic stuff. Also, some stuff that was not so great...And the same can be said of Buffy.

I don't know that I would say one is better than the other - it's reasonable that people are going to have a favourite, but that doesn't necessarily make one better.

Buffy will always be my favourite - very likely because it was the first one I watched, my first love in the Whedonverse as it were. I also really loved the later seasons of Buffy - maybe because I was older myself when Buffy came along, and I related more to the college years, first jobs, etc. If I had to say anything was "the best", I would say it was the years that both Buffy & Angel were airing, so I had a double shot to look forward to each week.

One of the things that made Buffy so outstanding was how later seasons drew on earlier episodes, how the characters grew, how there lives changed, how previous events came back to affect the present. Angel started off from the beginning with a lot of that history - Angel, Cordelia, Wesley, and later Spike (and Harmony). Would those character journeys have been quite as profound without the Buffy years?

I won't argue with anyone saying Angel is their favourite. But better? I doubt I'll ever be convinced.
Gorch & NineWheels - enough of the nastiness. You want to fight each other online, head off to social media.
Simon, Is it usual here to have my character attacked for loving something so much but not something else which I find inferior? Please don't mention me in the same post as the google + aspirant. That's never been what I've been doing here. I'm not here to do anything but worship at the alter of Buffy...and a little Firefly.
Member Cordellia?...and then what she changed into after leaving Sunndale? I couldn't keep watching that. I rest my case.
Gorch, I don't mind your usual posts but I think you need to cool it for a couple of days.
Angel will always be my favourite, but I'd readily admit that it wouldn't have gotten off to such a strong start without being able to build upon Buffy. I can understand the point that Buffy herself got a little less likable as the show went on, (though I do sympathise with her a lot in Season 6) but the same could be said of Angel and Cordelia on the later show too. As they were never more likable than they were in the first couple of seasons of Angel IMHO. But any shortfall there was more than made up for by the astonishing transformation of Wesley's character and his interactions with both of Amy Acker's. I also much prefered Faith's story arc on Angel, but again that never could have happened without what she'd did on Buffy.

Personally I think it's unfair to make the comparison when they were 7 Seasons of Buffy and only 5 of Angel. Thus they'd naturally be more opportunities for the original show to have classic episodes. Angel felt like it got cut off just when things were getting especially interesting. I'll always be saddened by the loss of what we could have had there.
The correct/boring answer is, "They are both brilliant in their own worlds and own ways." The article's last point is good, but there's something to be said for stories that deal with both being chosen and having choices, since there are humans in the world who fall into both categories.

As for me, I love Buffy, the character, and that wins it for me. We can get all Holden Webster about why I love big sisters/strong female characters more than emotionally distant father figures, but short version: I love Buffy. Can't do otherwise!
I just wish we could all be comparing Buffy, Angel, Spike & Willow and Ripper. This universe deserved those awesome spin offs which could have been better than both shows. It kills me we never got a Spike show, I imagine something similar to Supernatural with Spike driving around the country in his DeSoto meeting people, being snarky with them and then saving them reluctantly.
Buffy had a tighter series arc. Angel, on the other hand, had more fascinating character arcs. That show did a hell of a job with Cordelia, Wesley and Fred. Even Darla became an anti-hero on that show.

Buffy was much more invested in the title character's emotional experience. Which, to be honest, worked for me. It made everything more cohesive. And SMG killed the role.
I thought it was common knowledge that Angel was better than Buffy...

-Better characters - Gunn, Fred/Illyria, Lindsey, Lilah, the most interesting version of Darla we'd seen, and "evolved" versions of Faith, Cordy, and Wesley.
-Better ARCS - Cordy, Wes, Faith
-Better villains - Wolfram & Heart > any Buffy villain
-The better slayer - Faith shined in every appearance on Angel and had more chemistry with him than Buffy did.
-Funniest episode in the Buffyverse in Smile Time
-Spike actually became a cool character again after being castrated on Buffy, except for that one dumb episode where him and Angel were chasing after a Buffy we never saw

And it was just a more grown up show. Cordy, Faith and Welsey and even Angel himself all "grew up" on Angel. People actually used guns on Angel

The article is spot on about the deaths. Tara, Kendra, Joyce, and Jenny were nobodies. Sorry, but it's true. Angel killed off MAJOR characters

Angel's finale > Buffy's, which was arguably just an overblown, trying too hard to be a movie and trying too hard to have a big, feminist message, plot hole ridden mess.

Interestingly enough, Angel & Faith's comic book first run was better than Buffy too. And After the Fall was more solid all around than Buffy season 8 was.

[ edited by Angel&Faith on 2016-10-16 03:42 ]
@Angel&Faith, while I do agree with most of your points...I can't accept the argument that 'Tara, Kendra, Joyce & Jenny were nobodies'. By that argument we could really say Doyle was a nobody, in which case the only major characters Angel killed off were in its final season

(SPOILERS- and even then the only 'real' death is Wes', as Cordy's was a death/ acension to another plane of existance, and one of the ongoing plans with Fred/ Illyria was to have Fred's identity start to re-assert itself in a hypothetical Season 6...with the Angel & Faith comics even going so far as to bring Fred back. These don't make the death scenes any less affecting, in the same way Buffy killing Angel in the Season 2 finale still works on an emotional level depite his return the following season, and Buffy's sacrafice works in Season 5 even though she was brought back in the next season.)
I think the crux of this argument almost always comes down to Buffy vs. Angel people in general. Buffy is the more memorable show because of what Buffy represents. She was the start of a trend, she was a complex character, and the decisions the writing staff made tended to (at least over the run of her show) put her in an overall positive light. There really isn't a question Joss preferred her. And from a "where genre went" perspective, it isn't fair. Buffy is a game changer. Angel represented what was already there.

That said, I have and probably always will liked Angel more. In the simplest terms, Buffy edges towards The Avengers while Angel edges towards The Dark Knight. That is, I find the questions in play morally more interesting in one than the other. The other however is more "feel good." And having watched general fandom splinter and eviscerate itself since the 2000's when it was still pretty cohesive, its plainly obvious at this point that those don't necessarily speak to the same people although when you make them well enough, you generally don't see complaints.

[ edited by azzers on 2016-10-16 05:56 ]
Unrelated point but this is a popular thread, anyone feel like we could finally see a Firefly return (Joss best show even if not my favourite) on Netflix or something since seeing Nathan Fillion on Modern Family this week? He's slimmed down since Castle finished and is starting to look a little less Castle and a little more Mal... No word on what Joss is up to and most of the cast pretty free... An Old Man Mal miniseries with him as a bitter loner getting the band back together...?
I've always saw them as different shows. I find it hard to compare them together.

Frankly, I find this topic silly!
Although I vastly prefer Buffy, I was interested to hear what the article's arguments were and was disappointed that they almost all came down to personal preferences. Since I actually like Dawn a lot as a character, I'm used to disagreeing but this was a bit extreme.

I thought the best point was that 'Angel' showed why the main cast all had reasons why they had to keep fighting. Their personal tragic stories tie in with the main theme of redemption. Although, you can argue that the Scooby Gang stay in Sunnydale because they're like a family unit, which also fits with what the series was trying to do.
I have always felt that you like what you like and really, no explanation needed. Having said that, I never made it it past S3 of Angel; it just never engaged me in the way Buffy did and does. I think the shows' conceits were different- one being that high school is hell and the other being, well, I am not sure; growing up? Accepting responsibility for work?
The arguments in that article either are extremely weak (Death means something on AtS? Pretty hilarious to read this about the very show that resurrected Spike just so he could have some shenanigans with Angel...) or are all about personal preference - which I also happen to completely disagree with.

Angel a better lead than Buffy? How about the other way around.

Buffy became "unlikeable" in later seasons? Really? That's an argument? A character being "likable" or not is down to personal preference. I'm much more interested in whether a character is well written, complex, has convincing development and an intersting arc. And as a matter of fact, I found Buffy much more interesting in later seasons, and the fact that the show was willing to have her be realistically traumatized and depressed and act in ugly, self-destructive, unpleasant ways, rather than just letting her be beautifully sad or whatever it is that people find acceptable in a female protagonist. And I found Angel interesting and relatable in season 2-4, but annoying in a lot of season 5 - but I'm aware that that's not a serious argument in terms of the quality of the show.

Angel at its worst is better than Buffy at its worst? Angel at its worst is "The Girl in Question", the crappiest episode of Buffyverse ever written and recorded.

Better characters? I would again say the opposite, taking into account the entire cast. Character growth? You mean like Spike, Buffy, Willow, Faith (she had most of her arc on BtVS), Xander, Cordelia (who was much better in season 3 of Buffy than she ever was on AtS. I don't care who disagrees)? AtS did fine with Cordelia in the first two seasons but ruined her in seasons 3 and 4. Neither Fred nor Gunn ever had any real character arcs, and in seasons 4 and 5, the show killed off almost all of its female characters in the most fridgy ways possible, by having them possessed, violated and destroyed with no agency whatsoever. When the one female character you have left on the show is Harmony, you have a problem with your female characters.

Big Bads? Wolfram and Hart was a good Big Bad as an organization, but please tell me one individual villain who was better than the Buffy villains.

Speaking in general, I've always felt that the majority of the usual arguments why Angel is supposedly better than Buffy(Angel is supposedly "more adult", "more complex", "more morally ambiguous" than Buffy - even though it's actually none of these things) come down to the perception that a show about a brooding action hero dude in a dark coat with a film noir aesthetic must be oh so much more "serious" than a show about a "girly" teenage girl who makes quips. In other words, Angel fits the most superficial popular idea of "serious" fiction, and its lack of originality compared to Buffy, especially in its gender politics, only works to reinforce that idea.

This becomes blatantly obvious whenever people start praising Wesley's arc and how "awesome" he became when he got dark and depressed and started sleeping with Lilah, while simultaneously going on about how "unlikable" Buffy became in later seasons, when she got dark and depressed and started sleeping with Spike. Because, as I touched on above, people are somehow super happy about male characters being flawed and dark and antiheroic, but a female protagonist daring to be like that? Good heavens, no! She's "unlikable", "bitchy" etc.

Or when someone says how brave AtS was to have such dark turns for their main characters, unlike BtVS... Ironically, AtS itself showed how ridiculous that argument is, when Willow met Wesley and they had that little exchange about their respective recent dark turns. Wesley went so dark because he slept with Lilah and kept Justine in a locker... meanwhile, Willow flayed a man alive, murdered another and tried to destroy the world. It was a terrible scene (no way would Willow talk about it so flippantly at that point), but it does underscore just how much darker BtVS actually went. AtS was edgy? BtVS actually had the guts to make one of its main and most beloved characters a Big Bad. Actually, you may say they did it more than once, if you count Angel himself in season 2, and arguably even Faith in season 3.

It's always also ironic how the same people who praise AtS for being "adult" and "dark" etc. are the same who then trash the later seasons of BtVS and say that they only liked BtVS in high school seasons. Pick your argument.

And don't even get me started on the originality of style and format. BtVS beats AtS most definitely in that regard. I really love AtS season 2 and parts of season 3 (pretty much, the Tim Minear years), but the show was really always fairly traditional in its form, style and storytelling and never did anything comparable to Hush, Restless, The Body or Once More With Feeling, or even Conversations with Dead People. The most experiemental it got is that it did its own version of The Wish with Birthday, and the latter episode is so much more inferior. It also shows a problem with AtS' concept of heroism - whereas The Wish is about the importance of Buffy's heroism and effect on the entire community, as well as the effect of the community on her, Birthday is very insular and all about Angel and Cordelia and their specialness.

But hey, maybe I'm just taking my feminist lens too far and seeing sexist prejudice where there isn't...

... Oh hi, @Angel&Faith, I've just skimmed your post and seen your amazing argument that Spike was "castrated by Buffy". Wow, I must have missed that episode. I wonder how those sex scenes between them worked. Thank you so much for proving my point for me.

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2016-10-17 03:55 ]

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2016-10-17 03:56 ]

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2016-10-17 03:57 ]

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2016-10-17 03:59 ]
Good grief. Since people are clearly incapable of ignoring the impulse to jump in here and stir the pot, I'm closing this thread.

TimeTravellingBunny, you can take a break from posting, as well.

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