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August 23 2005

Christian Kane shares his thoughts on a Buffyverse spinoff with E! Online's Kristin. (Spoilers for Lost and Six Feet Under on this page).

I have never been a fan of those "Angel was the more grown-up, more mature show" comments, as a matter of fact, i kind of hate them. Sure, S1-S3 of BtVS was younger, but they were still in high school. S4 was very transitional, but that's how life is. S5 was grown-up, as was S7, though of all the seasons of BtVS i would have to say that S6 was the most adult of any BtVS/AtS season. I get that most of the people on AtS were already older so it dealt less with growing up and transitions, but i don't see how that makes it "better" in any way. I just had to vent and go on cause i don't know how many more "AtS was more for adults while BtVS is more of a young people show".
I disagree. Regardless of the character age, or what was going on in their lives? AtS always felt more adult than BtVS in tems of plot and general feel. Even in season seven, BtVS was more of a coming-of-age story while Angel came of age a few centuries ago.

I don't think anyone is saying that Angel was better because it was more mature. There's really no need to be so defensive. o_O

Personally, I do think AtS was better BUT the two opinions aren't necessarily related.
I agree Dhoffryn. S6 was very adult. Too adult for my taste. Buffy has a light feeling over it, but that doesn't make the actual stuff less adult.
I agree D'Hoffryn. I agree that there are differences between Buffy and Angel, and that Buffy is more about growing up whereas Angel is more about people who are already adults. Buffy does have a more "high school" feel as Christian says, but I find that often works in its favour. One of the advantages I think Buffy has over Angel is that its use of irony and humour counterbalances the dark tone more effectively, whereas with Angel I found there was less humour, although that could be intentional.

But where I do disagree is where people comment on Angel being "darker". In terms of tone and content, I think the shows were usually equally as dark. In fact Buffy season six was probably darker than anything Angel has done.

Christian also says, "And you can put more blood in it and all that stuff, so I think that may be the reason why," which I also disagree with. Hello, Gnarl anyone? Goriest Buffy/Angel scene ever? The Gentlemen?

I would agree that Angel probably has fewer young fans, but I think that adults are attracted to both equally. And I think in terms of trying to get the biggest audience, Buffy would be the way to go for a film as it is more widely recognised by non-fans. That might alienate some close-minded adults, but I think Angel probably gets about the same amount of stigma for being a supernatural show because its a spin-off of Buffy.
Didn't the Angel finale attract more viewers than the Buffy finale? I remember reading something like that. That tells you which show to go with for a spinoff right there. Besides, Faith appeared on both shows so we're fine either way! ;-)
Just thought I'd add my tuppence worth to this debate. I think even season 6 of Buffy doesn't reach the darkness of season 4 of Angel. Angel was definitely the more mature show - the main reason being I think is that pretty much all the central characters were much more morally ambiguous. I don't think so-called 'darkness' comes from the gore-level or the writing or even the narrative tropes involved but the level of emotional ambiguity. The Buffy world is much more divided on black/white, good/evil lines than the Angel one - a fact that I think both shows pointed out in its crossover eps.
Prospero, I disagree. With the exception of S1, S2 and S3 I find Buffy more grey. Buffy, Willow, Xander went all in the wrong during S6. They were the big bads themselves. And AS5 makes a clear separation between good and evil: W&H is evil and Angel's team = Good. Not one laywer has been proven to be an exception.
I have to disagree. Even though the feel of Buffy got very dark in S6, on the whole, it seemed that the gang messed things up for themselves more than anything else, with the exception of Willow's veiny stint.

On AtS, what made it so interesting to me is that the show was already very grey. Even at Buffy's own darkest moments, she never really got her hands dirty. The Angel group wasn't like that. Angel locked the lawyers in the wine cellar, Wesley kidnapped Connor, Gunn made a deal with the devil to become a lawyer. I thought part of what made S5 so interesting was constantly wondering how corrupt the team would become while at W&H. If the whole W&H = Evil and Team Angel = Good was that obviously clear-cut, then it wouldn't have been interesting at all.
Storyteller: That argument oversimplifies things to a crazy extent. A sensible reason for supposing that the Angel finale did better than any other Angel episode in recent memory was that it was the final Buffyverse episode. As a result, Buffy fans who didn't normally watch tuned in for it. The reverse obviously wasn't true for the Buffy finale since the Angel fans knew they'd still have another year. Even taking that into account, things were still pretty even. Not so even were the average number of viewers for the final seasons of each show. New episodes of the final season of Buffy averaged a few hundred thousand more viewers than new episodes of Angel in its fifth year. Worldwide, Buffy has the far bigger fanbase. I could go on. I think the reason Angel is more ripe for a spinoff is that fewer members of the cast are tied up with other projects. They were also involved for far less time (minus David of course) and so may not have the same need to move on.

Dhoffryn: I completely agree.

[ edited by Impossible on 2005-08-23 14:03 ]
I've never been a fan of the "more mature = somehow better show" comments either. And I'm totally a BtVS fan who started watching AtS during season 5 (as well as TNT) because I missed the Buffyverse. But AtS has its unique charms, which I came to appreciate, as does BtVS.
I don't think Kane is saying more mature = better, he's just saying the shows appeal to a different audience and I bet if you look at the demographics he's correct.
prospero, I agree. I think that season 4 of Angel was possibly more dark than 6 of Buffy.

"But where I do disagree is where people comment on Angel being "darker". In terms of tone and content, I think the shows were usually equally as dark."

^^I don't agree with this. I think Angel is definetly darker. So much in fact that my 14 year old brother doesn't watch it. He loves Buffy and thinks that the show Angel lacks Buffy's quick humor and up-beat feel, even in it's darkest episode. Most of the darkness in season 6 of Buffy is with the Buffy/Spike episode and Willow magic addiction. At the end, Willow becomes evil, yes. But there was no Angelus. Angelus in season 4 is the darkest we've ever seen a vampire character on any Buffyverse show. Soulless is one of my least favorite episodes from season 4 because all it is is Angelus being purely evil to the point of revultion. Plus the whole, "Cordy's evil...why did Cordy become evil?" and Cordelia/Angel/Connor storyline which I hated. Now I'm rambling...

On another note, I pretty much lost all respect for Kane after listening to the commentary for "Your Welcome" with him and David Fury. His character appeared in the pilot for crying out loud and he still asked Fury "why cordelia didn't turn into a vampire when spike bit her." I was just like, "ow, c'mon!" How could he not know that!
killinj: I'm sure you're right that that's what he was trying to say. But I think he phrased things rather badly. On the surface, he seems to be saying that an Angel movie would sell better because it may have a more adult demographic and because they can show more blood. There's no way in the world that an Angel movie would sell "better" than a Buffy movie (assuming that some of the main players were to be involved in either option) regardless of how much blood they showed.

I don't mean it to sound like I'm "anti-Angel" here. I'm not at all. I'm a fan of that show too. But I think even the biggest fans of Angel would have a hard time arguing that an Angel movie would sell better than a Buffy one... for any reason. Even with secondary characters in a tv movie scenario, I think the same logic would apply (since neither DB or SMG would be likely to be involved).

[ edited by Impossible on 2005-08-23 15:40 ]
Gunn may have made a deal with the devil. I understand definitely what you mean, and in that respect it was more grey and more adult. But he was still the good guy, he just made a mistake and he got punished for it. The guys who helped Gunn with it all got killed though. They were all evil. So, Gunn was good and W&H was evil.

Angelus is not Angel. Angel is good. Angelus is pure evil. Hence black and white. Angel has killed some laywers and done some other bad stuff, sure. But compared to Anya? Willow?

And Wesley is a sweetie compared to the Ripper.

[ edited by Koos on 2005-08-23 16:05 ]
Okay, me? Never a fan of the "Angel is the darker, more mature show" comments either...but when you look at both shows...yeah, maybe not to a huge degree, but there is a slight difference in tone which makes "Angel" seem a little darker compared to it's...sire show? "Buffy" was a little lighter, a little more upbeat, and seemed to have a few more light moments comparatively. But that makes sense for the characters and where they're coming from. On Buffy, we saw most of the the characters evolve as they went from high school to college to the real world (I say most since characters like Giles weren't high school students, and we only saw Dawn halfway through her high school career, and in her third year of life as a non-ball of energy.) On Angel on the other hand, the only person who was coming out of high school was Cordelia. Angel - obviously - was a two-hundred-plus year old vampire, Doyle was a half-demon who had already been married once and who'd been a teacher for third grade - so you kinda know he wasn't exactly out of high school - and Wesley was a full fledged Watcher who'd just been chucked out of the Council. Then we had Gunn who - while he probably was close to Cordelia's age - had lived on the streets for a long while. Plus, okay, Fred? A physics student or a physisist (not really sure which exactly yet) who was stuck in a demonic dimension for about 5 years. Besides Cordelia - who was brought into the show to give it brightness, according to what I've heard (from David Greenwalt? I can't remember) - was really the only character who didn't have a dark past of any sort. (I'm counting Wesley as having one because of the fact that his father's shadow hung over him. In any case, he was an adult.) I honestly think it's the characters themselves that gave the show that more mature feel than anything else. On "Buffy", a lot of them were maturing, on "Angel", a lot of them had matured, had come of age and were now dealing with the reprecussions of that.

Or something.

Edit: And yeah, me? Not saying that one show was better than the other. I love both of them equally enough that I seriously can't see one as being the better show over the other.

[ edited by Emma Frost on 2005-08-23 18:01 ]
This is a really interesting discussion but I still maintain that the Angelverse characters are treading a greyer, darker line. Yes, you have Dark Willow etc in season 6 of Buffy but that's a character being taken over and becoming a full-blown Big Bad and subsequently redeemed again. When Angel locks the lawyers in the cellar he's still Angel (not Angelus). And what about Wesley stabbing the vampire junkie for information or Fred tasering Connor? These are not the acts of 'possessed' good guys but the darker manifestations of character traits that essentially make them the characters we know and love in the normal run of things. It's part of who they are.
I agree that Angel has a darker, more adult tone, whereas Buffy which was very dark in its own right remains lighter and more humorous in tone. I, however, believe that an extension of the Buffy show makes more sense because it does have a lighter feeling and of the two shows it is easily the most accessible and recognizable to the general public. I also want to point out that being lighter does not mean that Buffy was any less complex, intelligent and challenging as the darker Angel, they just had different moods. Both shows were both great and whichever one of them arises as the backdrop of the Spike spinoff I will be thrilled to see it.
Willow wasn't possessed in s6 though, granted she snaped and went nuts, but she still had a soul. I don't see how it's different to what Angel did, except that his was a gradual descent and he managed to pull himself back from the brink, whereas Willow went in one fell-swoop.
I think you could argue Willow was kind of 'possessed' though. There were several references to the dark magics having taken her over. While she hadn't actually lost her soul or anything, there was a sense that she was no longer in control of her actions and I would argue that that's a kind of possession. I'd also like to add that I'm in no way advocating that one show is better than the other. They're just different and it was obviously intentional so that Angel was never seen as a Buffy clone and had its own identity, but at the same time I think prefer the Angel approach. Bring on the pain!!
I would disagree with Kane about Buffy having a high school feel outside of the first three seasons as the show did such a good job of maturing and changing along with the characters and their situations.

Having said that, I do agree that Angel was darker though, even outside of the main characters it was darker. Whereas Sunnydale was bright, Los Angeles was not. Also, the monsters of the week were never as sinister on Buffy as they were on Angel (something which Angel unfortunately lost as time went on). With examples being Marcus (paedophilic torture vamp), Russell Winters (who represented the corruptness of Hollywood) and even Vanessa Brewer whose origin was disturing to say the least.

This even carries through to the human characters that would appear for only one episode, which on Buffy weren't as well defined/troubled as the one ep characters on Angel like Tina (City Of), Rachel (In the Dark), the doctor from Damage etc.

This isn't a slant to either show, I just wanted to make the point that Angel was dark outside of the problem-filled main characters.

[ edited by Jackal on 2005-08-23 17:53 ]
Wow. Interesting thread, and a lot of good points on both sides. My own views on this are pretty mixed.
I've spent a lot of time telling a few friends who claim that Buffy is the younger, teenage show and Angel is for adults that that is absolutely NOT the case. I think they're both equally mature, equally nuanced, equally good (BtVS will probably always be first in my mind, just because I fell in love with the characters and the world there first, but I love both shows). And I often talk about how dark and adult Buffy got in its last three seasons. And plenty ambiguous as well – as others have mentioned, the Scoobies themselves were their own "big bad" for S6, and Buffy's relationship with Spike was plenty complicated and filled with very adult, complex emotions.
That said, I think in some ways Angel is the "darker" (not necessarily better or more mature) show, for a lot of the reasons that prospero and meimi and others mentioned. It's certainly grayer in the good/evil of both its heroes and villains (and yes, I realize that Buffy slept with Spike, and Willow descended into dark magic, etc.) Grayness and redemption was SUCH a strong theme in Angel. From Angel's own descent into a dark place with locking the lawyers in, to Wesley's extremely dark journey, to Cordy and Connor sleeping together, to the whole idea that very few demons (or lawyers) were even wholly evil. When you have a protagonist who is guilty of horrific deeds in the past for which he's constantly trying to atone, I suppose that theme is a given... :-)
The stuff the team goes through in Season 4, and some of the trauma people like Fred and Gunn and Wes face, just hits places that BtVS didn't venture to as often. The villians were often (not always) much more evil and twisted on Angel, and the show was literally "darker" – a long way from the bright, sun-filled sunnydale.
The finales, for me, fit both shows perfectly. BtVS ended with a clear victory - some unknown futures, sure, but the big bad was defeated and the hellmouth was gone and slayers were created everywhere. It ended with a smile (and death, of course, and sadness...). Angel ended ambiguously, with the outcome unknown. The message was that the battle could never be won, but at least they were going to keep fighting.

Buffy was absolutely a grownup show, and is the one I'm most in love with. But it's hard to deny that Angel hit a few darker, more humorless places. Some younger, middle-school-age kids of friends of mine have recently been getting into Buffy and I've been loaning them the DVDs. I might advise the parents to wait a few years when they hit S6, but for the most part I think they can handle the show. I'd be pretty wary of getting them into Angel, though, at least after S2, and I don't think they'd be as interested in it since it deals with themes and life situations they haven't really thought about.
Yeah, just to add in. I agree Angel was a darker show, and to an extent more adult. Buffy was a very 'coming of age' type show. They were shown through high school and college, so by definition it wasn't necessarily 'adult'. It was kids trying to become adults and find their way in that, but Angel was already an adult and his show was in a sense a 'coming of vamp' story. He was trying to figure out his place in the human world as a good vamp.
I think the very cores of the shows set the stage: a valley girl cum warrior of the good(which I think allows for a slightly lighter show), an evil vamp cum warrior of the good(which is a pretty solid setup for darkness and 'mature' themes).

Buffy herself is just not as dark a character as Angel, and no one would expect her to be. Her darkest point was being an abusive bitch(IMO) in season 6, but with Angel...well, I think we all know he got a lot darker as a character on many occasions.

Buffy as a show got more mature, by necessity. The characters were growing up, the storylines had to grow with them. But even Willow at her most black-eyed can't touch the darkness and evil that Angel fought within himself daily.
Angel as a show got a bit lighter (particularly near the end), at least superficially. The themes and plots were still heavy and dark and serious, but introducing Spike as the 'little brother' gave it an element of immaturity that it needed, just to take the weight off the shoulders once in a while. Hell, even Lorne was just a shell of his former happy self by the end. If you can bring Lorne down, you know some darkness is happening!

Having said all that, I preferred Buffy to Angel, though I can't exactly say why. Maybe I felt Angel was too dark for my tastes. Or maybe it was just the bias of falling for BtVS before I ever watched Angel. Or maybe it's a combo of factors. I can't honestly say.
I got into Buffy BECAUSE of Angel and has now thanks to syndicated reruns seen most of Buffy. Yes, Angel was much darker when compared to Buffy (but Buffy season 6 was not exactly "light"). I am Swedish and I currently live in the US (I also attended university here 92-96) I think Buffy does have alot of "in-side" American high school things going on that at least for me was not that obvious. Did any of that make sense?? NOT that ANY of this is bad, but I find Angel more interesting.
Do not take this as a "diss". I like Buffy...but Angel is more my cup of tea.
Angel probably was the darker show. I prefer Buffy by quite a long way because IMO it mixed its darkness better with humour, the friendships, the drama, the horror etc, etc than Angel did. It's subjective obviously but I just didn't have that much interest in the 'darkness' of Angel. I could relate far more to the characters on Buffy.
The greyness in Angel comes from human vs demon. Humans can be evil too, while demons can be good. In the first three seasons of BtVS the most neutral demon was Whisler and the rest was evil. That's black and white. AS1 showed the first good demon characters or part demon.

AS5 though makes a very clear difference between good and evil too. Although it's not based on being either human or demon. It's based on action. When you do something wrong you will get pusnished and there is a clear distinct difference between W&H and Angel's team. And another example is Wesley, we get to see explicitely why Wesley is forgiven by Angel. Almost childish IMO. I find Gunn sending to hell to show how sorry is about Fred not dark, I find it childish. Like I need to see explicitely to know in how much pain he is.

In BtVS we have neither of that. Some get punished and others don't. And characters like Spike, Willow, Faith, Andrew and Giles don't have a problem with killing humans. (Bad or Good.)
"Just thought I'd add my tuppence worth to this debate. I think even season 6 of Buffy doesn't reach the darkness of season 4 of Angel. Angel was definitely the more mature show - the main reason being I think is that pretty much all the central characters were much more morally ambiguous. I don't think so-called 'darkness' comes from the gore-level or the writing or even the narrative tropes involved but the level of emotional ambiguity. The Buffy world is much more divided on black/white, good/evil lines than the Angel one - a fact that I think both shows pointed out in its crossover eps. "

I totally disagree. Yes, in the early seasons of Buffy things were a little more black and white, but since season four these lines have been blurred more and more.

I think the Scooby Gang are just as morally ambiguous as the Angel Investigations team. Buffy repeatedly has to make tough decisions and her volatile relationship with Spike, whilst not bad in itself, was handled poorly by both of them. Willow of course went just as evil as Angelus ever was, in fact more so, because Angelus is a completely different person from Angel, and Willow had a soul even when she was Dark Willow. The idea of someone exacting revenge when their lover has been murdered is a very interesting and complex one, because in some ways Willow desereved revenge, but how far should people be allowed to go?

The whole Evil Cordy thing was also not her fault, because she was being possessed by Jasmine the whole time. The only significant incident where I think either Fred or Gunn could be described as morally ambiguous was "Supersymmetry", and Gunn did kill someone, Fred wanted to but didn't. I see Connor as a victim more than anything else, his time in Quortoth with Holtz meant he could never have a normal relationship with Angel and all of his actions were rooted in his trust issues. He did kill the innocent girl to induce Cordy's labour, but Jasmine was goading him into it, using the guise of the only person Connor thought he could trust at the time.

I never felt Wesley was that bad. He did take Connor away from Angel, and probably should have told the team, but he thought it couldn't be stopped and was acting in Connor's best interests. Sleeping with Lilah was pretty ambiguous, but Lilah herself wasn't 100% evil. Anya of course went back to vengeance in "Entropy" and didn't seem to be doing a good job of it, and regretted the carnage she created in "Beneath You" and "Selfless", but it's possible that she did kill or injure other people offscreen.

Angel is pretty ambiguous, locking the W&H lawyers in with Darla and Dru as one example, but I don't think there are many instances of him willingly killing an innocent person. Giles had no trouble killing Ben even though he was basically a victim. And Spike was more ambiguous than Angel ever was, he was capable of acts of great love even without a soul, but also did some really horrible things, and other times we really weren't sure- if he could have bitten the girl in "Smashed" when he thought his chip wasn't working, would he have? It's very hard to say.

I do think the Buffy characters are just as ambiguous as the Angel characters. The difference is that in Angel, people are less judgemental about it, perhaps because they're older and less naive, whereas in Buffy, Willow killing Warren for example was viewed with horror. Had Wesley went to enormous lengths to avenge Lilah's death, say by killing humans to find out Angelus's location, I don't think they should have been quite as disgusted.

And Koos, I would hardly say all of those charatcers will kill any human given the slightest provocation. Willow only ever killed Warren, who was clearly bad, and Rack, who may not have been human and certainly wasn't innocent, she she felt terrible for it and it took her months to recover. When Spike had his soul returned he was horrified at the murders The First made him commit. Faith was completely lost and possibly insane when she killed people, and has since repented, even turning herself in. She was also shocked when Wesley roughed up the junkie girl to find out where Angelus was. Andrew seemed to be very sorry for what he did to Jonathan when he broke down in "Storyteller".

Bear in mind I haven't seen all of season five Angel so I may not have seen some events.
Wesley murdered a man, shot another man in the leg and held a woman captive in chains for weeks. I think that qualifies as evil.
Though my favorite of the two shows is Angel, I think a Buffy movie would would appeal to a broader audience. All of the people I have tried to get interested in the verse have preferred Buffy because they say it's more fun to watch. Personally, I would love to see how the Buffy group and the Angel group would interact with each other.
Personally i think this debate is kind of pointless in relation to the main topic of this thread, that being the possibility of a spinoff show. The two series may have their own unique styles and you can make your own mind up which you think is the more mature, if you think either one is, but should a spinoff happen it will have a flavour all of its own, regardless of which of the two shows it originates from.

For example a Willow series could become very dark and adult despite coming out of the "lighter" series whilst an Illyria show might have a lighter, more comedic style than you would first imagine. It would depend entirely on the people who ended up running the show and what they decided to do with it.

Just to add my opinion to the debate however, i tend to fall on the side of those who think Buffy and Angel were equally adult in nature at different points in their runs. I think Buffy lent itself more to a daytime schedule slot than Angel generally did but even that is debateable once you reach season six.

I've been watching the current run of those season six episodes on Sky One just recently and the amount of editing is ridiculous! Hint to Sky One, if you think a series needs a substantial amount of chopping to be shown in a certain timeslot then just maybe that show isn't meant to be on that early in the day! Why they feel the need to give the various family friendly Trek shows a late evening timeslot, when that would be an ideal place for shows like Buffy and Angel, i have no idea!

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