Created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt
Leaving Sunnydale behind, Angel finds himself alone in Los Angeles, brooding (what else is new), alone, and still nursing his guilt over his previous (pre-soul, vampiric) life. Fortunately, the powers that be (truly) send help his way in the form of Sunnydale expatriate Cordelia Chase–who’s not making the big movie break she was expecting–and Doyle–an Irish half-demon with skull-bursting visions that point the team to those in trouble. Together, these three form the beginnings of a team, “Angel Investigations,” dedicated to rendering aid to those who need it–and, of course, to opposing the working of evil in the city, which in L.A. means the law firm, Wolfram & Hart. Angel and his team are sure to have their work cut out for them, but they just might be able to make a difference . . . and if they’re lucky, they might even make enough money to stay in business!
I came to Angel as, probably, most viewers do: as a spin-off series from Buffy, starting simultaneously with season 4 of the Sunnydale classic. I’m honestly not sure if that’s a good thing or not. There are certainly things that carry over–you have a lot of back-story on the characters going in to Angel if you’ve watched the first few seasons of Buffy first, for instance. But the genres are pretty different. I feel like I should pause and say first that I honestly enjoyed Angel very much and would watch it again. Having said that, I felt like it was, on the whole, a weaker story–the plot’s all over the place, the character set is erratic, and sometimes I had no idea what sort of genre I was supposed to be watching. Plus, they used all that CSI flashing between scenes at the beginning; that just about gave me vertigo (hyperbole), ugh. But in spite of not knowing whether it’s a detective story or a soap opera, I usually enjoyed the story, wherever it went. I think a lot of that is attributable to the characters, many of whom I absolutely loved. I think one of the most positive aspects of this show for me was that it took characters that I rather disliked in Buffy–namely Cordelia and Wesley Wyndam-Pryce–and actually developed them into mature characters that I truly enjoyed. Also, the inclusion of more peaceable characters like Lorne and Fred (love those two!) added a lot to the story. Honestly, the one character I really didn’t care for was Angel himself, not because he was poorly placed–Boreanaz did an excellent job portraying him–but because I just don’t like who he is, never have really. But I guess the show must have some significant redeeming qualities elsewhere if I like it despite disliking the main character. Finally, the ending was somewhat abrupt, but I do understand that the show was cut unexpectedly (and is said to be continued in some graphic novels, though how that’s possible, I don’t know). Anyhow, I enjoyed Angel, and I think Buffy fans who have a taste for more detective-y, urban stories would likely enjoy it also.
Starring: David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Glenn Quinn, Alexis Denisof, J. August Richards, Amy Acker, Vincent Kartheiser, Andy Hallett, James Marsters, & Mercedes McNab
Note: This TV series consists of 5 seasons (yes, it doesn’t seem like it should end where it does).
Note 2: Does anyone else get a Star Wars vibe out of Connor?