Hello Joss, here I am with something amazing.
My Angel Series Redemption Report!
So I got through the first four middling seasons of Angel, and one fairly good season of Angel, your Buffy spinoff. And after analyzing all the episodes, and plowing into yearly summaries, and finishing up Buffy as well, I now am about to unleash the grand finale.
The Series Report, done A to Z style. Filled with SPOILERS.
A is for Angel!
For a Warlock, Angel does really good. Yes, I know Joss, Angel is actually a Vampire with a soul, but remember I was such a newbie I thought the dude was a Warlock. Staring as the mysterious stranger wandering the streets offering cryptic clues, becoming the cool love interest, moving comfortably into a serious relationship with Buffy, accidentally transforming into the Big Bad, getting better, dying, getting better again, and almost ending it all because of despair, you certainly put Angel through the wringer Joss. Then he gets his own series in another city, filled with evil and vileness, and gets his crew together. But Angel’s biggest enemy through the early seasons was himself, from moodiness to pushing people away to intentionally trying to lose his soul. Not his best moments. A brief peace with his baby son Connor is squashed because you are cruel Joss, and crueler when yet again you pull apart AI by having Angel hate Wesley. Always turmoil in Angel’s life, some of it self inflicted. Sometimes I wonder if Angel does not want full happiness because he feels it is undeserved due to his terrible past. Which is why you brought Holtz in Joss, we know that. Even when being the champion seems possible with the whole reforming evil from within mission, he only attains a dot of happiness. But of course that can only go so far, what with Spike the champion ghosting in and maybe taking the title and prize. With all this emotional upheaval going on, I still do not believe Angel would sign away the prophecy in the final episode. Angel would hang on because Buffy is in Europe baking. We all know this Joss. And so would Angel. Give him some happiness, just not pure, and everyone will be content. And of course A is for Angel Investigations.
B is for Buffy!
Where it all started. With good old Buffy. Angel’s role as tortured soul, love interest, badass, and season two Big Bad of Buffy helped give the character the legs to go it alone in the big bad city. Nurturing a broken heart, Angel moved on from our fav Slayer. Until she kept cropping up as a guest star, all to finally resolve their mutual yearnings, move to somewhat hate, then onto collegial cooperation. Granted, after her series ended and Angel took over Wolfram and Hart, their relationship took a slightly bad turn into distrust on Buffy’s part, but we all kinda knew that might happen Joss. These two have been through a lot, and maybe after the baking is done, all our fan dreams might come true.
C is for Cordelia!
Cordelia was already tamed a bit from her Buffy season one nastiness by the time she landed in LA and became Angel’s much needed moral compass. And she just grew and grew in our beating hearts into someone we all loved and cared for. Cordelia went through so much, from hanging with her fav ghost Dennis to dating like a modern woman to kicking butt when needed, that when she ascended we all had sadfaces. Her so called return to life as Jasmine was annoying, but at least she had a proper tribute and sendoff in You’re Welcome. RIP Cordelia. And of course C is for Connor.
D is for Doyle!
Doyle, we miss ya, even through you were annoying and an obvious replacement. Still you had a very heroic death, saving the day like you always wanted to. And your visions gift lasted a long long time. RIP Doyle. And of course D is for Darla and Dennis.
E is for Eve!
Yes, I dislike the character. Yes, I figured out she was evil, just like I am sure most of the fans did. But she was one of the few bumps in the road in the otherwise really solid last season.
F is for Freddie!
Freddie was the Willow of Angel, but that was your design we call tell Joss. And we did not mind at all, which was why it was awesome when those two geeks met. Freddie was super smart, sweet, became a badass, survived crap in another dimension, lived through PTSD, had two stable relationships, and mostly cared for her friends. All this while remaining update and chipper. Freddie might have become a tad grumpier in season five, the big shocker of shockers was her death and Illyria taking over. Not a fan of this inglorious ending for our cool Texan. RIP Freddie. And of course F is for Faith.
G is for Gunn!
What started as a one shot character, a street tough leading a gang against the creatures of the night, became a regular with fighting skills and talent beyond his years. And also an occasional jerk like hotheadedness and jealousy that became annoying. Thankfully that part came to an end with the infusion of law and songs in the final season. Loved Gunn even more in a smart business suit and spouting legalese both human and demon. And of course G is for Grooselugg and Gwen.
H is for Harmony!
Think about this Joss. Harmony, if I remember correctly, appeared in the first episode of Buffy. And Harmony appeared in the last episode of Angel. So the entire Buffyverse is actually the story of Harmony? I am sure someone has already thought of this theory Joss. But back to the music of Harmony. While providing mostly comic relief, we still get that she is a vulnerable person who really really wants to prove herself. Even back on Buffy, I did feel for her, and when she showed up on Angel, I wanted her to stay. Yes, she is evil, but she is always always trying better. And of course H is for Hyperion Hotel and Holtz and Holland Manners.
I is for Illyria!
I never really got this character at all, or why the change was made, or why the depowering, or just why generally. But at least you kept the same actress Joss. I have a feeling in season six Illyria would have become the cosmic powerhouse like Thor is, which would have been interesting.
J is for Justine!
Annoying and whiny as she may have been, I always held out hope that Justine The Wannabe Slayer would come back and join AI. Something about her attitude and slight fighting skill kinda held my attention. Maybe Faith could have trained? And of course J is for Jasmine.
K is for Kate!
The winner for the most obnoxious character award goes to the cop with the nasty attitude, and I do believe is dead, Kate. She had potential, but man did you make her go dark and darker Joss. Good news, at least her jerk father went first. RIP Kate.
L is for Lorne!
Gotta love Lorne. The musical maestro won our hearts Joss as soon as the hostest with the mostest first appeared. Lending a helping ear and good solid advice, Lorne just made even the worst episodes more tolerable. Plus, his singing karma reading was always enjoyable and fun. Seeing him in his native Pylea gave us a new glimpse into the who and the what of our fav swinging singer. And while I miss the club, I wished Lorne had recreated it in the hotel ballroom, because that would be cool, cat. And of course L is for Lindsay and Lila.
M is for Marcus Hamilton!
Beneath that calm demeanor we always knew lurked a vile evil brutal creature. And we knew this right away Joss, just waiting in those few episodes for Marcus Hamilton to cause untold chaos and carnage. All in an immaculate suit.
N is for Nina!
What felt like a great character getting the brush off, you instead surprised me Joss by bringing her back a few times. Bonus House Points for having gloomy Angel actually pursue a relationship with Nina. Nina was kinda a gamechanger for our fav Vampire with a soul.
O is for Oz!
Love Oz. He is the most awesome of awesome. Missed him massively when he left Buffy and loved it greatly he was the first to crossover with Angel. And really Joss, it was obviously an attempt to keep him in the universe by hoping our favourite werewolf would just on to LA. Still wishing he had.
P is for Pylea!
Everyone seems to love the Pylea Trilogy, but I found it whatever at best. Some interesting tidbits here and their, what with beastial Angel and Cordelia gaining royalty. The only really bring spot for me Joss is the introduction of the wonderful Freddie.
Q is for Questions!
Every show, no matter how excellent, has logic holes or continuity lapses. Even your beloved Buffy suffered occasionally from this. But Angel, Holy Hellmouth did Angel ever suffered like mad over this. I am fairly certain the majority of my episode posts mentioned multiple instances of head scratching moments that just hurt my cerebral cortex. Yeah, Angel was def not as tightly written as Buffy.
R is for Retard!
For some strange reason, in the early seasons of Angel, use of this word to insult people happened all the time. Joss, this was the early 2000’s. not the early seventies, why was this allowed to happen? This is not PC speak by any means, but just insulting language. Still shaking my head.
S is for Spike!
Our second favourite Vampire with a soul, the maybe champion Spike, came onto Angel early on and was his usual evil self. That was fun and interesting. Now in season five, blondie bear arrives via amulet and all sort of whacky fun and fighting happens. And frankly Joss I loved it. Not only do Spike and Angel make a great bromance, but seeing Spike struggle with being a champion, and still worry if his previous sacrifice was good enough to deserve Buffy’s respect, was a great story arc. If, and we know he will, survive that final battle, I hope Spike truly accepts his new destiny, because it will be epic. And of course S is for Skip.
T is for The Powers That Be!
What started as a plot device became more prevalent, than almost forgotten, as Angel progressed. Thankfully the toga twins were slaughtered early on because man were they silly looking, but the plot propelling Visions kept chugging along. I was not a fan of this whole thing because I really do not think a plan was in place for these being at all, and it showed.
U is for Untouched!
This episode you directed Joss was an obvious Carrie homage, complete with serious issues and all, which is why it was so good. And the fact it was a very Buffy like one as well probably helped. I like Beth and wished she had come back. Imagine Beth and Gwen together against the forces of evil?
V is for Vampire!
All the new Vampire lore established on Buffy got added to here on Angel. And in some cases spun around. The pregnant Darla storyline really showed how the impossible could whip a somewhat depraved and very love struck Vampire into actually feeling something. Also, in the last season Joss, the former sailor Vampire really does not want to do and be evil, so he does suicide by Angel. Harmony all by herself could provide multiple cases studies of the evil of Vampires.
W is for Wesley!
We get the Wesley at first, the refuge from Buffy and wannabe rogue demon hunter, who made Maxwell Smart look like Inspector Gadget. Really hated that version of him. Then we get the Wesley who can kick butt, lead, make tough decisions, and get crap done. Loved this, the real version, of the former Watcher. But quite often, even seasons long it seemed like, we get the Wesley who is mopey and angry and mopey and very much annoying. I know Joss you kinda explained it by giving us tidbits of his abused childhood, which affected his self confidence, hence the bumbling, but that all felt very underdeveloped. I did cheer when Wesley shot his father the robot and hoped for character movement. But no, he still could be moody and annoying. Maybe he found peace in passing. RIP Wesley. And of course W is for Willow, who should get a team up series with Wesley, and Wolfram and Hart.
X is for Xander!
Okay, I know Xander never guest starred on Angel. But don’t ya just wished he had Joss? Once more with fighting as Xander and Angel finally settle their differences, with fists, axes, or fading advanced military training. It would have been epic.
Y is for You’re Welcome!
Still sad over this one. It was a beautiful beautiful episode giving us all one more taste of the great Cordelia, providing moral guidance and sass and wonderful ear yanking. Yes Joss, I really used to hate Cordelia, back in her Buffy season one mode, but darn it all she won my heart over. And making her final line “You’re welcome” in a half sarcastic way was so fitting. Brutal and epic scenes with much love. RIP Cordelia.
Z is for Zombies!
Not a fan of zombies at all. And the Wolfram and Hart variety even more so. But all those dead lawyers getting slaughtered yet again? That is the start of tons of jokes and many peoples dreams. And Wolfram and Hart really really deserved it.
So that is it with My Upcoming Year of Angel… Hopefully!
It was abit of a tough go here and there, season to season, but my completest nature drove me forward, which does pay off abit in the fifth year.
I wonder how it all comes together after in the comics, which are somewhere in my future.
Thanks to Joss Whedon and David Boreanaz for Angel, and to my younger brother for the very long tern loan of his boxset. And thanks to the readers, for reading my constant criticism and never once staking me. Even if you were all sorely tempted.
It was interesting.
…is currently reading Watership Down by Richard Adams. And clutching my copy of Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee very very close.