After discovering Buffy the Vampire Slayer and devouring all seven seasons on Netflix, I set my sights on the spinoff starring David Boreanz, Angel. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Angel wasn’t exactly my favorite character in the Buffyverse, but I had faith that Joss would deliver something good nonetheless.
I was right. Angel was a good show. After watching all five seasons, I think I have decided that I liked Buffy slightly better, but it’s really a pretty tough call. Buffy probably had better characters and better humor, but Angel was no slouch either.
As is typical with Whedon’s shows, the episodes tended to vary wildly–sometimes they were funny, sometimes thought-provoking, and sometimes depressing. Not all of the episodes were amazing, but most were good or better.
Favorite Season: Season 4
This is an insanely difficult choice for me. I like season 4 for a lot of reasons, but it wasn’t perfect. I really liked the story, because it had great villains and a lot of plot elements were tied together nicely. It also had a great cast of characters. The cast was really sparse early in the show, but it eventually expanded and each new character gave the show more depth and variety.
But there were some things I didn’t like, namely Conner. He was just such a terribly written character. Whenever the writers needed a scapegoat, it was Conner. And he was so damn annoying; the teenage angst was more than I could bear.
Least Favorite Season: Season 5
Let’s face it, season 5 came on the heals of one epic season that just could not be topped. Season 5 floundered with filler episodes and, in the end, didn’t get around to addressing the bigger picture until the last minute. The concept didn’t work from the start and the episodes just weren’t the same quality I had come to expect.
Perhaps the thing that annoyed me the most was that Fred was killed. It was a stupid stunt and it was petty. What made it worse was that we were reminded every following episode with the presence of Illyria. It didn’t improve the show at all, in fact I think it was only worse after that point.
Favorite Episode: Smile Time
Yes, there were great episodes in each season no doubt, but there were none so amazingly hilarious as “Smile Time.” The one bright spot in season 5 was the ridiculous episode where Angel is turned into a puppet.
Least Favorite Episode: Lullaby
This is the episode where Conner was born. By this time, I couldn’t have been more sick of Darla. She was way overused and I grew very tired of her character. I never cared for the concept of her being pregnant and watching an entire episode of her whining and moaning through labor didn’t win her any points in my book.
Runner up: “The Girl in Question.”
There were three episodes left in the entire series and the writers had the audacity to show a filler episode where Angel and Spike travel to Rome and bicker over Buffy. They didn’t even cast Sarah Michelle Gellar in the episode. It was just dumb.
Favorite Character: Fred
I think it was the smile that sold me. Fred was exactly what the show needed after a couple of pretty bleak early seasons. I also really liked Wesley and Gunn. Their chemistry, especially in season 2, was a surprise and I thought it worked really well. Cordelia also ended up being a much better character than I ever would have guessed.
Least Favorite Character: Conner
Considering how much I have already ranted about him, I’ll move on.
Favorite Villain: Jasmine
Angel never really had the same caliber of villains that Buffy had, but Jasmine was pretty solid. If nothing else, I respect the casting choice.
Least Favorite Villain: Darla
She was only a semi, partial villain, but I simply grew tired of her.
I’m a little disappointed that this post seems to have turned out a bit on the negative side, but when you really love something, the parts that you don’t love can really stand out. I think that is what happened here.
If you didn’t see it previously, I also reflected on Buffy back in December. I think I’ll tackle Dollhouse next and save the best (Firefly) for last!