If Buffy the Vampire Slayer is about growing up, Angel is about being a grown-up. The two shows fit together nicely and these two similar yet different mission statements make both shows unique in their own way. Sure, sometimes the stories feel similar or incorporate similar elements but they feel different and they are usually told with a different focus or with slightly different conclusion.
Angel is not about what figuring out who you are, Angel is about defining who you are, becoming the Version of yourself you want to be, or sometimes the version you have to be. Angel is about your coworkers, the feelings you have about your coworkers, becoming a dad, trying to be a good dad, disappointments, well-meant betrayal, working for Evil Inc., loss, sacrifices and what it means to keep fighting because let’s face it, once you’re an adult there’s no exit strategy anymore, there’s no real finale with a happy ending, the journey keeps going on whether you’re prepared or not.
I’m not sure whether I prefer Buffy or Angel, I think as a show I prefer Buffy but I like Angel’s chapters more. The first season of Angel was a bit rough, at least until Wesley showed up and I think the show really came together when Fred1 became an integral part of the show. Season 3 is definitely the strongest season. The Fred and Wesley arc is probably one of my favourite romantic arcs ever, the end is obviously heart-breaking and I will always hate Joss for that but damn, it was great television and it brings me to tears every time.
Sometimes the big story arc felt a bit soapy and too plotty2 but it lead to some great character moments and solved some bog storytelling issues that would have dragged the show down, let’s be honest, no-one wants to see a Vampire raising a baby, that might have gotten old real fast.
It’s a shame that Angel got cancelled after only 5 Seasons, I think they had at least one really good season left in them, maybe two but in these 5 seasons the show delivered some great episodes and some truly inspiring moments. I’m not going to list all of them but most of them have to do with Wesley and Fred but don’t forget Smile Time or the birth of Connor and don’t get me started about that Waiting in the Wings.
One of my absolute favourites though is the moment in Season 5 when Spike turns corporeal again. Episode after episode you wonder when and how they are going to do that and then they turn it into a hilarious slapstick moment, you just have to love that. It’s the little things that keep us entertained.