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Old January 30 2012, 01:47 AM   #25
neozeks's Avatar
Re: Why I've Come To Like "Angel" Better than "Buffy"

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
Undecided. On one side, there are advantages to having one antagonist. But Evil Lawyer Firm is just about the most cliche, easiest-to-hate villain one could possibly think of. Personally, I prefer Holtz, far more interesting as an antagonist.

Not all of Buffy's villains were great, but many of them were, and Buffy's storylines were more versatile with villains that mirrored the season's theme: from the Master as the evil patriarchal figure embodying Buffy's problems with father figures and tradition; Angelus, Spike and Dru for the season that was about emotions, romance and sex; a politician and another father figure in The Mayor (by himself one of the best villains ever) and Faith as Buffy's doppelganger; a vain hellgod and her human 'brother' in a season about family; followed by a trio of nerds playing at being villains who seem harmless until you realize they really aren't - and of course, Willow finally showing the dark side that was always there beneath the sweetness. Season 4 had the weakest villain because there was the weakest connection to the main characters and their issues, and the First in season 7 could have been great but unfortunately didn't make sense in the end (I'd still take it over AtS Season 4 villains any day).

Besides, Wolfram and Hart wasn't even always the antagonist, in season 4 it was Jasmine and the incredibly boring and cliche Beast. Plus Angelus again, but so much lamer than on BtVS.
I'd have to disagree about the villains here. S1 and S2 W&H are by far my favourite villains of BtVS/AtS. I actually think they're the least cliched. Unlike all the other villains they are not a single powerfull individual but an organization that is founded on a idea and represents that idea, and those are always more dangerous, organizations and ideas. And its not about destroying the world, or to quote Holland Manners, anything so prosaic as winning, but power and control over the system, whatever the price. In many ways, they are what I wished the Mayor was. Or maybe the Watcher's Council. I think that's the advantage of Angel's villains, they have more complex and interesting motivations that are at the hearts of their plots. Though I actually disliked Holtz, I think he was too one-dimensional in his fixation on revenge.

Watched abstractly, yeah, Buffy's villains can sometimes mirror the seasons' themes, but I never really felt it played any real practical role in the stories. In practice, I find most of them pretty interchangeable, they just wanted to destroy the world, one way or the other. If I may ask, what do you (and most other fans, it seems) see in the Mayor? Aside from his paternal relationship with Faith, I found him pretty boring. Like I said, he lacked any really interesting motivation (I want to become invincible and a giant snake because... ?). How exactly did the fact that he was a politician and the Mayor play any crucial part in the story,? He could have been mostly anything. I liked Angelus and Dark Willow for their pivotal connections to Buffy and the Trio because they were ordinary humans (and I enjoyed their geeky humor ) but the rest, eh. I think Glory is just as boring as the Beast and the Beast at least looks scary and cool. Angelus was definitely lamer on AtS than on Buffy, though, with the exception of that brief appearance in S1.

Regarding the adult/teenage comparison of the shows, what I prefer in Angel isn't so much the "adultness" in itself, but the more down-to-Earth and less over-the-top quality. Buffy saved the world. A lot. Angel saved the world, once? I thinks it's nicely encapsulated in that cute Willow/Wesley scene in Orpheus where Wesley is all "I've seen the darkness in me, I did things, held a woman chained in my closet" and Willow goes "yeah, I flayed a man alive and tried to destroy the world!". Of course, like most things here, that too is a matter of taste.

Buffy had better humor, much wittier dialogue and was more fun overall.
Hmm, Buffy definitely had more jokes, but I tend to find Angel jokes more consistently funny (and funnier at their respective peaks). Well, at least in Angel's S1 and S2, a lot of the humour was lost after that. OTOH, Buffy did manage to mantain a lot of humour throughout, even in the darkest portions of S6.

Buffy is a show that plays and examines gender roles in deeper and more interesting ways than any other I can think of. Angel, on the other hand... really doesn't. It's very traditional in that respect. A man is the hero, women are there to be emotional support or femme fatales or damsels or trophies for the boys to fight over... and to be fridged.
Angel's treatment of it's already too small female cast is pretty bad (and I haven't even reached Fred's death) but, while not denying the revolutionary importance of Buffy's take on female characters, I don't think Buffy's treatment of it's male characters is all that good either. Xander and Giles are good in the first few seasons, but pretty much fade away later (and leave their respective females). Riley is pretty weak. Watchers, mostly males, are incompetent. All the fathers are horrible, etc. I really think Buffy lacked a strong male character in it's second half. I'm not too thrilled by Spike. Not so much for the whole "defanging" thing but for the fact his character became completely defined by his often slavish relationship with Buffy. Ok, I did quite like Wood.

The Powers That Be and the big retcon of season 4.
Definitely agreed on that, I hated it. In fact, I just choose to think Skip lied or at least exaggerated.

I'm curious how is BtVS:AtS = TNG: DS9 to you, except for the fact that AtS is a spinoff and that there were some crossovers?
Well, I did say "a lot of ways", not "all" or even "most" ways. I haven't really analyzed the idea much. It's just the general feeling regarding theme and tone, things that form a show's "identity" in my mind, that I get when thinking about the shows. Character-wise, yeah, the comparison doesn't hold. Both BtVS and AtS are DS9-like in being centered on character development. I agree Buffy characters on the whole had better development (Buffy is my favorite character in the Buffyverse - and I'm a guy ) but that's more "quality of craft" than "identity".

I just see Angel as a darker, more serious show, more ambiguous and political in it's themes and stories. More grounded and less concetrated on high concept stories. And larger in scope. Buffy may have been about saving the world most of the time, but it definitely always felt pretty individualistic and isolated in it's little Sunnydale world to me, with Angel feeling grander and more universal.

And while BtVS was definitely a lot more serialized than TNG, I do think the even higher level of serialization of AtS compared to BtVS - throughout the whole show, not just season by season - merits the comparison. Also, but this may just be me, in AtS most of my favourite episodes are storyarc-episodes, while on BtVS they tend to be standalones (in the sense of season plot arcs, not character arcs), generally the same as my favourite episodes of DS9 vs TNG. Of course, TNG didn't really have plot arcs at all...

The public perception of the shows can also be mentioned, with both Angel and DS9 being overshadowed by their more popular and iconic "parent" counterparts.

Season 2 is my favorite season of Angel by far. Too bad it ends with the Pylea arc which really doesn't fit and ruins the structure, if it had ended differently it may have been the best season of both shows.
Going in, I thought I would hate it, but I really, really loved Pylea. In large part exactly because it's the total opposite in tone to the Darla arc, with it's shamelessly fun and cheesy aproach - while still managing to fit in character-wise with the character journeys in S2, IMO. That's one more thing I like about Angel, it never rigidly follows the same season structure the way Buffy does most of time. Of course, me watching the shows on DVD instead of when they were first aired on TV might play a part in all of this.
What if it's a smart fungus?

Last edited by neozeks; January 30 2012 at 02:17 AM.
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