Why I've Come To Like "Angel" Better than "Buffy"

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by sonak, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2007
    in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination
    BTVS was always the more popular and ground-breaking show, plus spin-offs are rarely as popular as the original. Still, I've come to enjoy "Angel" more for the following reasons:

    1. More interesting main character. 240-year-old vampire cursed with a soul on a quest for redemption is more interesting than "hot blonde woman deals with frustrations in school and in her love life"

    2. Better setting. Supernatural detective agency vs. high school, college, or wherever. Plus L.A. vs Sunnydale

    3. Wolfram and Hart as series-long over-arching antagonist vs villains of the season on BTVS

    4. Angel is more adult and darker in tone. By avoiding the high school setting, Angel was able to tell more adult-relevant stories, plus avoided the drift from a mid-series shift in settings after graduation from high school on BTVS. Angel was also grittier and more noirish in tone, with a darker message of the "no big victories" and that the fight against evil is always going on

    5. Angel at its weakest(perhaps season 3 or 4 depending on your view) was better than BTVS at its weakest (season 6)

    This is all of course just IMHO. And I will say that BTVS probably has the better supporting cast(Giles, Willow, Xander, Oz, Tara, etc. vs. Gunn, Fred, and Cordelia? no contest)
  2. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

    Apr 14, 2000
    QC, IL, USA
    I think a lot of people feel the same way. I love Buffy, but I think Angel is definitely the better show.
  3. saturn5

    saturn5 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 2, 2010
    I would say Buffy is the better show not least because it simply has more eps. I think they compliment one another, Buffy is a little lighter but they're both terrific.

    Buffy is a figure whom i think is a lot more identifiable with, her life journey is one we can to an extent sympathise with and take as our own. Put simply Buffy is also a lot more fun. I think season 6 of Buffy is the only time Angel actually becomes superior to it because it was too dour.

    So if you want to make a poll, Buffy by a nose (and a cute nose it is:))
  4. neozeks

    neozeks Captain Captain

    May 30, 2009
    Angel is to Buffy as DS9 is to TNG, in a lot of ways. And seeing how DS9 is my favourite Trek, I agree with you. But not by too much, mostly due to Angel's S3 (especially) and S4, which I thought were quite dissapointing after the total brilliance of S2. I haven't watched the second half of S5 yet, that's where I'm currently at in my first time run through the Buffyverse.

    S6 is my favourite season of Buffy, though, despite all it's flaws. And posibly my second favourite Buffyverse season, after AtS S2. Go figure. :rommie: Probably because I think it's the darkest and least formulaic season of Buffy.
  5. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2007
    in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination

    the second half of Angel season 5 is terrific, especially the closing arc.

    I agree with the TNG-DS9 comparison
  6. Kemtrail

    Kemtrail Admiral Admiral

    Dec 23, 2004
    The only things I ever liked about Angel were Winifred, Illyria and Spike. Season 5 is one of the only ones I rewatch whereas Buffy I can more or less put in any of the discs and watch through.
  7. Caligula

    Caligula Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 26, 2001
    Knoxville, TN USA
    Agreed on all points, save for where BtVS was at its weakest. No way in my mind was Season 6 the weak point. Several of my favorite episodes come from Season 6. No, for the weak link, you'd need to travel ahead one more year... which brings up Reason #6:

    6. Angel went out with a bang, not a whimper. "Not Fade Away" is a MUCH better series finale than "Chosen." And Angel's fifth season is overall a much stronger season than BtVS Season 7.
  8. mimic

    mimic Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 30, 2001
    I love them both, but Buffy wins out largely because I find Buffy's highs far outstrip Angel's highs. However, Angel was a more consistent show.
  9. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

    Dec 7, 1999
    I always preferred Angel over Buffy. A superior show in every way! And once you get past Season One, it was consistently good too. S2-5 had very few stinkers in it. Can't say that about Buffy!
  10. Joe Washington

    Joe Washington Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 26, 2009
    Providence, Rhode Island, United States
    I totally agree with you, sonak. Buffy isn't a bad show but I felt more of a connection with Angel and its characters. When there were times I felt like throwing the TV out of the window when watching this show, it's always because I hate seeing my favorite characters go through crap and pain which is why I wasn't the biggest fans of Season 3 and 4. A way of seeing those seasons would be as the dark part of the journey the characters had to go through to get to the place they are in, in Season 5. Though Season 5 wasn't meant to be the final season, it felt right that it was.I enjoyed the addition of Spike and Not Fade Away will always be one of my favorite series finales.
  11. Wereghost

    Wereghost Part-time poltergeist Rear Admiral

    Oct 21, 2009
    Season one had its merits too. The opener was a bona fide debut and subverted one or two clichés (He desn't save the girl, doesn't stop short of killing the villain etc.) and the rest of the season had highlights like the Faith two-parter and To Shanshu In LA (David Greenwalt on feverish top form.).

    As for the comparison, my ten Desert Island DVD Packages would include Buffy season three and probably season four. Angel seasons two, three and five would probably follow shortly on the list, along with Buffy season five.

    Angel had some truly visceral and Shakesperean moments in season two, but arguably it was season three that saw the show really come into its own as a dramatic entity. Just as the premise of Angel is the transition from "adolescence" to bona fide adulthood, the first episode of season three represents a significant rite of passage for the show, symbolised by Angel dealing with the death of Buffy. As the season progresses, we venture into pretty deep territory, covering universal themes of identity, self-definition, love, betrayal, friendship, loyalty, alienation and morality. It has perhaps the best character arcs of the entire franchise - Angel's fatherhood, Cordelia's maturation, Wesley's martyr complex, Fred's kooky-to-badass transition, Gunn's integration to the mainstream, the revelation of Lorne's innate decency etc.

    Really, though, I don't see the two shows as having been in competition but rather as complementing each other. At ther respective bests, they're both wonderful in very different ways.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  12. Shurik

    Shurik Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 28, 2003
    Haifa, Israel
    I also prefer Angel to BtVS.
  13. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Captain Captain

    May 7, 2011
    One of the best parts about Angel is that it redeemed Wesley.

    The Holtz storyline was painful to watch, in a good way, meaning it was hard to watch what happened to Connor. That said, Connor was annoying in the fourth season and when I see him all I can think of is Peter Campbell.
  14. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 14, 2004
    I see Angel as the Buffyverse's DS9 to Buffy's Next Gen. Love them both, but love DS9/Angel a bit more for just those reasons.
  15. 23skidoo

    23skidoo Admiral Admiral

    Sep 15, 2002
    Fifth Circle of Hell
    I was never able to get info Buffy that much. I got turned off by a few things; I never really warmed to SMG as the lead (I know she was too young at the time but I'd have rather seen Kristen Bell in the role), and I felt the whole Willow is gay angle was overplayed (I didn't object to the introduction of gay characters, I just didn't like how it was handled in BTVS), and just on the whole I felt the show, I dunno, "strutted" a but too much (as in the show became more about being cool for the sake of cool - or Whedonesque for the sake of being Whedonesque - rather than being about the story). Angel I thought was the superior show, both in terms of tone and performances. I regret not being able to get into it sooner - I literally started watching it regularly in its final months, but I'd been so turned off by BTVS I'd ignored Angel for the most part. Except for the Smile Time episode which was good for a laugh; evidently only Angel and Farscape were able to get away with episodes like that (Farscape turned Crichton into a Looney Tunes character; same diff); if Star Trek or Doctor Who tried that, blood would flow in the streets.

    I see Bones quite often, and I've been meaning to start watching Angel again.

  16. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 14, 2004
    I could easily see Doctor Who getting away with it. And I guarantee you, if/when a new Trek series comes, it's going to be far more daring and experimental that Trek has been for a very long time.

    A few geeks howl...let ém.
  17. saturn5

    saturn5 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 2, 2010
    No, I like 'Chosen' better, it's a fitting finale for a great series but it's the difference between the tone of the 2, Angel is questing for redemption and he realises that this is a neverending process, the good fight always goes on. By contrast Buffy is a show about growing up and empowerment so 'Chosen' is a triumphant and fitting conclusion
  18. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 9, 2009
    basking in the warmth of the Fire Caves
    Matter of taste. Personally I find Buffy more interesting and far more relatable. Even though Angel is a really interesting character to analyze. But Buffy, especially since season 5, became one of my all-time favorite characters.

    Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you're not a woman?
    Again, not to me. I've never worked at a detective agency, but I've been to high school and college, and Buffy's story is way closer to me.

    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.

    Yes, that was the idea of AtS in the first place. But 1) why would a show have to tell exclusively adult-relevant stories? Being a teenager is a big part of human experience. 2) what is wrong with having a shift after leaving high school? That's one of the things I like about BtVS. It reflects the experience of growing up. It seems like you want your shows to be the same in tone all the way through.

    And I'm not sure that AtS was that much darker or more adult than BtVS seasons 5-7.
    I couldn't disagree more, on two accounts:
    a) If you consider season 6 BtVS's weakest season, we have a disconnect immediately since I think it's one of the best (together with seasons 5 and 2) and my personal favorite.

    b) I don't think that AtS on its weakest is better than BtVS on its weakest. BtVS's weakest season is 1, the show was still finding its footing, but I'll take it over AtS season 4 any day. I'd also take BtVS season 4 and season 7 over AtS season 4 any day. (Maybe over AtS season 5 as well, it has some great stuff going for it but it also is infuriating in many ways.)

    At least we agree on something.

    IMO Buffy had much more interesting and better developed characters. I find almost all the characters on Buffy interesting. On Angel, I'm interested in Angel, Darla, Wesley...Cordelia is OK until they started turning her into a saint in season 3, and I don't care either way about Fred and Gunn, while Lorne was a fun character but never properly developed.

    Now let me list a few more reasons why I prefer Buffy to Angel:

    - Buffy was by far the more innovative and experimental show. It mixed genres better and it played with the narrative format in episodes like Hush, Restless, The Body, Once More With Feeling, Conversations with Dead People. Angel was by comparison a straightforward noir story.

    - Buffy had better humor, much wittier dialogue and was more fun overall.

    -The lead character of Buffy is inherently a more groundbreaking and interesting hero by virtue of being the unexpected and unconventional hero - a woman, a teenage girl, a blonde ex-cheerleader who quips and likes fashion and shopping and at the first glance is absolutely not someone a traditional narrative would cast as a hero.

    By contrast, the protagonist of Angel is a brooding, tall, dark handsome man in a long dark coat who saves damsels. Speaking of which...

    - 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, which brings me to:

    - What seasons 4 and 5 of AtS did with its female characters was really atrocious. Buffy was more female-oriented but still had great male characters and great character arcs for men as well (Spike). Angel disposed of its main female characters in the most demeaning ways possible until it was completely a boy's show at the end. Doyle and Wesley got great heroic deaths; Cordelia and Fred got their agency completely taken away and got possessed, violated in all sorts of ways and left for dead, just to draw some reactions from the men. I cringe at the "my boys" scene. A Hole in the World was the most egregious example of Woman In a Refrigerator.

    - The Powers That Be and the big retcon of season 4. No, thank you, I don't like shows where a bunch of things are supposed to have been manipulated by higher powers. If Buffy is Shakespeare, Angel is a Greek tragedy, with gods looking down and playing the character's strings. And those are just not my cup of tea.

    - Angel had the worst episode of Buffyverse ever, The Girl in Question.

    No, it's really not. For that to be true, the following would have to be the case:

    - BtVS to be a non-serialized show like TNG. No, it was a very serialized show, except in season 1 and part of season 2. AtS was also rather non-serialized in season 1.

    - BtVS to have a lot of bland characters and just a few interesting ones, and AtS to have all its main characters and a bunch of recurring characters wonderfully developed. No, in fact I think it's more of the opposite.

    - BtVS to have no character development except for one or two characters. Hell no.

    - AtS to have more good actors than BtVS. Again, no.

    - BtVS's female characters would have to be boring and traditional, while AtS would have to have a great balance of great male and female characters. :lol:

    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?

    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.
  19. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2007
    in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination
    That was a good response. I can see your perspective on the way female characters were treated on "angel," hadn't thought of it that way.

    We disagree strongly on some stuff, obviously. "Adam" was a cool villain, season 3 was BTVS best season, etc. agreed on the pylea arc
  20. saturn5

    saturn5 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 2, 2010
    Adam was horrendously terrible! I like the Pylea arc although you're actually glad when they go back to LA.

    I don't think the dark coolness of Angel could exist without the fun basis of Buffy, it's interesting that we have loads of original Buffy characters on Angel but none the other way around.