I know, I know, this show finished aages ago (2004, to be precise). I recently had the urge to re-watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and when Buffy reached the end of Season Three and the Angel spin-off began, I started watching Angel, too.
Last time around, when Angel was showing on tv, I’d watched a few episodes of Angel and then abandoned it to focus on Buffy. This time around, I thought I’d watch both in tandem (with a very handy episode guide to help me out, too).
This post is going to contain spoilers, so if you don’t want to know what happens, don’t click to read more.
The first thing that surprised me about the show was killing off Doyle. I mean, he started off as one of the main characters! He was in the opening credits and I don’t remember watching another show where they killed off one of the main characters so quickly.
At the time, I was very surprised and dismayed they chose to kill him off, but after finishing the first season I think it was for the best.
Doyle was a nice character, but he was the type of character that grew on me. What does that mean? Well, I didn’t really care about him at the start. Okay, I liked his accent, and I liked that they had these two Irish men, but he didn’t stand out to me, and I didn’t like him massively in the beginning. It was only a few episodes in that I started to like him more.
But to be honest, the first few episodes of Angel didn’t wow me. I was following the episode guide, so I was switching between Buffy and Angel, and I always looked forward to making the switch to Buffy.
The characters. Buffy has amazing characters. I love almost all of them, I love watching them in scenes, I love their chemistry, their banter. Spike, who appears as a regular cast member in Season Four of Buffy, is a joy to watch.
Angel? Not so much. I liked Angel. I liked Cordelia. I was ambivalent about Doyle. I just didn’t look forward to watching Angel.
Doyle died in about episode ten – it was probably about episode six that I began enjoying Angel a lot more, and then when Wesley stepped in, I really liked it.
Thinking back on it, after watching the entire first season, I think I can figure out why.
The Angel-Cordelia-Doyle combo is… just okay. It’s not very balanced. You’ve got Angel, who fights the bad guys. You’ve got Doyle, who gets the visions and gives Angel directions. And you’ve got Cordelia, who… takes care of the office.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Cordelia as a character. I love her snarkiness. But as a main character, she has to do something more than keep the office warm. She needs to contribute to Angel’s battling evil, saving people thing.
One may argue that, hey, Xander in Buffy doesn’t really contribute the whole killing vampires shindig, but Angel started off with a small cast – just three. All of them need to contribute to the aims of Angel Investigations. And with the Angel-Cordelia-Doyle combo, not all of them do.
So I think the writers of the show definitely did a good thing by killing Doyle off and giving Cordelia his powers. Now she gets a true main character role, and can actually help Angel.
Bringing Wesley in was a stroke of genius. I love his character anyway, so it was nice to see another familiar face. He brings in an important element to the show, of the geeky, book-loving type (because, you know, when you’re fighting demons, it’s probably a good idea to do some research on them). And the Angel-Cordelia-Wesley chemistry is great. I love their relationship to each other and the way they play off each other’s personalities.
Looking forward to Season Two!