As I did with Buffy last summer, I’m taking some time to analyse it’s sibling, Angel. Angel is a completely separate beast to Buffy (in more ways than one). It is oft-times darker and more sinister, but also arguably more diverse in a multitude of ways. My adoration for the Buffy-verse starts here, with my Buffy series last summer and continues with Angel. Other topics covered on Angel: Beginning.
The general cast of characters on Angel changed drastically over the course of the series. From the pilot (“City of”) to the final battle (“Not Fade Away” and beyond), literally the only character who is “consistent” is Angel. And even our vampric hero sways from good to evil from time to time.
A rotating cast of characters composes the team of Angel Investigations. Brains or brawn, the team is full of fantastic complexities. Weather it be an individual’s own questions or the interpersonal relationships of the group causing problems, the focus of the monster of the week is only one part of this show.
Unlike Buffy’s Big Bad’s, Angel was much more episodic with larger story archs tending more towards characters and relationships than evil villains. When a season neared it’s end was the time when a version of a big bad would appear. Perhaps we had seem him or her before, perhaps not. Sometimes the end of season villain was born of the character and relational problems that had arched through the season. In one case quite literally.
The only arguable, consistent big bad of the show was Wolfram and Hart. And in the final season even that was up for consideration. The evil law firm had multiple agents working for them, but many of those agents fit better into a category I call…
An in-between is a character who either works or has worked both for an against Angel Investigations. Some of these are characters who we recognize from the larger Buffy-verse. Spike, Harmony, Darla and Drusilla, all of whom play large roles in various seasons or plot lines. Character’s whose allegiance we know or don’t know, but is perhaps ever changing.
Others are more ambiguous. Lindsey, Lilah, Conner, and Illyria all fall into this category. They’re evil, but they’ll play on our team when it suits them. Or, they should be loyal, but are having trouble figuring out which side to believe in. Or when they don’t know where else to turn. Wesley circa season three and four also falls into this category, though more for being shut out than for his own indecision.
These are some of my favorite themes in the show. These characters are such examples of the gray areas in life. They are uncertain of where to go, who to trust, just as we often are. As the viewer we can see what they “should” do. The “right thing”, but their choices, as ours are in real life, are so much harder for them.
What is your favorite character from Angel? What category do they fall into?