’Angel’ Fans, Time To Let Go
By Joshua Levs
Wednesday 19 May 2004, by cally
Commentary: ’Angel’ fans, time to let go
By Joshua Levs
Wednesday, May 19, 2004 Posted: 12:57 PM EDT (1657 GMT)
(CNN) — There are some things I wouldn’t wish on anybody. And being an undead guy approaching 300, doomed to spend eternity ruing past evils, nearly getting vanquished daily, never getting to enjoy certain pleasures, and being prone to sprouting fangs is one of them.
That said, I love that it happened to Angel, an unfortunate sap born in 1727 Ireland, in the world according to genius writer-director Joss Whedon.
The main character of the show "Angel" has the basics of all the great male action heroes: ethics, super-strength, loneliness and all the rest. But this hero, played with depth by David Boreanaz, has more.
He’s committed unheard-of depravity and had a curse placed on him to spend every waking moment regretting it. The curse was simple: his soul was restored. In Whedon’s vision, the soul is the essence of our humanity. Angel knows atonement will always be out of reach, but still battles for good — making the whole set-up altruistic, despite his plight.
Now, after eight years — three on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and five in his own show — it’s this cowboy’s turn to ride off into the sunset. (Actually, sunlight turns vamps to dust, so he’s more likely to ride off into the night.)
The WB’s decision to drop the show drives a stake through the hearts of the most passionate "Angel"-philes. You can’t blame them for campaigning — it worked last year. But, treasonous as this may sound, I say it’s time to let go.
Angel’s years on screen have been defined by adventures epic enough to give Odysseus a run for his money: a star-crossed romance with Buffy, reversions to soul-free Angelus, getting sucked into a hell dimension. He has faced endless battles — the biggest ones internal — and won.
When the character left for Los Angeles, kicking off "Angel" in 1999, Whedon promised even darker, more adult themes. In perhaps the greatest plotline, Darla, the blonde vamp who "sired" Angel — made him one of her kind — returns as human. He tries leading her to salvation, but just when she’s about to crack, a vampire Angelus sired turns the tables and sires Darla.
Then Darla, pregnant with Angel’s son, feels the child’s soul inside her and sacrifices herself to save the baby — knowing that once it’s born she’ll be evil again and unable to love it.
What’s most amazing is that you could actually suspend disbelief enough to get into this stuff. Whedon’s stories are some of the most realistic on television — and among the few that don’t pretend to be. There’s no level on which he wants us to believe any of this could happen. He’s exploring how real people would respond.
Of course, not everything works. For example, Angel is technically supposed to look the same age he did eight years ago. Not quite.
But no matter. The actors — from Boreanaz on down — are strong enough to overcome the impossibility of their plotlines, and we follow suit.
At least I did, until this season.
Goring beyond bounds
I stopped watching.
The premise — that Angel inherits control of big, bad Wolfram & Hart, an evil law firm — never quite gelled. Whedon made stand-alone episodes, sacrificing longer arcs. And the addition of "Buffy" transplant Spike (James Marsters, a brilliant actor) didn’t provide the influx of verve it promised.
But here’s what ultimately paved my departure: Whedon added scenes so jaw-droppingly disturbing that at one point the network had to run an advisory. This is not the show I signed up for.
When word broke of "Angel’s" cancellation, I thought it might help restore some greatness. I’ve rejoined just to see how it all turns out.
Either way, this isn’t the end. Anyone who has watched "Buffy" or "Angel" knows this: these characters don’t die. Well, they do, but they come back.
The WB has hinted at a future TV movie, and I think that’s when this saga will be put to rest. Buffy and Angel will have a Shakespearean postscript, and "Angel"-aholics — having been weaned — will at last be ready to let go.
20 May 2004 04:32, by Anonymous
Hmmm...everyone is entitled top their own opinion I guess!.............TOSSER!
20 May 2004 06:09, by EventHorizon
I wasn’t thrilled with the Cordy/Connor pairing, but I was able to enjoy the fact that it made me uncomfortable and had faith it was for a reason.
I wasn’t happy when Angel took over Wolfram & Hart, but it’s led to some interesting character developement and I’m sure Joss had this leading to an AMAZING season 6... if he had been allowed to continue.
I look on websites- so many people say they stopped watching after the Cordy/Connor thing, after Angel took over WR&H... after little story twists they didn’t care for-
And then people are surprised it got cancelled.
A show like this, you stick with through thick and thin... I wasn’t happy about all the stand alone eps, but also know that stations tend to pressure TV shows into having those because they believe a TV audience won’t be able to follow the plot of a long story arc- that was more than likely the network forcing Joss into it, than his choice-
While I LOVE Spike being on Buffy, that was also the network forcing Joss to change the story he had planned. The only way they were able to have season 5 was by bringing Spike on the show... I’m glad it happened- but it shows the power the network has over the writers/creators.
So I stuck with it, it was getting good, and now it’s gone.
Hopefully if there’s a spin off of Angel, fans will be a little more aware of what networks look for, what they tend to pressure the show creators into, and the ability to know when it’s the show that’s slipping, or the network toying with it- And supporting a good show through rough times.
Because the worst eps of Angel is far better than the rest of the crap on TV now.
20 May 2004 08:14, by Stormy 13
Well, he certainly has the right to his own opinion but I disagree with that opinion. I thought season 5 was the best yet! I’m looking forward to a Spike/Illyria/Dead Wes/Faith spinoff!
20 May 2004 09:04, by Anonymous
PFT, we will not let it go!!
20 May 2004 12:05, by Booboo
Tara didn’t cum back after dying!!
20 May 2004 13:03, by September
Okay, what show was this goober watching? Angel, season 5 was everything he’s saying it wasn’t. It was great to the very end and it was getting better. Curse the WB for killing a fine show. May they fade away into television obscurity for worshipping at the altar of "reality programming"...
20 May 2004 16:17, by Anonymous
Uhh...did anyone notice the article says that ANGELUS re-sired Darla?!? Has this person even WATCHED the show?!?!
20 May 2004 17:01, by Anonymous
Umm, he didn’t say angelus resired darla, he said, The vampire angel sired (Dru) re-sired Darla, which is correct!!!
20 May 2004 17:58, by Anjealous
Actually, I also read it that way the first time, too—what he writes is that a vampire whom Angelus sired, namely Drusilla, re-vamped Darla—so he did get it correct.
20 May 2004 18:03, by SweetPea
It doesn’t say Angelus re-sired Darla it said "a vampire Angelus sired turns the tables & sirs Darla"
See online : http://sage.n-connect.net/SweetPea
20 May 2004 22:42, by sicklittlemonky
I just hate it when people say the show used to be good, but they stopped watching it during seasons 4 or 5...
Why would you give up on the show if they do something that you don’t approve of to get to a point they want to make?
Angel, the character, did alot of things that a normal person should hate him for, but as fans we still love him because it brought him to this point. He changed and grew because of his mistakes, and that’s the same with the show. Sure, Cordy and Connor having sex gave me the willies......but the season itself was really interesting, and I respect Joss and David for having the guts to take risks when everything good on tv is getting cancelled!!
I love this show, I will always follow the Buffyverse, and I’m going to mourn this loss for a long time.
21 May 2004 00:49, by vamped_xander
"Time to let go", Yeah right! I am and always have been a long time fan of both shows. Hell, I even like the movie version of Buffy. That being said, I was very disappointed with the series finale of Angel. There wasn’t any closure like there was with Buffy. The prophecy still never came true, and if you are saying to yourself that they are going to make a movie to finish the story, keep in mind things like this sometimes never make it to the screen. I hope I am wrong, but the way things ended up last night the story never made it full circle. There have been better episodes throughout the last five years that could have been construed as a better ending than the Finale episode (such as the whole rain of fire thing). All the hype regarding the finale was way too hyped and I am very disappointed. Not to mention, why does every other show that is going off the air, which is normally a 1-hour show, get a 2-hour series finale? But Buffy and Angel was sent off the air with still only a 1-hour episode? If they were given a 2-hour series finale I am sure that the ending could have been a whole lot better and I wouldn’t be as bitter. Well, I don’t know if anyone feels the same way or not, but I am still a fan of both "verses" and still love the writing skills of Joss and his team.
21 May 2004 04:14, by frozenpiper2a
I know that the WB did run an advisory but this is not the first season that they have done that. So I don’t know why that would disturb you now. I have also seen every episode and this was one of the best seasons, second only to season 1.
21 May 2004 17:50, by Anonymous
I have had mixed feelings about this whole season. I suspected the reason that W&H put the Angel team at the head of the corporation is so they would get caught up in the minutae of handling the myriads of ’mediocre’ evils, and even benign things like negotiating treaties between demon clans, so that they would be distracted from the big picture. I would definitely say that Season 5 did not enjoy the story arc that, for example, Season 2 had with Darla’s return. Of course, Joss didn’t know this would be the last season - perhaps if he did he could have turned the wheels some other way.
The introduction of Spike on the show had big potential, I thought, but as has been mentioned, it did not provide the injection I was hoping for. The Spike from BTVS S6 and especially S7 had lots of potential, but the Spike on AS5 was just an idiot. We were starting to see a glimmer of newfound humanity, combined with the soul of a poet, AND the opportunity to use W&H resources to explore his options for being a good guy. Did he succeed? Perhaps in part, but I saw NO character development for him in AS5.
I did expect more twists in the last episode. Giles was able to work strong magics in battling Willow, but I really didn’t expect Wesley to defeat a wizard who (at least assisted in the) cast of a reality-shift spell. What were they thinking??!?
So, what do we think happened? I think even though Angel had some Hamilton superjuice going, he’s dead, along with Spike and Gunn. Illyria would probably survive, at least until the Senior Partners whacked her.
I can say I never gave up on the show, even when characters were turning into puppets. Sad to see it go!
21 May 2004 21:24, by Goron
Yes, thats is correct, but he is a moron, if he actually watched it like he says he did he would know who Drusilla is and could have easily put it into the article. I really do hate the people at CNN. Anyone else here a larry king hater?? God that show annoys me. He never gives anyone time to finish the sentence he’s always interupting everybody, I just want to kick that old man’s ass! Also the WB is a ridiculous bunch of people. They should really stick to cartoons because they know nothing about television shows that have real people on them. Can you believe Charmed is coming back for another season! It’s ratings were horrible!! And I agree, this reality TV bullshit is getting out of hand, there are so many shows on tv, but I honestly cannot figure out where the people who watch these shows come from, I barely know anybody that watches any of these god awful TV shows, only a few snobs on my step mothers side of the family, and a few stuck up girl i know, and the thing is they only watch that stuff because they could never understand Shows such as Angel. Losers. Maybe you should read a book and open your mind a little. ANGEL LIVES!!!