1. The Characters
Honestly, the characters are so great that they could each get their own listing and it still wouldn’t do them justice. But in an effort to save space for some of the other amazing things about the show, I will just address the characters briefly. Angel was our favorite vamp with a soul. Cordy was our favorite HBIC. Wesley was our favorite Englishman (turned BADASS!). Gunn was our favorite renegade. And Fred was our favorite adorable nerd. Those few are our main crime-fighting team, but it doesn’t even touch on the side characters like Doyle (gone too soon), Lorne, Connor (Love him? Hate him?), Groo, Kate, Darla, Spike, Illyria, and our favorite evil lawyers over at Wolfram and Hart (Lindsey, Lilah, and Gavin).
2. Character Transformations
To piggyback onto the previous reason, all of our beloved characters went through transformations in the show. Some we loved and some not so much. Cordelia became a mature and caring woman while still being the sassy and confident b***h we all wished we were more like. (And yes, I choose to not even address the evil Cordelia plotline—it’s too painful) Wesley went from stuck-up professor to legit badass. Fred had a literal transformation and became Illyria (I said there were some we didn’t love so much). I must say that how passionate we felt about some of these transformations is just a testament to how beloved the characters were!
3. The Writing
One of the best things about “Angel” was the writing, by far. It was superb. One episode you’re cracking up at how witty the characters are and the next episode you are bawling at the inevitable tragedy that followed any feel-good moments. The show wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without the great dialogue that went on between the characters.
4. Plot Twists and Turns
A big reason that the writers were so great at their job was because they were allowed such freedom to really shake things up. Joss Whedon is known for turning things upside down, so the storyline was never boring on “Angel.” Admittedly, sometimes the twists and turns kept fans up at night panicking at what just transpired but we never gave up on the show! Granted, our curiosity wouldn’t have let us even if we had wanted to walk away!
5. Angel was the first cool modern vampire
Vampires blew up in recent years, thanks in large part to Twilight. I mean no shade to the Twi-hards out there, but Joss Whedon was doing it way before Stephanie Meyer. (Okay, maybe there is a little bit of shade there.) Most importantly, “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” did it correctly…vampires are bad!! But the exception to this rule is Angel, our vampire with a soul, which makes him the first cool vamp! Cool because a) he won’t eat you and b) he helps the helpless…or was it hopeless? (True “Angel” fans will get that joke.)
6. Cordelia’s Redemption
If you read my article about why we love “Buffy,” then you know that Cordelia is my favorite character. This is why it is so hard for me to even discuss the horribleness that was “evil-Cordy,” so I shall just focus on the fact that at the end Cordelia is redeemed. She is given a proper send-off worthy of the pivotal character she was for 3 seasons on “Buffy” and for 3 seasons on “Angel.” I choose not to include Season 4 because I try to block that from my memory. “You’re Welcome” was the 100th episode of “ Angel” and it was spent allowing not only the characters but also the fans a chance to make peace with the fact that Cordelia was no longer around. It was hard, but Cordy definitely deserved it!
7. Crossovers with “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer”
Since “Angel” was a spin-off of “Buffy” that meant we got quite a few crossover characters and episodes. We saw familiar characters like Faith and Willow make appearances and we even got permanent spots on the show for Wesley and Spike. We also got to keep updated with what was happening in Sunnydale when big events, such as Buffy dying (for the second time), spilled over into the City of Angels. It was great to get to see the reactions of our favorite characters when something big happened on “Buffy.”
8. The Fans
Speaking of the fans, how could I not include the fans in this list?!? “Angel” was one of those shows that had the “cult” type of following. We were (and still are) incredibly devoted to the show and the characters. This was never more apparent than in the strong reactions we had when some unfavorable plotlines were explored. (AHEM-“Evil-Cordy”…see? I told you I still have some anger.) But the fan devotion was also made clear through the tons of forums dedicated to discussing every episode and the countless postings of fanfiction.
9. Flashbacks to the days of Angelus
Another fun aspect of the show was all of the times we got glimpses into the past when Angelus ran free. As much as we love brooding, angst-y Angel, we also REALLY loved badboy Angelus. We did get to see Angelus during modern times, but the best were definitely the flashbacks! Angel in a wig with an accent, anyone?
10. The Ending…and getting to pretend the comics don’t exist
The final seconds of “Angel” are just how you expect a show like this to go out. Not all of the characters survived until the end, which is always sad but is to be expected. Angel and Co. go out in a blaze of glory. They are still walking into battle when the credits roll, which allows the fans to finish the rest out in their minds. In my mind, all of the remaining characters survive and they walk off into the sunset. (What can I say? I’m an optimist.) Unfortunately, there are those pesky comics which seem to disprove my theory, but like I said, we are pretending those don’t exist. Some things are best left alone. So again, I say they all survive and walk off into the sunset!
So, do you agree with my list? Is there anything I left off that would definitely be on your list? If so, let me know in the comments. I definitely want to hear what you have to say!