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Thread: Best season for each character

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    Default Best season for each character

    Thread title is pretty self-explanatory.

    Angel
    Season 2. I loved the heavy focus on Angel/Darla, and his 'beige arc' (where that nickname come from, anyway?) provided some of the series' best episodes and fueled its best season.

    Cordy
    Season 1, hands down. She didn't get that much to do during Season 2, and I've never seen a TV show completely ruin a character the way this show ruined Cordy in Seasons 3-4.

    Wesley
    Season 4. Wesley was the best thing about Angel for me. I don't understand Hollywood or the acting game at all, because I'm genuinely stumped as to why Alexis Denisof didn't go on to have a better career after this show. At least with Sarah Michelle Gellar, it was due to bad choices and her being more interested in her personal life, but I haven't a clue with Denisof.

    Gunn
    Season 2. Technically, I think his Season 5 arc was the best. The writers never seemed to know what to do with Gunn in Seasons 3-4, and his decision to stop leading his own crew to become one of Angel's sidekicks in Season 2 was never justified. But he was so fun here, and I loved the Cordy/Wes/Gunn trio.

    Fred
    Season 4, mainly due to "The Magic Bullet", which Amy Acker owned. To be honest, I preferred Illyria though. You have no idea how pissed I was when Illyria showed up and I saw the depth of Amy Acker's acting talent. Made me realize how much the writers wasted Fred and Acker's acting talent by sticking her into lame love triangles for three years.

    Lorne
    Season 2. I remember being extremely intrigued and entertained by his character when watching this season for the first time, and I loved the Caritas set. I think David Greenwalt was one of the weaker writers on the series, but no one was better at writing Lorne than he was. When Greenwalt left, Lorne should have too, because he was really wasted in Seasons 4-5.

    Lilah
    Season 4. Consistently hilarious and her relationship with Wes, in addition to being one of the best ships ever, revealed a lot of depth to her character.

    Darla
    Season 2. I said before that Season 2 was my favorite, and she was the reason why.

    Harmony
    She was only on the show for one season, but I included her to say that I enjoyed her on Angel more than I did on Buffy.

    Drusilla
    Same as Harmony. Dru showing up to sire Darla was one of the best plot twists ever. "The Trial" / "Reunion" was like "Surprise" / "Innocence" in that it was the moment when this show became outstanding television, and Dru was definitely a huge part of it. Gotta to give her her due.

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    I agree with you on almost all of these. The only thing I would disagree with is that I don't think Drusilla was better on Angel, she was amazing in season 2 of BtVS. But she's great in S2 of AtS, too, so it's hard to pick one or the other.

    BTW, while I agree that Cordelia's best season on AtS was season 1, my unpopular opinion is that she was better in BtVS seasons 2 and 3 than on AtS.

    Harmony was better on AtS, though.

    Faith was great whenever she appeared on either show and it's hard to pick one or the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew S. View Post
    Wesley
    Season 4. Wesley was the best thing about Angel for me. I don't understand Hollywood or the acting game at all, because I'm genuinely stumped as to why Alexis Denisof didn't go on to have a better career after this show. At least with Sarah Michelle Gellar, it was due to bad choices and her being more interested in her personal life, but I haven't a clue with Denisof.
    Hollywood works in mysterious ways. I've asked myself the same question about many actors - and conversely, there are so many stars that make you wonder 'how the heck did this person become a big star?'

    You have no idea how pissed I was when Illyria showed up and I saw the depth of Amy Acker's acting talent. Made me realize how much the writers wasted Fred and Acker's acting talent by sticking her into lame love triangles for three years.
    So much this.

    But it also doesn't justify the crappy way they killed Fred off to give Amy Acker Illyria to play. They could have instead written Fred better.
    You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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    Yes!! to preferring Illyria to Fred and for relationship fatigue with Fred. I loved Wes, Connor and Angel so much in this series and although I like all of them, seasons 3 and 4 are my favourite.

    Gunn's season 5 was one of my biggest disappointments with the show. I thought that the aspect of his character's insecurities/issues which led him to agreeing to the deal was fascinating and worked really well with the chip on his shoulder that was there from the start. But it felt under explored and I wonder how much more time would have been given to this shift if the network hadn't insisted on Spike being shoved into the cast and him taking so much of the script focus in the final season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeTravellingBunny
    I agree with you on almost all of these. The only thing I would disagree with is that I don't think Drusilla was better on Angel, she was amazing in season 2 of BtVS. But she's great in S2 of AtS, too, so it's hard to pick one or the other.

    BTW, while I agree that Cordelia's best season on AtS was season 1, my unpopular opinion is that she was better in BtVS seasons 2 and 3 than on AtS.
    Yeah, Dru was probably better on Buffy simply because she had more screen time and more to do. But on the other hand, she made such an impression on Angel during those 2 episodes I mention that I can't help but feel she would have been even better on there if she had stuck around more during the season like Darla did. "Reunion" is easily my favorite episode for Drusilla, followed by "Surprise". Juliet Landau is another actor I feel was underrated. I was never not fascinated whenever she was on-screen.

    On Cordy, I agree with you on Buffy Season 2 being the best for her character, but I don't think did enough in Season 3 for me to rate it over her showing in Angel Season 1. Cordy's development was honestly my favorite thing about the first season. She was the heart of the series during Seasons 1 and 2, and I can't imagine the show working without her during those seasons. It's a shame she ends up becoming the worst thing about the series in Seasons 3 and 4.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney
    Yes!! to preferring Illyria to Fred and for relationship fatigue with Fred. I loved Wes, Connor and Angel so much in this series and although I like all of them, seasons 3 and 4 are my favourite.
    Oops, I forgot about Connor! I enjoyed his character a great deal when he first showed up in Season 3 (as a teenager, that is), but then in Season 4 he started to bug me. As Vincent Kartheiser said, he would show up, have a scene with Cordelia, fight with Angel and then do the same thing each episode. It got repetitive quite fast, I'm afraid. However, I did enjoy his character a great deal towards the end of Season 4 during the Jasmine arc. That's when he really blossomed. His monologue to comatose-Cordy in the church scene broke my heart, as well as pretty much all of "Home". Kartheiser is another actor in the shows that I felt was underrated. I had some problems with Connor's character, but his performance was always excellent.

    Love Wes, too. Angel, on the other hand, I don't love. I think he's extremely unlikeable (especially in Seasons 4-5), but I can't deny he's a compelling protagonist and he really blossomed on this series.

    I'm glad you both share my disappointment with Fred. It's funny that Buffy is known for being one of the most feminist TV shows ever, but its spinoff is definitely one of the most un-feminist TV shows ever. Season 5 has to be the worst television season I've ever seen for female characters. As much as I love Illyria (she saved Season 5, which sucked for the first two-thirds IMO; most overrated season ever), it pisses me off to no end when I see "A Hole in the World" on lists of the series' best episodes. Despite the great performances, it just feels like melodramatic, sexist, torture porn for me.

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    * The problem with AtS, is so much of AtS s1 through AtS s4 can/is because of Jasmine.


    * Spike, Andrew Wells, and Illyria are the ones who show much of any character growth in AtS S5. Cordelia Chase (if that was actually her) pretty much deludes herself if she considers she's the love of Angel's life.


    * Wesley Wyndam-Pryyce got better in AtS and Alexis Denisof proved a better actor than Anthony Stewart Head and possibly a better choice to play Giles than ASH. AtS S5 would have been better had Wesley been with Lilah Morgan. His relationship with Fred lessened him.


    * Angel became a different character in AtS. Suddenly, he's funny. Suddenly, he wasn't moping for 100 years. His flashbacks make Angelus seem much less formidable and scary than he's shown BtVS. His flashbacks make Cursed Angel seem much more evil than what BtVS S1-BtVS S3 suggested/implied/inferred.


    * Cordelia Chase was ruined. It's implied she was sleeping around trying to get acting jobs. She gets impregnated with demon spawn. The visions force her importance. Hers becoming half-demon and more powerful than Buffy is insulting to Buffy. Hers becoming a higher being is insulting to everyone in BtVS. And it's only made better in "Inside Out" (A 4.17).


    * Fred is probably all because of Jasmine and then she's simply a tool for Illyria in AtS S5 and then is no more than Illyria takes over (discounting post-Season 9).


    * Lorne is mostly just there also likely because of Jasmine. He's mostly just there in AtS S5.


    * Darla is simply a tool for Wolfram and Hart and Jasmine.


    * Drusilla was simply in AtS s2 to boost AtS's ratings. The only notable things are she sires Darla and Wolfram and Hart do nothing against her.


    * Faith instead of being a Slayer goes to prison.


    * Buffy never has a good Season and in fact is the only BtVS character made to look bad in AtS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeB View Post
    * The problem with AtS, is so much of AtS s1 through AtS s4 can/is because of Jasmine.
    I never believed that. The whole 'Jasmine planned everything' retcon reeks of desperation on the writers' part to cover their tracks for the sloppy plotting of Season 4. Jasmine's apocalypse plan honestly made very little sense throughout the season, and Lorne's comment -- "I think the Beastmaster is just making it up as he goes along" -- seemed to be a very meta-line about the writers making up Season 4 as they went long. It's very easy for me to believe that Skip, such an unreliable source of information, was either lying or that Jasmine was so full of herself that she simply told Skip told that. IMO, Jasmine was an opportunist. She saw the birth of Connor, and knew Cordelia was linked to the Powers That Be, so she decided to use both of those factors to plan her move to take over Earth. But she did not cause those factors to happen.

    And if everything that happened on Angel Seasons 1-4 was because of Jasmine, then who's to say the events of Buffy Seasons 1-3 (or even, Seasons 4-7) weren't due to Jasmine either? It's just a sloppy retcon that completely undermines the show. It basically feels like nothing that happens on the show matters if it was all due to Jasmine. "Doyle overcame his self-hatred and sacrificed himself for his demon race? Well, that was due to Jasmine, so it doesn't matter. Cordy became more heroic because of her visions? Well, that was due to Jasmine, so it doesn't matter. Darla learned to love and sacrificed herself to give Connor life? Well, that was due to Jasmine, so it doesn't matter." Cheap narrative trick, with no hints beforehand or substantial evidence at all to imply that it was true.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeB
    * Cordelia Chase was ruined. It's implied she was sleeping around trying to get acting jobs. She gets impregnated with demon spawn. The visions force her importance. Hers becoming half-demon and more powerful than Buffy is insulting to Buffy. Hers becoming a higher being is insulting to everyone in BtVS. And it's only made better in "Inside Out" (A 4.17).
    It was never implied that Cordelia was sleeping around for acting jobs. In "City Of", Cordelia -- in a moment of desperation -- reluctantly asks Russell Winters what he wants her to do, implying that she's sunk so low in her self-esteem/funk that she's agreeing to become his prostitute, but she quickly bounces back from that and there's nothing to indicate that she ever slept around for acting jobs before or after that instance.
    Last edited by Andrew S.; 11-10-17 at 10:50 PM.

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    Hey! I never posted that Cordelia Chase was sleeping around trying to get acting jobs, that was MikeB.

    EDIT: who posted that statement I mean, not who was sleeping around trying to get acting jobs!
    Last edited by Stoney; 11-10-17 at 10:20 PM.

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    Whoops! Sorry, Stoney, it's fixed.

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    Andrew S.

    * Skip in “Inside Out” (A 4.17) never mentions anything about non-AtS characters including Oz, Spike, Buffy, Faith, and Drusilla.

    But stuff in AtS only really make much sense—or is made tolerable/better—because of Jasmine’s influence and machinations. Angel/Darla, Angel/Cordelia, Connor existing, Fred’s situation, Cordelia’s situation, Angel’s getting a huge hotel yet never bothering to provide any financial support to Buffy, etc.

    It basically feels like nothing that happens on the show matters if it was all due to Jasmine.
    That a major reason why AtS s1-s4 has not and is not discussed and debated relatively much.


    * Doyle’s being Angel’s guide instead of Whistler never made much sense until BtVS S8.


    * Cordy getting visions was always ridiculous. They hurt the half-demon Doyle yet Doyle assumed Cordy could handle them? Even Drusilla used to feel some pain from visions (and her visions are her own power, not something sent to her by the Powers That Be).

    It wasn’t heroic for Cordy to be delusional enough to consider that she could handle the visions greatly better than Angel could. In reality, it made very little sense that Cordy wouldn’t have gone to college. Going to Columbia University is far better than what her life was in Los Angeles.


    * Darla herself never became a ‘better person’. Even before “Inside Out” (A 4.17), it was clear that Connor’s soul was solely responsible for Darla’s ‘goodness’ and she staked herself because she reasoned she’d kill Connor after he was born.


    * Again, it’s always been ridiculous for anyone to try to argue that AtS s1 through AtS s4 makes more sense if Skip was lying in “Inside Out” (A 4.17). Angel’s suddenly in love with Darla? Angel suddenly willing to die so that Darla can live? Buffy who? Angel/Cordy assumes Angel forgot the reasons he broke up with Buffy and assumes Cordy suddenly no longer cares about having sex and that suddenly she’s attracted to Angel again after not being attracted to him in AtS s1 and AtS s2. Fred stays with Angel and Co. instead of going into academia or whatever? Gunn suddenly abandons his ‘gang’ to live in one of Angel’s hotel rooms? Even Wesley’s story only makes sense if it could be at all realistic that Wesley suddenly was broke and almost homeless (which is not realistic). Wesley only started working for Angel because Wes was almost starving. Sure, Wesley wasn’t the best ever Watcher to Faith and Buffy, but that doesn’t mean his family would completely ‘cut him off’. Wesley was still upper class.


    * Why would Cordy offer sexual favors to Russell Winters if she’d never offered sexual favors before? Cordy decides against that because she then quickly realizes that Russell is a vampire. It’s implied-to-almost certain canon that Cordy graduated high school a virgin. But she wasn’t a virgin when she slept with that photographer guy. So, it’s implied she was offering sexual favors to try to get acting gigs. Again, all this fits with Cordy’s time in AtS s1-AtS s4 being because of Jasmine. She was in love with Xander yet never had sex with him. She was accepted to excellent colleges that would have given her significant financial aid. There’s almost nothing in BtVS that suggested Cordy wanted to be an actress or even in the entertainment business in general. If anything, Jasmine is the only in-‘verse reason it makes much sense that Cordy wouldn’t have attended UC Sunnydale and continue being a Scooby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeB View Post
    Andrew S.

    * Skip in “Inside Out” (A 4.17) never mentions anything about non-AtS characters including Oz, Spike, Buffy, Faith, and Drusilla.
    Probably because most of the people in the room had little-to-no idea who some of those people are, and it was unlikely they would care. Skip said things that he knew would mess with the group's head regarding *them*. I doubt anybody would be affected much if Skip told them that Jasmine caused a chip to be implanted in Spike's head, for instance.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeB
    But stuff in AtS only really make much sense—or is made tolerable/better—because of Jasmine’s influence and machinations. Angel/Darla, Angel/Cordelia, Connor existing, Fred’s situation, Cordelia’s situation, Angel’s getting a huge hotel yet never bothering to provide any financial support to Buffy, etc.
    In other words, that's just YOUR interpretation, along with everything else you say in your post. It seems you use the Jasmine retcon to explain everything you don't like about the show because Skip never said anything about Jasmine influencing Angel to fall in love with Cordy or to buy the Hyperion. There are plenty of plot holes and things that don't make sense in BtVS. How do you explain those?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeB
    * Why would Cordy offer sexual favors to Russell Winters if she’d never offered sexual favors before?
    Because she was at the height of her desperation, and there's a first time for everything. Your question doesn't make much sense to me. If Cordy (according to you) goes around offering sexual favors to people, then logically there had to have been a FIRST time that she offered one. Her offering herself to Russell was the first. And only.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeB
    Cordy decides against that because she then quickly realizes that Russell is a vampire. It’s implied-to-almost certain canon that Cordy graduated high school a virgin.
    I didn't feel like debating the rest of your bulletpoints, but I'll talk about these because I have a lot of thoughts on Cordy's sexuality. The shows are really vague when it comes to Cordy and sex, so I've developed a lot of thoughts and personal canons based on the little we DO see of her sex life.

    First of all, when was it implied that Cordy graduated high school a virgin? It's never really confirmed either way. Neither shows really give much information on Cordy's high school sex-life or views on sex at all.

    From "Bad Eggs":
    CORDELIA: "Are you talking about sex *in* the car or *out* of the car? Because I have this friend -- not me -- who was parked in a Miata at the top of a hill and then she kicked the gearshift..."

    Charisma Carpenter delivers the "not me" bit like Cordy is obviously lying when she says it wasn't her, and in an interview, Carpenter said she was directed during the closet kissing scenes between her and Xander to act as if Cordy was experienced.

    I have my own personal canon on this subject. I assume Cordelia lost her virginity sometime pre-Xander. In my opinion, one of the things that made Cordelia fall in love with Xander was that he was so different from the Jerk Jock guys she always dated before who always pressured her into having sex (Mitch, the douchey college frat boys). I assume that, due to her heavy feelings for Xander, she wanted to wait to have sex with him so it would be really special. And Xander wouldn't have minded because he's not the type of guy to pressure girls into having sex with him (like I said, a reason why Cordelia liked him so much), and also because I think Xander probably secretly hoped that his first time having sex would be with Buffy anyway.

    But she wasn't a virgin when she slept with that photographer guy. So, it’s implied she was offering sexual favors to try to get acting gigs. Again, all this fits with Cordy’s time in AtS s1-AtS s4 being because of Jasmine. She was in love with Xander yet never had sex with him.
    How do you know she wasn't a virgin when she slept with that photographer guy? Again, the show never confirms it either way. And how does Cordy's high school-early L.A. sex life have anything to do with Jasmine?

    I don't want to sound rude, but maybe you should go rewatch the scene between Cordy and Russell Winters in "City Of". The high point of Cordy's acting career, as of "City Of", was *almost* having her hands in a Liqui-Gel commercial. If she had been sleeping around for acting jobs as much as you imply, I'm sure she could have done way better than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeB
    She was accepted to excellent colleges that would have given her significant financial aid. There’s almost nothing in BtVS that suggested Cordy wanted to be an actress or even in the entertainment business in general.
    Financial aid/scholarships don't always cover everything. There are plenty of college students with financial aid that still have to work their asses off for books and housing fees, extra expenses, etc. And Cordy doesn't have that kind of work ethic. She despises being a "name-tag person".

    Cordy wanting to be an actress does make sense if you consider her personality. She loves herself, she loves attention, she loves popularity. Throughout her entire time in the Buffyverse, Cordy always wanted to believe that she was a "special" person, whether it meant being Queen of Sunnydale High, Emmy Award Winning Actress Cordelia Chase, or Vision Girl. Her desire to be special is, like, her fatal flaw. Cordy wanting to join Hollywood and become a famous actress makes perfect sense because it feeds into her huge ego, love of wealth and rich men, and sense of entitlement.

    Anyway, it was never implied that Cordelia was offering sexual favors for acting jobs. It's just your personal canon that she was. And that's perfectly fine, we all have our personal canons (see above).

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeB
    If anything, Jasmine is the only in-‘verse reason it makes much sense that Cordy wouldn’t have attended UC Sunnydale and continue being a Scooby.
    Nah. Cordy always hated being in Sunnydale ("What kind of moron would ever want to come back here?") and there was no place for her in the Scoobies anymore since she and Xander weren't together.
    Last edited by Andrew S.; 13-12-17 at 10:45 PM.

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    Andrew S.

    * Skip in “Inside Out” (A 4.17) never mentions anything about non-AtS characters including Oz, Spike, Buffy, Faith, and Drusilla.

    Probably because most of the people in the room had little-to-no idea who some of those people are, and it was unlikely they would care. Skip said things that he knew would mess with the group's head regarding *them*. I doubt anybody would be affected much if Skip told them that Jasmine caused a chip to be implanted in Spike's head, for instance.
    Skip didn’t have much reason to say anything about Jasmine’s influencing and manipulating things.

    Angel and Wesley know Oz, Buffy, and Faith. Angel, Wesley, Gunn, and Lorne know of Drusilla. Angel, Wesley, and Gunn know of Spike.

    Skip’s saying the Buffy and Faith stuff was because of Jasmine would clearly affect Angel and Wesley. Skip’s saying Spike was chipped, has been working with the Scoobies for years, was/is having sex with Buffy, and Buffy loves Spike would clearly affect Angel and the rest of the Fang Gang.


    * My quote: “But stuff in AtS only really make much sense—or is made tolerable/better—because of Jasmine’s influence and machinations. Angel/Darla, Angel/Cordelia, Connor existing, Fred’s situation, Cordelia’s situation, Angel’s getting a huge hotel yet never bothering to provide any financial support to Buffy, etc.”

    Jasmine needed the hotel to provide her with bodies to absorb. Jasmine needed Angel to still have feelings for Cordelia.


    * We can agree to disagree regarding whether Cordy was offering sexual favors for jobs in the entertainment industry. BTW, I blame that on Jasmine as well given it made almost zero sense that Cordy wasn’t at UC Sunnydale with the Scoobies.


    * It’s canon that Cordelia Chase never had sex with Xander Harris. It’s canon that Cordy loved Xander. Those facts alone make it near 100% that Cordy graduated high school a virgin.


    * All we know of Xander/Cordelia regarding their sex lives together is that they made out. We never see and it’s never suggested they did anything together beyond kissing and maybe groping.

    In addition, we never hear of any guy saying they did anything with Cordelia beyond kissing and maybe groping.


    * Sleeping around for acting jobs doesn’t mean one actually gets the acting jobs.


    * Being in a dorm room and being at UC Sunnydale is preferable to how Cordy was living in “City of” (A 1.01). She’s living worse than Buffy was in “Anne” (B 3.01).


    * Cordy in “Welcome to the Hellmouth” (B 1.01) mentions Los Angeles as being a place with lot of shoes. She mentions nothing about the entertainment business. Cordy wasn’t in theatre or drama in high school.


    * Cordy continued being in a Scooby in BtVS S3 after Xander and she broke up and she was trying to be a Scooby before Xander and she got together. Cordy mentioned that Sunnydale wasn’t a destination for the average person. Cordy was a Scooby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew S. View Post
    Thread title is pretty self-explanatory.

    Angel
    Season 2. I loved the heavy focus on Angel/Darla, and his 'beige arc' (where that nickname come from, anyway?) provided some of the series' best episodes and fueled its best season.

    Cordy
    Season 1, hands down. She didn't get that much to do during Season 2, and I've never seen a TV show completely ruin a character the way this show ruined Cordy in Seasons 3-4.

    Wesley
    Season 4. Wesley was the best thing about Angel for me. I don't understand Hollywood or the acting game at all, because I'm genuinely stumped as to why Alexis Denisof didn't go on to have a better career after this show. At least with Sarah Michelle Gellar, it was due to bad choices and her being more interested in her personal life, but I haven't a clue with Denisof.

    Gunn
    Season 2. Technically, I think his Season 5 arc was the best. The writers never seemed to know what to do with Gunn in Seasons 3-4, and his decision to stop leading his own crew to become one of Angel's sidekicks in Season 2 was never justified. But he was so fun here, and I loved the Cordy/Wes/Gunn trio.

    Fred
    Season 4, mainly due to "The Magic Bullet", which Amy Acker owned. To be honest, I preferred Illyria though. You have no idea how pissed I was when Illyria showed up and I saw the depth of Amy Acker's acting talent. Made me realize how much the writers wasted Fred and Acker's acting talent by sticking her into lame love triangles for three years.

    Lorne
    Season 2. I remember being extremely intrigued and entertained by his character when watching this season for the first time, and I loved the Caritas set. I think David Greenwalt was one of the weaker writers on the series, but no one was better at writing Lorne than he was. When Greenwalt left, Lorne should have too, because he was really wasted in Seasons 4-5.

    Lilah
    Season 4. Consistently hilarious and her relationship with Wes, in addition to being one of the best ships ever, revealed a lot of depth to her character.

    Darla
    Season 2. I said before that Season 2 was my favorite, and she was the reason why.

    Harmony
    She was only on the show for one season, but I included her to say that I enjoyed her on Angel more than I did on Buffy.

    Drusilla
    Same as Harmony. Dru showing up to sire Darla was one of the best plot twists ever. "The Trial" / "Reunion" was like "Surprise" / "Innocence" in that it was the moment when this show became outstanding television, and Dru was definitely a huge part of it. Gotta to give her her due.
    I agree with all of your picks to the letter, as well as your reasons. I'll just add:

    Lindsay: Season 2. He was very well embroiled in the big stories- Angel's beige arc, Darla's restoration, his competition with Lilah, his own issues with W&H. This was a very strong season to end on- and they should have ended Lindsay here.

    Faith: Season 1. Faith was great in S1 and S4. I found it hard to pick based on Faith's characterization, emotional impact, and ED's performance because those were incredibly strong in both seasons. However, I rate her S1 arc more highly because Angelus sucked. It's a shame. I wanted to pick the Hero!Faith season but her heroism was blunted because she wasn't facing off against a truly scary and emotional impactful villain in Angelus as she should have.

    Connor: Season 4. I generally found Connor interesting and well-acted for his entire run as a teenager (as opposed to a baby). This was his big arc as his true self.

    Most of the AtS characters really only have 1-2 seasons where they were really written and characterized well. The key exception is Wesley who was great through S1-5, with some exception for the confusion/lack of clarity of his mindwiped personality and unevenness of his mental breakdown in late S5. I guess Angel was interesting throughout but there were entire swaths of seasons where I found him tiresome or somehow dissatisfying from the standpoint of consequences. I always liked Lilah but she wasn't very important in S1 and 2. There's a lot more BtVS characters nailing 3, 4, 5 good to great seasons. AtS could juggle so that there was enough interesting characters per season to keep my love (although I struggled in S5). But it doesn't have BtVS's constancy of good characterization, even with my UPN years issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dipstick View Post
    Most of the AtS characters really only have 1-2 seasons where they were really written and characterized well. The key exception is Wesley who was great through S1-5, with some exception for the confusion/lack of clarity of his mindwiped personality and unevenness of his mental breakdown in late S5. I guess Angel was interesting throughout but there were entire swaths of seasons where I found him tiresome or somehow dissatisfying from the standpoint of consequences. I always liked Lilah but she wasn't very important in S1 and 2. There's a lot more BtVS characters nailing 3, 4, 5 good to great seasons. AtS could juggle so that there was enough interesting characters per season to keep my love (although I struggled in S5). But it doesn't have BtVS's constancy of good characterization, even with my UPN years issues.
    I agree completely and this is one of many reasons why I'm less fond of AtS than I am of BtVS. While the series has its moments, I find much of AtS' storytelling to just be a scattered mess. After "Epiphany", the entire series and its character arcs feel very unfocused and I don't care about most of the characters as deeply as I do with the BtVS characters. Aside from Wesley, I think Angel's character arc is really well-done and cohesive throughout S1-S3, but much of his S4-S5 storylines feel like wheel-spinning and I find him so unlikeable for much of those seasons that I do kind of disconnect from him.

    On Lindsey, I despise him (I just don't find him interesting and he has no redeeming qualities to me), but I agree that he was very well tied into the S2 stories. Whereas his S5 return made no sense to me at all.

    In all fairness, whereas I try to rewatch the whole of BtVS at least once a year, it's been a few years since I rewatched AtS in full (outside of the odd episode here and there), so I'll accept that my memory of everything isn't the best. But I hope the current rewatch that I am doing will help me appreciate it/the characters more. I just finished S1 and I do feel a much deeper appreciation of that season, so hopefully it'll be the same with S2-S5.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew S. View Post
    I agree completely and this is one of many reasons why I'm less fond of AtS than I am of BtVS. While the series has its moments, I find much of AtS' storytelling to just be a scattered mess. After "Epiphany", the entire series and its character arcs feel very unfocused and I don't care about most of the characters as deeply as I do with the BtVS characters. Aside from Wesley, I think Angel's character arc is really well-done and cohesive throughout S1-S3, but much of his S4-S5 storylines feel like wheel-spinning and I find him so unlikeable for much of those seasons that I do kind of disconnect from him.

    On Lindsey, I despise him (I just don't find him interesting and he has no redeeming qualities to me), but I agree that he was very well tied into the S2 stories. Whereas his S5 return made no sense to me at all.

    In all fairness, whereas I try to rewatch the whole of BtVS at least once a year, it's been a few years since I rewatched AtS in full (outside of the odd episode here and there), so I'll accept that my memory of everything isn't the best. But I hope the current rewatch that I am doing will help me appreciate it/the characters more. I just finished S1 and I do feel a much deeper appreciation of that season, so hopefully it'll be the same with S2-S5.
    I find S1-2 Lindsey interesting in the sense that he gets embroiled in excellent plots and he's incredibly realistic. But yeah, I don't think the guy on his own is interesting or sympathetic. He's incredibly shallow. Lilah, Holland Manners, even Gavin had more humor and intrinsic virtues in the form of wit or wisdom or strength. I also don't really believe him as a golden boy. I think he just "fails up." When he's the "leader" of his confusing, half-baked S5 plot, he flat-out sucks.

    I'm in an AtS Rewatch- just finished Soul Purpose. I think S1 is incredibly underrated. It doesn't really have a big grandiose arc but all of the main characters (Angel, Cordelia, Doyle, Wesley, Kate, Lindsay) are very well played and there are good moments for the lesser-featured characters (Lilah, Faith, Buffy, Holland Manners).

    Angel's S1 arc is very nice and warm but that's not a bad thing by any means. I think it's one of his best arcs. He does a *lot* in S1. He works collaboratively to make a real mission with a supernatural structure (the visions and research informing him of danger) as well as a real-world structure (charging clients and collaborating with the LAPD like a real private detective.) Later seasons don't deliver on this but his S1 mission is well-formed around saving his own soul (as set out in BTVS) but also saving other souls (Faith). He makes four friends and deals with losing two of them, Doyle to death and Kate to anger. S1 Angel's friendships and losses of friendships never feel like the writers arranging stuffed animal friends around Angel in S1 (as it can feel in later seasons). Angel feels authentically connected and like a true driver in all of his relationships. I agreed with your comments on the other thread that his BtVS S4-5 appearances and Buffy's AtS S1 appearances and allusions to her in AtS S2-3 all worked to give closure to Bangel.

    By contrast, Angel's S5 arc is supposed to be the COMPLEX arc. However, Angel doesn't *do* anything until Power Play. He's mostly passive. He endlessly grumps about how he feels empty and sad, snipes with Spike, and reacts to crises as they come. In S5, even how he reacts to MOTW crises is overshadowed because Fred and Gunn, in particular, are much more on the front lines of solving mysteries or communicating with the Senior Partners. Angel doesn't really bother to take command of W&H's structure other than reforms here and there like executing employees who kill people. He makes noises about leaving, but never does. S5 Angel is just mostly on a bitch-a-thon. Angel's S5 arc is meant to be bleak but I can't find it interesting because he just passively retreads the same ground and never makes decisions, for good or bad, to change his circumstances until the end of the season.

    Angel's S1-2 arc is good. His S3 arc has good outlines (the Darla and Holtz stuff, getting a baby and then, losing baby Connor) but it's hurt by Cordelia/Angel mushy romance and a little too much Dork!Angel in the beginning/middle of the season. He also doesn't face any consequences or issues with the rest of his team for trying to kill Wesley and doing black magic that killed a guy and nearly killed Fred. I've come to like that Angel is immediately accepted with after his Beige S2 arc with little consequences because IMO, it sets up Wesley not trusting Angel enough to come to him with the prophecy. However, the lack of consequences that Angel faces from his Forgiving rampage just feel like the story giving up on interesting ramifications to move hurriedly onto the next thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dipstick View Post
    I find S1-2 Lindsey interesting in the sense that he gets embroiled in excellent plots and he's incredibly realistic. But yeah, I don't think the guy on his own is interesting or sympathetic. He's incredibly shallow. Lilah, Holland Manners, even Gavin had more humor and intrinsic virtues in the form of wit or wisdom or strength. I also don't really believe him as a golden boy. I think he just "fails up." When he's the "leader" of his confusing, half-baked S5 plot, he flat-out sucks.

    I'm in an AtS Rewatch- just finished Soul Purpose. I think S1 is incredibly underrated. It doesn't really have a big grandiose arc but all of the main characters (Angel, Cordelia, Doyle, Wesley, Kate, Lindsay) are very well played and there are good moments for the lesser-featured characters (Lilah, Faith, Buffy, Holland Manners).

    Angel's S1 arc is very nice and warm but that's not a bad thing by any means. I think it's one of his best arcs. He does a *lot* in S1. He works collaboratively to make a real mission with a supernatural structure (the visions and research informing him of danger) as well as a real-world structure (charging clients and collaborating with the LAPD like a real private detective.) Later seasons don't deliver on this but his S1 mission is well-formed around saving his own soul (as set out in BTVS) but also saving other souls (Faith). He makes four friends and deals with losing two of them, Doyle to death and Kate to anger. S1 Angel's friendships and losses of friendships never feel like the writers arranging stuffed animal friends around Angel in S1 (as it can feel in later seasons). Angel feels authentically connected and like a true driver in all of his relationships. I agreed with your comments on the other thread that his BtVS S4-5 appearances and Buffy's AtS S1 appearances and allusions to her in AtS S2-3 all worked to give closure to Bangel.

    By contrast, Angel's S5 arc is supposed to be the COMPLEX arc. However, Angel doesn't *do* anything until Power Play. He's mostly passive. He endlessly grumps about how he feels empty and sad, snipes with Spike, and reacts to crises as they come. In S5, even how he reacts to MOTW crises is overshadowed because Fred and Gunn, in particular, are much more on the front lines of solving mysteries or communicating with the Senior Partners. Angel doesn't really bother to take command of W&H's structure other than reforms here and there like executing employees who kill people. He makes noises about leaving, but never does. S5 Angel is just mostly on a bitch-a-thon. Angel's S5 arc is meant to be bleak but I can't find it interesting because he just passively retreads the same ground and never makes decisions, for good or bad, to change his circumstances until the end of the season.
    I agree 100% with all of this. I think Angel's S5 arc had the potential to be one of the best, but yeah, it feels like the writers really just rehash the same themes over and over again with him throughout the season. I think the final third of the season was a *huge* improvement because it felt like Angel and the other characters were finally starting to take action instead of just reacting to the (rather uninteresting) plots.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dipstick
    Angel's S1-2 arc is good. His S3 arc has good outlines (the Darla and Holtz stuff, getting a baby and then, losing baby Connor) but it's hurt by Cordelia/Angel mushy romance and a little too much Dork!Angel in the beginning/middle of the season. He also doesn't face any consequences or issues with the rest of his team for trying to kill Wesley and doing black magic that killed a guy and nearly killed Fred. I've come to like that Angel is immediately accepted with after his Beige S2 arc with little consequences because IMO, it sets up Wesley not trusting Angel enough to come to him with the prophecy. However, the lack of consequences that Angel faces from his Forgiving rampage just feel like the story giving up on interesting ramifications to move hurriedly onto the next thing.
    I'm really fond of his S3 arc. While I hated the Angel/Cordelia stuff in execution, I think the romance did make logical sense from Angel's POV and his falling in love with her always felt believable to me. I can't recall which episode, but I remember Lorne said something like 'You've always had a thing for cheerleaders' in reference to Angel/Cordy that resonated with me because I think Angel often does fall for women based on what he feels they do for his self-esteem. Cordy, like Buffy, represents salvation for Angel and allows/encourages him to feel like the heroic vampire he wants to be, just like Darla allowed/encouraged him to feel like the worst vampire ever as Angelus. It was Cordy's feelings for Angel that felt more ridiculous and unbelievable to me, in the way it was written and performed.

    On the lack of direct consequences for Angel post-"Forgiving", I guess I agree. But I think I hold that against S4 more than I do with S3. In late-S3, I'm fairly -- haha -- forgiving of Angel in those episodes simply because I found him enormously sympathetic after the Connor kidnapping. As much as I love Wesley, he enormously f*cked up in "Sleep Tight" and it resulted in a huge tragedy for Angel. While I didn't condone Angel's actions in doing dark magic and attacking Wesley at the hospital, it's really hard for me to hold it against him because the circumstances of what he went through were so tragic and, as the last few episodes of S3 have a pretty accelerated time span IIRC, he hadn't really had a lot of time to process everything. I definitely think that Angel *should* have eventually owned up to the things that he did and he should have apologized to Wesley once they were back on sociable terms in S4. I really like your interpretation that Wesley's actions and distrust of Angel in mid-S3 were in part due to how quickly Angel's Beige arc was swept under the rug. I've never considered that.

    Angel and Wesley's conflict in S3-S4 is one of my favorite things about the show because I think they both have very good reasons to be angry/resentful with one another and I *do* think that they both start to get over this anger with at each other in late-S4 (in Wes' case)/S5 (in Angel's case). But they never directly *talk* about the situation with each other, which is why I think their relationship never really reaches a healthy place ever again. Angel and Wesley's difficulties in really communicating with one another about their issues fits in with the overly, IMO, macho tone of AtS.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew S. View Post
    I'm really fond of his S3 arc. While I hated the Angel/Cordelia stuff in execution, I think the romance did make logical sense from Angel's POV and his falling in love with her always felt believable to me. I can't recall which episode, but I remember Lorne said something like 'You've always had a thing for cheerleaders' in reference to Angel/Cordy that resonated with me because I think Angel often does fall for women based on what he feels they do for his self-esteem. Cordy, like Buffy, represents salvation for Angel and allows/encourages him to feel like the heroic vampire he wants to be, just like Darla allowed/encouraged him to feel like the worst vampire ever as Angelus. It was Cordy's feelings for Angel that felt more ridiculous and unbelievable to me, in the way it was written and performed.

    On the lack of direct consequences for Angel post-"Forgiving", I guess I agree. But I think I hold that against S4 more than I do with S3. In late-S3, I'm fairly -- haha -- forgiving of Angel in those episodes simply because I found him enormously sympathetic after the Connor kidnapping. As much as I love Wesley, he enormously f*cked up in "Sleep Tight" and it resulted in a huge tragedy for Angel. While I didn't condone Angel's actions in doing dark magic and attacking Wesley at the hospital, it's really hard for me to hold it against him because the circumstances of what he went through were so tragic and, as the last few episodes of S3 have a pretty accelerated time span IIRC, he hadn't really had a lot of time to process everything. I definitely think that Angel *should* have eventually owned up to the things that he did and he should have apologized to Wesley once they were back on sociable terms in S4. I really like your interpretation that Wesley's actions and distrust of Angel in mid-S3 were in part due to how quickly Angel's Beige arc was swept under the rug. I've never considered that.

    Angel and Wesley's conflict in S3-S4 is one of my favorite things about the show because I think they both have very good reasons to be angry/resentful with one another and I *do* think that they both start to get over this anger with at each other in late-S4 (in Wes' case)/S5 (in Angel's case). But they never directly *talk* about the situation with each other, which is why I think their relationship never really reaches a healthy place ever again. Angel and Wesley's difficulties in really communicating with one another about their issues fits in with the overly, IMO, macho tone of AtS.
    I think Angel's feelings for Cordelia made sense. You're absolutely correct that Angel falls for women based on his self-esteem. Lorne's "cheerleader" comment was on-point. But as you said, I didn't care for the romance in execution and that hurt Angel's S3 arc. The overt Cangel-bait scenes like the end of Provider or the start of Waiting in the Wings when they're not possessed or both of them heading to a beach to confess love in Tomorrow were actively grating to me. The S3 Cangel was better played when it was entirely about Angel's feelings and Cordelia had no input like his funny pouting in Couplet. A lot of that is CC's performance and how her feelings were played. However, it takes two to tango and make a romantic arc. I downgrade the quality of Angel's S3 arc because his romantic scenes with Cordelia were so boring and actively grating.

    I agree that the Wesley v. Angel conflict is excellently played and one of the best things about the show. I agree entirely about when they start to get over their anger but also how their relationship remains fundamentally strained because they won't talk it out. (Since I just finished Soul Purpose, Angel still remains distrustful of Wes to paint him as the betrayer who will sucker-punch-stake him. However, that scene is also about how Angel thinks so little of himself that he thinks Wesley has every right to do that. In his dream, Wesley plays mystical doctor to eventually sucker-punch-stake him. In reality, Wesley is still Angel's mystical doctor who diagnoses the bug-demons who created the bugs because Angel rationally knows that Wesley really does have Angel's best interests at heart and would be a good doctor to him.)

    My issue is more about Angel and his relationships to the other characters. For instance, lots of fans complain that the Scoobies too rapidly took Willow back in the fold in S7 after her end-of-S6 rampage. I actually *agree* with those criticism in a certain way. However, Willow spent three months in England submitting to whatever training or healing or punishment Giles thought was worthy and then, Giles vouched for her wellness/goodness when he sent her home. Willow still didn't think her friends would accept her three months later. Xander said that he'd welcome Willow off the plane, and Buffy indicated that she couldn't do it so easily after seeing Willow kill someone and threaten to kill Dawn. When it looked like Willow didn't get off the plane to Sunnydale, Dawn wanted to blame Willow. Anya yelled at Willow for breaking the Magic Box. Dawn starts pondering how to do without Willow entirely. This was silly but then, Buffy assumed that Willow flayed someone again and came back to the one town where she's likely to be a suspect. After Same Time, Same Place, I argue Giles and Xander were warm and trusting to Willow. Willow seems to earn Dawn's trust somewhere later in the season, off-screen. Buffy tried to be accepting but there's a definite chill in her relationship with Willow through Chosen.

    However, it's mostly crickets when it comes to Gunn, Cordelia, Fred, or Lorne saying anything derogatory about Angel's actions after the fact. Cordelia actually supports Angel's killing Holtz (but not lying to Connor about it) and Gunn/Fred distract Connor so Angel can execute whatever justice/vengeance Angel sees fit. I mean, I guess Fred says that Angel was wrong to try to kill Wesley (but only to Wesley at the hospital) and Lorne kind of Socrates-questions Angel into admitting he was wrong to use black magic resulting in the death of that man but gives up when Angel refuses to admit guilt. While Angel is in the middle of his rampage, Lorne tries to talk Angel out of torturing Linwood and doing the black magic and the gang tries to talk Angel out of killing Wes. I don't think Angel's Forgiving rampage was nearly as bad as Dark Willow's rampage. Angel's attempted murder of Wesley is more understandable than Willow's attempted murders of the gang because as you said, Wes did f*ck up while the rest of the Scoobies did not. Angel didn't get to actually kill Lilah or Linwood. Angel's black magic was done to achieve an unambiguous good- rescue Baby Connor.

    .....But it was still a horrible grief-fueled rampage that indicated Angel was a danger to human beings, including a former friend of theirs. However from Forgiving, we head to Double or Nothing where it's like, a comedic episode about how the gang is a family. At the end of The Price, the question is posed like whether Angel will be cool with Gunn disobeying Angel's directive to leave the hotel with the Sluks roaming and get Angel's help. The tone is bizarre to me. It works in a criticism of AI's dysfunction. However, it fails on a character-development arc for Angel where Angel has to deal with the consequences of his actions. I also think the end of S3 could have been more interesting if Angel was challenged for his rampage by the other members of his team. Connor does a lot to liven up the last three eps but IMO, there's a certain lack of interpersonal intrigue after Forgiving because the gang is so damn placid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dipstick View Post
    I think Angel's feelings for Cordelia made sense. You're absolutely correct that Angel falls for women based on his self-esteem. Lorne's "cheerleader" comment was on-point. But as you said, I didn't care for the romance in execution and that hurt Angel's S3 arc. The overt Cangel-bait scenes like the end of Provider or the start of Waiting in the Wings when they're not possessed or both of them heading to a beach to confess love in Tomorrow were actively grating to me. The S3 Cangel was better played when it was entirely about Angel's feelings and Cordelia had no input like his funny pouting in Couplet. A lot of that is CC's performance and how her feelings were played. However, it takes two to tango and make a romantic arc. I downgrade the quality of Angel's S3 arc because his romantic scenes with Cordelia were so boring and actively grating.
    Gotcha. I agree that it takes two to tango for a compelling romantic arc and my least favorite thing about Angel/Cordy is how I feel her character gets derailed in order to make a romance between them believable. For me, I think the same thing is sort of present in S1-early S2 of BtVS with Buffy/Angel where it feels like Buffy is the character being developed by the relationship whereas Angel on his own is kind of weakly-written and DB struggles to keep up with SMG in terms of performance. Same thing with Tara/Amber Benson with the Willow/Tara relationship in S4. But I still think Buffy's side of the early Buffy/Angel relationship suits her arc, as does Willow's side of S4 Willow/Tara for her, and Angel's side of Angel/Cordy for him. But mileage tends to vary on these sorts of things so I completely understand if the grating Cordelia aspects of it also affected Angel's side of it for you as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dipstick
    I agree that the Wesley v. Angel conflict is excellently played and one of the best things about the show. I agree entirely about when they start to get over their anger but also how their relationship remains fundamentally strained because they won't talk it out. (Since I just finished Soul Purpose, Angel still remains distrustful of Wes to paint him as the betrayer who will sucker-punch-stake him. However, that scene is also about how Angel thinks so little of himself that he thinks Wesley has every right to do that. In his dream, Wesley plays mystical doctor to eventually sucker-punch-stake him. In reality, Wesley is still Angel's mystical doctor who diagnoses the bug-demons who created the bugs because Angel rationally knows that Wesley really does have Angel's best interests at heart and would be a good doctor to him.)

    My issue is more about Angel and his relationships to the other characters. For instance, lots of fans complain that the Scoobies too rapidly took Willow back in the fold in S7 after her end-of-S6 rampage. I actually *agree* with those criticism in a certain way. However, Willow spent three months in England submitting to whatever training or healing or punishment Giles thought was worthy and then, Giles vouched for her wellness/goodness when he sent her home. Willow still didn't think her friends would accept her three months later. Xander said that he'd welcome Willow off the plane, and Buffy indicated that she couldn't do it so easily after seeing Willow kill someone and threaten to kill Dawn. When it looked like Willow didn't get off the plane to Sunnydale, Dawn wanted to blame Willow. Anya yelled at Willow for breaking the Magic Box. Dawn starts pondering how to do without Willow entirely. This was silly but then, Buffy assumed that Willow flayed someone again and came back to the one town where she's likely to be a suspect. After Same Time, Same Place, I argue Giles and Xander were warm and trusting to Willow. Willow seems to earn Dawn's trust somewhere later in the season, off-screen. Buffy tried to be accepting but there's a definite chill in her relationship with Willow through Chosen.

    However, it's mostly crickets when it comes to Gunn, Cordelia, Fred, or Lorne saying anything derogatory about Angel's actions after the fact. Cordelia actually supports Angel's killing Holtz (but not lying to Connor about it) and Gunn/Fred distract Connor so Angel can execute whatever justice/vengeance Angel sees fit. I mean, I guess Fred says that Angel was wrong to try to kill Wesley (but only to Wesley at the hospital) and Lorne kind of Socrates-questions Angel into admitting he was wrong to use black magic resulting in the death of that man but gives up when Angel refuses to admit guilt. While Angel is in the middle of his rampage, Lorne tries to talk Angel out of torturing Linwood and doing the black magic and the gang tries to talk Angel out of killing Wes. I don't think Angel's Forgiving rampage was nearly as bad as Dark Willow's rampage. Angel's attempted murder of Wesley is more understandable than Willow's attempted murders of the gang because as you said, Wes did f*ck up while the rest of the Scoobies did not. Angel didn't get to actually kill Lilah or Linwood. Angel's black magic was done to achieve an unambiguous good- rescue Baby Connor.

    .....But it was still a horrible grief-fueled rampage that indicated Angel was a danger to human beings, including a former friend of theirs. However from Forgiving, we head to Double or Nothing where it's like, a comedic episode about how the gang is a family. At the end of The Price, the question is posed like whether Angel will be cool with Gunn disobeying Angel's directive to leave the hotel with the Sluks roaming and get Angel's help. The tone is bizarre to me. It works in a criticism of AI's dysfunction. However, it fails on a character-development arc for Angel where Angel has to deal with the consequences of his actions. I also think the end of S3 could have been more interesting if Angel was challenged for his rampage by the other members of his team. Connor does a lot to liven up the last three eps but IMO, there's a certain lack of interpersonal intrigue after Forgiving because the gang is so damn placid.
    Yeah, I will agree that Cordy, Fred, Gunn, and Lorne do a lousy job at holding Angel accountable for his "Forgiving" actions. Although it's not as annoying to me as how they easily let him off the hook for the Beige arc in late-S2 and it's consistent with something that I believe you and other posters have said in different threads about the clique-y and often fake dynamics between the AI team that is especially present in S3. I have to admit that a little bit of what you mention I don't recall exactly, but it's thought-provoking and I am definitely looking forward to getting to these episodes in my rewatch to enhance my appreciation/understanding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew S. View Post
    Gotcha. I agree that it takes two to tango for a compelling romantic arc and my least favorite thing about Angel/Cordy is how I feel her character gets derailed in order to make a romance between them believable. For me, I think the same thing is sort of present in S1-early S2 of BtVS with Buffy/Angel where it feels like Buffy is the character being developed by the relationship whereas Angel on his own is kind of weakly-written and DB struggles to keep up with SMG in terms of performance. Same thing with Tara/Amber Benson with the Willow/Tara relationship in S4. But I still think Buffy's side of the early Buffy/Angel relationship suits her arc, as does Willow's side of S4 Willow/Tara for her, and Angel's side of Angel/Cordy for him. But mileage tends to vary on these sorts of things so I completely understand if the grating Cordelia aspects of it also affected Angel's side of it for you as well.
    Those are really great comparisons because I agree that Buffy and Willow are fascinating in their respective romances with early Angel and early Tara but Tara and Angel are blank, poorly acted ciphers. The BtVS examples aren't as grating to me, personally, because it's better to be a quiet, even blank wall, brand new supporting character cipher than an OCC, character-assassinated leading lady sitting in the shoes of a character I once found amusing and valuable for her humanity and strong sense of reality. It certainly makes for a less annoying romance. But still, I'll eventually get around to picking my favorite BtVS seasons for the characters. I'e already read the thread and noted that people pick S4 often for Willow. I get it because I like a ton about her story in that season- her break-up with Oz, the Scooby rift, her cool proto-hipster aesthetics, her new assertiveness, the development of her magical abilities, her early suspicion of the Initiative but her partnership with Riley, and actually how nuanced and interesting her side of her relationship is with Tara beyond merely coming out with a lesbian relationship. However, I would not pick S4. I'd instead pick S3 and it's pretty much entirely because the Willow/Tara scenes suffer because Tara is a poorly acted cipher of a character even though Willow does interesting stuff in most of their scenes. I probably would pick S2 as my favorite Buffy-season. But I think Angel starts getting more appealing after Reptile Boy and then, it's not long before we get the Angelus arc. A literal dramatic payoff to any concerns that Angel is an unknowable bland cipher. "Wrong! I am Angel. At last."

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