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Did Angel leaving make Buffy a better show or better with him on it

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  • Did Angel leaving make Buffy a better show or better with him on it

    Saw this question on another board and feel it would be relevant here ?

  • #2
    I don't think Angel leaving made Buffy a better show, it was just different than it would have been. I know that might seem like a copout answer but I found Angel an interesting character in the show and I think they could have continued to use him in interesting ways.

    That being said, his relationship with Buffy being limited may have made him difficult to keep as a main cast member without it just being about the ups and downs they were going through. Although Angel remained a constant element influencing Buffy's relationships, if he had been present for her later romances it would clearly have been more of a direct feature. That could have changed their dynamic in another interesting way though.

    They could also have made more of burgeoning friendships between him and other characters instead and developed him in other ways on BtVS too. There are always tons of options not explored. So I think they could have kept him. But I believe it was probably easier to have had him move on and to keep showing Buffy going through progressive stages of growing up. As that is key to the show, it was probably for the best in that way.

    Also, it allowed for Angel's character to get more exploration. It would have been a huge loss to have not had that.

    (I've moved this into the general discussions. The Buffy section is for specific episode or season discussions. This is either a character thread or a general discussion. )

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    • #3
      Made it better, IMO. All he added was superficial melodrama. He had very few interactions with people who weren't Buffy.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post
        Made it better, IMO. All he added was superficial melodrama. He had very few interactions with people who weren't Buffy.
        But that could obviously have been changed if he'd stayed.

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        • #5
          The first answer that came to my mind was that leaving certainly made Angel a more interesting character. He had more opportunities to grow and develop outside Buffy's shadow. However, this wasn't what you asked.

          I don't think Angel leaving, made Buffy a better show per see. But I am struggling to imagine how it would have become better had he stayed. His and Buffy's love story had ended up in a dead-end. He had been good, turned evil, and turned back to good again. He also had been to hell and back. What could they have done with his character without him becoming a redundant character or a background character? During the second half of season 3, it already felt as if the writers didn't really know what to do with him anymore. The writers could of course have come up with a way to anchor his soul so he and Buffy could have been together. But that would have diminished the drama of their romance.

          So, I'd say the show was certainly better because he was on it during the first three seasons. It didn't become worse because he left and I am not sure if it could have been better (than it was) if he had stayed.

          It would be interesting to hear what exactly people think could have been his storyline in season 4 (and beyond).

          flow

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Stoney View Post

            But that could obviously have been changed if he'd stayed.
            But he didn't. His leaving opened up Buffy's storylines considerably and gave room to expand her character. As much as we might dislike Parker or find Riley on the bland side, you wouldn't get explorations into Buffy's isolation and rebellion against domestication without them, which made her pretty interesting.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post
              But he didn't. His leaving opened up Buffy's storylines considerably and gave room to expand her character. As much as we might dislike Parker or find Riley on the bland side, you wouldn't get explorations into Buffy's isolation and rebellion against domestication without them, which made her pretty interesting.
              Well no, he didn't stay. I was just playing devil's advocate and saying if he had they could have changed how he was interacting with others, which was the element you raised.

              I don't disagree though. As much as I'm happy to accept that they could have written him staying and found a way to make it work, as I said, I think it is easier for Buffy's story and to work with the notion of progression and going through stages in life as she grew up for Angel to leave. They were able to hold the Bangel dynamic in a kind of stasis because he left which wouldn't have been possible if he'd stayed. For Buffy to have continued growth and other relationships, it would have affected them. It would have broken one of the main points of the show if she hadn't continued to face differing challenges/stages through the college/young adult years.

              But that doesn't mean that Angel leaving made Buffy a better show. She could have continued through various stages if he'd been there, but it was probably easier to do some of it when he wasn't. I can't say the absence of him made the show better though. It was strong when he was there and strong when he wasn't. The writing could have made either option work, if the show continued to focus on Buffy and the life stages/challenges she faced.

              It's not really different to wondering if she needed Joyce to die and Giles to leave. Angel was Buffy's first love and it changes the landscape around her if he's still there but that doesn't mean the show couldn't have continued on the same overall trajectory. Joyce and Giles could have also stayed all the way through and Buffy's independence have been emphasised in the story in other ways. It is easier to put a spotlight on growing up and moving on when stages pass more distinctly/literally though and the person continues and finds their footing again.

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              • #8
                Short answer is yes. It allowed the show to expand in ways it never could if Angel had stayed. It also allowed Buffy to grow up, which she never would have quite managed if her ex was part of the gang. Of course they could have stayed a couple for 7 seasons. Perhaps Willow could have done a spell to lift the curse.

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                • BtVS fan
                  BtVS fan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  They could always find an Ex machina way out of things I guess. On Ats he could have sex but not lose his soul for example

              • #9
                Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post

                But he didn't. His leaving opened up Buffy's storylines considerably and gave room to expand her character. As much as we might dislike Parker or find Riley on the bland side, you wouldn't get explorations into Buffy's isolation and rebellion against domestication without them, which made her pretty interesting.
                I agree. Plus the whole Will they won't they relationship had kind of been played out by that stage. So much so The writers were making fun of it "You looking for Buffy ?" "As always"
                I Will Remember You was that done large but with reset at the end.
                Though one criticism of the Parker storyline I have was that it basically redid the boy who didn't call storyline of Angel/Angelus but no longer as a metaphor.

                One consequence of Angel (and Cordy too I guess) still on the show I doubt they would've made Spike a Regular

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                • #10
                  Better? Definitely not. Considering I find S2, S3 and S5 to be the best seasons of the show and Angel featured in two of those I would have a hard time arguing that his departure made the show better. I think his departure was a good turning point for his character and I agree that Buffy/Angel needed to break for the show to move on but, IMO, S4 is weaker than S3 so Angel's departure didn't improve the overall quality of the series. I can't point to anything that says the show improved by him no longer being on it.

                  I do sometimes imagine what the series could have done with Angel had he never left. He could have been incorporated into the Initiative storyline quite easily either as being held captive or on the run. I'm not sure if his character could have realistically made it all the way through to S7 but it's hard for me to picture.

                  The Angelus arc is my favourite arc of the series so I think his contribution to the show was huge. I think it clearly proved it still could be an incredible show without him so it wasn't dependant on him for it's success whatsoever but when he was on it he added a lot of positives to it.

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                    Better? Definitely not. Considering I find S2, S3 and S5 to be the best seasons of the show and Angel featured in two of those I would have a hard time arguing that his departure made the show better. I think his departure was a good turning point for his character and I agree that Buffy/Angel needed to break for the show to move on but, IMO, S4 is weaker than S3 so Angel's departure didn't improve the overall quality of the series. I can't point to anything that says the show improved by him no longer being on it.

                    I do sometimes imagine what the series could have done with Angel had he never left. He could have been incorporated into the Initiative storyline quite easily either as being held captive or on the run. I'm not sure if his character could have realistically made it all the way through to S7 but it's hard for me to picture.

                    The Angelus arc is my favourite arc of the series so I think his contribution to the show was huge. I think it clearly proved it still could be an incredible show without him so it wasn't dependant on him for it's success whatsoever but when he was on it he added a lot of positives to it.
                    Would you have been up for a Buffy Angel Riley Love triangle though as I'm guessing that's what they would've gone with ?
                    Doubt Spike would've been a regular either

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post

                      I agree. Plus the whole Will they won't they relationship had kind of been played out by that stage. So much so The writers were making fun of it "You looking for Buffy ?" "As always"
                      I Will Remember You was that done large but with reset at the end.
                      Though one criticism of the Parker storyline I have was that it basically redid the boy who didn't call storyline of Angel/Angelus but no longer as a metaphor.

                      One consequence of Angel (and Cordy too I guess) still on the show I doubt they would've made Spike a Regular
                      I think that was possibly intentional. The Angelus metaphor really isn't a very good one and kind of undermines things. The reality is sex doesn't turn a guy into a jerk. He was always a jerk. Like Parker. But by directly linking sex to the guy turning evil, it not only doesn't subvert the cliche, but actively doubles down on it.

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                      • #13
                        Angel leaving made Buffy better since by season 3 the whole Buffy/Angel relationship was played out. Plus we got another show out of the deal.
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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Lostsoul666 View Post
                          Angel leaving made Buffy better since by season 3 the whole Buffy/Angel relationship was played out. Plus we got another show out of the deal.
                          When even the writers are making fun of what they are writing (see the Zeppo) you know a relationship is played out. I don't see what they could have done next that was any different

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by HardlyThere View Post

                            I think that was possibly intentional. The Angelus metaphor really isn't a very good one and kind of undermines things. The reality is sex doesn't turn a guy into a jerk. He was always a jerk. Like Parker. But by directly linking sex to the guy turning evil, it not only doesn't subvert the cliche, but actively doubles down on it.
                            But wasn't that cliche a trend in the show. Hell both shows , like in Expecting where Cordy sleeps with the guy and gets a demon pregnancy (Joss really didn't like women being pregnant did he)
                            I guess they thought they were doing the opposite the following season where Angel sleeps with Darla then has moment of clarity while treating her like crap but that's seen as ok

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                            • #16
                              Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post

                              Would you have been up for a Buffy Angel Riley Love triangle though as I'm guessing that's what they would've gone with ?
                              Doubt Spike would've been a regular either
                              There's very few storylines I object to without giving the writers the opportunity to convince me so, honestly, this doesn't deter me at all.

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                              • #17
                                Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post

                                When even the writers are making fun of what they are writing (see the Zeppo) you know a relationship is played out. I don't see what they could have done next that was any different
                                They've admitted publicly they really didn't have much to say about the relationship. It's an interesting discussion because having Angel leave was the only real reason he came back in S3. I guess it might be a better way to look at is as if Angel was quickly cancelled and they brought Cordy and Angel back to BTVS.

                                Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post

                                But wasn't that cliche a trend in the show. Hell both shows , like in Expecting where Cordy sleeps with the guy and gets a demon pregnancy (Joss really didn't like women being pregnant did he)
                                I guess they thought they were doing the opposite the following season where Angel sleeps with Darla then has moment of clarity while treating her like crap but that's seen as ok
                                Well, yeah. It's one thing among many. Buffy was meant to be a subversive character and series. It's hard to really do that when the show never really delves into the building blocks of the tropes its meant to subvert, so in the end it ends up using them all the same. Buffy's the pretty blonde murdered in an alley. It doesn't seem as though Joss ever asked the question of why that trope and others are so prevalent in horror to begin with. Much of his explanations about that arc only sound to me like he's doing a bit of fan meta on his own work. That's why there are contradictions like him complaining about characters being punished for sex then admitting he's punishing Buffy for having sex.

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                                • #18


                                  Uh…no. Spells to “anchor Angel’s soul?” Isn’t the point of the BTVS series not only the display of ultimate paradoxes in the “forever moment” of the ‘romance,’ but in the (real world?) “becoming” that is the “actual” setting for the change/growth or development of both characters.

                                  That is why the “soul,” as clunky as it may be used to shape or give a being “actual” free will or “actual” choice—the “actual” * feeling * ability to “act” (versus the “knowledge” of good vs. evil, but the inability to “feel” “actual” remorse, experience, or empathy that makes for expression –the “ability to act”—on behalf of one’s own growth/wisdom or on behalf of another being (“actual” connection).

                                  I do regret the change of networks that denied me seeing it originally other than on ancient VCR tapes I got from a friend--the DVDs are "different." I also regret the constant shuffle of showrunners and writers too overwhelmed with projects. Write the damn story, finish it, and "move on"--better that than "just WTF?"

                                  I do feel that Joss and staff took on too many shows at once and that didn’t help any of them to have the clarity and power of most of the first three seasons, and maybe "parts" of the others, but I do think that after graduation and “dealing with the Master’s “hellmouth” the series should have been placed in L.A. as that is exactly what young people do: the go to the big city, if not to college—which, miraculously, Buffy had high enough marks to “actually” accomplish. I do think the detective agency idea is not horrible, and I do think that the “Fang Gang” with the scoobies would have been interesting, especially because making human beings “boogity” in order to deal with “the powers of darkness” could have been done better, including the “horror” of crimes against humanity and crimes specifically * women * actually endure. That Buffy is a depressive is very much a ‘hell dimension’ in itself that is *within * the reality of others. I do think the “dark arts” and psychiatry go very well, hand in hand, BTW for “the watchers.”

                                  I have no idea if anyone else likes the “supernatural” aspect of myths in literally flying a car through the air—like the sun’s chariot—to take its path through the sky to land in an “alter verse” aka the “underworld” for “rebirth” each day, as was this land called “Pylea” with uh…* that * , but such things do offer “dimensional” alternatives to specific characters’ own journeys and struggles. I did not like Willow or Cordelia, as a goddess, unless their story requires such paradox—positive or negative in its “routing” for “telling the tale” (as was season 6 supposed to be and the “union” with Willow for the “Arthurian” version of ‘charging’ the scythe”—snicker—instead of ‘sticking with the water’ “motif” e.g. “the Lady of the Lake.” For example. And, Cordy… I honest to heaven prefer her to stay “just human” and “end up” “just normal” with Xander, as both their own lessons progressed. Everyone else is ‘boogity’—even the Fang Gang ended up like that and * that * is a problem of “boring” to me. Paradox and “special” don’t mean “boogity” alone.

                                  I also think “the law” that infiltrates every aspect of life itself to the point of “nonsense” in trying to “generalize” or to create deep specifics is simply “impossible.” That is ‘Ssyphus’ if I ever saw it. The fact the show treasures “choice” and “love” and “self-sacrifice,” especially, is the “means” to ‘end’ a journey. It doesn’t have to be shown as ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’ but is to be understood, they grew up and are *ever becoming * adults—even if ‘death/change’ is the “standard” to show this ‘paradox.’

                                  And...p.s. "sex" is not evil. That is * not * the problem with "youth doing it" too soon or with even the "consequences" to adults. Face that, writers.


                                  No character needs to be excluded or included “forever” other than the “Protagonists” which include the Scoobies, especially, (and the “fang gang” if ‘joined in L.A.). The biggest question to me is Xander--the * only "just human." (Joss much?) And, Cordy… I honest to heaven prefer her to stay “just human” and “end up” “just normal” with Xander, as both their own lessons progressed. Everyone else is ‘boogity’—even the Fang Gang ended up like that and * that * is a problem of “boring” to me. Paradox and “special” don’t mean “boogity” alone.

                                  I would have “bought” it re the “wonky soul” in * all * of us; who else creates such “hell on earth?” Nature does, without care, for even itself, but so do we in all claims of caring or even “lawful.” I wouldn’t mind the series ending on a spider within one of those dishes of a “legal scale.” (No. Not a “feather.”)


                                  HUGS
                                  sybil
                                  Last edited by sybil; 16-09-21, 04:42 PM.

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                                  • #19
                                    I would say not better or worse — just different.

                                    I think the BTVS season 3 version of Angel was in a holding pattern — keeping Angel around and the actor employed until the spin-off was ready. Having Angel taste Buffy’s blood in Graduation Day put him into a similar place that he was immediately in after the Angelus arc, where he also feasted on human blood which could have left him with a craving too.

                                    Presumably if there was no spinoff on the horizon, the Buffy/Angel relationship could have gone in different directions. Maybe they’d have broken up, maybe he’d get more involved with other characters. It’s hard to say, but given how all the other characters evolved from seasons 4 through 7, presumably Angel would have too.

                                    Of course, as it has been said, Angel leaving allowed him to grow from an interesting supporting character to an even more interesting lead character.

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                                    • #20
                                      Originally posted by PuckRobin View Post

                                      Presumably if there was no spinoff on the horizon, the Buffy/Angel relationship could have gone in different directions. Maybe they’d have broken up, maybe he’d get more involved with other characters. It’s hard to say, but given how all the other characters evolved from seasons 4 through 7, presumably Angel would have too.
                                      Personally I get the feeling that if the spinoff hadn't happen that Angel's "death" at the end of season 2 would have been permanent. I've always gotten the feeling that Joss never really originally planned on Angel coming back from hell.
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