Thoughts On the 20th Anniversary of Angel

Sequels and spin-offs have an iffy reputation. If they are done well, they are an homage to their predecessor while blazing their own path. If they are done poorly, the sequel or the spin-ff casts a shade on it’s predecessor and it’s legacy.

On October 5th, 1999, Angel premiered. A spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the show follows Angel (David Boreanaz), Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) soulful vampire ex-boyfriend. Angel has moved from Sunnydale to Los Angeles, where he is seeking to redeem his violent and bloody past by being a hero.

While Angel goes on the hero’s journey to make up for his past, he is joined by allies who support his cause and his goal of redemption. Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) and Doyle (the Glenn Quinn) joined Angel in the first season. Later on in the show’s run Wesley Wyndam-Price (Alexis Denisof), Charles Gunn (J. August Richards), Lorne (the late Andy Hallett), Winifred “Fred” Burkle (Amy Acker) and Spike (James Marsters) fought against the forces of darkness.

Compared to BVTS, Angel was darker. It dealt with the same themes as BVTS, but the show dealt with those same issues with a grittier and more mature perspective. Unlike other heroes who see the world as black and white, Angel saw and understood the shades of grey that exist and force us to make decisions that in hindsight are not always wise.

Twenty years later, Angel still resounds with the fans because of the show’s grittiness, it’s honesty and the universal desire for redemption.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Lorne

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

A good joke has the ability to lighten the mood. When a show is particularly dark, comedy is needed to break up the darkness for both the characters and the viewers. On Angel, the comedy came by way of Lorne (the late Andy Hallett). Given the name of  Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan at birth, Lorne comes from a warrior clan who are constantly battling against the forces of evil and have a serious distaste for humans.

Among his kind, Lorne was unique. He enjoyed art and music and preferred to spend his time doing anything but training for battle. After being sucked to Earth via a portal (the same portal that sent Winifred” Fred” Burkle (Amy Acker) to Lorne’s home dimension of Pylea), he opened a karaoke bar. Instead of using his innate mystical gifts to hunt prey or fight, he used them to read the emotions of those who sung on his karaoke stage.

Lorne reluctantly joins Angel Investigations, initially preferring to do his part as a neutral third party. But Angel (David Boreanaz) has a way with words and before he knows it, Lorne is part of the crew. While living and working with Angel’s team (and taking care of Connor (played as an adult by Vincent Kartheiser), Angel’s newborn son), he discovers that the hotel they call home is bugged.

A brief stay in Las Vegas turns into a nightmare when a crime lord threatens to kill innocent people unless Lorne uses his abilities for less than honest means. In the final season of Angel, after the team takes over running Wolfram & Hart, Lorne is put in charge of the entertainment division. But all is not what it seems.

After Fred is murdered and Illyria takes over her body, Lorne’s normal cheerful disposition turns dark. Disgusted with the way that his world and his friends have changed, he walks away for good.

To sum it up: We all need a good laugh. In the world of Angel, where darkness and death were sewn into the narrative, Lorne provided a laugh, a one-liner and a moment to just breathe. As a character, the audience remembers Lorne because of his ability to make the audience laugh. That is why we love him and why we keep going back to this character time and again.

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