Tag Archives: J. August Richards

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.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Winifred “Fred” Burkle

Dearest readers, I apologize for not posting last week. Life, as it sometimes does, got in the way.

*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.

In any team, there is the brawn and there is the brains. While they are equally important, there is something to be said for using your brains instead of just physically beating your enemy with everything that you have. On Angel, Angel (David Boreanaz) was the brawn, the brains of Angel Investigations was Winifred “Fred” Burkle (Amy Acker).

Fred was introduced to the audience in 2001, when she is rescued from Pylea by the Angel Investigations crew. Her rescue was not planned, the plan by the Angel Investigations crew was just to bring home Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter). But they discovered that Fred was enslaved, they freed her and brought her back to Los Angeles.

Using Fred’s background in physics and mathematics, the Angel Investigations team was able to develop strategies to protect Los Angeles from whatever baddies threatened the city. But Fred was more than a brain, she had two relationships that were not quite so happily ever after: Charles Gunn (J. August Richards) and Wesley Wyndam Price (Alexis Denisof).

When the crew takes over Wolfram & Hart, a mysterious sarcophagus appears. The being inside the sarcophagus, Illyria, slowly kills Fred before taking over her body. Fred’s last words before dies are “Wesley, why can’t I stay?”.

To sum it up: Though every action/adventure narrative has to have a character who uses intellect to solve the problem, this character has to be more than just “the brain”. Fred is more than “the brain”. She is woman with a heart, a conscious, an innocent look that belies an intelligence and most of all, a vital part of Angel Investigations.

Which is why, after all of these years, Fred is still a beloved character.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Charles Gunn

*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.

Sometimes, a warrior does not come from a traditional background where they receive formal fight training. A warrior may learn to fight because he has to. On Angel, Charles Gunn (J. August Richards) fought because he had to. Born and raised in inner city Los Angeles, Gunn learned from an early age that it was up to him and those around him to protect the residents of his neighborhood. Especially when the vampires invaded.

Gunn meets Angel (David Boreanaz) when he tries to dust Angel, not knowing that Angel is not a baddie. It takes Gunn a little bit of time, but he soon joins Angel’s crew as a fully fledged member. When Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) is sucked into the alternative world of Pylea, Gunn joins the boys in finding her and bringing her home.

When they return home, Gunn must face his past when his former gang is slaughtering demons for no reason. Knowing that he cannot go back, he finds the family he did not have before. He also finds love with Winifred “Fred” Burkle (Amy Acker). But that love is tested when Gunn kills the man that sent Fred to Pylea, where the Angel Investigations crew first met Fred.

The guilt of the murder leads Gunn to Wolfram and Heart, where he become a lawyer by the power of magic and takes over the L.A. office. Though Gunn has good intentions, you know what they say about those who have good intentions. In the end, Gunn dies fighting for what he believes in.

To sum it up: A warrior is someone who does what they need to do to protect their home and their loved ones. Though Gunn does not have the traditional background of a warrior, he is still a warrior in every sense of the word. He may not always make the wisest choices, but his heroism comes through in the end.

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