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.