Which Series Was Better? Buffy or Angel

Buffy and Angel
Buffy and Angel

When Joss Whedon's series first premiered on television, I didn't watch it. I actually watched the premiere of a short-lived comedy (Party Girl) on another station. Three years later when I actually caught an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I was instantly hooked and sad that I had missed my opportunity to be a part of the Buffy craze since its inception. From that moment on, I was hooked and did not miss an episode of Whedon's valley-girl-gone-hero come-drama.

Whedon's success with Buffy was in the juxtaposition of the wildly inventive and sinister supernatural world against the simple and sometimes banal human world. The dialogue was witty. The characters were fun and engaging. And the storylines, though fantastical and morbid, were actually very telling of the human condition.

With the exception of the few episodes preceding the amazingly brilliant musical episode of the ninth season, Buffy never took itself too seriously. And although the plots and characters and messages were universal, the common viewer could watch the show and be entertained without delving into the deeper meanings of the complex and double-edged dialogue or the relationships between the supernatural world and the human world around us. On the other hand, uberfans, like myself, could study the dialogue, explore symbolism and hidden meanings, and thoroughly dissect each intricacy of Whedon's multi-layered creation.

Angel and Buffy, always a duo
Angel and Buffy, always a duo

So imagine my excitement when, soon after I was hooked on Whedon's first series, this amazing screenwriter created Angel as a spin-off to his wildly popular Sunnydale Slayer series. But while Buffy seemed to maintain a twisted sense of humor, a blend of worldly insight and mild self-deprecation, Angel didn't have the same light, the same blend of humor and sarcasm, the same twisted honesty that used the supernatural to comment on the state of humanity in general. Where Buffy succeeded was were Angel seemed to falter.

With Angel, Whedon tried to create a more serious world, a darker place that was filled with nervousness and angst. He tried to explore what would happen if heaven and hell collided in one person, or vampire. And although the show was immensely entertaining, it was gloomier, more depressing, and much more taxing on the brain than its wittier predecessor. The dialogue was more serious and more directed at trying to solve the case du jour. At times, the action felt forced, especially between the characters of Cordie and Angel, an unlikely pair in the City of Angels.

However, probably the most revealing comparison between these two shows must be in how Whedon decided to end both series. The final episode of Angel revealed a band of unlikely warriors about to face off against all of hell in order to save Los Angeles, and apparently, all of human kind. No resolution. Does good win out over evil? Does hell triumph over heaven? No answer. No optimism. No pessimism. Nothing. Blackout. To end Buffy, though, Whedon had to put his story and his creation to rest. He had to destroy Sunnydale, leaving behind a huge crater and an exhausted battalion of slayers and slayers' comrades looking back over the destruction in hopes of driving away to spread their success through the rest of the world. True, lives were lost in the battle, but energy and optimism live on. That's what makes Buffy great: the eternal idea that good does win out over evil. That and, like, the cutest outfits ever to grace a vampire killer. Like, totally.

Your Turn...

So what do you think? Which was the better series? Buffy or Angel

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