"Angel" vs. "Buffy"
Posted Dec 31, 2003 @ 7:52 PM
If I have to choose between the two I think I favor Angel. Buffy is a heroic young woman, she can go a bit dark as she did in Season Six or she can make bad choices as she did in Season Seven but in the end she is what she is. Angel on the other hand is much more complex. He can be goofy, "beige" or just plain evil. He has to live with a couple of centuries of bad choices and evil deeds. Throw in the possiblity of flashbacks and the emotional fallout of the mindwipe and any episode can offer me a suprise that I in my innocence didn't see coming.
Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 2:08 PM
Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 2:29 PM
FourGOM, ITA. It is so much easier to jump into a random Buffy episode. I love Angel and I am a devoted watcher, but I can't think of one stand alone Angel episode I would watch just for the heck of it, but so many Buffy episodes are excellent all by themselves.
it's a lot easier for me to pop in a Buffy DVD and watch "Doppelgangland", "Surprise/Innocence", or "Prophecy Girl", simply because the reduced arcness of the show makes it simpler for me to jump right in.
Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 5:09 PM
Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 10:43 PM
I never hated Buffy or any of the other Buffyverse characters, not even in seasons 6 and 7, when they weren't at their best. I felt more pity than anything else. Buffy is a young woman who has spent all of her adult life and a chunk of her childhood in a war zone, where the fate of the world rests on her shoulders, and for the most part all she ever did was get kicked in the butt for her troubles. If we took away the supernatural aspects of the show, we would still be left with a character with legitimate reasons to be bitter. Her mom is dead, her dad is off "living a cliche" with his secretary, and she was forced to work at the Doublemeat Palace to care for her little sister, who is, in all honesty, a whiney pain in the rear. Then add in the fact that she's constantly in a battlezone mentality where she is responsible for the lives of all of those around her, and she has nothing to look forward to except more violence and a brutal death. And she knows what it's like to be perfectly happy, so her current state is all the worse. Despite all that, she never abandoned her duties for very long. She was always there to take care of business, so I can't find it in my heart to be too hard on her.
Angel has much more backstory to him, and as a result he spends less time coping with who is than he does coping with who he was. He also spent quite a lot of time being mopey before embracing his destiny as a cham...errr....hero. (I won't say that word!), so I give Buffy points for smacking herself into shape in the short amount of time that she did. But where Buffy is about a human girl living in a demon world, Angel is about a demon living in a human world, and I think they both have done fantastic jobs of it.
OK, I'm done being long-winded. And please forgive my radical tense shifts. Talking about one show that is on the air and one that isn't is making my brain hurt.
Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 11:21 AM
It is so much easier to jump into a random Buffy episode. I love Angel and I am a devoted watcher, but I can't think of one stand alone Angel episode I would watch just for the heck of it, but so many Buffy episodes are excellent all by themselves.
This really helps clarify for me why I just never got into Angel, despite the fact that I really enjoyed his character on Buffy, really like the premise and themes('helping the hopeless', quest for redemption etc.), love the slightly darker, grittier feel, and, er, tend to worship all things Joss! I've only seen a random handful (maybe 8 or 9) episodes from what I'm fairly sure were different seasons, and, while I basically could follow the plot, was just never that riveted. BUT, if it's the kind of show that can really only be fully appreciated by viewing the episodes in chronolgical order, then the mystery of why I just never cared much for Angel may be solved! *makes note to rent Angel DVDs and to watch them in order*
Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 10:38 PM
Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 11:24 PM
Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 1:05 AM
I've been trying to convince him to give Angel a try, but he remains stubbornly impervious to my arguments. He complains that the few episodes of Angel he's seen in reruns on cable were pretty incomprehensible to him, probably because the series (after S1, and discounting parts of this season) is so arc-heavy. I think if he did actually watch Angel from start to present he'd like it, but he definitely didn't seem to have the same level of understanding of the plot and characters from viewing a single episode of Angel that he did from viewing a single episode of Buffy.
I personally like Angel's arc-iness, but I think it's a real challenge for new viewers. On that level, Buffy is a lot easier for new or casual viewers (excluding S7, which was more arc-y but not in a good way, IMO).
Edited by FriscoChick, Jan 4, 2004 @ 1:17 AM.
Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 1:28 PM
Angel might brood a little about it, but it seems that it is more in the sense of "and this is the burden I must carry alone" rather than "I can be incredibly selfish and quite the dictatorial ass". We'll see what happens with the mindwipe, but I'm beginning to think that the writers in general don't see this as a character flaw at all but something that a good father figure does, or what the man of the house has to do in difficult situations with difficult choices. You know, the wise male figure who really does know what is best for everyone else without getting their input or consent. It would be interesting to compare this ideology with the feminist idealogy that somewhat guided BtVS.
I'm nort sure where else something like this would go, but the pasted portion comes from a post in the Angel: A Barrel of Dead Monkeys topic by scrappinphool. I'm not sure that Angel and Buffy (the characters) are really all that different in their approaches. Buffy hasn't had much in the way of mindwipe-of-others action, but they both tend to make whatever decision they are going to make, and others are simply expected to deal. For a BtVS example, see Selfless. Big decision, impacts everyone, Buffy makes it (to kill Anya) and isn't interested in the opinions of others. While she ultimately didn't kill Anya, that wasn't because she was swayed by the opinions or emotional consequences to her friends, but because Anya's repentance changed the dynamic.
The point of this is that on both shows, the "Leader" seems to be given a lot of leeway from the writers in terms of his or her ability to radically alter the lives of others, without either consulting those affected or being portrayed as less than noble.
Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 2:00 PM
From my watching perspective, Buffy gets held a little more accountable for the way her actions affect others. Just the amount of bitching she endures from Xander about all things Angel in the first three seasons alone is one example. IMO she also gets held accountable for making the kind of sweeping decision that Angel is not held accountable for (in his series) in the last few episodes leading up to Chosen. In the end she has been properly chastized for playing the dictator and comes back to the group to run her plan by them and seek their input and agreement (I realize many people might bitterly disagree with that). The message throughout the series is that Buffy cannot be an ultimate leader without input and support from her friends.
I'm beginning to think the use of mindwipes (so far) in AtS for Angel's dictatorial actions allow for the writers to subtextually say that the "family" doesn't need to know the nitty-gritty because father knows best. He hasn't had to own up to how his actions as the leader affect others the way Buffy has- he doesn't have a Xander consistently calling him out all the time, and considering Cordy is on AtS, that ommission really bothers me.
I just wonder if what we actually have here in these two stories is a tale of evolutionary psychology. Ideal females (Buffy the heroine) have to develop strong interpersonal relationships to optimally "survive", while ideal males (Angel the hero) need to be independent and dominant.
Disclaimer: I haven't thought a lot about this- this is kind of flow of consiousness. I'm interested to see how the mindwipe is dealt with this season- it will give me a big clue on whether Angel's actions are seen as heroic and strong or as a character flaw (my personal interpretation being the latter).
Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 3:05 PM
[Sidenote to all, since it seems likely to veer this way: please remember that this topic is for comparing the shows overall, not the title characters.]
Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 3:26 PM
I guess I believe that all of those things would actually happen to Angel again if the MoG knew what kinds of decisions he was making on their behalf. He is insistent on doing things his own way, so much so that he doesn't even clue in the MoG as a courtesy. To me, if this pattern of behavior isn't addressed directly at some point in the series, then the writers aren't necessarily trying to portray it as a bad thing, a lesson to be learned, etc.
Again, let me reiterate that I'm kind of talking out of my ass and I'll just have to wait and see what happens with it. Also, should I drop this, or is the Angel topic more appropriate?
Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 7:01 PM
Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 9:28 PM
I think it's a mistake to ascribe intent to the writers, or to believe they're endorsing a character's behavior simply because they don't condemn it the way you'd like. It's a story, not a polemic. I'd be pretty deeply embarassed for the writers if I believed they approached the stories with morals in mind. And I don't think Angel, or Buffy, is notable for making unilateral decisions anymore than any main character on a TV show. Outside of Hamlet, characters who aren't sure whether they have a right to make decisions and take action don't make very compelling protaganists. Would the stories have been improved if Angel went back to consult with the MoG all the time? What would have been different? I mean, suppose in "Home," Angel takes a break to go chat with the MoG and says, "Hey, I can give Connor a good life and get him out of our hair, but that means you'll all forget he ever existed." Would they have objected?
...I just don't see it. All of the characters on both shows regularly make decisions that affect each other. Because they have to. Because if they didn't, you've got a very dull story. If I'm pressed to find a moral in either show, it's the rather prosaic idea that the characters should trust each other instead of hiding things out of fear and insecurity.
The flip side of that is that they do normally trust each other because the decisions they make are usually the correct ones. When they make bad decisions, there are consequences, but making a decision is not inherently bad. (And the fact that I object to something like the mindwipe on the grounds that it's a bad decision by the writers doesn't make it a bad decision for the character.)
Posted Jan 6, 2004 @ 1:47 PM
Would the stories have been improved if Angel went back to consult with the MoG all the time? What would have been different? I mean, suppose in "Home," Angel takes a break to go chat with the MoG and says, "Hey, I can give Connor a good life and get him out of our hair, but that means you'll all forget he ever existed."
No, I don't think the story would have been improved, although if I were one of the MoG, that is exactly what I would have wanted and expected from Angel- which would be interesting to see explored IMO. I think that the way it was portrayed makes for an interesting dramatic story and it is consistent with Angel the character.
I don't have any major problems with the way the Home mindwipe has been presented so far. I assume that this will be addressed in future episodes, but my observations (argument?, questions?) come from the fact that I also assumed that these types of situations would have been explored before in both shows and they have been left alone as though there is nothing more to say or explore in it. It is unsatisfying to me when these explorations of character interactions after a betrayal of sorts are just dropped, and it left me to wonder if it was intentional and I'm being told something about the story or whether it was dropped for other reasons.
I also don't think that either show is/was providing a moral lesson per se (my example was tongue in cheek in my previous post), but they are/were both very involved in exploring issues of morality or good/evil as a premise. Neither show prostylatizes and AtS in particular is good at showing the shades of gray. It does make me wonder when a collection of stories that addresses these types of issues fairly routinely chooses not to address a recurring theme that I personally find ethically questionable. Specifically, it makes me wonder if the story creator or writer doesn't see it as an interesting or important dilemma to be dealt with- or in other words, that the author doesn't see the behavior or situation as ethically questionable.
I'll stop now. I had devised a questionable methapor with a cheating husband trying to attone for past evil behavior but never stopping the cheating and the author never addressing it as another bad thing to attone for, but I know this is already off topic.
Posted Jan 6, 2004 @ 1:53 PM
So you'd like it if Angel was so insistent on doing things his own way that he makes some mistakes, alienates and endangers the MoG, and finally has to go to them, apologize, regain their confidence, and maybe even let someone else make the decisions for a while?
No way. That's totally Wes's job on Angel. He's already got so little to do as it is. :)
In comparing the two shows, I'm curious if anyone else is finding they aren't getting as much joy out of Angel in syndication as they'd thought they would. I still watch Buffy just about every morning when it's on f/x, but Angel on TNT just isn't as enjoyable to me on a second or third viewing for some reason, which is interesting, because in some ways on first viewing I find the show far more compelling. But they loose steam for me after a bit, whereas there are so many episodes of Buffy I can watch again and again. This is evolving into one of the main differences between the two shows for me: Buffy is having more staying power.
Edited by EONdc, Jan 6, 2004 @ 1:54 PM.
Posted Jan 6, 2004 @ 7:12 PM
Posted Jan 6, 2004 @ 10:14 PM
Posted Jan 7, 2004 @ 9:43 AM
Personally, I think the Buffy team got it right this time in their description.
Posted Jan 7, 2004 @ 11:29 AM
In "I Will Remember You", the stakes aren't nearly the same, but the Buffy/Angel relationship isn't the same anymore. It didn't totally kill B/A (I'd like the episode better if it did), but they aren't alright with each other again until "End of Days", and there's a discussion about that ep that doesn't belong over here on the AtS boards. I think there's a difference between erasing a day and erasing or modifiying someone's memories of a day, but I'm not going to make a strong argument for it.
In "Tabula Rasa", on the other hand, Willow does what she does because she'd rather everyone pretend to be OK than really work through the issues (going back to "Dead Man's Party", "Lover's Walk" and "Revelations", just to name a few) and she's terribly powerful with her magic and terribly sloppy with it. She's a control freak, and she just wants people to shut up and start behaving right, and that, much more than magic addiction, is the connection between sweet Willow of S1 and Dark Willow of S6, and that's the key. When and if the memory wipe fails for the MoG, they could be convinced that, as much as it hurts them, some memory modification was necessary to save Connor, even if they don't necessarily believe theirs had to go. There isn't an excuse for Willow's mindwipe.
Posted Jan 7, 2004 @ 12:10 PM
The thing I don't get is why [Connor] worked out so well and why Dawn worked out so poorly. That's the real vex, but that belongs firmly in the Angel vs. Buffy spot.
I think it's partly because there wasn't such a disconnect between the characters' perceptions and the audience's. With Dawn, suddenly the characters are fretting about her and referring to their long history together while the audience is still learning her name. With Connor, the characters are learning about him at the same time the audience does, and they aren't all brimming over with immediate affection for him. It helps to not feel like you're being forced to care about someone.
Plus, they were using Dawn as the "girl in peril," which is never that endearing since it requires a passive, dumb character (or else she wouldn't need rescuing). And instead of having to play that role for just a few episodes here and there, Dawn-in-peril was the premise of an entire season. They did a whole storyline that was dependent on the audience caring about a character we just met, who doesn't seem to merit the work it takes to keep her out of trouble. Whereas I think one of the smartest things about using Connor as an antagonist (in a lot of different ways) was that you didn't have to sympathize with him as much -- you could simply view him as another problem for the MoG.
I'm sure it's less effective if you're just seeing him as the bad guy, but I don't think there are as many times when the story absolutely depends on you caring about Connor himself. I mean, if you don't care about Dawn you wind up with, "Oh no, she's sad. She might shoplift something." It's not all that interesting if you don't care that she's sad. With Connor, it's more like, "Oh no, he's sad. He might attempt to kill a main character or an innocent bystander." Even if you don't care that he's sad, at least something interesting may happen.
Edited by Strega, Jan 7, 2004 @ 12:35 PM.
Posted Jan 7, 2004 @ 12:22 PM
Still, it's more a surprise about why Connor worked out at all, using Dawn as a counterexample. Connor was definitely a man of action, but it was also what parts he had to play in Angel that had the power for me. His part could have been super-whiny and petulant and pouty, and for a while that's what I thought they were going to do with it, but they played those parts down enough to make him sympathetic enough as a character to like. Most of the time he was on, I appreciated his presence and screentime, and often I downright liked it. I can think of something like 3 moments on Buffy when I felt Dawn added anything at all to the show; when she was dancing in Him, in OMWF in her scene with the demon, and amusingly enough when she was paralyzed.
Mostly, I'm confused how the same producers could screw up Dawn's role so mightily and peg Connor's role so well. Even after Dawn became useful, I hated her - in fact, I hated her more, as she took away parts from characters I did like.
Posted Jan 7, 2004 @ 12:41 PM
Posted Jan 7, 2004 @ 12:47 PM
I like to take the easy way out and state that MT can't compare to VK with the acting. Consider Connor played by an actor who can only telegraph one emotion at a time (ex: Connor pouts, Connor punches, Connor looks at Angel with only one expression with which it is impossible to discern what he is thinking); I suspect I might have been just as exasperated with him as with Dawn. As Strega said, in the end what happens with Connor would have still been more interesting than anything having to do with Dawn, but I wouldn't have felt it. On the flip side, had I actually been convinced that Dawn had conflicting emotions resulting in inner turmoil, I think I may have been able to gloss over the hated insertion of an unnecessary character into the show. MT was more adequate than some of the actors ME has chosen, but not up to the task of elevating the most ridiculous plot device ever out of the gutter. IMO.
I think both are examples of the same impulse by Whedon, which is to take an unworkable plot device and make it work.
I'm totally feeling this; I don't know the backgrounds of how the characters came about, but in both cases it's hard for me to not picture ego as the motivation behind it. Less in Connor's case...I forgive a lot when a show wows me. But in Dawn's case, it makes me angry that the show (possibly) got used as an exercise in mental bravado. Although, if it had worked, I wouldn't feel that way.
eta: Wait...this is the third time asking this, apparently I'm just not getting it: Joss really hasn't been that involved with AtS up until s5, has he?
Edited by CleaPet, Jan 7, 2004 @ 12:56 PM.
Posted Jan 7, 2004 @ 12:54 PM
I was watching AtS with my friend and he said it was just like BtVS. I said no it's not it's completely different and I started going in this big tangent about why. He just looked at me and said...yeah they are the same exact thing, AtS just has prettier people. Hee....he got me there.
Anyways, I think a big difference in between BtVS and AtS is the way the show the friendships in between the Scoobs and the MoG. In another topic people were discussing if Wes and Cordy were friends, and I realized how split the MoG were/are. Gunn and Wes were great friends. Angel and Cordy were best friends. And yes they intercrossed in between but that was the main division (late S2 and on). While in BtVS, Xander, Willow, and Buffy were all best friends while Giles was their father. There were no splits in the Scoobs, they were just this group of friends....I forgot were I was going with it. My main point is this, the audience is shown the friendships in detail on BtVS, while on AtS it is shown but it's not the main focus of the show. The MoG are a group that all came together to fight evil and they made friends but they do not feel obligated to be buddy buddy with each member of their group. While the Scoobs were a group of friends that just choose to help the good fight, and if they stopped being friendly with each other than they (Xander, Willow, Spike, Anya, Andrew, and whomever) wouldn't fight evil...they would just go on with their lives.
(I'm sick and on lots of meds so I hope that made sense)
Edited by Imsuperorginal, Jan 7, 2004 @ 1:04 PM.
Posted Jan 7, 2004 @ 1:04 PM
Posted Jan 7, 2004 @ 1:22 PM
In Buffy, the Tabula Rasa spell cast by Willow was considered to be a mind rape, not a mind wipe. Yet in Angel, the mindwipe over Connor was not even the first time it happened
Yes, but the because of the way that played out, folks new right way what had been done and that Willow had done it. When the group finds out about what Angel did with Connor and the mind-wipe, who's to say they won't feel as though they've been violated too. I imagine there will be consequences. And same with the Buffy mind-wipe. At the moment, only Angel knows about it, but if it ever got revealed, who's to say Buffy wouldn't freak about him making that choice for her? I see where there are parallels between TR and the mindwipe, but the latter is still very much in play, so we can't really compare results just yet without speculating (unless folks are spoiled, which I'm not, so I have no idea how its going to be handled).
His part could have been super-whiny and petulant and pouty, and for a while that's what I thought they were going to do with it
For me Connor was super-whiny, petulant and pouty. I disliked Connor about a 1000 times more so than Dawn that I was really relieved when he died and then when he was mindwiped. I'm hoping he stays mindwiped and that he could be wiped from my mind too.
I don't really think they are the same shows, Imsuperoriginal. Even drawing character parallels isn't easy. Yes, between Connor and Dawn but that's kind of where it ends. Wes is sort of Willow, Giles, and Xander at times. Gunn is sort of a Buffy and a Xander. Fred is sort of a Willow and a Giles. But there isn't a clear "oh, so she's the Willow on this show" moment for me. Furthermore, with the Angel crew, they all kind of knew what they were getting in for from the get go. The scoobs just fell into this life blind to a degree.
Angel could be Buffy if these folks had somehow come together as adults, knowing what they know, instead of as children, but I don't think that one is the adult version of the other, etc. So I have to go with the sibling thing myself.
Posted Jan 7, 2004 @ 2:02 PM
It helps to not feel like you're being forced to care about someone.
I think they got really bad about this in the later seasons of Buffy. In addition to the Dawn example, there's also Riley and the Bradification of Spike. Riley is the more egregious example for me though -- one day he's just some TA in the background. Then all of a sudden, he and the damn Initiative have virtually taken over half the plots in the show. Along with his and Buffy's relationship. Even when Angel was on the show, I never felt like the writers were trying to force me to care about him (possibly excepting "Amends"). But especially in regards to his relationship with Buffy it was always "Oh look how stalwart and true Riley is!" and "Oh, Riley's disillusioned -- care about his problems!" When really -- I don't care about him!
On Angel, I feel like I have more of an option as to whether or not I want to care about the characters. I guess other than Connor, the two most salient examples are Gunn and Fred. I felt like for both of these characters I was allowed to make up my own mind about what I felt about them.