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  • Actor Shipping: Some Angel/Cordelia fans also ship David Boreanaz and Charisma Carpenter together, because of their great chemistry. It helps that both of them have admitted to wanting to see their characters hook up.
  • Adorkable:
    • While in Buffy Angel was more of a dark aloof badass, here he's adorkable with much humour coming from not knowing how to deal with his friends and being socially awkward.
    • Fred. She's sweet, cute, awkwardly rambles a lot, and is a massive science geek. She is practically the embodiment of this trope.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
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    • Is Jasmine good or evil? Just look at the section for her on the Headscratchers page.
    • Wesley: Romantic, intelligent guy who's made some questionable decisions, or Too Dumb to Live obsessive stalker?
    • Connor: Ax-Crazy with a serious case of Oedipus Complex, or unable to overcome his distrust from being trained to hate Angel from infancy and clinging to the only person in his life who's nice to him?
    • Holtz: Obsessed manipulative villain willing to drag everyone down with him or a noble man driven to violence by Angelus? Despite being a villain, Holtz is often portrayed as having perfectly valid points that not even Angel can argue with. What happened to him was heinous and unforgivable. Angel knows that better than anyone. His concern often seems to be with innocents and he never deceives his followers about his intentions. He doesn't use Violence unless he has to, and he is well aware of the shades of grey involved in what he is doing.
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    • Season 5, especially Cock Fight episodes like "Destiny", "The Girl in Question" and how often Spike makes excuses to stay, makes a case for both Angel and Spike loving the idea of Buffy and not the real her.
    • In "Damage", was Andrew being honest with his claim that Buffy and the rest of the Sunnydale gang didn't trust Angel anymore and had ordered him not to cooperate with him, or was that just Andrew going half-cocked based on his own pre-conceived notions (something he does a decent amount in the parent show) and bluffing that he had Buffy's support?
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Jasmine required years of potential manipulation and was said to be the Greater-Scope Villain, responsible for many crucial moments in the characters' lives. After Angel removes her influence over people, she's abruptly killed by Connor just punching her in the face.
  • Anvilicious:
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    • "Nothing in this world is the way it oughta be" from "Deep Down".
    • Billy Blim from "Billy". A man so monstrous, so vile, that he deserves his own special prison dimension. What's his crime? Misogyny.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • After Cordelia's much-maligned arc in Season 4 which ended with her put into a coma, the show's 100th episode "You're Welcome" was seen as a massive one for her character as it restored her to the person the fans loved and reaffirmed why she was important to the show and to Angel himself. This despite the fact that she died in the episode, because it was done so beautifully overall.
    • The later seasons of Buffy did some Draco in Leather Pants-ing of Spike, as even after his Attempted Rape of Buffy, any criticism of him tends to get met with "he has a soul now". In Season 5, Spike and Angel have multiple conversations on how the evil they did is the only thing that will count and he got his soul for a woman, not because of any goodness.
  • Award Snub:
    • These days, many call foul that Sarah Michelle Gellar's guest performance in "I Will Remember You" was never nominated at the Emmys. Some even call it her best work in the entire Buffyverse.
    • The performances of Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker tend to get this reaction from fans, particularly for Season 5 as their work in "A Hole in the World" heavily contributes to one of the show's most wrenching hours and the fallout in subsequent episodes allowed Acker to further demonstrate her range by playing the newly formed Illyria and let Denisof show how far Wesley could continue spiraling in his grief, culminating in his own tragic death in the series finale.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Darling Violetta's theme tune was amazing (especially the extended version), and the music used in that series was pretty neat too. The Kim Richey song "A Place Called Home" used over the montage of Fred being remembered at the end of "Shells" is also beautiful and heartbreaking.
    • Lindsey singing "L.A. Song" in "Belonging" - recorded in real life by Christian Kane, the actor who played Lindsey.
    • Lorne singing.
    • Deliberately subverted any time Angel sings. His voice brings people to tears...or at least fails to lull screaming babies.
    • How about Angel and Connor singing Barry Manilow's "Mandy"...only with "Mandy" being replaced with "Jasmine." Easily counts as a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment and a Funny Moment.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Illyria. On the one hand she had a lot of Replacement Scrappy heat to shake off and it didn't help that she was introduced towards the end of the series. On the other she is very cool and very well played by Amy Acker. It also helps if you know that if the show hadn't been cancelled, Season 6 would have Fred turn out to be Not Quite Dead and fighting Illyria for control of her body, meaning Illyria didn't comdemn her to death without an afterlife.
    • Wesley post-Season 3. Loads of fans loved the direction he went in, becoming Darker and Edgier and slipping into Crazy Is Cool territory. Others disliked it, finding he was far too different and flirted with being the Creator's Petnote  Not helping matters was this character development leading into the very dark Season 4. It does get toned down slightly in Season 5 thanks to the memory wipe but resurfaces full force towards the end of the season.
    • Gavin Park is an annoying Smug Snake to a great deal of fans, but for some his Mundane Made Awesome tactics are an interesting change of pace.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice:
    • The Pylea arc towards the end of the second season is remembered for two things: a) introducing Fred to the cast, and b) Cordelia wearing a very skimpy princess costume.
    • "Rm w/a View" gets a lot of attention on This Very Wiki for a scene where Angel comes out of the shower.
    • Gwen Raiden only appeared in three episodes but she's remembered precisely because she's a Dark Action Girl who wears very little.
  • Better on DVD:
    • Season 4 qualifies, mostly due to the love triangle between Angel, Cordelia, and Connor. Much of this season isn't even essential to the plot, as Season 5 magically Reset Buttons all of the past year's events.
    • "Darla" is even better when one can watch it after the Buffy episode "Fool For Love", of which it is the second part. They originally aired side by side, so first time viewers would see it as a two part episode.
  • Bizarro Episode: Some viewers consider "The Girl in Question" to be this - in the middle of a tense, tragic story arc leading up to the heavily depressing series finale, we get an episode revolving around Spike and Angel gallivanting off to Italy to have wacky, Ho Yay-tastic adventures while trying to rescue Buffy from the mistake of dating an unseen, vampiric sexual predator with whom they apparently have a never-before-mentioned complex history; this unapologetically farcical storyline is played against a bitter, tragic Los Angeles subplot in which Illyria assumes Fred's form in order to deceive her parents into believing that their daughter is alive and well, a state of affairs which nearly breaks Wesley and is difficult to watch even for the viewers (plus it completely ignores how Wesley's final words to Fred were a promise to inform her parents about her death). The episode feels fragmented and out of place at best, and at worst features an incredibly tactless and offensive juxtaposition of storylines.
  • Broken Base:
    • Jasmine and whether she was evil or not. This topic could start World War III on message boards back in the day. And that's all that should be said on the matter.
    • Season 5 for suddenly switching from arc-based storylines to standalone episodes. Some welcomed the change, after the gloominess of Season 4, and found the new setting of Wolfram & Hart was interesting enough to warrant standalone episodes just getting to know the place. Others weren't happy with the abrupt shift from Angel Investigations.
    • The Pylea Arc. Some fans found it to be a fun and creative way to end off the season, with some great character development. Others found it to be silly, tacked on, and unrelated to the rest of the season. However, most fans can agree a good aspect of this arc was that it did introduce Fred.
  • Character Rerailment: Cordelia and Connor's reapparences in the final season undid a lot of the damage the previous season did to both their characters. The former got a touching farewell and the latter was actually likeable and well-adjusted and finally made peace with his father.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Continuity Lock-Out: From the end of the first season on, the series became increasingly arc-driven, to the point that Season 4 required that you be familiar with many of the developments of the past two years to grasp the complexity of Jasmine's advance planning. Network execs reacted to this by insisting that Season 5 be much more typical, revamping the entire location of the show and substantially modifying the mission of the main characters.
  • Designated Evil:
    • Gunn killing the professor that sent Fred to Pylea in "Supersymmetry". Not only was this portrayed as an evil act, but as him taking the evil onto his soul so that Fred wouldn't do it.
    • Angel and crew's aquisition of Wolfram and Hart in the last seaso. Despite characters good and evil telling them that they would be corrupted and that it was proof that they had failed as heroes, most of what was shown was just the opposite. Angel fired or killed the firm's evil employees and maintained a very strict policy on not killing humans, he cut loose the firm's more sinister clients and benefactors, and one episode even showed Gunn using the company's resources and legal power to fight corruption and help people. This was made worse by Angel himself flip-flopping on the issue. One episode would end with him thinking that they had made the right choice, the next would show him thinking that doing good was nearly useless, and that he had given up all his principles.
    • Angel letting Drusilla and Darla snack on the Wolfram & Hart lawyers in "Reunion". It was a good indication that Angel was going down a darker path as it's generally something he wouldn't even think of doing, and he can be blamed for not sticking around to stop the two afterwards, but we're apparently supposed to fault him on principle for not saving a bunch of people who willingly and knowingly work for the personifications of evil who are responsible for much of mankind's suffering. Furthermore, Lorne directly states that it was going to happen no matter what Angel did, and the Powers just didn't want him around for it.
    • Just prior to their joining W&H, there's the team fighting and ultimately killing Jasmine, which gets Lilah to come back from the dead to compliment them on destroying a perfect chance for world peace. Which rather ignores the fact that this peace would have come at the cost of all personal freedom, and Jasmine's immediate reaction to them ruining her plan was to try to destroy the world. Well, that's one way to get peace...
      • Not to mention that Jasmine had to feed on humans in order to survive and keep her power. Of course, Wolfram and Hart probably doesn't have as much of a problem with that part.
      • Wesley actually calls her on all of this, which she dismisses.
  • Die for Our Ship: Kate got a lot of hate, just for being a possible romantic interest for Angel. It never became actual. Also, there was hate on all sides of the Fred/Gunn vs Fred/Wes pairings, hate for Cordelia from the Angel/Buffy shippers, and hate for Buffy from the Angel/Cordelia shippers.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: A lot of fans side exclusively with Wesley regarding his actions in Season 3. Particularly his line "I had my throat cut and all my friends abandoned me" - and villify the other characters for turning on him. This is ignoring the fact that a) Wesley knew about a massive danger towards Angel's son and kept it from all of them. Keeping it from Angel initially is understandable, but he didn't talk through it with the others presumably because he was jealous of Gunn and Fred - and b) chose to conspire with Holtz out of all his other possible options. Regardless of his intentions, it led to a baby being kidnapped through a portal into a Hell Dimension - and said child being raised to assassinate his own father. There's also the fact of Lorne realising what Wesley is up to and Wesley deciding to knock him out rather than explain himself. While it certainly doesn't excuse Angel trying to smother him with a pillow in a fit of rage, the others had more of a case to act like the injured party than Wesley. And while he does patch things up with them eventually, he never actually accepts responsibility for his actions.
  • Ending Aversion: The series abruptly ends with Angel and his friends and Spike, charging towards an army of demons and monsters they failed to prevent their incursion into Earth.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Doyle only appeared in nine episodes, but is very fondly remembered. There are a lot of tie-in novels covering those additional few months where the agency was just him, Angel and Cordelia. Joss even intended to bring him back in Season 3 but Glenn Quinn's sudden death put a stop to those plans.
    • Darla with regards to the parent show. She appeared only in three Season 1 episodes and made a cameo in Season 2. But upon being featured more and more on Angel, she became a fan-favorite. Her arc with Drusilla in Season 2 is held up as one of the strongest on the show.
    • Skip. He was so popular in his debut appearance in Season 3 that he was brought back for 3 more episodes. Joss Whedon has mentioned that he finds Skip to be among the coolest demons in the series, at least in design.
    • Faith's Character Development in this series is well-appreciated and adds to her status as this from the original series.
    • Lindsey and Lilah tend to get praises for their complexity and often appear on lists of the series' best characters. Separately, Lindsey is liked for being a good rival and Foil to Angel, while Lilah is beloved for being a Manipulative Bitch Deadpan Snarker.
    • Noble Demon Boone from "Blood Money" has his fans for being a decent fighter with a Friendly Rival relationship with Angel who helps scam Wolfram and Hart in a hilarious and convoluted way.
    • The demons from "The Ring" have their fans, particularly Trepkos, for being a stone-cold badass with some Hidden Depths and a cool appearance who faces Angel in one of the show's more impressive and evenly matched fight scenes.
    • Tina, the Broken Bird Decoy Protagonist from "City of..." is pretty well-regarded. Some wish she'd gotten to live past her first episode.
    • Gwen Raiden, the Stripperific hired gun with electrical powers has plenty people who wish she'd been in more than three episodes.
    • Matthias Pavayne is considered one of the most terrifying villains despite only appearing in one episode. Which is really saying something given the various Big Bads and Dragons he has for competition.
    • Wolfram and Hart's chipper records and files keeper also named Gwen, is considered a memorably quirky part of "Dad". Being played by the star of the Progressive commercials helps.
    • Ilona, head of Wolfram and Hart’s Roman office was only in "The Girl in Question", but has her fans for some funny interactions with Angel and Spike and being one of the more outgoing and less treacherous members of the firm.
    • Dana the Slayer only appears in one episode, "Damage", but she is much more memorable to the fanbase than most Monster of the Week characters for being an interesting kind of fallout from the events of Buffy Season 7. With all potential Slayers activated, what would happen if even one of these extremely powerful girls went mad? Dana answers that question in her episode, and even forces Spike to more seriously confront his horrible actions in the past.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: Season 4 revealing that every event that had happened in the series was all pre-destined by Jasmine so she could be born on Earth was met with ridicule from critics - who especially hated the sheer scope of such a thing and the lack of free will on the characters' part.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Angel/Cordy is popular their chemistry and touching friendship, which lead to them becoming canon. However, Cordy died and the comics leaned towards Angel/Illyria, but the fandom still prefers him with Cordy.
  • Fan-Preferred Cut Content: Early season four plans had the comatose Cordelia wake up to kill off Jasmine, instead of having a bridge dropped on her later on. To say that the entirety of the fanbase would have preferred that storyline to what they ended up getting is an understatement. Later accusations that Joss Whedon made the change to punish Charisma Carpenter for getting pregnant during filming have only added to that sentiment.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Connor!Be-Gone-Fic: Angel Deal with the Devil-ed his son into a happy family and removed all memories of his son from his crew. How did this affect their recollection of seasons three and four? How did Wesley get that scar? Also obvious fodder for Connor/Dawn angst-fics.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • The amount of people who prefer to pretend the much-loathed Season 4 never happened is truly staggering.
    • "Tomorrow", the Season 3 finale, sometimes suffers from this, too, as everything that happens in it basically sets up for Season 4. It doesn't help that it pulls a Yank the Dog's Chain by coming this close to hooking Angel and Cordelia up, before trapping the former in a box underwater and whisking the latter away to be possessed by Jasmine. Others have the cut-off earlier in the season, either before Connor gets kidnapped or have a Fix Fic of the gang rescuing him.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Angel and Lindsey have this, but Lindsey is absent for most of the series. When Angel recruits Lindsey to help take on evil in "Not Fade Away", he says:
    Angel: I want you, Lindsey. [Beat] Thinkin' about rephrasing that.
    Lindsey: Yeah, I think I'd be more comfortable if you did.
    • Also referenced in "Darla":
    Darla: It's not me you want to screw.
    Lindsey: What?
    Darla: It's him.
    • This is finally resolved when Lorne unexpectedly shoots Lindsey. As Lindsey dies, he sputters in disbelief that Angel sent a flunky to kill him, instead of doing it himself.
    • Angel also has Foe Yay with Lindsey's rival, Lilah. He never has any comprehension of "personal space" when it comes to her, plus that time an old man possessing his body made out with her. Yay?
      • Lilah herself was canonically in a relationship with Wesley, and the trope is lampshaded after they first have sex.
      Lilah: "What? No sweet kiss? No 'When can I see you again?' (Wes gives her a look) Watch the dirty looks. That's what got me going in the first place. (Lilah begins to pull on her clothes) I'll give you this — you sure know how to channel your rage, frustration, and hate. Always a bigger turn on than love."
    • Faith has some with Wesley, starting in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but far more so in Angel. He failed at being her Watcher, she tortured him extensively, and then he helps her escape the prison in Season 4.
    • When Spike joined the series as a regular character during the final season, the long-time immortal rivals Angel and Spike are forced to work together...guess what happens. Spike even hints in a throw-away line that he and Angel may have slept with each other once while soulless. Joss himself has joked (sort of) that they're his One True Bromance.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • "Eternity" features an offhand comment from Cordelia about how an actress was part of a great show cancelled in its prime. Little did Joss fans know that they would be experiencing the same fate. Not to mention that Charisma Carpenter herself would be part of Legend of the Seeker which was also cancelled in its prime.
    • In "Untouched", Cordelia tells Angel, "You can't fire me. I'm vision-girl." Charisma Carpenter ended up getting fired from the show after she got pregnant.
  • Genius Bonus: Holtz comes off as evil to modern audiences, but his beliefs were only mildly conservative in his day — not the least is that he is indeed glad that Angel has a soul now. While modern audiences may view Angelus' soullessness as a valid Freudian Excuse, in Holtz's day, suffering the proper justice for sins committed was a major part of redemption. To Holtz, torturing a soulless Angel would have been empty sadism, though he'd have done it out of revenge anyway; by Paying Evil unto Evil on a penitent man, however, Holtz is also forcing Angel to atone.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • The show certainly experienced a shift following the initial season. The first season finale was the first to demonstrate a sense of the long Myth Arc storyline as opposed to the story arcs that usually lasted one or two episodes. Buffy was known for but was not restrained by the Half-Arc Season long Big Bad story.
    • When it started out, the show was really just Buffy, but in the grown up world. It stayed this course for a while until towards the end of season one, when Angel must perform a demon exorcism. This episode seemed to tell everyone that this show was gonna be dark, stay dark, and still be entertaining.
    • While some may cite the exorcism episode, more often the turning points for the series are noted to be the two-part Faith arc ("Five By Five"/Sanctuary") and the re-introduction of Darla at the end of Season 1 and throughout Season 2.
    • When Wesley stopped being so clean shaven, the show noticeably changed pace as it became heavily arc driven, a trait the show would have until the series finale.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In "The Prodigal," Trevor Lockley asks Angel if he's a father, and Angel replies in the negative. At the time it was a little sad. After Season 3...
    • Gunn's rant to Angel in "The Price" about "messing with scary ass mojo no sane person should be messing with" and doing what he wanted to get what he wanted, to hell with the consequences. Fast forward two seasons and that’s exactly what Gunn himself did. He begged Wolfram and Hart to make his brain upgrade permanent and his authorizing the import Illyria’s sarcophagus in return led to Fred’s death. Very ironic as well.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • This was Andy Hallett's first major acting role, though he had previously guested on Buffy.
    • Not that Amy Acker's acting chops were ever in doubt before but they were raised to absolute new heights with the introduction of Illyria. Several episodes showed just how good she was that she was able to switch back and forth multiple times in the same scene.
    • Julie Benz got to really show off her chops in Season 2, having only four appearances in Buffy beforehand (one of which was in flashback). Arguably paving the way for her successful run in Dexter and Defiance.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The interviews Joss Whedon gave before the premiere stating that the show would be more of a "case of the week" show focusing more on guest stars and that it was less of a Soap Opera like Buffy. It turned out Whedon and his writers were not suited to writing those type of stories and the show eventually evolved and became a bigger soap opera than Buffy!
    • In "The Ring", a villain mockingly refers to Angel as Captain America. Joss Whedon would later on direct The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
    • Years before anyone had ever heard of Twilight, "Heartthrob" featured a vampire from Angel's past named James who has an operation to make him temporarily invincible (but which kills him after a few hours) in order to avenge the death of his girlfriend who Angel had killed. The whole episode deconstructs the idea that true love means that you should commit suicide if you lose the other person. So Angel had an episode deconstructing one of the most irritating and controversial aspect of the Twilight novels, using a villain with the same name as one of the Twilight villains, years before the other series was even written.
    • Fred shouts out "Whiskey!" at one point. A few years later in Dollhouse she plays an active named Whiskey.
    • Connor is raised as Holtz's son, and given the name Steven. That's right, his assumed name is Steve Holtz!
    • In "Home", it appears that Wolfram & Hart are researching portals. And lasers.
    • After you've seen Person of Interest, come back and watch Fred tase Connor in "Deep Down".
  • Hollywood Homely:
    • In "Belonging", an obnoxious commercial director bullied Cordelia for being unattractive. It's lampshaded as unreasonable in-universe by her appalled friends and Angel tries to stand up for her.
    • Doyle refers to himself as "homely" when he's played by the cute Glenn Quinn who just has odd fashion choices and the slightest hint of a beer belly.
    • "Lonely Hearts" had a monster that switched hosts through sex. It transferred from a male host who looked like an underwear model to a girl described as "Sarah plain and tall" that Cordy declared must be loaded to have such an attractive paramour. She's a gorgeous blonde girl who is no less attractive than anyone else on the show. Then again, this is before Cordy (fresh out of Buffy at the time, and still known for being rude and shallow) got some much-needed Character Development. The demon then shows that it really knows how to make its hosts look good.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Connor. This is the kid that grew up in a hell dimension, his father figure lied to him about the nature of his real father, he was driven mad with revenge, and was seduced into the service of an Eldritch Abomination. Sometimes, you just want to give the little guy a hug, but he was also known for being unbelievably Ax-Crazy...
    • Darla too, despite being a murderous vampire for most of her life. When the guilt of everything she's done catches up with her, it's very hard to watch. And similarly when her baby is essentially lending her its soul, she realises that once she gives birth, she won't have the soul anymore and won't be able to love it.
    • Wesley in Season 3 becomes a massive Jerkass but some of it is admittedly a little understandable. While he brings a lot of bad fortune on himself, you still feel sorry for him.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Illyria herding every member of Angel Inc. into a room and effortlessly killing them all. ("Time Bomb")
  • Love to Hate: Lilah Morgan, the delightfully evil Wolfram & Hart lawyer. She's a scheming ruthless bitch without a conscience and yet she's just so much fun.
  • Magnificent Bastard: See here.
  • Moe: Fred, especially with her ability to put more words in three seconds than any other person in the whole planet.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Holtz may not a truly evil person, but killing yourself, pinning it on the good guy (granted in a past life he had been evil), and effectively ruining your "son"'s life? Not cool, dude. Others posit he crossed much earlier, when he kidnapped Connor and escaped into another dimension.
    • Ryan from "I've Got You Under My Skin" was willing to kill his sister just because he didn't have as many marshmallows as her. Still not bad enough? Then there's the fact the Ethros demon possessing him wanted to escape because he was more monstrous than the demon.
  • Narm: In "Shiny Happy People", when Jasmine launches into a big dramatic speech about spreading her influence, it starts a montage of the team fighting various opponents in her honour. This is intercut with clips of Fred scrubbing Jasmine's blouse in the sink. While It Makes Sense in Context and comes into play later, the two actions being used in the same montage is just ridiculous.
  • Narm Charm:
    • In "Release", there's a scene where Cordelia, posessed by Jasmine, is sending telepathic messages to Angelus, using an incredibly cheesy "evil overlord" voice. Somehow, the way the scene plays out makes the voice only add to the creepiness.
    • Then there's the memorable scene from Season 3's "Loyalty" where Wesley seeks out information from the Loa, an ancient, godlike spirit of knowledge with glowing red eyes and a booming voice. The Loa berates Wesley, confirms his worst fears, and delivers an incredibly ominous warning of doom to come. Oh, and the form that the Loa takes happens to be a giant, talking, hamburger-shaped drive-in speaker. Somehow, the conversation with the giant, shouting hamburger is hilarious while still being the dramatic peak of the arc.
    • The 5th season episode "Smile Time". Just.... just go watch it. You'll understand. SO much Narm that still somehow feels dramatic and emotional.
  • No Yay: In season four, Cordelia has sex with Connor, as Angel watches (although she didn't know). What makes it even worse is that Cordelia knew Connor as a baby, said baby having grown up in a parallel dimension with Year Inside, Hour Outside; and that Cordelia was possessed by Jasmine at the time, so she wasn't even in control of her own actions. Thus, the whole thing was essentially rape via deception for both of them.
  • Padding: Season 4 was definitely a kick-ass action vehicle when it decided to be one. But it was also a ham-fisted melodrama which spelled out all of its moral dilemmas in excruciatingly, repetitive dialogue, and then spelled it out again in the next episode and the next and the next...
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Wesley joined the cast right after Doyle died. Doyle's popularity with fans, combined with the fact that fans weren't exactly eager for Wesley to come back, led to some serious anti-Wesley backlash. There was even a border-line lamp-shading moment where Wesley is called by Doyle's name accidentally and everyone suddenly feels very awkward. By the end of the season, however, he was generally accepted by fans and characters alike.
    • Spike's abrupt inclusion into the main cast, clearly a replacement for the similarly blunt Cordelia, was met with strong reactions with many of the longtime fans. After the overwhelmingly negative reception for the storyline that put Cordelia in the coma (that led to her exclusion from the main billing), many saw this as the last nail in the coffin for the series, fearing that Spike had only been brought in so that his fans would come over from Buffy and that all the plots would end up being about him. This, however, wasn't a general consensus among fans, as some enjoyed Spike's role in the series, and the worst fears of him taking over the show weren't realized.
    • Gavin Park was seen as an inferior replacement for Lindsay McDonald due to how smug and incompetent he was and just not being as effective a foil for Lilah as his predecessor.
    • In Season 5, the simpering Eve replaced the vastly superior Lilah, to much dismay from the fans. Her role is also completely superfluous, as she's supposed to be the intermediary between the protagonists and the Senior Partners.....a role already taken by the Conduit. She was quickly replaced by Marcus Hamilton, who made no attempt to act as an ersatz-Lilah. Cordelia lampshades this trope in "You're Welcome", referring to Eve as "Lilah Jr."
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Connor when he comes back in Season 5. Turns out having a normal upbringing made the kid a lot more bearable, and his father-son team up in the finale was very well-recieved.
    • Taking the sister series into account, not only does Cordelia count but so does Wesley. The basis of his character is he thinks he is Sean Connery, but is actually George Lazenby. Well the series turned him into Daniel Craig, going from a wannabe rogue demon hunter that the series poked fun at over, to a devoted, driven man so balls to the wall crazy he threatens allies with death, kept the woman who tried to kill him in a cage for months and is almost Jack Bauer-esque in fighting the forces of evil.
    • A lot of people who couldn't stand Spike by the end of Buffy Season 7 (for being a Designated Hero, Spotlight-Stealing Squad, "Lies My Parents Told Me"; the reasons go on) tend to like him better in Angel Season 5, as Angel echos fan complaints of Spike not exactly changing much post-soul, Lindsey in "Soul Purpose" points out he's finally saving people not just for the sake of Buffy, and "Damage" has him finally showing remorse for killing the slayers. His great comedic chemistry with Angel also helped.
    • Angel himself to an extent. Those who found him dull during his tenure on Buffy or were unimpressed by how he often needed to be rescued comes to like him more on this show where he gets stronger, receives more comedic moments, and is allowed to flourish as a character in his own right instead of just being a vehicle for Buffy's development.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • The first villain in the series is a vampire that Angel kills outside a bar and is played by Josh Holloway, far more famous for his later role as Sawyer from Lost. Several other villains from the show (both lawyers for Wolfram and Hart) appeared on Lost as well: Daniel Dae Kim and Sam Anderson.
    • Julie Benz would later become far more famous for her regular role in Dexter.
    • Summer Glau as the cursed ballerina in "Waiting in the Wings". Joss hired her simply for her ballet skills, but was then impressed enough by her acting to cast her in her Star-Making Role in Firefly.
    • Jennifer Garner can be (barely) spotted amongst the ladies pregnant with demonspawn in "Expecting". You wouldn't know it's her if not for IMDB.
    • Software king David Nabit is played by Michael Bolton. (hee)
    • Blink and you'll miss it is Renee Walker appearing among the first group of people mesmerized by Jasmine.
    • Lieutenant Crashdown has longer hair this time but goes crazy again, and tries to kill Jasmine. You may also recognize his voice as Darth Maul.
    • Hey Hodgins, since when did you work for Wolfram & Hart, and why do you like human sacrifices so much?
    • Eliot from Leverage is Lindsey, Attorney at law.
    • You may recognize Kate Lockley from Law & Order or Heroes.
    • Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Sam in "Provider".
    • Spencer Shay was evidently some sort of physics nerd at one point.
    • Most people recognize Connor as a younger and even more irritating Pete Campbell. Younger viewers know him as the kid from Masterminds.
    • Jeremy Renner has some serious vampire dad issues with Angel in "Somnambulist".
    • Alistair Duncan, who played Collins (one of the mercenaries working with The Watchers Council) would go on to voice a turian council member in Mass Effect, as well as Alfred in The Batman.
    • Hey look at how happy young Daryl is with his family...what the hell is he doing with that knife?!!
    • The vampire decoy thrown to infiltrate Wolfram & Hart in "Blind Date" is Joel Heyman of Rooster Teeth!
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Was there any real love behind Cordy and Connor's relationship, or was it just "I want to bone you" on Connor's side and " I need you to impregnate me so that I can bring about the end of the world as we know it" on Cordy's side? Maybe it's Because You Were Nice to Me on Connor's side. Either way, it's long and unfulfilling.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Connor, during the fourth season. Apart from actually behaving remarkably like Scrappy-Doo in battle, Connor was generally despised by fans for making Angel unhappy (moreso), blaming Angel for being pure evil yet doing several terrible things himself (and still blaming Angel for that rather than take any responsibility himself) and for kind of being the show's Chachi. Connor was not universally hated, though, his popularity has increased significantly since the much-welcomed attitude adjustment in his few Season 5 appearances (where his backstory was changed). The publication of the Joss-blessed "Angel: After the Fall" comic, in which he straightens up a lot just builds off it.
    • Eve, who was a poor replacement for Lilah. To the producers' credit, they realized this and promptly had several Take That, Scrappy! moments inserted.
  • Seasonal Rot: Many fans found Season 4 to be extremely hard-going, thanks to a Bait-and-Switch Villain, a hefty portion of Squick, and the continually annoying Wangst of Connor. Summed up nicely by Gunn's description of the season thus far as "a supernatural soap-opera." Nearly everyone agrees that Season 4 was a nadir, but opinion is divided on whether the show improved when Season 5 came around.
    • However, a sizeable minority of the fandom loved Season 4 above all others for being one long serial with constant plot momentum, providing new revelations and/or resolution for plot arcs dating back to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a subset of these were disappointed by the network-mandated episodic nature of much of Season 5.
  • Ship Mates:
    • One that crosses shows—fans of Angel/Cordy almost always ship Buffy/Spike as well.
    • Fans of Gunn/Fred and fans of Wesley/Lilah tend to go hand-in-hand and unite against Wesley/Fred shippers.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Plenty of the character deaths, specifically Doyle, Darla, Cordelia, Fred, and Wesley, get this reaction.
    • Many of Faith's scenes are also rather memorable, particularly her fight with Angel in "Five By Five " and escape from jail in Season 4.
    • Puppet Angel fighting with Spike in "Smile Time" is another one that most people remember.
    • The final scene of the show, where Team Angel charges into almost certain death.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • The show's biggest failure is the attempt at redesigning vampire makeup in "City of...". They quickly went back to the Buffy-style stuff.
    • There's one scene in "Spin the Bottle" where David Boreanaz and Vincent Kartheiser's stunt doubles are clearly visible, and another in one of the Pylea eps where the bulge of Amy Acker's microphone pack under her costume is seen.
    • In the script for "Not Fade Away", the last scene was similar to the end of Mortal Kombat: The Movie, where the sky cracks open and legions of warriors and demons appear; this demonstrates, as we find out in the comic book, that LA has been pulled into Hell. As shot it's an alley set, with rain, a bunch of stuntmen in rubber suits lurching around in the shadows, and a CGI baby dragon.
  • Squick: A lot of people's opinion of the above-mentioned Cordelia-Connor Romantic Plot Tumor, especially considering that Cordelia is virtually Connor's mother and (from her perspective) she was changing his diapers just a few months earlier. It only gets worse when you consider Cordelia was possessed by Jasmine. It wouldn't be as bad if you factored the characters' actual ages into things as Cordelia was meant to be 22 or 23 at this point, but Charisma Carpenter was well into her thirties and thus it looked very much like a grown adult taking advantage of a teenager.
  • Stoic Woobie:
    • Angel. Whether losing his son, losing his friends, brooding over his curse/vampire status, dealing with the fallout of his mistakes, disillusioned with being a champion, or pining over Buffy, he has particularly every kind of pain there is through the seasons ... but he doesn't show it. And rarely complains.
    • Wesley. This was particularly prominent after being isolated exiled out of Angel's group, and then his silent descend into nihilism after losing Fred. Though he has a few iffy moments such as killing Knox and shooting a Wolfram & Hart employee.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Justine's final appearance in "Deep Down" sees her going through a Humiliation Conga when it's revealed that Wesley has been holding her captive for some time and forces her to recover Angel from where she helped bury him at sea.
    • Any time Connor got his ass handed to him was always welcome, be it from Angel or especially Faith.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes:
    • Virtually every scene with Angel and baby!Connor, starting from before Connor was even born. "Dad" in particular is forty straight minutes of highly unusual sweetness.
    • "Provider" is another offender, but many like to pretend that that episode doesn’t exist. If you thought the hockey speech was bad, imagine if Connor had been a girl. Angel was mushy enough with a son; a daughter would have led to some of the most Egregious Daddy's Girl ever broadcast.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Doyle. Arguably he needed to die in order to give Cordelia her powers as a seeress, but watching the dynamic between Angel, Doyle and Cordelia in those first few episodes...damn it makes you wish that they'd kept him around. He was originally conceived to return later in the series as the Big Bad - but Glenn Quinn passed away beforehand.
    • Cordelia in a "Character became horribly misused in her final season and questionably killed off" sense. Thankfully at least her farewell episode redeemed the treatment in many fans' eyes, although it also left many of those fans rueful that she was just back for one episode when she could have contributed a lot more to the final episodes.
    • Gwen Raiden has some neat chemistry with Gunn, and decent powers but disappears from the show after just three episodes, the last of which had been the one to give indications that she could become more closely allied with the team.
    • Rondell of Gunn's crew first appears as a decently acted, somewhat loyal associate despite Gunn moving on to Angel Investigations, then has an appearance following an upstart member of the group into Van Helsing Hate Crimes and ending the episode on a quasi-truce with Gunn after said upstart's death. It could have been interesting to see him reappear in more episodes, either patching things up with Gunn, or going further down a dark path setting him against his old friend, but neither happens.
    • Many of those besides Holtz who go after Conor while Darla is pregnant with him and/or after he’s born, such as the cult of vampires who worship him as a "Miracle Child" but get no real backstory, or the Ninja with the very impressive buildup but who is killed without the slightest bit of effort.
    • The Transuding Furies can feel a bit underused given all of the other times the gang could have called upon them to cast protection spells (and how their apparently steamy past with Angel is never quite elaborated on).
    • Even Buffy herself only makes two guest appearances on the series, and her last one is Season 1's "Sanctuary" - getting a "Reason You Suck" Speech from Angel, aside from offscreen meetings between the two. There were plans for her to show up in "You're Welcome" and "Power Play" but Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn't available. She was available for the finale but got turned down.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • "I've Got You Under My Skin" implies the Catholic Church is aware of the supernatural, with one of their nuns being able to instantly recognize Angel as a vampire just by looking at him, and for a moment it seems the series lore might include similar ideas to Constantine or Supernatural. One wonders what sorts of stories could be told if members of the Christian faith were involved in Angel's quest for redemption, or if the Catholic Church could have made a formidable adversary to Angel's branch of Wolfram & Hart in Season 5. Naturally the Church's involvement with the supernatural is never brought up again.
    • During Buffy's last appearance, she doesn't have a scene with Cordelia. It would have been nice to them part ways on good terms and have Buffy see how her former rival has grown as a person (and Wesley, for that matter).
    • More a case of 'a good plot was planned and cancellation ruined it'. Willow would have shown up in Season 6 to separate Fred and Illyria - allowing Amy Acker to play both characters. Given how good she showed herself to be in "The Girl in Question", that could have been quite exciting to see.
    • The lack of guest appearances of Xander (who could have received closure with Cordelia) and Anya (just imagine her and Fred sharing a scene) can be cause for mourning.
  • Too Bleak, Stopped Caring: Season 4 is despised partially for this reason. Wesley has become an especially dark vigilante who happily makes passes at other people's girlfriends, while also having an affair with Lilah. Angel's brat of a son is wandering around being all brooding and angry. Cordelia is possessed by a Dark Messiah and has an affair with a teenager. And the Big Bad literally causes the sun to be blocked out. The characters are all so dark and dysfunctional in this season it's hard to care about anything.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: While the direction Cordelia went in during Season 4 isn't well-liked, fans can agree that Charisma Carpenter definitely did her best and was actually quite effective at playing possessed!Cordy as a scheming villain.
  • Ugly Cute: The squid-hound thing named Pancakes that becomes Illyria's pet in her Haunted miniseries.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Gene Rainey from "Happy Anniversary". Despite the episode trying to frame him as a woobie who didn't intend to start a time apocalypse, he still very much tried to have his girlfriend permanantly frozen in a time bubble without her consent.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Some of Wesley's behavior towards Fred hasn't aged well. Gunn is supposed to be portrayed as the Romantic False Lead, but the fact that the characters do hook up and stay happy for a long time makes Wesley's sneaking in to attend Fred's lecture in "Supersymmetry" and kissing her out of nowhere in "Soulless" look more like an Entitled to Have You attitude. There's also his tryst with Lilah while she's dressed as Fred in "Apocalypse Nowish"; while she does it herself to make fun of him, he still goes through with it and thus looks like a creepy stalker. And what's especially crazy is how the show vilifies Fred for the aforementioned kiss; Wesley initiates the kiss, and Fred is framed in the bad for 'cheating' in the sense that she didn't break the kiss. They at least avoid any creepiness when They Do in Season 5, although Wesley slips back into Knight Templar mode when she's threatened.
    • Angelus casually using the word "retard" adds to his Politically Incorrect Villain status. Cordelia's casual usage of it is...less justified.
  • Vindicated by History: "Why We Fight" was loathed by fans purely because it's the episode that follows Cordelia's death and the other characters don't mention it at all. Out of context, fans are more receptive to it these days.
  • Wangst:
    • A lot of Season 3. Most of the time when Darla is around.
    • Considering the Romantic Plot Tumor, Season 4 actually comes off as worse in this regard. Seriously guys... Fighting over Fred when Angelus is sitting in a cage right below your feet and listening to every word you're saying? Really now...
  • What an Idiot!: "Damage" is an episode where William the Bloody is a berk. Let's review:
    • First we get the idea that something is off with Dana as when Spike confronts her she looks like a kid on Christmas.
    Spike: Let's talk, you and me. Demon to demon. *vamps out*
    Dana: Vampire! *whack*
    • Then we find out she's a Slayer and has the memories of the previous ones.
    Spike: Sorry luv, I don't speak Chinese.
    Dana: Is it him? *thwack*
    • Then when Dana thinks he is the one who tortured her and becomes so worked up she thinks she's Nikki Spike let's this slip.
    Dana: I have to get back to Robin.
    Spike: Robin? You think you're Nikki? The Slayer I...
    Dana: It is him. Heart and head. Keep cutting until dust, It's the Only Way to Be Sure.
    • Did the gang really think they could avoid telling Fred's parents that she died?
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Channel 4 bought the first season in the UK and showed it at 6pm, because, you know, anything with magic in it is obviously teatime fare for kids. Even showing the episodes with cutting severe enough to make some of them barely comprehensible resulted in a formal reprimand from the Broadcasting Standards Council (the then Censorship Bureau, now merged into Ofcom), and the remainder of the first series and the second series were buried in a late-night timeslot.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?:
    • Okay, cheap shot: "Harm's Way" reveals that NewsCorp is a client of Wolfram & Hart.
    • Helen Brucker. A blond she-demon senator who wants to become President in 2008 by earning the "chick vote." It's fairly close to how Hillary Clinton's detractors viewed her at the time.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Season four is widely regarded as the low point in the Buffyverse due to its convuluted story arc and character assassinations of both Cordelia and Connor. Season five effectively re-tooled the show into a supernatural legal drama, added Spike and Harmony to the cast and fixed the damage Cordelia and Connor. The result was a resounding success which is regarded as one of, the, best seasons in either series.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: Many of Cordelia's outfits. Especially the dress she wore when she revealed she was pregnant with Connor's baby. Most fans also had this reaction to her bad choice of hairstyles in Season 3. Charisma Carpenter herself regretted them.
  • The Woobie: This is a Joss Whedon show, which means that just about every protagonist fits this trope at some point.
    • Angel is now on a redemption quest, having to help people and sometimes failing. He watches friends die, has his chance at happiness with Buffy and Cordelia ripped away, and even has his own son try to kill him, resulting in Laser-Guided Amnesia to make him forget.
    • Fred by accident went through a portal into a demon dimension, where humans were treated like cattle. She had to hide in a cave for years, and is a reclusive mess when she's first introduced.
    • Doyle was born half-demon, and has had to hide half of himself for years. His issues destroyed his marriage, and then he received these painful visions that lead him on a path to his Heroic Sacrifice. He dies never knowing if the girl he likes could have ever returned his feelings.
    • Cordelia becomes one thanks to Character Development. As she couldn't attend any of the colleges she got into, she moved to LA in the hopes of becoming an actress. She's in a sad state for most of the series, and then she ends up with the visions and a pawn of Jasmine.

The film series

  • Complete Monster: Angel III: The Final Chapter (1988): Nadine is a porno producer who secretly heads a gang involved in white slavery. Luring in hookers and actresses to star in her pornos, Nadine has them drugged and sold to foreign buyers in return for drugs. When Molly "Angel" Stewart's mother tries to leave the gang to protect her daughter Michelle, Nadine has her killed, and when Molly investigates her operation, Nadine has Molly's friend Gloria murdered and Molly apprehended, smugly informing her that she will be sold as a Sex Slave.
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