As Buffy the Vampire Slayer celebrates 20 years of fang-dusting fandom, the adoration of certain titular characters helped set the archetype for many characters that have come after them in the pop culture landscape. The trope of the brooding, yet caring, hot-tempered, yet sensitive vampire was only ever touched upon briefly by authors such as Anne Rice, and most of them wore lace, as opposed to a sweet and stylish leather jacket. Angel, Buffy’s first — and in some people’s very biased minds — only vampire love set the bar high as a vampire enslaved by tragedy, cursed with the humanity of a soul, and forced to relive the centuries of torture he had inflicted upon his innocent victims. He was noble, altruistic, and supportive of the Slayer, a first for a teenage girl conditioned to dust anything with fangs.
Angel came to Sunnydale to protect and watch over Buffy, which earned him the affection of female fans everywhere, a fact that even pardoned his sanguinary transgressions into evil every so often. Think you know everything there is to know about Angel? CBR has found 15 dark facts even die-hard fans may not know about the tall, dark, and eternally handsome Big Bad!
15. THE FINALE WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE A CLIFFHANGER
At the time of Angel’s fifth and final season, it was one of the highest rated shows on television. Spike had been back since the beginning of Season 5, wimpy Fred had been turned into butt kicking demon Illyria, and the supernatural foes of Wolfram and Hart were getting more and more beefy.
While some people claim that Joss Whedon was so confident they’d get a sixth season that he cornered the execs to give Angel early renewal. Apparently the suits didn’t like that so they said no, but Whedon has said in interviews that the series finale was never supposed to be a cliffhanger, and that he intended for Angel and crew to go out fighting. Angel fought for redemption every day and it was only fitting the series end highlighting that theme.
14. DAVID BOREANAZ WAS ALMOST BATMAN
In many ways, the character of Angel put David Boreanaz on the map. Without it, we may not have had him as Agent Booth on Bones! He got the job purely by accident — while out walking his dog one day, an acquaintance spotted him and recommended him for the part. He auditioned and nailed it!
In a similar way, Christopher Nolan caught an episode of Angel and thought that Boreanaz perfectly captured Angel’s brooding yet inherently altruistic disposition, and thought it would be perfect for Batman. He reportedly turned it down because its shooting schedule conflicted with Bones, which was released the same year as Batman Begins. The guy whose only major movie credit includes playing the creepy guy from Valentine torpedoed the only chance he had at a solid movie career in favor of remaining on television.
13. ANGEL BECAME A BIGGER HIT SHOW ONCE SPIKE WAS ON IT
Buffy fans were ecstatic when they heard that the Big Blonde Bad was going to be resurrected on Angel to start its fifth season on TV. Spike had previously obtained his soul, like Angel, in an effort to prove his worth to Buffy. Brimming with humanity, he sacrificed himself to close the Hellmouth and keep the world from ending.
Spike was an incredibly popular character and, given that in the fifth season Angel’s ratings were dipping, Whedon decided to write him into the plot. He had not helmed the prior two seasons, and fans weren’t happy with the direction the characters went. Spike appeared with his certain brand of caustic charm and witty one liners and the fifth season became the highest rated of the show.
12. AS ANGELUS, HE WAS MORE EVIL THAN THE MASTER
When Angelus was sired way back in 1753, he became an emotionless killing machine, methodical and unwavering in his everlong pursuit of human blood. He wasn’t wasteful, even when massacring entire villages of women and children. Along with his clanmates Darla, Spike, and Drusilla, they would feast for days on the blood of the innocent. He even went so far as to kill the entirety of his human family.
“The Whirlwind” as they were called, were dubbed the bloodiest vampires in history, with Angelus being their leader. He was fond of gruesomely torturing his victims both physically and emotionally, calling his process “art”. He lived in this way for several centuries before being cursed with a soul by gypsies when he killed one of their own.
11. DAVID BOREANAZ LOVED DOING HIS OWN STUNTS
A lover of fighting and martial arts, David Boreanaz loved to do his own stunts on both Buffy and Angel. James Marsters (aka Spike) and him would train together for hours, and often upset the stunt men with how often they gave them little to do but watch from the sidelines. More than once they even landed real punches on each other!
Marsters often said that Boreanaz was always down for a good scuffle, and liked close hand to hand combat the best. He was also considered something of an amateur boxer, and could definitely take a hit. In one season, he was accidentally struck by a beam of wood doing a pratfall and after landing, simply shook himself off and asked to continue the scene.
10. HE WAS SUPPOSED TO DIE IN SEASON 2
Angel was never supposed to be a character that served any other purpose than to be Buffy’s love interest. He would then become a compelling villain in Season 2 when his old clanmates, Spike and Drusilla, descend upon Sunnydale. He has a soul at that point and refuses to join them in the mayhem and destruction that they have planned.
However, Angel proved a popular character on Buffy, and fans didn’t want that to be the end of his story. He was green lit to have his own series, but it needed to happen in a believable way after fans thought he died in Season 2. Thus, he was brought back by the writers in season 3 so that they could help bridge the gap between his death and the spin-off series.
9. HE’S THE ONLY BUFFY CHARACTER TO GET A SPIN-OFF SERIES
While lots of Buffy characters have been popular and favorited by fans, Angel was the only character from the Buffyverse to get his own spin-off show. Angel was popular on Buffy because he was brooding, romantic, and watched over Buffy in a way that belied the fact that in another life, he’d been a horrible monster. The sort that kills maids at Christmas parties and wipes out entire villages, including women and children.
Tormented by both the presence of a soul, and the knowledge that his relationship is Buffy is doomed, he resides in Los Angeles moonlighting as a private detective. He and his cohort battle all manner of demons that reside in Tinseltown, using his unique vampire strengths against the forces of Wolfram and Hart, a legal firm that is in fact a front for otherworldly forces of evil.
8. HE’S ONE OF THE ONLY GOOD GUYS TO BECOME THE VILLAIN
Other than Willow circa Season 6, who goes from a charming and plucky nerd to a wet-yourself-the-minute-you-see-her-veiny-face dark witch, Angel was the only main character introduced as essentially “good” who becomes a villain. Now, other members of the Scooby Gang have been turned into demons, and Buffy has even thought she was a vampire, but such events were all due to curses or enchantments and only lasted a single episode.
Angel is turned evil whenever his soul leaves him, because without a soul which grants him humanity, he reverts back to the killer vampire Angelus he’s been for over 200 years. He becomes evil again when his old clanmates Spike and Drusilla come to Sunnydale and wreak havoc, and the curse that grants him a soul is broken.
7. ANGEL KILLS GILES IN THE BUFFY SEASON 8 COMIC
Apparently it was a trend for the owners or workers of the occult shop the Magic Box to die of horrible vampire-inflicted deaths. Two unnamed clerks in the second and third season, Mr. Bogarty in the fifth season, Anya Jenkins in the seventh season by minions of the First Evil, and sadly last but not least, Giles in the eighth season comic book.
In the comic, when Angel is possessed by an evil mystical entity called Twilight, he murders Giles with a savage snap to the neck, mimicking the way he killed his lover, Jenny Calendar. Giles puts himself in harm’s way to deliberately make Buffy take action against Angel. While the act may have been classic Giles, it wasn’t classic Angel to do something so aggressive, and fans were not happy.
6. HE DOESN’T LOSE HIS SOUL BY BEING WITH BUFFY
Contrary to popular belief, Angel didn’t lose his soul having sexy with the Slayer as people assume. When he was cursed by the gypsies, the kicker was that he would have a soul and be haunted by the guilt of his past “until a moment of pure happiness”.
And yes, that makes Buffy pretty damned special. He had sex with Darla and didn’t lose his soul, and he had lovers in Angel and he didn’t lose it then either. That would indicate that his “moment of pure happiness” was only with Buffy. Now of course, that makes it pretty tough for Buffy and him to be together, when the prospect of him turning into his bloody thirsty vampire alter ego Angelus happens whenever they play hide Mr. Pointy.
5. ANGEL IS 265 YEARS OLD
There has been a lot of chin-wagging over the years about just how old Angel actually is. Angel himself mentions he’s 200 years old in the series, but that’s not exactly true! He was born in 1727, and sired in 1753, which technically makes him 265. But wait, he spent 100 years in a hell dimension, which would bump his age up to 365, except he didn’t technically “age” at all, so that’s not counted.
Joss Whedon played fast and loose with Angel’s age, and often stated “he’s lived through four centuries” as a way to throw people off the scent. But die-hard fans looked up his epitaph and found out for themselves. The Master himself is only 600, making Angel one of the oldest vampires to still walk the earth.
4. ANGEL OFTEN LIED TO BUFFY TO KEEP HER WITH HIM
Every Buffy fan knows that Angel and Buffy are often no good for each other. Though originally Angel came to Sunnydale to watch over Buffy and help her defeat The First, his love for her often put her in perilous situations. Her love for him often challenged the inner demons he had from being a vampire with a newly acquired soul.
It would always be simpler if Buffy hated him, and Angel knew that. It made it easier for him to be the villain, rather than constantly seek redemption. In Season 2 he lied to Buffy when he told her he wasn’t feeding on humans, but in reality, he was feeding on criminals, in a way to see if he was still evil, but it only managed to still make him a good guy.
3. HE IS CAPABLE OF DOING MAGIC
Walking the earth for four centuries, you pick up a thing or two. Angel had many experiences with supernatural forces as Angelus as well as once he acquired a soul. When he worked as a private investigator in Los Angeles at the start of the Angel series, he frequently came in contact with demons and evil spirits that required incantations to repel.
Having a vast knowledge of the occult and demonology, he had to improve his game of magic rituals when he took over the supernatural firm Wolfram and Hart. Having a vast knowledge of how to defeat demons, combined with his abilities as a vampire, earned him the respect of even the Watchers, the society of individuals tasked with storing occult and knowledge of the supernatural to train and aid the Slayer.
2. AS ANGELUS, HE LOVED TORTURE AND MENTAL MANIPULATION
Most vampires in popular culture tend to be either bloodthirsty monsters or refined romantics. Angelus was both, and his dangerous carnal nature was tempered by his love of all things artistic. He even dabbled in creative hobbies as well, only his “art” was that of torture and mental manipulation. His “art” were his victims that he chose to mentally toy with until they became completely broken and insane, at which point he would consider them a great success.
His biggest “success” was Drusilla, a chaste, innocent girl whom he slowly drove mad by murdering members of her family and friends. When she tried to flee to a convent, he found her there, too, and just as she was taking her Holy Vows, he slaughtered every nun there and promptly turned her into a vampire, perfectly capturing her madness for all eternity.
1. AS ANGELUS, HE COULD HAVE KILLED OVER 50,000 PEOPLE
To plot out the bodycount of the dreaded Angelus, one has to consider the time between 1753 when he was sired and 1898 when he was ensouled. If he killed one human per day, that would make a body count of 365 a year, multiplied by 145 years of killing which would account for the slaughtering of 53,000 people. If we count when he was re-ensouled after being with Buffy, 59 more deaths happened until he got his soul again for the second time.
That seems high, even by ravenous vampire standards. Most vampires only need to feed once or twice a week, and even counting the slaughtering of entire villages, his body count could never be that high. Feeding once a week, at 52 weeks a year, multiplied by 145 is 7, 540 people which is much more accurate.
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