A centuries-old vampire is cursed with a soul. Now he must overcome the guilt of his past to protect people in the city of angels from a hidden world of darkness and supernatural evil. This is the story of Angel, a TV series which ran from 1999 to 2004.
1. Joss Whedon, the creator of Angel, wanted it to be darker than Buffy and much darker than the WB network would allow. Keith Topping quotes screenwriter David Fury:
“The one script I’ve written that was never produced was the second episode of Angel . . . [It] was going to be a much darker show. An example is in the first episode, when he finds a girl he’s protecting is dead, he has her blood on his hands; he was going to start licking the blood off his fingers like he can’t control himself. Then, being repulsed, he goes to the bathroom and scrubs his hands. It was about recovering alcoholics, that was the allegory. We were going to [have] him struggling to remain good.”
2. Whedon himself appeared in the episode "Through the Looking Glass." He played the role of Numfar, a Plyean demon and the brother of Lorne. As you can see in this clip, he spent his screentime dancing.
This was not the original plan. One day, Whedon designed the dance moves for "The Dance of Joy" and "The Dance of Honor" and demonstrated them to crew members. Writer Tim Minear told Whedon that no one could perform those moves as well as him. Clearly Whedon must take up the role of Numfar.
Whedon agreed, but was secretive about his involvement. He appeared on the set in full makeup as an extra. Only a few people present knew his identity. But, one by one, the other actors realized it was Whedon as they shot the scene.
3. As you might expect, fans loved the scene. Artist Sasha Powell made a custom figurine of Numfar to mark the occasion.
5. All those weeks that you’ve spent writing fan fiction can pay off! Mere Smith, a Buffy fan, wrote a lot of fan fiction before submitting an Angel script to Joss Whedon. Whedon accepted her script for the episode “Untouched.” She went on to write 11 episodes and become a professional screenwriter and producer.
6. Christian Kane (left) auditioned for the role of Riley Finn, Buffy’s boyfriend on two seasons of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. He didn’t get the part, but he was offered the role of Lindsey McDonald on Angel.
7. During part of the fourth season, The writers put Cordelia into an extended coma because actress Charisma Carpenter was pregnant. When they did shoot scenes for her during the last weeks of her pregnancy, she shot her from the chest up.
8. David Boreanaz's breakthrough role was on a 1993 episode of Married with Children. He played one of Kelly Bundy's many outlaw boyfriends.
10. The finales of Buffy and Angel aired one year apart to the day. They were substantially different. Buffy ends with the destruction of Sunnydale and the Hellmouth. The story is complete. But Angel ends with an unfinished grand battle and Angel saying to his dying friends, “Let’s go to work.” The difference was not accidental. Whedon explains:
With Buffy, I needed closure, because she, poor girl, had earned it. Buffy is about growing up. Angel is really about having already grown up, dealing with what you’ve done, and redemption. Redemption is something that you fight for every day, so I wanted him to go out fighting. People kept calling it a cliffhanger. I was like, “Are you mad, sir? Don’t you see that was the final statement.” And they would say, “Shut up.”
Lavery, David. Joss Whedon, A Creative Portrait. New York: I.B. Tauris, 2014. Web. Google Books. 26 May 2014.
Stafford, Nikki. Once Bitten: An Unofficial Guide to the World of Angel. Toronto: ECW Press, 2004.
Topping, Keith. Hollywood Vampire: A Revised and Updated Unofficial and Unauthorized Guide to Angel. London: Virgin Books, 2001. Print.
Images: WB, UPN, Sasha Customs.