Angel was a spin-off from the American television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Angel has a darker tone than Buffy, and at times performed better in the U.S. Nielsen Ratings than its parent series. The series was created by Buffy's creator Joss Whedon in collaboration with David Greenwalt, and first aired in October of 1999. Like Buffy, it was produced by Whedon's production company, Mutant Enemy.
The series details the ongoing trials of the vampire Angel, who has his human soul restored to him as a punishment after more than a century of murder and torture of innocents, leaving him tormented by guilt and remorse. During the first four seasons of the show, he works as a private detective in a fictionalized version of Los Angeles, where he and a variety of associates work to "help the helpless" and to restore the faith and "save the souls" of those who had lost their way. Typically, this involved doing battle with evil demons or demonically-allied humans (primarily the Evil law firm Wolfram and Hart) as well as battling his own violent nature. (The term "demon" when applied to the Angel universe is often morally value-neutral, as opposed to referring to evil beings exclusively.) In a departure to this the fifth season saw Angel taking over as the head of the law firm Wolfram and Hart in an attempt to fight evil from the inside.
The cast of Angel: 10 years on
It’s been about a decade since the last episode of Angel, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off series about the vampire with a soul, aired. The final episode of season five, Not Fade Away, first appeared on US television screens on 19 May 2004. That seems simultaneously like a very long time ago, and not very long ago at all, because time is vast and human brains are small and fallible, but it’s safe to say that in TV years, it’s a pretty long goddamned time.
The men and women behind the characters we used to spend one night a week with have gone on to other things – some bigger and better, others kind of rubbish – and unless you’re a particularly obsessive superfan, you’ve probably lost track of at least some of them. To mark the tenth anniversary of the last time Angel and co faced off against the forces of darkness, here’s a roundup of where they all are now.
If there’s one Angel star you probably have more or less kept up with, it’s David Boreanaz. Because soon after Angel finished, he jumped into another TV show which is still running now. Comedy crime drama Bones isn’t a million miles away from Angel, really; it might not feature any supernatural monsters, but it has a similar detective/mystery-of-the-week vibe. As Special Agent Seeley, Boreanaz gets to keep on fighting the good fight.
As well as his TV work, Boreanaz has made a few movies, though nothing that particularly set the world on fire. He’s the baddie in The Crow: Wicked Prayer, a city boy bank robber in The Hard Easy, and, um, a sort of romantic con man in Mr Fix It.
One of the few Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters to make the jump to Angel (along with Angel himself, obviously) Cordelia Chase became a fascinating, layered character over the years we got to spend with her. Charisma Carpenter could do comedy as well as pathos, and could also be brilliantly bitchy when the occasion called for it. She seems to have wanted to disassociate herself from those kinds of characters, though, turning down a role in The Faculty to avoid typecasting, but maybe that wasn’t a smart decision, since she hasn’t really done a great deal of note since Angel ended.
Carpenter has had a few recurring TV roles – on Charmed, Veronica Mars, and Greek – though none of those were quite as memorable as Cordie. A long, long string of TV movies followed, before she landed a minor role in The Expendables. A couple of terrible horror movies followed, then another TV stint on The Lying Game. She’s currently filming something called Girl In Woods, and though it’s not fair to judge a movie on its poster and IMDB description alone, it doesn’t look altogether promising.
J. August Richards
Whedon fans will probably have spotted J. August Richards recently: he’s playing Mike Peterson on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. For the sake of avoiding potential spoilers, I’ll leave that one there for now, though it seems like his character is gonna get plenty more to do in future episodes.
Between Angel and Agents, Richards appeared in various other TV shows, including CSI Miami, The Mentalist, Warehouse 13, and Arrow. He’s also played a recurring character on legal dramas Conviction and Raising The Bar.
The former stuffy Watcher-turned-rogue demon hunter was another one of Angel’s most interesting characters, so it’s sort of a shame Alexis Denisof hasn’t gone on to do amazing things since. After Angel finished, Denisof had a recurring role in Joss Whedon’s little-loved sci-fi show Dollhouse, and then did some guest appearances on How I Met Your Mother. He also took a role in the soccer mom comedy Little Women, Big Cars, and appeared in five episodes of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi show H+. (Seriously, has anyone seen any of these things?)
Dollhouse aside, Denisof’s best work seems to happen when he’s on a Whedon project. He was excellent in Much Ado About Nothing, the zero-budget Shakespeare adaptation filmed in Joss’s house – though for those of us who haven’t quite got over seeing him as Wesley, his real accent might’ve been a bit jarring.
Denisof had a minor role in Avengers Assemble, and has just turned up in a couple episodes of Grimm. So he’s still about, if you’re looking for him. And in real life, he married fellow Buffyverse alumni Alyson Hannigan (who also now stars in How I Met Your Mother) and they have two kids. Who will probably not be allowed to watch Buffy or Angel until they’re much, much older.
Speaking of Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing brings us to Amy Acker. She played the vulnerable genius Fred in Angel, but got to really flex her acting muscles in the Shakespeare play as the prickly Beatrice. If you’re a Joss Whedon fan and haven’t got round to seeing it yet, you really, really need to.
Acker’s been pretty solidly busy since Angel ended, too. She had a recurring role in Alias, appeared in a handful of episodes of Tim Minear’s doomed Drive, and popped up on an episode of Ghost Whisperer. She, too, had a recurring role on Dollhouse, though in fairness pretty much everyone was wasted on that show. She did yet more telly work on the ironically named crime show Happy Town, and in a couple episodes of superhero comedy No Ordinary Family.
She re-teamed with Joss Whedon for a minor role in The Cabin in the Woods, before finding a regular home on Person of Interest. According to the IMDB, she’s also in a handful of films currently in production.