Going Down Fighting

Last night I watched the series finale of Angel.

I’m not an avid TV watcher. I have certain shows I watch - CSI, Survivor, Alias - but I don’t usually get sucked in to a show. I mean, if last season of Survivor was it, I’d just move on with life. I was a fan of the whole Buffy thing ever since the original movie, though, and I watched the Buffy TV show from beginning to end, all seven seasons. There’s a certain sci-fi soap opera need that’s filled in me by Buffy. Long about the time the writing in Buffy started to wane, they brought in the Angel spin-off series, and I was an avid watcher of that for its entire five-year run. Angel was a little edgier, and while some of the stories weren’t as cool as others, they tended towards the sci-fi (while Buffy seemed to veer off towards the soap opera).

When Buffy ended, the show had sort of reached its natural conclusion. They had fought all there was to fight, and the characters had come to sort of a point where they needed to move on. The way they ended was perfect - a big bang, the end of one story and the beginning of another chapter in the characters’ lives as they rode off into the sunset.

With Buffy over, I was glad to have Angel around to continue that mythos - the characters crossed over from Buffy, the universe had continuity… it was like Buffy never ended, it just had a sequel. An even better sequel, because the shows remained compelling and the characters were always changing it up. You never knew what was coming next. Kind of like when the X-Files was still good. Remember that?

After five years of Angel, they ended it last night. And while I’m not an avid TV watcher and don’t generally get sucked into shows, I was really sad to see them go. It’s like seeing an old friend leave for the last time, never to return except in the photo album you occasionally flip through. I’ve read through a few message boards and a lot of people (including Jenn) were disappointed in how the show ended, but I really wasn’t. The gang went out fighting the good fight, trying to stop evil, and while it was left open-ended as to whether they survived or not, I’d like to think they did.

From an interview with David Boreanaz:

Q: If there’s never another Angel adventure, where would you say we’re leaving this character?

A: In battle. Battle for his own self and battle for humanity, pretty much. Striving for excellence and continuing the good fight, whatever that good fight is.

On an even larger scale, the end of Angel is also sort of like closing a chapter on my own life. It’s sort of sad that people can define times of their lives with television shows, but look at all the Friends watchers out there. The TV in today’s day and age is more than just entertainment. I think we spend enough time with the characters in our favorite shows that they become like family to us - sort of indirect voyeuristic acquaintances. When they go, it’s like losing that friend. Ever have a pet fish when you were a kid? Remember what it was like when it died? Pretty terrible, right? I think it’s like that. So the end of Angel marks a sort of end of an era for me. It’s not going to hinder me from functioning or anything, but it’s still sad.

So, thanks, Joss, for the years of entertainment, for the friends you created and the universe you opened a window to, just for me. I anxiously await the next great adventure.