Angel: what the hell is going on?

My wife and I are big “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fans, but we came to it late and… it’s complicated. Anyway, we didn’t watch “Angel” at all through its first four seasons.

But we’ve been getting that Joss Whedon hankering, so we watched last week’s episode of “Angel” (wherein Spike fought that ghostly serial killer dude who was trying to toss him into Hell) and last night’s (wherein green demon dude throws a spooks party).

We liked what we saw, because the writing is just as sharp as we expect (gray demon in bathroom stall: “Occupado!” –chuckle–), and we have a general idea of what’s going on (Angel’s crew has apparently assumed control of a law firm that used to be run by the enemy, and now wonders if they’ll be able to keep fighting the good fight despite their proximity to such a corrupting influence), but we need more information.

Who’s the green horny dude? Lorne, is his name? What’s his background? How’d they hook up with him? Is he always so cheerful? And what’s the deal with Fred (Winnifred?), the apparent supergenius chick? And who’s Gunn? And how did Wes go from being the nebbish Watcher on “Buffy” to this new gig? And how big is the torch he’s carrying for Fred? And what’s in that White Room? And who’s Eve, and how important is it that she nailed Angel last night? And is there always so much nakedness on the show? (Shower scene last week, half of Angel’s bare ass last night.)

With “Buffy,” we didn’t want to know anything until we got caught up, which was difficult and hard to manage. None of that this time. Please, tell us everything.

(By the way, we’ve got the season one and two DVD collections, but haven’t watched them yet. Don’t worry about spoilage. We’ll go through the DVDs regardless.)

(Oh, and also by the way, please try to keep the opinionating to a minimum. I know Buffyverse fandom is all about “this season sucks, two seasons ago was the best,” “no, this season makes a lot of sense, I bet this is where they’re going,” and similar good-natured bickering. I don’t really want to know if season five is shaping up to be the Best Ever or a Complete Disaster or whatever. We just want to know what the heck is going on; you can argue about whether the season is working or not in the episode threads.)

Thanks in advance.

I’ll try to keep this brief:

Lorne (Kevlornsworth of the Deathwok Clan) is from a demon dimension called Pylea. He went through some kind of portal about seven years ago and just loves L.A. In his world there is no music, and he’s a very musical guy, so he opened the karaoke bar ‘Caritas’, which was a safe haven for demons and humans, with no fighting allowed inside. He’s also an empath demon, and can ‘read’ feelings, when people are singing. Seeing Angel sing is a true treat.

Wes popped up during S.1, as a ‘Rogue demon hunter’. I guess it started out as a joke, where the nerd is trying to be a tough guy, all dressed in leather. Wes continued to be bookish, up to a point when he went to a very dark place and lost what remained of his innocense.

At one point, Cordy was sucked through a demon wormhole and ended up in Pylea. The gang went after her to rescue her, did so, and found Fred too. IIRC, it’s never been stated that when Lorne came here, Fred went there, but as the timing fits, I think it’s a safe bet. Humans are refered to as ‘cows’ in Pylea. Fred wasn’t happy there.

Gunn was the muscle man for the longest time. Black guy from the hood, seeking revenge for what the demons have done to his family and friends. He crossed paths with Angel a number of times and finally joined up.

The White room is a walk in ‘interface’ between our world and ‘The Senior Partners’ who are probably something hellish. This is also where Gunn made his deal to get upgraded to Superlawyer.

Eve seems to be striking viewers in a totally wrong way, much as Kennedy did in S.7 Buffy. She’s the liason 'tween the senior partners and the Gang.

I hope this helps a little.

Check out the character section at they have a pretty good list of who is who. I am sure if you did a web search you could find others.
In the meantime:

Lorne -> Empathic demon who used to own a demon karaoke bar; he can read peoples auras when they sing to him.

Fred -> Brainy scientist who Angel rescued from Lorne’s home dimension.

White Room -> Mysterious conduit between Wolferam and Heart’s physical location and the senior partners of the evil law firm. Basically a strange evil place.

Eve -> Go between between Angel and the senior partners of the firm. Probably evil.

Go to the Angel section. It is excellent. The recaps are lengthy, but so funny.

First off Cervaise, let me tell you that the WB is running Angel’s first season on Sunday afternoons. They’re only about 4 eps in, which is great if you’re like me and only started watching Angel last season. Not that you need it, since you have the DVDs, but anyways.

The essentials for angel are: Angel hooked up with some Irish vision-seeing demon named Doyle, and uber-bitch Cordelia, in the first season. Doyle eventually kicks the bucket (I don’t know how yet) but not before passing on his visioning ability to Cordy.

Cordy tried tried and tried to be an actress, but failed, and eventually decided to stick with the demon-bashing crew. Angel eventually fell in love with her, displacing Buffy from his heart, but before he could confess his love she ended up doing the nasty with a guy named Groo. Two seasons ago Cordy ended up becoming part-demon because the visions were on the verge of blasting a hole in the back of her head, and ended that season by becoming a higher power. Last season she came back to Earth sans memory, but was somehow manipulated by evil. More on this later.

Gunn was a vampire-fighter from the streets who joined up with Angel. In the first eps of this season he decided that being muscle wasn’t enough, and got Wolfram and Hart to juice up his brain with legalese.

Wesley left Buffy after Faith went evil, and he become a ‘rogue demon hunter’, eventually joining Angels troop, and taking over the job as boss. Wesley and Gunn both fell hard for…

(Winni)fred, a physics genius who spent 5 years in a demon dimension. Majorly wacky when she escaped thanks to the groups help, she has since become much more sane, and ended up choosing Gunn as a lover. However their relationship soured when the pair discovered that Fred had been sent to the demon dimension by a former prof, and Gunn killed him.

I believe Lorne is from this same demon dimension, but he’s just a fun-loving guy who would rather be singing in Vegas. He used to own a nightclub, but gave up after it was destroyed twice while Angel was hanging out.

Oh yeah, at one point Angel slept with old Vampire Darla (who you may recall from Buffy), and she ended up giving birth to a kid named Connor. Now some vamp-hunter that Angelus screwed around with a couple centuries ago made a deal with a demon to be frozen in time just so he could come back and get even with Angelus. Said vamp-hunter managed to steal baby Connor and kidnap to some hell-dimension, and raise Connor as his own son.
Connor returned the next ep as a moody teenager, and eventually caused much havoc by having a kid with Cordelia. Said child was actually a god made of rotted flesh who hoodwinked everyone except Fred into thinking she was worthy of worship, and nearly took over the world.

But she was killed, and then Angel and the missionaries were handed the keys to Wolfram and Hart.

I’ve skipped some things-- like the whole history of Wolfram and Hart, and key characters like Gavin and Lilah, but you don’t really need to know about them at the moment, not with Eve seemingly being the liason.

::: grumble grumble :::

OK, so the first season, Angel had this demon named Doyle who had visions of people in trouble, and Angel and crew came to the rescue. Sort of a combination of Batman and Night Stalker. Wolfram and Hart was the law firm that defended all the baddies.

Then they thought that wasn’t working out, so they killed off Doyle and gave the visions to Cordelia. And they played with that on and off, with the visions hurting her so she bacame part demon, then got whipped off to the higher plane (or perhaps just deceived into thinking that’s where she was), and finally she fell into a coma and is off the show.

Then Angel had a son, and they floundered around with that for a while, trying to decide whether they were doing BEWITCHED or what, so had the kid kidnapped and returned as an angst-ridden teen (“Hey, Buffy was real popular when she was an angst-ridden high school kid, let’s do the same to Angel!”). That didn’t work either, so they dropped him.

So, now we’re on the fourth season, when Angel and crowd are somehow in charge of Wolfram and Hart. It’s had some humor and sparky dialog, but it seems to me that the whole four years has been basically a bunch of characters in search of a show.

And, I should add, whenever they can’t think of what else to do, they take the plot that Buffy over-used, where the “friends” hide critical information from each other, which gets them all into deeper trouble. I’m SO tired of that one.

Not to play junior mod or anything, but the OP did ask to keep opinionating to a minimum. Also Angel is currently in its fifth season.

Fair enough, josh, but I was trying to come up with a summary, which also explains why past-history on that show is pretty much irrelevant. Aside from little inside jokes, like having Harmony be a secretary, etc.

And fourth season, fifth season, I dunno, they all blur together.

Ah. While I see what you are saying, with the exception of the season four finale reboot of the series, I think past-history of seasons 1-4 has been very important to the show.

[season one] Resurrection of Darla ->

[season two] Angel’s fall into darkness -> Angel fires Wes and Cordy, attempt to lose his soul with Darla -> conner;
Re-birth of Angel investigations with Wesley leading it -> character development for Wesley

[season three] Return of Darla -> Conner -> Wesley’s attempts to save Conner -> Conner’s kidnap -> Wesley’s schism from Angel investigations -> more character development for Wesley; Return of Conner as a seriously messed-up teen

[Season four] Conner + Beast + Cordy -> Jasmine (anti-christ / higher power) -> destruction of Wolfram and Hart -> Angel as CEO -> season five reboot.

I do agree that Angel has often seemed more half-hazardly planed than Buffy was, specially in season four :dubious: (which I nevertheless thought was cool as hell :smiley: ) I also think that the underling metaphors for Buffy (adolescence) and Angel (redemption vs temptation) inherently lead Buffy to have a more defined structure. All the same, I do see a great deal of continuation throughout the show, both thematically (redemption), and in continuation of plot (most of the events of the series are consequences of Darla’s resurrection).

Seasons 1-4 have an overeaching arc that culminate in Season 4 that, once you see the whole thing, actually is fairly cool, continuitywise, (your likeage may vary).

Buffy didn’t have this, exactly: Big Bads were single season affairs, with the carryover being only in the relations of the heroes. They really could have pulled something off in Season 7 to tie the whole series together, and really seemed like they were going to at the start of the season… but it never appeared. So actually, considering Buff Season 7, I think Angel is actually much LESS haphazardly planned.