Buffy and Angel

Dane and I have been rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as Angel. We cranked up season four on Buffy last night and just finished season one on Angel. Overall, I still like both shows in spite of the flaws here and there. They're both very well done. It's funny, when I originally saw them (when they aired) I didn't spot any real issues with how the female characters were handled. I think it was due to the tv environment of the time. Buffy was a first on so many levels. The start of season four with it's episode about the start of Buffy's Freshman year is very good. It reminded me of the transition from High School to University and how chaotic it felt at first.[1] All around good stuff. As for Angel, one thing that always bothered me was Doyle. I adored that character. He was great. I almost stopped watching when they killed him off. I never felt like they did that character justice. Sure, he got a hero's exit, but still... if they were going to bump off someone I'd have been far happier if it'd been Wesley. Seriously. It would've been the better choice. I also loved Cordelia's ghostly room-mate, Dennis. I thought that was a terrific idea, and the concept of prissy, selfish Cordelia having to share living space with a ghost just clicked. I really wish they'd kept up with that. Instead, they just let the ghost fade out of the plot, and he's never mentioned after the first season. I've always felt those (dropping Dennis and Doyle) were big mistakes, but the biggest mistake of all is Connor. I totally stopped watching Angel once it was clear that Conner was there to stay and never did watch past mid-season three. (Although, I did see the muppet episode.) Dane wants me to watch the rest of the show because he says it gets better once Connor is gone. I want to believe. I'm just not sure how I'm going to make it through the Connor bit. That said, it's been fun revisiting the series--like checking in with an old friend.
[1] Unlike Buffy, I took to college like a duck to wet stuff. I hated High School. I was miserable. The University world was so much better. Thus, my experience was more like Willow's than Buffy's, but I did see a lot of kids who had trouble with the transition.
Of course, the reason for Doyle's sendoff is tied to the actor's drug problems, which killed him shortly thereafter.

I have a certain fondness for Angel's fourth season, though it almost plays like and absurdist improv game, like two writers trying to out-do/stump each other.

"And then... the monster blots out the sun."
"And then... they realize they have to bring back Angelus."
"And then... Angel's soul is stolen!"
"And then... Angelus escapes!"
"And then... Wesley brings in Faith to capture Angelus!"
that is what i'd heard, however, the wikipedia entry quotes whedon as saying that'd been the plan all along because the character/actor was too intense and took away from angel's mopey mojo or something. i'm sure it was a factor, and we'll never really know either way. that said, it was still a bad idea.
I think sometimes Whedon plays jazz with what he has and acts like it was the plan. In that case, it would have been... unpolitic to just say, "The dude was messed up and we couldn't work with him any more." But it is true that Whedon had been wanting to pull off a "kill off someone in the credits" because at the time in TV land it was kind of an unheard of thing to do. Apparently in the Buffy Pilot, he wanted Willow & Xander's other friend-- the one who gets vamped and then staked-- to be in the opening credits just to pull the rug out from people's expectations. But he wasn't allowed to do that.

Out of curiosity, were you a Babylon 5 watcher?
yeah. i know all that. clearly, we've read all the same articles. ;)

no. i saw part of the first season. thought it was okay. my ex stole the tv, and then i missed out on at least two years worth of shows due to resulting lack of tv or funds to buy one. i never did get into it as a result.
It's worth exploring if you have the time and inclination, though the first season is... problematic.

But I brought it up because there was a similar actor change-out issue which fueled a lot of speculation of what the "real" story was behind it all, and then this past weekend at the 20th Anniversary celebration at PhoenixCon, the creator revealed what the real story actually was.
Yeah, Connor was a BIG problem, even as a baby. And I wish they hadn't killed off Doyle, too. It's funny, I think I don't like Buffy Season 4, because I didn't think Riley and Buffy had chemistry, but there are several episodes in that season I adore, including the Something Borrowed one, and the Beer Bad one, which I watch with my kids all the time. Such a great way to do a "message" episode, IMHO.
Exactly! I hate what they did with Willow and Oz, but whatever. No relationship, no matter how good lasts in the Whedon-verse. That said, there are far more fantastic episodes in Buffy season four than duds. (my fave is Hush.)