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The Angel finale opinion poll

[Originally published on a now defunct web magazine in 2004. Includes big time spoilers.]

Before I begin, I want to thank the people from all over the net who answered the poll and forwarded it around to their friends. I received nearly one hundred and fifty responses, and the answers people gave were terrific; they made me laugh, and made me think.

I've done polls for years, and I've seen it all. The one thing that surprised me this time was how varied the individual choices were. In past polls, I've noticed that a fan will often pick one character for almost every category (favorite character: Angel; want to be on a desert island with: Angel; favorite vampire: Angel; surviving in the alley: Angel, you get my drift.) In this poll, rather than choosing the same answer for most of the questions, people would, say, pick Wesley for favorite character, specify Spike for the desert island, say Cordelia's death was hardest to take but Fred was the person they would bring back, and so on. All of this made for a more interesting survey.

The results of the poll brought me to the following conclusions:

-- Spike is still the most popular character in Joss Whedon's Buffyverse, no matter what show he's on.

-- Angel as a character was a lot more popular in the final season than he was a couple of years ago.

-- Wesley is nearly everyone's favorite Angel character, despite the popularity of both Angel and Spike.

Many fans indicated that they loved Cordelia, but specified when choosing her that they meant pre-season four Cordelia. This confirms my theory ("I've got a theory!") that the Angel writers blew it with Cordelia in season four. Similarly, many who chose Connor specified that they were choosing emotionally balanced Connor after he regained his memory in "Origin."

I was surprised at the popularity of Illyria; it was hard to detach the Illyria votes from the Fred votes at times, because many referred to them as the same character. I was also surprised at the popularity of Buffy character Andrew.

The spinoff question drew a wild variety of responses; surprisingly few just recreated either the Buffy or Angel cast. This says a lot about how good the characters on both shows were.

And now for the poll results!

Question 1: What was your favorite episode of Angel? Or favorite episodes, up to three? (Descriptions are fine if you don't know the title; I'll supply it.)

The surprise winner was... drumroll... "Smile Time," with 38% of the vote. Three other episodes also rated high. Please note that three of the four highest rated episodes aired in the fifth and final season.

38% for "Smile Time"
[Angel is turned into a puppet]

29% for "Damage"
[Andrew arrives to help a mentally ill and homicidal slayer named Dana]

27% for "I Will Remember You"
[Angel becomes human, and Buffy's lover, but only for one day]

27% for "You're Welcome"
[Cordelia awakens from her coma, and does one final favor for Angel]

Runners-up included:

18% for "Hero"
[Doyle sacrifices his life to save others, including Angel]

16% for "A Hole in the World"
[Wesley and Fred finally get together, right before Fred dies and her body is taken over by Illyria]

16% for "Reunion"
[Darla and Drusilla commit the Wine Cellar Massacre, and a depressed and discouraged Angel allows it to happen] [I wonder if some people who voted for this one meant "Reprise?"]

13% for "Destiny"
[A once again corporeal Spike challenges Angel for the Shanshu prophecy, except it turns out to be Mountain Dew]

11% for "In the Dark"
[Oz brings Angel the ring of Amarra, with Spike hot on his heels]

10% for "Darla"
[Darla and Angel, past and present; part two of "Fool for Love"]

10% for "Not Fade Away"
[Everybody freaking dies, and the series is over. No, I'm not bitter]

8% for "Five by Five"
[Wolfram & Hart pays rogue slayer Faith to kill Angel, but she finds it harder to do than she expected]

8% for "Sanctuary"
[Angel protects Faith from Buffy, and helps Faith find the road to redemption]

8% for "Spin the Bottle"
[Angel, Gunn, Cordelia, Wesley, and Fred revert to their teenage personas]

8% for "Guise Will Be Guise"
[Wesley impersonates Angel, and wackiness ensues]

There were tons of episodes that got a minimal number of votes -- too many, in fact.

Question 2: Who is your favorite "Angel" character? (Dead characters are fine; most of them are dead, anyway.)

The big winner was Wesley, no surprise there. Spike, with only one season on the show, came in second. Here's the breakdown:

33% Wesley
22% Spike
10% Angel
9% Cordelia
5% Lindsey
5% Fred
4% Doyle (not bad for a character who did only nine episodes)

Here are some of my favorites comments:

"Wesley. I want to say Spike, but I don't feel he was in the Angelverse long enough to qualify."

"In the beginning, it was Doyle. Then for a while, it was Lorne. Briefly, it was The Big Gulp Demon from That Old Gang of Mine. Then sometime after that, Spike turned up... and that was that."

"[Wesley] was easily the most nuanced character on either series, with his horrible inferiority complex, and a mean streak that could rival Angel's. I have a feeling if the death of Fred had happened earlier this past season, we would seen a descent into madness to rival any popular entertainment has ever shown."

"The ensemble nature of the show has left me thinking that it's hard to pick one who really stood out. I suspect Wes or Spike would be my answer. Wesley, because of the complexity acquired the hard way through the show's five years. Spike, because he completely stole the final season."

Question 3: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one "Angel" character or actor to keep you company, who would it be?

Now, see, I should have phrased this more clearly. I intended for people to pick either an actor OR a character, and many did... but most gave both in their responses, and that's how I compiled the results. I should also have mentioned that any of the vampires would live past dawn; many respondents speculated about the availability of shade.

38% Spike / James Marsters
20% Wesley / Alexis Denisof
11% Angel / David Boreanaz
9% Illyria, Fred, Amy Acker
6% Gunn / J. August Richards
4% Cordelia / Charisma Carpenter
4% Lorne / Andy Hallett
2% Connor / Vincent Kartheiser

What's interesting is that the results are so different from the favorite character question. Why the reversal of Wesley and Spike? Why so many more votes for Gunn? Perhaps it had something to do with what that person could actually do for you or with you on a desert island. One wonders.

Here are some fun comments from the respondents:

"Wesley. It would be kind of like having the Professor from Gilligan's Island... forget I said that."

"Connor. He survived Quor-Toth, so he can do all the getting of food, making the fire, building the shelter, and I can get a sun tan and wait to get rescued."

"No brainer. Spike, for a million reasons, most of them X-rated."

"Spike. Or a Spike-shaped sexbot of some kind."

"Spike. Do I have to go into all the chocolate-covered reasons?"

"James 'Hubba hubba' Marsters."

"I totally think Cordy and I would get along, but I always enjoy staring at Angel."

"Actually, Gunn. He's hot, strong, funny, and resourceful."

"Illyria, because she can look very hot, and she could walk home to get help."

"I so would not want to be stranded on an island with an actor, so I'm thinking, Spike. Although there is the Big Pile of Dust issue."

Question 4. Which twosome was your favorite couple on Angel?

Okay, here I really blew it; I meant a romantic couple. And a lot of respondents took it that way. But some didn't.

19% Wes and Lilah
18% Wes and Fred
15% Angel and Darla
12% Angel and Cordelia
9% Angel and Spike
4% Angel and Lorne
4% Angel and Buffy
3% Cordelia and Doyle
Plus two votes each for Angel and Lindsey, Wes and Gunn, Wes and Cordelia, Holtz and Justine (gag me with a spoon), Fred and Gunn, Lindsey and Lilah, Cordelia and Groo, and Wesley and Illyria. Some variety, huh?

Comments from respondents:

"Wes and Lilah. It was so dirty, but so much fun!"

"Fred and Wesley's deaths proved that they were the Romeo & Juliet of the Angelverse. However, with all the sexual innuendo between Angel and Spike during season five, I wonder if they could have been the favorite couple?"

"Lorne and Angel. I know, I know, they're not really a couple. But they should be."

"Darla and Angel. David Boreanaz has never had more chemistry with any other actress. Also, I loved the couple's rich history and the fact that they were the only couple in the history of the Jossverse to have a child."

"There are couples on Angel?"

Question 5: Who was your favorite male vampire? Who was your favorite female vampire?

We had a clear-cut and unsurprising winner in the male vampire category:

64% Spike
26% Angel
8% Angelus
2% Penn
If we combine Angel and Angelus, which is fair, it looks a little better for the star of the show.

64% Spike
34% Angel/Angelus
2% Penn

For those of you who are about to write to me and ask who Penn is, he was in the season one episode, "Somnambulist;" he was Angelus' acolyte who kept killing surrogates of his own family.

The vote for female vamp was also a landslide, although Drusilla lovers noted that Darla certainly had the benefit of more screen time. Harmony is loved, but many said they considered her to be comic relief. I think the fans like whole-hearted villainy in their female vamps.

60% Darla
24% Drusilla
15% Harmony
1% Elizabeth

Before you ask, Elizabeth was in the season three premiere, "Heartthrob", beloved of James the vampire. I wonder why James, who got more screen time than Elizabeth, didn't get a single vote?

Question 6: Who was your favorite villain during the run of Angel? (And remember, villain is a subjective term.)

We had two clear winners here. I was surprised that Lilah outstripped Lindsey, even though the vote was close.

28% Lilah
24% Lindsey
10% Angelus
7% Holtz
6% Darla
3% Holland Manners
3% Wolfram & Hart
2% Spike

And here are some of my favorite comments:

"Lilah Morgan. If only they had turned her into a vampire. Just think of how evil she would have been!"

"Lindsey. He was cool, he was hot, he was all-temperature Lindsey."

"Lindsey, the lawyer we love to hate. Evil eye-candy!"

"Lindsey. Gorgeous and conflicted. Who could ask for more?"

"Is Numfar a villain?"

Question 7. If you could create the next show in the Buffyverse, and it could star anyone from either Angel or Buffy, dead or alive, who would it be? (Limit your answer to six characters at the most!)

Wow, was I sorry I asked this one! Compiling the results was a bitch. But there were clear favorites. There were also a good many votes out in left field for lesser known characters such as Dana the Slayer, Caleb the evil minister, Ilona Costa Bianca, Vampire Willow, and the Cheese Guy.

And yes, I know the percentages don't add up. Nearly everyone made six choices, so I multiplied by six... because 86% of the respondents made Spike one of their choices. So sue me.

86% Spike
54% Wesley
48% Illyria
41% Willow
34% Angel
33% Giles
33% Andrew
28% Gunn
28% Faith
25% Buffy
24% Xander
24% Fred
23% Cordelia

What I found most interesting was the popularity of Illyria; in fact, if you combine the votes for Fred and Illyria, Amy Acker came in second after Spike. Several respondents made the point that Illyria as a character was just getting interesting, and didn't have time to develop properly. Andrew's popularity was also a surprise... to me, anyway.

I was thinking. If we brought this down to the top seven characters that are still alive, we'd have a new Buffyverse show with: Spike, Illyria, Willow, Angel, Giles, Andrew, and Gunn.

Here are some comments:

"You meant six with Spike, right?"

"Spike first. I don't think I even want to watch a spinoff if it doesn't have Spike in it."

"I'm still interested in the Faith and Spike roadshow concept with support from Gunn."

"Illyria and Drogyn. I mean, the scene with them playing and trying to understand the videogame? Priceless."

"Spike, Illyria and Giles. Poor Giles would be constantly cleaning his eyeglasses over those two!"

"Either a show based on Lilah and Lindsey, like their work at Wolfram & Hart before they started with the Angel project, or a show based in the 1880s with Angelus, Darla, Spike and Dru."

"Giles. With guest appearances by dead people."

Question 8: Whose death on Angel was the hardest to take?

Wesley's win here didn't surprise me, since his death was so fresh in our minds. But it also appears that viewers have not forgotten Doyle.

36% Wesley
18% Cordelia
18% Fred
15% Doyle
5% Lindsey
5% Darla
3% Lilah
1% Merl

And the comments:

"I say Wesley. I've been crying for him since the cancellation announcement. I knew Joss was going to kill him."

"Lilah, Darla, Lindsey and Wesley. Oh, my god. The only four damned characters on the show that I liked, and they killed ALL OF THEM!!!"

"In the end, I wish they hadn't killed Fred. Then Wesley wouldn't have died, either."

"Cordelia's. She was such an awesome character, and I'm still pissed at how they ruined her."

Question 9: If you could bring back one and only one, who would it be? Fred or Cordelia?

And the winner is Cordelia by a comfortable margin, although Fred made a darned good showing. Plus, many of the comments said that they chose Cordelia to bring back because they liked Illyria, and Illyria was technically still alive.

55% Cordelia
40% Fred
3% Neither
2% Could I pick Doyle instead?


"Cordy, because it would be too painful for Fred to find out Wesley died."

"Fred. Cordelia was fun when she was a brat, but she did not mature well."

"Cordelia, but before the whole season four grossness."

"Definitely Fred... but the Fred who was making her way to being much edgier. I grew to like Cordelia, and then all that demon possession stuff ruined it. Sick of women being holy vessels for anything!"

"Fred, but it is close. Cordelia got her run (even if I was never entirely satisfied with the results). Fred, like the series itself, was hurried to her grave so we could have a big finish."

"Neither. Both should stay dead."

Question 10: "Not Fade Away" question: If you could choose only one of those four in the alley (Angel, Spike, Gunn, Illyria) to survive, who would it be?

When they finished cussing me out, most respondents picked Spike. Not a surprise.

56% Spike
20% Angel
12% Illyria
11% Gunn

There were a lot of fun comments on this question:

"One? ONE!!?!! You are evil. You are Senior Partner, aren't you?"

"I can't choose between them. It's like Olaf trying to make Xander choose between Willow and Anya. Insane troll logic."

"Illyria. Because she could regain her full powers, turn back time, and none of them, including Wesley, would die."

"Spike. I refuse to believe my boy is dead. Oh, um... I mean deader."

"My heart would break, but in the end... I'd choose Spike."

"Spike, Spike, Spike! Wanna ask me again? Spike, Spike, Spike!"

"Spike. It is, after all, Angel's last stand, Illyria prior to this episode was only annoying, and Gunn has no prophecy to be fulfilled in an as yet unfilmed Spike: The TV Movie."

"Illyria, because she just became a good guy in the last few minutes of the series... Illyria needs a chance to become a hero."

"Gunn. The other three will probably survive."

"Spike. He's going to Shanshu, you know."

* * *

And that's all for now, folks. I'm tremendously sad that both Buffy and Angel are over; I reviewed every episode of both shows and they've been a huge part of my life for eight years. Here's hoping that Joss Whedon takes pity on us and finds it in his heart to bring the Buffyverse back somehow. (Yes, I know, but as far as I'm concerned, cartoons and comics don't count.)

Again, thanks to everyone who participated. Fans are the absolute best.
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

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