The cast of Angel: 10 years on
Sarah digs into the post-Angel careers of David Boreanaz, Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Charisma Carpenter and more...
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.
(A quick warning, though: even if you’ve come completely to terms with the passage of time and your own mortality, there are a couple of extra-sad updates in this article, so prepare yourselves 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.
So Hollywood may never have exactly come calling, but Boreanaz seems to be making a decent living on the small screen, and if nine series’ worth of a show say anything, it’s that he’s probably pretty comfortable there.
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.
Here’s one of the sad stories I told you to prepare yourself for. Glenn Quinn was only in the first season of Angel, where he played the half-demon Doyle; some sources claim the character was always meant to be killed off early, while others say that Quinn’s real life drug problems meant he had to be written out.
It seems kind of poor taste to speculate about it much further, since, whatever the truth, Quinn died from a drug overdose at the tragically young age of 32. His last work was R.S.V.P., a comedy crime drama about the perfect murder.
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.
Here’s the other sad one. Andy Hallett played the karaoke-singing demon Lorne in Angel, though you might have to squint a bit to recognise him without the vivid green makeup. After Angel, he voiced the cricket in children’s animation Geppetto’s Secret, and was beginning to pursue a music career, but a heart condition caused by a complication from a dental infection led to his early death, aged just 33. Which just doesn’t seem fair.
Julie Benz was in the very first scene of the very first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and as Angel’s sire, it only made sense that she made the jump over to his show, too. Well, it sort of made sense, given that Darla got killed off in an episode of Buffy, but she was such an interesting character the writers just kept bringing her back.
After Angel, she’s done a hell of a lot of TV work: first a string of TV movies, and then an episode of Supernatural, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and CSI Miami. She appeared in the second best Saw sequel, Saw V, and in Rambo and Punisher: War Zone before returning to the small screen for a regular role in Dexter. She also played recurring characters in Desperate Housewives, No Ordinary Family, and A Gifted Man. Most recently, she scored a regular part in the post-apocalyptic sci-fi show Defiance. With all the sci-fi and horror these actors end up doing, it’s almost like they’re being typecast or something…
Here’s someone who managed to escape, though. On Angel, Vincent Kartheiser played one of the Whedonverse’s most hated characters: Angel’s son, Connor. Apparently he’s not bothered about being hated, though, because he’s currently playing another terrible, awful, infinitely punchable character in Mad Men. Pete Campbell might be one of the most horrible characters ever to appear in anything, and Kartheiser seems to take a kind of glee in making him progressively slimier and more detestable. Which is a talent, definitely, just maybe not one everyone would fancy having.
Between the two TV shows, Kartheiser made a handful of terrible films, and did some voice acting in reptile Western Rango and in detective game L.A. Noire, alongside his Mad Men co-star Aaron Staton. His latest project is an in-production movie called Red Knot, where he plays a horrible husband whose wife abandons him on their honeymoon on board an Antarctic research vessel. Let’s face it, though, Mad Men is what he’s gonna be remembered for.
Remember how super-evil lawyer Lindsey sometimes played guitar in Angel? Yeah, that was all Christian Kane. He now plays in a country rock band, Kane (bet he thought long and hard about that name, right?) and has actually had some success in that scene.
Acting-wise, he’s done alright since Angel, too. He was in Friday Night Lights, and in the TV show Close to Home, before landing a regular role on crime drama Leverage – for five seasons. Since 2012, he hasn’t been in much, but he has just finished filming a movie about the Kentucky Derby, 50 to 1, alongside Skeet Ulrich.
Multi-lingual former models probably have lots of options open to them, career-wise, no? Weirdly, it’s hard to know much about what Stephanie Romanov, Angel’s other main evil lawyer, has been up to since the show finished.
The IMDB has just four post-Angel credits for her: The Final Cut, a sci-fi thriller starring Robin Williams; Tricks, an indie movie no-one seems to know anything about; Last Night, a relationship drama starring Keira Knightley; and Slumber Party Slaughter, a nonsensical horror movie about strippers and haunted cemetaries. Lilah, what happened?
Mercedes McNab played another one of those Buffyverse characters that probably shouldn’t have stuck around for as long as they did, but were so much fun the writers couldn’t resist bringing them back again – and again and again. Cordelia’s former best friend, Harmony, should’ve been dead when she got bitten by a vampire at the end of Buffy’s third season, but she turned up in a later Buffy episode as a unicorn-obsessed vamp, and eventually made the jump to Angel as a receptionist for Wolfram & Hart.
McNab seemed to have a talent for comedy, but hasn’t really done much of it since Angel finished. Instead, she had minor roles in Reaper and Supernatural, and then got stuck in low budget horror movies – you might’ve seen her in Hatchet and Hatchet II, but chances are Dark Reel, XII, Thirst, Vipers, and Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf have passed you by. (That last one might be worth watching just for the title though.) Her most recent project is Glass Heels, a 2011 TV movie about strippers.
That ended on a pretty depressing note, didn’t it? Anyone up for an Angel marathon, to remember the good times?
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