Why ‘Angel’ Was Cancelled

To paraphrase the great American poet Nelly Furtado, all good things must come to an end eventually. After viewers bid farewell to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 2003, fans found some comfort in knowing that Angel would continue to tell stories set in the same universe for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, Angel’s days were also numbered by that point, with the show concluding one year later.

Angel followed the titular character and his colleagues as they battle supernatural and demonic foes in the city of Los Angeles. At first, they just want to help people with problems and keep their Angel Investigations business afloat. Over time, though, they are tasked with protecting the world from threats that are much bigger than your average monster-of-the-week scenario. Over the course of five seasons, Angel established himself as a compelling solo star and the series brought an adult sheen to a franchise that had previously been associated with coming-of-age-adult themes. If only it lasted forever.

So what led to the cancellation of Joss Whedon’s beloved Buffy spinoff, and will we ever get to see David Boreanaz show his fangs again?

Blame Joss Whedon for Angel’s cancellation

Angel and Spike


Things were looking great for Angel during Season 5. Ratings were up and the reviews were positive, which is always a good sign for any show that’s been around for years. But Whedon wanted some assurances over Angel’s future, so he marched into the offices of Warner Bros. and demanding a renewal months before the execs were set to make that decision. With their backs against the wall, they opted to pull the plug on the popular horror series. While Angel was a hit, it was an expensive show to produce. Furthermore, this was around the time the network was looking to launch new programming following the introduction of The CW.

That said, Angel would probably have continued if Whedon gave the decision-makers more time to mull it over. According to producer David Fury in a 2004 interview with Mike Jozic, one top network executive regretted the decision to cut Angel at the height of its popularity.

“I believe [former Chairman of WB Television Network) Garth Ancier at The WB said that it was a big mistake to cancel Angel. There was a power play that happened that just didn’t fall out the way they wanted it to. We wanted to get an early pick-up, we didn’t. In fact, we forced them to make a decision, and with his hand forced he made the decision to cancel us.”

Will Angel ever be revived?

The cast of Angel in the finale

Angel’s finale, “Not Fade Away,” ends on an almighty cliffhanger. The titular vampire and the gang are surrounded by demons and dragons, ready for the next round in their apocalyptic battle against the Senior Partners’ minions. Angel picks up his sword and says, “Let’s get to work.” Cue the end credits and a lack of closure. For many viewers, the open-ended approach was interpreted as a way to bring the show back down the line. However, Whedon insists that Angel’s conclusion was supposed to signify that the vampire still had some more atoning to do.

However, you can never rule out a revival in this day and age. Even Twin Peaks and The X-Files found their way back to the screens after being gone for years. Angel’s comeback is unlikely for a couple of reasons, though. First of all, the misconduct allegations made against Whedon in recent months have effectively blacklisted him. As a result, it’s unlikely that anyone involved in Angel’s creation will work with him again. Then there’s the fact that David Boreanaz and James Marsters don’t want to reprise their roles as Angel and Spike now that they’re a few years older. Vampires aren’t supposed to age, and they’ve matured by 17 years since that bittersweet finale.

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