Few series have ever captured an audience the way Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin off, Angel. have. Each episode and show gifted us with truly memorable and often lovable characters, but out of all the great lines and moral-yet-oddly-immoral characters who came and went, none were more beloved than Doyle.
Frances Doyle only appeared in nine episodes, yet he left an indelible mark on those of us who watched and loved the show from the very beginning. Indeed, his death was like losing a real friend. For years now, I have grappled with why Doyle had to die so early in the first season only to be replaced by characters who, to me at least, weren’t nearly as high caliber. Not to mention why the loss of that one character almost made me stop watching the show entirely. I didn’t, but those remaining first season episodes that followed left me cold.
Part of the reason could have been that the show was feeling out its new and separate identity from Buffy. After all, it’s quite a challenge to build a whole new series based on another one without rehashing the same characters and situations over and over again. In this, I give Joss Whedon and the show’s writers eternal respect. They did a remarkable job of giving Angel its own unique look, characters and plots.
To me Doyle was one of the keys to setting up that separation. He was much darker and edgier than any of the Buffy characters, especially …