There are so many other characters in the mix, including another “Buffy” alum, Spike (James Marsters) who gets a soul like Angel, but is a ghost for quite a bit. There’s also Darla (Julie Benz), Angel’s creator and former lover (for 150 years), whom he killed on “Buffy.” I won’t even try to explain how that happens, but it involves an evil law firm called Wolfram & Hart.
Though the series starts with a crime-fighting team up between Angel and Detective Kate Lockley (Elisabeth Röhm) and a hint of romance between them, it very much feels like the writers saw what was working and what wasn’t, and put the focus on Cordelia instead. Her character alone (and Carpenter’s performance) is a reason to watch the show, despite the fact that they did her character dirty towards the end. (I’m not getting into what Carpenter said about why that is, but I encourage you to read it for yourself.)
Cordelia goes from a self-absorbed former rich girl to a powerful and very funny hero. It’s the biggest arc, I think, in the Buffy universe (with the possible exception of Anya the demon in “Buffy”), and it’s wonderful and wildly compelling to watch. Seriously, I don’t want to overstate this, but it feels somehow pure and joyous, the way she retains her quippy sense of humor and her absolute pleasure in still loving the things she loves (expensive clothing, shopping, that sort of thing) while being a power for good. It’s something we really didn’t see that often back then for women on TV. Either you were a frivolous person who likes expensive things and shopping and is generally a shallow jerk, or you eschewed that stuff (all the while still looking pretty, because of course) and were pure of intention.