Before the show ended last year, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was an odd place for Christians to find spiritual truths, but those who did could find similar spiritual themes being explored on the spin-off Angel. Created by Joss Whedon, who also created Buffy, Angel's finale will be tonight. And like Buffy, the show attracted a theologically-minded audience. Jana Riess is the author of What Would Buffy Do?: The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide. She has an M.Div. from Princeton Seminary and a Ph.D. in religion from Columbia University.
What are the basic story lines of Buffy and Angel?
Buffy is about Buffy Summers who, as the show begins, is a high school sophomore, who wants to have a normal life. She's just moved to a new town, but her calling follows her. Her calling is to be the Slayer, the one person in her generation who is chosen to stand against the vampires and other evil creatures that plague the world. And this lovely California town that she moves to, named Sunnydale, is situated on the mouth of hell, so all of these nasty creatures are drawn to this place because of its deep, mystical energy.
Angel started after Buffy had been in production for three years. It followed Buffy's on-again/off-again boyfriend, who is a vampire with a soul. Most vampires are soulless, but Angel, because of a gypsy curse, struggles with having a soul, which makes him feel, on the one hand, absolutely terrible for all of the murders that he has committed through his decades as a vampire but, on the other hand, just as committed to working on the side of good to try to achieve some kind of redemption for himself.1