Spinning out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel ran on The WB from 1999-2004. The series aired for five seasons before being unceremoniously canceled. Angel followed the titular vampire with a soul (David Boreanaz) as he moved on from both Sunnydale and Buffy, setting up shop as a paranormal private investigator in Los Angeles. Aided by his ever-expanding rag-tag group of companions, Angel began to “help the helpless”.
Although Buffy and Angel are a love story for the ages and the slayer did appear multiple times on the spinoff series, that romance really belongs on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer list. Let's look back at the romances that were central to Angel.
10 Worst - Cordelia and Angel
This has nothing to do with the beautiful friendship built up between these two over the course of several seasons. That was a vital component of the series, one that was ruined when the writers decided to give them romantic feelings towards one another.
Charisma Carpenter and Boreanaz had plenty of chemistry as friends, but putting Cordelia and Angel together in this way always felt awkward. It also undermines the intelligence of the audience to assume that we can’t appreciate a layered and complex friendship between a man and a woman. Carpenter’s real-life pregnancy inadvertently wound up throwing a wrench in those gears anyway, but these two were always better as friends.
9 Best - Fred and Wesley
Fred and Gunn may have been adorable, but Wesley and Fred were Angel's best couple. Fans watched the former watcher pine silently for Fred, even as she was looking everywhere but at him. When the sparks finally started flying between these two, it was just as perfect as viewers knew it would be. However, in typical Joss Whedon fashion, they got together just in time for one of them to die.
Fred and Wesley understood each other in a way that no one else really understood either of them. Even after Fred’s tragic death, Amy Acker remained on the show as the ancient being responsible for her demise. Illyria fell for Wes and though he could never return her affections, their dynamic was one of the best aspects of season 5's final episodes.
8 Worst - Cordelia and Connor
This abomination never should’ve happened. It’s no one’s fault that Carpenter got pregnant during season 4 and the writers had to scramble to write around it. However, this poor narrative decision was obviously someone’s mistake. It’s not only gross because Cordy held Connor as baby, but also, there were no sparks between Vincent Kartheiser and Carpenter.
In the end, this was just another way to keep Angel and Cordelia apart. Yes, we know that it wasn’t really Cordy at the wheel here, meaning this romance was kind of between Jasmine and Connor. Either way, this relationship was just icky and wasted the arcs of both characters.
7 Best - Darla and Angelus
This relationship was introduced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it was Angel that really expanded on it. These two really did have an epic romance that spanned literal centuries. Angelus and Darla may not have been quite as much fun as Spike and Dru, but fans loved seeing them together.
Angel was never truly in love with Darla the way that the demon trapped inside him was, but the season 2 arc in which he struggled in vain to save her was one of the show’s best stories. Also, there’s no denying the chemistry between Julie Benz and David Boreanaz.
6 Worst - Cordelia and Groo
This relationship started out really sweet but it probably should’ve stayed in Pylea. Cordelia lived out her very own fairytale romance but it was once her prince came looking for her that the trouble really began. The Groosalugg, better known as Groo, worshipped the ground Cordy walked on and even traversed dimensions to get to her.
They were happy for a few precious episodes but Cordelia quickly threw him aside in favor of being there for Angel. To be fair, the vampire had a lot going on. Viewers never really got invested in this relationship, because by this point it had become apparent that the writers were intent on shoehorning in a romance between Angel and Cordelia. So, it was kind of hard to root for this couple.
5 Best - Wesley and Lilah
We know that this relationship could not be even remotely construed as healthy, but it was so much fun to watch it unfold. Wesley really got the best character arc out of everyone on Angel and a lot of those exciting developments began during this romance. Aside from that, Stephanie Romanov and Alexis Denisoff were perfect in their scenes together.
Obviously, Lilah and Wesley were never the endgame here. However, she proved a lifeline for him when he’d lost everything. Lilah was always a great villain, but her relationship with Wes was the one thing that actually humanized her. Their time together may have been a tangled web of lies, but their feelings for each other were certainly real.
4 Worst - Angel and Nina
This is about wasted potential more than anything else. Due to Angel’s cancellation, fans never got to see how this relationship would play out. The fact that Nina was a werewolf did help her to better understand the monster within Angel.
This romance does get points for one thing though: proving that Angel could have sex without losing his soul. The entire series had held fast to the ridiculous notion that the vampire couldn’t be intimate with anyone on account of his tortured soul. This idea diminished his love for Buffy and also assumed that “perfect happiness” was possible to attain with anyone. It’s great that Angel finally got a fling, but this was no epic love story.
3 Best - Fred and Gunn
Fred and Wesley may be Angel’s OTP, but Fred and Gunn were absolutely adorable. When Fred joined up with Angel Investigations, everyone assumed she’d go for Wesley, but it was Charles Gunn that quickly stole her heart. Their courtship was so sweet and the relationship between them was actually one of the healthiest ever seen on the show.
The problem was that Fred and Gunn simply couldn’t weather the storms that came their way. Things got hard and they crumbled under the pressure, which was fine since it left Fred to pursue a romance with Wesley. Even though they didn’t last, these two were still a great couple.
2 Worst - Lindsey and Eve
No one was ever supposed to root for these two, but the Buffyverse has proven on more than one occasion that fans can fall in love with villainous couples too. Bringing Lindsey back in season 5 was a great plot twist and Eve was a fine character on her own. Together though, there was little to love here.
Lindsey and Eve were fine and all, but certainly one of the show’s weaker pairings. Ultimately, they were cooler characters apart than they were together. To be fair, their romance was never a focal point of the series, though previous Big Bads definitely outshone them.
1 Best - Cordelia and Doyle
Doyle’s death was a total shock to viewers. The show wasn’t even halfway through season 1 when the half-demon sacrificed himself in an undeniably heroic moment. Because of this, we’ll never really know what a real romance between Cordy and Doyle would've looked like. That doesn't mean we can't dream.
There was undeniable onscreen heat between Carpenter and the late Glenn Quinn, and fans were rooting for them to become a couple from the start. Doyle was into Cordy since the day they met and who could blame him? Unfortunately, it took her a while to warm up to the idea. Once again, this is a Joss Whedon show, so once Cordy finally realized that she could have feelings for Doyle, it was too late.