Top positive review
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One of the best TV shows ever...
on 26 March 2006
If you've yet to see any of Angel, you're in for a treat. I was a massive Buffy fan but I was a bit worried that the spin-off might not be as good. I needn't have been concerned - Angel matches up to (and in my opinion often eclipses) Buffy, and is a complete success. It's aimed at a slightly older audience, and is darker, sexier and more violent.
David Boreanaz does a fantastic job as the tortured vampire Angel, and really comes out of his shell both as a character and an actor. His comedy skills are even put to use on occasion - in the episode 'Sense and Sensitivity', for example, he is laugh-out-loud hilarious. He is supported by Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia, who shines here as she develops from the shallow rich girl that she played in Buffy to a funny, sassy and ultimately very brave character, who I liked much more than I was expecting to.
David and Charisma also have support in the first half of the season from the late Glenn Quinn as the charming, rough-and-tumble, heavy-drinking, half-demon Doyle. He is amazing in the part and sadly missed by everyone. The second half of the season brings back Alexis Denisof as Wesley, who also develops into a much more rounded and likeable character than he was on Buffy, and also gets a chance to be very funny.
The plots of the show are mostly pretty simple in this season, and there is no overarching storyline. It follows the kind of monster-of-the-week format of Buffy Season 1, but it does this very well, and almost every episode is tense, gripping and with fantastic special effects. Also as it's the first season we get to see all the different character relationships emerging, the set-up of Angel Investigations, and the development of the evil law-firm Wolfram & Hart which features heavily in seasons 2-5.
There are also lots of Buffy crossovers. Spike appears in the 3rd episode, Buffy in the 8th, and Faith in 2 episodes towards the end of the season. All these appearances are fantastic (especially the heartbreaking, tearjerking one by Buffy), but they are by no means the only reason the watch the show. Angel is not dependent on Buffy - it's a great show in its own right, and one well worth discovering.
The DVD boxset itself has been rereleased in a plastic amaray-style case, which is more practical but not as attractive as the first cardboard book-style release. Special features include audio commentaries on 'City Of' and 'Rm W A Vu', the scripts for 'Five by Five' and 'Sanctuary' (the 2 Faith episodes), a stills gallery, cast biographies, and 4 featurettes which introduce the characters of Angel and Cordelia, discuss some of the demons used, and give an overview of the series. The featurettes are very short but do include interview snippets from David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter and Alexis Denisof, which is good. It's very odd to see Wesley with an American accent! The special features are probably the weakest out of all the series but it doesn't matter - with a show this good, you could probably get away with having no extras at all!
5 stars - exciting, funny, and all-round brilliant, it will have you glued to the screen.