Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
Heavy on the arc!
on 18 December 2006
One word of warning (ok a few words!) do not watch this season if you have never seen Angel before, it will only confuse and frustrate you. Things will make more sense if you watch the whole series in linear order. This season is only enjoyable if one understands the circumstances surrounding the events that take place within the season; therefore prior knowledge of past seasons is very important. But anyway, on with the review!
Season 4 of Angel was probably the most ambitious and complicated piece of story telling they attempted on the series. Essentially season 4 is a movie stretched over 22 episodes (there are very few stand alone episodes); obviously there are both good points and difficulties in doing this.
The good being the level of detail and character development that comes with executing such an ambitious season, but equally it does suffer in that if you miss an episode it does get rather confusing and the story arc can grow rather tiresome after a certain point; namely Cordelia and Connors contribution, but maybe that's just me.
Despite the negative aspects, if you have the time and patience to watch it you will be greatly rewarded; for the level of continuity running throughout the season and past seasons is lovely, especially if you are an avid viewer, it's like being rewarded for the observance when watching past episodes.
Season 4 does unfold at a steady pace and almost every episode ends with a mini cliff-hanger to help hold ones interest; and believe me it does what it says on the tin. One way to explain the complicated story arc is to break it up into sections: the first section is about resolving the events of the end of season 3, namely finding Cordelia and Angel... which thus leads to the Beast arc, which leads to the Beasts Master, then to Angelus and Faith, then onto Jasmine the `happy shiny' Goddess, and finally the resolve of Connor in the last episode `Home'.
That's the basic season plot (though obviously I didn't give much away), this stretches across the entire 22 episode run and despite having so much continuity and detail to tie in it was handled well by the writers, on the whole this season is very good. Although season 4 is the darkest season which can grate slightly, as one does get tired of having so much angst constantly hanging over the group, but what keeps us going is the knowledge that season 5 is amazing and that season 4 is an entertaining story, even if it is long. Just remember the first viewing of this season is always the best so enjoy it!
Highlights of the season include: `Orpheus' which allows us into Angels mind and sees Willow making a return to L.A to restore Angels soul, while episodes like `Players', `Apocalypse, Nowish', `Spin the Bottle' and `The Magic Bullet' all provide good solid story telling.
8/10 Not the best season, but not the worst: the continuity and creativity of the story is both epic and imaginative, well worth watching.