Angel - The Series

Angel - The Series
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When �Angel� was spun-off I watched the show for a couple weeks at the most. It just didn�t have that �Buffy� vibe anymore because it focused too much on demon-of-the-week adventures and not the Buffy-verse we�d grown to love � psychotically! There was some Irish guy that had visions then the actor killed himself in real-life so they made his character transfer his powers to Cordy in his final hoorah� I just couldn�t get into it for some reason.

I did however catch the episode I like to call �The Episode of Tears� in which Buffy comes to LA and they have one day together. One fateful day with Angel basking in the sun on the beach (my crying at the sight of him in the sun and Buffy�s happiness), one fateful day that would crush fans world-wide as it�s revealed that Buffy could never remember their one true day together, furthering her distance from Angel and driving yet another stake of torment into his already frozen heart. It made me weep folks, it was damn good!

From that point on, I watched the cross-over episodes only. Buffy came to LA again, Willow and Oz made some visits separately. Then came Faith. I caught her soul regaining episodes from Season One because, as you know� You gotta have Faith.

Flash-forward to me catching the Pylea episodes where Fred is introduced as a slave and Cordy becomes Queen of Pylea (Season Two I believe); I was intrigued by the social commentary but it was scheduled against some other show I watched. Couldn�t commit.

Then I heard that Angel had a kid with Darla and that somehow in the matter of episodes that kid became like 18 years old and he had longish hair which annoyed me. Couldn�t watch.

Jump to hearing that Gina Torres (of �Firefly� and �Alias� fame) would be guesting and I was there! I witnessed some of the most mesmerizing episodic television in years when Cordy gave birth to a God named Jasmine. It showcased Amy Acker�s Fred as the strong one and I immediately connected with her in these Invasion of the Body Snatchers-ish episodes. I had thought Fred to be annoying in those Pylea episodes and this was really my first real interaction with her true character. I loved her. Wait, is that Cordy in a coma? Damn, my girl was written out of the show and with bad hair and a pot-belly after having slept with Angel�s son. I�m so confused. Oh, she�s preggers in real life. What the hell have I missed?

I made the effort to catch as many episodes as possible after Jasmine came to town and it was revealed on internet sites that Spike would make his way to �Angel� after �Buffy� ends her run. Sweet! I can still get my Whed-On. I saw Angel get rid of his son, Cordy die from her Coma and what the hay? Is that Wolfram & Hart The same W&H I remembered from the few episodes in Season One I watched? Huh.

Season Five began with a bang! Spike was an instant hit as Angel and Co. took over Wolfram & Hart, the evil law firm I didn�t realize still played a part in the show. Harmony came on as Angel�s secretary and the much needed Valley Girl comedy in Cordy�s absence. I mean, hello they were once best friends she was the perfect choice not to mention a perfect thorn in Spike�s ghostly side given their strained past.

I quickly became attached to those new gang of Scoobies. I always liked the big gay green guy (Lorne) so it was great to see him shine as a wise-crackin� regular. Everyone gelled and I obviously missed something in those three or four years I didn�t give this show a chance. Fred was killed and turned into this Big Blue demon God named Ilyria. Fred�s demise was surprisingly upsetting for me (as well as Wesley and Gunn) and my love of Amy Acker solidified. When she was put in the position to pretend to be her old self for Fred�s parents, I �bout cried my eyes out. It was painful for Wesley and myself. It was an unselfish thing on Ilyria�s part and gave hope that Fred still lives in some ways. The ending was incredible as the �Shanshoo Prophecy� was in question (Spike or Angel) and the apocalypse began and assumedly raged on well after the series ended.

I was sad to have missed out on so much of what was obviously not just a companion piece to �Buffy� but a full blown series of its own. Double damn.

Hey looky-loo TNT airs �Angel� like 1000 times a day! I realized that although it�s shown at both 8am and 5pm each day that they do not run in order. So if I watch the 8am it could be from Season Four, but the 5pm could be Season One. That�s damn confusing! Finally I figured out the pattern. TNT is running them in order during their respective times. So about a month ago I realized that the 5pm �Angel� was toward the end of Season One and the only reason I realized this was because the interactive FauxVo guide was listing an episode named �Five By Five� and I thought well hell FauxVo, that�s a Faith episode!!! Further investigation into the FauxVo guide told me that the 5pm airings were in order, continuing on with Season One and leading into Season Two. Score! Set a series record for the 5pm on my FauxVo and we have a renewed fan!

So far, I am about half way through Season Two and am reluctant to say that �Angel� may very well be as good if not more cohesive than �Buffy,� my first love. I know, those 7 �Buffy� dvd box-sets on my shelf say differently, but having now watched a good fifteen to twenty episodes of �Angel� I�m ravished with its Whedon goodness. There is just so much more story to �Angel� than there was to �Buffy.� �Buffy� was more about the relationships and the evolving if not revolving storyline year to year. In just the few episodes I�ve seen, I�ve learned more about Angel, Spike, Darla, and Drusilla than I did in all the time they were on �Buffy� and why they are who they are. It not only supports what started on �Buffy� it surpasses it in its mythology and lore. It�s incredibly rich in its own history, compelling, and has a clear objective now that I�m watching. The goal has always been stopping Wolfram & Hart and the impending Apocalypse while finding redemption for Angel. Having seen the final season and how this show ends, it is working towards that goal(s) from Season One and never falters.

On �Buffy� there was always the Big Bad of the Season whether it was the Master (who reappears in �Angel� again with incredible backstory � he sired Darla!), The Mayor, Adam, Glory, the Troika, Evil Willow, or The First. They were great but there was never a real cohesion between them. Yes, in retrospect the show was incredibly well planned and realizing that The First and the Bringers were mentioned in Season One or Two just adds to the fact that the Buffyverse was wide yet narrow in scope. It was always intelligent, always engaging, dramatic, and funny it�s �Buffy� for Christ sake - all I�m saying is that �Angel� is far better than I gave it credit for.

Favorite Moment So Far: Season Two � Episode 9 �The Trial�: Episodes earlier, Darla is brought back as a human by Wolfram & Hart then told she is dying from Syphilis (the disease she carried before becoming a vamp 400 years prior). She tries to get Angel to turn her into a vamp again to end her torture but he refuses. She goes out in search of another sire but eventually is brow beaten by Angel into accepting her fate, she has reconciled that she will finally die. Tormented by the choice to save her or let her die, he competes in the Trials which if he succeeds, gives her eternal life. He does succeed but only to discover that because she has already been brought back to life once, nothing can be done.
Later, Angel is comforting her in the run down Motel she�s hiding out from W&H in when Lindsay (W&H) shows up to alter their plans. As thugs beat the hell out of Angel and hold him down, others take hold of Darla. In true Whedon dramatic fashion in drifts W&H�s check mate� Drusilla! The fear and despair in Angel�s eyes cannot hold back his tears as Dru sinks her teeth into Darla�s pasty white neck! IT�S AMAZING! I fucking love it! One person�s redemption ripped from them leaving Angel alone once again. I re-watched that scene about 10 times because it�s just so perfect.


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