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Angel: TV Review

IN THE October 25 ISSUE

FROM THE 2014 Articles,
andFantasy & Fangs,
andTV
SECTIONS

by Trista Holmes
& Liliana Costa

In the midst of fog and dust, leftover from the detonation of Sunnydale High School, Buffy Summers’ heart throb, Angel, made a place for himself in Los Angeles, protecting the unsuspecting citizens from all sorts of demons. Series creator, Joss Whedon, stated that after the episode Surprise (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s second season) hit the airwaves, he knew actor, David Boreanaz, could carry his own show. Thus leading to the ensouled vampire landing his own spin-off, which spanned for five seasons, encompassing not only new ideas, and some substantially creepier episodes than the pioneer series, but brought both new faces together with familiar ones.buffy

Angel starts out in LA living in true Angel fashion… brooding and keeping to himself. That is, until he meets Doyle, a lovable half demon with the ability to see visions. Giving him the push that he needs, Doyle helps Angel see that he can make a larger difference than what he realizes. Upon Doyle’s first vision to help an aspiring actress, Angel stumbles upon a familiar face, straight out of Sunnydale, Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), who has also come to LA to break into the acting circuit, but hasn’t had much luck. Together, the three of them decide to start Angel Investigations, a team that helps the helpless.

Angel Investigations also sees another familiar face making his entrance in the very near future. Wesley (Alexis Denisof), who has gone from a stodgy Watcher on Buffy to rogue demon hunter, joins forces with them, bringing brains to the team, as well as a newfound fighting ability that Wesley has seemed to develop. Wesley showing up couldn’t be more spot on since they encounter a cadre of different types of enemies. As if the vampires and demons weren’t enough to deal with, let’s bring in the rest of the crazies…everything from a doctor who can make his own body parts to move of their own volition, while detached from his body, to a lawfirm called Wolfram and Hart, that is anything but normal.

The series becomes a little darker than Buffy, with definitely a different tone. While the laughs are still there, so are a lot of tense moments.

The series is packed with crossovers from the pioneer series. The episode “In the Dark” brings Oz (Seth Green) to Los Angeles to bring Angel the sought after Ring of Amara, which renders vampires indestructible. Spike follows after Oz, in pursuit of the ring, but fails miserably, leading to the destruction of the coveted item. “I Will Remember You” finds the Slayer herself in Los Angeles after discovering Angel’s been in Sunnydale, and didn’t even say hello. The reunion is cut short as the two are attacked by a Morha demon whose blood mixes with Angel’s, making him human, and allowing he and Buffy to spend the day together. Angel realizes that he cannot remain human, and seeks help to return to his demon self, causing time to be turned back 24 hours. Rogue slayer, Faith (Eliza Dushku), a familiar face to fans of the Buffyverse, jumps on board for five episodes. Other appearances include Willow (Alyson Hannigan) in three episodes. Darla (Julie Benz) appeared in the first season of Buffy and was later resurrected by Wolfram and Hart as a human. Drusilla (Juliet Landau) is brought in to sire Darla. Harmony (Mercedes McNab) first appears in the episode Disharmony, before going on to becoming a series regular. Spike (James Marsters) would also become a series regular after the demise of Sunnydale brought Buffy to a close.angel

Adding to the familiar faces, we’ve got some newbies making the scene as well. We’ve mentioned Doyle (Glenn Quinn) already as one of the founders of Angel Investigations, but we also have Charles Gunn (J. August Richards), a former freelance vampire hunter, Angel’s son Connor (Vincent Kartheiser), a karaoke loving demon named Lorne (Andy Hallet), who hails from an alternate dimension known as Pylea, which leads us to our next new face, Fred (Amy Acker), who is rescued, by Angel and the rest of the crew, from Pylea, the land where there is no music, but dancing exists. The beauty in it all? How well the chemistry among old and new actors falls into step, making the transitions between season to season much smoother.

As with anything, there are some pros and cons to Angel. The Pylea arc was enjoyable in its entirety, while the Faith arc kept viewers on the edge of their seats, not knowing if she’d come back to the side of good, or continue living the life of a murderous fugitive filled with rage. Some moments, were completely gut wrenching, like the episode A Hole in the World, in which Fred suffered great pain, as her death approached, with a heartbroken Wesley keeping watch, until the demon Illyria inhabited Fred’s former shell. Then there is the undeniably messed up relationship between Cordelia and Connor, in which a demon calling herself Jasmine comes forth…that’s just too disturbing to think about. Then again, Connor in general is probably one factor that made the show less enjoyable. Although, kudos to Vincent Katheiser for playing the part well!

It’s safe to say that even with darker tones, and the fan base not being as large as it is with Buffy, Angel won’t fade away into oblivion. Angel continues to live on in comic book form in the Angel & Faith comics.

Liliana Costa is a single mom of three children residing in Exeter, CA. Her love for the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer led her to launch a Facebook page called Buffy: The Fan Experience, which has been up since January and has already gained over 850 likes. She is an avid supporter of actress/author/director Amber Benson’s work, as well as Joss Whedon’s. For more of her writing, you can check out her blog, That’s What She Said .

Trista Holmes is a run of the mill Georgia girl with a twist. She has been involved in musical theater since she was three, dabbled in the writing circuit, and has since founded a website: www.spinecrackers.com in which she interviews authors and other various artists, talks about independent projects and occasionally even reviews a book or two.

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