Monday, April 6, 2009

TV shows you should own on DVD: Angel

Like I mentioned in my post on Thursday, I’m a big fan of the TV series Angel, and I think it’s unjustified that it is often perceived just as a Buffy spin off. Of course it is a spin off, but this series is so much more than that.

Granted, the first season (or maybe even the first two seasons) it was just a spinoff. It was like Buffy, only without Buffy and Willow. The show needed some time to figure out what it was going to be, besides an ode to Angel, my least favourite Buffy character ever.

I’m serious, I never cared for the good looking brooding vampire with a soul. Whereas many of my straight friends thought he was hot and the story line with him and Buffy romantic, I just thought it was boring and kind of creepy.

Boring because of, well, the straight relationship crap, but creepy for the fact that Angel is a 200 plus year old vampire, having a relationship with a 16-year-old girl. Yes, people, Buffy was only 16 when they started dating. Creepy.

Anyway, as much as I disliked the Angel on Buffy, I started to love the Angel on Angel. The spin off created the opportunity to really explore the character of Angel, and make him more dimensional, than just the brooding vampire.

Even though the guy never stopped brooding, moaning and complaining all five seasons long. But it was bearable, because we got to see different sides of him, like the fact that he was really funny. Angel with a sense of humor, who would have thought?

What really works is in later seasons, it’s not just about Angel, but about this group of people who save the regular folks from vampires, demons and what not. It consists of Buffy characters Cordelia and Wesley, and three newcomers, lovely Fred who they rescue from the Pilea, Gunn a street kid who used to hunt vampires, and Lorne, a telepathic demon – but a good one of course – played by the late Andy Hallet.
The other person, besides Angel, who got a complete personality change over the course of the Angel seasons, was Wesley. If you’ve only watched Buffy, you probably think of Wesley Wyndom Price as a big stuffy dork.

In Angel he starts off a big dork, but develops into so much more. He learns to stand up for himself, how to fight demons and to explore a darker and rougher side of him. Of course, he will always remain a dork, but a cool one.

At least I thought so. Wesley is in fact my favourite Angel character. All the highlights of the show for me include Wesley in a big way. Like in Season 3, when after months and months of having a huge crush on Fred (played by Amy Acker, who is now starring in Dollhouse), he gets his heart broken when he sees her making out with Gunn instead.

The scene is complete with Wesley dropping his fencing sword, then dropping on his knees. It’s the same episode in which Angel and Cordelia make out (yes, in this parallel universe Cordelia is so much nicer and more dimensional than the shallow bitch she was on Buffy), which is probably one of the few straight sex scenes on the show that I thought was really really hot.

Another great show arc for me, was when Wesley finds out in an ancient prophecy that Angel is going to kill his son (Angel fathers a child with vampire Darla, don’t ask how that’s possible. Just watch the show instead), therefore he decides to steal Angel’s newborn and run away with it.

He ends up getting his throat cut by Justine (played by no other than Laurel Holloman. I thought she was so much hotter as Justine, than as Tina. Although much less stable.), who runs off with Angel’s baby and leaves him to die. The worst thing for Wesley is not almost dying, but finding out the prophecy was fake and he lost Angel’s son for nothing.

Not only that, but the betrayal is so big that Angel and all the others want nothing more to do with him. I could go on and on about this storyline, and why it was so great. But it was, and still is.

If I haven’t convinced you yet that this show is awesome, you might like the fact that there are a lot of Buffy crossovers, like Buffy shows up a few times, and so does Willow. In Season 4 she comes to do a spell to turn Angel good again, and during this kinda flirts with Fred. Faith also appears in quite a number of episodes

Another character that shows up for most of Season five is Spike. Yes, Spike as a ghost. It’s kind of fun and amusing, even though I must admit I like him much better on Buffy. I think his story was finished once he set himself on fire on Buffy.

All in all Angel is a really good show. If you are into shows like Buffy, or even if you are not, do check out these series on DVD. Skip the first season if you must, and get straight to the good stuff.

Watch the awesome promos of Season 3 and 4 here and here.

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