At one time I received a lot of input concerning which TV show I should watch next, the top contenders being Lost, Torchwood and Angel. Although we picked up a factory-sealed Lost season one at Half Price Books a few weeks ago, we haven’t committed time to watching it yet. We’ve been re-watching Doctor Who seasons 1-4 and as soon as we finish up with that (three episodes left) we plan to move on to Torchwood, season one of which Tracy bought a couple of weeks ago. We did record the first two seasons of the third nominee off TV a couple of months ago, though, so although we will be watching all three eventually, the first place winner is… Angel!

I doubt we’ll be watching an episode each night as we did with Buffy (during summer repeat season), but now that I again have access to the board during the day, here are the notes I jotted down concerning the episodes we’ve watched so far.

CITY OF: I don’t know if you guys have Sonic drive-ins in your respective necks of the woods (I hadn’t heard of them until moving to Texas), but I think of them as “A&W without the root beer.” Whereas I use that term in a derogatory manner when referring to Sonic, I think Angel can be referred to as “the Slayer without Buffy”… in a good way.

It took me six seasons of Buffy to warm up to Spike as a sympathetic character, and I never did warm up to Angel, but I hadn’t realized until I saw her how much I missed Cordelia. This new Irish half-demon character, Doyle, seems to be shoe-horned in, but I’m sure he’ll grow on my over time.

LONELY HEARTS: What I liked about this episode is that there were enough clues for the viewer to deduce the true nature of the demon before the cast did.

IN THE DARK: If this were a comic book, the third issue would guest star Spider-Man; being a TV show, the third episode guest-starred Spike and Oz from Buffy. One day in the future, I’ll have to sit down and determine exactly how these two series fit together interstitially.

I FALL TO PIECES: Tracy is enjoying the show so far, but during this episode commented that, whereas Angel is a good spin-off, she didn’t think it would have much appeal on its own to non-Buffy-watchers. I countered that it did last five seasons.

RM W/A VU: So Cordelia now has a line-in ghost roommate? Will this situation be followed up throughout the series? Guess I’ll find out soon enough.

SENSE & SENSITIVITY: I had to go to sensitivity training once, did I ever tell you about that? I suggested to the instructor that instead of training the well-adjusted people to be more sensitive, they ought to take the sensitive people and toughen ‘em up a little. I like Angel’s romantic interest as a character.

BACHELOR PARTY: I forgot what I was going to say about this episode. I’m sure it was something insightful, though.

I WILL REMEMBER YOU: Wow, this watches like a missing episode of Buffy! I was wondering if Buffy is the only girl Angel can’t have sex with, or if he pretty much has to avoid it altogether now that he knows what might happen if he experiences another moment of happiness. And what a stupid provision to his curse, that it’s lifted if he experiences happiness. Somebody didn’t think that through!

That’s as many episodes as we’ve watched so far.

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The credits also give away some of the directions that the characters go in too.

I've currently got season 5 out of the library Jeff and have watched 3-4 episodes so far.
Figs: I think Angel suffers from being the 'grown-up' version of Buffy.

That's an astute observation. I'd agree with that assessment.

Figs: Whereas almost every season of Buffy revolved around the School/College year and were very distinct from each other, the Angel seasons sort of blurred into each other.

Until (apparently) season five.

Ana: Glad to see you back...I was starting to worry about you...

Actually, I haven't been anywhere. I am still here... every day... but unable to post. (See “”Is Anyone Else Having This Problem?” in the “Qeustions, Suggestions and Requests” forum.) I could post from home (as I'm doing now), but after 8-10 hours a day in front of a PC, I'm reluctant to cut into the time I use for reading, relaxing, watching TV, spending time with my wife, etc.

KSwolf: If you haven't yet started season 5, Jeff, you might want to skip the opening title sequence for the first episode.

Ooh, good advise, but too late! No biggie. Seeing him in the opening credits was enough of a surprise. Speaking of which, I think I've already thanked y'all for not revealing Spike's not-so-ultimate-as-it-turns-out destiny at the end of Buffy season seven, but I'd like to thank you again for not revealing the developments of Angel season five. It's funny... As reluctant as I was to accept Spike as a "good" vampire, he did eventually win me over, and I was actually glad to see him back. Right now I'm four episodes in to season five.
The problem I’ve been having posting cleared up as mysteriously as it appeared, and it occurred to me I could go back to making more frequent updates on each episode. Thing is, six or seven episodes in to season five, Tracy and I took a break from Angel and have been spending our evenings reading or doing something really radical like conversing. I thought it was because we had kind of mutually decided we had been watching too much TV, but during one of those “conversations” she told me that she kind of lost interest in Angel after Cordelia left. Angel may be a vampire with a soul, but as far as Tracy is concerned, Cordelia was the show’s heart. Last night, though, we started watching again with “Destiny” and, when it was over, I thought to myself I wouldn’t be surprised if this episode is one of Chris’s favorites. Turns out I was right!

SEASON FIVE: EPISODE 8: “Destiny”

CHRIS: Spike opens a package that makes him corporeal again, turns the firm’s employees into bloody-eyed monsters, and pits him against Angel in a race to drink out of the Cup of Perpetual Torment. There have been some great fights in Buffy and Angel. Buffy vs. Angel. Buffy vs. Faith. Spike vs. Wood. Angel vs. Faith. The fight in Destiny might just be the best of them all. Once again, there’s great personal emotion behind the fight. Plus, there’s some great images as Spike hits Angel with a cross and as Spike drinks what he thinks is the Cup only to discover that it’s a fake filled with Mountain Dew.

This “Wolfram & Hart” season of Angel stands out like the “Initiative” season of Buffy. despite my initial reluctance to embrace the character on Buffy, I really find myself enjoying Spike on Angel. Frankly, Angel (when he’s not angelus) is a little bland and I actually prefer Spike to Angel as a character. I don’t know if Tracy would see him as an even trade for Cordelia, but I see him as a more-than-even trade-off for (the annoying) Conner. Don’t know what’s going to happen yet but can’t wait to find out!
Oh! I almost forgot! Lidsey!

I always expected to see Lindsey again, but I was beginning to think he wasn't going to return after all.

All in all, "Destiny" was a good episode to re-ignite out interest in the the show!
Figs: I think Angel suffers from being the 'grown-up' version of Buffy.

Jeff: That's an astute observation. I'd agree with that assessment.


I think it's a true observation, but I wouldn't classify it as "suffering." The early seasons of Angel deal with the metaphors of early adult life- finding an apartment, finding a job, making new friends in a new city. Those are different metaphors than the ones that Buffy dealt with in high school and college but not inherently worse ones.
SEASON FIVE: EPISODE 9: “Harm’s Way”

“Harm” as in “Harmony.” Cute.

I guess I shouldn’t have been to surprised that, after the last-minute revelation of “Destiny” that Whedon et al would make me wait for the development of that plot point and follow it up with a light episode. That’s a risky thing to do but they always seem to pull it off. They’ve taken the phrase “Always leave ‘em wanting more” to heart.
SEASON FIVE: EPISODE 10: “Soul Purpose”

Interesting. Eve and Lindsey are apparently running a scheme of their own and playing both ends against the middle. In a distorted reflection of season one, Lindsey, impersonating Doyle, has set Spike up as the new Champion. Wheels within wheels.
Lindsey using the name "Doyle" always seemed like such a stupid idea to me. Considering that Spike met the real Doyle back in season one, Lindsey's lucky that he didn't tip his hand there.
There is, however, a beautoful and moving payoff to all this to come...

KSwolf said:
Lindsey using the name "Doyle" always seemed like such a stupid idea to me. Considering that Spike met the real Doyle back in season one, Lindsey's lucky that he didn't tip his hand there.
I knew Spike had appeared on Angel when I started watching it. I thought he was a regular member of the cast, but after he appeared only briefly in season one and not at all in seasons two through four I thought I was mistaken. That, coupled with his apparent demise in Buffy season seven, is why his reappearance in Angel season five (okay, in the opening credits sequence) took me by surprise. Without going back and rewatching those episodes, though, I wouldn’t have recalled that Spike met Doyle face-to-face. that kind of thing happens frequently in life (you meet someone once, then don’t remember when you meet them a second time years later), but it’s sloppy in fiction (uncharacteristically sloppy in the Whedonverse).

SEASON FIVE: EPISODE 11: “Damage”

CHRIS: When Angel and Spike try to help a young woman who escaped from an asylum, they discover she’s actually a potential slayer empowered by the spell Willow cast back at the Hellmouth in Sunnydale. There’s a fun reason to like this episode, and a chilling one. The fun reason is the guest appearance of Andrew, who is now Giles’ assistant in gathering and training new slayers. The Buffy guest stars have generally made for great episodes from Oz and Buffy in season one to Willow in season four. The chilling reason has to do with the insane slayer herself. We’re misled to believe that Spike had tortured her, but the truth is even more chilling. She was the victim of a human killer, reminding us of a theme that’s been around since I’ve Got You Under My Skin and the human side of evil.

I liked this episode quite a bit because it gives the viewer rare glimpse into the post-season seven Buffyverse, an ersatz season eight if you will (although I’m not sure how well this jibes with the events of the later Buffy: Season Eight comic book series). Speaking of which, over in the Buffy discussion thread I promised to be back in March when the new tpb was released. Obviously that didn’t happen, but I didn’t feel like bumping that thread up to the top just to explain why.

I started watching the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show in April of 2009 for the first time, watched all seven seasons then moved immediately into the comics. The release of the most recent tpb would have been the first time I’d come “back” after having been “away.” Tracy read it and said she’d have to re-read the entire series because she had lost the storyline. I knew I had, but with so many other reading projects currently underway, I decided to put it on the shelf until such a time I was more in the mood. But I digress…

I know Angel is its own show, but I like to see occasional glimpses into what’s going on with Buffy such as this. I don’t really expect to, but I like to. Really, though! They sent Andrew? He was funny and did successfully complete his mission (with the help of about 30 Slayers), but both Tracy and I agree that they should have sent Xander.

If I may be allowed another digression, I am put in mind of when DC cancelled Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” titles (except Mister Miracle) out from under him. Instead of making Mister Miracle his main Fourth World book, he changed direction entirely making it merely a gimmicky superhero book about an escape artist (until the final issue, anyway). I don’t know whether he was under direction from DC to drop the Fourth World elements or if he didn’t feel he could do an adequate job with only one title instead of three, but I would have like to have seen the last eight issue more in line with the first ten. End of digression.
Xander can't stand Angel (or Spike)...so If I was Buffy I wouldn't have sent him...and complicate things even more and in Buffy season Eight we learn he has been pretty busy with his own work for Buffy.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
I knew Spike had appeared on Angel when I started watching it. I thought he was a regular member of the cast, but after he appeared only briefly in season one and not at all in seasons two through four I thought I was mistaken. That, coupled with his apparent demise in Buffy season seven, is why his reappearance in Angel season five (okay, in the opening credits sequence) took me by surprise. Without going back and rewatching those episodes, though, I wouldn’t have recalled that Spike met Doyle face-to-face. that kind of thing happens frequently in life (you meet someone once, then don’t remember when you meet them a second time years later), but it’s sloppy in fiction (uncharacteristically sloppy in the Whedonverse).

SEASON FIVE: EPISODE 11: “Damage”

CHRIS: When Angel and Spike try to help a young woman who escaped from an asylum, they discover she’s actually a potential slayer empowered by the spell Willow cast back at the Hellmouth in Sunnydale. There’s a fun reason to like this episode, and a chilling one. The fun reason is the guest appearance of Andrew, who is now Giles’ assistant in gathering and training new slayers. The Buffy guest stars have generally made for great episodes from Oz and Buffy in season one to Willow in season four. The chilling reason has to do with the insane slayer herself. We’re misled to believe that Spike had tortured her, but the truth is even more chilling. She was the victim of a human killer, reminding us of a theme that’s been around since I’ve Got You Under My Skin and the human side of evil.

I liked this episode quite a bit because it gives the viewer rare glimpse into the post-season seven Buffyverse, an ersatz season eight if you will (although I’m not sure how well this jibes with the events of the later Buffy: Season Eight comic book series). Speaking of which, over in the Buffy discussion thread I promised to be back in March when the new tpb was released. Obviously that didn’t happen, but I didn’t feel like bumping that thread up to the top just to explain why.

I started watching the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show in April of 2009 for the first time, watched all seven seasons then moved immediately into the comics. The release of the most recent tpb would have been the first time I’d come “back” after having been “away.” Tracy read it and said she’d have to re-read the entire series because she had lost the storyline. I knew I had, but with so many other reading projects currently underway, I decided to put it on the shelf until such a time I was more in the mood. But I digress…

I know Angel is its own show, but I like to see occasional glimpses into what’s going on with Buffy such as this. I don’t really expect to, but I like to. Really, though! They sent Andrew? He was funny and did successfully complete his mission (with the help of about 30 Slayers), but both Tracy and I agree that they should have sent Xander.

If I may be allowed another digression, I am put in mind of when DC cancelled Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” titles (except Mister Miracle) out from under him. Instead of making Mister Miracle his main Fourth World book, he changed direction entirely making it merely a gimmicky superhero book about an escape artist (until the final issue, anyway). I don’t know whether he was under direction from DC to drop the Fourth World elements or if he didn’t feel he could do an adequate job with only one title instead of three, but I would have like to have seen the last eight issue more in line with the first ten. End of digression.
Ana Canino-Fluit (Anacoqui) said:
Xander can't stand Angel (or Spike)...

That's true, but I still think his presence would have carried more weight than Andrew's... perhaps because of that.

Oh, and I forgot to mention I really need to be more careful reading Previews (as in August's Riley one-shot and October's Season Eight tpb vol. 7 solicitations)! When will I ever learn?

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