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 Baron said:
Or, you could make up episodes...

I told Tracy your suggestion last night and it cracked her up. She just called to tell me she thought of it again and is still laughing. (She liked "Angel Vs. Megalon" particularly.) She wanted me to make sure you knew it. "That Bob... what a mind!"
Jeff of Earth-J said:
The Baron said:
Or, you could make up episodes...

I told Tracy your suggestion last night and it cracked her up. She just called to tell me she thought of it again and is still laughing. (She liked "Angel Vs. Megalon" particularly.) She wanted me to make sure you knew it. "That Bob... what a mind!"

Awesome.
Cavalier said:
My least favorite season of Angel is four but I won't say more about that until other-Jeff catches up.

Alas, poor Doyle. I knew him, Horatio. A demon of infinite jest... Actually, I loved Doyle and was ready (once again) to throttle Whedon when he killed the character. We were given some tantalizing hints that there was more to learn about him and then BOOM--we lost the chance.

My favorite season of Angel is four, but I know I'm in the minority on that. I have very little recollection of most episodes in seasons one through three, so I'm enjoying this journey.
Picking up where I left off…

SHE:

Angel forms a tenuous truce with a warrior in order to save refugees from another dimension.

That wasn’t so long of a wait, was it? With this post, as with my Torchwood discussion, I will be adding brief episode descriptions from the DVD booklet a) to refresh your collective memories of the episodes under discussion, but mainly b) so I don’t have to write episode summaries.

This episodes was pretty standard, good but not great. Angel pretending to be a museum guide was both insightful and funny, and both Angel as well as Wesley’s dance moves at Cordelia’s party were hilarious! Speaking of Wesley, I think this show is making just a little bit too much a fool of him.
don't worry...they dial that back...

Jeff of Earth-J said:
Picking up where I left off…

SHE:

Angel forms a tenuous truce with a warrior in order to save refugees from another dimension.

That wasn’t so long of a wait, was it? With this post, as with my Torchwood discussion, I will be adding brief episode descriptions from the DVD booklet a) to refresh your collective memories of the episodes under discussion, but mainly b) so I don’t have to write episode summaries.

This episodes was pretty standard, good but not great. Angel pretending to be a museum guide was both insightful and funny, and both Angel as well as Wesley’s dance moves at Cordelia’s party were hilarious! Speaking of Wesley, I think this show is making just a little bit too much a fool of him.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Picking up where I left off…

SHE:

Angel forms a tenuous truce with a warrior in order to save refugees from another dimension.

That wasn’t so long of a wait, was it? With this post, as with my Torchwood discussion, I will be adding brief episode descriptions from the DVD booklet a) to refresh your collective memories of the episodes under discussion, but mainly b) so I don’t have to write episode summaries.

This episodes was pretty standard, good but not great. Angel pretending to be a museum guide was both insightful and funny, and both Angel as well as Wesley’s dance moves at Cordelia’s party were hilarious! Speaking of Wesley, I think this show is making just a little bit too much a fool of him.

This one is generally considered the worst episode of the first season, and one of the worst episodes of the series - although most people seem to love the opening party scene and the museum scene. When I'm rewatching the show on DVD, those are pretty much the only scenes that I don't fast forward through.
I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN:

A troubled family enlists Angel andWesley to help them exorcise their resident demon.

My good friend Chris and I disagree somewhat about the relative merits of this episode. He cites it as a favorite whereas I thought it was merely okay. Here’s what he had to say about it:

“An exorcism Angel and Wesley perform on a young boy possessed by a demon takes an unexpected turn when they discover just how much the demon wanted out. Again, there are two reasons why I chose this episode. The first is the power of the exorcism scenes themselves. We’re really caught up in the banter between Wesley and the demon. The second is that this episode includes a twist that will introduce a recurring theme in Angel. The real villain isn’t the demon possessing the boy. The real villain is actually the boy. Angel often takes a look at the horrors that human beings are capable of inflicting upon each other- the evil that’s within us rather than without- and this episode is a great example of that.”

I don’t dispute any of the points Chris raised regarding this episode, but the main plot, to me, is little more than a rehash of The Exorcist (a fact acknowledged in the script). I was expecting a twist, but I (at first, anyway) anticipated that the boy’s sister would somehow end up being the one possessed by the demon. I did like the twist (that the boy himself was too evil for the demon), but I thought it was too little payoff for the build-up. Then again, my opinion of this episode might differ if I didn’t have The Exorcist to compare it to.
THE PRODIGAL:

One of these days I’m going to sit down and watch all of the flashback “origin” episodes of Buffy and Angel in order.
THE RING:

In pursuit of a missing man, Angel becomes enslaved by an underground fighting ring.

I’d classify this as another good-but-not-great episode. Stories dealing with illicit gladiatorial style arena combat are nothing new, but I’ll give it credit as the first one I’ve seen on television. With solid storytelling and strong themes of solidarity and co-operation, this episode also began to turn Wesley from a bumbling fool into a competent member of the team.
That is the one good thing about that episode...I have unfortunately watched many more fight club themed episodes than I care too, and was very very bored by this one.

Jeff of Earth-J said:
THE RING:

In pursuit of a missing man, Angel becomes enslaved by an underground fighting ring.

I’d classify this as another good-but-not-great episode. Stories dealing with illicit gladiatorial style arena combat are nothing new, but I’ll give it credit as the first one I’ve seen on television. With solid storytelling and strong themes of solidarity and co-operation, this episode also began to turn Wesley from a bumbling fool into a competent member of the team.
ETERNITY:

When an embattled celebrity enlists Angel to protect her from a stalker, her intertest in Angel could cost him his soul.

Okay, I’m not a knee-jerk whatever, but the kind of happiness one gets from drugs is not true happiness. Yes, they tried to make that point in the episode itself, tried and failed IMHO. Whatever drug she slipped him broke the spell. Artificial happiness of not, broke is broke. The first thing I said was, “Now all Angelus needs to do is keep a steady high,” but Tracy pointed out the spell was broken. I agreed with her, but it turns out we were both wrong.

Here’s another concern, though: we’ve seen Angelus on Buffy do a reasonably good impersonation of his “Angel” persona. How do we know the vampire chained to the bed at the end of the episode was really Angel? What if the spell didn’t reactivate after the effects of the drug wore off? How could Wesley and Cordelia possibly know for sure? There’s only one way, but they’d better pray they’re right!

Also we learned that Wesley and Cordelia don’t have a failsafe protocol in place. Betcha they come up with one now. Hmm… the next episode is titled “Five by Five.” I wonder what that’s going to be about?
A lot of fans hate Eternity because it does seem to violate the established mythology of the series. The most common "fanwank" explanation is that the drug triggered some sort of psychosomatic response in Angel. He thought that he had achieved true happiness, causing him to subconsciously believe that he had reverted to Angelus. It's pretty dumb, but it's the only explanation that seems to make any sort of sense.

The next episode is the one where the series really starts to come into its own and begins to establish itself as more than just a Buffy spinoff. It also pretty much signals the end of the standalone episodes.

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