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Reading Angel: The TV Spin-off With a Soul (Reading Contemporary Television) Paperback – September 22, 2005

4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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Although Buffy the Vampire Slayer generally garners more media attention than its spin-off, Angel, editor Abbott and the contributors to this collection decided it was time to bring the show about the vampire with a soul out of its predecessor's shadow. The collection takes a look at everything from Angel's setting to the evolution of the show's characters and the series' untimely end. Phil Colvin's essay looks at the character of Faith, the rogue slayer who was Buffy's nemesis, and how her appearances on Angel actually helped set the show apart from Buffy, as both Angel and Faith evolved beyond their roles on the parent show. Stan Beeler's contribution addresses the character of Lorne, who as a performer was a microcosm of Los Angeles' entertainment industry, while Michaela D. E. Meyer examines the transformation of Gunn, the series' only African American regular. Jennifer Stoy analyzes the noir elements of the relationship between hero Wesley and femme fatale Lilah. Angel fans who are still mourning the loss of the series won't want to miss this smart, engaging compilation. Kristine Huntley
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'Miraculously readable.' - Sight and Sound
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Product Details

  • Series: Reading Contemporary Television
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: I. B. Tauris (October 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1850438390
  • ISBN-13: 978-1850438397
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,951,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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"Reading Angel: The TV Spin-off With a Soul" is a collection of essays by academics from mostly the U.K. edited by Stacey Abbott, a Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Roehampton University. Abbott does the introductory essay, "Kicking Ass and Singing 'Mandy': A Vampire in LA," that covers a lot of ground in touching on the moral ambiguity of Angel/Angelus, the elements of contradiction and self-parody, and the generic hybridity and Angel's visual style. That certainly gives you a sense of the scope of topic covered in these essays. More importantly, if you are not an academic, you should still be able to look at those topics and figure out what most of them are going to be about. After all, you do not need advanced degrees to recognize things like moral ambiguity and self-parody on "Angel," although generic hybridity might take some thought. On balance, fans of the late lamented WB series will find insights of interest in most of these chapters, although be forewarned there are some points where these academics dive into the deep end and start throwing names and theories around fast and furious.

Part One, "It Was a Seminal Show Cancelled by the Idiot Networks": Narrative and Style on "Angel": (1) "'Angel': Redefinition and Justification through Faith" by Phil Colvin looks at the character of Faith as being paradigmatic of the show and the character's mission statement; (2) "'Ubi Caritas'?: Music as Narrative Agent in 'Angel'" by Matthew Mills is a cursory look at the pivotal role music played in the show; (3) "Transitions and Time: The Cinematic Language of 'Angel'" by Tammy A.
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Format: Paperback
Stacy Abbott has done a wonderful job assembling a diverse set of essays into a very readable book for fans of Joss Whedon's ANGEL. The diversity of writers with different voices and opinions come together here to analyze and comment on subjects such as: gender politics, film noir elements, humor (in it's many forms), cinematic language, and music as a narrative agent. If any of these areas spark your interest, I would suggest picking up this book and giving it a read. It may sound very academic, but while I found the essays a large step up from the usual fan writing in both tone and content, they are still highly readable and very enjoyable.
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Format: Paperback
Not a bad read for the dedicated Angel fan. I really enjoyed it. Some of the articles were a bit of a heavy read but entertaining. Worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
Trying to convince us that a critical examination of masculinity is somehow different from feminism, Stacey Abbott overlooks an area of feminist organizing.

Feminists themselves did not object to a study of men, their objection had been to our non-critical structure of society, where one sex has an inordinate power over others--because they are men. This is what feminists--including series creator Joss Whedon objected to.

It is communicated in 'She' when Angel helps Jhira successfully combat being 'unmade' by her society. Alluding to female genital mutilation, Angel is genuinely horrified to learn that women in her society forcibly undergo this practice--and so her struggle also becomes his--they do it together as partners. Angel also helps her understand that she herself cannot go around killing men in his society just for the sake of it. This too is sexist.

And because Angel's human and 'souless demon' pasts as a womanizer are frequently brought up, the addition of Lorne provides another example of alternate masculinity. Having once lived in times and cultures when 'real men' were not homosexual, Angel's ability to now become good friends with them demonstrates how his own concept of masculinity successfully evolved. It possibility could represent an allusion to how American/World concepts of masculinity are going to evolve--and not remain fixed in their current states.

Similarly, he is also friends with Charles Gunn--who morphs from 'street fighter' to lawyer, in a demonstration of class fluidity. But even as a 'street person' Gunn has information and is smart, Angel goes to him for essential resources and information. Meeting Gunn in the first season, we see that Angel does not resort to racist stereotypes when addressing Gunn.
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