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Customer Review

247 of 274 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more than a sequel to Buffy, July 31, 2007
This review is from: Angel: The Complete Series (Collector's Set) (DVD)
Angel ran an all too short five seasons from 1999-2004, and the now defunct WB network may be defunct in part because of its decision to cancel the show. The story starts out where Buffy The Vampire Slayer season 3 left off, with Angel leaving Sunnydale and his beloved Buffy so that she can have a semblance of a normal life, or at least a normal relationship, which the two of them could never have. The entire series can be divided into three parts, all of which take place in L.A., Angel's new home. I'll warn you right now, there are SPOILERS AHEAD.

The first part consists of season one, and is in monster-of-the-week format rather than the season-long story arcs that Joss Whedon was famous for in Buffy. In season one, Angel starts a supernatural detective agency, "Angel Investigations", with the help of Cordelia Chase, who has moved to L.A. after her family lost all of their money the previous year, and half human-half demon Doyle. Doyle dies a courageous death half-way through the season, and Wesley Windham-Pryce joins the cast as a "rogue demon hunter" who has been fired from the watcher's council for the Faith debacle in Sunnydale the previous year. In this first season he is the same awkward Wesley we saw in season three of BTVS, but that eventually changes. At the end of the season we are introduced to Charles Gunn, a streetwise kid who has been fighting demons his whole life and ekeing out a meager existence on the street. Slowly, he comes to trust Angel and eventually joins the group.

The second part of the series consists of seasons two through four, and is literally one long story arc. Season two deals with the resurrection of Angel's vampire lover Darla, the one who turned him into a vampire in 1753, and whom he killed in season one of BTVS. The ordeal of getting Darla back as a human, and then losing her again when she becomes a vampire once more, drives Angel to the dark side of his soul. He turns against his friends for a brief time as he goes on a crusade of punishing the guilty - Wolfram & Hart - rather than helping the helpless. Eventually he has an epiphany, and returns to his friends and his senses - but not before he and Darla have a night of passion that results in season three's story arc - Darla's pregnancy and the "birth" of Angel's son Conner. Also, at the end of season two the Fang Gang rescues a girl ("Fred") from an alternate dimension - Pylea - which also happens to be the home dimension of Lorne, an empath demon that has been helping Angel and his friends.

In season 3, Angel is adjusting to fatherhood when an old enemy from his vampire past is mystically conjured up - Holtz, a man whose entire family was killed by Angel and Darla when they were both vampires. Holtz uses Wesley's fear of a prophecy that "The father shall kill the son" to get him to steal Angel's son, whom Holtz in turn steals from Wesley. Holtz is cornered by multiple parties who also want Conner, and Holtz takes the infant and jumps into a portal to a hell dimension rather than give up the child. Later in season three, Conner and Holtz both return from the hell dimension. With time running differently in the two dimensions, Conner is now 18 years old, and none too fond of Angel, since Holtz' tales of Angel's cruelty as a vampire have doubtless been Conner's bedtime stories for his entire life. Holtz conjures up a plan to commit assisted suicide and make it look like he has been murdered by Angel so that Conner will take revenge on him. The plan works, and Conner sinks Angel to the bottom of the Pacific in a box, to suffer an everlasting torment of slow starvation.

Season four is the most misunderstood and the wildest ride of any of the seasons. In the first episode, Wesley tries to redeem himself by retrieving Angel from the bottom of the ocean after capturing Conner's accomplice in Angel's imprisonment. Cordelia was made a "higher power" at the end of season three, and she suddenly turns up at Angel's doorstep several episodes into season four, unable to remember anything. The rest of the season is a dizzying blur that involves a mysterious Beast that blots out the sun, the temporary unsouling of Angel so that the gang can question Angelus about his memories of the Beast, another mystical pregnancy that culminates in an evil higher power - Jasmine - coming into the world, and that evil power bringing "world peace" in return for the world's unquestioning worship - until Angel allows people to see Jasmine's true appearance and they run from her in horror. The season concludes with Angel and his crew being given control of the L.A. branch of evil mystical law firm Wolfram & Hart supposedly as a reward for "destroying world peace". Angel agrees to the deal, if in return all memories of Conner's existence are erased from everyone who knew him and if Conner is placed in a "normal" family with new planted memories that involve only his new family, and not his actual past. This acts as a reset for all of the emotional pain of the past three years for everyone except Angel, who retains his memories of what actually happened.

Season five basically stands alone and is the third and final part of the series. This final season returns more to the monster-of-the-week format that was present in season one, largely as a condition of WB renewing the show since the confusing labrynth that was season four had not had stellar ratings. Spike, from the now defunct BTVS, is thrown into the mix, at first as a ghost that is unable to leave the premises of Wolfram & Hart. Later in the season Spike reclaims his corporeal presence, though. The first part of the season is on the light side, as each member of the Fang Gang receives their dream job on a platter at Wolfram & Hart, with all of the resources they could ever ask, and the hope of doing good deeds in a place once renowned for evil. Later though, they slowly discover that is they that are being changed and compromised, not the law firm. This culminates in one great tragedy two-thirds into the season, resulting in the death of one the members of the Fang Gang. In the end, Angel and his crew decide to turn the tables and strike at the heart of the players in the Apocalypse by killing all of the members of an evil secret society. They are successful, but there are casualties among their ranks. The last scene shows the survivors cornered in an alley about to be attacked by Wolfram & Hart's minions. When asked what they should do, the last line of the show is Angel telling the others "Well, Personally? I Kinda Wanna Slay the Dragon." as he swings a sword and we fade to black. The Fang Gang goes out fighting and we never really know what happened to them, and because the actors have long since gone on to other projects, we never will.

"Angel" is adult fare from start to finish, not the teen fare of at least the early years of Buffy. However, Joss Whedon's epic tale of a vampire with a soul and his search for redemption is great television. Angel is not the only character on a journey in this series. Throughout the tenure of the show we watch the shallow and selfish Cordelia Chase change into a brave soul who is willing to become part demon in order to continue on in her mission. We also watch as Wesley changes from buffoonish comic relief into a true rogue demon hunter who has a penchant for darkness that rivals Angel. Charles Gunn changes from the street-wise kid who is proud of being the muscle into someone who is willing to sell his soul to not to return to that role. Even Lorne is not spared, as he changes from the consummate entertainer with an ever-sunny personality into someone who can only find solace at the bottom of a glass of alcohol and loses his heart for the good fight "the moment I found out a girl I loved was going to die".

As far as the specific contents of this package go, you'll be getting all of the 110 original episodes with all of the extra features included in the original DVD sets. In addition, there is supposed to be a companion booklet and a special letter to fans from Joss Whedon.
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Comments


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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 31, 2007 11:43:43 PM PDT
B. Jackson says:
I wonder if this set is the same box set that is availible at amazon.uk, does any one know?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2007 7:23:56 AM PDT
S. B. Young says:
Don't know anything for sure, but the Buffy sets seem to be equivalent (US v. UK), except for package design and region encoding. My best guess will be that the Angel collection will be similar.

Posted on Oct 8, 2007 2:54:10 PM PDT
A. Martinez says:
Great review but I do have one correction. IDW is going through with Season 6 of Angel in comic book form, written by Brian Lynch and with Whedon as the executive producer, much like he's doing for Buffy season 8.

Posted on Nov 2, 2007 8:38:27 PM PDT
Arg! says:
Great review, although the last line of the series is not about slaying the dragon, it's "Let's get to work" or something along those lines.

Posted on Nov 26, 2007 7:51:07 AM PST
Can someone tell me if this set has spanish subtitles?

Posted on Nov 27, 2007 9:40:26 AM PST
John M says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2007 1:47:54 PM PST
He didn't try to summarize the show, he's reviewed the entire series, which is the whole point of this section, to review and provide an analysis of this particular medium, and he accomplished exactly that, rather well I might add. Your implication that the review is too short and not comprehensive enough is short sighted, in fact this review is longer than most, but not too long either. It's long enough to cover the important, poignant parts of each season, but not so long that it delves off into irrelevance, hence it's quite fair and balanced given the theme.

Posted on Mar 29, 2008 11:21:36 AM PDT
Supposed to be? You concluded your review by saying there is supposed to be a companion booklet etc. included in this Angel set. If you have bought this set, why don't you know? If you haven't why are you reviewing the set? This is not IMDB where you can review programs in general. Here, in Amazon, you should be review the product, but you should most certainly have seen that product to review it. I need to know what purchasers of the product think of the product. It's nice to have reviews about the content, but I can get that at IMDB. I also find this, and have commented on it, in Netflix where people will see a movie in the threater (or a TV program on TV) but will not have rented it. It only makes sense to review that which one as personall experienced.

Posted on Apr 10, 2008 9:14:03 AM PDT
"The Fang Gang goes out fighting and we never really know what happened to them, and because the actors have long since gone on to other projects, we never will."

Not quite. If you can handle taking you Angel dose in comic book form, rather than TV media, then there's no reason to kick the habit for good. Word is, Whedon is bringing us Season Six as a serial comic, just as he already has continued the Buffy story into Season Eight.

Personally, I'm already salivating.

Posted on Nov 12, 2008 5:45:20 AM PST
Brian says:
Fantastic synopsis
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