Angel - Season Two
DVD | Box Set
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Angel continues to seek redemption, but a fatal mistake makes him realize that racking up the body count isnt the way to go. So with a renewed sense of purpose and Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn at his side, Angel sets out to make the streets of Los Angeles a little safer for everyone unaware that Wolfram & Hart has summoned someone from his past to make sure he fails.
The second season of Angel saw the cult vampire show finally stand on its own from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, assembling all the members of the show's core cast, transferring the action to a fashionably run-down L.A. hotel, and bringing in a few Buffy characters from Angel's history to further establish the moody vampire's own mythology. Moving their Angel Investigations to posher digs, Angel (David Boreanaz), Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), and Wesley (Alexis Denisof) were soon joined by street fighter (J. August Richards)-and by street fighter, of course we mean demon street fighter. But just as this group was solidifying, up popped Angel's old love, Darla (the fantastic Julie Benz), freshly arrived in L.A. from a hell dimension just in time to be turned into a vampire again by her old cohort, Drusilla (Juliet Landau), and lure Angel into abandoning his newly formed team. It was the best and worst of times for Angel in its second year, for while the basis was being set for the show's stellar third and fourth seasons, dramatic tension was diluted by Angel's going solo and the necessary (but plot-debilitating) flashbacks to various points in Angel's history. However, just when it seemed everything was about to fly out the window, Angel's creative team threw its characters for a loop--literally--by transporting them to the demon dimension of Pylea, a medieval-style fantasyland populated by monsters and humans alike. It shouldn't have worked, as hokey as it was... but it did, thanks to crack storytelling, sharp dialogue, and the sheer joy the actors unleashed, especially the gifted and fiendishly funny Carpenter. The second half of the season also saw the addition of two of Angel's best characters: the horned Lorne (Andy Hallett), a green demon with a penchant for karaoke, and Fred (Amy Acker), a physicist trapped in Pylea who helped the gang engineer their escape. With these two in tow, Angel began to soar. --Mark Englehart
- 22 episodes on six discs
- Scripts for 'Darla' and 'Disharmony'
- Featurettes: Making Up the Monsters (6 min.), Inside the Agency (16 min.), Season 2 Overview (17 min.), Stunts (5 min.)
- Still gallery
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In fairness to me, ANGEL did get off to something of a slow start-- I love its first season (and do buy that one, too. In fact, buy it first. Go on, click on the link. I can wait), but it's definitely a looser, more low-key cousin to the high melodrama of BUFFY. Also, not having seen the high school years, Angel (character and show) was something of a puzzle to me-- brooding, mopey, somewhat drab. I didn't get it.
Flashforward to the ANGEL Season One box's release this year-- having caught up on just who our dark, tortured hero was (and being particularly impressed by the events of BUFFY season two-- go on, you know you want to purchase it. It's ok, we have time), having knowledge of wesley and cordelia, I was much better prepared to enjoy season one (and to catch up with the other seasons through friends' videos). Any longtime watcher of Whedon, though, knows that it's usually the second season where things take off. That's true of ANGEL, as well. In fact, while the show has arguably gotten better each year (really, those who missed the events of the last year are in for a treat when season four is released), I maintain a special affection for this year, when the return of Darla (seemingly dusted by Angel in BUFFY's first season) pushes our hero over the edge, and Angel Investigations is thrown into a tailspin.
Without giving away more than the above, let me just say that this is the year when ANGEL gets really dark, and in that darkness, finds its own voice. It's darker and more adult than BUFFY, but also, oddly, extremely funny (as in an episode like "Guise will be Guise"). David Boreanaz comes into his own as a leading man, and is ably supported by stalwarts Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia) and Alexis Denisof (Wesley), as well as newcomers J. August Richards (Gunn) and, towards the end of the year, Amy Acker (Fred). Best of all, Angel is pitted against twisted law firm Wolfram and Hart, which offers both the kinds of neo-noir dealings ANGEL fans have come to expect, and the opportunity to watch devilishly fun actors like Christian Kane strut their stuff.
If there's one thing Whedon viewers have learned, it's that he has little patience for the easy moral solutions-- there is good and evil in the BuffyVerse, but it's always in shades of gray. Even moreso than its parent show, ANGEL evades easy solutions and clear-cut heroes and villains (as, really, any show about a vampire with a soul really should). By delving into the darkest parts of Angel's soul, this season finds the show breaking through creatively.
Or, to put it another way: demon karaoke. How can you not love a show with *that*?
I did email the Reseller directly to ask this, and they did correctly tell me that it was listed wrong & they asked if I would like it, anyway. I did go ahead with having them ship it to me. This is just to let others know that Amazon has it listed wrongly as a slim set of season 2. And if space is important to you, you'll need to know this. If you're buying it used, contact the reseller & wait for their reply to see if they have the slim set or not. That's my advice.
This season of Angel I'm very happy with, just not the DVD packaging.
The second season of ANGEL is really the season when this series began to break free from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, and it really does wonders for the show. By developing distinct storylines that have little or no dependence on stories from the earlier show, ANGEL becomes strong on its own. There is only one official BUFFY-ANGEL crossover episode during Season Two, and it really only features a BUFFY castmember in flashback. My biggest criticism would be that the season doesn't really seem to find its strength until the latter half, but it's still a fun ride getting there - much better than the first season, no matter which half you watch.
In Season Two, Charles Gunn, the ghetto-raised moster fighter we met at the end of Season One, becomes a full-time cast member bringing with him all new stories. We meet The Host (aka Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan or "Lorne") whose home dimension plays a significant part later in the season. Fred (Amy Acker), a future regular castmember, makes her first appearance as a crazy slave-girl on the run. We get to see old characters take on new dimensions. Cordelia eases into her role as Angel Investigations employee and "vision girl" and begins to shed her shallow BUFFY persona. Wesley shows that he has what it takes to be a leader and not just the comical sidekick. Most of all, Angel takes a walk down a very dark path only to come out on a much brighter side. (It really is great to see David Boreanaz playing the dark side of Angel without having to go to Angelus lengths to do so.)
With this increasingly strong show, fans can finally feel free to enjoy ANGEL as a separate series from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.