Angel: Season One

Angel: Season One
Considering that spin-offs usually quietly fade to black faster than you can strike their sets, the fact that Angel has grown to rival creator Joss Whedon's continually brilliant Buffy The Vampire Slayer is a tribute to the characters of Angel, its actors (especially lead David Boreanaz), Whedon and his entire writing team. And looking back at the first season of Angel, all 22 episodes, it's easy to see why. The story of Buffy's soul-full vampire lover fleeing for Los Angeles gives a scope and depth to Angel that was impossible to achieve in Buffy. Fittingly, much of Angel's first season is spent examining loneliness, isolation and redemption, with lots of requisite demon killing. Sure, Angel: Season One suffers from monster of the week syndrome, relying on guest appearances for it's most interesting episodes, adopting orphaned Buffy characters (Cordelia and Wesley), killing off its one non-Buffy main character (Doyle) and spending much of its time planting plot seeds that won't germinate for a season or two. But Angel effectively straddles the line between drama, comedy and action; its lack of big bad can be overlooked. While there's no knocking Wheden's vision, but in stocking the DVD pantry, Joss could do with a lesson or two. Angel continues his trend of sparse extras, and what's more annoying is how good some of the extras are, especially the all-too-brief commentaries. Whedon obviously cares about his creations, and his insightful, self-deprecating and entertaining commentary (and that of co-creator David Greenwalt) befits a geek of his stature. Season One could only benefit from more of it, from him, his cast and his writers. Extras: Selected audio commentary, Season One overview, featurettes, scripts, still photo gallery. (Fox)
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