Angel Season 4

It never ceases to amaze how a single season of Joss Whedon's Buffy The Vampire spin-off series Angel (about Buffy's ex-lover vampire with a soul in L.A.) can cram so many story arcs, amusing one-off episodes, plot twists and turns, and constant character development in without ever losing the thread (well, at least until Season Five, that is). And, upon repeat viewings, you realise how effortlessly and quickly it all comes together. Unquestionably the best season of Angel (creator Joss Whedon even agrees with that statement in the season overview), Season 4 features the return of Angel and Cordelia (both "lost" after Season 3's double cliff-hanger ending), a genuine fire and brimstone apocalypse and the rising of the Beast (an unstoppable demon), the destruction of Wolfram and Heart (the evil law firm), the return of Angelus (Angel's evil persona) and Faith (the other vampire slayer). It all leads up to the emergence of the final big bad and a clever as hell unexpected finale, all while focusing on the consequences of individual actions and the utter destruction of the happy-ending. Whedon and his writers obviously work with Shakespearian themes, updated and infused with pop culture, and the level of pathos, drama, humour and clever writing is possibly at the best it's ever been for any Whedon show here. The extras seem beefier than on previous editions, with a substantial overview featurette with the cast and crew offering analysis, a short "Angel and the Apocalypse" feature that focuses more on effects and stunts, a bunch of commentaries (sadly only one with Joss), an outtake reel, featurettes on the hotel, Wolfram and Hart, and more. But in watching Season 4, it's almost a shame they didn't end their run here, while they were on top. (Fox)