Angel: Season Two

As if realising that the first season of Angel faltered with too many stand-alone episodes, relying heavily on "monster of the week" syndrome and guest appearances, from the outset Season Two follows a much more central thread and character arc that connects to almost all of its episodes, even the stand-alone ones. Rivalling its sister show, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, from which it was spawned, in less than a year quality-wise, Angel Season Two takes the focus off of loneliness, isolation and connecting, which were Season One's main themes, and introduces new characters (the Host, the soul-reading demon proprietor of a karaoke bar) and expands on established ones (Gunn, Wesley and Cordellia, Angel's "team," all get expanded roles and see substantial character development, as do members of big bad law firm Wolfram & Hart). Season Two also proves that no matter how dead you are in a Joss Whedon show, you can always come back; Darla, the vampire who sired Angel, plays a substantial role, despite being killed off in Buffy's first season. Of course Angel's debut season was good, and can't be faulted for finding its footing, but Season Two hits the ground running, setting up Angel, his ongoing battle with Wolfram & Hart and his descent into darkness, and also features some of the shows most ambitious creative attempts. For the season's three-part finale, the team journeys to a medieval dimension to save Cordellia. Surprisingly, this other world stands up visually, which isn't an easy task for a weekly TV show. In terms of extras though, Joss's cabinet has always seemed under-stocked. Sure we get some featurettes, which includes a somewhat unnecessary season overview, and one of the stunts and monster make-up (which are interesting), but little is seen of Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt, and the writer commentaries go in-depth on their individual episodes but shed little on the big picture. But Angel is so good that, much like the Buffy DVD sets, even its sparse extras can't diminish it. Plus: scripts, photo gallery, more. (Fox)