DVDs in Review - #97: Angel: The Complete First Season

Category: , , , , , , By Rev/Views

Spinning off from Buffy:TVS back in the year of 1999 (remember then?) Angel follows the non-sparkling (i.e. not stupid) vampire Angel after his decision to leave in the third season. He heads off into the sunset and makes for L.A. Seeking to atone for his hundred odd years of sinning while he was the big nasty Angelus.

Now it's no secret, I like my vampires on the vicious end of the spectrum. In particular I prefer the Vampires of the Necroscope series over any other incarnation, including the Count. These Vampires, or Whampyri to give them their correct title are ancient, amoral, crackpots who are as hard to kill as they are to ensure that they stay dead. But in a pinch I'll take the Vampires of Joss Whedon's world, who are also quite amoral and vicious - and include Spike amongst their ranks.

Angel himself, as the "Vampire with a soul" isn't as much fun as most other Vampires could be. But David Boreanaz is fantastic at selling moody and depressed as a character with his acting. Something he still does to a certain extent in Bones , though he's more moody and serious as Special Agent Seeley Booth rather than tortured and depressed.

So Angel arrives in L.A. and is sought out by one Allen Doyle (played by the sadly deceased Glenn Quinn) a half-man/half-demon who's inflicted with visions sent by 'The Powers That Be' and intended to guide Angel on his path. Doyle is an intense, wise cracking Irishman who can morph into his demon form - sadly it's a pretty ugly looking form, but fortunately it's not used too often.

Angel is then set on his path and rapidly meets up with Cordelia Chase (Played by the lovely Charisma Carpenter) who has also moved to LA, with the intent of becoming an actress. But things aren't going her way and she soon falls in with Angel and Doyle.

The first season of Angel is certainly the season of a show looking to find itself and get some distance from it's parent show. It's a season which goes through cast changes and has several guest slots filled by people from Buffy. Including Seth Green as Oz, Eliza Dushku as Faith and Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy herself. It also falters a lot in the early episodes while it tries to overcome the character similarties of Angel and Doyle - who are both dark and intense individuals. But eventually the show adds the excellent Alexis Denisof (Wesley Wyndam-Price) from Buffy and everything falls into place. Creating a show which is more adult in it's style, but remains as witty, clever and accessible as Buffy was.

There are three different ways you can get your hands on the Angel: Season One DVD; I'd recommend picking up the complete set of all five seasons over any of the individual versions as it's a solid collection with everything in it for an exceptionally low price. But if you want just the one season you should get the plastic single season boxed set as shown here. Avoid getting the set I have, which is the rather flashy looking "Angel Season One DVD Collection" edition. You can spot it as it's has a cardboard dust jacket and the DVDs are held in a "book" inside. This looks nice, and seems a great idea, but when you come to use it in practice you'll find that it's an inefficient product which not only is awkward to use, but it can also damage your DVDs as you have to slide them in and out of the "pages". This is the front cover image for the one you should avoid.

It's not as strong as the first season of Buffy was, but it grows into something quiet endearing and highly watchable.

Special Features:
Featurettes - "I'm Cordellia", "Introducing Angel", "The Demons" and "Season One"
Cast Biographies
Art Gallery
Episode Scripts for "Five by Five" and "Sanctuary"


2 comments so far.

  1. Lisa Rullsenberg 2 August 2010 at 14:12
    For all that Doyle WAS too similar to Angel, the handling of the cross-over between Doyle and Wesley was well done.

    A season finding its feet for sure, but lots of fun and darkness. And come on, Spike's appearance is the best ever. The commentary on Angel from the rooftop is one of my favourite scenes in the show (plus, Angel dancing)
  2. Rev/Views 2 August 2010 at 18:41
    I'll give you Spike's dialog for sure. It's amongst the best monologing on any television show ever.

Something to say?