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July 27 2015

10 episodes of Angel that show how it was more than Buffy redux. The AV Club picks the episodes of Angel that help explain what the show was all about.

What a lovely article. I would swap 'Fredless' for 'Reunion' - Reunion is a far more integral episode than Fredless. It harks the series' move to questionable decision making and the constant exploration of the consequences of our actions. It is a superb episode of television.

I really enjoyed reading the comments. At the time of airing, everyone seemed so in love with Season 4 - but with time and distance, it seems now that everyone is on the same page. It's a bit of a mess, with some good ideas. One wonders what would have happened if there weren't all though issues that occurred during the beginning of the season (Greenwalt and Minear departing, Simpkins arriving and taking over and then leaving a few episodes in because of 'creative differences'... one would imagine that the groundwork was laid incorrectly and they were always playing catch up and never quite fixed it).

Seasons 2, 3 and 5 are fantastic television. Season 1 is uneven but, as the article explores, powerfully found its footing.

Such a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful show. I miss it terribly.
I still prefer Season 4 to 3, because I was not a fan of all the baby-centric episodes and I liked the epic sweep of all the Apocalyptic stuff. I'll grant that the non- baby stuff in Season Three was excellent.
Liked season 4 at the time it aired, alas no. I do prefer babysitting episodes over whining teen angst any day. For me season 4 is when it became painfully obvious that Angel missed the thought out several season spanning arc Buffy had.
I still think the Season 2 Darla Arc is the best arc ever in television.
Season 5 felt epic even when nothing so epic was happening. You knew it was building.

Damn, it was well-dressed.
This was a good article, and I agree with most of it. I think Seasons 2, 3, and 5 are the strongest, with the series hitting its stride in Season 3 (only to lose its way during Season 4).

Season 5 is my favorite, though. It was the magnum opus for Angel. It elevated the series above fantasy fluff, and became a thesis about power, corruption, and heroism.
I'm glad to see some love for season 3, it's still my favorite season of Angel. I think season 5 could have been the absolute best if Charisma Carpenter had been kept as a regular (although her last episode is perfection). The season had incredible moments, and the arc of the second half is amazing, but I think most of the problems of the season would have been lesser if Cordelia had been around.
For me the apex is Season 3 as well. I love season 5 for its infusion of Joss, but honestly the series had sort of lost Angel the character in season 4 and 5 to the point that really S5 is essentially an echo of the ethos of the episode Reprise but without Angel's internal motivation really being that interesting anymore. Fighting against abstraction is all well and good, but Angel like Buffy needs more than that.

To me that was the tragedy of the the background show issues bleeding into Season 4. It's really obvious that whether a relationship happened or not (or even happened for an episode before Angel and Cordy bailed), Cordy was extremely vital for Angel in terms of transitioning from the Darla/Holtz/Conner arc to something else and S4 just shot the wheels off.
I really liked Angel Season 4. I thought it was an epic roller-coaster ride.
I've been rewatching Angel and am in season 4 now. I love the metamorphosis of Cordelia and wish she could come back in the comics -- or, at least, be discussed. I agree with KissingToast about the Darla arc. It's interesting that some vampires, including Darla, Spike and Drusilla, are capable of real love. "Forgiving" makes me furious. I'm not sure I can ever forgive the team for the way they treated Wesley.

Although I love Amy Acker, I feel irritated by Fred this time around. Too often she's the child-like woman who needs protecting. I look forward to her being Illyria.
Season 3 was my favorite, as well. I thought Holtz was one of the best villains ever--because he had genuinely compelling reasons to hate the protagonist. He was, but his standards, a good guy. And I love Wesley's arc that season.

I thought Season 4 had lots of potential, but went in all the wrong directions (I like the pacing and the suspense toward the end of the season, but the overall plot just doesn't work for me). And Season 5 didn't do as much for me as it seems to do for others ... a couple of great episodes, but far from my favorite season overall (though the final episode is close to perfect).

And I know this is tantamount to heresy, but I have never cared for Smile Time. :-P
Season 4 gets way too much hate. Honestly, I didn't know I was 'supposed' to hate Season 4 until a bunch of Whedonites told me. Truth is, I like it a lot (Angelus, Faith, The Beast, etc.). The situation with Charisma was handled poorly, true, but I still find the season very solid.
S3 and 4 were my favourites, I love Wes' arc across the series. S1/2 were solid and all the seasons explored Angel's character well (ignoring the unworkable idea of Angel as having true separation souled/unsouled in S4 which I always put down to the dreamscape of it all as it contradicts everything else before/after). Wes' progression and Illyria in S5 are the best things about that season but it is my least favourite. They just dropped the memory spell story really and Gunn didn't get enough airtime imo, particularly following Fred's death. I also didn't like how they used Spike a lot of the time and reangled the BtVS S2 dynamic with Angel to something far more juvenile when they were both souled. They corrupted some important S7 canon for gags and as he is my favourite character that irritated me a lot. It was clear they really forced his story/compliance into the second half of the season in particular. I see NFA as a really negative moment for Angel so it depends on how you view that plan for me as to whether I feel it works, it certainly isn't glorious as it was kamikaze and defeatist to my eye.

I had a lot of time for Connor in S4 and don't really understand why people dislike him so much, although I wasn't keen on the pregnancy story I have to admit, but Wes was just wow in S3/4.

[ edited by Stoney on 2015-07-29 11:44 ]

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