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Angel: City Of

Angel: "Why would a woman I've never met even talk to me?"
Doyle: "Have you looked in a mirror lately? No, I guess you really haven't."

I was prepared to be underwhelmed after all the hype, but I really, really liked it.

One of the advantages of a spin-off series is that the actors and writers are already comfortable with their characters. Boreanaz knows his character by now, and it shows. I couldn't help but notice that Angel seemed a lot more comfortable as a dark hero in L.A. than he did as a teenager's love interest in the sticks. He's definitely able to carry the lead role, and I think they're going to let him stay in touch with his inner monster.

I've always rather liked Cordelia, too, and I think her shallow materialism and uninhibited narcissism complements Angel's angst and depression very well. Poor Cordy isn't used to failure, and that was rather endearing. I totally enjoyed the scene where she figured out in fairly short order that Russell was a vamp. She didn't grow up in Sunnydale for nothing.

I liked Doyle, too. I thought his character worked well as Angel's redemption director. "I'm human on my mother's side?" I wonder what it is he has to atone for. I bet we'll find out.

That opening scene was sooo cute. I honestly thought Angel was drunk at first. I also enjoyed the guy at the party who went up to Angel and said, "You're a beautiful, beautiful man." So LA. And there were two truly great car gags – where Angel jumped into the wrong convertible, and Doyle tried to run down the gate. In fact, the humor in general was understated but fun; we had the same biting wit (pun intended) but it was more laid back than on Buffy. It looks like this series won't take itself too seriously, and I think it hit the right balance. At least for this episode it did.

The end was great. "Can you fly? ... Guess not." Very Angel-like. Loved it.

Some bits:

— Was the library closed? And how come people in TV shows can always find relevant stuff instantly on the Internet? I'm a librarian, and I can't find relevant stuff instantly on the Internet. And one more thing. Have we ever seen Angel use a computer before? I don't think so.

— Wolfram and Hart sounded like fun. A full service law firm. Wolf... ram... hart? Must be deliberate.

— The vamp-face makeup changed.

— I liked the hmm-ing sound that Boreanaz occasionally made between lines.

— It looked like Angel got shot right where Faith got him with the arrow, didn't he?


Tina: "You've been to Missoula?"
Angel: "During the depression. Ah, my depression. I was depressed there."

Angel: "Doyle, I don't want to share my feelings, I don't want to open up. I want to find Russell and I want to look him in the eye."
Doyle: "Then what?"
Angel: "Then I'm going to share my feelings."

Doyle: "Got it!"
Cordelia: "Finally. I thought I was going to faint while barfing."

Cordelia: "You need somebody to organize things, and you're not exactly rolling in it Mr. I-was-alive-for-200-years-and-never-developed-an-investment-portfolio."

No rating yet, but I'm very pleased, and looking forward to next week.

Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.


  1. I'm re watching the entire show and what do you know? Josh Holloway is the bad guy in the first scene. Awesome.

  2. Hi, Jeff:

    I mentioned Josh Holloway, Daniel Dae Kim and Sam Anderson all being on Angel in one of my Lost reviews, but not anywhere in my Angel reviews. It's fun, isn't it?

    I hope you'll feel free to make comments. These reviews were posted long before they were comment-capable so I don't think there are any.

  3. Not as good as Buffy but it is doing as a good fix as I come down from finishing the entire Buffy series. I do love Angel though. And I actually found that I enjoyed this more than I thought I would so I am looking forward to watching the next episode.
    Loving Doyle!
    P.S Hey Billie - a fellow librarian!

  4. Hi, Billie

    I've just started my Angel rewatch. This review is even more spot on than usual, as I see it with whole-series eyes.

    One thing that was never very clear in the Buffyverse is how long a vampire can b exposed to the sun. Sometimes it's immediate, others it takes a little longer.

    I'm curious about something: Tina's friend calls Angel tall, dark and handsome". This is a description I hear a lot, but don't know what it means and google was no help. What do you mean by "dark" in this context?

    Also: SAWYER!!!

  5. Hey, Gus:

    I think the amount of time a vampire can be exposed to the sun depended on what was needed in the script. )

    "Tall, dark and handsome" is an old-fashioned expression. I don't know if it's just American or if it's British, too. It meant dark hair (think Don Draper on Mad Men), although in the past few years as the culture has become more inclusive, I have heard it applied to darker-complected guys as well. I remember saying it about J. August Richards once.

  6. Thanks, Billy. It confuses me a lot because it would exclude all blonds, and, hey, why do that?

    Well, now I just have to get a little taller.

  7. We actually have two Losties here: not just Josh Holloway, but also Tracy Middendorf, who plays Tina. She's in the Lost Season Three finale episodes.

    I was surprised to discover I enjoyed this episode a lot; as with Buffy, I don't love Angel's first season. But this was fun.

  8. Tracy Middendorf also guest-starred in an episode of Bones which made me happy.

    Oh, Christian Kane with short hair, how have I missed thee.

  9. Christian Kane is utterly gorgeous in person, too. I got to see him at an autograph event and he's surprisingly small. But utterly gorgeous.

  10. I'm glad the first scene we get of Angel is amusing as for me that is when he is at his best, it has been that aspect of Angel that kept him kind of likeable in Buffy and leads me to warm to him much more in Angel.

    Doyle I find instantly likeable and his retort to the homeless woman while giving Angel a pep talk about helping people - 'get a job you lazy sow' - is brilliant... and I think I may have missed it first time round.

    The first time I saw this I was surprised when Tina became a victim, and was sad about her demise, she was likeable too... In fact I like all the characters in the episode. I love the quiet understanding between Angel, Doyle and Cordelia at the end when she gives herself a job. This is my first re-watch of Angel and think I'm going to appreciate it more this time around.

    The tiny, almost Angelus like, smirk before Angel asks Russell 'can you fly?' is another highpoint in an excellent opening episode.

  11. I love this as a series opener. Doyle delivering all the exposition (with the flashbacks) is quick and to the point. It's out of the way and we move on.

    The fact that the writers killed off the damsel in distress was genius. Right from the start, we know that this show is going to be darker and more grown-up than its sister show.

    The chemistry between Boreanaz and Carpenter is evident from the start. I love the fact that she just inserts herself into his life -- and that he lets her. Their vibe is much more fun to me than the Buffy/Angel vibe (forgive me).

  12. I'm with you 100% on the Angel Cordy vibe.

  13. Great pilot. Very funny (fake drunk Angel!) but dark. I like that it sort of sets up Russell as a maybe recurring nemesis and then Angel kills him abruptly (and melodramatically).

    This is a great show that eternally suffers from comparisons to its admittedly superior parent show. I encourage all newbies to give Angel the chance it deserves, even when it gets rocky (cough, first season, cough).

  14. I will never, ever stop laughing at Angel jumping into the wrong car.

  15. My comment is mostly just a big 'what you all said' for this one. I enjoyed it and I'm looking to see how the characters and relationships develop. As Billie said, it seems like Boreanaz's Angel is less constrained here where he doesn't have to brood over Buffy so overtly all the time. With brooding it's a fine line between romantic and annoying. That little moment of him giving in to his urge to call her and then hanging up stayed on the romantic side of the line for me.

    I liked Cordelia here even more than usual. A great mix of tough vs vulnerable makes her interesting to root for as well as good for some laughs.

    The whole sunlight thing kept bugging me too. I was distracted by it at several points during the episode wondering at the light coming in the windows while Angel appeared unconcerned. I suppose I can hand wave sometimes when they can't work out a way to keep all of the story taking place at night, but I wouldn't mind a bit of explanation.

  16. I am not an Angel newbie. Years ago, I bought all the Buffy and Angel dvd's to learn what all the fuss was about. After a season or two of Buffy, I lost interest in it and those dvd's are still in their original shrinkwrap. That didn't happen with Angel. I marathoned the whole thing. I haven't watched it again since that one shot, so this re-watch will be interesting, especially with everyone else here. I've forgotten so much that I'm an almost-newbie. Is that like being almost-virgin?

    I loved Christian Kane! I remember the character as the obnoxious shady legal guy. Now that Leverage has come and gone, I'm seeing him all anew, and loving it! I don't remember if he sticks around, but I sure hope so.

    I like Doyle, but I thought the exposition reveal was awkward. "Blah, blah, blah, here is how we got here, now let's get back to the plot." I think they could have weaved the exposition in better, like they did in the early Buffy episodes. Let the backstory reveal itself in a way that brings newbies up to speed and doesn't clog up the story.

    Cordelia is already more interesting in one episode than she was in three seasons in Sunnydale. I just wish she had brought Willow, Oz and Xander with her. That would have made a perfect show.

    The closing scene was great! Angel is Batman! Me likey.

  17. Sawyer's a vampire...er, was a vampire? Nice (but too quick).

    Joss et al must really love the funky Anglo-accents. Doyle seems interesting but did he remind anyone else of Becky's boyfriend from Roseanne? I know they're different actors but at some point even the clothes looked the same.

    I loved Angel's aside about Cordelia when he first saw her at the party--"It's nice that she's grown as a person..." Is LA really like that?

    Angel jumping into the wrong convertible was hilarious! I loved how the scene was so serious/sexy to begin with and then, unexpectedly funny.

    Angel as BATMAN was also great--though traveling out during the daytime bothered me too. I knew Russell was going out of the window but I wondered how Angel got to the office to begin with. I can't wait to find out more about Wolfram and Hart...

    Now I just have to see if I can wait until next weekend to watch the next one...

  18. a.m. said, "Doyle seems interesting but did he remind anyone else of Becky's boyfriend from Roseanne? I know they're different actors but at some point even the clothes looked the same."

    Actually, that *is* the same actor -- Glenn Quinn, and that accent is his own -- he was Irish. Unfortunately, he passed away at the age of 32.

  19. Didn't Joss write a few episodes of Roseanne?

  20. Yes, IMDB says that Joss Whedon wrote four episodes of Roseanne.

  21. In his extended Entertainment Weekly interview, Joss talked about the fact that Roseanne was his first Hollywood writing gig. He equated it with applying for your first restaurant job and being offered the chef position.

    He credited his father and grandfather, both writers for television, for giving him the in.

  22. (Non-spoilery but vaguely overview-type comments coming up!)

    I like the first season of Angel best - I love the humour and the detective show/monster of the week vibe. Angel is fun here (Tina's death and Angle's moping notwithstanding).

  23. Juliette - I could not disagree more! I think season 1 is the show's worst. It took it a while to find its footing and I think the show suffered by only have three main characters. Plus I LOVE all the characters that get introduced later.

    a.m. - Is LA really like what? We don't have too many vampires running around (that I know of) but a lot of it seemed pretty accurate. I've only ever lived here, so I can't really say what it's like in comparison to other places. Everything about LA seems totally normal to me because it's all I know. :/

  24. I get your point, Juliette, and I've heard people say it before, but I'm with Sunbunny -- I thought Angel got better every season, with the best being the last.

  25. Nooo! Season Four is the best. Hands down.

    Yes, I am the only person who feels that way. And I'm okay with that. :-)

  26. Season 5 is the best for me, followed by S3.

    I'm sure you are not the only person who feels that way about S4, Josie, but I don't get the impression it is a very large group. I think that one is probably my least favorite. Maybe. Maybe S2 is my least favorite. Hmmm ... S1, S2, and S4 kind of hover in the same zone for me. Each has elements and episodes that I like a great deal, but they also have things that I really can't stand. S4, in particular, has some things that I really, really liked a whole lot, but one or two aspects that are so unpalatable that they taint the whole in my mind.

  27. It was hard to tear myself from Buffy, I meant to do the whole conjoined watch thing after s3 but I just couldn't stop blazing through s4 and 5 lol. But I finally managed to take a break because although I have nothing against s6 (well frankly I don't remember it all that well besides considering its finale the worst on the show) s5's finale really did mark the end of an era to me, more than s3's did. Actually I rewatched Forever Knight first and that got me in the mood to do Angel now finally.
    I had an unexpected emotional reaction to hearing this show's theme song again... can't believe I forgot how madly in love with it I used to be, and always considered it the only thing it did better than Buffy. And I love Buffy's opening credits too, let's be clear, it's still one of my favourites too.
    Buffy still reigns otherwise but that still leaves Angel being the best spin-off I've ever seen (although now we have BrBa's Better Call Saul as a solid contender too). It's a good series premiere and I found that 5-minute pitch tape oddly charming too. I haven't seen any other show do that besides the usual promos. It's good to be back in Ellay


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