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Angel as a TV show Good or Bad or just ok ?

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  • Angel as a TV show Good or Bad or just ok ?

    Since Chipperish have finished Ats. It got me wondering what people here think of Angel the show. Good or bad or just ok. Lani's comment that its Highs were high but its lows were low is interesting. While Kelly Jones called it a great First Draft but needed rewrites. I think the show had to deal with some contradictory stuff. It's meant to be the broody loner Vampire, yet he has a big group of friends, so that doesn't really work.


    While this is generalizing and not completely accurate. For me as a show Angel could have great half seasons but never keep that quality throughout.

    Like the first half of Angel S1 (The great Somnbullist aside) is mediocre but the second (the awful Expecting and She aside) is really great particularly the Faith episodes.
    The first half of S2 is arguably the best run of either show with the Climax in Reunion. The second half is just ego self indulgence by Joss with the whole Pylea nonsense.
    S3 has Darlas death and the birth of Dark Wesley but the rest of the season is ......
    S4 could combine both good and bad in the same episodes. One example is The Faith episodes which had Faith and she was great but they also had Angelus and he was awful.
    S5 the first half Destiny and Damage aside is so so yet kicks into gear with Fred's death and Illyria.

    While BtVs could exist without Ats Could Angel as a show exist without BtVS ?

    Anyway what are other people's thoughts on the show ?

  • #2
    I'd agree with Lani, the highs are high but the lows are just awful. I like the show, and some episodes I absolutely love, but overall I don't think it's as great as it could be. It was very lucky to have been a BtVS spin-off, in that it had a ready-made audience of fans and I think it could have suffered without that.

    It suffers from having a very taciturn lead character. Here is a man (vampire) who broods a lot, who doesn't speak about his feelings, hides away from the world etc. etc. He's very handsome, could be describes as charismatic, but he's not a great watch. That's why he has to have a great cast who are emotional and empathetic and, frankly, lively As a character Angel improves, but the more he opens up, the more watchable he becomes, the more the rest of the cast suffers. Especially the female characters, who eventually are only used to showcase male pain.

    Still a good show, with some amazing characters, especially Cordy (and I know some of you love Wesley, so . . . ) But Gunn and Lorne were never central and never given enough to do. Fred could have been more interesting than she was.

    Good show, some great moments, but one that I will always list as one of my favourites because it continues the story of BtVS characters. I like it the same way I like the comics - more Buffyverse is always a plus.

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    • #3
      I'd say okay show but I only watched it for its connections to the buffyverse.

      "I like who I am when I'm with him. I like who we are together."

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      • #4
        I liked it. If I don't like something, I switch it off and forget about it (Lost after the first episode; Breaking Bad after three seasons; Jennifer Jones halfway through S1; Runaways after S1). I don't think in terms of "good/bad" episodes. If I like a series I'm prepared to find something good in every episode.

        Could Angel as a show exist without BtVS ?
        Don't see why not - although you'd probably need a couple of episodes explaining the back story. It probably wouldn't have been as popular had it not been a BtVS spinoff. As @Priceless says, it had a ready-made group of fans.

        I watched both when they first aired and I can't remember which I preferred. I like Angel's ensemble cast more so than Buffy's (with the exception of VK who I don't like - period. He's got a very smug face that cries out to be slapped).
        sigpic

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Priceless View Post
          I'd agree with Lani, the highs are high but the lows are just awful. I like the show, and some episodes I absolutely love, but overall I don't think it's as great as it could be. It was very lucky to have been a BtVS spin-off, in that it had a ready-made audience of fans and I think it could have suffered without that.

          It suffers from having a very taciturn lead character. Here is a man (vampire) who broods a lot, who doesn't speak about his feelings, hides away from the world etc. etc. He's very handsome, could be describes as charismatic, but he's not a great watch. That's why he has to have a great cast who are emotional and empathetic and, frankly, lively As a character Angel improves, but the more he opens up, the more watchable he becomes, the more the rest of the cast suffers. Especially the female characters, who eventually are only used to showcase male pain.

          Still a good show, with some amazing characters, especially Cordy (and I know some of you love Wesley, so . . . ) But Gunn and Lorne were never central and never given enough to do. Fred could have been more interesting than she was.

          Good show, some great moments, but one that I will always list as one of my favourites because it continues the story of BtVS characters. I like it the same way I like the comics - more Buffyverse is always a plus.
          Regards the Lead being broody and Taciturn. You're not wrong. Though the original format of the show with a Victim of the Week that Angel Saves and Monster he kills is more designed for that. More an Action rather than Acting role, when they changed the format of the show to being about Angel's own journey that is when it was changed. They enlarged the cast with Gunn (who they didn't know what to do with for awhile) and Fred then Lorne/Connor and Spike

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          Originally posted by TriBel View Post
          I liked it. If I don't like something, I switch it off and forget about it (Lost after the first episode; Breaking Bad after three seasons; Jennifer Jones halfway through S1; Runaways after S1). I don't think in terms of "good/bad" episodes. If I like a series I'm prepared to find something good in every episode.



          Don't see why not - although you'd probably need a couple of episodes explaining the back story. It probably wouldn't have been as popular had it not been a BtVS spinoff. As @Priceless says, it had a ready-made group of fans.

          I watched both when they first aired and I can't remember which I preferred. I like Angel's ensemble cast more so than Buffy's (with the exception of VK who I don't like - period. He's got a very smug face that cries out to be slapped).
          To be fair to VK he has been very open that he thought his character was a failure on the show and that Spike did a much better job.

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          • #6
            Regards the Lead being broody and Taciturn. You're not wrong. Though the original format of the show with a Victim of the Week that Angel Saves and Monster he kills is more designed for that. More an Action rather than Acting role, when they changed the format of the show to being about Angel's own journey that is when it was changed. They enlarged the cast with Gunn (who they didn't know what to do with for awhile) and Fred then Lorne/Connor and Spike
            You see I'm not convinced that Joss Whedon would have agreed to make that 'motw' action hero show, without any depth. That isn't his style at all. Or if he did sign up for such a show, he had plans from day one to expand the universe and create something bigger and better than that.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Priceless View Post
              You see I'm not convinced that Joss Whedon would have agreed to make that 'motw' action hero show, without any depth. That isn't his style at all. Or if he did sign up for such a show, he had plans from day one to expand the universe and create something bigger and better than that.
              He did he says it on the City of Commentary while admitting Angel saving the girls in a dark alley scene is the antithesis of Buffy.
              On the Overview he says it was the episode Eternity when he gets its and there not making anthologies

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              • #8
                All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.




                * Angel is a great show compared to other TV shows. I don't understand how any BtVS viewers could consider Angel a bad TV series.


                * It's simply fact that Angel couldn't exist without BtVS. It was only greenlit to make Joss Whedon happy. The only reason Charisma Carpenter is second lead is because David Greenwalt created Angel the character and wanted Cordelia Chase as second lead. After Doyle, the main 3 characters are always BtVS characters: Angel, Cordelia, Wesley and then Angel, Spike, Wesley.

                Angel S1 had BtVS guest stars such as Buffy, Spike, Faith, and Oz.

                Angel S2 had BtVS guest stars such as Drusilla.

                Etc.


                * There's simply too much BtVS backstory for Angel to exist without being a spin-off. The only reason we care about Angel is because of Buffy/Angel. And Buffy/Angel was in the zeitgeist and popular culture.

                When Faith appears, we know who she is given Eliza Dushku's career since being on BtVS is that she played Faith.

                The Shanshu Prophecy thing is about Buffy/Angel. Angel/Cordelia couldn't actually happen because the Angel viewers wanted Buffy/Angel. The whole Jasmine thing is largely simply to appease the outrages of Angel given BtVS: Angel/Darla, Cordelia becoming more powerful than Buffy and Willow, Cordelia becoming a higher power, Angel's hotel while Buffy is desperate for money and Spike is living like a homeless person, etc.

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                • #9
                  I don't think it ever had the recipe to be as good a show as BtVS, although it has its moments. It really suffers from the standard spinoff problem of being constricted (or choosing to ignore) by inconvenient aspects of the original's canon. The most important of these is probably the public obliviousness established by BtVS. Vampires hiding behind authority figures to get away with sneaky crimes? Sure, I can buy that. 99.99% of the public failing to notice that vampires are overrunning large swathes of L.A. and publicly getting dusted by street gangsters with stakes on their pickups? Nope. People get hysterical enough over inner-city drug dens, let alone vampire nests.

                  If you view Angel outside the greater B-verse lens, it's not as ridiculous. The early seasons' depiction of a semi-lawless city is at odds with the plummeting crime rates of the era, which has always made the "Angel constantly has to fight muggers/demons/rapists/whatever" aspect of the show feel silly to me. OTOH, the idea that Lawful Evil entities could be using the supposed forces of good as their cover to dominate an outwardly-normal city is creepy. When the writers use that angle, it makes for some interesting antagonists, like Lindsey and Lilah.

                  Maybe the series' biggest gift is giving actors who did great but brief work on BtVS more screen time. Alexis Denisof was as good as most Emmy nominees; Eliza Dushku made me care about Faith for the first time; Julie Benz and Juliet Landau also make the most of their characters' tragic backstories and pitch-black comedy. And, of course, you have the talented newbies like Christian Kane.

                  The leads were... less-great. While David Boreanaz was competent enough to paint Angel's major character shifts in broad strokes, he couldn't deliver the multiple emotions and nuance that SMG brought to Buffy. Charisma Carpenter never seemed to find the balance between Cordy's character's fake and real emotions, either. James Marsters did his best with an iteration of Spike that the writers seemed determined to make unrecognizable from his BtVS days.

                  Overall... Meh? There are a handful of great episodes, but most of them lack rewatch value.
                  Last edited by ghoststar; 16-01-20, 02:44 AM. Reason: Stated most significant example of change from BtVS canon

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ghoststar View Post
                    I don't think it ever had the recipe to be as good a show as BtVS, although it has its moments. It really suffers from the standard spinoff problem of being constricted (or choosing to ignore) by inconvenient aspects of the original's canon. The most important of these is probably the public obliviousness established by BtVS. Vampires hiding behind authority figures to get away with sneaky crimes? Sure, I can buy that. 99.99% of the public failing to notice that vampires are overrunning large swathes of L.A. and publicly getting dusted by street gangsters with stakes on their pickups? Nope. People get hysterical enough over inner-city drug dens, let alone vampire nests.

                    If you view Angel outside the greater B-verse lens, it's not as ridiculous. The early seasons' depiction of a semi-lawless city is at odds with the plummeting crime rates of the era, which has always made the "Angel constantly has to fight muggers/demons/rapists/whatever" aspect of the show feel silly to me. OTOH, the idea that Lawful Evil entities could be using the supposed forces of good as their cover to dominate an outwardly-normal city is creepy. When the writers use that angle, it makes for some interesting antagonists, like Lindsey and Lilah.

                    Maybe the series' biggest gift is giving actors who did great but brief work on BtVS more screen time. Alexis Denisof was as good as most Emmy nominees; Eliza Dushku made me care about Faith for the first time; Julie Benz and Juliet Landau also make the most of their characters' tragic backstories and pitch-black comedy. And, of course, you have the talented newbies like Christian Kane.

                    The leads were... less-great. While David Boreanaz was competent enough to paint Angel's major character shifts in broad strokes, he couldn't deliver the multiple emotions and nuance that SMG brought to Buffy. Charisma Carpenter never seemed to find the balance between Cordy's character's fake and real emotions, either. James Marsters did his best with an iteration of Spike that the writers seemed determined to make unrecognizable from his BtVS days.

                    Overall... Meh? There are a handful of great episodes, but most of them lack rewatch value.
                    Which episodes are the ones you consider of rewatch value out of interest ?

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                    Originally posted by MikeB View Post
                    All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.




                    * Angel is a great show compared to other TV shows. I don't understand how any BtVS viewers could consider Angel a bad TV series.


                    * It's simply fact that Angel couldn't exist without BtVS. It was only greenlit to make Joss Whedon happy. The only reason Charisma Carpenter is second lead is because David Greenwalt created Angel the character and wanted Cordelia Chase as second lead. After Doyle, the main 3 characters are always BtVS characters: Angel, Cordelia, Wesley and then Angel, Spike, Wesley.

                    Angel S1 had BtVS guest stars such as Buffy, Spike, Faith, and Oz.

                    Angel S2 had BtVS guest stars such as Drusilla.

                    Etc.


                    * There's simply too much BtVS backstory for Angel to exist without being a spin-off. The only reason we care about Angel is because of Buffy/Angel. And Buffy/Angel was in the zeitgeist and popular culture.

                    When Faith appears, we know who she is given Eliza Dushku's career since being on BtVS is that she played Faith.

                    The Shanshu Prophecy thing is about Buffy/Angel. Angel/Cordelia couldn't actually happen because the Angel viewers wanted Buffy/Angel. The whole Jasmine thing is largely simply to appease the outrages of Angel given BtVS: Angel/Darla, Cordelia becoming more powerful than Buffy and Willow, Cordelia becoming a higher power, Angel's hotel while Buffy is desperate for money and Spike is living like a homeless person, etc.
                    Sorry Mike I'm not sure what you mean. Are you saying that the Jasmine arc is to appease fans for doing Angel/Darla and making Cordelia powerful ?
                    Also what has Spike being homeless and Buffy desperate for money got to do with it ?

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                    • #11
                      I know we've all seen it before, but I think POTN is pretty eloquaent on why we should watch this show.

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                      • #12
                        Vampires hiding behind authority figures to get away with sneaky crimes? Sure, I can buy that. 99.99% of the public failing to notice that vampires are overrunning large swathes of L.A. and publicly getting dusted by street gangsters with stakes on their pickups? Nope. People get hysterical enough over inner-city drug dens, let alone vampire nests.
                        I don't have a problem with that. Joe Public being oblivious to the horrors happening in front of them is part of the Noir detective tradition the series draws on. In fact, I find it more unbelievable in Sunnydale.
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          So much happens in plain sight that people choose to ignore, for whatever reason.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Priceless View Post
                            So much happens in plain sight that people choose to ignore, for whatever reason.
                            I think it was Georg Simmel in Metropolis and Mental Life who points out that if we worried about everything that happens in a city we'd go bananas (he didn't quite put it like that but you get my point). The basis of relationships in a city is different than that of a small town (Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft - I'm not quite sure what SD is but it's not LA). If your neighbour of 15 years disappears in SD you should notice. If your neighbour on a short term tenancy in LA disappears you don't. You probably never even met them 'cos you both work different shifts.
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Personally I'd say great.

                              I think that what holds Angel back is that it's often times judged for being a spin-off to Buffy instead of being judged as a show in it's own right.
                              My deviantart: http://vampfox.deviantart.com/

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Priceless View Post
                                I know we've all seen it before, but I think POTN is pretty eloquaent on why we should watch this show.
                                I don't watch these kinds of things so I hadn't seen it before, so thanks for sharing. I agree with a heck of a lot of the points made by POTN (although I really love S4, Connor and feel that BtVS matured into being about more adult issues too in the later seasons).

                                I think AtS is a great show and how character driven it is, like BtVS, is what makes it so fantastic to watch. In actual contrast to POTN (and BtVS), I think there is a note of futility that runs through AtS that is there at the finale. But that often bleaker view of life doesn't reduce the show for me at all, it just makes it different. Spike's arc is my favourite across the two shows, and I do prefer BtVS overall, but Wes, Angel and Connor are all favourite characters of mine too. I'd definitely put AtS in my top ten shows, probably top five and encourage people to watch it.

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                                • #17
                                  I agree, to an extent, about Sunnydale. Particularly post-"Graduation Day," Sunnydale's citizens should've acted like they knew the score. I don't think it's as unbelievable as L.A. WRT outsiders knowing about it, though. Sunnydale's a medium-size municipality in the middle of nowhere (which is weird in itself, since a town of its size would normally serve as a hub for smaller communities, but whatever). L.A. is, well, L.A. By the turn of the millennium, it was full of surveillance cameras, photo-snapping paparazzi, and police emboldened by tough-on-crime laws. It's possible to imagine people not noticing vampires who have their "food" lured to them rather than kidnapped by force, or that the city council was taken over by possessing demons, but outright urban warfare and horned demons with their own spas are a different story. It would only have worked for me if the writers posited the essentials of the supernatural underworld (vampires and witches are real; demons exist in physical form) as public knowledge.

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                                  Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post
                                  Which episodes are the ones you consider of rewatch value out of interest ?
                                  Generally the ones with the best antagonists, since I'm not that invested in the protags. I enjoy Darla's season-2 arc, as well as Lindsey's climb up up and exit from the ranks of W&H.

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by ghoststar View Post
                                    I agree, to an extent, about Sunnydale. Particularly post-"Graduation Day," Sunnydale's citizens should've acted like they knew the score. I don't think it's as unbelievable as L.A. WRT outsiders knowing about it, though. Sunnydale's a medium-size municipality in the middle of nowhere (which is weird in itself, since a town of its size would normally serve as a hub for smaller communities, but whatever). L.A. is, well, L.A. By the turn of the millennium, it was full of surveillance cameras, photo-snapping paparazzi, and police emboldened by tough-on-crime laws. It's possible to imagine people not noticing vampires who have their "food" lured to them rather than kidnapped by force, or that the city council was taken over by possessing demons, but outright urban warfare and horned demons with their own spas are a different story. It would only have worked for me if the writers posited the essentials of the supernatural underworld (vampires and witches are real; demons exist in physical form) as public knowledge.

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                                    Generally the ones with the best antagonists, since I'm not that invested in the protags. I enjoy Darla's season-2 arc, as well as Lindsey's climb up up and exit from the ranks of W&H.

                                    Interesting you didnt rate the Faith episodes or Spike in S5 then ?

                                    As for protagonists I would argue that Dark Wesley was always fantastic to watch. Gunn was well acted but as a character given very little to do which I do kind of feel was the writers feeling uncomfortable in writing him.
                                    JM was great as Spike and really made that final season.

                                    The show really fell down with its female characters imo
                                    Fred was a waste of space and I thank God for Illyria who was great. Cordelia had limits both as an Actress (supposedly SMG would not work with her on set because she had trouble remembering her lines) and character and the writing was on the wall long before S4 imo
                                    You also had Harmony who was actually not that bad as a fit though why a souless and non chipped Vampire would help is interesting ?
                                    Eve was pointless.
                                    Darla was an interesting character but suffered from B/A fan dislike (seriously back then they were even making fun of her voice) and how Tim Minear wanted to kill her to her being smacked around by Angel when pregnant was not a great look by the writers.
                                    Drusilla disappeared after Redefinition except for Flashbacks which given her history with Angel was a huge waste.

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                                    • #19
                                      I still prefer Buffy. But Angel is an excellent show in its own right. S2 and 3 are my favourite seasons. Like Buffy it took a bit of time to get into its groove.

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