In the world of television spinoffs it is rare that the newer material will live up to that which spawned it. All In The Family holds the record for number of spinoffs and coincidentally produced the most memorable. Frasier was an instant hit after Cheers. But how many of you remember After-MASH or Beverly Hills Buntz?
Angel, to anyone living under a rock, dates back to the pilot episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I recently took another look at that maiden appearance. Who says vampires don’t age? This i… going to be heresy for some of you, but Angel is a far superior show. The darker tones and the good sense to stay away from the Scooby Doo Club antics made it a show to be taken more seriously. That was until Season 5.
I’m still not sure what Josh Whedon was thinking with the season 5 rework of the Angel premise. Having the gang take over Wolfram & Hart had to be one of the silliest ideas yet. That was until Spike’s ghost showed up. Still, the strong ensemble cast and tight writing salvage this weaker Angel season, making it worth at least another look. The transformation of Fred into a demon is kind of awesome. I would have liked more of that character.
Each episode has a fair Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround mix. There isn’t anything incredibly dynamic here, but to be fair, this is a dialogue driven show. Everything is clear and pretty much in the center. When the action calls for a little more variety, the mix delivers it as well as most TV shows on DVD.
There are commentaries on several episodes with everyone from Josh Whedon himself to David Boreanaz and each one is well worth the listen. You’ll find a wide range of emotions on display about this, the final season of Angel. The remarks are remarkably candid and entertaining.
Each episode of Angel is delivered in a high quality 16X9 video transfer. You won’t find any flaws or artifacts from the original prints here. Colors are pretty vibrant. This season of Angel is not always as dark as previous years. It is most definitely the most colorful. Still the darks deliver the detail when called upon.
The extras on this discs line up like this…
- “Hey Kids It’s Smile Time” Angel as a Muppet has got to be one of the most original episodes of this series. This small feature takes a very lighthearted look at a pretty special episode.
- “Choreography of a Stunt” Mike Massa is the man behind many of the great stunts Angel has become well known for. Here you’ll see him work his way through the process of planning and executing an Angel stunt.
- “Angel The Final Season” is pretty much like the season capsules found on the earlier sets. A quick look at the episodes.
- “To Live and Die in L.A. The Best Of Angel” This is a reflective look by Josh Whedon on what he considers the better episodes of the show. Take a look and see if you agree.
- “Halos & Horns Recurring Villainy” Looks at the great “bad guys and gals” to grace the 5 seasons of Angel.
- “Angel Unbound: The Gag Reels” If you love the goofs and playtime from the set, you’ll love this best-of reel from the show’s entire run.
The menu system is exactly like all the previous sets. I want to say that I like that you can use your chapter buttons to skip the opening screens and get right to the selection menu.
The sad news here is that this is it. There’s talk of TV movies or even a theatrical release, but those things are not imminent at this time. Perhaps if the Whedon film Serenity, which continues the exploits the ill-fated cast from Firefly, proves a success, more doors will open for Angel. Even if this is not the greatest season of Angel, it is perhaps a fitting end to a wonderful show. “Personally I’d kind of like to slay the dragon”.
Special Features List
- Selected audio commentary by Joss Whedon, David Boreanaz, Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Sarah Thompson, Christian Kane, Juliet Landau, Adam Baldwin, Skip Schoolnik, David Fury, Steven S. DeKnight, Jeffrey Bell, Brent Fletcher, Elizabeth Craft, and Sarah Fain
- “Angel: The Final Season” overview with cast and crew interviews
- Featurettes: Hey Kids! It’s Smile Time, Angel 100, Angel: Choreography of a Stunt, To Live and Die in L.A.: The Best of Angel, Halos & Horns: Recurring Villainy, Angel Unbound: The Gag Reels