Season One

Starring: : David Boreanaz Glenn Quinn
20th Century Fox
Certificate: 18
Available now

When the idea of taking two under used characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and placing them in their very own, darker series was first mentioned by the program creators fans were divided on whether such a platform would work. The result, Angel, seems to have garnered favour amongst the hard-core Buffy fans as well as standing pretty strongly as a show in its own right.

From the start the writers were eager to distance their new show from the extremely popular Buffy. Whisking the cast away from the high school jinks familiar to Buffy - Angel is set in the underworld of LA. The series gets off to a flying start with some strong episodes but these quickly descend into farce giving the whole production a Louis & Clark feel to it. While the split between Buffy and Angel fans seems to come down on the side of Angel as the better show, those early episodes almost finished the series before it started - who can forget the cheesy I fall to pieces? or the badly thought out RM W/A VU, which ends so badly. While none of the episodes are dire, they don't seem to sit well and look very out of place when compared with the later episodes.

Though not a particularly strong episode, In the Dark, sees welcome guest stars in the form of Spike and OZ, in an attempt to win over a few more Buffy fans. And it is a particularly strong and dark episode. And if that wasn't enough then Buffy herself makes a guest appearance in I Will Remember You.

The majority of the episodes from season one are incredibly strong, paving the way for an exceptionally good second season. The series also has its 'played for laughs' moments including the very funny The Bachelor Party which help to place Angel in the right light.

Season One DVD Extras
Disc 1: Commentary on 'City Of' by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt.
Disc 2: Commentary on 'Rm W/A/ View' by Jane Espenson.
Disc 3: Featurette - 'Season One', Trailer - 'Angel Season 1 Video', Cast BIOS pages, Stills gallery.
Disc 5: Script for 'Five By Five', Script for 'Sanctuary'.
Disc 6: Featurette - 'I'm Cordelia', Featurette - 'Introducing Angel', Featurette - 'The Demons'.

One complaint that Angel fans will no doubt have is that whilst the original series was filmed in the widescreen ratio 20th Century Fox seemed to have released the DVD in a shabby pan & scan version. This is really not excusable as a simple anamorphic transfer would have been so much better.

In addition the extras, on the whole, will appeal to Angel nuts only - with only disc 6 really offering anything that can be watched more than once.

However this is a nice presentation and the pretty good image quality make this a must own DVD.

Amber Leigh

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