Post by ag25 on Oct 12, 2019 6:36:41 GMT
Yay, now we finally get to start Angel! This will be the same as my 20th Anniversary Viewings of Buffy posts.
City of - 10-5-1999/2019
This series premier episode is, I think, one of, if not the best, first episodes of a series I have ever seen. It is a well put together episode that does several things. One, like any good premier, it sets up the premise of the show. Angel's own redemption (along with Cordelia's and Doyle's if you want to count them) is not just tied to saving people, but as Doyle tells Angel, "We're not just saving people's lives, we're saving souls." I love this concept and I believe it gave the show more depth. It wasn't just another story about a vampire seeking redemption; it has a broader goal.
Another theme/premise is Angel becoming someone (a champion for the Powers That Be) and becoming a part of the world that he feels so disconnected from. This episode and concept is a great pick up from the Buffy Season 2 episode Becoming Part 1, where we see Whistler come to Angel and set him on his path of redemption, helping Buffy, and, ultimately, becoming a champion for the good guys. I believe that was the episode that Joss and David Greenwalt were convinced that David Boreanaz needed his own show, so where the conception of Angel the Series began, and here with the premier, it feels very much like picking up right where they left off. Becoming Part 1 was so packed full of great background, potential, and development for Angel that I am glad it came to fruition with Angel's own series and is prevalent right from the beginning.
Also, I think this set up or planted the seeds for Angel's epiphany later on in season 2, "If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do" which represents another theme/premise of the show. I love all of those concepts and how this lays the foundations for them for the rest of the show. Other things set up are Wolfram & Hart, Lindsey's character, Doyle's visions, his drinking, his past, Cordelia's past, her rags to riches story, her acting career, and her ideas about creating the detective agency Angel Investigations.
Two, while still being connected to Buffy, it establishes itself as its own thing. It gives the audience a summary of events that happened before the show for those who hadn't seen Buffy or maybe the audience had but it was a well done summary. It gave us the history of the character on and before the mother show, but then used it to set up what was next for the character(s). It does a great job of setting itself a part from Buffy and being different from what that show is yet still operating in the same world that we were familiar with on Buffy. It's interesting how similar this episode and Buffy's Season 4 premier are in that the audience doesn't know what to expect in these new premiers and new and different things are being established in their world but the same feelings, concepts, characters, etc. the audience was familiar with in Buffy's first 3 seasons are still there.
Three, it could be considered just a good stand alone episode. A mini story of Angel if you will. One could just watch this one episode of Angel and understand what Angel's new purpose is and what he is working towards. We don't actually have to see anymore episodes to get it and just watch Buffy and see his cameos there and still get it. Boiling the premise and overall theme of the show down into just one episode, I think, is great writing. And I am so glad that this is a great example of that here.
I have said on here previously that I thought there were only 6 or 7 Angel and Buffy episodes that had voice overs. Well, I was pleasantly surprised that I had forgotten that this episode has one too. (Passion, Becoming Part 1, Beauty and the Beasts, City of, Judgement, and Redefinition. Do we count Spin the Bottle? Did I miss any?)
Ok, so Doyle's introduction was great and I like that we see that he is half demon. Angel can relate to him better; not to mention he is Irish, lol. I noticed while watching that Doyle actually only has 5 or 6 scenes in the entire episode. To me it feels like he had more and I think this speaks to Glenn's acting and presence. Kudos to him.
Lol to Doyle running Angel's car into the gate and it not budging, Angel jumping into the wrong car, Angel's acting like a human to the security guard, trying to talk to Tina at first by commenting on the dog, and drunk Angel!
I liked Tina's character and that Angel failed at saving her. I'm sad about her death but it establishes the tone and what Angel is up against. Not just the potential of not being able to save someone, but: how hard that task is, as well as saving their soul, Angel's guilt, Russell, W&H, Lindsey, and evil in general.
Cordelia's introduction was great as well. Angel is doing a job in helping Tina and he runs into Cordy at the networking party, which is relevant to Cordy's storyline, but also foreshadows her being Angel's connection to the world. It's cute that he is happy to see her, a familiar face, which is funny considering its Cordelia. She returns to form to "get mingley" and I loved Angel's sarcastic comment that he was "glad to see she had grown as a person." Great line considering the journey her character goes on. Another interesting point about this is that I believe in both this episode and Buffy's premier, Angel and Buffy are both feeling lonely and out of place and around the same time in each episode, Cordy and Xander show up to comfort our heroes (Cordy appears earlier than Xander). Nice parallel storytelling. I also love when Cordy figures out that Russell is a vampire ("I'm from Sunnydale") and her line to Russell about Angel "You don't know who he is do you? Oh boy, you're about to get your ass kicked." Classic Cordelia moments.
At the party, I love that the agent Oliver thinks Angel is an actor/model, lol. And a nice little foreshadowing(?) to an episode later in the season.
Russell was an interesting villain and a good introduction to what W&H does and what they represent in the bigger picture of the show.
Back to what I said at the top about Angel becoming more connected to the world, after seeing Cordy on Buffy I thought is was weird that she was the one to be brought over to Angel. The two characters had not had a lot of interaction and she was mainly used as comic relief, a sort of foil for Buffy, and a love interest. But then I had listened to Joss and David Greenwalt's commentary on the episode and they said that they had brought Cordy over because she was so bright and bubbly, and as Doyle tells Angel at the end of the episode, she provides a bright spot; a connection to the world for Angel. This is totally true; she would drag Angel kicking and screaming to be a part of the world for his own good, lol. And this sets up a beautiful story and character development for Cordelia's character.
As I mentioned in my Buffy Season 4 thread, I liked the mini crossover of Angel and Buffy with the phone call.
Overall, an excellent episode and series premier.