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  • Angel is a fantastic show but for a several reasons it's very difficult to explain to

  • people why. Its is a genre bending fantasy spinoff of the cult show Buffy the Vampire Slayer

  • about a vampire detective agency starring that one guy from Bones.

  • Wait wait wait...

  • don't close the video yet. I think I can make a compelling argument for why this is a show

  • that needs to be in your Netflix queue, whether you've seen Buffy or not.

  • "But What Is It?"

  • The show was created in 1999 by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt and features the continuing

  • stories of Angel, the vampire who has had his soul restored through a curse.

  • Angel exited Sunnydale and Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3 months before. His life continues in LA as he tries

  • to atone for the horrible things he did before his soul was restored. When he runs into some

  • familiar faces they decide maybe a more organized approach to do-gooding is to start a business

  • rather than just roaming the streets Batman style and thus Angel Investigations

  • (we help the helpless) is born.

  • If Buffy at its core is a show about growing up, Angel is a show about being an adult and

  • the challenges that come with it. From starting a business, and being a parent, to questions

  • about what makes a meaningful life. There's even bits about corporate employment, and

  • can you change it or does it change you? And all of this is told against the backdrop of a well realized

  • fantasy world that is as surprising as it is familiar.

  • But I know what you may be thinking

  • Don't Spinoffs normally kinda suck?”

  • Not necessarily. No.

  • But ampire Private Eye sounds pret-ty stupid.” I know. Ridiculous right? Like, like...race

  • car driving pope. Or.....post civil war space cowboys. Wait

  • Ah yeah. That's just textbook Joss Whedon. Whedon inventions are nearly all genre benders.

  • His original concept for Firefly started after reading a book on the civil war and wondering

  • what could come about if that was set in the distant future. From that we got Post civil

  • war Space Cowboys. Buffy began from him wondering what if the blonde that always got eaten in

  • horror movies, instead kicked the monsters ass? From that we got horror tropes set in

  • high school. But these aren't your normal vampires

  • sleeping in coffins:

  • Coffins, I hate that stereotype.”

  • Other than the fact that these are just great writers, the shows work for two reasons.

  • The first is Whedon understands that a genre does nothing except provide a setting. You still

  • have to tell a great story. And he happens to tell my favorite kinds of stories, intensely

  • character driven ones that we see ourselves in.

  • The second reason it works is because the writing is self aware enough to not take itself

  • too seriously:

  • -"what's next, vampire cowboy?"

  • "vampire fireman?"

  • "oh, vampire ballerina?"

  • The show is very dark but also whimsical and that prevents the material from slipping too

  • far into gothic self importance. Take Lorne, the red horned green skinned demon who owns

  • a bar for non-humans. Lorne is from another dimension and can read your aura if you sing

  • to him. So of course, his bar is a karaoke bar:

  • Fine...it's character driven. But Angel was a dull character on Buffy…”

  • I actually don't disagree with this. On Buffy, Angel's emotes were pretty much limited

  • to balsa, pine, and aspen. But even on that show he'd already developed a richer back

  • story than any of the other ancillary characters, and as I mentioned Whedon felt he'd outgrown it.

  • He grows considerably on his own show once he isn't stuck just being the dark

  • broody boyfriend.

  • It's also important to keep in mind that Angel isn't as single minded a show as Buffy.

  • Where Buffy's season arcs relate specifically or metaphorically to Buffy herself and her

  • friends are often satellites in that orbit, Angel's season storylines are broader epics

  • that are less about him. That allows the other cast of characters to feature nearly as prominently

  • as Angel himself and as a result the show has two of the greatest character arcs from

  • either series, those of Cordelia and Wesley.

  • My first time through I didn't love Cordelia on Buffy. The blunt, hard speaking no nonsense

  • high school alpha girl character seemed to float between episodes sometimes, a round

  • peg in a show with no holes. It became especially true once she lost her direct connection to

  • the scooby gang. But on Angel she proves a perfect outspoken foil to Angel's initially

  • broody introversion. And we get to watch that alpha schoolgirl facade fall away as she becomes

  • the beating mature heart of Angel investigations.

  • Wesley began Buffy as a spinless comic relief character. A Buffyverse knock off Niles Crain.

  • “I'm telling the council.”

  • After leaving Buffy he becomes a self employed Rogue Demon hunter

  • What's a rogue demon.”

  • He joins up with Angel investigations and we witness his naivete get slowly stripped

  • away making him nearly unrecognizable.

  • "Sounds a bit Morbid"

  • It certainly can be. Also hilarious, tragic, exciting, and fiercely inspiring. Both Buffy

  • the Vampire Slayer and Angel fall into a category that I would describe asMeaningful Entertainment.”

  • That is, stories and characters that provide us a medium through which to consider ourselves

  • and our own lives. But far from doing so through heavy handed moralizing, these shows accomplish

  • that feat through the characters, and them asking themselves questions like what makes

  • a meaningful life? To what extent do you shape your own destiny and how much is fate? Are

  • there some things for which there can be no redemption? Some acts you can never atone for?

  • And because Whedon places SUCH an emphasis on creating vivid characters we identify with them,

  • and confront those questions ourselves.

  • In a unexpectedly informative news story about the Russian winter olympics on the fake news

  • show The Daily Show, Jason Jones found one woman at an anti-government rally protesting

  • Russia's recent anti-gay laws. Though 74 percent of Russians don't think homosexuality

  • should be accepted by society, this woman was still on the streets protesting for basic

  • human rights. When asked if she was hopeful Russia could change she stated, “I have

  • to do it to not be ashamed...I want to look in the eyes of my children and say that I

  • did all I could. I'll say a quote from an American TV show. Its called Angel There is

  • a wonderful phrase: If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.” I'll

  • put a link to the Daily Show story in the description.

  • Though you certainly don't need to have seen Buffy to watch Angel, if you're already

  • a Buffy fan you have no excuses. The reason to watch Angel is simple: you get to spend

  • more time in this universe you already love. There are crossover episodes between the two shows,

  • guest appearances by beloved characters, and complete character arcs you may have missed.

  • You even get to see some of the consequences to Buffy's decisions at the end of Season 7

  • Of course that's not to say that there aren't any rough edges. Not to fret. I'll be doing

  • an Angel episode guide on this channel once we get to Buffy Season 4. But strangely where

  • most shows roughest seasons are their early ones, fans generally seem to agree that Angel

  • season 4 is its most problematic. Though Season 1 while entertaining, can be very dry at times.

  • -"you fight demons! at any moment one of them could walk right through that very door!"

  • But then comes Angel Season 5.

  • Terrible, wonderful, awe inspiring Season 5. The finale is one

  • of the greatest of any television series I've ever watched. A symphony of separate moving

  • parts. At once epic and intimate culminating in a final scene that harmonizes perfectly

  • to the shows internal philosophy. That sometimes right is right, regardless of its futility.

  • That all that matters is what we do today. Right now. And, to borrow a phrase, a thing

  • isn't beautiful because it lasts.

  • But I'm getting ahead of myself. Angel, Season 1 - Episode 1 - Scene 1. It's on

  • Netflix, Amazon Instant, Youtube, and Hulu. Go watch. Go watch it now. It's worth it.

  • I promise.

Angel is a fantastic show but for a several reasons it's very difficult to explain to

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Why You Should Watch Angel

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    Johnny Tsai posted on 2018/05/22
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