Warning - this post contains season one spoilers.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon's perfect storm of culture creation, horror and third wave feminism, gave birth to the spinoff series Angel. The character Angel is an anomaly in the Buffyverse, a vampire with a soul who will transform back into a psychopathic, psychotic demon the moment he makes love to a woman and experiences pure happiness.
Spinoffs are often inferior to their parent series, but not this time. Angel is razor sharp with subtle, sophisticated plot twists. During the span of an episode, a cliche plot formula can change into something strange and profound. A few examples:
The viewer automatically roots for a possessed boy, only to discover the boy is a sociopath holding the demon hostage inside him. A paint by numbers bodyguard romance morphs into the True Hollywood Story of a wannabe Elizabeth Bathory, employing a reverse gender date rape drugging for squirm worthy, jaw dropping effect. An evil lawyer looking to reform learns that kindness can actually empower evil and elevate the hero a rung or two on the Social Darwinian ladder of corporate corruption.
Heck, even the relatively straightforward "rescue blonde bombshell from beefy brute" premise gets flipped on its head when the viewer remembers that Angel is basically a male version of Buffy (the ultimate blonde bombshell, who is physically superior to Angel).
Early in the season, when Angel's police woman love interest mistakes him for the villain of the episode and accuses him of being an impotent serial killer, the viewer is taken aback by the accidental accuracy of her statement. After all, Angel's forced celibacy may as well be impotence, and a killer who kills only bad guys is still a killer.
Angel doesn't skimp on the Buffy crossover goodness. The karate battle in the rain with rouge slayer Faith is intensely emotional, as is Buffy and Angel's 24 stolen hours of orgasmic bliss. Even Willow's werewolf boyfriend shows up to say hey.
I've only finished the first season and can already strongly recommend this series. I'm looking forward to marathoning the next four seasons of (as Cordelia humorously calls him) The Dark Revenger. However, it's important to remember that Angel is a spinoff. To really get into it, you might want to watch the first three seasons of Buffy. Not necessary though.
Last edited by PostGhost (2013-03-31 20:26:45)