Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Angel post

I am a collector. Tyranist is a librarian. I buy stuff I might want to watch, read, or share. He buys stuff so he can know he has it.

So, when I mentioned we might want to rent the first disc of "Angel," just to give it a try, he went out and bought it.

We're going to try and watch "Angel" as part of every Buffy Wednesday, but if it starts to suck, we'll probably give it up. My quandry is: should I blog about the "Angel" episodes the way I do the "Buffy" ones?

I'm tempted to just say no. It's a different show and it's hard enough for me to keep up on my Buffy posts (and don't get me started on Horror Film Compendium reviews, I still haven't reviewed THEM!, which I saw in 2005, I think).

But I have to make my decision now. I can't hold off on reviewing Angels until later, or my list will be incomplete (like my "Buffy" reviews are, but there's nothing I can do about that; it wasn't until I had something to say about a "Buffy" episode that I thought to blog about it).

But I guess I could blog a little about it now and stop doing it in the future. Yeah, I think that's what I'll do.

So, "Angel" is about a vampire with a soul who opens up a detective agency in L.A., along with aspiring actress Cordelia and Irish half-demon Doyle. Angel rules the night, looking for people in need, doing battle with the forces of darkness, and putting right what once went wrong, hoping each time will be the leap home.

In the first episode, "City Of," it sets up the universe, that Angel lives in the basement of a Los Angeles building, feeling sorry for himself by day, and saving attractive young women (usually blonde) from creatures of the night (and hopefully, the occasional pimp, mugger, or serial killer). We meet Doyle, who has painful visions of people in need, and knows everything there is to know about Angel. We also find out that L.A. has quite a thriving vampire population, in positions of affluence and power (many of them are on the Fox Network board of directors). Angel wants to help a young woman named Tina, who's fallen in with a shady element. Her death leads him to Cordelia, who is in L.A. pursuing an acting career. She hasn't been doing so well, but when she almost becomes Vampire Chow, she hooks up with Angel and his investigations agency.

There is a somewhat Malcolm Reynoldsian moment when Angel interrupts a board meeting and kicks a vampire out of a highrise window, where he bursts into flames on the way down. That was cool.

I noticed, on three different occasions in the pilot, Angel standing in or near direct sunlight, and I won't lie to you, it bugged the crap out of me. It may just be me, though, 'cause tyranist didn't seem to have a problem with it.

I understand that the vampire mythos is different in every story or universe, but from the very first episode of "Buffy," we were shown that sunlight is fatal to the bloodsuckers, and that they are (understandably) afraid of it. But not Angel, I suppose. Maybe he's old enough that it doesn't bother him anymore (despite a couple of prior episodes that fly in the face of that), but if I were Gasoline Man, and fire was deadly to me, I wouldn't hang around stoves or candleabras . . . and I certainly wouldn't smoke.

That's all I'm sayin.*

There's not the most positive portrayal of Los Angeles in this episode. But it's probably not untrue. Each and every day, I wish I were back there, but people are always telling me, "Aren't you glad you're away from there?" I've not had a single item stolen from me (save a Cherry Coke once) since I left L.A., and haven't spied a single cockroach.

I find it hard to believe that someone who looks like Cordelia would be living in squallor, but I think they were trying to humanise her, since she has been more than a little bitchy on the "Buffy" show.

Still . . . there are so many people in L.A. who will pay you for being attractive, whether it's to be on their arm, to be on their next project, or to be on their d**k. It's . . .

But I digress.

The second episode of the series was about a parasitic organism that hops from human host to host, feeding on sexual contact, but fatally draining each host in the process. We've all seen variations on that theme, but it was still pretty cool. The episode was called "Lonely Hearts," and it wasn't bad. In it, Angel meets a blonde chick--a cop this time--who ends up suspecting that he is the killer. In the end, they each save the other's life, and form a tentative friendship.

There was a great moment where the creature, its host body already beginning to fall apart, tries desperately to score at a nightclub, eliciting the kind of reaction I got when singing Elton John to that Tiffany girl I liked.

And that's the first two episodes and the show as I see it. The theme song is a good one (I like it a lot more than I like "Buffy"'s, but then, I've never really liked that one . . . though it's a lot better than the "Somebody saaaaaaaave me!" theme I suffered through on "Smallville").

I'm sure those behind the show were going for something more mature and sexy than "BTVS," but I guess what I most liked on "Buffy" were the characters and the humour rather than the horror elements and handsome dudes.** And I fear that the Angel character will become really tiresome after a while, and Cordelia . . . well, she's Cordelia. Since tyranist has made the investment and bought the set, we will continue to watch it, at least for a few weeks. It may get really great, or get worse, or it could be that my own prejudices will prevent me from ever enjoying it. But we'll see.

Rish "Angel in the" Outfield

*Okay, I've seen a couple more "Angel" episodes, and while I still cringe every time he walks into a sunlit room, they have pretty much established that sunlight is to vampires what radiation or Christian Rock is to humans: a little bit is uncomfortable, but not fatal. Prolonged exposure, however . . .

**I was telling tyranist that we could do an "Angel" drinking game where you ONLY take a drink when 1) Angel takes his shirt off, or 2) Angel is in a sunlit area, and you'd end up hammered every single week.

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