Angel: Season 5

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Posted by Sulkyblue (7th Mar 2005, 17:31)

The final season of Angel was a long time coming for me, as I waited for the dvds to finally be released. When they were finally releaed I realised that I didn't particularly want to actually watch them as I didn't want it to all be over. The season as a whole was a bit odd, in that it featured a fairly major change in direction moving the gang out of dark dingy offices into big bright and shiny law firm, the addition of Spike and focussing more on individual stories. It's a credit to the writers that I actually didn't realise the focus on one-shot episodes until it was pointed out in a feature, the character arcs and background are so seemlessly integrated that I didn't notice their absence while presumably the networks didn't notice their presence.

Basing the team in the belly of the beast as it were lead to some very interesting character developments and new situations. Seeing Fred as a leader of a team and Gunn as an intellectual gave their characters something to do beyond spouting technobabble and hitting people respectively. I was nervous about Spike's introduction at first, having not actually been a particular fan of him in Buffy, but his interaction with Angel provided some absolutely hilarious moments and the caring relationship with Fred added more depth. If anyone suffered from lack of development it was Angel, same old broodiness with added dollups of befuddlement trying to work out was going on.

I'm not sure that I'd rank this as the best season ever, it didn't really feel completely like Angel and I hadn't realised how much I missed Cordelia until her guest appearance. I certainly prefered the balance of singles and arc over the almost completely arc based season 4 right up until the last few episodes which suffered from the lack of buildup. The Fred/Illyria storyline was probably the highlight, showcasing everybodies acting and the relationships between the characters beautifully. Smile Time will go down with Hush and Once More With Feeling as a gimick episode that has the nerve to be hugely entertaining while not sacrificing plot. The final episode Not Fade Away has been criticised for it's lack of ending, but I thought it was a superb finale for the show. Buffy was all about getting through the battle to the other side because you have to, Angel was about fighting the good fight because it should be fought.

Special Features - Another superb Buffy-verse set with oodles of special features all beautifully presented. The featurettes were all interesting and informative bringing comments from a huge range of cast and crew. The outtakes were funny as usual and the special feature on Smile Time was particularly fun. The commentaries were also very interesting when people were actually talking but did drift into silence rather too often as the commenters got swept up watching the episode. They did all degenerate into gushing messes on occasion about how wonderful everyone was, but I'll forgive them that in their final season. I'm guessing doing commentaries the day after the Wrap Party wasn't really a great plan either!

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