The first season of the spin off takes a little bit of time to settle down while they play about with ideas. The season has two halves as the series starts off with Doyle as Angel’s link to the powers that be. It would actually have been interesting to see where they went with this character, it was nice to see a new and genuinely L.A. character. When Wesley first arrived he was cringingly embarrassing but after a few episodes he settled down and became useful and the trio worked well together as a team.
Plot wise I felt there were a couple too many “Angel becomes human” type stories and possibly too many cross-overs from the Buffy verse. It’s quite clear that there’s more shades of grey in the Angel world than in Buffy – not all demons are bad and there’s a whole other layer of society set up for them. The season did a surprisingly good job at not becoming ‘vision of the week’ and kept stories and ideas pretty varied. There was plenty of set up for the 2nd season with Gunn and Darla introduced near the end. This season felt like it was stumbling around to find it’s feat a bit, but it got there in the end.
DVD Special Features
Just two commentaries seems a little bit stingy for a Buffy-verse dvd, but they are both quite interesting – Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt talk a lot about the show’s conception and style over the pilot and Jane Espenson talks more about the characters and writing over Room W/A Vu. The featurettes are a few minutes each on Angel, Cordelia and the various demons and feel rather sound-bytey and overloaded with clips, rather than going into any depth. The season overview which is usually very good was a bit lacking here – maybe indicative that the producers are just as aware at how many wrong turns there were during the season. Also – why do they insist on putting the season overview on disc 3 of 6?