Wednesday, April 13, 2005

[TV] Angel 5.1

What do you do when your network tells you to completely reinvent your show and make it newcomer friendly if it wants to keep getting made? In the case of Angel, the creative team completely reinvented their show, made its newcomer friendly, achieved critical success and improved their ratings. That's when the network cancelled the series. And that inspired Joss Whedon and his team to take the gloves off for the last 13 episodes of this Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off.

At the end of last season, Angel and his band of do-gooders took over the villainous law firm of Wolfram & Hart. This inverted four years of storytelling from the Joss Whedon show. Now the good guys were running the bad guys.

The result introduces more moral ambivalence into this increasingly conflicted series. Fortunately it has also kicked up the potential for comedy a notch. Now we have irony, back-story jokes, smart characterisation and - as ever - the show keeps demonstrating that it is aware of its own ridiculousness. Plus it's apparently decided to introduce no-holds-barred fan service for the queer community. It's hard to interpret David Boreanaz saying lines like "I don't have a problem spanking men," and in response to being called a pathetic little fairy saying, "I'm not little," in any other way.

Things won't stay this light-hearted for long but before we see the grim fates of several main characters this season we will be treated to a Mexican wrestling episode and the sight of Boreanaz turned into a wooden puppet (which apparently improves his acting).

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