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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The Slayer Collection: Angel DVD Review

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The Slayer Collection: Angel

June 2, 2002

Director: Scott Brazil, Joss Whedon, James Whitmore Jr.,
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Boreanaz, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Head, Charisma Carpenter, Eliza Dushku, ,

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DVD Review

Buffy fans will appreciate these new DVDs that showcase selected episodes featuring our favourite characters.
Diehard fans will probably already own the full boxsets, but if you haven’t been able to afford a whole season, or are a new devotee to the show, then this is your chance for a piece of the action. 20th Century Fox are releasing a new selection of Buffy with four episodes per DVD. So if your favourite character on the show is, say, Willow, then you can buy the DVD with four of her best storylines. The same goes for Buffy, Faith, Spike and of course Angel, which we’ll look at here.
Yep – four whole episodes devoted to the caveman-brow vampire with a soul, before he got his own spin-off series.
The Episodes:
Angel

The seventh episode of season one reveals Angel as being a vampire just when Buffy starts to fall for him. Since all vampires are supposed to be evil, a little research is in order to find out his true intentions. Things aren’t helped when Angel’s old friend Darla toys with him and, on orders from The Master, sets him up by attacking Joyce. Buffy wants Angel’s blood, but the truth comes out and they have to work together to defeat Darla.

Future seasons have built on the relationship between Darla and Angel (she sired him) and showed us their history together, so what we’re seeing here is really the middle part of their story, which makes for an interesting character dynamic. After all, what would you do if your four-hundred-year-old ex-girlfriend showed up on the scene?

Innocence

Skipping forward to season two now and it’s Buffy’s birthday, which usually means some bad scooby-doo is going to hit an air-conditoning appliance before the day is out. Said doo comes true when Buffy sleeps with Angel and unwittingly reverts him back to the evil Angelis. He joins up with old friends Spike and Drusilla, who are planning to use a demon known as The Judge to wipe out Sunnydale’s inhabitants, and at the same time plays mind-games with Buffy, who is as yet unaware that anything is wrong. Meanwhile Jenny reveals more about herself to the gang than she intended, and Buffy and Angel face off in a shopping mall.
This episode concentrates (in a cleverly indirect way) on themes of growing up, and how you think you know your partner, only for them to show a different side to their personality.

I Only Have Eyes For You

A ghost is haunting the halls of Sunnydale High in this episode from late in season two, and he won’t rest until his murder/suicide pact is complete. Unfortunately the students find themselves re-enacting the lovers’ quarrel and only Buffy can save the school and release the curse. This is easier said than done, though, because only Angel can help her. Can she put aside her own feelings to use him to put a stop to the curse?
The theme of lovers who can’t stand to be apart, yet can’t be together is paralleled by Buffy and Angel’s own relationship and, possessed by the ghosts, they are forced to reveal their true feelings for each other.

Amends

From season three, three priests are using a spell to force Angel to confront the people he has murdered over the years in the hope of driving him into Buffy’s arms and, in turn, making him evil again. There’s a definite Scrooge influence here, as it’s Christmas in Sunnydale and while Willow and Oz are getting more intimate and Faith thaws enough to join Buffy for Christmas Eve, Angel is visited by the ghosts of his victims, including Jenny Calendar. Fearing his sanity, Angel goes to Giles for help, but seeing as Jenny was Giles’ girlfriend, he’s reluctant to shake hands and clear the slate. Buffy eventually finds Angel on the brink of suicide and has to talk him around before it’s too late.
This is one of the lesser action-packed episodes, but Gellar and Boreanaz get to stretch their acting muscles, and there’s a neat Dickensian ending to cap it all off.

Special Features:

A Buffy/Angel promo trailer and a short fifteen-minute character profile on Angel are all you get. Once again, I can only recommend this DVD to people who haven’t already bought the full seasons on DVD and only particularly want to own these four episodes inparticular.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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Rating: 80%

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