T. Stewart | Santa Cruz | 03/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the Second chapter in the Angel series, and the prelude to one of the finest seasons of TV that Television has ever seen (Angel Season 3). The second season takes place about 5 months after the season 1 finale, and shows the gang in full demon fighting swing of things. They've picked up two new friends: Charles Gunn (a street-fighting demon hunter) and Lorne (A green lounge singing demon). Through the season Angel enters a downward sprial, due to the return of Darla (the vampire who sired him). He returns to normal in just enough time to go to Pylea (A demon dimension) and save the race of humans... Only to return to La with the new of Buffys dealth. The second season contains many stellar episodes, and the best guest stars the show has ever seen: Eliza Dusku (Faith), Andy Hallet (Lorne), Julie Benz (Darla), and Juliet Landau (Drusilla) to name a few. The season included the wonderful episodes: Judgement, ARe you now or have you ever been, First Impressions, Untouched, Dear Boy, Guise will be Guise, Darla, The Shroud of Rahmon, The Trail, Reunion, REdefinition, Happy Anniversary, the Thing Dead Line, Reprise, Epiphany, Disharmony, Dead End, Belonging, Over the RAinbow, Throught he Lookinglass, and There's no place like Plrtz Glrb. If your a fan of great television, or horror this is the box set for you. And if you have any intention of buying the 3rd season this season is a must see to understand much the 3rd and 4th season plot lines."
On its own... at last
R. Seehausen | Cypress, TX United States | 04/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Angel: Season 2 was where the show started to move into its own 'formula', and the opening statement that Angel himself was not devastated by the loss of Buffy served to encompase one fact: the show was on its own.Where the first season essentially followed the monster-of-the-week plus occasional storyline episode formula that has been tried and true on Buffy, Season 2 started to move away from that into the darker, emotionally churning state of being that we viewers have grown so used to in the third and fourth seasons.The second season of Angel also points at the show's tendency to serve an overarching plot rather than a seasonal "Big Bad", when it ends with a trip to a different dimension instead of concluding the Darla storyline (which is completed in the third season).But though this season has a darker, more plot-arc oriented spine, it still contains some excellent character and monster-of-the-week episodes. One of these is "Are You Now or Were You Ever?", thought by fans everywhere as being one of the best episodes of the show. Other greats include "Darla", "Guise will Beguise", and "The Shroud of Rahmon".There are also portents of the futures of the different characters interspersed throughout the season. This is where Wesley really matured, becoming a hard-bitten leader rather than a comical sidekick. You can see his character being prepared to make the harder choices that cause him to be so dark later on in the series.Angel himself has a hard time of it throughout this season, but then, when does he not? He grows dark, deep-set despair keeping him from both his mission and his friends. But his redemption is both funny and touching when he returns towards the end of the season.Cordelia grows immensely during this season, primarily because of her visions. She's still "tell it like it is" Cordy, but her caring for others grows by leaps and bounds, setting the stage for the Cordelia we know later on in the third season.Charles Gunn also joins the Fang Gang, forsaking his old 'crew' to help Angel Investigations in a slow process that is (fortunately) very believable.Also in this season we are introduced to two new characters that will later become regulars: Fred and Lorne (the Host). The first is a slightly cooky, very intelligent woman who was stuck in Pylea for five years before returning with the Angel Investigations gang. The second, Lorne, is a truly unique character - a demon that sings, and can read a person's destiny when that person sings. Both are excellent additions to the group, and help to flesh out the dynamic between the characters.In conclusion, Angel: Season 2 serves as a stage-setter for the third and fourth seasons' storylines and characters, and contains some truly memorable episodes as well."
The Very Best of Angel
D. Bell | Olney, MD USA | 04/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Season 2 of Angel is definitely the best, and I've seen all of Season 3 and all that has aired of Season 4. Why is Season 2 the best? It has the best cast of recurring characters, almost all of whom are gone by the end of episode 18. And it has a definite arc, although some freestanding episodes are interspersed in among the progressing shows. One of the very best of the freestanding episodes is Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been, which is a true masterpiece (and has echoes of the original Twilight Zone episode The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street!). Disharmony is also an excellent stand-alone episode, but this is one of the funniest episodes yet as Mercedes McNab reprises her role as Harmony the ditzy vampire from Sunnydale. She is a riot! This season also provides the strongest conflict between Angel Investigations and its nemesis, the evil law firm of Wolfram & Hart, as Angel's sire Darla is brought back from the dead (at the cost of Lindsey's right hand) to beguile and bedevil Angel. Lorne the empathetic demon is a welcome addition to the cast from the first episode, and the addition of Fred in the last four episodes (and also The Groosalugg, who will be around in the beginning of Season 3) is a touch of genius. However, the highlight of Season 2 is the Angel/Darla/Lindsey conflict, with the brilliant contributions of two gorgeous and remarkably talented actors, Julie Benz and Christian Kane. They were a devastating loss to the show when the storyline ended (although Benz makes a few appearances in Season 3 and one in Season 4). Drusilla enters in The Trial and, along with Stephanie Romanov (Lindsey's evil colleague Lilah), Sam Anderson (their boss Holland Manners), and Gerry Becker (his replacement Nathan Reed) provide the counterpoint to the Angel Investigations theme. These magnificent actors are gone from the show much too soon, with the exception of Romanov. And the storyline peaks in Reunion, an episode with an ending that must be seen to be believed. Elisabeth Rohm (Kate Lockley) is another brilliant cast member who leaves the show at the end of this season, and Julia Lee (Anne Steele, who had called herself first Chanterelle and then Lily on two episodes of Buffy) appears too briefly.Other highlights include songs by Andy Hallett (Lorne), Julie Benz, and Christian Kane, all of whom sing very well, and songs by David Boreanaz and the trio of Wes, Cordy, and Gunn, who don't! And the bookish Wes becomes a true hero as the season develops. In the last four (Pylea) episodes, he becomes a leader. There is also a very brief appearance by Eliza Dushku as Faith.Buy this, watch this, and cherish this. You'll never see its like again. This is definitely the best of Angel."
Buffy's sister series comes into its own
Joseph Rodriguez | Iowa City, IA United States | 07/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The TV series Angel tells the story of brooding vampire P.I. Angel (played by David Boreanaz) and his employees; at the beginning of this season, they include former Watcher Wesley (Alexis Denisof), former vampire hunter Gunn (J. August Richards) and former prom queen Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) - the brains, muscle, and snark of the group, respectively. And in the course of the season, the Host (Andy Hallett) - a psychic demon who also happens to own a karaoke bar - and Fred (Amy Acker) - a batty young physicist - join the Fang Gang as well.In this second season, Angel comes into its own, no longer in the shadow of its parent series. Angel's investigation agency is doing well, when things are derailed by the appearance of his dead sire, Darla (Julie Benz), brought to you by the demonic lawyers at Wolfram and Hart. Over the course of the season, Angel allows Darla and Wolfram and Hart trigger his spiral into darkness, culminating in his willingness to let Darla and the insane Drusilla (Juliet Landau) kill a roomful of W&H lawyers and in the firing of his employees. Only after he's had an epiphany and returned to make an uneasy peace with his former friends does the season conclude, in a rousing several-part finale that involves travelling to the otherdimensional Pylea in an effort to save Cordelia from her own delusions of grandeur.Also, as one might expect from a spin-off TV series, there are cameos galore. Faith (Eliza Dushku), Spike (James Marsters), Harmony (Mercedes McNab), Willow (Alyson Hannigan)...all make appearances of some sort or another during the season. Of special note is Harmony's hysterically funny appearance during her visit with best friend Cordelia in the episode "Disharmony."While it's not necessary to have seen either Buffy or the first season of Angel to understand this DVD set, it is helpful. And with the end of Buffy, fans of that show may want to move on to this one, which at times in recent seasons has eclipsed its parent series. And while this season is not the best, and is unusually dark even for Angel, it's still some of the best TV out there. Highly recommended."