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By James Whittington, Thursday 9th December 2010
Spin-off shows rarely last longer than a few episodes. To back up my argument why not reflect on such television fare a The Lone Gunmen (The X-Files), K9 And Company (Doctor Who) and probably the most famous of the then all Joey (Friends). So when it was announced Buffy The Vampire Slayer, one of the most successful fantasy TV shows of all time would have its own offspring many fans feared this would be a pale imitation of its source. Luckily for fans, Angel was to be darker, deeper and truly entertaining television.
Set in modern day Los Angeles, Angel continued this fresh approach to modern day vampire conflict and allowed its main cast to really get to grips (could have said "Get their teeth into") with some serious subjects and ventures into dark, dramatic territory, far darker than its sister programme would have dared to tread.
Though David Boreanaz shines as the tortured and guilt riddled vampire, we can’t talk about the series without mentioning the strong and talented supporting cast. First up there’s the glamorous Charisma Carpenter who as Cordelia Chase was also very popular in Buffy. Then there’s Glen Quinn who stars as Doyle, a half human half demon hybrid who joins Angel and Cordelia at Angel Investigations, more on that later. Further into the first season they are joined by Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, another character who originally appeared in Buffy.
The show weaves through genres; one week it seems to be a straight forward detective serial with a supernatural bent, other weeks it’s an out and out genre fest. Humour still plays its part which lifts it out of the darkness from time to time but isn’t over reliant on one-liners. The tight playing cast all bounce off one another giving the show great pace but it doesn’t ever run away or get lost in its own history. Yes there are story arcs which reward loyal viewers but anyone can dip in and out and soak up some of the most inventive TV of recent times.
Though the idea of Angel Investigations may seem a bit tired it’s actually a fine wheeze and not as straight forward an agency as it first seems. It’s designed to help people who have little experience with paranormal and unexplainable happenings. A smart idea and one that gives the series a solid foundation.
Over its run the series stayed true to its roots and now you’ve been given the chance to walk with him once more. Don’t miss an episode!
Angel can be seen weekdays on Horror at 20:00 from December 13th.
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