A vampire, cursed with a soul, fights for redemption for his
past sins while trying to fulfill an ancient prophecy to one day
become mortal again. This premise may seem hokey and outlandish,
but under the guidance of cult favorite creator Joss Whedon,
“Angel” has become one of the most exciting and comedic
hours on television. The series really hit its stride in the second
season and now its even stronger third year is available on
DVD.

Laura Wong

Fans of “Buffy” — “Angel’s”
sister show — should be familiar with the tone and epic
season-long arcs that Whedon loves to implement. “Angel
Season 3” focuses on an unexpected pregnancy and the
consequences of the birth of a child that may bring the apocalypse.
The Fang Gang — Angel and his team — have to protect
the child not only from the evil law firm of Wolfram and Hart, but
also a vampire hunter that has a history with the brooding
hero.

“Angel” became a darker show in this season. While
the standard witty one-liners and occasional comedic episode
remain, the entire mood grew much more somber. The team threatens
to crumble, a recurring character dies and a traitor dwells in the
gang’s midst. The new characters introduced in the second
season — Fred and Lorne — develop into integral parts
of the show while not taking away anything from the rest of the
line-up — Cordy, Wes and Gunn.

“Angel Season 3” has the advantage over its
competitors in the TV on DVD market because the show is shot
specifically for High Definition widescreen presentation. The
transfer is pristine, maintaining “Angel’s”
cinematic appearance, and the sound quality is also a step above
the competition.

Like on the other two season sets released, FOX includes episode
commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes, readable scripts and
still galleries. While there are not that many commentaries, each
one offers insights into the development of the characters and the
intricacies of filming such a large-scale television production in
such a short period of time. Whedon’s own commentary on
“Waiting in the Wings” highlights the extras offering
interesting anecdotes into the creation and progression of the
series.

Season three saw a forced separation between “Angel”
and “Buffy” — because of feuding networks (UPN
and the WB) — that actually helped “Angel” to
become a stronger and more independent show. Without the ability to
cross over, the series had to stand on its own merits.
“Angel” the series and Angel the character both matured
in season three, and the resulting season is one of the best in its
run so far.

 

Show: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Picture/Sound: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Features: 4 out of 5 stars

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