The ever-so-broody one is back, still seeking redemption in the second instalment of his first season out on his own - if you missed the review of the first part you may wish to check it out here for more of an idea what it's all about.
Things continue much as they began, in a much more episodic format than Buffy. Towards the end, though, plots tend to veer off into the more familiar continuing storyline territory with lawyers Wolfram & Hart coming to prominence - and it is safe to say we haven't seen the last of them, either.
Characters continue to develop nicely, with Cordelia in particular becoming more and more 3D as things progress - which is much needed, as there is less of a core ensemble cast than the parent show has to rely on. Gunn is introduced, as are some other characters we'll be seeing more of in seasons to come, and Wesley - well, Wesley is basically the same annoying twat he has always been.
Most of us can no doubt claim to have had nightmare one night stands, but none like what Cordelia has to endure - and he seemed like such a sweet guy! Oh well, another day, another big slimy demon. Oh, and Angel doesnít hum.
Angel and Wesley, party animals? Well, not for long, as there's a bringer of chaos from another dimension to be dealt with, and one very hot female demon. Angel's diplomacy skills are tested, and it's just as well he has some as he certainly canít dance...
I've Got You Under My Skin
One of Cordie's visions leads to Angel saving a little boy from becoming road squish, however that's just the beginning for a rather troubled family in this tale of exorcism, spelunking and brussels sprouts. Angel is not unflappable.
Angel and Kate are at each other's throats again (although in this case it probably should be pointed out that it isn't literally), and we are privy to some Angelic history (well, hello Darla!). Meanwhile, just what is Kate's Dad involved in?
It's bloodsport for all after Angel is hoodwinked by a would-be client and subsequently captured as a contestant in a dodgy underground kill-or-be-killed demon fighting ring.
Angel does The Bodyguard. After saving a television star from becoming a pancake she develops quite the crush, ah, but what are her motives? Is she really being stalked, or does she see our Mr Broody as some sort of beauty product?
Five By Five
Let the games begin, as L.A. gets a wild visitor from Sunnydale whose name isnít Spike (yum, Spiky Wiky!) Teaming up with Wolfram & Hart, could this rogue element cause the sun to go down on Angel for good? It's torture time...
Tensions run high in the office due to somebody Angel has taken under his wing - especially when Buffy pops by for a quick visit. Slimy lawyer types Wolfram & Hart are getting rather frustrated, and is Kate Mulder, or is she Scully?
On the case for a hyper-nerdic software tycoon, Angel becomes embroiled in a typically Angel flavoured gang war between a gang of rogue vampire hunters and a pack (Herd? Swarm? Flock? Phalanx?) of vampires. Gunn and Angel get things sorted...
Angel takes on Wolfram & Hart in a bid to stop a rather nasty assassination, and that old adage about 'the whites of their eyes' takes on new meaning. Meanwhile, Lindsay may want out of the law firm, Willow dons her helpdesk beanie and MMMmmmÖ scroll!
To Shanshu in L.A.
The importance of the scroll becomes clear, as Wolfram & Hart raise a rather nasty cloaked figure in their bid to make L.A. Angel-free. The oracles are having a bad day, Wesley's having a bad day, Cordie's having a bad day and Lindsay's having a bad day, yet there's still some time for some office redecorating...
Anybody who is following the exploits of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel via these DVD releases should be forewarned that this first season runs in parallel with season four of Buffy, which isnít out yet. As such there are some minor spoilers to be had on occasions, although nothing too sinister and soul destroying...
Value-wise, much the same can be said for this as the first part of the season - the lack of the original 1.78:1 ratio is an incredibly bitter disappointment, and the chopping of the episode recaps is also rather annoying. On the plus side however is an otherwise fantastic transfer, that has been marked down only for the aforementioned faults, and, of course, the fact that you get eleven more episodes of another top quality Joss Whedon creation to savour.
Sadly those outtakes advertised all over the first box set donít show up here either, and to be honest with two scripts included that are of minimal interest to all but the most obsessive of fans or budding screenwriters, and just three very short featurettes, the extras collection on offer here isnít up to standards previously set with the Buffy releases - and in this case comparisons seem fair due to their sibling relationship (the shows, not the characters - duh!)
Basically, if you dig Buffy you should also find much to love about Angel. Whilst not as out and out humorous in favour of an aptly darker tone, Angel does still have its own line of often wicked humour that let's you know Joss Whedon is well and truly still on the case - and we canít ask for more than that, can we? Well, except of course for lots and lots more Spik... (Editor's note: That's it - we have had to enter Amy into a 12-step Spike rehab program - it's for her own good, really it is.)