Angel-Season 3 Box Set Part 1 (2001)
Audio Commentary-Billy; Lullaby
Featurette-Darla: Deliver Us From Evil
Deleted Scenes-1 +/- commentary
Trailer-Buffy Season 2; Buffy Season 3; Buffy Season 4
Trailer-Buffy The Vampire Slayer Movie;Angel Season 1;Angel Season 2
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
James A Contner
Twentieth Century Fox
J. August Richards
Daniel Dae Kim
|RPI||$79.95||Music||Robert J. Kral|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (96Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
By the time Angel reached Season 3 it was fairly well separated from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oh, they heard about the big events in Buffy ((SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Buffy's death and resurrection qualified...), but the two shows were being screened on different TV networks, so there weren't any big cross-over episodes (which was a shame, as I really liked those). Before you read this review, you might want to read my reviews of Angel Season One (Part I and Part II), and Season Two (Part I and Part II).
If you haven't seen the earlier seasons of Angel and Buffy, I strongly recommend you not read any more of the plot synopsis.
This is Angel Season 3 Part I, the first three discs out of the six that make up the season. The episodes on these discs are:
|Heartthrob||40:36||David Greenwalt||David Greenwalt||A pair of vampires from Angel's past appear in LA.|
|That Vision-Thing||40:42||Jeffrey Bell||Bill Norton||Cordelia's visions start to have even worse side-effects|
|That Old Gang of Mine||41:57||Tim Minear||Fred Keller||Gunn's old gang aren't sticking to their old haunts|
|Carpe Noctem||40:17||Scott Murphy||James A Contner||If you have had three heart attacks, would you want a new body?|
|Fredless||42:07||Mere Smith||Marita Grabnik||Fred's parents come looking for her, but there's something else looking for her, too|
|Billy||42:26||Tim Minear |
|David Grossman||The boy who Angel freed from Hell is on a rampage|
|Offspring||40:49||David Greenwalt||Turi Meyer||It's impossible for one vampire to make another pregnant, right?|
|Quickening||41:07||Jeffrey Bell||Skip Schoolnik||Lots of parties are interested in an unborn child|
|Lullaby||41:53||Tim Minear||Tim Minear||Things are rendered much more complex by the appearance of an 18th century vampire hunter|
|Dad||41:51||David H Goodman||Fred Keller||Angel and crew protecting a baby from all manner of forces trying to get him|
|Birthday||41:45||Mere Smith||Michael Grossman||Cordelia is being killed by the visions — some birthday present!|
The first episode is a gentle warm-up. They make it clear that Fred (the beautiful Amy Acker) is having a bit of trouble adjusting to life back in our world after five years stuck in Pylea as a fugitive and slave. Angel has been away for three months because Buffy died (this season is concurrent with season six of Buffy, so Buffy's death at the end of season five is where we start). It's only in the last few minutes that we get a glimpse of the major plot arc for the season: (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Darla's pregnancy (and its consequences).
The second episode makes a big point of the secondary major plot arc for the season: Cordelia's visions, and the toll they are taking on her physically and mentally. She takes a bigger part in this season, being far more than the simple foil for jokes that she played in Buffy and the first season of Angel. This Cordelia is a deeper and far more interesting character than she used to be. I really like her.
I think it's amusing that we see the character Skip more than once. My theory is that his make-up was far too costly (that ring piercing his chin must have cost a fortune) for use in a single episode.
Perhaps the most important new character this season is Holtz, the vampire hunter. He is played with considerable gusto by Keith Szarabajka. We see him in flashbacks to Angel's past in the first episode. Actually, we've seen events from Holtz's pursuit of Angel and Darla in Season 2, but we didn't see him.
In an early commentary on Angel, one of the writers pointed out Charisma Carpenter's tattoo (across the small of her back), and said that it was out-of-character for Cordelia, so they tried to hide it. They've stopped trying now — maybe the new and more empowered Cordelia is entitled to show off a tattoo, or maybe it's just unavoidable given the fashions (particularly low-slung jeans) of the day?
It's cool to watch Fred develop into a full member of the team. She starts off awfully thin, but that's appropriate for a character who has been starving in a cave in Pylea. Her parents are rather interesting people, and make the others feel their lack of parental love.
Lilah (Stephanie Romanov) and Gavin (Daniel Dae Kim) are struggling for power (or sometimes just survival) at Wolfram and Hart — Gavin's a more effective opponent than Lindsey was, and rather more ruthless. This season we get more insight into Lilah — she's a complex woman. I really enjoyed the confrontation between Cordelia and Lilah in Billy.
The only episode out of this lot that I consider a bit weak, or poorly written, is the third one, That Old Gang of Mine. The basic idea is sound, but the dialogue is not well-written, and Rondell's depiction just doesn't gibe with earlier appearances. All the other episodes are more strongly written, with the trademark combination of humour and horror.
In all, I think this is the best season yet of Angel.
It is good to see this series being released in widescreen on DVD. This season was screened here in 1.33:1, but it was produced in widescreen. Buffy is now being broadcast in Australia in widescreen (on digital TV, at least), but Angel is still broadcast in 1.33:1. These DVDs are in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and they are 16x9 enhanced.
The image is beautifully sharp and clear. Shadow detail is quite good (and just as well, given how dark this show is). There are a few scenes showing noticeable film grain, but it's normally not visible. There is no low-level noise.
Colour is superb - nicely rendered, with lots of subtleties of shade. There are no colour-related artefacts.
There is some mild aliasing (see 29:08 in That Vision-Thing), some minor moire (such as at 12:03 of That Old Gang of Mine), and a touch or two of shimmer.
I didn't see a single film artefact worth mentioning, which is impressive. This is somewhat to be expected given how recent this production is, but it is still impressive.
There are subtitles in seven languages. I watched the English for the Hearing Impaired ones. They are not bad, being easy to read, well-timed, and mostly accurate (although abbreviated). I spotted several small mistakes, such as at 6:38 in That Vision-Thing, where Wesley says "Certainly", but the subtitle reads "Circling".
The discs are single-sided and dual layered, but there's no visible layer change. Each episode is placed entirely on one layer — two on one layer, two on the other.
Both the English and French soundtracks are Dolby Digital 2.0, surround encoded. I only listened to the English soundtrack. Parts of it are pure front and centre, but the mix does use the surround-encoding occasionally.
The dialogue is clear and easy to understand, so you can understand the excellence of the writing. There are no visible audio sync issues. There is some distortion, though — it sounds like clipping, even though the sound is not particularly loud: listen to 7:46 or 20:11 in Dad, for example, or 19:10 in Birthday (that's probably the most obvious).
Robert J. Kral is responsible for the score again. He doesn't show a whole lot of originality, but the score does its job of supporting the action.
As I mentioned above, the surround-encoding gets used occasionally, but not to any huge extent. The only thing directing sound to the subwoofer is the bass-management; there's some decent bass in the soundtrack, so your sub will get something to do if your bass-management sends it there.
|Surround Channel Use|
There is a reasonable selection of extras in this volume, but I'd rather they got someone other than Tim Minear to record commentaries...
The menus are static, with snatches of music behind all of them. The main menu features Angel on Disc 1, Cordelia on Disc 2, and Gunn on Disc 3.
Both writers commenting on the episode Billy. This is a rather rambling, disorganised effort, a bit incoherent, even self-indulgent. Tim Minear admits "this may be the lamest commentary ever" (he's wrong, but not by a lot) — I wish he'd either give up recording commentaries, or make notes beforehand.
A commentary for the episode Lullaby — another effort from Tim Minear, but somewhat better than his effort above. It does contain a major spoiler for later in the season, so don't listen until you've seen all of the episodes. Mere Smith spends a fair part of the first few minutes giggling, but she pulls herself together and makes a number of useful comments, including some about the effort of ensuring that scripts from different writers don't contradict one another — that was particularly important in this episode. The commentary runs out of steam before the episode is over, and degenerates, unfortunately.
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, this piece looks at a character who appeared in the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Played by Julie Benz, she has been dusted, resurrected as human, then killed and made vampire again — quite an eventful life.
Fairly normal outtakes, mostly flubs, presented in rather grainy form. There are a couple from later in the season, so you shouldn't watch this until you've seen all of the episodes.
This is somewhat amusing — it's actually a much longer version of a scene that is in Birthday. You can watch it with the original soundtrack, or with a commentary by Tim Minear (were all the other commentators off sick that day?) and Mere Smith. It is actually worth watching it twice, both with and without the commentary.
Just about every Buffy and Angel trailer they could scrape up, although I suspect many of these are actually TV spots rather than true trailers. All of them are 1.33:1, except the trailer for the Buffy movie.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Season 1 of Angel is about to be released in Region 1 — we're way ahead of them on this series.
Season 3 of Angel is scheduled for release in Region 2 on the 3rd of March, and two weeks later in Region 4. As far as I can ascertain at this point, the Region 2 and Region 4 discs will be the same, and the packaging differences will be the same as for the first two seasons: Region 4 will get two cardboard slipcases, each holding three plastic keepcases, while Region 2 will get a compact album format, with each disc held in a separate page. I hope the album is better quality than the one used for Buffy Season 5 — that was a distinct drop in quality from the previous ones. I have found that it is a little easier to damage the discs, sliding them in and out of the album pages, so maybe Region 4 is getting the better (albeit bulkier) deal on this issue.
Possibly the best season of Angel yet, presented rather well on DVD.
The video quality is excellent, and widescreen, too.
The audio quality is very good, save for a few moments of distortion.
The extras are reasonable, but far from overwhelming, and I'm hoping someone else does commentaries in the second half of the season.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|