Angel-Season 2 Box Set Part 2 (2000)
Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Over The Rainbow: Fred Keller (Director)
Featurette-Season Two Overview
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Season 1 DVD Trailer
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
James A Contner
Twentieth Century Fox
J. August Richards
|RPI||$79.95||Music||Robert J. Kral|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Pan & Scan||
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||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
French Audio Commentary
|Smoking||Yes, very minor|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
For those who came in very late, Angel is a TV series that spun off Buffy the Vampire Slayer, featuring one of the more interesting heroes of our generation (and more than a few generations before us). If you didn't know that, then you should start with Season 1, which you'll find reviewed here. This is Season 2, and the second half thereof, to be precise.
Each Angel season has 22 episodes. The first 11 are included in Angel Season 2 Part 1 (you can find that review here). This is Season 2 Part 2 - this volume contains:
In Blood Money we meet Anne Steel, who runs the East Hills Teen Shelter. I didn't realise when I saw this episode on TV, but this is the girl who wanted to be a vampire in Buffy Season 2, and who jolted Buffy out of her funk in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 episode 1. This girl is now calling herself Anne because that's the alias Buffy used in that episode (it is also the name of that episode...). What do you mean, fanatical pedant?
Almost every episode in this half starts with common images in the "previously on Angel" segment - the wine cellar, and the immolation, in particular - when watching them rapidly in sequence you can get a bit tired of the repetition. This half of the season, Angel is trying hard to make up for some of the events of the first half - looks like he really didn't learn the lesson of the first episode.
As you can see, they used ten different directors in eleven episodes - there was a heck of a lot happening, and it generally took a director longer than one episode's worth of time to prepare. Quite a tribute to the team that the different directors turned out episodes that were consistent and continually engaging.
There are no crossover episodes amongst these, either - the only links to Buffy are two appearances of Willow (Alyson Hanegan). We do get a visit from Harmony, and two appearances of Anne, but neither character is a regular on Buffy. I guess the split was complete at the end of the first season of Angel. With Angel continuing on the WB network, and Buffy moved to UPN, we really can't look forward to much more than the occasional reference between the shows, as we saw in the first episode of the new season of Angel. Still, Joss Whedon has a long history of surprises...
Even more trips to the karaoke bar - Lindsey's performance is rather good, but Harmony's makes a mockery of her name. The Host (Andy Hallett), whose name is Lorne, as we learn in Belonging, really can sing.
The last three and a bit episodes are a bit contrived, and jar a little with the general feel of the series, but they are a reasonable diversion from unrelenting Angel-brooding. Even if I do suspect that they were intended as an excuse to get Charisma Carpenter into skimpy outfits, that is a noble end in itself, right? (before you send your flame e-mail - that was a joke, OK?)
Joss Whedon once said that he intended Angel to be much darker than Buffy. I think he can be well pleased with his efforts in that regard...
These episodes (and the special features) are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Please refer to my review of the first part for my comments on this subject...
The image is sharp, clear, and generally rather beautiful, although there are occasional traces of what looks like mild edge enhancement. I suspect that it is an artefact of the MPEG compression code; MPEG attempts to divide the image into foreground and background, and a slight error in this can show up looking like edge enhancement. There are moments of grain, but they are in low-light conditions, and I'd far rather see a little grain than have them go over to filming with blue filters and using day-for-night. Shadow detail is excellent, except in very low-light conditions, but that's an accurate reflection of the light. There's no real low-level noise, but there is something that looks a bit like it in a few places.
Colour is fabulous - look at the Host's (Lorne's) outfits, for example. And the colours in Pylea - quite impressive. No over-saturation, no colour bleed, just nicely saturated colours (OK, nicely saturated black, for Angel...)
There continue to be traces of aliasing, but that's near inevitable on an image this sharp. Perhaps the most notable is a rake in Pylea - the teeth of the rake almost strobe. Still, most instances of aliasing are slight, or less and there is very little moire to be seen. I didn't notice a single film artefact, and I was looking hard.
There are subtitles in eight languages. I watched the ones in English - they are halfway between subtitles and captions. They continue to be fairly heavily abbreviated, and sometimes rearranged - I don't like that - but you can follow the story from them. They are rather well timed, and easy to read. There are subtitles in French (only!) for the audio commentary.
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 stereo, surround encoded. I only listened to the English soundtrack.
The dialogue is easy to understand, and there are no visible audio sync issues.
Robert J. Kral is responsible for the score on every episode. He does a good job.
There is some really strong bass in the soundtrack, but there's no encoding for an LFE channel, so you need an excellent pair of mains, or bass management in your amp to divert the bass to the subwoofer. The surrounds add a little depth to the soundstage, but really don't get much to do.
|Surround Channel Use|
This entire season has received fewer extras than you might expect. Perhaps they were keen to get it out in a hurry, and the extras suffered? Still, what we get is fairly good.
The menus are static, with music behind all of them.
We get the original script for Disharmony. Just the one script, and for a strange choice of episode - I wonder why this particular one?
The episode Over the Rainbow offers a commentary from director Fred Keller. He sounds a bit older than many of the actors, and comments on their youth. His commentary is less interesting that Tim Minear's in the first half of the season, but he still mentions some interesting snippets, including the fact that they were refused permission to use the gates of Paramount Studios in one scene - they had to disguise them with a tree at the last minute. This commentary is subtitled, but only in French, which means our Anglophone hearing-impaired readers can't enjoy it.
This featurette is chock-a-block with spoilers, so I strongly recommend viewing all the episodes first. At least this time they put the overview featurette on the last disc (that's what I recommended last time - d'ya think they listened?). We hear from most of the cast and crew.
This featurette focuses mainly on the fight sequences, and we get to meet Angel's stunt double - Mike Massa.
Brief bios (but not filmographies) for:
Seems odd to be advertising Season One on the Season Two disc.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Angel is not yet released on DVD in Region 1. In Region 2 it gets released a week later than here in Region 4. Region 2 is reportedly getting Angel Season 2 in widescreen, which makes our full screen release look bad. However, there's a suggestion that the R2 may be slightly censored (the hanging scene might get cut, for example). That makes it really tough to decide which version to get.
Region 2 usually get the most innovative packaging, too. They got the novel crucifix packaging for Buffy Season 1, for example. Region 4 gets the reliable (spelt B O R I N G) plastic cases in cardboard sleeve packaging. Sure, it's more durable, but it is far from inspiring.
You make up your own minds. I've ordered both versions for my collection, but I'm a fanatic. Keep an eye out to see if the R2 version is censored.
Angel on DVD. There is no better way to watch it (except for 16x9 enhanced widescreen, of course!).
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is very good.
The extras are good in quality, but not in number - would it have killed them to do more commentaries?
|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|