Angel-Season 1 Box Set Part 1 (1999)
Audio Commentary-Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt
Audio Commentary-Jane Espenson
Gallery-photos and blueprints
|Year Of Production||1999|
|Running Time||454:04 (Case: 495)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
James A Contner
Bruce Seth Green
Twentieth Century Fox
Robert J. Kral
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
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||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
French Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
As Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 drew to a close it became clear that Angel could not stay in Sunnyvale. The tension between Angel and Buffy was affecting both of them, and Angel had put Buffy in danger by proving to be one of her weaknesses - Faith targeted Angel to get to Buffy. Buffy couldn't leave, so Angel did.
And that meant that the women who were watching Buffy to get a glimpse of tall dark brooding Angel would go elsewhere. What could the producers do? Clearly, the answer was to spin off a new show for Angel - now the women could get a lot more than a glimpse of tall dark and brooding.
To provide some leavening to tall dark and brooding they decided to include Cordelia. Cordelia, now an aspiring actress, bumps into Angel in LA and immediately attaches herself to him, whether he wants it or not. She is very much in favour of Angel helping people; preferably rich people who are grateful in financial terms.
The third member of the team is Doyle - he is Angel's connection to The Powers That Be. We never do learn much about The Powers That Be, but they take a much more active interest in Angel than they ever have in Buffy. They provide guidance in the form of visions (accompanied by skull-cracking headaches), indicating a person, a place, a thing - something Angel should investigate.
There are ancillary personnel, including Kate Lockley, a police detective. I won't mention certain others, because I have no intention of spoiling events for people who haven't seen all the episodes yet. And we do get the occasional appearance of other characters we know from Buffy, which is cool.
Angel is a darker show than Buffy. Buffy was at high school; now she is at university - she is still growing up; she faces traumatic things, but life is still somewhat light. Angel has committed grievous evil, and is trying to redeem himself by doing good and helping people. Angel is sort of like the adults' version of Buffy - rougher, rawer, dingier, and an acknowledgment that life doesn't always have a happy ending. There's still comedy, but some of it is quite dark; but there are some moments of broad humour - I loved the moment Angel got in the wrong car - by the way, there's some real irony in a vampire in a convertible, don't you think?
This is the first volume of Season 1 of Angel, containing 11 episodes. This volume contains:
It has shocked me every time I look at a volume of Buffy or Angel just how much happens in so few episodes. Each time I think "surely it took longer for all that to happen?". I guess you could describe these shows as plot-rich, or densely constructed - a heck of a lot happens in half a season.
During the first season of Angel there were a number of "cross-over" episodes, where an episode of Buffy (Season 4) would connect with an episode of Angel. In the USA, the shows were screening on the same channel on the same night, with Buffy at 8pm, and Angel at 9pm, so the cross-over episodes were very cool, effectively one two-hour story with two sets of credits. In Angel, the first of these was the third episode: In The Dark. The second was I Will Remember You. It is a bit of a shame that they haven't released the fourth season of Buffy yet, because these cross-overs are best viewed as they were broadcast, watching first the Buffy episode, and then the Angel. I suppose you could wait until Buffy Season 4 is released, but that's still months away - I couldn't wait that long! The episodes make perfect sense on their own (I was impressed by that) - I guess the best solution is to watch them now, and then again when Buffy arrives.
If you like tall dark and brooding, or you can't get enough Buffy and you find Angel an adequate substitute, then these are for you.
Angel started with more resources than the first season of Buffy - they weren't forced to shoot on 16mm film. That's good, because even more of Angel is filmed in dark conditions than Buffy - it's a bit hard to bring Angel out into the sunshine without him bursting into flames, so they need the bigger frame of 35mm film to catch what light there was.
This is a TV programme, so we expect it to be presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and hence not 16x9 enhanced.
The image is rather sharper than I expected, and quite clear. There's very good shadow detail, and no noticeable low level noise. Better than I expected - I like to be surprised this way.
Colour, what there is of it, is well-saturated - Doyle's shirts often give them a chance to show that. Angel wears pretty much unrelieved black, not a lot of colour there. There's no colour bleed.
There are no significant film artefacts - just a few microscopic flecks. There are brief small touches of aliasing, but it is very well controlled. There are no MPEG artefacts. It's a generally clean and pretty picture, touched occasionally with imperfections. There is some noticeable grain at 35:55 in the first episode, for example.
There are subtitles in a number of languages. I watched a lot of the English subtitles, and found them both accurate and well-timed, and easy to read.
The discs are single-sided and dual layered, but there's no visible layer change, because two episodes are on one layer, and two are on the other.
Both the English and French soundtracks are Dolby Digital 2.0, surround encoded. I didn't listen to the French soundtrack, just the English one.
The dialogue is easy to understand, excepting only a few words in Doyle's Irish accept - according to one of the commentaries they asked him to say a few lines with an American accent because the Irish version was incomprehensible - but they didn't get all of them. There are no visible audio sync issues.
The score for Angel is quite different from Buffy, but just as essential. I really like the theme, which is from a group called Darling Violetta - even though the lead is a cello. The score for the first episode comes from long-time Buffy composer Christophe Beck; all the other episodes are Christophe Beck and Robert J Kral.
I didn't notice any surround sound, and there was nothing from the subwoofer. There's some awesome bass coming from the main channels, however - you'll want to have mains that can handle seriously low frequencies, or set up your bass management to divert low bass from the mains to the subwoofer.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menus start with interesting transitions, but they are static, with sound. Interesting to note that there are spelling errors in the menus. The first two episodes appear on the menu as City of Angels (should be City of) and Lonely Hearts (should be Lonely Heart), while the eleventh appears as Somnabulist instead of Somnambulist. The worst, though, is the subtitles described as English for the Hearing Impared (should be Impaired). Oops...
City Of has an audio commentary from Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt. Rm W / A Vu has an audio commentary from scriptwriter Jane Espenson. Both commentaries are interesting, and well worth listening to. Both give away things that happen later in the series, so I strongly recommend waiting until you have watched all the episodes before you listen to the commentaries.
One interesting piece of trivia - Jane points out that you can see Charisma Carpenter's tattoo in one scene of Rm W / A Vu. I won't tell you where it is - see if you can see it without help...
I hate it when they put a featurette that reveals information about the whole season on the first volume - I recommend waiting until you've watched all of this season before watching this.
A trailer for the video tapes of Angel Season One.
This is divided into a gallery of stills (46 images) and a gallery of blueprints (12 images) - I note that the blueprints are marked Angel Season 2.
A bio for both the character and the actor, just as on Buffy volumes. We get bios for:
The back cover of disc three advertises an outtake reel - I can't find it. Maybe it's an Easter egg, a well-hidden one.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Region 1 has yet to receive Angel (they are about to get Season One of Buffy). I'm happy to encourage the R4 version, so we get the next season as soon as possible.
Angel is like Buffy, only darker - an espresso instead of a latte.
The video quality is quite good.
The audio quality is very good.
The extras are good - I wish I could find the outtakes reel, though.
|DVD||Arcam DV88, 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 and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|