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BtVS & Angel

Here it is. Initially I’d had the goal of posting a detailed review for each of the 254 episodes, and I got as far as the middle of season three before losing the energy and focus, but not the OCD need to catalogue and compare. So even as I gave up the ghost on 254 blog entries, I continued to jot down impressions of episodes and rank them within seasons. My re-watch ended up taking over three years! This summer, I dug everything up, and several hundred index cards and a spread sheet later, I have the complete list.

I waffled on whether to start at the bottom of or the top, eventually settling on the former, mostly because I believe in the old adage of saving the best for last, though I hadn’t realized how negative my takes on the lower end wound up. In my heart, though, I love both series through and through and can find something of worth in every episode.

The spread sheet is embedded at the end of the list with episodes listed in alphabetical order. The 44 episode posts that I did a few years ago are linked at the bottom of each capsule review here.

Thanks to Mr. Lousy and Doris W. for introducing me to the Buffyverse!


#254: The Girl in Question (Angel 5.20)
written by Steven S. DeKnight and Drew Goddard
directed by David Greenwalt

! Angel - The Girl in Question

Egregiously tone-deaf, sorely misplaced comedy episode that derails the building momentum toward the series finale. As everyone reels from the death of Fred and the impending apocalypse, Angel and Spike go on a goofball mission to Italy and match wits with a never-seen, never-before-mentioned nemesis. It’s a trip filled with one thudding joke after another, like a disastrous pilot for a sitcom spin-off. Worse yet, it’s a deflated goodbye to Buffy, shown only briefly by a body double and referenced by the unfunny, unwelcome Andrew. And worst of all, the flashbacks flop miserably, making our series farewell to Darla and Cordelia a footnote begging to be expunged from the show’s lore. All of this stands in jarring contrast to the B-story, a surprise visit from Fred’s parents and Illyria’s impromptu impersonation of the deceased. These potentially powerful, tragic scenes lose most of their impact from the inane Abbott (Angel) & Costello (Spike) bickering that they’re thoughtlessly sandwiched between. A mind-numbing misstep torpedoed into one of the Buffyverse’s greatest arcs. Read the rest of this entry »

A forerunner to both Murder, She Wrote and The Golden Girls, the 1971 TV-movie Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate stars Helen Hayes, Sylvia Sidney, Mildred Natwick, and Myrna Loy as ladies who not only lunch, but occupy their idle hours by pranking people, in the case of this film, by inventing a fictitious woman to enter into a computer dating service in order to find some voyeuristic fun in exposing and manipulating strange men’s emotions and desire.

Their geriatric, proto-catfishing makes me feel hopeful that my own twilight years may be filled with crafting mayhem and engaging in semi-malicious larks alongside likeminded seniors. I have always cultivated friendships with such promise; only now do I understand the end game.

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True to ladies in their seventies during the decade of the seventies, the group never slacks off in fashion. In fact, there are never slacks at all. All four make a point of putting themselves together; it’s Sylvia Sidney, however, who repeatedly cuts the most stunning figure, here in this smart emerald green dress, accentuated by the brooch, black belt, and matching black hat. She always wears a hat.

Their dating scam draws the initial interest and eventual ire of a psychopath, whose internal monologues we are treated to at astounding length via urgent voiceover whispers as the actor fumbles about his apartment, marches angrily down city streets, broods inside phone booths, and takes languorous bubble baths. Read the rest of this entry »

Adam and his face that begs for caressing fingertips. Sam obliges.

Adam and his face that begs for caressing fingertips. Sam obliges.

It took several weeks in, but foxy Frankensteinian monster Adam has really grown on me – and on recovering alcoholic/blind painter Sam Evans!

Adam in doll form.

Adam in doll form.

Recently blinded by a curse from Angelique, Sam is feeling vulnerable but uncharacteristically empathetic – and inexorably drawn to the new character Adam, whom most of the other Collinsport residents simply refer to as “the monster.”

The barely verbal, hulking simpleton is portrayed by Robert Rodan, whose only credits include a single appearance on a 1963 courtroom re-enactment drama, Adam on DS and The Minx, an American/Swedish eurosleaze hidden camera film from 1969, which received the following curt review from an imdb viewer: Read the rest of this entry »

One of Sasha's best: drunken Spike awakens on Angel's patio to golden rays of sunlight and his arm on fire.

One of Sasha’s best: drunken Spike awakens on Angel’s patio to golden rays of sunlight and his arm on fire. This is a light-up dispay!

Spike’s back for a brief visit in s3, but he’s not the renegade from School Hard or even the deceptively defeatist vamp from Becoming Part 1. In his unglorious return to Sunnydale, he’s lovelorn and dejected, played for almost entirely for comic relief, and while I’m down with him as Read the rest of this entry »

The Quebec version. Does this mean it's still another DV?

The Quebec version. Does this mean it’s still another DV?

Dubbing! I love it and I hate it, but either way it unquestionably fascinates me, now more than ever. I am re-re-watching s3 of BtVS and have elected for my third round of viewing to experience the Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a callback to the BtVS episode I Only Have Eyes for You, one of my all-time Buffy favorites, which showcases the title-inspiring song with its gorgeous 1959 version by The Flamingos, whose harmonies send me into an almost dream state. I also love the intimacy of the lyrics, Read the rest of this entry »

Mrs Post's just desserts

The villainous Watcher imposter Gwendolyn Post meets her spectacularly awful fate at Angel’s mansion after Buffy proves her mettle at battle with wits.

All is not revealed in Revelations, but a lot sure is. For the Scoobies, the major revelation is the return of Angel. For the viewer it’s the troubled character of Faith.

Angel’s reappearance from the hell dimension occurred four shows ago, and he’s been tangential to the episodic plots ever since. Now, however, the wildly sought-after Glove of Myhnegon brings him indirectly into back into the fold and exposes his existence in Sunnydale. In a Read the rest of this entry »

Giles' randy smile

Happy fortieth to BtVS! How fitting to ring in the big 4-O with the series’ fortieth episode tailored around the comedic edge and range of Anthony Stewart Head. This is my favorite Giles-centric show so far, easily surpassing a somewhat disappointing The Dark Age, which failed Read the rest of this entry »

Homecoming - Library

BtVS succeeds yet again in digging through the hidden cabinet of my favorite tropes and spinning gold from the wonders within! I’ve already covered how much I enjoyed what Marti Noxon did with my treasured parasitic possession/replacement fixation (à la Invasion of the Bodysnatchers) in Bad Eggs, and now with David Greenwalt’s Homecoming, they’ve struck my personal paydirt once more, this time with “the world’s most dangerous game”: hunting humans for sport! Read the rest of this entry »

Angel chained and on his knees: Buffy's solution to the boyfriend problem.

Angel chained and on his knees: Buffy’s solution to the boyfriend problem.

Marti Noxon has written some great scripts for BtVS up to this point in the series. I Only Have Eyes for You is my probably favorite, in which she uses a standard ghost possession trope to dig at Buffy’s loss of Angel, her self-recrimination, and the buried anger that she cannot Read the rest of this entry »