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Favorite and Least Favorite Seasons and Episodes

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I'd love to hear how you guys would rank the seasons from best to worst. Have your opinions changed with rewatch and the passage of time? Which are your favorite and least favorite episodes from each season?

 

I binge watched all at once and am surprised to report that the first season is my very favorite by a pretty wide margin. I love Doyle. I love the balance between cases of the week and larger themes, and I liked the humor. I love that Cordy was still so quintessentially Cordy (I barely recognize her in later seasons!) yet a slightly more likable and mature version than the one we saw on Buffy. I even shocked myself by liking Kate despite absolutely hating Elizabeth Rohm's acting on Law and Order! The overall tone and feel just really works for me. 

Edited by amensisterfriend

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ETA: And, um, I forgot to do my actual rankings :) 

 

S1

S5 (I was ambivalent about Spike on BtVS, but he was a surprisingly welcome addition for me here---and Smile Time and the finale alone would earn this season the silver medal for me!)

S2

S3

S4 

Edited by amensisterfriend

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Season 2: Love it all. Yes Pylea too.

Season 1: Love it all. Love the the trio with Doyle and the trio with Wesley pretty equal.

Season 4: Love the grandeur feel of it and despite plot holes and the occasional hatred of various characters the season sucks me in pretty hard. Could and should have been better but I still think it's great. And Lilah, oh Lilah.

Season 5: Wobbly first half. Hated Spike at this point on Buffy. Thankfully he was "alright" later in the season. But then it became pretty damn great.

Season 3: The demise of all that was truly great about the first two seasons. Thank god for Lilah.

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4:  Connor and Jasmin were actually great so sue me. I even liked the coffin-under-the-sea.

1:  Doyle, and Cordelia at her best.

3:  Darla, plus Wesley's decent into madness. The talking drive-thru machine and stealing the baby and all that?! Made the season imo.

5:  Illyria and Wesley (and Harmony!). Hated lawyer!Gunn, happy!Connor, Spike just in general...

2:  Idk, nothing terrible, but nothing stands out, either.

 

In rewatch:  I usually watch some episode I remember loving from S4, and then go back to see the beginning of the Darla/Connor storyline in S3, and then end up watching S3 and S4 in one big go -- but once I get to S5, I skip over to where Illyria comes in, because there's just so much boring, and it doesn't really seem like Angel anyway what with the Wolfram & Hart set. And at the end of the series, I'll be all sad and go back and watch some S1 so that the rewatch won't be over yet, love the shit out of it yet again, but drift off somewhere and quit watching again in S2.

 

But uhhhh as can probably be deduced, imo, it holds up on rewatch! It's one of the few shows where I end up reacting basically the same way to the characters/SLs each time I see it.

 

This is probably my favorite series of all time (though Nip/Tuck, you still have a piece of my heart!), so in general, there's not a whole lot I don't like about it. Most any episode will be good *somehow.* Though maybe not that one where Angel falls in love with that werewolf woman in S5. I'm still rolling my eyes. And for whatever reason, Lindsey always seemed gross. He seems like the guy stands outside the 7-Eleven doors drinking his soda and insisting on "making conversation" with you as you're just trying to get into the store. The kind who, then you try to get away from by saying you're on your way to work and then STILL TRIES TO "MAKE CONVERSATION" but angrier now.

 

OK sorry about the rant, but I just could never find Lindsey attractive because of that.

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Top 5 episodes from each season:

Season 1:

To Shanshu In LA

Five By Five

I've Got You Under My Skin

Eternity

Parting Gifts

That was really difficult. I think my last three are unpopular for a top 3. But there are about five others that could take their place. This whole season is endlessly rewatchable.

Season 2:

Reunion

Redefinition

Disharmony

Untouched

Through The Looking Glass

Season 3:

Billy

Forgiving

Birthday

Sleep Tight

Waiting In The Wings (despite the Angel being in love with Cordy nonsense)

Season 4:

Deep Down

Calvary

Inside Out

Home

Soulless

This season was also really difficult. Another 3-4 episodes I'm sad to leave out.

Season 5:

You're Welcome

Not Fade Away

A Hole In The World

Shells

Smile Time

Edited by joelene
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This whole season is endlessly rewatchable.

 

Endlessly rewatchable is exactly how I'd describe the majority of S1 as well. This might also be the right time to confess that I absolutely LOVE Sense and Sensitivity! 

 

Which three or so episodes from each season do you guys like least?

Edited by amensisterfriend

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Sense and Sensitivity has always only been an okay episode for me. Kate's dad was such a dick, and I didn't really enjoy their scenes. But the main trio are gold, as always.

Least favorites.

Season 1:

She. Such a shame the dance sequence isn't in another episode.

War Zone

The Prodigal

Season 2:

Judgment

Blood Money

Happy Anniversay. Though the Poirot scene with Wesley, Cordy and Gunn is brilliant.

I actually like every episode this season, including these.

Season 3:

Double or Nothing. The worst episode of the entire series.

That Old Gang of Mine. The Gunn centric episodes were really weak.

Dad

Season 4:

The House Always Wins

Sacrifice

Slouching Toward Bethlehem

Season 5:

Why We Fight. SO. BORING.

The Cautionary Tale of Número Cinco. Also SUPER DULL. These two episode... They made me angry when they first came out because never before had episodes of Angel bored me to tears.

Unleashed

Edited by joelene
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I love your list, nosleepforme! 

 

S1 is my definite favorite. I really enjoy Doyle, I've always been a sucker for compelling, satisfying MotWs over more convoluted arcs, I enjoy S1's Kate, Cordelia was still recognizably Cordelia to me, I love the growing friendship between Cordelia and Angel when it's still thankfully just pure friendship, I love the Faith episodes, and the lack of Fred and Lorne is a huge plus for me :) I just find it really rewatchable and have been happily surprised to see that it actually holds up better for me over time than the increasingly more "dated" Buffy does to me...and, yes, I know that's considered blasphemy! 

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As weird as this sounds, from Season 1 I absolutely loved that nice ghost, Dennis, who "lived" in Cordelia's apartment :)

Edited by ByTor
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Has anyone found their favorite seasons/episodes have changed with repeated viewings?! 

 

S1 tends to place near the bottom of most 'best' lists, at least among the critics and fans I've come across, but it's become one of my favorite seasons of any show ever :) Everything about it just works for me---and I'm not saying that purely because I have a thing for Doyle and think he's the only guy I ever really "shipped" Cordelia with! 

 

S2 has improved a lot with rewatch for me, while S3 and S4 remain in the 'I objectively see why people find them brilliant, compelling seasons of TV, but they just don't entertain or connect with me' category. So right now my order is S1, S2, S5, S3 and S4. I'll be back with my 10 or so favorite episodes if I can ever narrow down my list!  

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S1 tends to place near the bottom of most 'best' lists, at least among the critics and fans I've come across, but it's become one of my favorite seasons of any show ever :)

I'll agree with that actually. I didn't know that it wasn't well received. I have the whole dvd set and S1 is actually the only one that's always next to my tv if I get bored and want to watch.

My fave episodes haven't actually changed all that much. I like any episode with Faith in it. That's just a given.

The only one that's really changed for me is Judgement. I used to really hate it, but I think it's one of my favorites now. Same for Waiting in the Wings. My goodness, I hated it so much, but now think it's really great.

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Loved S4 the first time around, binged it super fast the second time around. Connor is slightly more annoying, and the retroactive anger over how Charisma Carpenter was treated puts a tarnish on it. Still, so many memorable scenes and episodes, and the season just built and built and built. So ... Still my favorite, it seems.

That said, I remember watching S5 the first time it aired with some bitterness--lack of Cordy and the show feeling like a Spike vehicle. But rewatching it now with the distance of a decade, it's actually really well put together. Thank You was great, CC gave an excellent performance and the end made me tear up. Smile Time of course is classic. Harmony about 60% makes up for Cordelia.

One thing I don't care for is that I am now entering Illyria territory. It was just too much, especially after killing off the female lead the same exact way in the previous season. And too much Whedon with Wes not quite getting the girl yet again, and Fred's soul being DESTROYED forever. I know, I know, we get Illyria wishing to do more violence later, but that one line wasn't really enough of a payoff. Plus her Illyria drag has not aged well--looks like a bad cosplay job now.

So I guess ... 4, 2, 5, 3 (too much Holtz/Darla/Justine), 1.

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I'm just so obsessed with S1...especially the Doyle episodes and then the last 2-3 episodes of the season, all of which I could rewatch on constant loop. 

 

I love episodes like Sense and Sensitivity and Bachelor Party beyond the telling of it. 

 

I'm pretty sure I have terrible taste :) 

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I do like some of season 1, don't get me wrong, but the show was still finding its way. I also find Eliza Dushku nearly unwatchable in her S1 redemption episode(s), although I enjoy her S4 appearances just fine. (Go figure.)

 

Whenever I try to rewatch S1, I just peter out a little over halfway through and end up skipping to S2. 

 

Funny side note, when I was recently re-watching S2, I noticed a familiar name in the credits: Shawn Ryan. He was the showrunner of one of my favorite cancelled-too-soon shows, Terriers. He was also heavily involved in The Shield (creator, I think). 

 

So ... when I realized he was a writer/producer on Angel during S2, all that S2 cop stuff suddenly made sense. I imagined him having some conversation with Joss Whedon, and Joss being like: "Yes, fine, you can do a law enforcement storyline...but they have to be zombie cops." 

Edited by kieyra
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I'm so used to thinking I dislike Wesley that it always comes as a pleasant surprise to realize that I actually really like a lot him for most of the first two seasons of this show! 

 

S1 is still my special favorite. even/especially the cheesy standalones that most understandably don't like very much :) S5 is probably second place, but I've grown to like S2 a lot more than expected. S3 and S4 are objectively good seasons of TV, but as someone who hates Cordelia/Angel 'sexual tension', doesn't really love Cordelia's radical transformation in general, cringes through most of the Connor storyline and the Gunn/Fred/Wesley triangle (Fred in general is one of those 'adorably geeky' Whedon characters who on paper I would absolutely adore but who somehow drives me nuts on screen more often than not), and just generally prefers my Whedon to have a little more humor and fun and a little less of the relentless darkness that takes over this show sometimes, S3-S4 just aren't for me.  I really do see why others love them, though. I've seen compelling arguments as to why they're actually among the very highest quality work that Whedon's ever done...they just happen to annoy and depress me more than they entertain me :) 

 

I've also realized I have a special (and likely unpopular!) fondness for episodes that give us Kate Lockley, especially in S1. Something about her and her interactions with Angel just work for me.  And, as much as I do enjoy S1 Wesley (much to my own surprise), I'll always miss Doyle. He was the one person I ever came close to "shipping" with Cordelia on either BtVS or this show. 

 

Overall, the funniest, high energy  standalones tend to be the episodes I find myself wanting to rewatch. I think it's because I have enough angst in my real life that I don't want too much of it from my TV shows anymore, however well written and directed it might be! 

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Is it weird to love the episode Birthday?! I'm rewatching and found myself adoring that one. It's right there with Lullaby and Waiting in the Wings as my favorites of S3. S3 Cordy in general has grown on me so much, a nice bridge between the shallow, still often bitchy despite having a good heart Mean Girl of BtVS and parts of S1-S2 and the mystical whatever-the-heck-she-was in S4. Maybe one day S4 Cordy will grow on me as well :) 

 

As much as I go on and on about how much I love S1, S5 may actually have a greater number of my favorite episodes. I just saw You're Welcome for the second time and am blown away by how much I loved it. Other s5 favorites include Just Rewards, Hell Bound, Life of the Party, Harm's Way, Soul Purpose and, of course, Smile Time. The end of the season gets a little too grim for my taste, though I can totally see why many think the series finale is among the best ever. 

Edited by amensisterfriend

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Maybe one day S4 Cordy will grow on me as well :)
That will never happen. ;)

 

Heh---yeah, I figured since with a second and third rewatch I've learned to really like Fred (I couldn't stand her initially!), love S2 and S3 so much more than I did when I first saw them, and have even come around to the Cordy/Angel idea, that I might eventually find my way towards appreciating S4 Cordelia...but I agree that that's pretty much an impossible dream :) 

 

It's amazing how much more rewatchable I'm finding Angel than BtVS at this point. I never, ever would have expected that! Angel has just aged better for me somehow. 

 

Another best/worst question: Who would you guys name as your favorite and least favorite characters?! (Major or minor...no one is off limits!) 

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Cordelia was my favorite in the first two seasons. After that she just became too much of a saint and lost a lot of her wit until she was finally turned into Majorly Possessed Buzzkill in season four.

 

So first and foremost, Majorly Possessed Buzzkill is my new favorite nickname for S4 Cordelia :) 

 

I had felt like S3 Cordy was too unregonizably sweet and saintly too, so I was really pleasantly surprised to find how much I enjoyed her when I rewatched that season. For most of it, I actually thought she was still witty, vibrant, passionate, blunt, impatient, tactless, a little vain, etc. In other words, very Cordy-esque :) It's just that by this point in the series she's a little less shallow and outright mean, which for me were very welcome changes. I do totally get the argument that she lost too much of her edge and sharpness, but I just find a less nasty Cordelia much easier to like and root for :) 

 

In general, the first half/two thirds (math is NOT my forte!) of S3 is actually the happiest stretch of the series for me. Then it gets grimmer and darker and more Whedonesque and is good in a different way, but that first stretch of S3 is just so sweet somehow. Sweet by Whedon standards! 

 

 

 

I loved Lilah very much. Wish she had become a series regular. I think she was a very nuanced antagonist and I wish the writers had explored her more. She was ambitious, vulnerable, strong, tough, evil, beautiful, ugly - she just had it all. I was also a big admirer of Kate and was unhappy that she got dropped so early into the show's run

 

I'm a fan of Lilah and Kate as well! 

 

 

 

he was an interesting character and I thought there was more story left to tell. I also think she and Gunn would have made a cute couple...;D

 

I never thought of that, but now I'll probably never NOT see it :)

 

 

 

Lorne. I didn't find him funny or interesting. Sure, he was likeable, but for most of the show's run, he was mostly there, not really adding too much to the show.

 

He actually irked me for some reason. In theory I'm hugely in favor of a fun, funny, vivacious character to counterbalance Angel, Wesley etc., but he just got so tiresome for me, and the singing makes me cringe more than it entertains me :)  

 

So favorite major characters: S1-S3 Cordy (I just love her so much more here than on BtVS!), Angel (for the most part!), S1-S2  Wesley, S3 Fred, S5 Spike (I enjoy him so much more here than in his later seasons on BtVS!), Doyle, S2 Gunn 

 

Favorite other characters:Kate, Lilah, Harmony (I know...I can't help it!), Early Series Lindsay 

 

Least favorite characters: Darla (I totally get how and why she was key to various themes and storylines, so it's not like I'd want to erase her presence on the show...I just happen not to be a fan of her or the actress!), S4 Cordy, Jasmine, Lorne, Connor (I do sympathize with him at times...I just don't enjoy him!)  

 

I also tend not to be overly thrilled with some of the BtVS crossover episodes, like when Oz, Willow, Andrew etc. pop up. Occasionally it's fun to see them, but more often than not it feels kind of forced and 'off' to me. I almost never like Buffy when she shows up on Angel despite really liking her on her own show. 

Edited by amensisterfriend

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I always related to the Angel characters more than the Buffy characters. I was already an adult with a young child when the shows were on. High school allegories didn't do much for me. Stories about trying to maintain friendships, raise kids, do your job, etc as a young adult appealed to me much more, then and now. I didn't even watch the first several Buffy seasons as they aired. I saw Angel first, then started watching Buffy. Later, I went back and watched the earlier Buffy seasons.

Edited by azshadowwalker

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What would you guys name as some of your favorite and least favorite romantic relationships and platonic friendships on Angel? 

Also, I think I have to revise my season order...again!

S1

S3 

S5

S2

S4

That may change yet again, though S4 will probably always remain at the bottom for me. I've actually read really compelling arguments about the merits of S4, but it's just not to my personal taste, you know?! 

 

The biggest change in rewatching (and rewatching certain episodes many, many times!) is how much I now really adore and appreciate Gunn (though they could have done a lot more with him) and Fred (I think I'm finally over my lifelong allergy to characters played by Amy Acker!) 

I'd also love to hear people's thoughts on whether they think Cordelia's growth was naturally, skillfully done or too abrupt a departure from the person she used to be. I go back and forth on this point so will probably find myself agreeing with either viewpoint :) 

Edited by amensisterfriend

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It's funny, because I really prefer Lilah/Wesley and Gunn/Fred to the allegedly epic Fred/Wesley, but then I'm used to forming fairly unpopular opinions about Buffyverse relationships :) 

I think her growth was mostly natural up until Birthday

YES! That first half of S3 is arguably my favorite stretch of the series, but after that Cordelia---and arguably the show overall---takes kind of a jarring turn in tone, characterization etc. 

I love season four, because it is so relentlessly dark, the narrative is so epic

I definitely get it---I'm just one of those weirdos who prefers less darkness and angst :) Though obviously I'm not TOO averse to darkness and angst since this has become on of my all-time favorite shows! 

And now that you brought up Birthday I have to rewatch it again, because it's definitely somewhere on my ever-changing list of top 10 favorite AtS episodes! Nearly all of my favorites come from S1, S3 and S5, though S2 and S4 have a few gems as well. 

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---Also, if you guys had to pick your favorite 10 or so characters from the Buffyverse (BtVS and AtS), who would they be?! These obviously don't have to be characters you would like and admire in real life, just the characters who entertain/intrigue/resonate with you for whatever reason :)

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Angel, because I found his story on his own show more compelling than the BTVS high school thing. 

Giles, because he's the best. 

Spike, because we have similar tastes in music. (Seriously, what other TV character listens to Too Drunk to Fuck?) 

Gunn, because I just like JAR. 

Connor, because I felt for him. 

Xander, because I got the feeling of being an outsider even in your own social group. 

Jasmine, because she's the best Big Bad of either series, IMO. 

Buffy, because you don't have anything without her. 

Holtz, because I understood his need for revenge, even if it was ultimately destructive. 

I want to say Wesley, but he was such a creep wrt Fred and even Lilah. 

To be honest, I didn't really like a lot of the characters--especially the major characters--even if I liked the stories. 

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As always, I'm struggling mightily to answer my own question :) 

This is subject to change, but I think my 10 favorites (most intriguing, resonant, memorable, and/or entertaining, etc!) in no special order, would include Buffy, Angel (though I love both Buffy and Angel more when they're not a couple!), Giles, Xander, Winifred Burkle (I've changed my mind on this character and have come to adore her, but I still hate the name Fred!), Charles Gunn, Oz,  The Mayor (clearly I have issues!), AtS's pre-S4 Cordelia, ATS's S1/S2 Wesley...sorry to be annoyingly specific with those last two choices :)

I'm trying to narrow down my revised list of favorite episodes, but it might be too daunting a task :)

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8 hours ago, nosleepforme said:

Giles - I had to grow up to really learn to appreciate Giles (when I first watched Buffy and Angel, I was between 10 and 17, not the best age to identify with Giles), but I love his character for so many reasons now. He's badass, he's funny, he's wise, he's had a dark side, he's this warm paternal figure in the midst of all this craziness. 

One reason I like Giles and Angel and sympathize with Joyce is because I was already an adult when the shows were on. I married and had my first kid in 1992, when I was 21, so the struggles of 20 somethings and parents resonated more with me. The high school thing just didn't. So, I definitely think age and life experience affects how we view characters in fiction. 

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My all time favorite romantic relationship on either show is probably Wesley/Lilah. It was such an interesting one. There are many I like, but that was one of the only ones that really drew me in and where I was really bummed when it was over (and also really bummed that Lilah died, which to this day is the death that saddens me the most due to wasted story potential). With romantic relationships there needs to be a good story and complexity for me, not just two people to go "aw" or "yay" over, and they certainly had the former. 

Having said that! I did really think Doyle and Cordy's mostly one-sided romantic relationship very sweet. But they never had the chance to be a couple. 

I enjoyed the Angel/Darla story a lot so that would be my number two favorite romantic relationship, I guess? But it's not like I thought they were a great couple.

As for platonic then easily Angel/Cordy's brother sister vibe and Wesley/Illyria. I did really like Lilah and Lindsey's rivalry relationship as well, but I doesn't really fit in what we're talking about, I guess. 

I never really had an opinion about Fred with anyone romantically, but I loved her as a character on her own.

Favorite 10 characters, oh my. I'll try (loosely ranked):

Buffy, Giles, Cordelia (up to Birthday), Lilah, Anya, Wesley, Angel (mostly on AtS), Fred, Harmony aaaand... Willow/Tara/Doyle/Illyria sorry I couldn't decide! Spike, however, should have been staked after The Yoko Factor. 

Edited by joelene
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Harmony!!!  Something about the actress made her far more endearing and amusing than the vapid, popularity-obsessed ditzy type normally would be to me :) 

I can't wait to keep a closer eye on Lilah/Wesley during this latest rewatch,  though I do kind of have issues with Wesley's character in general by the time he and Lilah get together. 

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Hi there! Kinda weird I never posted here, with Angel being my fav show of all time.

And while there's a discussion going on, my favs are:

Wesley - best character development I've ever seen on TV. From a bumbling comic relief to tragic anti-hero. Just all-around great writing and acting.

Faith - almost up there with Wes (I do have a thing for tortured anti-heroes (and sometimes villains, in Faith's case). Too bad she never got more stuff to do on Angel - she really fit well with the show, tone-wise. And her relationships with Angel and Wes and Buffy are some of my favorites on both shows.

Angel - it actually took me a while to warm up to him on his own show, but now he's probably one of my favorite leads ever (I rarely like protagonist character, for some reason - they often tend to be too generic). My favorite thing about him? He's such a dork. Contrasts so well with all the angst.

Giles - need I say more? Other than the disastrous leaving for Britain in s6, just great character who proved that being a mentor figure doesn't mean you have to be boring or get killed off in 2 seasons max.

Lilah - femme fatale with some hidden depths and lots of style. And some absolutely amazing one-liners.

Illyria - truly unique and very memorable. Her appearance was the first time I've noticed Amy Acker's talent, too. Such a pity we never got to see Illyria spread her wings, but what we got was great indeed.

Drusilla - especially BtVS s2 version. Haunting, creepy and mesmerizing.

Buffy - at least pre-s4 Buffy (although I liked her in s5 as well). Because duh.

Oz - because he's so damn likable and cool.

I also have a lot of love for BTVS s2-4 and (especially) AtS s5 incarnations of Spike, but I have so much hate for his other stuff so I can't include him. But still, honorable mention. Also, pre-s3 Cordelia before the horrible romance with Angel was just perfection.

Edited by FurryFury
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20 hours ago, amensisterfriend said:

Harmony!!!  Something about the actress made her far more endearing and amusing than the vapid, popularity-obsessed ditzy type normally would be to me :) 

I can't wait to keep a closer eye on Lilah/Wesley during this latest rewatch,  though I do kind of have issues with Wesley's character in general by the time he and Lilah get together. 

I know I listed Wesley as top 10 character but I'm with you with having issues about his "dark arc". It's a love/hate sort of thing. Sometimes he annoyed the hell out of me during late season three and season four, but I felt the same about a lot of the other characters as well. One of the better things about him during that time was his interactions with Lilah, IMO.

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 And I think Harmony was even better on Angel than she was on Buffy.

I actually think most characters were better for me on Angel for some reason---Cordelia, Faith, Harmony, Wesley (mostly!) and Angel himself.  

Here's a fun challenge---if you had to pick just 5-7 favorite Angel episodes,  which would you choose? Needless to say, these aren't necessarily the ones you objectively think are highest quality, just the ones you happen to love the most :)

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Continued from the Supernatural Forum

10 minutes ago, catrox14 said:

Even if Buffy drew him into the fight, without being cursed with a soul he wouldn't have wanted to do the fight for Buffy I wouldn't think. I mean he was Angelus the most evil vampire non Master division. Now if it was Spike yeah he would have definitely done it for love, because he was already a romantic when he got turned. To me, Angel was more like an Involuntary Hero LOL

Oh I agree that the curse had something to do with it. However, in my opinion, it only gave Angel the morality and moral compass needed to potentially choose Heroism. The curse alone did not put any pressure on him to join the good fight in the same way receiving visions of those in trouble (Cordelia), or being told you were the ultimate force against evil (Buffy) did. His Ensoulment gave him the potential, but it certainly didn't thrust heroism on him. Just look at how he spent the first 100 years or so post curse. 

From my perspective what drove angel to initially join the fight was his love for Buffy. Later, he would go on to make the mission his own. It would no longer be about her, but it would be about humanity and "helping the helpless". 

I just don't think that Angel was forced / pressurised into it. He was given a nudge by Whistler and the Powers, but it wasn't until after he had chosen to be a champion that he found out about the prophecies surrounding him. He made the decision to join of his own freewill without any major pressure / guilt tripping. That is why I personally don't see Angel as a reluctant hero, but YMMV.

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2 hours ago, nosleepforme said:

Honestly, in retrospect I don't find the Cordelia storyline in season four as bad, because it never was Cordelia to begin with. I wonder if fans would have hated the season as much if they had revealed in the first few episodes that Cordelia was possessed by something supernatural as opposed to the final stretch of episodes.

Perhaps. I think a lot of problems with serial television come from writers being too obsessed with making things surprising, at the expense of making them less coherent and less meaningful. Wow, you jumped out at the audience and said "Boo!" How impressive.

But in this case, the problem with Cordelia's arc isn't just that they played it too close to the vest but that it didn't really make sense even when all was revealed. Evil Cordy is actually Jasmine, right? Then why doesn't she act anything like Jasmine? Whereas Jas is all about compelling people to be peaceful and loving and worship her, Evil Cordy is just generically wicked, sneering and reveling in violence and making out with the Beast.

Some have argued that Evil Cordy represents Jasmine's true intentions -- that Jas really is just malevolent and the peace and love stuff is all an act. But to my mind, that explains Cordy's behavior at the cost of stripping away everything that was interesting about Jas as a character. Besides, Jasmine's brainwashy aura means she never has a reason to lie about her intentions; if she told her followers she wanted to rip off their heads and piss in their skulls, they would gladly line up for the honor of being murdered and pissed on by such a wonderful benevolent goddess.

The only way I could ever make sense of it all was to string together a bunch of vague implications from other episodes into a totally convoluted and made-up explanation: In "Birthday," Skip the agent of the Powers That Be tells Cordy that every person has a connection with the PTB that guides them toward their true destiny. Sure enough, even though Skip relieves her of her visions, rewrites her memory, and gives her a new life as a sitcom star, she still has a vague but inescapable sense of the real life she should be living, which ultimately compels her to reject her new life and get back to who she truly is. So it occurred to me that it would make sense for Jasmine, as one of the PTB, to possess people not by seizing control of their mind or their body but by taking over that mysterious destiny-sense.

So as Jas needed Cordy to do stuff to further her plan, Cordy would've started having that same mysterious sense of obligation -- that's weird, sleeping with Connor feels like the right and proper thing for me to be doing right now. And it would've been up to Cordy to explain to herself why she was having these feelings and why she needed to follow them. Since Jas's early asks were not so wildly out of character for Cordy, she would've been capable of justfying them to herself. ("Connor, you never had a childhood, or anything that's real, and if this is the end, I want you to have something that is.") But by the time Jasmine was making her think it was right and proper to murder innocent people and whatnot, she would've eventually had to throw up her hands and conclude, Oh, jeez, I guess I'm evil now. And thus Evil Cordy was just the half-assed evil persona she invented to explain these insane compulsions to herself.

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On 9/13/2016 at 10:48 AM, amensisterfriend said:

What would you guys name as some of your favorite and least favorite romantic relationships and platonic friendships on Angel? 

Angel/Fred for just being sweet. Her crush was on him was adorable and I love how sweet he was with her (I still remember him pushing up her glasses by the nose piece and her giggling all bashful and his grinning like an idiot at her- too cute); probably the purest relationship in all of Angel. After that platonic Angel/Cordelia, then Wesley/Illyria. I think Angel did platonic relationships a lot better.

On 9/13/2016 at 4:15 PM, amensisterfriend said:

---Also, if you guys had to pick your favorite 10 or so characters from the Buffyverse (BtVS and AtS), who would they be?! These obviously don't have to be characters you would like and admire in real life, just the characters who entertain/intrigue/resonate with you for whatever reason :)

Buffy, Giles, Kendra, Faith, Spike until s4 of BtVS, Cordelia, Fred, Angel, Oz, Drusilla.

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On ‎26‎/‎12‎/‎2014 at 6:06 PM, amensisterfriend said:

I'd love to hear how you guys would rank the seasons from best to worst. Have your opinions changed with rewatch and the passage of time? Which are your favorite and least favorite episodes from each season?

 

I binge watched all at once and am surprised to report that the first season is my very favorite by a pretty wide margin. I love Doyle. I love the balance between cases of the week and larger themes, and I liked the humor. I love that Cordy was still so quintessentially Cordy (I barely recognize her in later seasons!) yet a slightly more likable and mature version than the one we saw on Buffy. I even shocked myself by liking Kate despite absolutely hating Elizabeth Rohm's acting on Law and Order! The overall tone and feel just really works for me. 

S1 is early days, I like it but it's far from the best, we don't have the team all together yet and the interactions between them that made the series so special, no Lorne yet and Wes has yet to mature into the character we know and love. I always liked Kate although I agree her character on L&O seemed to be written as just pretty yet emotionless.  

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My order:

Season 4: I love the grand apocalyptic feel to it. Even on rewatch, it's incredibly exciting stuff. I love how the series lurches to one earth-shattering threat to humanity to another in one long continuous arc. Now, some of the plotting is illogical and oddly paced. But it's all pretty damn epic. Wesley, Fred, and Lilah have their best season. I hate Angel and dislike Gunn through most of the season- but they are interesting. Teen Connor is actually great- played by the gifted Vincent Kartheiser. Jasmine is wonderfully creepy- played by the great Gina Torres. It reaches for a theme with the destiny v. free will stuff. Faith's mini arc adds further color and excitement to the series and further enriches Wesley's already brilliant season. The downsides. Cordelia is a repulsive bore for most of the season until the reveal and it's hard to parse how the Jasmine arc ended up serving her own human character arc. However, it still reconned the stupid "Cordelia is too good for humanity" bullshit in S3.

GAP

Season 2: Overall, Angel/Darla was a strong arc. It was an arc that put Angel in the gutter as he abandoned his team and mission to literally jerk off, and it was the arc that indicated that Buffy was just the "treat a little blonde poorly" rebound to Angel's love story with Darla. Further putting Angel on my Shit List. However, it was big and compelling and felt real and had a lot of poetic moments. Unfortunately, it could get repetitive. And Angel becomes droning and humorless and repetitive, especially when he's separated from his ensemble. The Wesley/Cordelia/Gunn bond is very cute and the characters shine together- but their stories can be superficial and just little one-offs as they're divorced from the gravitas of Angel's bigger plot. Those deficiencies in the stories do highlight how Angel needs his humans and the humans need Angel so it works thematically- but still. The Pylea arc is fun but is paced oddly coming just on the heels of Angel getting back with his team after he behaved so poorly all year. Cordelia also starts to lose some important sharpness and wit after she's reunited with Angel and positioned as a love interest.

Season 1: This is a really, really solid season. It doesn't have the highs of S4 and S2 but actually, it doesn't have their lows and drawbacks either. The season is paced very nicely- albeit easily with mainly MoTWs, character arcs/beginnings/goodbyes, the Faith arc, and the emerging Shanshu arc. This is the ONE season where all of the leads work exactly like they're supposed to- Angel, Cordelia, Doyle, and Wesley are all likable and have strong, vivid arcs and voices. Lindsay, Lilah, and Holland are all strong baddies right out the gate. Usually the first season is awkward, but in a lot of ways, S1 is more elegant than what followed.

BIG GAP

Season 3: This has some strong arcs. Holtz is an interesting villain- although he gets repetitive with his endless "I must make Angel pay." Wesley's fall is written and performed brilliantly. The immediate aftermath of Connor's kidnapping is horrifying and suspenseful. However, there's a bunch of bad. A lot of the MoTWs are weak, except for Waiting in the Wings. This is where AtS loses its friendship and instead, becomes about the romances. AI isn't a coherent group but instead, divides into the Angel/Cordelia/Groo (later Gwen/Connor) triangles and the Gunn/Fred/Wesley/Lilah quadrilateral. I hold the UO of actually enjoying a lot of the Gunn/Fred/Wesley/Lilah quadrilateral but the diminishment of the friendships sucks. In addition, for the actual featured ships, Angel/Cordelia is repulsive and Gunn/Fred is incredibly boring. Fred has good moments later on- but she's at the height of bland Mary Suedom in this season. Only Wesley/Lilah actually generate some sexual heat for all of the romance going on this season- and it's not until the season finale. 

Season 5: This season has a LOT wrong with it. It really doesn't have a great long-term arc. The mechanics of a "good guy" team running W&H could be interesting- but the gang just handles it in such a immature, sloppy way that it doesn't just hurt their likability but it also hurts the entire arc. Eve is a poor, imitation of Lilah and Lindsay is annoying and implausible in this season.  For most of the season, the mindwipe removes me from Fred/Lorne/Gunn and Wesley. It's particularly a big problem with Wesley because (a) removing Connor and his split with Angel destroys so much of what formed him and (b) he's my favorite character and largely, how I access my emotional connection and thematic opinions to this show. I generally don't enjoy Spike. I don't think much was mined for Spike's character by putting him on AtS. He just seemed like a device to access Angel's insecurities- which does have value because Angel's arrogance/confidence had been mainly explored in AtS so it was ripe to see who Angel could feel small next to. However, that has limited value compared to making Spike the secondary lead. 

Upsides: There are some good stand alones. Wesley's relationship with Illyria was fascinating. Gunn's own bargain with the devil was interesting and wonderfully performed by JAR- although I wished we got more aftermath to how Gunn was dealing. The season has a cool, professional, expensive look. 

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14 hours ago, nosleepforme said:

Yes, S1 to me is too much of Angel investigating on his own, with most of the other characters only on the sidelines. Both Wesley and Cordy only got to do more later on, in the first season they're very restricted to supporting roles with little to do, since Angel is mostly investigating/fighting on his own.

True, hadn't got the group dynamic yet but we start to see that towards the end of s1. 

11 hours ago, Melancholy said:

My order:

Season 4: I love the grand apocalyptic feel to it. Even on rewatch, it's incredibly exciting stuff. I love how the series lurches to one earth-shattering threat to humanity to another in one long continuous arc. Now, some of the plotting is illogical and oddly paced. But it's all pretty damn epic. Wesley, Fred, and Lilah have their best season. I hate Angel and dislike Gunn through most of the season- but they are interesting. Teen Connor is actually great- played by the gifted Vincent Kartheiser. Jasmine is wonderfully creepy- played by the great Gina Torres. It reaches for a theme with the destiny v. free will stuff. Faith's mini arc adds further color and excitement to the series and further enriches Wesley's already brilliant season. The downsides. Cordelia is a repulsive bore for most of the season until the reveal and it's hard to parse how the Jasmine arc ended up serving her own human character arc. However, it still reconned the stupid "Cordelia is too good for humanity" bullshit in S3.

GAP

Season 2: Overall, Angel/Darla was a strong arc. It was an arc that put Angel in the gutter as he abandoned his team and mission to literally jerk off, and it was the arc that indicated that Buffy was just the "treat a little blonde poorly" rebound to Angel's love story with Darla. Further putting Angel on my Shit List. However, it was big and compelling and felt real and had a lot of poetic moments. Unfortunately, it could get repetitive. And Angel becomes droning and humorless and repetitive, especially when he's separated from his ensemble. The Wesley/Cordelia/Gunn bond is very cute and the characters shine together- but their stories can be superficial and just little one-offs as they're divorced from the gravitas of Angel's bigger plot. Those deficiencies in the stories do highlight how Angel needs his humans and the humans need Angel so it works thematically- but still. The Pylea arc is fun but is paced oddly coming just on the heels of Angel getting back with his team after he behaved so poorly all year. Cordelia also starts to lose some important sharpness and wit after she's reunited with Angel and positioned as a love interest.

Season 1: This is a really, really solid season. It doesn't have the highs of S4 and S2 but actually, it doesn't have their lows and drawbacks either. The season is paced very nicely- albeit easily with mainly MoTWs, character arcs/beginnings/goodbyes, the Faith arc, and the emerging Shanshu arc. This is the ONE season where all of the leads work exactly like they're supposed to- Angel, Cordelia, Doyle, and Wesley are all likable and have strong, vivid arcs and voices. Lindsay, Lilah, and Holland are all strong baddies right out the gate. Usually the first season is awkward, but in a lot of ways, S1 is more elegant than what followed.

BIG GAP

Season 3: This has some strong arcs. Holtz is an interesting villain- although he gets repetitive with his endless "I must make Angel pay." Wesley's fall is written and performed brilliantly. The immediate aftermath of Connor's kidnapping is horrifying and suspenseful. However, there's a bunch of bad. A lot of the MoTWs are weak, except for Waiting in the Wings. This is where AtS loses its friendship and instead, becomes about the romances. AI isn't a coherent group but instead, divides into the Angel/Cordelia/Groo (later Gwen/Connor) triangles and the Gunn/Fred/Wesley/Lilah quadrilateral. I hold the UO of actually enjoying a lot of the Gunn/Fred/Wesley/Lilah quadrilateral but the diminishment of the friendships sucks. In addition, for the actual featured ships, Angel/Cordelia is repulsive and Gunn/Fred is incredibly boring. Fred has good moments later on- but she's at the height of bland Mary Suedom in this season. Only Wesley/Lilah actually generate some sexual heat for all of the romance going on this season- and it's not until the season finale. 

Season 5: This season has a LOT wrong with it. It really doesn't have a great long-term arc. The mechanics of a "good guy" team running W&H could be interesting- but the gang just handles it in such a immature, sloppy way that it doesn't just hurt their likability but it also hurts the entire arc. Eve is a poor, imitation of Lilah and Lindsay is annoying and implausible in this season.  For most of the season, the mindwipe removes me from Fred/Lorne/Gunn and Wesley. It's particularly a big problem with Wesley because (a) removing Connor and his split with Angel destroys so much of what formed him and (b) he's my favorite character and largely, how I access my emotional connection and thematic opinions to this show. I generally don't enjoy Spike. I don't think much was mined for Spike's character by putting him on AtS. He just seemed like a device to access Angel's insecurities- which does have value because Angel's arrogance/confidence had been mainly explored in AtS so it was ripe to see who Angel could feel small next to. However, that has limited value compared to making Spike the secondary lead. 

Upsides: There are some good stand alones. Wesley's relationship with Illyria was fascinating. Gunn's own bargain with the devil was interesting and wonderfully performed by JAR- although I wished we got more aftermath to how Gunn was dealing. The season has a cool, professional, expensive look. 

You LIKE s4 Connor? You must be the ONLY one although I wholly agree on Faith. Gunn didn't have enough to do hence his arc in s5. Wes s3 fall is terrific whilst season 5 has a surprising following, not just amongst Spikettes. 

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21 hours ago, nosleepforme said:

Yes, I think we can say what we want about Connor, but Vincent Kartheiser was a really strong actor and I love Gina Torres as Jasmine, I think she was a nice change from villains that we've had before. In addition to the apocalyptic epic exciting arc, I do also think that the demons throughout the season are topnotch, some of the best looking monsters on the entire show, I particularly like, I think, Dinza in Ground State, such a beautifully creepy looking creature. Even the weird monster from the other dimension later or the one that Fred encounters in The Magic Bullet are great. I really love it when the demons are actually creepy rather than just some random monster make-up that is just there to be punched. More criminal than Cordelia's development in this season is the death of Lilah though, just when they were fleshing her out.

 

That's exactly why I don't like this season as much, because for a large chunk of the season, the actual ensemble, Gunn, Wesley and Cordelia, feel like an afterthought. You could have written them off for half the season and you would have barely noticed. I think Angel is at its best when it really uses all its actors rather than just focusing on David Boreanaz and his brooding. I also wish they had kept Holland around, just such a wonderful creepy villain. I love how they handled Darla throughout the season though, only wish Julie Benz would have been available for the final few episodes.

 

I don't find the MOTWs all that much fun in season one TBH. I fall to Pieces, The Bachelor Party, Expecting, She, The Ring, Sense and Sensitivity, War Zone are among the weakest stand alones of the series IMO.

 

For me, this season suffers mostly from the baby stuff that I don't find that interesting and Holtz and Justine get really exhausting. I do however think this is the season where Team Angel finally falls into place and they got a lot of mileage out of the different relationships between the characters, even though most of the romance stuff falls flat (it works perfectly in Waiting in the Wings though). Also, I must mention how much I love that ridiculous episode with the tree demon who catfishes people on the internet to suck their life energy out of them. So ridiculous. I kinda wish they had not brought back Connor and Holtz later in the season. Best part of this season is how Lilah steps up and takes on the major villain role.

 

I personally really like Spike in this season, even though I initially hated his addition to the show. However, the season suffers from how they try to avoid any on-going storylines, on Buffy they did so well with doing stand-alones while still serving a season-long arc, I am not sure why they struggled so much to do the same here. And I think the season also suffered from the budget cuts that forced them to do fewer location shoots and to spend most of their time on the Wolfram and Hart set. That being said, I think the stand alones were some of the most creative and I think they did a great job despite the restrictions they had. I even really liked "Why we fight", an episode that is not very popular.

I like Vincent (bumped into him at the bar once at a Buffy convention) but s3/4 has few if any redeeming features. S5 Connor is great which shows how much of it is in the writing

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On ‎26‎/‎12‎/‎2014 at 8:00 PM, amensisterfriend said:

ETA: And, um, I forgot to do my actual rankings :) 

 

S1

S5 (I was ambivalent about Spike on BtVS, but he was a surprisingly welcome addition for me here---and Smile Time and the finale alone would earn this season the silver medal for me!)

S2

S3

S4 

Really? S4 is my favourite especially the Faith/Angelus arc. I was never the biggest Spike fan but he is a breath of fresh air in s5. 

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On ‎07‎/‎01‎/‎2015 at 12:55 PM, joelene said:

Season 2: Love it all. Yes Pylea too.

Season 1: Love it all. Love the the trio with Doyle and the trio with Wesley pretty equal.

Season 4: Love the grandeur feel of it and despite plot holes and the occasional hatred of various characters the season sucks me in pretty hard. Could and should have been better but I still think it's great. And Lilah, oh Lilah.

Season 5: Wobbly first half. Hated Spike at this point on Buffy. Thankfully he was "alright" later in the season. But then it became pretty damn great.

Season 3: The demise of all that was truly great about the first two seasons. Thank god for Lilah.

I liked Pylea, it certainly was a change of pace for the show. Lilah was one of the best things about the entire series and sorely missed in s5

On ‎07‎/‎01‎/‎2015 at 9:49 PM, rue721 said:

4:  Connor and Jasmin were actually great so sue me. I even liked the coffin-under-the-sea.

1:  Doyle, and Cordelia at her best.

3:  Darla, plus Wesley's decent into madness. The talking drive-thru machine and stealing the baby and all that?! Made the season imo.

5:  Illyria and Wesley (and Harmony!). Hated lawyer!Gunn, happy!Connor, Spike just in general...

2:  Idk, nothing terrible, but nothing stands out, either.

 

In rewatch:  I usually watch some episode I remember loving from S4, and then go back to see the beginning of the Darla/Connor storyline in S3, and then end up watching S3 and S4 in one big go -- but once I get to S5, I skip over to where Illyria comes in, because there's just so much boring, and it doesn't really seem like Angel anyway what with the Wolfram & Hart set. And at the end of the series, I'll be all sad and go back and watch some S1 so that the rewatch won't be over yet, love the shit out of it yet again, but drift off somewhere and quit watching again in S2.

 

But uhhhh as can probably be deduced, imo, it holds up on rewatch! It's one of the few shows where I end up reacting basically the same way to the characters/SLs each time I see it.

 

This is probably my favorite series of all time (though Nip/Tuck, you still have a piece of my heart!), so in general, there's not a whole lot I don't like about it. Most any episode will be good *somehow.* Though maybe not that one where Angel falls in love with that werewolf woman in S5. I'm still rolling my eyes. And for whatever reason, Lindsey always seemed gross. He seems like the guy stands outside the 7-Eleven doors drinking his soda and insisting on "making conversation" with you as you're just trying to get into the store. The kind who, then you try to get away from by saying you're on your way to work and then STILL TRIES TO "MAKE CONVERSATION" but angrier now.

 

OK sorry about the rant, but I just could never find Lindsey attractive because of that.

My lawsuit is in the post! Surprised reading these how popular season 1 is, I always thought it was the weakest but forgave it as early days. S2 bottom? Really Even Angel's Punisher phase? Can't say I ever got that 7-11 vibe from Lindsey, more like the guy who hogs the Karaoke machine. 

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