Monday, October 10, 2011

"City Of" (Angel 1.1): Ain't no vamp like a hardboiled vamp

So begins the Jenn and tracy Angel rewatch! Our favorite fanged one walked right out of Sunnydale post-Ascension, and right into Los Angeles as a vampire with a soul but with no purpose. I have only seen this series all the way through once (though I've watched the season 5 classic "The Girl in Question" multiple times just for the fun of it), and there are a few seasons my intrepid co-watcher has never seen at all! So let's get right to the Angel guide to getting settled in a new city.

DO announce your presence with authority.
For our money, there's no better opening sequence than this:

Sorry Charmed.

DO know your noir.
Angel (at least in season 1) moves from the pomo horror (or as Jenn described it, "teenage-soap-opera-esque-ness") of Buffy to a firm place in the P.I. genre. We've got the L.A. setting, the hero who is able to move freely amongst strata of the city (usually it's overworld and underworld, but Angel extends the division to demon and human), and a hardboiled persona. A's soul is pure human, but he's got a demonic exterior.
He looks a bit superhero-y here, but trust me, season 1 is pure Vamp Sam Spade.

DO pick your Scoobies carefully.
In true Whedonesque fashion, Angel will assemble a cadre to help him protect the innocent in L.A. In episode 1 we're introduced to:
Doyle. Half-demon. Irish. Adorable. Don't get attached.

Cordy! Blunt. Fearless. In later seasons, they'll mess up her character but good.
Jenn points out how important Cordelia is as a transitional figure in this episode. Her knowledge of Sunnydale allows her to identify this episode's monster of the week, and probably save her own life because of it.

DON'T forget we're in the Whedonverse, y'all.
You can take the vamp out of Sunnydale, but you can't take the Sunnydale out of the vamp. We're still going to deal with a cocktail of humor and angst, and episode 1 is no exception. Mixed with the laughs (Angel vaulting into the wrong convertible), we've got the pain (Angel losing his first client to the vampire version of Buffy's Ken). Angel is going to have to pick up some detective skills tout suite, and he's going to have to do better than a web search for "murders, young women" to get the job done.

Crossover Alert!
In "City Of" Angel phones Buffy and hangs up when she answers in true brokenhearted/stalk-your-ex fashion . . . a call we see from the other side in "The Freshman." This consecutive re-watch is going to be fun!

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