A “Fake Geek Girl”s Comic Book Fears

While I don’t pretend to be a comics girl (I’m not cool enough for that), I have fallen quite hard for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’ve seen nearly every movie since Iron Man, and continue to be excited about upcoming films. Joss Whedon heading up the franchise was the icing on the cake for me as a long time Whedonite (check out my series’ on Buffy and Angel).

I’m also using the films as a starting point to get into the overwhelming world of comics. That’s not to say that I’m even close to know what to do yet, but I’m slowly figuring out what to be looking for. Comics is a huge scary world to get into though, especially as a girl.

Part of my fear of getting into comics is that I will be shunned as a “fake geek girl” for joining in now when there is so much hype around the Marvel Universe. I’m tentatively treading into the territory of the Marvel subreddit, but I keep waiting for someone to call me out. I know that I’m not supposed to let that stop me, but I also wouldn’t know how to respond.

All this to say that I’m very excited (and still quite scared) after hearing the news about a female character taking over for Thor. While I am loving the Marvel Universe, Thor has always been the least relatable Avenger for me. He’s a ‘god’ from another realm who has unmatched strength who is all good and has these highly idealistic hopes for the human race. Of course I know I’m simplifying, and if I were to read the comics I’m sure there would be more to it, but… meh.

A female Thor on the other hand? A woman who is just as strong and capable as Thor himself, who’s armor wont be parodied on The Hawkeye Initiative is intriguing to me. What happened to Thor that he’s no longer worthy to wield Mijolnir? Who is this chick? And from the realist in me: How long will this last?

With Age of Ultron coming up on the horizon I don’t doubt that Thor will be back to the man we know by next summer. The majority of the movie-going audience will not be following along with the comics, so for continuity’s sake I’m sure Mijolnir will be safely back in his hands by then. But I’m beyond curious as to how this whole thing shakes out.

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My Year in Television 2013

As we near the end of the year I like to reflect on all the things I watched over the course of the year.  Warning: this is a LOOOONG post.  I watch a lot of TV.  I find that it’s good for me to keep track of things and when I’ve watched them, but just know that it’s kind of a lot.

I spent most of January and February at home in San Francisco, and took over the DVR as much as I could. I continued watching Elementary and Once Upon A Time, as well as being supremely excited about Community‘s return in February.

There are a handful of shows that overlap between what I like to watch and what my parents watch. We would watch Downton Abbey the night it aired, and we began House of Cards together. I also watched some of the shows my parents watched such as American Pickers and American Restoration. I left would leave whenever they started up Dog the Bounty Hunter. I have to draw the line somewhere.

During the day I would watch DVDs and Netflix. I finished Band of Brothers and re-watched Luther to prepare for my semester. I watched Leverage episodes as in order as I could find them. I wrote about Angel on the blog and got really into web series. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and a handful of others.

In March I moved to LA in a strange housing situation, and set all my usual recordings. I watched Doctor Who and saw a few episodes of Orphan Black that were fantastic. I wrote a spec of Luther that was the most complete script I’ve ever written. I’m proud of it, but I’m not sure it’s something that I’ll be able to use in the future.

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I spent most of April waiting for a phone call that never came. I watched documentaries on Netflix and rented DVDs from the library. Most notably I rented Roots and got through at least half of the series. In finished House of Cards and joined the rest of those who finished but didn’t want to spoil anyone else. With no word from school and no reason to stay in my weird housing set up I went back to San Francisco at the end of the month.

At home I dove back into my old routine of watching TV with my parents. I got back into shows that I had taken a long break on. I returned to my first television love, CSI and started watching Major Crimes when it returned in June. When I watched by myself I watched episode after episode of The Good Guys, finishing the entire series in record time.

June also saw the release of Much Ado About Nothing, which I first saw at the San Francisco International Film Festival. I know it’s technically not TV, but anything Joss Whedon feels TV-esque to me, and the cast is full of my favorite Whedon TV people, so I’m going to say it half-counts. Also half counting would be web series. I’m never quite sure where to put them, but over the summer I watched Welcome to Sanditon and An Autobiography of Jane Eyre.

In July I returned to LA just in time to start my summer semester in LA. I was a bit slow to set up internet access and TV, but when I finally did I pulled together all the recordings I could ever want. In between classes I watched Major Crimes, King and Maxwell, Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, and Camp. I happened upon a Blue Ray of The Newsroom and watched the entire first season quickly in order to prepare for season two which happened to fall within my HBO free trial.

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Through my class, I found myself at San Diego Comic Con without much of a plan at all. I was woefully under prepared, but managed to make the best I could of the one day I had. I wandered the expo hall in awe and waited in line to see the Once Upon A Time pirate ship. I went to a panel for Husbands, the web series I was a PA for last year and got a chance to talk with a few of the people I had connected with there. All in all a good, if a little overwhelming, day.

As the summer ended I said good-bye to all my summer favorites, and geared up for premiere season. While a friend of mine was in town we went to see a taping of Mom, a new show because we both love Allison Janney. It was fun to be in the audience (I think it was the 4th episode), but neither of us fell in love with the show. Certainly something I would do again, and a great idea for people who are visiting from out of town.

In September I started online classes and internships and a whole slew of new shows. I watched or recorded everything. NCIS, Elementary, CSI, Parks and Rec, The Middle, Modern Family, Once Upon A Time, The Good Wife, and The Mentalist on the returning side. I started watching Agents of SHIELD, Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, Trophy Wife, and The Crazy Ones of new shows. I’ve stuck with most of these to varying degrees. While all of the ones listed are still being recorded, there are a few I’m woefully behind on.


There were two shows that weren’t even on my radar at the beginning of the season, but I wound up recording on a whim and then LOVING. The first is Sleepy Hollow, which I recorded because it was mentioned at one of my internships and wound up completely blowing me away. Now that I look back I vaguely remember seeing some Sleepy Hollow things at Comic Con, but think that it wouldn’t be for me. WRONG! I also wound up recording Brooklyn Nine-Nine because I was recording Dads. While I’m not a fan of Dads, I love Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

As the semester got started I returned to Leverage and started Orange is the New Black. I watched movies and TV pilots for my internships and fell behind on a lot of current TV. November brought on the 300th episode of CSI, and the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special. Thanksgiving rolled right into December and the live Sound of Music production. I have mixed feelings on the event, but do hope that the fantastic ratings will encourage networks to do similar things in the future.

As the year comes to an end I will be watching the Bonnie and Clyde mini-series, and tuning in for the mid-season finales of the shows listed above. I’ve finally caught up on a few and will continue to watch as the new year begins. While TV is on a break, I’ll be finishing shows that I can catch on Netflix including Leverage and Orange is the New Black.

This year has been full of great TV shows, and I’m excited for the year to come. What shows did you watch this year? Any favorites I’m missing?

Fall TV

With the turning of the calendar to September and the beginning of the school year (my online classes), I’m excited to head into TV premiere season as well.  With nearly fifty new shows and dozens of returning shows, I have only recently sat down to determine what I’m going to be sampling and committing to this fall. I don’t really know what else there is to say, so I’ll just dive right in.

New Commitments
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Drama, Joss Whedon with Clark Gregg in charge? Agent Coulson lives.
The Crazy Ones: I saw some preview footage of this one and I’m honestly excited. Robin Williams returning to TV and Sarah Michelle Gellar as his daughter. Done and done.
Once Upon A Time in Wonderland: It’s Once, but with Alice. I’m so pumped I don’t even know what to say right now. It looks so gorgeous!

Continuing Relationships
NCIS: While I’m already devastated over the loss of Ziva, I’m curious to see how it’s handled. If done well the show will continue to thrive. If done poorly, it could mean the loss of more than just a favorite character.
The Middle: My old roommate and I used to call The Middle and Modern Family “Comedy Night done right”. I still hold by that phrasing. With Axel gone, I think Frankie might loose it, which will be hysterical to watch.
Modern Family: Deserving of all the praise.
Parks and Rec: Because Amy Poehler.
Elementary: Part of me winders how they can possibly top that fantastic finale, but I’m guessing the answer may be in the picture I saw of Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller on the London Underground.
Once Upon A Time: This show just keeps getting better, and now that all our favorites are crossing over to fairy tale land… #excited
The Good Wife: That twist! It’s not anything that hasn’t been done before, but I am still pretty excited to see how it ends up. Getting away from Will is going to be good for Alicia.
The Mentalist: I’ve always been a fan of this show. Part of me still wonders how long they can stretch out this Red John thing, but for now I’ll agree to suspend disbelief.

New to Sample
Dads: Because I love Seth Green and the promos look good. I’m not usually a comedy person, but lately I’ve started warming up to the idea.
Mom: Allison Janney is back on TV. The premise dosen’t even matter to me, I’m just so excited to see her on my screen.
Trophy Wife: Two words. Bradley. Whitford. Hmm, I’m noticing a theme of watching new comedies solely because of someone who’s in them. I care not.
Ironside: I’m not sure about this one, but the premise seems straight up my ally, so I’m going to give it a shot.
Super Fun Night: Because I could use some more girly fun things in my life. Also because Rebel Wilson.
Tomorrow People: Because YA sci-fi is apparently the next big thing for the CW and if I want to catch this train there’s no way I’m joining in later. It’s now or never.
Reign: Saw this one in promos at Comic Con. I’ll bite. No promises though.

Returning to Keep Track Of
New Girl: I love New Girl, but I’m not a regular viewer unless I remember to set a series recording. It’s on the list and in the plan.
The Mindy Project: Along the same lines as New Girl, I love this show when I watch it, but sometimes don’t remember.
NCIS:LA: It’s a fun show that I love whenever I watch it, but tends to linger in the depths of the DVR if not carefully attended to.
CSI: I haven’t watched CSI in ages, which is a shame because it was pretty much the show that got me interested in the TV industry. I think it’s time to return to my roots.
Bob’s Burgers: I watch this one as my Saturday morning cartoon on Netflix, and while I’m nowhere near catching up with what going to start airing, I don’t think it makes much of a difference in this show.

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What are you watching this fall?  Any others you want me to convince to try?

Dollhouse: The Serious

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Dollhouse depicts an underground organization where people go when they are out of options.  The “dolls” sign a five year contract to allowing the company to program their brains with different personalities, after which they are released to continue their lives.  The show aired in 2009 and 2010.  It was canceled after two seasons, despite it being absolutely fantastic television.

The way I see it there are two sides to Dollhouse: the serious, moral side of what can be taken from it and what it implies about our society and culture, and the fan side in which I fangirl over how awesome the characters and their interactions are. We’ll start with the more serious side, because I think Dollhouse is a show that can be hard to be a fan of it you can’t get past the serious side.

On first blush Dollhouse is very, very wrong.  They are programming people to be whatever their customers want, taking away the choices that the original people had and using them as shells to fulfill selfish desires.  Objectification of women (majority of dolls are female).  Taking away freedom of choice.  What kind of world are we living in here?

But that question is exactly the point.  Because the stuff that exists in Dollhouse, does exist in real life.  You don’t see it on the streets or in the newspapers, but all over the world, women and girls, men and boys, are being bought and sold as slaves.  The world as is shown in Dollhouse isn’t quite there yet, but the technology could exist, and added to the framework of human trafficking that we know of, it’s a scary thought to think of all the things that could go wrong.

Dollhouse shows us that world, and then shows us people who, even while being a part of it, don’t want the extreme.  Adelle DeWitt is one of my favorite characters on the show because, not only is she a badass lady, she also cares deeply for the dolls under her command.  When she discovers that Sierra is being raped she finds and kills the attacker (“Man on the Street”) without a second thought.

Dolls that get out of hand are sent to “The Attic” where they are basically turned brain dead.  The Attic is actually a virtual world where the minds of those the corporation doesn’t want to deal with are trapped.  It’s not really death, it’s simply stasis that cannot be broken out of.  Unless you’re Echo, a doll who used to be a woman named Caroline, dead set on bring the Dollhouse down.

While the dolls are frequently set up on romantic engagements a lot of the cases are to solve a problem in the least intrusive means possible.  A security guard for a star who refuses to have a security detail (“Stage Fright”), being an example for a young girl in a bad situation (“Briar Rose”), and stopping a virus threatening to wipe out a whole university (“Echoes”).

Echo starts to remember what her old life was and remember the other people she has been imprinted with.  This knowledge begins a mission that starts with her and Paul, her handler, and eventually encompasses the whole dollhouse to stop this thing before it’s too late.

Epitaph One” and “Epitaph Two: Return” show the world after it’s become too late.  The two season finales show the world of the future in which doll technology has gone wireless and taken over society.  A world where being an “Actual”, the person you were born as, makes you not only a rarity, but a target.  This is the world that we cannot become.

For even with everything that this world has become, we are not immune to the way things should be.  We see the Dollhouse, in all it’s fictional glory, and understand that we can never stoop to that.  Meanwhile those who are victims to human trafficking know that we already have.

Cabin in the Woods

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I know.  I’m about a year overdue for seeing this movie.  I’m not really into horror movies, so I kind of wrote it off as something I didn’t need to see.  I’ve never been so glad to have been proved wrong before.

Cabin in the Woods is your typical, five-friends-stranded-in-the-woods horror movie.  Until three deaths in and even the victims start to have second thoughts about what’s really going on here.  Behind the scenes an underground agency is manipulating the situation to appease an ancient god that demands blood sacrifice.  Once this plot is uncovered by the remaining victims even more blood and gore ensues.

For one thing, the cast.  Bradley Whitford, Amy Acker, and Fran Kranz are all favorites, and I’m always surprised and delighted to see Tom Lenk show up in however small a way.  Others that I didn’t know as well, didn’t disappoint.  Seeing these people in roles I’d have never thought of outside of this, yet some with a flicker of familiarity.

While, I should have expected nothing less from Joss Whedon and Drew Goodard, I was really impressed with the twist.  There are so many levels to this idea of watching people being tortured.  For one thing, in absorbing this message while watching the movie, you’re also watching people being tortured.

There are so many little nuances of irony in this movie that I almost can’t even wrap my head around them.  Bradley Whitford’s character dies by merman, a creature he’s been rooting for the whole time.  The multitude of horror movie references that I understood only through general pop culture knowledge or from the internet explaining them to me.

Not to mention the idea that there is an underground being who can only be sated by the death of five archetypes.  This has haunting implications on our own world.  What kind of power demands sacrifices of innocents?  If this power is real – in actuality or in metaphor – what sacrifices does it demand of us?  Our time, skills, and money?  And what kinds of effect does it have to give in to this perceived power?

But to step away from the possible soapbox, Cabin in the Woods was a surprising step out from the typical horror movie.  Filled with twists and brimming with irony, I’m surprising myself to say that I recommend it.

Are you a horror movie fan?  Have you seen Cabin in the Woods?  Love it or hate it?

Much Ado About Whedon

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So this time instead of being a year late to something, I decided to show up a month early.  I was lucky enough to get a chance to see Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing at the San Francisco International Film Festival; it has a limited release this weekend (6/7), a UK release next weekend (6/14), and a nationwide release the weekend after that (6/21).  I’ll come straight out with it, go see this movie as soon as possible.

In many ways it’s exactly what you think it is.  How can you go wrong with Shakespeare? (don’t answer that) The story of Much Ado About Nothing is the same as when you read it in high school.  Benedict and Beatrice hate each other; Claudio and Hiro are set up, torn down, and brought back together again; Benedict and Beatrice are together in the end (Spoiler Alert).

But this movie, this story, will never be told this way again.  A study in tightening the already close reigns of 6 Degrees of Joss Whedon, this movie has an all-star cast including Amy Acker, Alexis Denihof, Fran Kranz, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond, Sean Maher, and Tom Lenk.  Because why not get together all the old gang back together?  I can’t even begin with how much in awe I am of this cast.  People, some of whom as far as I’m aware have never met before, come together to make something awesome.

And awesome here encapsulates beautiful, hysterical, heart-wrenching, emotional, and perfect.  That’s right, perfect, because I can think of no other word that is able to sum up this film so well.  Practically perfect in every way.  Every once and a while I would see something.  An angle, a balcony, and I thought to myself, “I know where this is going”.  Every time I was wrong.  The story was filled with small unexpected things that, thinking back, couldn’t have been done any other way.

There is something for everyone here.  The film festival aficionados (it has toured the continent of festivals), the Shakespearean critics, and the Whedonites will all come to this movie in droves and there will not be a single unsatisfied soul in the house.  Perhaps I am making much ado about nothing, but what could be more appropriate?

Do you fall into any of the three categories I listed?  Which one?  When are you planning to see Much Ado About Nothing.

Angel the Series: The End

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As I did with Buffy last summer, I’m taking some time to analyse it’s sibling, Angel.  Angel is a completely separate beast to Buffy (in more ways than one).  It is oft-times darker and more sinister, but also arguably more diverse in a multitude of ways.  My adoration for the Buffy-verse starts here, with my Buffy series last summer and continues with Angel.  Other topics covered on Angel: Beginning; The Team, The Villains  and The In-Betweens; Death; Shanshu Redemption.

And so another good thing comes to an end.  Angel was a thrilling, heart wrenching ride to go on.  There were a few moments of absolute agony in which I actually called friends in tears (I don’t have a television problem. nope) because of something that happened.  Angel erred on the side of sinister and depressing at times, but at it’s core is a message of hope, attempting to continue in the face of adversity.

I’ll admit that I actually finished Angel right before the end of last semester.  It’s taken me longer to write about it than it took to write about Buffy.  There are a multitude of factors involved in this, but I’ll admit one of them being my own uncertainty over what to say.  There were times when it simply didn’t hold my attention as much as it’s predecessor had.  Yet I don’t regret watching for a second.

Angel brought up morals and ethics in a way that very few television shows can.  If you’re willing to look into it, you see the overarching questions and can choose your own answer.  In essence, Angel achieved what all good shows should strive for (IMHO).  It allowed audiences to ask themselves what they would do if they were put in that situation, knowing all the while that they would never actually have to answer.  In this way, it was able to ask big questions without needing to give real world answers.  Allowing viewers to ponder without the guilt that can come with more true to life examples.

Angel is a fantastic show with a huge heart.  The characters and their lives touched me in such a way that I will carry their lessons and strengths with me always.

Angel the Series: Shanshu Redemption

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As I did with Buffy last summer, I’m taking some time to analyse it’s sibling, Angel.  Angel is a completely separate beast to Buffy (in more ways than one).  It is oft-times darker and more sinister, but also arguably more diverse in a multitude of ways.  My adoration for the Buffy-verse starts here, with my Buffy series last summer and continues with Angel.  Other topics covered on Angel: Beginning; The Team, The Villains  and The In-Betweens; Death.

Everyone wants redemption, but it means different things for different people.  The idea that we can atone for our past sins with good deeds, or sometimes even with money, is as old as time.  Angel shows us in no uncertain terms a world that we are often unable or unwilling to see: a world that can be a terrible place.

The worst part of the world — this intrinsic truth a piece of fiction shows — is that the awful in the world is often on the account of our own actions.  In the show demons and fallen gods shows us the faults and shortcomings of humanity.

Angel Investigations, and Angel himself spend so much time trying to achieve redemption.  Angel attempts to be the savior of the people.  Helper of the helpless.  But he can’t be.  No matter how hard he tries, he simply will not be able to undo all the bad in the world.  It’s a task that no human, or vampire, could do.  Even the “savior” of the people needs a savior of his own.

Throughout the show there is the constant question of the Shanshu Prophesy (starting in “Blind Date” and reoccurring).  Nearly the definition of redemption Shanshu offers a human life as a reward to a vampire who fights in the apocalypse.  In the run of the series, Angel never actually achieves Shanshu.  In fact, the more it’s discussed, the more it seems to be a unreachable feat.

On a bit of a different plane is the reappearance of Darla.  By reappearance I mean resurrection (“To Shanshu in LA”).  Guys, they bring a character back from the dead.  They then tell her that even though she’s over a hundred years old and was once the undead, she’s going to die because our modern technology can’t handle a simple case of syphilis (“The Trial”).

Not even a quote-unquote ‘clean slate’ can erase Darla’s past.  She appears to have no choice in even the matter of her own life or un-life.  In an attempt to reclaim control over her life, she tries to convince an unwilling vamp to sire her.  When Angel tries another method of re-gaining her life, even that is proven unsuccessful (“The Trial”).

Just as Darla has owned her humanity and her impending death, in rolls Drucilla to continue on the path that Wolfram and Hart have planned for Darla.  This prompts a whole new set of questions for the viewers as Darla immediately forgets her humanity and once again embraces her vampric self (“Reunion”).

In a particularly harrowing scene upon realizing Darla’s fate, Holland Manners offers to take Angel to see the true horror of humanity.  While Angel expects to be taken to a hell dimension (which which he has much experience with), the doors open to the same place they started from.  Earth.  (“Reprise”)  If our world is the worst of the worst, what hope is there left?

At the end of season four Angel sees this savior in Wolfram and Hart.  He agrees to take on the evil organization so that he can save more people (“Home”).  It sounds good on the outside.  But once inside next season, we can see all the flaws in this plan.  Cyborg parents (“Lineage”) and dream inducing parasites (“Soul Purpose”) calling the group away from their stated goal of helping the helpless.  He is left with this nagging feeling that he has made a deal with the devil.  He’s right.

Angel is never afraid to ask the big questions.  What control do we have of our own future?  How much of our thoughts and emotions are our own and how much is determined by our lot in life? Are people intrinsically good or intrinsically evil?  Is it worth it to let some bad happen in order to make a greater impact for good?  How can you even measure good and evil to tell?

Among all the demons in Los Angeles (real and metaphorical), Angel is constantly on the hunt for how to hunt them down and stop them.  But how can he if he is also in a constant battle with himself?  Is this drive to reach Shanshu a mere distraction from what Angel could accomplish?

Many of these questions are subtly posed to the audience and we are left to our own devices to answer them.  If an answer is implied it’s that we are not directly in control of our own destiny, but we can impact our fate as well as the fates of others by trying to do good.  To be honest, I’m not sure that I entirely agree.  But that’s a conversation that goes well beyond the scope of Angel Investigations.  Another topic for another time.

What are your thoughts on the more morpheus themes of Angel?  Do you believe in Shanshu?

Angel the Series: Death

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As I did with Buffy last summer, I’m taking some time to analyse it’s sibling, Angel.  Angel is a completely separate beast to Buffy (in more ways than one).  It is oft-times darker and more sinister, but also arguably more diverse in a multitude of ways.  My adoration for the Buffy-verse starts here, with my Buffy series last summer and continues with Angel.  Other topics covered on Angel: Beginning; The Team, The Villains  and The In-Betweens.

Deaths on Buffy were always real.  Surprising.  Painful and needing to be dealt with.  Deaths on Angel are gritty.  Sudden and necessary.  I was always surprised.  I shouldn’t have been, because honestly.  We managed to put together a whole series of Eulogies for Whedon-verse characters.  I knew going into this that many would die.  Yet here we are.

Starting out I had a general idea of who was going to die and around when it was going to happen, but my heart sank every time anyway.  I was disappointed with Doyle’s death (“Hero”).  Saddened that we couldn’t have seen his character through.

Darla’s death (“Lullaby”) was bittersweet.  Undead, dead, alive and well, to return to undead and remain dead again.  Darla could show up at any moment, but her final moments of the series reminded me of all the good that she had done.  Conversely, Lilah’s death (“Calvary”) seemed unnecessary, but turned to sting in a new way after the smoke cleared.

I have mixed feelings on Cordelia’s death (technically “You’re Welcome”).  I feel like her character died before the season five episode when she returned for a final farewell.  In all the ways I dislike her actions before the coma, I adore her in “You’re Welcome”, her final showing in the series.

Cordy started her slow decline since coming back from the higher plane in “The House Always Wins”.  When she gets her memory back in “Spin the Bottle” she also gets a piece of her demise.  While I understand that her actions from then on (especially in episodes “Apocalypse, Nowish”, “Calvary”, “Salvage”, and “Orpheus”) are not her own, it’s still painful to watch.  The horror of these episodes made me long for the kick ass woman that Cordy was in “Birthday”, when she consciously chooses to continue having the visions and become part demon; something the Buffy-era Cordelia would never have done.

Fred dies and doesn’t (“A Hole in the World”).  When she turns to Illyria (“Shells”), the shift is first stunning.  When we settle in to this new character we begin to see her part in the series.  I only wish that we could have seen Illyria accepted by the team to be a one of them as she was sure to be.  The pain of missing Fred will never really go away, but it dulls when it’s realized that she is still a part of the character.

A part of me cannot now speak of Lindsey’s death (“Not Fade Away”) without remembering Christian Kane’s performance in the final episode of Leverage (“The Long Good-Bye Job”).  Without yet having read the comics, it’s hard for me to tell if the death was warranted, but the scene plays out as the end of Lorne’s character as well, showing how this final plan is breaking the team one by one, letting the final scene of the show be one of almost certain doom.

If Fred’s death is upsetting, Wesley’s is flat out depressing (“Not Fade Away”).  His death is sudden and sharp, a reminder of all the things that can go wrong in complicated plans.  While painful, it drives the others to carry on to a questionable end.

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It’s odd to me even now to realize that the final scenes of Angel are so hopeless, because the show as a whole was so focused on finding redemption and hope… but more on that next week.

Which of the Angel deaths hit you the hardest?  Did you know it was going to happen ahead of time?

Angel the Series: Beginnings

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Here we go again.  And so begins another long form examination of a series that some of you are only mildly aware exists.  Angel the Series was a spin off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer starting in 1999.  Wow, just typing that makes my childhood feel very, very far away.

There is sometimes a question in the Buffy-verse fandom of how best to watch and understand Angel.  From what I understand the best way to do it is to watch them side by side once Angel spins off into his own series.  I, of course, didn’t do that.  I waited until finishing Buffy (around June of last year) before starting to tackle Angel.

Angel is a completely separate beast to Buffy (in more ways than one).  It is oft-times darker and more sinister, but also arguably more diverse in a multitude of ways.  In Angel, as there was in Buffy, there is the good, the bad and the ugly.  But to start off, let’s focus on the awesome.  Here are some of my favorite moments, characters, and relationships of the series.

Character crossover — The reappearance and the back and forth between the shows that I understand much more now.  Darla and Drusilla in the current timeline and in flashbacks.  Andrew’s reappearance on Angel in Season 5.

The Hotel — Especially once Lorn moves in.  I love the set itself almost as much as I love the idea of the hotel.  There can be episodes like “The Price” which takes place nearly entirely within the hotel in locations we’ve never seen before.

Angel/Cordy — Angel and Cordelia right before they failed to become a couple is one of the most heartbreakingly awesome things ever.  They were so close, and I was so enjoying the ride right up to “Tomorrow”.

Character Growth — Cordy’s character growth from a vapid, wannabe actress to a fantastically flawed character who wants things that aren’t reasonable, but you’re rooting for anyway.  Not to mention how much Westley changes, and getting to see Harmony come back (and giving Mercades McNab title billing at the end of the final season).

In Jokes — If a caveman and an astronaut get in a fight who would win?  This question is going on my list of first date questions.  It’s currently the only one on the list.  Even if he doesn’t get the reference it makes for a good conversation.

Randomness — “Smile Time”.  Dude’s got a thing for evil puppets (“The Puppet Show” on Buffy)

Phantom Dennis — The fact that he exists is practically my favorite.  Also, the shots of Angel and Wesley dancing in a later episode absolutely made my day.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Angel the Series, similar to how I posted about Buffy (series starts here).  I can’t wait to hear what you guys have to say about it. Tell me, have you ever seen Angel?  What are your favorite parts of it?  Leave it in the comments.