“Angel” Season 1 (1999-2000, WB), episodes 1-10 – In the “Buffy” spinoff, Angel (David Boreanaz) sets up a crime-fighting agency in Los Angeles, assisted by Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) the secretary and Doyle (Glenn Quinn) the half-demon who gets visions of people in trouble. As Angel battles evil, he also battles his inner demons, struggling to make amends for the crimes he committed before his was cursed with a soul.
“Angel” introduces police officer Kate (Elisabeth Rohm), whose flirtatious nature provides an interesting contrast with the brooding Angel. And bumbling ex-Watcher Wesley (Alexis Denisof) returns, having “reinvented” himself as a rogue demon hunter.
“Angel” has stayed close to the somber tone of “Buffy” Season 3. The most controversial episodes so far is “Hero.” Doyle meets a heroic ends when he sacrifices himself to save others. The death of Doyle brought mixed reactions from Buffy-philes. On one hand, Joss Whedon has a track record of pure genius. On the other hand, he killed off a colorful character who the audience was just getting to know. It’s a reminder that no one is safe in the Buffyverse. Angel hasn’t merely lost a guide, he also has lost a true friend.
The coolest benefit of splitting the saga into two shows is the crossover stories, which remind us that Buffy and Angel are forever linked in the battle against evil. In the landmark episode “I Will Remember You,” Angel becomes human after absorbing rejuvenating demon blood, and he and Buffy share a day of happiness.
In “Buffy’s” second season, we saw the consequences of Angel losing his soul: The Earth was nearly sucked into Hell. Here, we see what happens when Angel becomes human: Without his vampire strength, he’s a liability. The Powers That Be agree to turn back the clock 24 hours, but before this happens, the star-crossed lovers get one last tear-jerking scene appropriate for an episode named after a Sarah McLachlan song.
This episode reaffirms that Angel is the most tortured hero in TV history. He lives alone with the knowledge of what might have been. And now he has a path ahead of him similar to Buffy’s destiny as the Slayer. Where will it lead, and how does his path mesh with Buffy’s? Time will tell. A+
– John Hansen, “Midseason report,” NDSU Spectrum, January 2000
“Angel” Season 1 (1999-2000, WB) – On “Buffy,” he was TV’s coolest supporting character. On “Angel,” he sets up a detective agency and starts to enjoy being a superhero, developing a penchant for dry one-liners and even cracking an occasional smile. The show’s principal theme of redemption isn’t limited to Angel (David Boreanaz). Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) begins to grasp the world’s pain; Wesley (Alexis Denisof) gains confidence; police officer Kate struggles to earn her father’s respect; and evil lawyer Lindsey flirts with the good side.
The early episodes of Angel helping people gradually gave way to more personal episodes. The ultimate masterpieces were “Five by Five” and “Sanctuary,” in which Angel attempts to save the soul of rogue Slayer Faith (Eliza Dushku). A+
– John Hansen, NDSU Spectrum, Sept. 22, 2000