Friday, 30 November 2007


As a confirmed no-Sky television viewer, I never did get to see ‘Angel’s’ final Season 5 as none of the Freeview/Terrestial channels picked it up. So, tired of waiting, I bought the whole thing on DVD and watched all 22 episodes over 4 days in an orgy of suspense, awe, laughter and yes, tears (‘Angel’ does that to you) and what a fantastic watch it was.

Following the demise of ‘Buffy’, creator Joss Whedon re-took the reigns of ‘Angel’ for its final season and his signature is all over it. The emotional punch, the surprises, the sparky dialogue are all present and correct. He seems to be the only one around that understands that the emotional content of people relationships is what makes a good story and the setting is almost irrelevant. The fact that it is fantasy merely releases the bounds of possible storylines from the restraints of reality. But it is people that matter.

His writing has a very British undertone in its use of undercutting humour in dialogue, the character driven plots and the competent use of British slang when writing for English characters.

But the other facet of this season that struck me was the gobsmackingly good acting of Amy Acker, initially as Fred and then Illyria which peaks during the episode ‘The Girl in Question’ where she flips from the speech patterns and mannerisms of one character to the other with such ease that you are totally convinced that she is two separate people. It’s wonderful stuff and it is times like this that makes me mad that people look down their nose at actors in fantasy and sci-fi shows as if they were second-class citizens.

It seems to me that acting in these sorts of show is far more demanding than, say, your average soap opera where actors are basically confined to real life. In fantasy, actors are often called upon to act many parts as their characters are routinely possessed by other entities, swapped with other characters and given all manner of otherworldly situations to grapple with. This, in my view demands far more versatility than most other genres – but when was the last time you saw an actor from a fantasy genre show (especially TV) win a major acting award?

It’s a tragedy of demonic proportions.

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