Previously. On “Angel”:
“He’s not my boyfriend! I mean, I certainly didn’t betray you!”
“Drop the act, Harm. I knew you’d turn on me. I just didn’t know when.”
“What do you mean you ‘knew’?“
“Loyalty. Really isn’t high on your list.”
“Oh, is that right? I’ll have you know I am damn loyal, dumbass!”
“You betrayed me. You are betraying me now even as we are talking."
“Because you never have any confidence in me!”
“No, because you have no soul.”
“I would, if you had confidence in me!”
“Get out of the building.”
“Are you firing me?“
“Among other things, yes.”
“Do you think I could get a recommendation?“
“But, you see, if you don’t so much live as the other thing, how?“
“It’s already on the desk.”
“You’re the best! Good luck. Um, may the best man win!“
“Did that hurt at all'“
“Little bit. But it’s all part of the job. The senior partners spent an awful lot of time and resources on you. Personally, I would have told them not to bother. You’re gutter trash. That’s where you should have stayed. Drinking and whoring your way through an unremarkable life. But the fates stepped in and made you a vampire. With a soul no less. Champion. Hero of the people. And yet you still managed to fail everyone around you. Doyle. Cordelia. Fred. They’re all gone. It’s time you followed.”
It’d be tricky to count the number of missteps, blunders and outrages committed by The WB over the past decade, but the hardest to swallow is still its boneheaded cancellation of “Angel” at the peak of the show’s creative power.
It was always a great show, made my top-ten list every year it was on, made me tune in every single week for five years. But its fifth and final season was one of the best seasons of televised entertainment ever broadcast. If you have to buy only one, five is the one to buy.
The only Mutant Enemy series in production the season it was on, "Angel’s" fifth season benefited mightily from creator Joss Whedon’s less-divided attention - to say nothing of the additions of actors James Marsters and Mercedes McNab, and veteran Mutant Enemy writers Ben Edlund (“The Tick,” “Firefly”) and Drew Goddard (“Buffy”) to its fold. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, the spinoff’s fifth season rivaled in terms of quality even the best seasons of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and I have no greater compliment to bestow.
Cordelia Chase departed for good, Harmony fretted, Connor redeemed, Gunn sacrificed, Knox was vanquished, Andrew and an army of slayers descended, Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan became this enormous badass and there were puppets, lots of puppets.
The first half of the season generated many many swell episodes: Spike’s resurrection in 5.1, the introduction of the peepee demon in 5.5, the Harmony-centric fun of 5.9 were all highlights.
But once the show was cancelled, Team Whedon came on like it had something to prove. The final eight installments boast no fewer than four astonishing five-star episodes: “A Hole in the World” (Fred bids Wes goodbye), Underneath (Hamilton, the new Wolfram & Hart liaison, arrives), “The Girl in Question” (Angel and Spike learn Buffy Summers has moved on) and “Not Fade Away” (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce shuffles off his mortal coil).
Like I said when I put “Angel” atop my 2004 top-ten list: The Whedon owns all our asses. He made “Brian’s Song” with vampires. They made me laugh and they made me cry very hard with the tears. You must watch to learn why.
So let’s talk about pricing. Yesterday, Amazon was charging you north of $44 for each of the five seasons of “Angel.” Starting today they’re charging you this:
Angel 1.x ($27.99 slimset)Angel 2.x ($27.99 slimset)Angel 3.x ($27.99 slimset)Angel 4.x ($27.99 slimset)Angel 5.x ($27.99 slimset)
You say you already own five seasons of this, one of the greatest TV shows ever manufactured? Well, of course you do! Now is the time to think of others! And low-cost gifting! Spread the wealth, baby! Buy this set and give it to libraries, hospitals and objects of lust.
Along with the first episode of “Commander-In-Chief,” I thought the pilots for “Bones” and “Criminal Minds” 1.x were the best of last season. And, as it happens, both Bones: The Complete First Season and Criminal Minds: The Complete First Season finally hit DVD today.
I’m saddened to report the “Bones” series did not live up to its pilot’s promise, its initially bracing comedy and characters devolving into constructs too familiar to TV procedurals. As for “Criminal Minds” it turns out that, given the finite number of hours in the day, even Hercules can’t watch everything on his mighty 200-hour TiVos. I wound up just recording everything after the third episode, and I still haven’t gotten around to watching them. I leave it to the talkbackers to discuss the DVD-worthiness of the series post-pilot.
“Ellen” began life in 1994 as a distaff “Seinfeld” titled “These Friends of Mine” (though Howard Stern called it “Vagine-feld”) starring Ayre Gross, Maggie Wheeler, Holly Fulger, Ellen Degeneres as heterosexual Ellen Morgan. By its fifth and final season, it starred Jeremy Piven, Joely Fisher, Clea Lewis and Ellen DeGeneres as a lesbian Ellen Morgan.
Ellen Morgan discovered she was a homosexual in the fourth season’s much-publicized final four episodes, but I thought the fifth, all-gay season was the best of the five. Now that she could finally delve into the lesbianic aspects of her life, she did so with a vengeance, and it turned out she had a lot of funny material related to it. (It didn’t hurt that gorgeous Lisa Darr (“Profit,” “Popular”) was cast as the lead character’s recurring love interest five episodes into the season.)
Girls Behaving Badly is a Punk’d-ish prank show starring four female stand-up comedians. I didn’t recognize anyone from the cover packaging, but the really tiny one turns out to the horny and hilarious Lisa Howard from “The Real World: New Orleans.” The blonde turns out to be Chelsea Handler, the Mormon-Jewish New Jerseyite who went on to star in her own sketch show on E!
The first show created by "Northern Exposure" masterminds Joshua Brand and John Falsey. “St. Elsewhere” was the inspired hospital dramedy MTM Enterprises kicked in after somebody at NBC asked for something else like MTM’s fast-emerging blockbuster “Hill Street Blues.” Almost a quarter-century later, it is still regarded as one of the most entertaining TV series ever forged. And it stars Howie Mandel!
(How the producers summoned the vision to cast “Deal or No Deal” host Mandel – then a unapologetically puerile and patently unfunny prop comic in the mode of a low-budget Gallagher or Carrot Top – as Dr. Wayne Fiscus, one of the show’s funniest and most compelling characters, is mystifying.)
But be certain! The true appeal of the show was and remains the incredible chemistry between fledgling physician Victor Ehrlich (Ed Begley Jr., who was grabbed an Emmy nomination for each of his six years as Ehrlich) and the hospital’s hilariously abusive head of surgery Mark Craig (William Daniels, who won the “lead actor” Emmy twice for the role).
Latecomers to the series will be surprised to learn that much of the first season revolved around crusading young physician Ben Samuels (David Birney), who became wholly absent from seasons two through six. He’d be replaced by the equally dreamy but not-as-Jewish Mark Harmon.
Others present during the first season included David Morse as Jack Morrison (who was the focus of the pilot), Christina Pickles as nurse Helen Rosenthal, G.W. Bailey as Dr. Hugh Bailey, Bonnie Bartlett as Ellen Craig, Ed Flanders as chief of medicine Donald Westphall, Terence Knox as troubled Dr. Peter White, Eric Laneuville as orderly Luther Hawkins, Sagan Lewis as Dr. Jacqueline Wade, Norman Lloyd as dying Dr. Daniel Auschlander, Kim Miyori as Dr. Wendy Armstrong, Kavi Raz as Dr. V.J. Kochar, Jennifer Savidge as nurse Lucy Papandreo, Cynthia Sikes as Dr. Anne Cavanero, Barbara Whinnery as Dr. Cathy Martin, Karen Landry as Myra White, Dana Short as Lizzie Westphall and Chad Allen as Lizzie’s autistic kid brother Tommy.
The girls will be interested to learn that a handsome Denzel Washington played handsome Dr. Philip Chandler throughout all six seasons, but wasn’t recognized by the Emmy voters for bupkis.
Herc’s Popular Pricing Pantry!!
The all-important Christmas shopping season is upon us, and the DVD vendors want you to give their stuff instead of everybody else’s!!
What’s all this then???
Monty Python: The Complete Series 16-Ton Megaset (45 episodes) at $54.97 is a MAJOR fucking steal. This time last week it was going for $99.95 and I frankly do not remember ever seeing it priced below that. My considered if slightly PANICKY advice is to snap this sucker up now before it leaps back above the $100 mark; it may be the funniest half-hour series ever created, and this one packages all four seasons with some hard-to-find rarities. If I saw this under the tree on Christmas morning I believe I would not stop squealing until Martin Luther King Day.
Note please that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has lopped a whopping 50% off a load of its sets, including its first three wonderful, extra-crammed Looney Tunes golden collections. Each set contains 60 of the best shorts produced for the cinema series and typically go for about $45 or $50 each:
Looney Tunes Golden Collection
$32.47 Volume One$32.47 Volume Two$32.47 Volume Three
Post-Black Friday, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is offering deeper deep deep discounts, like 50%-70% Off, in several categories: