The first season of most shows involves a bit of trial and error, but Angel's beginning really seemed to be mostly error. Where Buffy seamlessly blended genres from the get-go, Angel outright changed genres from episode to episode, or even from scene to scene. The end result is jarring and leaves the characters and plotting feeling directionless. Most of the episodes are just plain bad and some, like 'She' and 'Eternity,' are unwatchable. The show eventually clicks in the final few episodes when Angel's mission becomes clarified as saving himself through others.
This season isn't a complete write off. The show found its voice in the final third of and started delivering some pretty good episodes. A few, like 'Five by Five' and 'Sanctuary,' even qualify as great, but they aren't enough to redeem the season as a whole. Hardcore fans should definitely see these episodes and may get something out of watching the series come together in the early days but newcomers and more casual viewers can take a pass.
Whedon and some of the other writers share their thoughts in four commentary tracks but even these aren't up to the usual Mutant Enemy standards; lots of long pauses and mere descriptions of what's happening on screen. The featurettes are a better, but certainly not essential viewing.
Angel was a good looking show, and that comes through well on this set. Be warned that this season was shot and is presented in 4:3, not 16:9 like latter seasons.
I love this show and therefore highly recommend that people skip ahead to season two. There are some important continuity elements in this season, but it's nothing that can't be found on internet recaps and the episodes just aren't entertaining enough to worry about spoilers. Given that only 1/3 of season one is worth watching, completists should wait until it's 66% off before purchasing.