2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2004
Consistantly great. This season rewards fans of continuing storylines and epic length story arcs. The tension builds slowly but consistantly at first than becomes a true rollercoaster of cliffhangers and story twists. Watching this season live was thrilling, the hiatuses between episodes were almost intolerable!
The story continues from the great setup at the end of season 3. But season 4 is a wonderful step up from that often excellent but also inconsistant season which suffered from some truly horrible mid season episodes and unfortunate romantic B plots like everybody loves Fred.
While season 4 continues some of those "romantic" plots, fortunately they either contribute meaningfully to the overall plotline or take a backseat to strong main stories. Thankfully they are also balanced out by the Wesley/Lilah relationship, which is the most complex, intriguing and chemistry laden romantic relationship to occur on AtS...even if it's more than a little twisted.
Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer 7 (which also attempted a season long story arc that year), there are few standalone episodes. Most of them occur early in the season. On Angel though something exciting & interesting happens in each episode. Thus the episodes are individually strong & distinctive while still contributing to the season long story. Multi-episode mini story arcs, like Faith's, also fit well into the overall season while simultaneously breaking it up into distinctive sections.
Another contrast to BtVS is the production values. This season has excellent, high quality production values, as near movie quality as it gets on network tv. I can't wait to see it on dvd!
Excellent storytelling, great acting, complex and intriguing characters (Wesley, Angel, Connor, and Lilah all stand out), plus terrific production values. This is definitely the best season of Angel and one of the best seasons of any tv show.
I can't think of any reason why a fan of great tv wouldn't get this dvd. Unless they were scared off by the ugly dvd cover, hopefully it won't look that bad in person. ;) Ignore the cover! Get the dvd, then watch the episodes over and over and enjoy them before the much weaker season 5 comes out!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2004
Angel, the stellar spin-off of Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reached the pinnacle of its achievement in Season 4. This season has been described by the show's creators as "a 22-part episode". There are far fewer stand-alone episodes in this season than ever before. The familiar monster-of-the-week episodes of seasons past are mostly gone. Instead, there is the dense, more structured story arc of the season.
The season picks up three months after the events of last season's finale: Cordelia is still on a higher plane of existence, Angel is still at the bottom of the ocean, Wesley is still sleeping with Lilah as she tries to recruit him to Wolfram and Hart, Connor is still seething with vengeance and hatred, and Fred and Gunn are still wondering where everybody went. Wesley is reintroduced into the fold after aiding in Angel's rescue, and the story arc of the season kicks off as Cordelia is finally "rescued" from the higher plane...with no memory. Her amnesia is eventually cleared up, but not until after she has slept with Connor. And then, the Beast rises.
Clawing his way to the surface of Los Angeles at the very spot where Connor was born, the Beast begins hunting the totems of the Ra-tet, five mystical beings linked to the sun god. He combines their essences to block out the sun, and the only discernible way to fight him is to unleash Angel's monstrous alter ego Angelus, who has a connection to the Beast. However, he escapes, prompting the release of Faith from prison and the mystical services of Willow. Eventually, however, one figures out that the Beast is simply a pawn in a much larger scheme, a scheme being perpetrated from within the Angel Investigations team. This scheme brings forth the season's true villain: Jasmine, a higher power whose goal is an end to war and suffering...at the expense of freedom of choice.
This season's story arc truly demonstrates that this is television that makes you think. The villains challenge your conceptions of good and evil, and you look at characters in entirely different ways because of some of the choices they make. Eventually, the season culminates in a choice, a choice that sets the stage for the excellent final season.
Angel Season 4 was not pretty. It was difficult to watch and difficult to handle, and was much, much darker than anything the show had ever done before. But it was good. My god, was it good. And now you can see it through the miracle of DVD.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2004
Angel was always a show that should have had more recognition. I agree with a previous reviewer, every season of Angel seemed to get better and better. Season 2 stood out....But Season 4 blew all the others away. I was riveted by every episode. The way the story was executed from the first episode to the 22nd was extremely well done. I don't own the DVD set yet, as it's not available in the states but I know I will be purchasing it as soon as it is. I recommend this set because of the quality of the episodes in this season. Can't wait to exchange my home-made VCR tapes to disc!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2004
Picking up where its amazing 3rd Season left off, Season 4 of TV's Angel was without a doubt the most shocking, dramatic and intriguing. Despite a few creative low points, the cast and crew rose to the challenge of Angel's new full fledged story-arch format, with all 22 episodes weaving together to create one feature-length episode.
The season deals with issues such as fascism, religious persecution and world peace brilliantly, staying subtle, yet getting the message across perfectly. However, the season's real highlight is the shocking relationship between Wesley (Alexis Denisof) and Lilah (Stephanie Romanov), creating one of the series' most eerie, dysfunctional and altogether fascinating relationships.
on October 1, 2004
Watching Angel Season 4 on TV was not a fun experience. I found the Cordy/Angel, Cordy/Connor thing icky, I was never sure exactly where Fred and Gunn broke up and I thought the story was insane. The only thing I did enjoy was the return of Angelus and Faith.
After watching the entire season on DVD in about 3 days, I have revised my opinion. Sort of. The story is actually a great story. You can see where the seeds for it where laid in the previous seasons and true character development. It is actually fascinating to watch to the Gunn/Fred relationship crumble under Gunn's insecurities and Fred's desire to only see Gunn in one light. The use of Faith was great because she was the only one not willing to give up on Angel. After what Buffy experienced with Angelus in Season 2 it would have been impossible to ask her. Plus she was on that other network.
I still find the Angel/Cordy thing icky but that is because I thought it was a betrayal of the friendship they had built up. I have no problems with Angel being in a non-Buffy relationship, though I think after watching Awakening one can argue Cordy isn't the one he's thinking amount in his moment of "perfect happiness." Plus Angel/Cordy as a romantic couple had about as much chemistry and spark as dry toast whereas as friends they had great chemistry and spark. The Cordy/Connor thing at least makes more sense then Angel/Cordy. Though it made for some great drama; if not somewhat icky at times.
The extras provided are very good, with the only glaring missing person being Charisma Carpenter. This was due, rumour mill has it, to the way she left the show after the fourth season. The episode commentaries are great, especially the ones with Joss in Spin the bottle.
on July 2, 2004
I think most objective Angel fans would say this is by far the weakest of the 5 seasons of Angel. A conveluted plot which is impossiblely difficult to follow or fully understand without a second viewing doesn't help.
In Angel/Buffy you know you have run out of plot ideas when you have essentially repeated a plot being Angelus, they ran out of ideas and had to bring back the bad Angel. Buffy Season 2 we see Angel become Angelus, we see it later in flashbacks and single episodes where either Angel fakes being Angelus or has some temporary affliction, or whatever. By Season 4 this was tired, and its dragged out this season and its tired, it gets really tired.
Conner is one of the worst concieved characters in either series and his place this season is prominent making this season even worse.
I would like to mention 2 strong points of this season and it deals with relationships with some of the characters namely Wesley's relationship with Liliah and Angel's relationship with Faith. Faith and Liliah are not main characters in Angel but they offer the most interesting aspects of this season, both are missed in Season 5 (though Season 5 is so good they aren't missed that much). Whith Wesley and Liliah we see a relationship that shouldn't happen but does, and the two have great chemistry, with Angel and Faith we see two people who have dark sides trying in their own way of saving one another, I only had wished their had been more Faith on Angel as opposed to Buffy Season 7 where she was totally misused and had no hope in saving the awful mess that was Buffy Season 7.
on June 29, 2004
If there's one thing the fourth season of Angel does, it's wear you out. It moves from one "oh my God, what are they going to do?" to the next, and by the time you reach the halfway mark of the season, you're just begging the writers to let up and give you some respite from the rollercoaster ride of emotion.
It's a profoundly disturbing season, and achieves horror in a way that neither Angel or Buffy ever have. Joss Whedon calls it emotional horror, the horror that comes not from having a scary thing pop around a corner or blood and guts splattered all over the pavement, but rather from characters we know and love having terrible things happen to them and acting in awful ways.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's a draining, exhausting thing, but it's not necessarily bad.
What is bad is the disjointed, messy plot of the season. In a season that has almost no episodes that stand on their own, outside of the plot, it's devastating that the plot is never clear and never makes sense.
It's not all the writers' fault. It was a troublesome season of television for both Buffy and Angel--Joss Whedon was off working on Firefly, and both shows suffered from difficulties regarding their regular actors. In Angel's case, the primary problem was Charisma Carpenter's (Cordelia) pregnancy. You get the sense that it forced the writers to make changes in the story on the fly, breaking earlier plotting and destroying an already convoluted and overly complex storyline.
The season isn't all lows, don't get me wrong. It is a thrill ride, jumping from one horrific situation to the next, each further pounding the Fang Gang into the ground. The Beast remains, in my opinion, one of the most effectively frightening villains in the history of the Buffyverse. Connor, while easy to loathe, is also fascinating in a sick, voyeuristic sort of way. Other villains, including (and especially) the return of an old "friend", provide even more horror and difficulty, mostly in a very entertaining fashion.
And the season starts out at top form. The resolution to the cliffhanger that ended season three, "Deep Down", was nearly perfect, answering most of the immediate questions from last season and leaving more open to explore throughout season 4. What follows is a short series of excellent stand-alone episodes (including the introduction of the fascinating, X-Men-esque Gwen) before Cordelia's inevitable return and the start of the season's thrill ride of a plot.
But the season's conclusion, which spans over four or five episodes, is terrible. The explanation for the convoluted storyline of the season is insufficient to say the least, and if it doesn't leave you confused, it'll still leave you gaping in disbelief. Not disbelief at any sort of surprise, but disbelief that the writers would explain things in such an inept and inadequate fashion.
But the season doesn't end there. It runs off into something entirely different in tone and unrelated to the type of emotional horror we've been constantly experiencing, and only loosely tied (by the previously mentioned inadequate explanation) to the previous events of the season. It's, if anything, even more disturbing, but in a way that will leave you more detached and confused than involved and frightened.
And once that ends, a completely unexpected and completely unrelated season finale caps off the season with even more confusion. It seems to serve only as a jumping point for the fifth season, which it serves as adequately (despite initial disbelief in the plausibility of a certain law firm's motivations). What it doesn't do is give us anymore satisfaction than the already unsatisfying ending provided in the episode preceding it.
It's a shame this season was such a mess. It showed great promise, and perhaps if the writers had gotten a clear, well-developed plot worked out and stuck with it all the way through, it would have been one of the best and most disturbing seasons of Angel or Buffy. As it stands, it's only a testament to the disorganized nature of both Buffyverse shows' writing staffs during this tumultuous season of television, a season that produced two of the weakest season plot arcs (this season of Angel and Buffy's corresponding season 7) ever to grace a Joss Whedon show.
Is it worth the money? Yes, because the journey is intense and contains many entertaining and worthwhile developments, and is written well other than the convuluted season's plot. The cast also gives it their all, with the possible exception of Charisma Carpenter, whose lackluster performance in the second half of the season can be excused by her advanced pregnancy and the ridiculousness of the plotline forced upon her character.
All of that said, I hold the opinion that this was the worst season of Angel, never delivering on its promises or matching its suspense and intensity with clarity and logical plotting. Buffy and Angel fans, buy it and enjoy the intense journey, but be forewarned about the lackluster plot and do not expect a satisfying conclusion. It will leave you disappointed.
on June 29, 2004
I thought this season was Great because it was Interesting and Different. The things that I thought were interesting about this season was the tight storyline that pretty much followed through the whole season. They brought back some of my favourite characters Angelus, Faith, Willow, Lorne(who left at the end of season 3, and he was finally added to the opening credits) and they produced a great episode with Darla. They also introduced some cool and evil characters that I thought were great,The Beast, Gwen and Jasmine. Killing Lyla and turning Cordy evil was very brilliant because it was unexpected and they were muched loved characters. They had fan favourite episodes like the funny Spin The Bottle and Orpheus. The DVD special features actually contains commentarys with the actors which I highly anticipate. I thought the season ender was great because it finally ended the whole Conner thing(because really how long can you have a kid who hates his father then loves his father and so on I thought that part got boring), It set the stage for my favourite and the final season(season 5)and angel going to Sunnydale was great because every time you have Buffy and Angel together its great.
The things I dont like about this season is the lack of my favourite character Coirdelia Chase at the end of season 4 and season 5 because she really contributes to the show. Maybe if she was on season 5 the show would be renewed for season 6 but it isn't. I already talked about conner, but I did not mention the Conner and Cordelia thing which I thought was twisted. I also didn't like that it resembled similarity to Buffy's season six(main character turning evil), but don't get me wrong I loved season 6 of buffy and I still love Angel season 4. I Highly reccomend it if you love Angel or if you love Buffy because these shows are awesome together or alone!!!
on June 28, 2004
This is the season that made me an "Angel" fan who liked "Buffy" as well, instead of the other way around. This is the season that capitalized fully on the potential that Season 3 showed but never accomplished for various reasons.
Don't listen to the naysayers. This is the best "Angel" season. It is a rollar coaster from start to finish that has the intensity of 24 but unlike 24 has fantastic acting (excepting Charisma Carpenter whose dry performance is the only major flaw in the season), fantastic writing and raises questions of morality and free will that Angel fans are still debating to this day. The season begins with a fantastic season premiere resolving some of the plot left hanging in the season 3 finale. There's a couple decent standalones that follow and then in episode 7 the arc (an apocalypse that rivals any of those on its sister show) for the season starts and is not resolved until the end of the season.
I could go on and on in praise of this season, but simply put, buy this DVD. Even if you don't have any other "Angel" DVDs this is the set to have. The DVD format will allow you to keep up with the story much easier than having weeks or months before the next episode when it originally aired.
on June 28, 2004
You know I just hate complainers, if your gonna complain go tell your mommy, ok. If your not a fan of the show then just shut the hell up. It's not gonna do you any good to rant and rave about your pissy moods. The fans wont listen..This season was a major turn for the cast and crew and the show. We get into the character of Connor (Vincent Kartheiser) a lot more. We see Angel's (David Boreanaz) return from the ocean, Cordelia's (Charisma Carpenter)return from the heavens and Wesley's (Alexis Denisof) return to the team for the Apocalypse. Fred (Amy Acker) and Gunn (J. August Richards) break up in this season with a little love triangle between those two and Wesley. Faith (Eliza Dushku) and Willow (Alyson Hannigan) make guest appearances. Eliza is firehot as Faith, you cant deny that. If I was a biker, i'd like her to ride me. Lorne (Andy Hallett) returns from Las Vegas with the gang. Connor and Cordelia make love during the apocalypse while Angel is watching (whoa is all I gotta say). Wolfram and Hart get the smackdown of their lives from the nasty horny thing called The Beast (Vladimir Kulich). Among the dead lawyers is Gavin Park (Daniel Dae Kim). Angelus returns for 5 episodes and has some fun. Boreanaz knows how to make Angelus be bad and he does it good and its creepy. We get a 5 episode spread of a eclipse. We get a mystical pregnacy right under our noises (which was what Lorne said). Cordelia kills Lilah Morgan (Stephanie Romanov). Cordelia gives birth to a woman names Jasmine(Gina Torres, not the best choice but shes alright) who makes people really happy like their on some hightrip. Connor gets to see his mother Darla (Julie Benz) for the first time. They gang find out Jasmine is from another dimension and she is a maggot faced people eater. Angel gets into a fight with Jasmine but Connor ends up killing her. Lilah returns from hell to give Angel and the gang a bargain of a life time, Wolfram and Hart, fully rebuilt and brand new, but the only way Angel would do that is if Connor's mind was erased and they put him to another family so he would be at peace and Cordelia is put in a coma. Tune in to next season cuz I think the fifth and final season is the best, no doubts. Vincent Kartheiser and Andy Hallett's names are in the opening credits, though Kartheiser and Charisma Carpenter's names are pulled after the season end. I will enjoy this DVD till I die. Fans should do the same thing too