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Angel - The Complete Fourth Season

2002 - 2003
Fox Home Entertainment

Official Website

Buy It Now  

 


Season 3 of Angel left off with Angel entombed in a steel coffin at the bottom of the ocean; Cordelia floating about in the heavens as a higher power; Wesley cut off from the gang and spiraling downward in his personal hell; and Fred and Gunn working Angel Investigations alone, while trying to uncover what happened to their missing friends.

As season 4 opens, only Lorne seems to be having a good go of things, living the high life in Las Vegas, headlining the Tropicana.  Fred and Gunn have tried contacting him several times for help in locating Angel and Cordy, but Lorne seems uninterested in their plight.  The star, it seems, has no time for his friends back home, although that appearance will prove deceiving.

The pair continues their hunt as best they can, while still trying to keep Angel Investigations running.  Connor is working with them in their efforts, but they don’t realize that he is there as a spoiler- whenever they get close to a lead on Angel’s whereabouts,  Connor manages to sabotage the investigation.

Fortunately for them, Wesley is also on the hunt for Angel.  Wes has tracked down Justine, the woman who really killed Holtz and helped Connor sink Angel in the ocean, and is forcing her to help him find his former friend.  They finally find and rescue him, and Angel returns home and confronts his son, ultimately throwing him out of the hotel and onto the street.

Where season 3 was about the gang as a whole being driven apart by unfortunate circumstances, over the course of season 4 the characters are brought back into the fold, one by one.  Redemption and reconciliation are in store for some, and while the group as a whole is complete again (at least for a while) personal relationships will still be strained.  Previous events have left scars on them all, and as the season unfolds, some things will only get worse.

Events happen that continue to drive Gunn and Fred farther apart from one another.  Wes being back in the gang only makes matters worse, and eventually, the not so happy couple is unable to stay together.  Meanwhile, Cordelia, who returns without any memory of who she is, retreats from the oddness of Angel Investigations, and right into the protective arms of Connor- thus begins a very King Arthur like tale of love and betrayal that threatens to tear the re-formed group apart once again.  All the players are back in the fold, but none are the same as they once were.  Some, we will see, are far more changed than others.

Normally when doing a season review, I try to pick one episode to highlight, the one which I feel stands out among the rest in quality or impact on the season as a whole.  The one I would have picked, were I to do that this time, would be episode 7, “Apocalypse, Nowish”.  I say would have picked because if I did, I would be doing viewers who haven’t seen it a grave disservice.  “Epic” comes to mind as a good word to describe it.  Plagues of rats and birds, the sun blotted out over Los Angeles, fire raining from the sky, and an unstoppable demon called The Beast are a few of the highlights.  This episode features the hands down coolest fight scene ever featured in Angel, or even the show that spawned it, Buffy, for that matter.  Seeing Angel get beat down like a chump and tossed off the roof of a skyscraper is certainly different for our hero, to say the least.  All that while Gunn, Lorne, and Wesley (complete with twin pistols) are all getting their asses handed to them with ease.  Beyond just this season, this episode could very well be one that defines the entire series.

As for the rest of the season, it pretty much stays on a relatively upward pace- each episode leads the viewer in a direct path through the greater story arc, which comes to a head in the final five episodes.  Seemingly unrelated occurrences of the past are all drawn together to bring Angel Investigations to its greatest challenge yet- is it better to be a slave in paradise, or to have freedom in a world of violence and death?  Suffice to say, season 4 is full of twists, turns, and surprises (the return of Angelus, an appearance by Faith, a visit from Willow, and the incredible Gina Torres as a Goddess come to Earth are a few of the highlights), and for me to say anymore would be to cheat people seeing the series for first time on DVD of a killer viewing experience.  I don’t want to fill pages with spoilers, so I’ll leave the details to what I’ve already said.

The technical aspects of this set are very much the same as before, so I will quote myself from the review of season 3- “Technically, the disks are presented with the same high quality as previous sets, with crisp, clean visuals in widescreen format, and Dolby Surround Sound in English, Spanish, and French audio, with English and Spanish subtitles.  The pleasure of viewing this set on a wide format TV with a good home theater system can not be understated-  it’s a wonderful experience, and my thanks go out to Fox for once again giving the fans a series on DVD that is well worth the asking price.”  As it was before, so it is again.

The special features included in this set are better than last seasons offering, which is as it should be, considering this is a better season.  The featurettes take you behind the scenes with cast and crew interviews and a season overview, with “Angel and the Apocalypse” and “Malice and Wonderland” being the highlights.  There is a short outtake reel included, and while fun to watch, is way too short.  I would like to see more of this included in the future.

I am happy to say that the quality of this set is much improved from last season.  I watched the entire season without a single glitch, and the flaw that kept the disks from playing on my PC is also gone, mostly.  I did find a few instances of playback hanging up on my DVD-ROM drive, but, as last seasons disks would not play at all, I can overlook it. 

So to sum up, Angel Season 4 on DVD is hands down the best season for the series so far, from both the series and technical aspects.  Buy it, watch it, bask in the dark vampy glow that is Angel Season 4 on DVD.

- Ed -
 

Directed By:
Episode 4:01, 4:09, 4:15 -
Terrence O’Hara
Episode 4:02, 4:16 - Michael Grossman
Episode 4:03, 4:18 - Marita Grabiak
Episode 4:04, 4:08 - Skip Schoolnik
Episode 4:05, 4:12 - Bill Norton
Episode 4:06 - Joss Whedon
Episode 4:07 -
Vern Gillum
Episode 4:10, 4:14 -
James A. Contner
Episode 4:11 - Sean Austin
Episode 4:13, 4:21 - Jefferson Kibbee
Episode 4:17 - Steven S. DeKnight
Episode 4:19 - Jeffery Bell
Episode 4:20 - David Straiton
Episode 4:22 - Tim Minear

Written By:
Episode 4:01, 4:07, 4:17 -
Steven S. DeKnight
Episode 4:02, 4:09, 4:15  - Mere Smith
Episode 4:03, 4:13, 4:21 - David Fury
Episode 4:04, 4:08, 4:19 - Jeffery Bell
Episode 4:05, 4:11, 4:18 - Elizabeth Craft & Sarah Fain
Episode 4:06 - Joss Whedon
Episode 4:10 - David Fury & Steven S. DeKnight
Episode 4:12, 4:14 - Jeffery Bell,  Steven S. DeKnight & Mere Smith
Episode 4:16 - Jeffery Bell, Elizabeth Craft & Sarah Fain
Episode 4:20 - Ben Edlund
Episode 4:22 - Tim Minear

Cast:
David Boreanaz
Charisma Carpenter
Amy Acker
Alexis Denisof
J. August Richards


 

DVD Features:
All 22 Season Four Episodes on 6 Disks
Audio Commentary on Selected Episodes Season Four Overview with All New Cast and Crew Interviews
“Angel and the Apocalypse”, “Last Looks: The Hyperion Hotel”, “Fatal Beauty and the Beast”, and “Malice in Wonderland: Wolfram and Hart” Featurettes
Outtakes

Disk 1
4:01 -
Deep Down
4:02 - Ground State
4:03 - The House Always Wins
4:04 - Slouching Toward Bethlehem

Disk 2
4:05 - Supersymmetry
4:06 - Spin the Bottle
4:07 - Apocalypse, Nowish
4:08 - Habeas Corpses

Disk 3
4:09 -
Long Day’s Journey
4:10 - Awakening
4:11 - Soulless

Disk 4
4:12 - Calvary
4:13 - Salvage
4:14 - Release
4:15 -
Orpheus

Disk 5
4:16 - Players
4:17 - Inside Out
4:18 - Shiny Happy People
4:19 - The Magic Bullet

Disk 6
4:20 -
Sacrifice
4:21 - Peace Out
4:22 - Home

 


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