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August 22 2006

The Onion AV Club picks the best TV seasons on DVD. Check out which Buffy & Angel seasons they pick.

Hmm... the power of three, apparently. Buffy, Angel AND X-Files all seem to hit their high watermarks in year three. At least according to the AV club.

I think I agree with all but Angel. As (life threateningly) unpopular an opinion as it may be, my wife and I tend to feel Season Four was the "best". Season Five really gives it a run for its money, but in the end we really, really loved the story of four.

(But then I LOVED all five seasons, so it's kind of like choosing your favorite child or something. *shrug*)
If he wants to belittle remorse and loneliness into whiney angst, then I doubt his understanding of the character.

I do agree with his choices. Buffy season 3 was flawless.

Haunt, I loved season 4 of Angel too.

[ edited by cityof on 2006-08-23 02:51 ]
I loved the whole arc of Season 2, 3, and 4. They were all connected through Angel, Darla, and Holtz. I love watching 2 and 3 the most.

Slight tangent, but I also liked the way it seemed Angel and Cordelia's friendship grew and changed into something romantic over the first 3 seasons, as to me it was a natural progression that was in no way weird (talk about opinions that are unpopular), until they tried to make it something large and important on a "Champion" scale, rather than just two close friends who'd fallen in love.
I would go with the power of the 5 in picking both seasons 5 as the series' best seasons. That choice is an easy one for me (especially with Angel) but the back up seasons are a little tougher.

I would go for Buffy S3 for it's strong central story & great individual episodes.. It lacks the emotional pull of S2 & the experimental highlights (Hush, Restless, OMWF) of seasons 4 & 6 but I would give it the narrow nod.

As for Angel, I really have no clue. I would rule out season 1 (the weakest season of any Buffy-verse show IMHO) but I don't think I could pick between season 2,3 or 4. The comparative stregnths & weaknesses are a little to close. I'll have to give it some more thought.
What I find interesting is that he finds The Zeppo the best episode of season 3. I like The Zeppo alot too. Cant really argue against that, but The Prom is always a favorite along with Earshot and Graduation Day. Good stuff.
Agree with their choices, although seasons two of both shows would be second best for me.
Loved Season 3 of Angel but for runner up I'd pick 2 or 5 over 4 anyday!
Hmmm, this old argument. I've come to realise they both hit their high spots in Season 5 (which makes me mourn what direction Angel Season 6 would have headed in - given the creativity of Season 6 Buffy).

Season 3 of Buffy was consistently good - agreed - but had no incredibly great stand outs like other years. Season 3 played it a little safe after the risks of Season 2.

Season 3 of Angel started out well and then Cordy became half-demon and... the less said the better.

/agree with Keith! Although I have a really tough time deciding a favorite between BtVS 2, 5, and 6.

S3 AtS had some moments, but there weren't many. I honestly find the season overall pretty boring. It's my least favorite AtS season besides S1. Wesley's definately the season's biggest salvation though, otherwise it'd be my least favorite of all of AtS.
Their top picks are my second picks...Buffy 6 and Angel 5 are my favs. Oh and "a much sloppier season five."...ummm, sloppy is not the word I think of when I think of Angel.
My top pics are season 5 for Buffy, though I would place 3 in second place and probably enjoy rewatching 4 more than any other year. The relative lack of angst was restful.

I'm not sure about AtS. Probably a tie between 2 and 5.
Personally I would, at least partially, judge how good a DVD set is by what kind of 'extras' are on it. Angel's Season 3 DVD set did have the wonderful Joss commentary on 'Waiting in the Wings', as well as the deleted scenes of Alexis/Wesley dancing, so I would rate that one pretty high myself.
Season 4 had Gwen. I loved Gwen. I also liked Holtz and Sazjhan in S3. Yes, Cordelia became half-demon, and it was handled weird (it also didn't help that Charisma went through that weird hair phase where it was really short and blonde), but the episode in which she became it, and why she did, were great.
I think The Prom is one of the absolutely best second shelf episodes ever. Makes me cry every time.

As for Angel, Hero, while not one of the best Angel episodes, always reduces me to shriveled weeping.
And then to bring that video back in S5...damn, man. Damn.
I think after reading this thread and knowing that it can go on and on and on, as it has so many times before in coffee shops, living rooms, chat rooms and message boards. Personally, I don't think Buffy ever peaked. It may have hit many high points in terms of storytelling and tv artistry but such a strong show has so many brilliant moments that it becomes silly to say which is best.

On the other hand, Angel peaked in season 5.
I think season three of Buffy is great, but I still like five and six better.

Season three of Angel is good, love WAITING IN THE WINGS but it's a bit draggy and don't like the turn for Cordy. I'd choose season five or two..
I would deffinatly agree with season three being the strongest from start to finish. I loved Zeppo, but my favorite would be tie for Bad Girls and Consequences. Those two eps had everything. And besides Angelus, Faith and the Mayor had it all when it came to best baddies. Prom was very sad. But there very little that fell slat this season.

Season 2 and then 5 would be close runner ups, with 2 getting the slight nudge because of the Angelus arch. Four was pretty boring for me except for the Oz and Faith eps.

Wes and Angel's agony over baby Conner are the only redemming parts of season three Angel. I am horrified everytime I watch Wes get his throat slit and Angel try and kill him. I disliked everything that had to do with Cordy in this season. Season two would win hands down for me for best from start to finish. Loved the Fang Gang this season. Five, I am still not sure how I feel, But it never had the emotionally pull of the early Conner story or season two for me.

Hero, IWRY, and 5by5 are to me the best eps of the first season and often overlooked. I always feel like crying when watching these.

[ edited by Donna Troy on 2006-08-23 04:52 ]
Don't know if I could pick a favorite season of Buffy. Graduation Day Part 2 and the finale tie for my favorite episodes. Season 1 of Angel was mostly lame until Doyle moved on, in my humble opinion. Although if it was season 1 that had Angel dancing at Cordelia's party then that was a Whedonverse high point...

I do not like Seinfeld, never have, and may be the only person in North America who feels that way.
I'd have to go with Buffy Season 2, over Season 3. I love it so much. I still love Season 3, however. Season 2 just gives of this... vibe. 5 and 6 are great, as well. I'm not sure how Season 4 can become runner-up because of a couple of choise episodes, because while great episodes, the bad parts of the season unfortunately overshadow them.

Angel Season 4. No question. Season 3 clearly the runner up, with Season 2 and 5 pretty close. Season 2 may have been teh runner up, had they not done the Pylea thing, rather done something huge with Darla, but then we wouldn't have had Season 3 the same.

Simpsons, I'd go for Season 5, rather than 4. 4 or 6 would be the runner ups.

I really, really loved Season 3 of the X-Files, but honestly, I would have put 4 as my favourite, with Season 2 and 3 as a runner forming one mega-season. (2, 3, 4 and 5 really do seem like one giant mega-season. Time passes between The Erenlymer Flask and Little Green Men, however no time passes between any of the season finales until Season 5 - The Movie - Season 6). I also hold the incredibly unpopular opinion of loving the unwieldy mythology of the X-Files. Yeah, they were clearly making it up as they went along, but I never had trouble following it.

I enjoyed Serenity much more than I did Firefly, so does that count?

And Farscape Season 3 would be my favourite, with Season 4 or maybe 2 being really close runners-up.
Buffy season 5 was my favorite with it's tight, well paced arc and the stand out episodes of "Fool for Love", "The Body" and "The Gift". Season 2, 3 or 6 would have to come in 2nd. All are great.

Angel got better every season, IMHO, except for the hideous Cordy/Conner pedophyliac fiasco in season 4. *shudders* I was really looking forward to a season 6 Angel.
Season 1 of Angel was pretty damned horrible, though, and I can't imagine why anyone putting it on their favourites list (except for the marvellous Faith two-parter).
Horrible? What? No. It just wasn't arc-y, that's all. And it has one of my favorite, fun eps. "Sense and Sensitivity" with touchy-feely Angel.

"You guys withdraw from me when I go vamp, I feel it."

And I loved Kate, and she had a really heartbreaking arc with her father, then losing him, and everything that happened in Season 2 as a result of that.

Then there was "Room W/a Vu," with great Cordelia stuff and the intro of Phantom Dennis.

And "In the Dark" with Spike. And "I Will Remember You" with Buffy.

And "Prodigal" that explored Angel's pre-vamp past, his family, how he got his name, and his first days with Darla.

And the season finale.

And "War Zone" with Gunn and him having to stake his sister.

And "I've Got You Under My Skin" with the Exorcist homage and the first glimpse at Wesley's more pained side with relation to his father and lack of confidence in his abilities, and the creepy twist at the end.

And "The Ring" has one of the great ending bits:

Angel: "You both did great. And - I think we did a - good thing here tonight."
Wesley looking after the departing demons: "Yes. We set the captives free."
Cordy: "Well, actually, didn't we set ... a bunch of - demons free?"
Wesley: "Oh. Well. Technically ... yes."

And David Nabbit, man. Awesome.

It was a first season, and it was testing the waters, but the eps themselves are still fun to watch, and really laid the ground work for what got built on top of it.

[ edited by pat32082 on 2006-08-23 06:03 ]
Season 5 of Angel for me - the first four have some great moments but are just too harrowing overall, not enough fun for my taste. I agree with Buffy season 3 though - despite its lack of Angelus, Dru and just a brief appearance by Spike, it's the most consistantly enjoyable season.

Interesting choices as far as M*A*S*H is concerned - the show's fans seem to often be divided between those who love the earlier, lighter seasons and those who prefer the later, slightly darker seasons. I think I fall into the latter category.
Horrible? What? No. It just wasn't arc-y, that's all. And it has one of my favorite, fun eps.

Okay, maybe horrible was overstating it for me, but it just didn't work. A couple of great moments. Hero. Five By Five. Sanctuary, a couple of random moments in various episodes. Overall, though, it just wasn't a very strong season in the slightest.
I judge Angel S1 just like I do, Buffy S1. It was standalone, and it was new. It had a lot of fun episodes, and a sprinkling of really moving, intense ones, where you could see what it would become. There's no episode I won't watch, because the character stuff is always the backbone, and it's always there.

Are they favorites if I had to pick? No. But they're the ones I gravitate towards when I don't want to get sucked into huge, emotional, depressing arcs (not that there's anything wrong with that). Same with Season 4 of Buffy. I love those episodes. They were playful and experimental and great to sit back and enjoy, when you don't want to be go on the rollercoaster ride of 2, 5, or 6.
I agree with the best Season of Buffy. Angel's Best season is definitely Season 5, then 4, then 3, then 2, then 1. Ha! Except 2 and 3 are actually tied and 1 is the only weak season.
I'm not going to hide it in a paragraph -- I'll just rank, because it's what I do at every turn.


Season 2
Season 3
Season 6
Season 7
Season 5
Season 1
Season 4


Season 5
Season 4
Season 3
Season 2
Season 1

(well, that was easy...)
I agree with they're choice for buffy's best season. However, I dont see how season 4 of buffy could be the runner up. It had some great episodes but as a season was, in my opinion (and that of everyone i know) the worst season in all the Buffyverse.

As for angel, seasons 4/5 were my fav's along with season one. I can accept season three though.

[ edited by pongluver on 2006-08-23 08:08 ]
He really does have a thing for third seasons. Nice to see Angel season 3 getting some love, it does get criminally ignored. I think it's the darkest season of all Joss' works. Not to everyone's tastes but I adore it.
Don't know if I agree on their choice for "Buffy" for best season. Tough call.

Since this seems like an open invite to share feelings on 'best seasons' of Angel/Buffy.... ;)

On "Angel", though- I kind of agree, but think of season 3 and 4 as two parts of one giant "Angel" novel (kinda). This is how it seemed (in my opinion):

In season one "Angel" seemed to be really trying to figure out what kind of show it was going to be on its own terms. I never really warmed up to Doyle as a character, and was glad when Wesley was brought in instead, but it still felt like three characters who hadn't really bonded yet in one show to me. (At the time Angel and Cordelia seemed to start respecting one another, and Wesley a comic foil that neither Angel or Cordelia wanted around it seeemed. )

Don't get me wrong. It was a good show that kept getting better, but the first season almost felt like a detective/ x-files type show (in a way).

Season two- This season seemed to REALLY define who Angel was in the past, through his connection to Darla and I thought Wesley was starting to come into his own and Gunn an interesting addition. The Darla storyline, to me, was the heart of season #2.

Didn't feel like a cop/ x-files show anymore, it felt more like a grand tragic show about love, regret and redemption, with great invention and humor (and, of course, some pretty cool kung fu action) ; )

Season three- With the addition of Fred, I thought "Angel" finally became a complete family of characters, and by this point, the backstories of all the characters seemed really solid and something about the addition of Fred made the ensemble complete (in my opinion).

And the show had a different flavor that I liked even more than previous seasons- before it was really about "Angel", and with this season, it really became more of an ensemble show--- and while I'd tune in to see the fate of Angel and Cordelia, I'd also be equally curious about the fates of Wesley, Gunn, and Fred as well.

Season four- To me, if season 3 became the season where "Angel" became similiar to (the original 1977) "Star Wars" - in that the family of characters became more important than any one character, then Season 4 was "The Empire Strikes Back" - in that the family got broken up and the storyline became even more intense , with real tests of friendship and loyalty given to all the characters in the darkest of situations with all hell broken loose (In 'Angel's case, literally).

Season five- An odd season to me, only because I didn't really catch more than 7 episodes of Buffy (I'd caught all the seasons of Buffy AFTER watching all seasons of 'Angel') and didn't know the entire history of 'Spike' until afterwards.*

I didn't think of season five as 'smooth' as seasons 3 and 4 - maybe because it seemed to have so much more 'standalone' episodes (partly from implied pressure given from the studio, if I read the articles on the last season correctly) and the dynamic seemed to really change balance from being Angel/Wesley/Gunn/Fred's show to more of an emphasis on Angel/Spike.

Not that the dynamics left, of course--- but that shift was actually more of a change for the show than that they moved to the offices of Wolfram & Hart.

Of course, just in talking about these seasons, it again makes me wonder long and hard for how the last season might have shifted again and how all the characters would have evolved and finished off at that time--- even though there are comics coming out, since Wesley wouldn't have been killed off in #5 had there been a season #6, it's hard to see how the comics would reflect what would have REALLY happened to all the characters before they 'faded away into the sunset'.

Geez, this is a long post. Hope it didn't bore too many. ; p
I can buy old time fans appreciating Buffster's third season the most. But S4? The plot arc is weak, barely touched upon, poorly resolved and features a villain who's scary for one episode, boring for many more and dies uninterestingly. Ethan Rayne and Prof. Walsh as villains would've made an excellent triumvirate with Adam to highlight the debate on magic vs. science, and we could've kept the neat 'family' theme going on with the Initiative (of which Adam was a big part).

S3: I rank it only 4th best, since it is far behind S2, S5, and S6 in its emotional impact. And while it has the episode consistency and thematic strength of S5 and the second half of S2, it lacks the emotional kick of those, as well as S6 (which, despite having a weak middle section, was thematically well done as well, and had real heart-wrenching drama).

Buffy is best when it elicits strong emotions. Any fan of "Passion" or "The Body" can't argue. This is also why S4 is pretty low for me: Joss' episodes are really the only strong ones. The rest are entertaining, but one by one, are far far less interesting than any other season.
I'm also in the "five" club. Loved Season 5 of both series. I think it's easier to pick, at least for me, my least favorite season. For Angel, it's Season 1. I didn't care for Doyle, there were too few characters to care about and most episodes were blah, IMHO. Season 3 Angel was great for the first half and when teenage Connor showed up, it'll went downhill. For Buffy, it's Season 7. While there were some wonderful episodes, all the speechifying...ahhhh... and don't get me started on the potentials...
For Buffy it was 6,7, and 5 for me and then 2 and 4. I really didn't have much to say about S1 but S3 was my absolute worst choice. I was so bored except for one or two episodes like Lovers Walk or Zeppo...but in general I just couldn't get into it.
ATS S5 is my favorite but S3 was a good one...very poignant and tender in places. I too liked the Angel/Cordy relationship until they made it incredibly weird!
But...everyone has their own personal favorites and in all honesty both shows were so good I had to have All seasons on DVD. What the hell...sadly I think the days of quality TV shows like Buffy and Angel are a thing of the past so I figured it was a very worthwhile investment.

Just out of did the various seasons rank when it comes to DVD sales?????
Just out of did the various seasons rank when it comes to DVD sales?

I may be completely wrong about this, but I don't think information about DVD sales is made readily available, so this is probably an impossible question to answer.

In terms of best 'Buffy' seasons, I would have to say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, in order of whichever one I happen to be watching at the time. I can't comment about 'Angel' because it rather passed me by and I haven't seen all of it.

But S4? The plot arc is weak, barely touched upon, poorly resolved and features a villain who's scary for one episode, boring for many more and dies uninterestingly.

Damn, and I really liked all of that stuff!
I really enjoyed Doyle and when he died I sort of went meh about season one ATS. It picked up with the Darla arc on season two, though.

I guess season four of BTVS was the most "light-hearted" one if you could call it that. (??) The Initiative arc was my least favorite. Loved some of the individual episodes though, (like SOMETHING BLUE, RESTLESS, PANGS, HUSH..) It's all very trivial because Buffy is my favorite show of all time.

[ edited by spikeylover on 2006-08-23 17:29 ]
My problem with Season 5 of Buffy has always been Glory. I think the overall arc is strong and the story is compelling, but Glory annoyed me to such a degree that I never once took her seriously as a villain.
See, Glory is my favorite villain. She's one of the reasons Season 5 is my "favorite" season.

Glory's motivations were so different. Every other villain wanted to rule/destroy/eat the world. She didn't even want to be there. All she wanted for 25 years was to go back home, and the destruction of the world was simply a byproduct of that. It wasn't her goal.

And how human she was, when she didn't even realize it, despite ranting about how she hated people. She was vain, she bought material things that shouldn't have mattered to a god. And she *bought* them. She went into the Magic Box and bought what she wanted. She could have just killed everyone in there, and taken it.

Unlike Anya, she was entirely acclimated to how the world worked, to pop culture...after being exposed to it for so long, it was bound to, and this was long before Ben's influence started to seep in. She didn't kill for the joy of killing, either. Nor did she kill anyone who wasn't involved in trying to stop her.

Most of her victims were just crazy, so she didn't have to be.

I always thought, that when returned to her Hell throne, if she succeeded, she would wish she hadn't. I mean, she had to, because she couldn't stay confined to human form without an annoying price.

She was a very interesting character, and more complex I think than people gave her credit for. Plus, she was hilarious. As were her minions.

ETA: Angelus was without a doubt the creepiest, most villainous bad, though. Spike sucked at it. He tried, he really did, but he was reaching beyond his means. He's a scrapper, a fighter, who hunted for sport. Angelus went for the pain, and was creative about it.

[ edited by pat32082 on 2006-08-23 18:57 ]

[ edited by pat32082 on 2006-08-23 19:06 ]
I have to disagree with their opinion about Angelus in season 4, AtS. I was very disappointed with the way he was written and thought he was more Vegas-lite Angelus in comparison to the Angelus we met on BtVS season 2.

No other villian,imo, can match the creepy evilness of Angelus in 2 where he snaps Jenny's neck, arranges her body for Giles to discover and then hides outside Buffy's window taking delight in her pain. On AtS, Angelus was more about the jokes than the nastiness. I don't think we even saw him kill anyone.
On AtS, Angelus was more about the jokes than the nastiness. I don't think we even saw him kill anyone.

With you on that one, Reddygirl. Angelus in S4 was much more bark than bite than his earlier incarnation on Buffy (or even his brief appearance in the AtS S1 ep "Eternity"). The characters talked and talked about how evil he was, but what we saw was basically a penned-up smart-ass playing cheap mindgames with his captors.
I agree that it would've been nice to see Angelus have a little more bite in S4 but I think the storyline kinda forced an Angelus who was focused on maintianing his freedom & thus finding out who the Big Bad was and less on toying with the Fang Gang. Still, I thought his S4 re-emergence was great fun especially his Hannibal Lector impression & the trampoline fight with Faith.

[ edited by Unitas on 2006-08-23 20:37 ]
Buffy S3 and Angel S2 are my favorites. I never liked the idea of bringing Angelus back in S4. It could never work the way it did in Buffy S2. I also missed the real evilness of Angelus. I guess people have different opinions on this.
I believe from the last time I looked season 2 followed by 3 were the highest sellers for Buffy in DVDS. Then 5,6,1, 7. But then you add the Chosen collection to the pile and it gets very confusing.

Angel 2 and 1 were his best selling followed by 3,5,4.

As for Angelus, I know how you feel. I felt the same about Faith being in Buffy season 7. Besides having no real purpose, she was written so completely different then they way she was on Angel. She lost some spark and became the pale shadow of Buffy again. It seemed she was just there to mingle with Spike and cause Buffy to be angry and blame her for everything that went bad again. She was not the Faith who was the killer chick who went up against Angelus twice AND beat his ass.

Angelus never killed anyone. He walked away at every chance. He even saved Faith. Yes, he had some creepy lines, but the scary guy was not there. I think I was more scared of loony Wes. But Orpheus saved everything for me. That ep was incrediable from start to finsh. The slow-mo walking with Wes carring her to the great talk outside bewtween Angel and Faith. It was crammed with neat moments.
Both very good choices.

Season 3 was the final season of Buffy where everything fired on all cylinders. Season 4 was marred by a the shift from high school to college, a villain the writing staff didn't know what to do with and an inability to write proper 'military' characters. The latter is a minor thing, but coming from a military family its something I notice. Season 5 is alright, but has a been there and done that feel to it. Season 6 is actually my favorite of the post season 3 series, as it was the only time the BTVS staff really tried to do something different beyond Whedon's gimmick episodes. Season 7 is the worst season. Meandering, dull and 90% took place in Buffy's den. Xander got shafted as a character, Buffy was dull, Willow became little more than a deus ex machina and Giles got more out of coffee commercials. Special mentioned to all the potentials for demonstrating some of the worst accents committed to film.

ANGEL season 4 is the best season of ANGEL for me; but I'm cool with their choice of Season 3. Season 5 is a joke, with all the substance of a urinal cake. Technically and cinematically it looked cheap. Spike was a crass ratings ploy. Illyria was a reject from the Power Rangers. Eve has the dubious honour of being the single worst character in the buffyverse. Lindsey went to the Dr. Evil school of villainy. The show somewhat pulled its self together by the end, but not enough to make up for the mediocrity of the first two thirds. The most frustrating thing about season 5 is that season 4 laid the groundwork for a thousand different directions for the series to go, each one moving ANGEL beyond even what BTVS could've hoped for. Instead Mutant Enemy made to the single braing mushing, counter-productive, cowardly choice possible.

Anyway, kudos to Onion's support of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and a special shout out to the DVD release of INVASION yesterday--which in William Finchter had the best performance of an actor on network television last year.

[ edited by misbegotten3 on 2006-08-24 01:49 ]
Yes, don't mince words, misbegotten3, tell us what you really think! :)

FWIW, I feel season 4 of Angel was the worst. It's the only one of both shows that I don't have on dvd. The whole Pylea thing was just so goofy and "Charmed" - like.

Season 3 of BtVS is and always will be, the pinnacle (for me) of that show.
You mean Season 2, Willowy. Of Angel. That had Phylea. And really, you didn't like it? Phylea was only the last 3 eps of the season.

[ edited by pat32082 on 2006-08-24 02:23 ]
3, 5, 2, 6, 4, 7, 1

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

You're only getting me to do this once, and I hate doing it anyway, because I get addicted to whatever season I'm watching at the time. So this isn't a ranking of plot tightness, episode consistency, or anything like that. That would be a different list. I'm not saying that anything particularly bothers me about a season, it just goes in terms that which I enjoy watching the most, on any given day.



Fine, the other list based on the other stuff.


Yes pat, thank you for that correction. That is what I meant! :)
Favorite season of Buffy from favorite to least favorite.
3 and 2 are pretty much tied for me,5,1,7,6,4

Favorite season of Angel from favorite to least favorite.
Buffy, best to least-best (can't say worst):
4, 3, 5, 2, 1, 6, 7

I know Season 4 is not the popular's disjointed, characters are coming and going, there really is no overall arc, et cetera. But I think that having so many entrances and exits in the season really forced the writers to define the characters even more, and gave a great transitional feel to the whole arc. The lows are pretty low, but the highs are Hush, Something Blue, Superstar, New Moon Rising, and Restless. And FAITH!!!!! I'll take this season over any other Buffy season.

As for the other seasons...3 has the greatest number of good episodes. 5 is the most consistent from beginning to end. In 2, they're still playing around with the arc format, but Angelus makes up for a lot of clunky episodes. 1 is just a joy, with the fresh discovery of the characters, and enthusiasm makes up for a lot of self-discovery. 6 is so depressing post-musical, or it would be much higher. 7's speechifying puts it at the bottom of the list, although as far as I'm concerned, in terms of excellence, the first nine episodes of Season 7 could stand against any other nine back-to-back episodes in Buffy history and look pretty damn good.

Angel, best to least-best:
2, 5, 4, 3, 1

Season 2 has the natural mix between arc-driven and episodic storytelling that Angel wouldn't discover again until Season 5. Plus, it sets so many of the themes for the show that it's probably the most important season. It takes great risks with its characters...I love every episode in which Angel is separated from the Fang Gang. Darla's back, Lorne shows up (and has something to do), Wesley matures, Lilah and Lindsey snark, Holland dies. And there are so many overlooked episodes in this season...such as Happy Anniversary, The Trial, Disharmony, and of course, Dead End. (Evil Hand!!!) Also, I would say that as a pair, Reprise and Epiphany are both my favorite back-to-backers in the Buffyverse, and the most important pair as well.

Season 5 had so many excellent episodes that I find it hard not to rank it #1. Call it 1a. The only distinction is that the arc in Season 2 doesn't feel as forced...but then again, Season 5 was a little pressed for time at the end. I especially love what they did wih Connor. Season 4 is a non-stop soap opera, and probably wouldn't be as high if it weren't for Angelus and Faith. Holtz is my favorite Buffyverse villain of all time, even more so than the Mayor, but Season 3 has so few great stand-alones that the whole story tends to blur together in my mind (although Waiting in the Wings is, of course, a highlight). And Angel is still discovering itself in Season 1, so although it does contain a number of pretty good standalones, they tend to get cancelled out by the bad ones and the fact that Angel is still trying to find its own voice. Most of the truly great episodes from this season dealt with Buffy alums or Buffy-related issues. It's just not Angel yet, so I can't rank it higher.
There is not enough Are you Now or have you Ever Been? in this thread. You cannot mention Angel Season 2 without realising how amazing this episode is.
Are You Now or Have You Ever Been is one of my favorite episodes of the whole series.It's in my top five favorite episodes of Angel.
Gouki, I cited all the overlooked episodes as one of my main reasons for liking Season 2. AYNOHYEB is many things...excellent, fascinating, well-acted, well-filmed, well-written, topical, insightful...but overlooked? No.
I never said it was overlooked, per se, it just seems to be taken for granted. As in everybody loves it, but forgets to bring it up.
Good to see you again BAFfler. And good to see we still share some common feelings on Angel. I'm not sure I'd have ranked the seasons exactly the way you did, but your comments about them are pretty dead on for the most part.

I'm generally uncomfortable with "ranking" the seasons like this, since it's all subjective and mutable. My favorite season usually tends to be the one I'm watching at the time. However, at this particular moment I think I'd list them 4,5,3,2,1.

Season 4 gets so much love from my wife and I both not only because of the fantastic use of the Faith/Angel relationship, but also for the difficult moral and philisophical questions raised by the Big Bad. Anytime "good" and "evil" are questioned and/or made ambiguous, it's a good thing.

(I have to say I'm thrilled at the amount of love S4 is getting here today. When it was airing it was pretty universally despised I seem to recall. There have been many times that my wife and I legitimately believed we were the only two people alive that liked that season. So it's nice to know others enjoyed it as well.)

Season 5 doesn't QUITE make it to the top of my list because it suffered from network interference. The writers made the absolute best of it that they could, but the "notes" from the network (less arc, more standalones, smaller budget, etc.) still affected the finished product. If the same story had been told by Mutant Enemy completely unfettered by the ridiculous demands of the Powers That Be it most certainly would have been an unmitigated classic. Even so, there was very little I didn't like about this season. And though I'll never, ever be "happy" that the show had to end, I'm overjoyed at the way that it did end. NFA is perhaps the best series finale EVER.

Season 1 gets dumped on a lot, mostly because the show was still discovering itself. Personally I really liked the season, even with the awkward growing pains inherent in any series launch. But even if every other episode of the year had sucked @$$, I would still praise this season for giving us "5 By 5" and "Sanctuary". Those two eps rank as possibly my favorites of the entire series run... possibly of any Whedonverse show ever.

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