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April 19 2003

Erenberg's Opinion: AtS "Best Of The Best, Part Two" His top ten favorite Angel episodes.

REALLY don't know how he could leave out "I Will Remember You".

"I Will Remember You" is the best Buffy episode never made. The trouble with Angel episodes is that I can never remember the episode titles.

But anyway my list would have included:
"To Shanshu in L.A." (a brilliant finale with so many revelations)
"In the Dark" (Spike and Oz classic stuff)
"The Trial" (Dru coming through the door at the end and before hand Angel trying to save Darla)
"Billy" (just very creepy)
"Birthday" (I love A.U. stuff and this was an exceptional episode of Angel)

There's too many good episodes in season 4 to choose from.
OK, here we go...

1) Lullaby
2) Waiting In the Wings
3) Salvage
4) Five By Five/Sanctuary
5) The Trial/Reunion/Redefintion
6) Spin The Bottle
7) Orpheus
8) Darla
9) Deep Down
10) To Shanshu in LA

And the figth scene in 'Apocalypse Nowish' which is the best fight scene the show has ever had (on a sheer technical level, maybe the best either show has ever had).
I don't see how he could omit 'I Will Remember You' and include 'Tomorrow', which was one of the worst season finales I've ever seen. I also wasn't very impressed with the 'Apocalypse Nowish' fight scene...too much slo-mo for me. And slo-mo equals cheesy, no matter how well directed it is.
So John Woo & Sam Peckinpah equal cheesy in your book? On this , I will have to strenously disagree. Yes, it is an overused device & slow motion done in post can often look ragged but the beautiful in-camera slow motion used on Angel this year has been stunning. The fight sequences in the last year & half have been leaps and bounds ahead of S1 where the fights were often of a Knight Rider type quality, and there judicous use of slow motion technique has been a large part of that.
I suppose it's possible for slo-mo to look beautiful and cool, but I think that Angel relies far too heavily on it. It immediately rips me away from the fight scene as a viewer and instead causes me to focus on the "gimmick". I much prefer the fights on Buffy and season 1 of Angel, but maybe that's just me.
I know what you mean about a 'gimmick' removing you from the show. I find a lot of shows are dependent on visual tricks to try to get an audience engaged. You find this more than ever (what I mean by visual tricks are things like split screens, faux slow motion which makes the image smeary & skip framing) because it is so much easier to do in post with the technological advances of the last decade. 'Boomtown' is really guilty of this and it always seems like there desperate when they trot out there bag of tricks. By the way, I'm not picking on '24' with the split screen comment as those are essential to the storytelling on that show.

I feel that Angel's use of slow motion is very classical, done in camera so it looks crisp & clean. It's the editing of the fight scenes with the slow motion that really make them sing. You can tell the staff has seen a lot of John Woo's Hong Kong films with the sudden thrusts of action contrasted with the more lyrical use of the slow motion.

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