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August 05 2009

The ten best Angel episodes. That's according to Den Of Geek. So what do you consider to be the best Angel episodes?

Can't say that my Top 10 would include Life of the Party, Harm's Way, Hero, or Tomorrow.

Mine would probably include (in no order): Smile Time, You're Welcome, Not Fade Away, Waiting in the Wings, Home, A Hole in the World, Reprise, Reunion, Darla, and Billy.
Well... not those ones. Just kidding, sort of. Let's just say that Harm's Way and Life Of The Party have no place on a top ten list. And am I the only one who finds Smile Time massively overrated? It's a good episode, no doubt, but i didn't like much beyond its one joke.

The rest of the list was fairly solid (except that Reunion is way way better than Redefinition).

I don't think any Angel best of list should be without 5x5 and/or Sanctuary. Sleep Tight, The Magic Bullet, Peace Out, Spin The Bottle, Lullaby, The Price, Are You Know Or Have You Ever Been?, and City Of are all contenders for me. This list seemed heavily weighted to the later seasons.
Harm's Way is easily one of the worst episodes in the entire series.
This list seemed heavily weighted to the later seasons.

That's what I thought too but then each to their own. The first two seasons did have some stand-out epiosodes.
Oh, this is fun. We did one for Buffy a few months ago, right?
And once again, I promise not to cheat (and as I form the list in my head, I bet there'll be no Season 3 episodes).
Unlike Buffy, I'm not so sure about the order, but here it goes.

1) Home
2) Smile Time
3) Not Fade Away
4) Through the Looking Glass
5) You're Welcome
6) Orpheus
7) Origin
8) Hero
9) Sonambulist
10) Room w/ a View

Came close to including Five by Five, Birthday, Apocalipse Nowish and A Hole in the World, but I attempted to really list my 10 faves.
And just like my love for Beer's Bad, I have to disagree with VaughOfTheDead, on the episode Harm's Way. I really like that one.

Onto the article itself. I simply despise Tomorrow. I hate that episode with passion.

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2009-08-05 12:50 ]
I never made it all the way through the series. Honestly, just could not do it, and only got up to mid- S3. But for that, 2 episodes stood out: 5x5 and Reunion. Those were excellent.

Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?
Salvage/Release/Orpheus (I can't even separate them)
A Hole in the World/Shells
Time Bomb
Not Fade Away

Ehhh... I don't like that list already. But this is too difficult.
My favourites would be (in no particular order):

The Prodigal (I loved the scenes from Angel's past)
Five by Five/Sanctuary
Not Fade Away
Smile Time
A Hole in the World/Shells
Through the Looking Glass (Numfar!!)
City of
Lonely Hearts
Are you Now Or Have You ever Been

Yep. Knew it. Can't keep it down to 10.

[ edited by Shep on 2009-08-05 13:31 ]
My top ten will be mostly made of Season 2 (and ideally would contain every episode of Darla's arc) and Season 5, that are the ones I really love love love..but, here we go:

Not Fade away
The trial/Reunion
A hole in the world
Are you now or have you ever been
Spin the Bottle
Just rewards
I will remember you
No particular order:

Time Bomb
Not Fade Away

wow this is hard - I love the Pylea arch so that's 3 more
Over the Rainbow
Through the Looking Glass
There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb

I know many don't like this episode but I also like:
My list consists almost entirely of episodes from seasons 4 and 5. As far as I'm concerned those two seasons were the creative peak of the show. In the first three seasons the show was good and then it suddenly become great. And I think that's particularly impressive given how fundamentally different those two seasons were. I'm almost as upset about not getting season 6 of Angel as not getting a season 2 of Firefly.

So bearing my massive bias in mind my list is:

Deep Down
Spin the Bottle
A Hole in the World

And from the earlier seasons and only just scraping into my list of 11:

Waiting in the Wings

Yeah, yeah, I know Reprise, Epiphany, Are You Know ... etc are all great episodes but they got stomped all over later on.

As for Den of Geek's list, it's pretty good but:

- Hero was awful. I don't think anyone would put it anywhere near their top 10 if it weren't for Doyle's death in the last few minutes and that was so rushed and filled with plot holes that it left me completely unmoved.

- I wish I liked 'You're Welcome' and 'Smile Time' more than I do since so many people love them. I find 'You're Welcome' a bit too cheesy and saccharine for me - a problem I have with quite a bit of David Fury's writing. 'Smile Time' is pretty cool but for some reason I just didn't laugh all that much whereas 'Spin the Bottle' had me in stitches.
I never made it all the way through the series. Honestly, just could not do it, and only got up to mid- S3. But for that, 2 episodes stood out: 5x5 and Reunion. Those were excellent.

Ever thought about giving it another shot for those last two seasons? I know I'm not the only one who found it enjoyable for the first three seasons but absolutely wonderful for the last two

[ edited by Let Down on 2009-08-05 14:27 ]
Any Angel list has to include 'Are you now or have you ever been?' It just has to.
mine changes from time to time, as it is now in no particular order
not fade away
smile time
waiting in the wings
ground state
time bomb
five by five
spin the bottle
a hole in the world
Choosing ten and stopping at that number just seems so wrong to me. I want all of them.
My list would look something like this:

1. A Hole in the World
2. Not Fade Away
3. Epiphany
4. Forgiving
5. Are You Now or Have You Ever Been
6. Five by Five
7. Waiting in the Wings
8. Smile Time
9. Darla
10. Reunion

And Let Down, I'd disagree that 4 and 5 were the best. My list of seasons would be: 5, 2, 3, 4, 1. (Although 2 and 3 could be switched around on a different day).

I know I'm not the only one who found it enjoyable for the first three seasons but absolutely wonderful for the last two

While I'm sure that's true, I have to say that this marks the first time I've ever heard anyone mention a jump up in quality from season 3 to 4. I mostly remember hearing complaints when season 4 first aired. I remember big portions of the fandom didn't think much of the season back then (there were a lot of people complaining about CC's acting, plus there were a lot of people who disliked Connor's arc in the season) and although I don't agree with all of that, I did feel the season was a bit "messy" in pacing and execution, which I always figured was due to them having to write around CC's pregnancy.
Some of the episodes on the Den of Geek list are actually my least liked/worst.

My top 10 list is(and it varys at times but the top five are always the same for me)...

I Will Remember You
Five By Five
City Of
Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been
Sleep Tight

My favorite seasons are actually seasons 2 and 4 because I just love the arcs as a whole.So my season ranks are...

season 2
season 4
season 1(I don't care as much for the more anthology format even though my top three favorite epsiodes are in this season.)
season 5
season 3

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2009-08-05 15:40 ]
A Hole in the World/Shells is the best 'arc' in the entire buffyverse for me (with Becoming 1&2 very close behind). Not only does it combine some really great character work, a heart wrenching story and some amazing action (mostly in Shells) but it also expands on the mythology of the world ("old ones", the greater well, etc) which is always exciting to watch. I also think Illyria is one of the best characters Whedon and Co ever created and was amazed at what Acker did with it. Any list without at least one of those episodes (but including many others from S5) is off base IMHO.

Smile Time as #1 just baffles me...
1. The Trial/Reunion
2. I Will Remember You
3. You're Welcome
4. Spin the Bottle
5. Smile Time
6. A Hole in the World
7. Shells
8. Over the Rainbow/Through the Looking Glass/There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb
9. Five by Five/Sanctuary
10. Soulless/Cavalry/Salvage/Release/Orpheus
"Smile Time as #1 just baffles me...

It's the detachable nose. It get's 'em every time.
Weird list. "Life of the Party"? "Redefinition"?
But as in all such lists, YMMW, and they are very subjective. Well, at least Smile Time and NFA are in.
But no "Epiphany"?
I'm always surprised that Lullaby gets passed up on these lists. The cinematography alone warrants a mention. It was so EPIC. Not to say that other eps weren't. I loved the drama of it, Holtz, and of course Darla sacrificing herself for connor. It was the perfect ending to such a complicated character.
I liked season 4... can't really think of many individual episodes in that one though.

BY the way, I agree with those who don't like 'Life of the party' and 'harm's way'.. personally I think that every comedic episode in season 5 fell flat. "the girl in question" was quite simply the worst episode of Angel ever.. Smile time was the best of them, but even that wasn't that great.
Why is it that almost noone ever mentions Angel S1E8 "I will remember you"

That one is in my top 10 best Buffyverse episodes.
I can absolutely understand a top 10 list that doesn't include "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?", but I can't understand one that doesn't include "A Hole in the World"

That's like leaving Surprise/Innocence, Becoming Part 2, and Hush out of a Buffy top 10 list.
Disagree with most of this list. "Home" is strong, and so are the top four; the other five I'm not even sure if I'd include in the top half of Angel episodes. "Redefinition," which in spite of the dramatic conclusion with Angel burning Darla and Dru is given the difficult task of establishing a new status quo after the thrill ride of "Reunion," featuring some somewhat bizarre character decisions (like Gunn of all people having nothing to do but hang around Caritas), fares best. "Tomorrow" has moments, even if the Angel/Cordy material is ultimately hollow. "Harm's Way" is cute but lacks the comic invention of, say, an Espenson script (compare with "Guise Will Beguise," which is pretty genius!). "Life of the Party" is shamelessly derivative of the superior "Something Blue," which is less of a problem than that it's not all that funny or revelatory of character.

"Hero" is of course a sacred cow, and with good reason: Glenn Quinn, may he rest in peace, gives a great performance as Doyle sacrifices himself. But the episode's villains seem to be written in desperation (we want someone evil...demon Nazis!) and the episode doesn't have sufficient setup to have the impact it should. One of season one's better efforts, yes, but I think the show found itself in a big way in season two and feel that the first season is the weakest. This ep is honestly one of Minear's weaker scripts to me. The video at the end is a very nice touch.

My list is probably something like:

1. Lullaby
2. Darla
3. Not Fade Away
4. Sanctuary
5. A Hole in the World
6. Five by Five
7. Reunion
8. Waiting in the Wings
9. Reprise
10. Home

Honourable mentions: The Prodigal, Blind Date, Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been, Epiphany, Through the Looking Glass, Loyalty, Sleep Tight, Spin the Bottle, Peace Out, Destiny, Smile Time, Shells, Power Play.

I like "You're Welcome" a lot (I cried, and that never happens) but feel that Lindsey's involvement is kind of perfunctory and never well explained; the episode takes a hit for me for that reason. It just misses my runners-up.

EDIT: I wouldn't say that "no one" mentions "I Will Remember You"; I've seen it on many best lists, and TV Guide recently put it as their one Angel episode in their top hundred. I personally don't actually like it all that much, honestly (the "...until we forget" line at the end is heartbreaking, but I don't really feel the episode overall is worth the hoops and temporal manipulations required for it), but it's pretty well regarded in general and would probably be in the ten "most praised" Angels.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2009-08-05 17:09 ]
GVH said:

I mostly remember hearing complaints when season 4 first aired.

Here, here.

there were a lot of people who disliked Connor's arc in the season

Oh, this is very hard to choose.
Can I hate him in all the seasons?
Yep, Connor`s arc could have been left out of the series, but then again i loved Keith Szarabajka as Daniel Holtz.. he made all the Connor scenes fun to watch :)
I kind of like season four Connor, especially his monologue in "Peace Out" and his scenes in "Home."
I really liked Connor.. but I hated the way Angel acted when Connor was a baby "look, I bought him this tiny hockey shirt", some of the lamest acting and worst dialogue ever from D B.
I don't consider myself an Angel expert, as it was never a show that really caught me in the same way BtVS did, but this list baffles me in general. Some of those were also my least favorites.

Count me in as disliking S4...a lot. I was not watching on the broadcast showing. I came in in the middle of S5, but watching it on DVD's, S4 was not something I enjoyed. It was better the second time I watched it, but not much. After reading and listening to people discussing the show, I realized that a lot of my dislike for the season and certain elements of the show, as opposed to other people's opinions, might be what I like and was looking for from Angel.

People who were comics fans seemed to love the super dramatic over the top super hero stuff, whereas that was the stuff that would make me sigh when, IMO, it got too much. My mother loves opera and she enjoys Angel. I like opera in small doses and enjoy the less operatic seasons of Angel more.
Yeah, like WilliamTheB, I actually see IWRY pop up in many a list as well, but I too, don't like it that much, despite the fact that I did really invest in the Buffy/Angel romance over on Buffy. I felt it was all a bit too wish-fullfilment-y and there's wasn't a whole lot going on that's worth all the praise that gets piled on it. I, too, see the dramatic in the last few moments - which was the strongest part of the entire episode - but overall it felt kind of cheap and "undeserved", dramatically. But YMMV, obviously :)

As for the Connor-controversy: I actually really do like the character, even if he's sometimes difficult to really warm to in season four. However, I think that Vincent Kartheiser is a really good actor who played Connor really well, so that even when I didn't like Connor himself, I did like what he contributed to the show's dynamic.
GVH: Good to see we're on the same page re: IWRY and Connor. :) IWRY is a machine designed to break hearts, but I can't help seeing the gears turning.
"but I hated the way Angel acted when Connor was a baby "look, I bought him this tiny hockey shirt"

I loved that :D

David Boreanaz is a huge ice hockey fan and i bet he said and brought the same thing for his real life son.
Interesting you say that newcj - cos I actualy am an opera singer:) And I love Angel for precisely that reason. Maybe I should get a friend to write an Angel opera for me?....:)

For me thats a terrible list. Harms way in the top 10....are the mad?! Would be in my bottom 3 lol. Ah well!

To hard to do a top 10- but my top 5 would be

5-Are you now or have you ever been
3-Not Fade Away
Let Down- at risk of hijacking this thread, try as I might I cannot get into Angel; it is sort of my least favorite major Whedonverse show. Not sure why; perhaps no one I invest in, perhaps to me at times it seems to have creaky writing- for example, any time you think something good might happen, it does not. And that becomes predictable. I have seen bits and pieces of S4, I like Orpheus, mainly due to Willow, but Connor was a huge turn-off for me and the noir setting not really much to my liking. Different strokes, I guess. If we all agreed, it would be boring. :-)

I do enjoy reading the lists, though, because they can point to eps worth seeing. It is not worth disagreeing with someone else's list, because, after all, it is their list, but hey, like I said, I always liked 5 X 5 and Reunion. I do remember giving up the series at a specific point- I don't know the ep name, but it looks like something good might happen between Angel and Lilah and then some fellow takes over Angel's body and screws it all up- and that happens all the time on the show. Anyway. :-)
Interesting you say that newcj - cos I actualy am an opera singer:)

My mother was too. Angel is very operatic.

dana I am not a huge fan of Angel, the series, but I thought what happened between Lilah and who she thought was Angel was very interesting...and more interesting because it was not actually Angel. As I said, I don't like S4, but one definitely cannot watch the episodes individually and get the full sense of what is going on. That season is more like one episode cut into pieces than any other in the Whedonverse. I figure, it is all worth watching once.
Smile Time is probably my all time favorite hour of television, not just my favorite Angel episode.
1. Lineage
2. A Hole in the World
3. Waiting in the Wings
4. I Will Remember You
5. Lullaby
6. Reunion
7. Spin the Bottle
8. Destiny
9. Not Fade Away
10. Are You Now or Have You Ever Been

In no particular order...except Lineage remains in 1st. Always loved Wesley more than anyone else.
Why is there never a "Top Ten List" including all Whedon shows. I wanna see that one...

Anyway. My list usually consists of these. But they switch position constantly...

1. A Hole in the World/Shells
2. Not Fade Away
3. Five by Five/Sanctuary
4. Darla
5. I Will Remember You
6. Spin the Bottle
7. Are You Now or Have You Ever Been
8. You're Welcome
9. Reunion
10. Waiting in the Wings

[ edited by Chrisham2 on 2009-08-05 21:30 ]
Very solid list Chrisham. I tried doing a top ten of all Whedon shows but my head exploded. Too hard to compare. And mine would be heavily favored toward Buffy since a) it has the most episodes to choose from, and b) it's my favorite Whedon show. And, also c) Angel, which has the next most episodes to choose from, is my least favorite Whedon show.

So my list would probably have seven Buffy eps and then maybe one each from Firefly, Dollhouse, and Angel. But reducing those three shows to just one favorite episode is really hard. Plus, there's Dr. Horrible, which I love. Argh.
Let Down- at risk of hijacking this thread, try as I might I cannot get into Angel; it is sort of my least favorite major Whedonverse show.

Yeah, Angel is certainly my least favourite of Joss's 4 shows (I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'major' Whedonverse show). But I still think seasons 4 and 5 are worth one watch through if you ever get a spare 44 hours
I included Alien Resurrection, Toy Story, etc. in my thought list, is all.
Though Buffy is my favourite Joss show but I think Angel is his best show. I wish it had gone to seven seasons. Really did want to see Angel become human at the end.
I suspect that even if it had gone for 7 seasons Joss wouldn't have given us that happy ending
David Boreanaz is quoted as saying that he wanted Angel to become human and then get knocked down by a bus.
I love Angel and think it's great, but do think that it is the weakest Whedon show. There's less quality control, and there are a lot of very bad episodes, particularly one-offs, more so than other shows. Season one lacks enough central focus to be interesting outside of a few bright spots; Kate Lockley never quite gels; the season four arc, as mentioned elsewhere, is often incoherent, although I do like it. I like the entire cast, but there are issues--most obviously Cordelia's truncated arc, but while I like Gunn, his own story doesn't fully work until season five (his gradual dissolution with his gang in season two and early season three is interesting, but to never quite satisfactorially answers why Gunn chooses to go with Team Angel in "Belonging"). Of course, this is all in contrast to the wonderful material generally given to Angel himself, the darker tone to the proceedings and the emphasis on genuine moral ambiguity, basically everything Wesley ever did, and, as mentioned earlier, the operatic tone which worked for me more often than not.

Another thing I will say about Angel in contrast to the other shows: it had the best, most complex antagonists, partly because they were so close to the heroes, especially Wolfram & Hart as an organization. (I say antagonist rather than villain because pretty much every non-doll is a villain on Dollhouse, I don't even know who to call an antagonist besides Alpha.) Lindsey, Lilah, Darla, and Holtz are so very rich.
Angel is my favorite show, for now anyway. Season 1 had serious faults and Season 3 was rocky, going from amazing episodes to just meh rather quickly (I didn't care for Tomorrow either Numfar PTB). Season 4 I enjoyed hugely on my initial viewing of it, now I just don't get the same thrill from it. Season 2 and 5 were amazing to me even with a few flaws, it's still the best television I have seen and would still like an Illyria show or something. Anyways my list in no particular order:

Time Bomb
Not Fade Away
Sleep Tight
A Hole In The World/Shells
Five by Five/Sanctuary
There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb (that 4 episode arc really)
Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?
I know some people don't really care for this episode but for me it was about why Angel just couldn't bring himself to fight evil before meeting Buffy. “Take them all.” needs to be in the quotes section imo.
You know, watching Angel again I found myself not minding that Kate never gelled. I think why some of us love Angel to the point of it actually being our favorite show is that when it was "sloppy", it tended to feel very real.

For instance, Kate is a person who has major issues with the entire Angel crew. There's flirtation and there's anger, but it never really fully resolves. But that happens in real life where people simply disappear for the same reason. The situation is just uncomfortable so someone simply leaves.
It's dramatically frustrating, but in context it feels very real. The only more clear would be, would be someone actually asking "what happened to Kate?" Then Angel simply has to say something like, "I don't know."

I like that no one asked.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-08-06 02:52 ]
I'm not as familiar with Angel as Buffy. I don't know all the episode titles although I just recently did a re-watch of most of Season three and all of Four. I watch Five pretty often.

It was kind of tough to get through Season Four. I liked a lot of the ideas, hated others. Loved the idea of the Jasmine arc, what she was doing, but I hated that people could tell she was evil if they could see the maggots in her face. First, why would someone who was just "born" have maggots in their face and second, why would that make her evil? I mean she ate people, that was evil, but the whole evil equals ugly or in this case maggots, just bugs me. Plus the whole thing of Cordy and Conner (blech for having to watch that) giving birth to a middle aged woman. To me it would have been more effective if it was a child, kind of like the girl in the white room. Plus making Cordy kiss the beast? Were they trying to get Charisma to quit?

But like I said I liked the basic mind control/blind followers premise, I just didn't care for some of the execution.

Some episodes I loved in no particular order:
Into the Dark
Spin the Bottle
The Pylea episodes
Smile Time
Hell Bound
Just Rewards
Guise will be Guise
City of
First, in defense of Connor. I love the character and Vincent K. is an outstanding actor. What I really disliked was the Connor/Cordy arc, and the Jasmine arc. In other words, most of season4.

Angel is still my least favorite of Joss's shows, but that's like saying "what's your least favorite ice cream?".
And I still couldn't get my list of favorites below eighteen, and that's combining two that I think are inseparable.

One more comment. What mystifies me more than anything is that no one ever adds In the Dark, which Would be in my top 10, if I could narrow it down that far.

Also, no love for Convictions? Joss's masterful "introduction to season5", plus I love Joss as a director, and never more than in this Ep.

By season:

1>In the Dark
2>The Prodigal
4>Dear Boy
10>Waiting in the Wings
11>Sleep Tight
13>Deep down
14>Spin the Bottle
17>A Hole in the World/Shells
18>Not Fade Away
I'm always surprised by the lack of Angel love (well, relative to his other shows, obviously). Buffy's far and away my favorite, but objectively speaking I think Angel had the higher-quality run. Three is the only season that I really don't like to rewatch, and even that has wonderful moments, as well as the most amazing/logical character about-face in TV history (well, maybe).
Angel is my second-favourite Whedon show, I kinda love everything about it (even Connor), especially it's epic feel. My favourite season by far is two, probably then followed by four, three, five and one. Trying to come up with a top 10 is crazy-hard but I'll give it a go...

1. Darla
2. Home
3. Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been?
4. Five By Five
5. You're Welcome
6. The Prodigal
7. Reunion
8. Reprise
9. Destiny
10. Sleep Tight

A lot of Tim in there. Special mentions also to Untouched (wonderful direction by Joss), Guise Will Be Guise (perfect early Wesley), Epiphany (I chose the darker 'Reprise' for my list but this is the perfect second half), Waiting in the Wings, Deep Down, Spin the Bottle and Origin.
I probably wouldn't put "Harm's Way" in my top ten but I do love that episode. Glad to see it getting some love here. I was never partial to Harmony until Angel s5.

EDIT: (thought of something else to add)

Adversely, "Hero" (and most other s1 episodes) would be towards the bottom of my list. I've never liked Doyle and was kind of glad to see him go.

It seems I'm in the minority in both respects.

[ edited by wonderflonium on 2009-08-10 18:15 ]

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