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March 05 2004

Ron At Slayage.com Critiques This Season Of Angel "Sometimes even great shows go on a little longer than they should, and I honestly believe that this is the case with Angel."

I disagree with so much in this article that I don't even know where to begin. I'm personally glad that Ron is stepping down as reviewer for the site, not because his opinions are negative, but because he NEVER updates. I stopped going to Slayage altogether because of their pathetic update schedule. They really need a webmaster who can push deadlines for their reviews and opinion articles.

I'm not diginifying this article with a comment. DAMN!
I read *part* of that THING over at slayage earlier today. I was so disappointed at how pathetically whiny it came across. I will be the first to admit that I thought pretty much everything sucked after Connor was born. I hated Connor. I hated bad Cordelia. I thought it was a totally unbelieveable plot. I thought the writers wrote Connor so one dimensional. All that said, this season has totally redeemed the show. It has been consistently outstanding...I've rediscovered my love for it.

It's like, Ron, if you hate it so much, just stop watching and keep your mouth shut. At least that's what I did!

And I agree, MindPieces, Slayage's updating has been horrible. It's why I came here. Better information. More timely. And none of those godawful annoying popups that the other site has...
Obviously some people don't like Angel Season 5. That is simply an opinion that I cannot wrap my head around. For me this has been Angel's very best season. After about the third or fourth episode everything pretty much started to click. From Lineage on I've been glued to my seat.

I'm loving it so much, that it's hard to see where people who don't like it at all are coming from. I had the same disconnect with people who didn't like Firefly.
Well, I just don't get it. Frankly, he never truly seemed to be on board with Angel and by his own admission only really started watching in season three, and then went back and watched the earlier stuff.

His comments that Spike is just there for laughs is way off. It might've seemed that way in the beginning but the big running theme of this season is the relationship between Angel and Spike and how it started and where it's going. Whether they like it or not, they are growing closer and bonding. They are more alike than different and although they've taken two different paths in the past, they always seem to end up together.

I used to be a frequent visitor to Slayage but found Ron annoyed me quite a bit with his overly critical reviews. I know there are people who don't think this has been a great season but from what I can see from the posts on this site, most people have just thought it has gotten better and better as the season has gone on. Joss had to set it up in the first few episodes, but that is not unusual for both BtVS and Angel. He always does this, and builds up an arc and usually the last episodes just kick ass. Ron apparently just doesn't get that.

The main reason I stopped visiting Slayage is because I discovered Whedonesque which always has the same news articles listed with many more that Slayage doesn't have. I also love the fact that we can read the articles and then have great discussions, some more lively than others, but great discussions. We are the real reviewers, not these people who think they know it all. We, as a group review each episode, pick it apart in detail. We aren't always praising each episode and have felt some have bombed. I think we are an honest group and the opinions of everyone on this board are the opinions I listen to and respect!
I have to say that I agree with everything Cubiclesatan (great name!) said. I lost interest in the show after Connor was born as well, and I was also no fan of season 4. Sure, there were great episodes here and there, but overall there were too many aspects of the show that I couldn't stand. Season 5 seemed to take all of my complaints and erased them, turning this into the best year of Angel ever. I realize that everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I just don't get it. Reading the comments section under his article, it appears a lot of people agreed with him.
Yes, I also agree that season four wasn't the best. It had some great moments but the Cordy/Evil, Cordy/Ascending, Cordy/Connor thing just didn't work for me. But it was still better than anything else television had to offer even though I didn't like those particular storylines. But Wesley in season four was totally amazing to watch how they totally transformed him and the Wesley/Lila "courtship" was a blast to watch.
I agree with you blwessels. Wesley has been one character who has only become more interesting and fascinating with each passing season. I also think that season 5 has finally given Gunn the kind of meaty storyline he deserves, after two seasons of being kind of one-dimensional and dull.

I also wasn't a fan of anything involving Connor. He was just written as a completely one-note whine machine, only showing depth and potential during his church monologue in, I believe, "Peace Out". But by then it was too late for me to care. I also hated the ascending Cordy/evil Cordy plotline. And Cordy/Angel. And Cordy/Connor.

Okay, I'm done complaining now. But still, I love me some season 5! :)
Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me MindPieces, I also hated the Cordy/Angel storyline arc.
"It's like, Ron, if you hate it so much, just stop watching and keep your mouth shut."

Ron's article is far from the most vitriolic I've seen written about either BtVS or Angel. I think he expressed himself very fairly. As for expressing himself at all, he said himself he owes the readers of his reviews an explanation for why he hasn't been doing them and why he isn't going to any more. It does not seem to me that he is at all going out of his way to criticize something he doesn't like, which is something I would be mad about too, if it were the case, but it's not. He is giving his last farewells to something he used to love, and he has every right to do that.
I could tell you that you could take your own advice, and not read his column 'if you hate it so much,' but that wouldn't make any sense, and wouldn't be at all fair. Your negative reactions to Ron's article are completely understandable, but I don't believe he deserves to be attacked.
I understand Ron's point of view, but after watching last night's episode, I think this is the BEST season of Angel ever. Sure, it hasn't been as dark or depressing as earlier seasons, and until recently, it lacked dramatic pull, and I generally prefer arciness to episodic, uh, episodes. But this has been the best-executed seson of Angel with the most outstanding episodes and the most intriguing and thematically complex plot. And there's still six episodes left.
I honestly don't think the majority of the posts were attacking Ron personally, most of us just wholeheartidly disagreed with what he said. And frankly, he has a history of not getting the reviews out in a timely manner, and his reasons are he is too busy. So give up the job (yes, I get it, he's doing that now but he should've done it awhile back). How can you honestly give a review of an episode that you watched a month ago and then three others after it. There is no way you can justify making an honest assesment. He seems to have lost interest in the series, and if he's not enjoying it and the majority of people watching this season are, then he's the one who is out of touch.
was a very good article. he said exactly why he feels the way he does and i agree with some points on this. i love the character of spike and i was glad to see him come back, however if he doesnt get a good ending (angel to of course) then i will be dissapointed and feel he should have died in sunnydale as well.
I am loving this season of Angel and disagree rather strongly with most of what Ron said. But I have also thought that Angel's brooding darkly about being the boss of W&H-LA has been dragged on a bit too long, waxing and waning and so forth. Shit or get off the pot, as my foul-mouthed grandmother (yes! grandmother) used to say. Angel is starting to out-Hamlet Hamlet. But Hamlet is a great play and a great character and so is Angel a great series and a great character, even in his most floundering times. I'd watch Angel agonizedly but silently watch paint dry rather than watch most anything else out there on the tube.

These shows really need to be watched as season-long set pieces. Once season five ends I'll rewatch the whole season in one beautiful, satisfying fell swoop. And I'll see continuities and over-arching developments that escaped me the first time and they'll make me gasp. I always do. I think these series are so excellent that they deserve this kind of exhaustive (but never exhausting) attention.

I'm sort of sad for Ron that he dislikes this season so much because I am deriving such incredible pleasure from it. These next five Angelless weeks are going to be agony for me.
Ok, no one hurt me, but Freaking Word to whoever wrote that article. I agree with most of what he says, yet heres where the irrationality enters. I still want a season 6 regardless of my feelings for season 5.
Forcorreo, that's just it. As of now, I have STOPPED going to slayage. So I'm taking my own advice. And again, my biggest beef with the guy is how *whiney* he came off. I may disagree with his opinion, but yes, it's his opinion. I felt like I was reading a sob story.

A bunch of people have said it about Wesley - oh yes Wes. Wes and Lilah were the only times I occasionally tuned in to S3 and S4. Wesley can take my bucket anytime...oh wait...that came off grosser than I meant. I meant that in a sexy way...oh hell. It'll never be sexy and I'm finished!

Thanks for the compliment, MindPieces. I am the Satan of my work Cubicle. Hence, Cubiclesatan. Corporate hell you know...
NYChick - well, he thought it should end this season. So I get that you don't think this season is one of the best but you still must be enjoying the show enough to keep watching it and wanting another season.
nychick - no one's going to hurt you - most of us are to busy using are karmic cards toward Levin :)

Anyway it's alll a matter of perception anyhow - how can drama be great and appealing without conflict, not only on the show but from the peoples perceptions that view it. As the saying goes "Ones trash is another treasure."

If everyone saw it the same way then it would be boring.
Ok, glad to know I'm safe here, but after reading some of the responses Ron got, I'm a bit scared. Geesh, they were kinda mean don't ya think?

Anywho, he's right about Harmony. She is after all a vampire, yet if I was a new viewer, I would be clueless to that fact. And Spike? What is he there for, and why? Does he have a plot besides the one where he's the pain in Angel's ass? I admit, the season is picking up steam and the episodes are getting more compelling (though I think it's return to "Arc" and the darkness is what's drawing me back in).
anyone else think it was weird that spike chose to brood in the middle of wolfram and hart?? he was sitting on the steps, being uncharacteristicly introspective. couldnt he have found a quieter place? seemed strange. i thought the evil lindsey/spike vs angel/evil wolfram and hart was going to be the big end arc. which i would have liked. this, hopefully will prove to better....
Nychick - I totally agreed with his Harmony comment. It makes no sense to me how they are portraying her the way they are at all. Spike had the chip in his head which forced him to be good and then he fell in love with Buffy and wanted to please her and then he got his soul back.
anyone else think it was weird that spike chose to brood in the middle of wolfram and hart?? he was sitting on the steps, being uncharacteristicly introspective. couldnt he have found a quieter place? seemed strange.

I guess Spike could have went back to his apartment(if he still has it, not clear on that) but it's possible that maybe Spike didn't want to be THAT alone. Maybe he wanted to be close in case they needed him in regards to Illyria. Maybe he wanted to be close to where Fred used to be. Maybe he just wanted to be close. Spike's never done well on his own. He's always had a girl to focus on, and even though he and Fred weren't romantic, she was still a girl he thought the world of. I think Spike's not the loner that Angel is. And maybe, if he admitted it to himself, Angel doesn't like being alone either.
Not really - remember in Destiny Spike was bugging Angel for an office - he has no where to go and brood - I mean the song at the end of this last episode to me seem to sum it up for all of them - not one of them has a place to call home - not even the newly created demon that was formerly Fred. They are all lost souls searching for a place to call home - or at least that's how I percieve it.
As for Harmony, even on Buffy she wasn't a real good or bad vamp - as Angel pointed out vampires remember their former lives cause that who they were - Harmony is a follower always has been - and as Spike said "Stay simple Harm, it suits you." She's the character that works because she shouldn't - she will do anything to be accepted even if that means going against her nature, she needs security of knowing she's somebody important to someone. At least that my perception of the character.
I think that's about as accurate a description of Harmony as you can get, RavenU. She's a follower. That didn't change when she got vamped.
Good point about Harm RavenU. She is a follower and like someone said sometime ago, Angel is to Harm as the chip was to Spike. The chip stopped Spike from killing and well, Angel and his "no tolerance policy" and threats is stopping Harm from killing. Though with that said, does she have to go around caring and consoling people? For crying out loud, the chica is souuuullless. I love Harm and all, but I really don't want her to become this annoying anomaly in the Angel/Buffyverse with this so called "humanity" that Spike has become or was since he's all soul having now. One is enough, two I can't handle. "Disharmony" is a good example of how Harm should be written.
I didn't really have any sort of personal attack towards Ron, but I agree with blwessels that he should have given up the job the instant he realized he was too busy to write reviews in a timely manner. I, for one, would kill to write Angel reviews for a well known site like Slayage, and I think Ron completely wasted this opportunity. The review articles and the opinion articles were my only reason to visit Slayage (since all Whedonesque news is posted here much faster), and I now don't see a need to visit the site at all thanks to Ron's slacktastic ways. I wonder how many other old lurkers the site has lost?

He's certainly entitled to his opinion, but my main problem is that he handled his role as reviewer in an extremely unprofessional manner. I think most of us would get fired if we turned in our work months late.
If your talking about what she was trying to do for Wes and Gunn - I think it was just a reflection of who she is. Fred befriended her, that meant alot to her. Her line to Wes I saw more as a statement on herself rather than a consolement for Wes - "The girl of your dreams loved you, that's more than most people ever get." - Harm for lack of better sence I think loves Spike and he may be the man of her dreams but she knows he will never love her, and in a way this may be another reason for keeping her on the straight and narrow trying to be the woman he would want but unlike Spike who went and got his soul - she can't because it's not in her nature to know how too do it. As for the Gunn consolement I think that was just that momentary thing - cause she also misses Fred and she also knows what it's like to betray someone who is your friend because your weak (ie Dishamony - betraying Cordy friendship by leading them into the cult - again being the follower) - so perhaps it was more understanding his perspective rather than consoling him for it.

Also she collects unicorns for Joss's sake - how evil can you truely be if you have unicorns all over the place. :)
Well opinions differ, and this guy is entitled to his. As for his points, well I disagree. I think this is one of the show's strongest seasons. (And seeing how the ratings have been up, most people would agree.)

But in all honestly, when it comes to being a serious and on-the-ball Buffyverse site, "Slayage" has ceased to be relevant or significant a whiile ago. I'm not slinging mud, I used to go there all the time but the time of Buffy's ending, it just bled to death. I hadn't even been there in months. Whedonesque kicks its butt all over the place.

Also I agree this guy has never really been on board with Angel anyway. Also, what are his favorite parts, are some of my least favorite. The drama and storlyine of S3 was very powerful, but I honestly couldn't stand Connor. I know what they were trying to do and Vincent was what he was supposed to be but nearly every second he was onscreen I wanted to smack him up the head. So while the 'estranged Wesley' arc was very good, Connor really ruined a lot for me.

To my shame I've only seen the second half (or less) of S4, still waiting for the DVD box! But I thought their lonely war against her, and the philosophical questions it raised was a very strong arc.

S5 however is more proof of the power of Joss and ME. To give such a facelift to a show and move it in such new directions is rare on tv. I've loved it.

As for Harmony....please, she's comic relief. I can't honestly care that much about her soulless yet-sort-of-friendly state. She's funny. Also, Spike showed that there's different levels of humanity left in vamps, and I found it deliciously ironic that Harm, a fairly nasty girl while alive, is actually one of those vamps that relatively held on to her humanity.

Also, I think she's too stupid to be truly evil;-)

And yeah, the big 'romance' this season is not a troubled couple falling for each other, but about two bickering 'brothers' reluctantly finding common ground. And I gotta say, it's one of the better 'romances' I've seen. My hopes and expectations for Spike moving over have pretty much been met.
Bah, this has been a very enjoyable season of Angel and of any show that's on television right now. "Ron" here is just whining and it comes across as so, plainly said, I disagree. If people are just going to complain and nitpick they shouldn't watch the show at all. Bah, I have nothing further to say, to me it's a bunch of you know what.
"Forcorreo, that's just it. As of now, I have STOPPED going to slayage. So I'm taking my own advice."

That's just what I'm saying, or meant to say... I mean, that the feelings Ron's expressing about Angel before he stops watching it and/or writing the reviews, don't strike me as being much different in intent than the feelings you're expressing about his articles before you stop reading them. That he is stepping down as a reviewer, so why tell him to stop when that's already just what he's doing?
Anyway, I don't mean to bring down a black cloud down by wagging my finger at people or seeming argumentative or anything like that...I'm struggling to find a way to end this post 'cuz I don't want to end it on that kind of tone and I'm too tired and lazy right now to think of anything better to add than a :)
Finally, at long, long last. Someone who's been reading this whole season of Angel correctly. Thanks for the review, and for showing how all the wonderful drama and tensions established in the last four seasons have been utterly wasted with this silly fifth and--thankfully--final season.
Mel, I felt that way during season 4...I absolutely hated Conner, couldn't stand Fred and couldn't believe what they did to Cordy...That said, I have really enjoyed season five...The last few season have been rough but I still love them and will clamor to buy the DVD sets (well, maybe not Season 4).My preference for AtS has been chronological...My favorite season was 1, followed by 2, etc...So I can almost understand where Ron was coming from...And on a side note, this officially marks my 200th post/reply on this site...I too came to Whedonesque via Slayage.com...

[ edited by Simpleba on 2004-03-05 12:50 ]
Despite Season 5 having it's moments and quite a few good ideas (badly executed) I have to agree with Ron. I speak for myself, but I haven't been able to connect with any of the characters on an emotional level. Their situation, conflits and personal relationships, not to mention diolog, seem very forced to me. And I really don't feel the actors are really all that into it this year. So Angel comes to an end.
I don't see how anyone can say that the actors don't seem "into it" this year. That's quite an insult to a group of people who have been giving the performances of their lives all season. Has anyone witnessed the amazing work done by Amy, Alexis and J in the past few weeks? And they're not the only ones. Each character has been given a chance to shine this season and I think that the actors have handled things beautifully. I don't get any kind of impression that they're phoning it in or don't care to be there.
I guess I'm in the minority here, but I agree with the gist (if not all the details) of Ron's article that this is a sub-par season by Angel's standard. From the previous posts it looks like people who disliked seasons 3 & 4 (and Connor in particular) like this season, and vice versa. Count me in the vice versa camp--although I don't so much dislike this season as, well, just feel a bit let down. Other than making Angel brood, the whole Wolfram & Hart set-up has yielded very little drama (although it looks like things are picking up with this Illyria arc). Eve is no Lilah. Nina the werewolf is pretty lame compared to Gwen Raiden (not to mention Darla!) as a recurring guest. They've given Lorne nothing to do and, half the time, don't seem to know what to do with Spike. And why Harmony??

Don't get me wrong, there have definitely been some wonderful moments, small as well as grand: the Mexican wrestlers (diablo robotico), "pee pee," puppet Angel's detachable nose, "Destiny" & the grail full of Mountain Dew, Lindsey's return, Cordelia's return, the references to Dolye, more Dark Wesley, and my favorite: the arc with Gunn's brain (and JAR finally getting the chance to show his acting chops!)

Like I said, things seem to be looking up, so hopefully they'll go out with a bang. But this time last year I was awestruck with the show, right now I'm just hopeful...
Hmm. Gazebo is probably right about some viewers' preferences for Season 3 and 4 over Season 5. S3, for me, was such a yawner that I probably couldn't give anyone a decent synopsis of it now... and I only liked the latter half of S4.

I didn't agree with much of Ron's assessment... especially, I can't understand how he could've been so unaffected by "Damage"... but I respect him for expressing his opinion fairly and honestly, without arrogance or fanboy whinging. In an Internet filled with pointless negativity, it counts for something.

Perhaps Daniel Ehrenberg could take over the Angel reviews? :D

[ edited by Kansas on 2004-03-05 22:00 ]
I'm yet another defectee from Slayage.com -- the lack of timely updates has been snowballing since the end of 'Buffy' and now it can't hold a candle to this place. I lurked here for a year before finally joining, but I was always impressed by the alacrity with which articles got posted here (sometimes within minutes of their being published online) and the level of intelligent discourse about all Whedon's shows.

I'm also a huge lover of this season -- to me it's been the best since S2. I definitely think there's a correlation between those who preferred the S3/S4 eps best and who dislike this one. I wonder, too, if the preferences would skew along age lines? I'm post-thirties, in the professional field, and I very much identify with the show's focus this season on depicting that daily struggle to maintain moral integrity in the workplace. It's an extremely mundane theme that's being extraordinarily explored via each character's personal arc, and I continue to be amazed at the depth that's emerged from such a seemingly well-mined vein of TV.

Maybe those who dislike this season are younger and less interested by issues of corporate corruption/control versus personal identity/
subjugation to outside forces? I'd also love one more season (even a shortened one), but if this is it for 'Angel' I'd say so far it's taken on a global theme with enormous cultural resonance and explored it masterfully. With six episodes to go, I'm optimist this will end up being seen as one of the show's best years ever.
I wonder, too, if the preferences would skew along age lines?

I don't think so. I loved seasons three and four, and I haven't seen my 30s in a few years. This season has had its highlights for me (Smile Time), but enough lows to put it decidedly behind previous seasons. I'm still optimistic it will go out on a high, though, if the last two episodes are any indication.
I guess I'm the only one who liked seasons 3, 4 and is also loving this season. Although I prefer more long drawn out story arcs where the episodes bleed into each other, I think ME did a great job finding a balance this season. I'm sad to see this show end. With how they are able to reinvent the show every season, I'm sure another season would have been amazing and full of delightful surprises, just as every single season has been.
I've liked S3, S4, and S5. I'm leaning towards calling S5 the best of the three, but I want to see how S5 ends, and how S4 plays on DVD (should be pretty good without any long breaks or commercials).
I like S5 the best so far. After that: S3, S1, S2, S4. And I'm 18--I've no clue if there's a preference by age.
I don't think it's an age thing. I'm 23 and a career student (read: big honkin slacker). I love s5 to bits so far, even though I've never stepped foot into anything remotely corporate in an employee capacity. I thought it started out kind of shaky, but I've been hooked since Lineage. I didn't hate s3, but I didn't love it either. For example, I bought the DVD set as soon as it came out, watched whatever commentaries were available, but since then I haven't felt the need to rewatch anything else. I liked S4 better than s3, but I plan on doing the same thing as Shroomy and waiting until I can watch everything back to back when the DVDs come out before I come up with my final opinion.

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