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Angel Rewatch: 1.01 City Of

Btvs fan

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A good and interesting episode but it has a few problems. Though they were problems of them figuring out what type of show Angel was going to be.
1) Its basically a retrograde of BtVS with Angel the big strapping man saving girls in Alleys. Though Joss acknowledges that on the commentary, he still does it.
2) The idea that a 250 year old person, particularly Angel, lacks social skills never rang true to me and thankfully that was dropped as the season progressed.
3) Doyle basically he was meant to be Whistler and was written that way in the first episode. Thankfully its changed and Glen Quinn brings it to the character but at first he is smarmy exposition character. His relationship with Angel is later properly changed from mentor to almost a son relationship to Angel instead.
4) Cordelia until Doyle dies and she replaces him, is kind of there on the show with no real relevance to Angel and for Charisma to pick up a paycheck. In this episode she is literally there to be rescued.
5) The Vampire makeup, they changed it from BtVS and I wasn't a fan.
6) Victim of the week that the show was at first. They almost always seemed to be good looking white women especially at first. Until 5by5 and War Games Latinos (a gang guy who Angel has to threaten to testify) and Black people didn't seem to exist in LA. That doesn't hold up well even more so than Buffy where it was noticeable.

But other than those issues a good fun introduction to the show 🙂

Follow up Angel says at the end he didnt save anyone but urmm yes he did, he saved Cordelia and any other potential victims of Russell 🤷‍♂️
 

telperion66

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'City Of' is a beautiful episode. It does a really nice job of welcoming you to LA as the new locale for Angel's new TV show. Doyle is upbeat and pokes some fun at Angel upon their meeting, whilst its always nice to see Josh Holloway in the opening scene as a Lost fan!

It sets the tone for the early run of Angel episodes, dark, yet intriguing and it does a great job differentiating itself from BTVS whilst staying true to Angel's character and history.

Seeing Cordy for the first time demonstrates an immediate growth in her character from Buffy season 3. She comes across as fun, with a light tone whilst showing a maturity that is a really welcome development of her character.

All in all, a classic episode. To say it was the first one it does a really nice job! Makes me happy to watch it. :)
 

Buffy Summers

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I liked this pilot more than I remembered. I usually only remember Tina and Russell who I don't care for, but watching it again I see the good things: Cordy & Angel the way we saw them on Buffy, the funny parts, the more grown up show. I think this episode did a good job of summarizing what came before, and introducing AI.

I liked that Tina died (and not just because I didn't like the character) - I liked that we set the show up that Angel doesn't always save everyone.

And it has Sawyer from Lost in it lol!

2) The idea that a 250 year old person, particularly Angel, lacks social skills never rang true to me and thankfully that was dropped as the season progressed.
I disagree with you here - Angel spent a good number of years solitary. It's not outside the realm of possibility that it would make a person withdraw and feel awkward around others (which we saw on Buffy). Plus the way people act and interact had changed many many times over Angel's lifespan. He might have been comfortable socially as Liam or Angelus but as Angel 2.0 could very understandably not be comfortable in social settings.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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City of

City of Angel/Los Angelus

This episode is a low key masterpiece—low key in the sense that it is not bombastic. It does not feel like a very special episode. It is just a very humble proof of concept. But it is masterly made and introduces some important ideas. Like "Five by Five" is a very well made episode and it has a very powerful story to tell. "City of" does not go for the same kind of emotional extremes, but it is like the lack of high emotional stakes make it easier to appreciate just how well made the episode is.

The opening is great. It is Angel as we have never seen him before. At first it is quite jarring and almost offensive to hear Angel give a dismissive ramble on his relationship with Buffy. But as a pair of guys leave with their dates, Angel gets his game face on and we see it was all a ruse. Not the vamp game face, btw, but the regular hardening-of-the-face game face. I love this one-eighty change in tone, as Angel spins around beautifully. The music is great in this episode. First it vibrates, then it pulsates.

Angel goes out, continues his ruse and ends up beating the baddies to the sound of some over-the-top heroic Batman music. Everything seems to be just as it should be until the girl comes to thank Angel and sees his beastly face. Angel looks hungrily at the blood trickling down her forehead, no doubt remembering the sweet taste of Buffy's blood. He tells the girl to go and escapes into the night.

Angel is without a doubt the most human of the vampires in the Buffyverse. Spike and Dru are both very camp, invoking the same sense of uncanny valley as androids do in science fiction. Even as human, Darla has this eerie vibe of otherness about her.. Angel is just a dude. Therefore, I appreciates whenever the show highlights his vampire-ness. In this episode they start the idea of vampire-as-recovering-alcoholic, which gets picked up again in "Harm's Way" with Harmony as vampire-as-recovering-junkie. It creates a barrier, similar to the happiness clause. Angel feels he needs to distance himself.

I really like Whistler, but for some reason they decided not to use him as Angel's sidekick, and I guess that since Doyle is not too dissimilar for Whistler, they must have decided it would be too confusing to have Whistler make cameos. Doyle is certain not a poor replacement, though. I really like the philosophy he presents. We are a tribal race. We were made for tight nit communities where we defended our own. In modern, urban society, there is no small we anymore. There is just an I and a very large we, which includes either the nation or the entire world, depending on whether you are a nationalist or a globalist. We're constantly asked to donate money to people we don't know and who has problems we could not conceive of. Doyle challenges Angel to get involved, because otherwise he will start to grow cold and calculating. Ethics often ignore the way people work. We are not machines and we cannot reprogram ourselves. If we want to be good, we nurture the side of us that drives us towards good acts. We need to learn to empathise and make a connection. Angel-the-solipsistic hero would undoubtedly have failed.

Moving Cordelia to AtS was a brilliant show. I find her story really tragic. She has decided not to let poverty and the incarceration of her parents bring her down. Sadly, she has aimed to high and Hollywood refuses to open up to her. That is, until she meets a sympathetic older man who sends a limo to pick her and gets her to open up about her hardship... and luckily the story stopped there.

I am very disappointed that the shows seems to get progressively more bored with Cordelia and her situation as the it goes on. Angel, Fred, Wesley and Lorn all get parents. Where are Cordelia's parents? Sadly, Cordelia slowly fades into the background, and when she comes back again, it is only to have her character trashed and ridiculed for the benefit of the show's worst and most confounding storyline.

When Angel tells Doyle that he doesn't want to share his feelings and that all he wants is to trash Russel, it may seem as though he rejects Doyle's philosophy, but really, he doesn't. Angel has made a connection. The reason we say that revenge is best served called is because when we are vengeful we are usually so hot-headed that we muck it up and make a further fool of ourselves. As John Lydon puts it: Anger is an energy.

Luckily, Doyle is able to remind Angel that while he failed to save Tina, he did save Cordelia. Cordelia and Angel are a great pair. What one lacks, the other's got in spades.

The first season of AtS, especially, wears its influences on its sleeve. One of them are film noir and the pulpy detective books that inspired them. Hard boiled detective stories, such as Chandler's Phillip Marlowe books, depicts society, LA, as completely rotten. There is no good to fight for. The police is as crooked as the crooks. The hero must follow his own sense of what is right and wrong. We see that in the final confrontation between Angel and Russel. Russel is part of the establishment. He is untouchable. Therefore, it is the hero that is the renegade—the one who does not care about the certain way thing as done in LA.

Angel is both similar and dissimilar to Philip Marlowe and his ilk. He has the stoicism. He is somewhat removed from the society he protects. Angel is much more proficient in violence. The classic detective is more defined by his ability to take a beating than by his ability to give it. Marlowe didn't have to deal with other characters constantly pointing out the genre markers and mocking his broodiness. And Angel has a sweet side, which does not come out all that often, but which is really nice to see.

TL;DR: Top marks! Great episode!
 
B
Btvs fan
Ie Whistler, it was meant to be him but they couldn't get the actor back

Hunga Munga

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This is the episode where Angel finally transitions from skulking tortured loungelizard to full blown vigilante superhero . It looks good on him , the gadgets , the cool lair , the ability to jump off really high buildings :D . He has been a busy boy since leaving Sunnydale .

I like the notion that he decides to use his second chance at unlife to atone for a century of sins .... a debt that ultimately he knows he can never pay .

Shout out for the basement apartment and connecting offices that serve as his HQ . That is a lovely set and I would move in tomorrow :D . According to the DVD commentary they had to stop using it because there was a pit in the middle which made filming tricky . Inside we see the first weapons stash and the handy connection to the underground tunnel system . Both devices were to feature heavily throughout the show .

Watching it again today , I feel they didn't quite get the drama/comedy ratio right in this episode . For me , the Buffyverse works so well because they joke in the face of horrifying evil .
 

nightshade

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I loved this, I do feel that they were planning on going darker than they did, I know they planned to have Angel feed from Tina's body and that didn't happen, but also with Cordelia's line about what do you want me to do to Russell, after Tina saying about being comforted.

I didn't like the way Angel dressed in this episode, the sweater tops just didn't seem to fit right.

I did like the bit with Angel and Tina in his place, where he only had tea, no milk or sugar, yet later on in the season he makes eggs.

Do we ever see Margo again, I don't remember? I do like seeing the different sides of Cordelia, we see her at the party and yes you can tell she's not quite the same as we last saw her in Sunnydale, but then we see her in her apartment and see how different things really are for her.

I like that we don't get a huge amount of Buffy in it. It's more a quick recap and into his own show.

I like that we are introduced to a new character, and Doyle is an easy character to help Angel along, he quickly makes it clear that he has been sent to Angel to help him but that he does have a past too.
 

Nix

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Just played catch up on the rewatch! Love this episode so much. There is;
an apparent drunkfaced Angel
a vampire in need of a breath mint
superb music
the sad acknowledgement that I'm now old as they all look so young
the introduction to a darker more adult show with Doyle saying how "high school is over" in my opinion
a rude but funny Cordy "grrrrr" at the party although I did feel sorry for her for the first time during this episode
Lindsey with his suit a size or two too big
"can you fly?"
and the most important bit.... (cause I'm a romantic at heart)..... Doyle meets and falls for Cordy.
 

Mr Trick

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City of.. is strong mission statement for the show. It does a good job of setting up a different world from Buffy but with a few similar things too. Cordy transitions pretty smoothly to the show. Doyle makes a solid debut even if I'm not the biggest fan of the character. Tina is a bit of a weak damsel character (the actress is fine though). Angel saving random women from creeps down dark alley's is one of the weak points of the first seasons. I can see the Batman link :D A strong pilot.
 

nightshade

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A few questions for those that have watched,

What did you think of Russell?

Did you think that it was a good pilot for someone that hasn't watched Buffy?

Was there any parts you would change?

Did Cordelia have too much faith in Angel, when she spoke of him to Russell?
 

Mr Trick

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A few questions for those that have watched,

What did you think of Russell?

Did you think that it was a good pilot for someone that hasn't watched Buffy?

Was there any parts you would change?

Did Cordelia have too much faith in Angel, when she spoke of him to Russell?
1. He's fine as a one shot villain. The actor convinces as a slimy character.

2. I do. It does work quite well as a standalone and is a good preview of the sort of themes the show tackles.


3. Think there's a case to be made that you could have reduced the Tina plot or maybe cut it. I remember Dusted arguing that Cordelia could have taken Tina's place. That actually makes sense. That way you would instantly have someone the audience cares for in trouble (as long as they'd seen Buffy). Doyle maybe rambles a bit too.

4. No, I think her experience with him on Buffy would make her confident of what he can do. Plus it was classic Cordy fighting talk! :p
 

Nix

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What did you think of Russell? Lame and ugly with a craving for power but just lame really

Did you think that it was a good pilot for someone that hasn't watched Buffy? `yes I think so, it's a good intro

Was there any parts you would change? I would have made Russell tougher lol

Did Cordelia have too much faith in Angel, when she spoke of him to Russell?No it was perfect and sweet
 

Buffy Summers

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1. What did you think of Russell?

I kept wondering why anyone would find him so attractive lol. But he wasn't likeable, which I guess is what you want from a villain.

2. Did you think that it was a good pilot for someone that hasn't watched Buffy?

Yes, I think this is something they did really well, summing up the important stuff without going into too much detail.

3. Was there any parts you would change?

I would probably recast Russell & Tina.

4. Did Cordelia have too much faith in Angel, when she spoke of him to Russell?

I don't think so - she knew who & what he was.
 

thetopher

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Very strong opening episode; the tone is markedly different, it introduces the city setting of LA with style (those flashaway cuts are very Season 1 and cinematic) and its all very stylish (and stylized).
Some good stuff to point out:

- Angel's 'fake-drunk' opening monologue works because it's both in character and not; Of course Angel would mope over a girl and heartbreak but he would never share his feelings like this in a bar with a stranger. But turns out he's on a mission, so its about a girl after all.
- The sweeping coat/turning to leave the bar and the cool fight in the alley. Style.
- Doyle's summation of Angel's curse, backstory and time on Buffy is plenty excellent. Also gives him a strong sense of character; he's very much another Whistler type.
- The scene where Cordy and Angel meet at the party. Fun and in-character.
- Angel jumping in the wrong car. Hehe.
- Angel's awkward interactions with Tina are spot on. The Montana depression thing and him offering her milk and sugar 'because I don't have those things'. Later on his base of ops will become a bit more mortal-friendly.
- Cordy believes in Angel! 'You're so gonna get your ass kicked.' Fitting that she believes in him in her first and last episodes.

- I'm gonna disagree with many and state that its important that Tina is in this episode as Angel's first mission and that its important that Angel fails to save her. It's subverts our expectations- in a good way- and sets up one of the themes of the show; fundamentally. that there will be dark times ahead, that Angel is a more imperfect hero than Buffy, he will try, he may fail, but he will then go on to try again, and its his various allies that will keep him focused on this path.

This show is not about saving the day (or the world), its about the day-to-day fighting, from that first alley to the last.

- 'Can you fly?' Hahahaaha! Love it.

What did you think of Russell?
Creepy, unpleasant, slimy one-shot villain, and worked well as that.
It's better that the episode was good at introducing two more effective villains; Lindsey and W&H.

Did you think that it was a good pilot for someone that hasn't watched Buffy?
Absolutely. Doyle's summation works very well. I would go so far as to say it would make somebody intrigued enough to go and watch Buffy if they hadn't seen it before. Buffy herself is portrayed as a true-blue heroine who turned Angel's life around and inspired him, who wouldn't want to see how?

I love that they showed Buffy's 'hero pose' from S3 'Anne', which is one of her best.

Was there any parts you would change?
Make the stunt double stuff less obvious. It's quite distracting in this episode; especially when Angel fights Russell.
Less ambition and more polished execution. Maybe re-cast Tina as well.

Did Cordelia have too much faith in Angel, when she spoke of him to Russell?
Not really. She's seen Angel as a protector-type since early S2. She's sassy but she's still basically a damsel.
 

Bluebird

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- 'Can you fly?' Hahahaaha! Love it.
I'm sure this is a reference to Clarence Boddicker



And obviously the last scene is a reference to Robocop with Russell exiting via the window
 
thetopher
thetopher
'Russell, you're fired!' And fried. :P haha, nice reference.
Mr Trick
Mr Trick
Oh that's so awesome! I was just watching Robocop 2 the other week too. Good spot!
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