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"Angel" City of... (1999)

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35 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

The fantastic start of a fantastic show

Author: katierose295 from United States
13 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I only bought "Angel" on DVD, because I finished all seven seasons of BTVS and still wanted more. I pretty much expected to sit around for four seasons, waiting for Spike to join the cast and sighing sadly as Angel longed for Buffy. So imagine my surprise when I came to love "Angel" as a show in its own right. By the first episode, it's clear that this is more than just a spin-off. "Angel" is series about redemption, and family, and fighting even when you won't win. It's darker than BTVS and sometimes that's a good thing. "Angel" confronts the idea of human evil with far more depth than BTVS and Angel himself becomes one of the most complex characters in the Buffyverse. He's a hero and a villain. He makes bad choices and noble sacrifices. He can be a total goof ball or a tragic figure. I never get tried of watching him. If you're planning to see "Angel," it would probably help to watch some of BTVS, too. (Especially for the crossovers later in the season.) But, really, "Angel" is a show that can stand on it's own and "City Of..." gives you all the back story you need to jump right in.

"City Of..." revolves around Angel finding his new calling as a vamp-detective. After leaving Sunnydale in BTVS season three, Angel made his way to Los Angeles. He's been spending his days (or nights, I guess) brooding and killing vampires. Then, a demon guide named Doyle comes to Angel and tells him that the "Powers That Be" (PTB) have a mission for them. Doyle gets visions of people in trouble, and Angel's new "job" is to save them. Angel is kinna skeptical, but he agrees to go to a local café where Doyle says a woman named Tina is in trouble. It turns out that a guy named Russell is after Tina and Angel soon finds himself at a Hollywood party, watching over her. While he's there, he meets up with Cordelia. She's out in LA, trying to be an actress. Unfortunately, she's not a very good one and she's now dead broke.

After beating up Russell's goons, Angel takes Tina back to his house. When she discovers that he's a vampire, though, she runs off. Russell soon tracks her down and kills her. He's also a vampire. Angel's determined to make Russell pay. Meanwhile, Russell is after Cordy. Angel and Doyle save Cordy. She quickly joins the Angel Inc. team, declaring herself Angel's assistant and saying that they should be charging for their "Helping the Helpless" services. Angel agrees. Angel also heads down to Russell's offices and confronts him. His lawyer, Lindsay MacDonald, tells Angel that Russell is above the law. So, Angel pushes Russell out the window, and makes a new enemy: The Law Offices of Wolfram and Hart.

There's a lot to like about this episode. I like Doyle and his lecture to Angel about restoring people's faith in goodness and humanity is hilarious. A homeless woman interrupts him to ask for spare change. Doyle snaps, "Oh, get a job ya lazy sow." And without breaking his stride, continues on with his inspirational talk on universal hope and brotherhood. Also, "City Of..." introduces Angel's nemeses, Attorney Lindsay McDonald and the Law Offices of Wolfram and Hart. They'll follow his right through the series, so it's cool to see them here. And I also like that Angel doesn't save Tina. On "Angel" things sometimes turn out darker than they do on BTVS, which can make the stakes seem higher. You just don't know what will happen or who will die. And every time I watch Cordy confronting Russell in his living room, I chuckle. "I'm from Sunnydale. We have our own Hellmouth. I think that I know a vampire when I see one." Also, that scene of Angel shoving Russel right through the window is just cool. BTVS is never that open or casual about killing the bad guys.

Mostly, though, I enjoy this episode because of Angel and all of his quirks. "City Of..." is one of the first episodes that really shows Angel's social awkwardness and dry sense of humor. You just have to laugh as he tries to talk to Tina in the café. "So are you... Happy?" Angel wants to help people with their problems, but he also wants to keep a distance between himself and the world. He's willing to wait three hours for Tina to get off work, but reminiscing about Montana throws him off. "I was there once, during the Depression. During my Depression. I was depressed there." I don't think that it's just his vampire-ness making him nervous around people. He's just an isolated, lonely guy. He doesn't know how to really communicate without tripping over his words. The first genuine smile he works up on the show is for Cordelia, because he doesn't have to keep up his defenses around her. I love Angel and Cordy together. She's the only one on either show that consistently makes Angel laugh. As the show goes on, it becomes clear that Angel needs Cordelia in order to do his job and remember why he's fighting. Doyle's right. Cordelia is Angels' link to humanity.

On the down side, Angel really isn't a technology "person." I don't see him working on three computers at once as he tracks down Tina's dead friend. I think that the show was still working on how they would handle the "research" part. In later episodes, other characters usually handle that side of things, while Angel complains about having to use a cell-phone. Also, how does Angel afford that office/apartment?

My favorite part of the episode: Angel fighting the bad guys in a parking garage, leaping into his convertible, prepared to heroically chase after the villains and rescue the girl... Only to realize that he's jumped in the wrong car. "D*mn."

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

I'm game

Author: Juan Sarmiento from Netherlands
12 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm game - The first episode of my most beloved and worshiped show; ANGEL. What I love about this episode is that it managed to show what kind of series ANGEL was going to be. ANGEL is not the typical show with the happy ever afters, it's the kind show where not every single story has a happy ending. For example, in this episode, 'Angel' doesn't save the damsel in distress, what matters is that he tried and made the world better by pushing the bad guy out of the window. The episode also introduced the most loved halfbreed 'Doyle', it's definitely love at first sight, he's funny, lovable, heartwarming etc etc. His chemistry with 'Angel' and 'Cordy' worked perfectly, something that 'Wes', 'Gunn' and 'Fred' never manage to get. I also digged the make-up in this episode, too bad that they didn't think it worked and went back to the vampire make-up on 'Buffy', one of the reasons I liked it better is that it was 'different' which made the show less dependable and more on it's own. It's very fun to watch this episode and see how it all began, especially 'Cordy' being a selfish, shallow b#tch. 'Tracy Middendorf' does a great job as 'Tina' and it's fun to see 'Josh Holloway' having a small role as one of the first vampires that gets dusted. All in all, this was a fabulous show opener, great writing and I loved the bat-cave feeling to it. ANGEL: Why would a woman I don't know want to talk to me? DOYLE: Have you looked in a mirror lately? Well, no, I guess you haven't. (9.0 out of 10)

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good beginning but not compared to the heights Angel will eventually soar to.

Author: Joxerlives from United Kingdom
20 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

City of Angels

The Good; Impressive opening scenes, funny yet moving. Love Angel choosing the wrong car and very surprising that he doesn't save the girl, at least not the guest star (they use the same time difference trick as they did in Helpless to convince you he will). Especially loved him killing Winters at the end, real vicious stick it in and break it off revenge, great stunt, great effect. Cordy realising that Winter's is a vamp and him initially denying it is also fun.

The Bad; If Winters had all this security at his house how can Angel just walk into his office?

Best line: Angel; "Can you fly?"

Jeez, how did they get away with that? Winters killing the heroine is very brutal. Also the whole sugar-daddy/casting couch scenario shows the stark reality behind the Hollywood glamour.

Apocalypses: 4

Angel Clichés Damsel in distress; 1

Inverting the Hollywood cliché; Doyle rams the gates of the Winter's mansion but they seem surprisingly resilient. Also Angel fails to save the girl.

In disguise; Angel does his rube in the big city act for the first time

DB get's his shirt off; in order to allow Doyle and Cordy to remove the bullets. Yeah, right!

Fang Gang in bondage: no but he knocks out and ties up the guard at the mansion Cordy: 5 Angel: 4 Wes: 1

Fang gang knocked out: no but Angel knocks out about 4 guys Cordy: 6 Angel: 6 Wes: 1

Kills: Cordy: none this ep. 3 vamps, ½ a demon from her time in Sunnydale Angel: kills 4 vamps in the opening episode which is remarkable as according to Boo's figures he only killed 3 in the whole 3 seasons of Buffy. So that gives Angel 7 vamps, 1 demon, 1 human.

Fang Gang go evil: Cordy: 1 Angel: 1

Alternate Fang Gang: Cordy: 1 Angel: 3

Characters killed: 2; Tina and her missing friend Denise (offscreen)

Total number of Angel Investigations: 3, Angel, Doyle and Cordy

Angel Investigations shot: Angel: 4, pumped full of lead by Winter's bodyguards

Notches on Fang Gang bedpost: Cordy: 1? Angel: 1;Buffy

Kinky dinky: Tina appears to be Winter's kept woman. She describes him as 'liking pain' (his own or other peoples?). Cordy also considers him for a sugar-daddy much the same as she'll consider doing later to David Nabbit. Tina offers herself to Angel as a reward for saving her but like the white knight he is he gently turns her down.

Captain Subtext; Oliver at the party considers Angel a 'beautiful man' but only on a professional basis, he's currently in a long term relationship with a landscape gardener. 'Drunk' Angel also gives the appearance of hitting on the guy in the bar.

Questions and observations; Doyle drinks Colt .45 beer, the equivalent of Tennants Extra in the UK, pretty much in keeping with the down at heel nature of his character. First appearance of Lindsey, he and Angel are the only characters who appear in both the first and last eps of the series. Angel goes all Punisher finding his way to Winters, not hesitating to beat and threaten his way to his goal. The series already appearing much darker and more adult than Buffy. Angel's narration is similar to Angelus' in Passion and Whistler's in Becoming. It's also reminiscent of the classic noir crime fiction set in LA, could easily be the The Black Dahalia or LA Confidential or Chinatown. When I first saw this I wasn't sure if Winters was a vamp or not, the vamp makeup is subtly different but will eventually fall back into resembling that on Buffy once more. Angel was in Montanna during the depression, maybe Spike's line about vampire cowboy wasn't too far off the mark? Angel tells Cordy there's no cure for vamparism but we'll actually find 3 in the first season alone. Cordy refers to Angel having never developed an investment portfolio but he must get money from somewhere, he seems very well to do. The money he and Darla stole from their victims or does he just have loads of bank accounts with 200 years of interest to collect, Highlander style? Angel shows some knowledge of explosives which he'll also use in Dad but according to the dialogue he's seen 14 wars and Vietnam in his time. Nice crossover when he phones Buffy in Sunnydale.

Marks out of 10; 6/10, good beginning but not compared to the heights Angel will eventually soar to.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

City Of: The Beginnings of Angel

Author: Nick27388 from United States
22 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After three seasons on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", David Boreanaz has got his own show. "City Of" is the first episode of the spin-off, and it gives us a taste of what the entire series is about.

What sets this premiere apart from the pilot of Buffy? Well, for starters, length. Buffy had a two part episode to find its footing. Angel only gets 40 minutes. But the episode pulls it off.

The episode itself is rather simple. Nothing really out of the ordinary. Angel has isolated himself away from Buffy, although all he does is move to another city in the same state as her. While in Los Angeles, CA, Angel is contacted by an Irish half demon named Doyle. Doyle tells Angel that they have a mission to save people. Their fist assignment? A young, blonde woman working as a waitress. Her name is Tina, and she's got that wounded bird feel to her that our brooding hero can easily connect with. Tina is being hounded by someone called Russell, and she apparently needs protection.

Angel drives her around Los Angeles and they eventually end up at a party. At the party, Angel sees another Buffy alumni, Cordelia Chase. Cordelia comes off as her usual self, but, as we see later in the episode, she is struggling without her old, glamorous life. Meanwhile, Angel takes Tina back to his Batcave or Fortress of Solitude, whichever you prefer. While there, the two have a very touching moment, up until the point when Tina starts freaking out because she thinks Angel may be stalking her. She runs off, right into the arms of the vile Russell, who is revealed to be (of course) a vampire. We see Angel rushing to save her, and he stops Russell from eating the poor Tina. OH WAIT! Nope. Angel actually FAILS to save the blonde girl, in a pretty fun twist. I mean, wow. Way to lay on the hurt, Joss.

Angel then goes on a one-man rampage as he tries to hunt down Russell, who has now set his eyes and teeth on Cordelia. Angel and Doyle rush to Russell's estate, where Angel and Russell have a small fight and Angel rushes Cordelia away. In the climax of the episode, our villain is meeting with a snappy young lawyer (the recurring character Lindsey McDonald) who says they are currently looking for Angel. But Angel barges into the office and threatens Russell. Russell counters with a monologue about how things are different in L.A. (as opposed to Sunnydale). He basically tells Angel to grow up and start living in the adult world, not high school (something said by Doyle earlier in the episode). Russell then gloats a bit more before Angel sends Russell OUT A WINDOW, where Russell burns alive from the sunlight before he even hits the ground.

At the end of the episode, Angel, Cordelia, and Doyle have a group meeting of sorts, where they decide to start "Angel Investigations", the group that will be the center of the entire series. Angel ends the episode with a simple phrase: "I'm game." The end.

So, now for the review. I do like this episode overall. It's certainly not as strong or as fun as other episodes in the series. But it is the first episode, so I'm going to cut it some slack.

WHY WATCH IT: Three reasons: 1. The scene with Tina and Angel in the apartment, where Tina says Angel is in the wrong town. 2. Cordelia and Russell in his house. 3. Angel killing Russell in one of the best vampire killings in the whole Buffyverse.

And, hey, it's the first episode. It gave us our characters and a good plot to start off with. The only reason I don't rate it higher is because there are really better episodes out there. 8/10 from me.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Angel: City of...helps in saying goodbye to the WB

Author: tavm from Baton Rouge, La.
19 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sunday, September 17, 2006 marked the official end of the WB network. It was marked by the showing of the following pilots: Felicity, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dawson's Creek. Angel follows the character from BtVS to L.A. where he's been saving various women from vampires by killing them. As the pilot begins, we hear Angel in voice-over talking about the city and why he left Sunnydale to a stranger in a bar. Josh Holloway before he reached stardom in Lost comes in and picks up a woman. We follow him outside where he reveals himself as a vampire to her with a couple of other ones waiting with him. Angel interrupts and manages to slay them all then tells the women he just saved to go away before the opening credits. Later on, we meet Doyle, a demon whose migraines inform Angel of various potential victims and also from Buffy, Cordelia Chase, who moves to L.A. to search for acting stardom. David Boreanaz, Glenn Quinn, and Chrisma Carpenter are fine in the above mentioned roles and while the episodes were originally supposed to be self-contained, like Buffy it's the serialized story lines that we remember. Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt's writing and Whedon's direction are excellent for a genre series pilot and the darker tone sets it apart from Buffy though the humor is quite similar, refreshingly so. In showing Angel on its last broadcast day, the WB is paying tribute to the quality genre series that they helped flourish with. So here's to you WB, may your spirit live on in the CW...

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Pilots rarely succeed, but in the case of Angel's pilot, it is one of the show's best.

Author: SLionsCricketreviews
5 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This review features episode spoilers and minor foreshadowing of later seasons

Near the beginning of "City of...", Doyle warns Angel that "high school's over", a direct message to the audience that "Angel" will go to territory that "Buffy" dared not go. Where "Buffy" was about the difficulties of high school, and the burden of adult responsibilities, "Angel" is about the ordeals that one faces during adulthood. Darker and grittier than its parent show, "City of..." perfectly encapsulates the overall tone and purpose of "Angel". Where "Buffy" was forced to endure a dreadfully poor first season, "Angel" is instantly captivating. The pilot, "City of..." is not just one of the season's best episodes, not just one of the show's best episodes but it is a near perfect pilot to an excellent show.

After the events of "Graduation Day Pt. 2", Angel leaves Sunnydale and moves to L.A. He is met by half demon Doyle, who guides him on his quest to do good. Doyle brings to Angel's attention a girl named Tina, working at a café, who seems deeply troubled.

From the opening scene to this episode, which is both hilarious when Angel "drunkenly" says to a man that he reminds him of Buffy, or the badassery with which he dispatches a group of vampires, "City of..." is full of scenes that are awe strikingly excellent and dialogue that zips and captivates. The sudden change in tone of the opening scene, from classic Whedon humour to darkness is a comforting thought for "Buffy" fans. "Angel" will cover dark territory, but it will not shy away from the charm that helped "Buffy" reach global success. Yet, "City of..." provides such minute details that are unique to the Buffyverse, that make the world that much richer. One of the most primary examples of "Angel" being uniquely excellent was the idea to have Angel using wrist mounted stakes to dispatch two vampires in the opening scene. This added some more variety to the very standard means of vampire staking as represented in "Buffy".

In this scene we also see Angel's lust for human blood, after the events of "Graduation Day Pt. 1" and his fierce desires to avoid human contact. When one of the near victims attempts to thank him, Angel notices blood on her forehead and warns her, frighteningly, "Get away from me!". This moment, in short, represents how Angel now attempts to ostracize himself from those around him and strives to do good. Doyle's presence will change Angel's viewpoint of his own quest.

"City of..." brings forth two quintessential players into "Angel" in Glenn Quinn's delightful half demon, Doyle, and Charisma Carpenter's returning Cordelia Chase. Although Doyle's credits on "Angel" is sadly, very short lived, his presence is immortalized. This is proved in Season 5's "You're Welcome", where Angel and Cordelia react quite emotionally to Doyle's name being used as a puppet by Lindsey. In this episode, we do not see much depth to Doyle but he does utter to Angel, "We all have something to atone for", which implies hidden motivations to help Angel in his quest for atonement.

Cordelia goes from the very typical high school antagonist, a self centered and vain individual, to ultimately a heroine later in "Angel". Cordelia has gone through subtle changes on "Buffy" but "Angel" takes this character to greater depth. One moment I loved from "City of..." is when Cordelia, having just met with Angel and exchanged a casual conversation, accurately and sharply states to Angel, "I really should be talking to people that are somebody...but it was fun!" There is an innocence, an almost blissful obliviousness to the fact that what she is saying can be labeled as a hurtful insult. Yet, this is who Cordelia is. She is someone who is as honest as honest can get, although this is not necessarily always a positive quality. In "Buffy's" "Earshot", she literally states that which is on her mind. And here in "City of...", she hurtfully states the truth that Angel is a nobody, but does it with a childlike mindlessness that becomes fun.

The episode itself is a fairly basic plot, with general character introductions and in some cases, re-introductions. When Angel meets Tina, the troubled girl who works at the café, he grows a mutual connection to her. As she is hunted and haunted by Russel Winters, Angel is by haunted by his past. Both characters, despite the people around them, feel very different and as a result, feel isolated. And yet, "City of..." does not resort to a cliché as Angel ultimately cannot save Tina from her dreaded fate. By the end of "City of...", Angel realizes there is no big defeat in his achievement, no party and no celebration to be had. This is the message in "Angel" and it is what makes the character's personal journey throughout the series fascinating. "Angel" also is capable of killing any significant players during the course of the show, whilst "Buffy" did not often dare to.

Much like Tina, Russel Winters also leaves an impression behind. Although he only features in this episode, and is rarely mentioned in later seasons, Winters is quite an interesting character. He revels in the pains of others, like Angelus, but he is also quite disconnected and seemingly discontent with the world, like Angel. Vyto Ruginis does an excellent job of playing the character, making him both intimidating and slightly sympathetic as a character. He provides just the ever so slight depth to the character, where we sense that Russel is a very isolated person. Unfortunately, Ruginis had arguably the most horrendous and most aesthetically repelling vampire effects on either show to work with. That there, is arguably the episode's only sin.

"City of..." is a quintessential example of a how to make a pilot episode.

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The One Where It All Begins...

Author: Taylor Kingston from Australia
26 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The City Of... It really is the City Of Angels. Well, at least one Angel. This episode starts with Angel, getting drunk in a bar, talking about Buffy to a random guy. Eventually Doyle comes to him. Doyle has visions, and is half demon. He was sent to Angel by The Powers That Be to help him reach his full potential, and achieve his destiny. Along the way, Angel meets with a Sunnydale leaver, Cordelia. Together, the three of them, start Angel Investigations, and that's what the show is about.

I think this episode is a pretty good pilot, it could have been better in some ways, but overall, I give this episode a 7 out of 10. Not bad for a series premiere.

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Can You Fly?

Author: Jakemcclake from United States
12 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Can Angel fly as a TV series?

Can a storyline that has Angel on his own, without Buffy, and fighting the evils of LA, fly with the public?.

Can a storyline showing that the evils of LA also include many vampires and demons, not to mention an vampire protecting law firm, fly with viewers?

In this series opener, the show gets off to a great start. Angel shows he is the new hero of LA in the first scene. The powerful musical theme of Angel immediately plays as that scene ends. As the show continues, Angel shows he will be there to protect people in LA.

Cordelia played by Charisma Caprenter shows up in LA boasting about her new life/career as an actress and we are led to believe she has not changed from the person she was in Buffy. However, we find out later that she has been greatly humbled. Charisma plays Cordelia with more depth in this new series as she shows her vulnerablitiy very well. She becomes very likable.

A vampire named Russell Winter has killed one of Angel's friends is determined to kill Cordelia.

When Angel breaks into a meeting, Russell the vampire sits in a comfortable chair, and tells Angel that he does not know how things are done in LA. With his army of lawyers present, this vampire says he pays his taxes and keeps his name out of the papers, and as a result, he can do anything he wants.

But Angel thinks of one thing he might not be able to do.

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8 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

LA Is The City Of ANGELs

Author: WakenPayne from Valhalla
31 October 2010

After Angel has left Sunnydale he comes to LA. He finds out that LA is not only about stars and money. When he meets Doyle and Cordelia they decide to start a service to "protect the helpless". Before BtVS I Went To Check Out Angel Because I Heared It Was One Of The Few Spin-Off's That Are Better Than The Original...& After Seeing Angel Seasons 1, 2, 3 & Most Of 5 & A Little Of Season 4 & Buffy Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & The First 7 Episodes & The Last Episode Of Season 7 I Agree. Angel Is One Of Those Spin-Off's That You Don't Have To Watch The Original To Get It But If You Do Watch The Original It Would Be A Better Series. I Also Liked Doyle Replacing Whistler Because It Would Be One Of The Other Spin-Offs Where You Have To Watch The Original To Understand It. Angel To Be Honest Was My Favourite Character Of Buffy So When He Left I Had To Find Someone Else & I Chose Spike Who Came In Season 5 As A Main Cast Member. This Is Simply The Best Pilot I Have Ever Seen The Follow Up Is HIMYM Pilot. The Introduction To Wolfram & Hart Is Straight Forward & Simple & When I First Saw This I Wasn't A Cordelia Fan But I Grew To Like Her & This Was The First Time I Ever Saw David Boreanaz In A Role & He Became My Favourite Actor Within Minutes & Glenn Quinn Amazed Me As Doyle. All In All An Amazing Pilot.

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