Dark City: it's home to AngelWarning! Spoilers Angel and his visionary mentor Doyle
You may imagine that Angel would be a bit lost without Buffy to hold his hand. We visit the big city to find out…

Excerpt taken from Cult Times #52

Have you seen our Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel coverage in these recent issues of Cult Times?
Charisma Carpenter interview
Special #11, late 99
David Boreanaz on leaving Buffy and starting Angel
Issue #48, Aug 99
Season Three preview
Issue #47, Aug 99
Robia La Morte (Jenny Calendar) interview
Issue #46, July 99
Armin Shimerman (Principal Snyder) talks
Issue #44, May 99
Alyson Hannigan
(Willow) interview
online • cover story
Issue #43, April 99
Instant Guide online
Issue #33, June 98
Ten feisty character-defining moments
Special #10, mid-99
Please note: links are to details of each issue. Features are not necessarily on-line
Angel UK premiere on Sky 1: Fridays, 21.00 from 7th Jan 2000. See issue for details

Dinner-dinner-dinner-dinner Angel! Given the opening few minutes of the series’ début episode City of..., you might be forgiven in thinking that Tim Burton’s filmic hero had finally received the small-screen treatment he deserved.

Except that with the arrival of Irish half-demon Doyle, complete with an agenda for Angel from the powers-that-be (which might be a reference to the hokey ending of Buffy's Christmassy Season Three episode Amends), the series is about to change into something a lot more obvious. Complete the set by introducing a seen-it-all career policewoman (Detective Kate Lockley, introduced in Lonely Hearts) and you find yourself in a slightly weird cop show rather than anything a little more original.

Under Doyle’s guidance, Angel seeks out people in need (almost always women – makes you wonder where the troubled guys of LA go to) for the main reason that he’s supposed to interact with them; the one thing he’s clearly unable to do. It’s this human interest that divides Angel and Batman, and you can’t help thinking that without the human baggage, the caped crusader is actually more interesting. In attempting to create a personality for its hero, Angel has to reduce itself to a very limited damsel-in-distress plot every week.

Still, there’s a lot of value stored up in the Buffy franchise, and how appropriate that Angel is able to suck some lifeblood from Buffy and friends from time to time. Probably the two best episodes of the series so far have been those labelled by the gravely-voiced continuity announcer as “this week’s crossover event special extravaganza” (more or less). In both cases, In the Dark and I Will Remember You arrange temporary free transfers of significant characters from Buffy.

Spike is at his most hilarious and villainous in the former episode, immediately stamping his credentials on In the Dark with a hilarious overdubbed rooftop commentary as he watches Angel below him.I Will Remember You has Buffy arriving in LA to discuss some unresolved issues with the Cold One, and in the process David Boreanaz (who can act, as this episode shows: he’s just rarely allowed to) and Sarah Michelle Gellar provide one of the strongest episodes of either Buffy series...

Ian Atkins

• Buy Cult Times #52 for the full feature, as we also preview Season Four of Buffy, running back-to-back on satellite in the UK from the first Friday in 2000

Image © Sue Schneider / Moonglow Pictures
Feature © Visual Imagination 2000. Not for reproduction.