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Let me get this out of the way first:
I love the television work of Joss Whedon.
Love Firefly. (I'm very much looking forward to Serenity too.)
I am stunned that after eight years (thirteen seasons worth of television) that I won't be able to get new episodes of a Joss Whedon series next year.
Yes, they claim they'll bring back Buffy or Angel or both in t.v. movies. But frankly, I don't want to get my hopes up too high.
This season of Angel was brilliant in episode after episode. The insane Slayer. The Angel muppet. The return of Cordelia. The return of Conner.
And last night's finale... was stunning.
The really smart thing was what they left out -- ironically, mostly action. I mean face it, do we really need to SEE Gunn take out six vamps? Do we really need to see Illyria take out four demons in a car? Do we really need to see Spike take on a cult? (Well, actually it might have been fun to get a little more of this -- what with his Lone Wolf & Cub dilemma of fighting while holding a baby.)
Harmony was a bit weak, i.e. I don't mind that she betrayed Angel or that Angel knew she would, but how did she know anything to betray him with. And I've never understood the transition between the Lyndsey who left L.A. at the end of season two and the Lyndsey who came back midway through season five. Why was he suddenly Angel's enemy again? It was cool that Lorne shot him, but I have to admit I wasn't sure if it was justified. Didn't he deserve a chance at redemption? And what was the deal with Eve at the end?
But that's quibbling.
Wesley had a decent death. And an even better end. The Illyria stuff was all great.
And of course, the final final ending, with the four warriors against the horde and Angel's last line, "Personally, I'd like to
slay a dragon." was just brilliant.
This was, in my opinion, much superior to the Buffy series finale. Both had the problem of only having one hour to stuff a ton of content in. But again, Angel was much smarter about what it LEFT OUT. Buffy's finale just seemed VERY rushed to me. Anya's death barely registered, even with Xander. And did the First get any comeuppance at all?
And sure, I'll admit that the last couple seasons of Buffy suffered from a real one-step-forward-two-steps-back-then-the-SAME-step-forward syndrome.
But all these negatives are quibbling based largely on the superior quality of Joss' series in general.
How did this happen? (Not the great work. But the absense of it next year.)
Just a couple years ago, I was in Whedon heaven. Buffy. Angel. Firefly. And any minute the Buffy Animated Series (which I was SO dying to work on, but couldn't even get my foot in the door) and Ripper. How did five series (four set in the Buffyverse) drop down to zero in just 18 months?
Yes, thank god for Serenity, which is in production.
But whether he likes the grind or not, Joss was born for Series TV not one-shot movies.
I'm really going to miss him.
Guess it's time to buy the DVDs.