Ranking the top 5 episodes of “Angel”

Happy Wednesday TV Fans!  I just finished my Angel re-watch and I’m left wanting more!  I mean, we were left with a cliffhanger in the end, but there is something to be said about this series, which truly resonates with me.  For today, I am going to be ranking my top 5 episodes from Angel Over my many re-watches of the show, these episodes still stand out and captivate my undivided attention.  The series has so many great episodes and I have plenty of honorable mentions as well because it was truly difficult to just pick five episodes.  Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this show has a lot of funny moments, but it is also very dark and extremely heartbreaking.  I relate to the characters on this show so much and I think that’s why some of these episodes truly stand out for me.

It’s not just about advancing the plot or introducing a new big bad.  These episodes mark epic moments, but they also remind us how much we truly connect to these characters, even after all this time.  While some episodes are shocking, other ones are beyond heartbreaking, but they are absolutely brilliant and worthy of a discussion for sure.  During my re-watch, I chatted with so many Buffy and Angel fans and it was interesting to see which episodes stood out for them compared to my own.  While I may have my own personal preferences, it just furthers my opinion that Angel is an underrated spin-off and deserves some recognition as a standalone series as well.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not yet watched the series.  My top 5 episodes from Angel are:

5

“Rm w/a Vu” (Season 1, episode 5)

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Cordy:  I’m not a sniveling whiny little Cry-Buffy.  I’m the nastiest girl in Sunnydale history. I take crap from no one…Back off!  Polygrip.  You think *you’re* bad?  Being all mean and haunty?   Picking on poor pathetic Cordy?  Well, get ready to haul your wrinkly translucent ass out of this place, because lady, the bitch is back.

Maude:  Do you think that I’m going to take that from trash like you?

Cordy:  I tell you what I think.  I think that you’re going to pack your little ghost bags and get the HELL OUT OF MY HOUSE!

So for me, this episode has to be the one that hooked me onto Angel for good.  When I first began watching Angel, it coincided with season 4 of Buffy and I was mostly looking for crossover events.  However, this episode changed all of that for me.  I always loved Cordelia Chase on Buffy, played by the amazing and beautiful, Charisma Carpenter.  However, she didn’t always get enough screen time on Buffy and she started to really grow as a character toward the end of season 3.  She even staked her very first vampire at graduation!  I was excited to see her on Angel and this episode allowed her to step out of her supporting role and into a leading one with flair.  This episode is absolutely hilarious and kind of creepy at the same time.  I have to admit that I always hesitate before looking in the mirror in the bathroom just because of this very episode.  I mean, you never know if Maude is still hanging around.  I love this episode because Angel and Doyle are trying to fight off other demons, but it’s Cordelia who needs to find the strength within herself to cast out the ghost of Maude, proving that you should never underestimate a girl with confidence and attitude.

4

“Reunion” (Season 2, episode 10)

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Lilah:  For god’s sake, help us.

Holland:  Angel – please. – People are going to die.

Angel:  And yet, somehow, I just can’t seem to care.

My top 5 list would not be complete without including “Reunion.”  I absolutely adore both Drusilla and Darla and often felt like they didn’t get enough time on Buffy either.  Fear not, these bad-ass ladies make their triumphant return on Angel and wreak havoc on the entire city.  After being brought back from the dead, Darla realizes that she is dying as a mortal and the lawyers of Wolfram & Hart enlist Drusilla to turn Darla back into a vampire.  In this episode, these two ladies go shopping, which is enough to make this episode truly stand out, especially when Drusilla starts “ringing all over.”  I mean, you gotta love modern technology.  However, they do not stop here, as they decide to go to the Wolfram & Hart party and truly make a splash.  Darla reminds Holland and the other lawyers that they ordered a massacre and these two ladies show up to bring the massacre to them.  While this moment is shocking on its own, Angel shows up and closes the doors on the lawyers, turning his back on them and refusing to help.  Drusilla recognizes that this man is not Angelus, but Angel’s humanity is tainted here, as he gives up and even fires his team at the end of the episode, causing our fearless leader to question everything.

3

“Birthday” (Season 3, episode 11)

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Skip:  You may wanna think about that. The only way *you* get to keep the visions is by becoming – part demon. The process isn’t easy. It’ll make your vision pain feel like a stroll through candyland. And even after the pain subsides the effects of the transition will be numerous and unpredictable. You may never be able to lead a human life again.

Cordy:  So – demonize me already.

I love this episode because it is a Cordy-centric one; however, it also allows Cordelia to really transform and grow as a selfless hero, which is extremely important.  In this episode, Cordelia’s painful visions catch up with her, as she ends up in some kind of deep sleep or coma, as Angel and her friends try to help her.  Cordelia ends up in a limbo of sorts and meets her guide, Skip, who is a hilarious demon that really almost deserves his own spin-off series.  Cordelia is brought to a mall so she feels comfortable and is given the chance to re-write her life.  Skip makes it so she never bumped into Angel at the party in LA and she ends up becoming famous with her own show, Cordy!  It seems like she has the perfect life, but Cordelia’s path intertwines with helping the helpless and she later makes the decision to accept her visions and become part demon.  Skip warns her that there will be consequences, but Cordelia is ready to accept her fate, understanding that it is her true purpose to help others.  This episode is so important because we have really seen Cordelia’s goodness shine through, as she will do anything to help.  In previous seasons of Buffy and maybe even earlier on Angel, Cordelia would have taken her shiny new life and ran with it, but she’s not that girl anymore.  She has become a hero one can truly be proud of and she’s ready to embrace her new destiny. 

2

“Not Fade Away” (Season 5, episode 22)

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Illyria:  You’re fading. You’ll last 10 minutes at best.

Gunn:  Then let’s make ’em memorable.

Spike:  In terms of a plan?

Angel:  We fight.

Spike:  Bit more specific.

Angel:  Well, personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon…Let’s go to work.

I was a little torn between my number 1 and 2 picks, but I am going to give the series finale of Angel my number 2 spot.  However, please note that this was a very difficult decision because this episode is fantastic.  Season 5 really got things back on track for the show, but it also provided us with some heartbreaking moments that still make me cry today.  In the series finale, the apocalypse we have been hearing about for 5 seasons is finally unleashed by Wolfram & Hart.  Angel and his team are ready to fight, even though the odds are definitely not in their favor.  The episode does a great job of summing certain things up and providing us with some closure.  For example, we get to see Harmony being Harmony and Connor returns to stand by his father’s side, which is important.  We also get to see some heartbreaking closure for Wesley as well, which I am going to devote another blog entry to, so stay tuned on that.  At the end of the episode, it is raining and our remaining heroes debate over the plan.  Angel wants to fight the dragon of course and simply tells them to “go to work,” leaving fans with a major cliffhanger at the end of the series.  So, we don’t know if the prophecy will be fulfilled and if Angel will eventually become human and we don’t know the fate of some of our remaining characters as well.  However, I think this series finale is one of the best I have seen on any show because it reminds us what the show is about.  While Buffy had more closure and the opportunity to do whatever she wanted at the end of the series, Angel and his team are left fighting the good fight, which is why he came to LA in the first place.  It’s not about achieving the happily ever after.  It’s about the fight until the very end to “help the helpless” and that’s exactly what Angel and the others do.

Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one episode of Angel are:

  • “I Will Remember You”
  • “Hero”
  • “Eternity”
  • “Five by Five”
  • “To Shanshu in L.A.”
  • “Guise Will Be Guise”
  • “Darla”
  • “Disharmony”
  • “Lullaby”
  • “Forgiving”
  • “Awakening”
  • “Soulless”
  • “Salvage”
  • “Life of the Party”
  • “Destiny”
  • “Harm’s Way”
  • “A Hole in the World”
  • “Shells”

1

“You’re Welcome” (Season 5, episode 12)

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Angel:  I need you here.

Cordy:  Don’t make it hard, Angel. I’m just on a different road… and this is my off-ramp. The Powers That Be owed me one, and I didn’t waste it. I got my guy back on track…We take what we can get, champ, and we do our best with it. I’ll be seeing you.

Oh, what the hell. One for the road?

There really has to be something said for the 100th episode of this series.  I remember being so disappointed when I saw that Cordelia was no longer in the main credits at the start of season 5 and I was wondering if she would ever wake up from her coma.  In this episode, fans get their wish and Cordelia returns.  Her bright smile is back and she is excited for some “shopping” with Angel and Wesley, giving fans a real sense of nostalgia and appreciation for the start of the series.  The episode is absolutely brilliant from start to finish, but nothing could prepare me for the very end.  Joss Whedon is fantastic at creating twists that we never see coming and that’s what he did here.  Cordelia reveals that it’s no longer her time and that the “Powers That Be” owed her one, allowing her to get Angel back on track with his destiny.

Throughout the series, Angel and Cordelia had a will-they-won’t-they vibe going on and I really loved the chemistry between these two.  That being said, I am a Buffy & Angel fan for life, but I’m not going to knock the connection between Angel and Cordelia.  After missing literally every opportunity to be together previously, it seems like they are now going to get a chance at a “happily ever after.”  Only this is a Joss Whedon show and happily ever after is not possible, as we learn that Cordelia never wakes up from her coma and Angel is informed at the end of the episode that she died.  Angel is initially confused, as he tells the person on the phone that she is standing right there, but realizes that she is gone.  However, Cordelia does her job by reminding Angel what he stands for and they even get the chance to share an epic kiss that had me swooning for sure.  In classic Cordy-style, she says, “You’re welcome” at the end of the episode and we are left with Angel simply saying, “Thank you,” which broke my heart all over again, as he is now standing there alone.

I hope you enjoyed the list and please feel free to post some of your thoughts on your own favorite episodes from Angel below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Angel and cordy gif 1

**I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

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Ranking the top 5 villains from “Angel”

Happy Wednesday TV Fans!  For today, I have returned to one of my old favorites, Angel, as I am currently on the last season of my re-watch.  I have such an appreciation for this spin-off series of Buffy, as it really was not afraid to dive deeper into the darkness that exists all around us.  Angel Investigations had a mission to “help the helpless” and they did run into their fair share of villains along the way.  However, they faced some demons they never saw coming, some evil foes from their past, and even villains among each other.  These villains became worthy opponents who continued to threaten our beloved characters and the world.  Each villain was unique and terrifying in their own way, but they continuously challenged Angel.  Whether they used the law and corruption to further their agenda or just smashed everything in sight, they deserve a spot in my top 5.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch the series yet. My top 5 villains from Angel are:

5

Holtz collage

Holtz

Daniel Holtz is a vampire hunter from Angel’s past and he made a deal with a demon named Sahjan so that he could get his revenge on Angel and Darla.  Holtz is the main villain in season 3 and returns from a state of suspended animation to take out “Angelus” once and for all.  Holtz learns that the vampire he knew from long ago is now with a soul, but he still wants to make him suffer.  Angelus killed Holtz’s family and Holtz wants to even the score.  He is a formidable villain because he successfully takes away the one thing that Angel truly cares about.  He doesn’t kill Angel’s son, but he abducts him and takes him to another dimension with the help of Wesley’s betrayal.  Angel’s son, Connor, ends up growing up in another dimension and is raised by Holtz.  Holtz continues to manipulate this love and even has his right hand partner in crime, Justine, kill him so it looks like Angel did it.  Holtz wants to ensure that Angel’s son will hate him for the rest of time, which is a revenge that would hurt Angel more than any other type of torture thrown his way.  Holtz was contemplative in his plan and truly impacted Angel, proving to be a villain worthy of my top 5 for sure.

4

The beast collage

The Beast

The Beast is a nearly unstoppable demon that emerges in season 4.  When Cordelia returns to earth, she has visions about this particular demon, which seems to be connected to Connor somehow.  The Beast is very powerful and Angel has a tough time fighting him.  The Beast begins killing members of the “Ra-Tet” to successfully banish the sun.  The Beast is all about destruction, but we eventually learn that his strings are being pulled by Jasmine, who has taken over Cordelia’s body.  Even though The Beast is not a master manipulator, he is powerful enough to hurt everyone in his path, including Faith, who tries to help bring back Angel once he is turned into Angelus.  The Beast was a villain made for nightmares and he definitely gave me some during my re-watch and he may have been Angel’s toughest opponent when it comes to combat.

3

Dru and darla collage

Darla & Drusilla

The delicious and dark duo that wreaked havoc in season 2 absolutely deserve a spot on my list.  By themselves, Darla and Drusilla prove to be dangerous, but as a tag team they are truly masterful.  After Darla is brought back as a human in season 2, Wolfram & Hart recruit Drusilla to turn her into a vampire.  These two bad-ass ladies just want to have fun, as they even go on a shopping spree that is to die for…literally.  Angel has close ties to both of them from his past, which makes them formidable foes.  My favorite episode with them is “Reunion,” (Season 2, episode 10), where they decide to turn the tables on Wolfram & Hart and deliver a “massacre” just like they ordered.  Only the massacre is on the lawyers, as they kill everyone at the party except for Lindsey and Lilah.  They even spark a darkness within Angel, as he allows Darla and Drusilla to kill everyone at the party.  He is not Angelus in this moment, but something else, as his past consumes him and he almost turns off his humanity here, which proves just how dangerous this duo was.

2

Jasmine collage

Jasmine

After fans were initially shocked that Cordelia could be the potential big bad in Season 4, we learn that Jasmine has been controlling her and pulling the strings.  Cordelia ends up giving birth to Jasmine, which puts her into a coma, and the goddess is released into the world.  You would think that Jasmine would be all about destruction, but her methods are different, as she creates a world of “shiny happy people.”  You know she was evil when she got Angel to wear yellow.  Everyone is enamored by Jasmine, as they flock to her and will do anything to make her happy, which is beyond dangerous.  Later on, Fred is exposed to Jasmine’s blood and sees the true face of Jasmine, which consists of maggots and rotting flesh.  Thanks to Fred, everyone else is eventually able to see what Jasmine truly is and we learn that she consumes large groups of people at a time to maintain her strength.  So, basically she eats people, but in a happy, cheery way.  Jasmine is a worthy villain because she was able to successfully infiltrate Angel’s group and use Cordelia to be reborn into the world.  She was also a villain that Angel could not just merely fight and attack, as her manipulation of the world was something transcendent of violence, but luckily we had our girl Fred there to make a difference.

Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one pick are:

  • Angelus
  • Illyria (although I don’t personally classify her as a villain)
  • Skip
  • Vocah

1

WOlfram collage.jpg

Wolfram & Hart

It should be no surprise that my favorite villain has to go to “Wolfram & Hart.”  I decided to keep them as a collective, rather than break them up individually, because that was the point of this evil law firm.  While Buffy had to fight endless demons, gods, and vampires, Angel had to deal with evil lawyers who were not afraid to cut through red tape to further their agenda.  My standout lawyers from Wolfram & Hart were Lindsey and Lilah, but the entire concept of an evil law firm was pure genius.  The lawyers of Wolfram & Hart successfully use manipulation and corruption, which is not something Angel can just easily fight or attack.  They actually helped Angel become an even stronger hero, as he needed to think outside the box to outsmart them again and again.  In season 5, Angel is presented with the opportunity to lead the Wolfram & Hart branch in LA, which was a shock to many viewers.  Even though Angel tries to do good with the resources he now has readily available, there are still consequences and threats thrown his way.  The ultimate last apocalypse of the series is unleashed from Wolfram & Hart, which reminded us that they were the very source of the evil walking the earth.  Whether you love them or hate them, you have to respect the unique methods of Wolfram & Hart, as this law firm absolutely earns my top spot today.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to share some of your own thoughts and comments on your favorite villains from Angel. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**Don’t miss out on My Bloody Valentine’s Week book promotion for The Search for Alice!  It will be on sale for 99 cents from 2/11/19-2/17-19 and free with Kindle Unlimited! 

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@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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Ranking the top 5 couples from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

“If my heart could beat, it would break my chest” (Spike).  When you think about epic love, what comes to mind?  Is it that indescribable feeling that you get within your gut?  Is it the tears that pour down your face when you witness a significant moment that will change your outlook on love forever?  I think that epic love can be described in so many different ways and that is what makes it so incredibly powerful.  It can be passionate and fiery or even one-sided, but there is something to be said about the things we do for love.  As I am re-watching one of my all time favorite television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I have realized that Joss Whedon does an incredible job of introducing us to so many great loves on the show.  They don’t end up living happily ever after, but that’s what makes them so real and consuming.  We watch our favorite characters go through heartbreaking moments, as they desperately try to pick up the pieces when it seems impossible to do so.  However, we cannot deny the chemistry and beautiful connections they have shared, touching our hearts and souls in the process.  Please note spoilers are ahead.  My top five ships from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are:

5

Giles & Jenny

Giles and jenny collage

Giles:  In my years as watcher, I’ve buried too many people.  But Jenny was the first I loved.(Passion, season 2 episode 17)

The budding romance between Giles and Jenny was absolutely delightful to watch.  Even though they both often spent their time supervising Buffy and the Scoobies, they had some undeniably sweet moments together and real chemistry.  Jenny often teased Giles and he would get baffled in front of her, which was absolutely adorable.  However, a strain was put on their relationship after Jenny was possessed by a demon targeting Giles.  We then later found out that Jenny was sent to Sunnydale to watch Angel, as her ancestors were responsible for the curse of his soul.  Giles supported Buffy here and kept Jenny at a distance, but Buffy eventually let go of her anger and confided to Jenny that Giles did truly miss her.  In the episode, “Passion,” it looked like Giles and Jenny were finally going to get the romantic evening they deserved.  Only Angelus ripped this chance at happiness away from them.  Angelus killed Jenny to prevent her from cursing him again, but took this tragic moment much further when he staged a romantic evening for Giles at his home.  Giles walked in to rose petals and opera music with champagne and a note reading, “upstairs.”  To Giles’s horror, he discovered Jenny’s lifeless body on his bed, as the champagne glasses shattered along with his heart and ours.

4

Xander & Anya

Xander and anya collage

Xander:  I’ve gotta say something cause I don’t think I’ve made it clear.  I’m in love with you.  Powerfully, painfully in love.  The things you do, the way you think, the way you move…I get excited every time I’m about to see you.  You make me feel like I’ve never felt before in my life.  Like a man.  I just thought you might wanna know. (Into the Woods, season 5 episode 10)

There is something to be truly said about the quirky and adorable love between Xander and Anya.  Anya initially came to Sunnydale as a demon to grant Cordelia’s wish in season 3, but she ended up human when this backfired.  Anya soon found herself attached to Xander and the two started an interesting relationship together.  While it first seemed like a relationship of convenience, Xander began to truly fall in love with Anya.  Even though Anya typically said the wrong thing at the wrong moment, you couldn’t help but adore her.  Anya also started to truly feel for Xander, which really helped her develop as a mortal, as she finally started to understand what it meant to be human.  When Xander and Anya were about to get married, I thought that two of our favorite characters were going to get the happily ever after ending that they deserved.  Only Xander had second thoughts and didn’t go through with the wedding after witnessing how his father treated his mother and seeing something similar in an alternate future for him and Anya.  This moment is truly heartbreaking, as Anya loved Xander so completely.  Xander felt like he was doing the right thing here, but my heart goes out to Anya.

3

Buffy & Spike

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Spike:  I’m not asking you for anything.  When I say I love you, it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you.  It has nothing to do with me.  I love what you are, what you do, how you try…I’ve seen your kindness and your strength, I’ve seen the best of you and the worst of you and I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are.  You’re a hell of a woman.  You’re the one, Buffy.  (Touched, season 7, episode 20)

I always felt a spark between Buffy and Spike even when they were mortal enemies.  There was just an undeniable sense of desire between them and I often used to wonder about what would happen if they ended up together.  In the episode, “Something Blue,” fans got a chance to see a potential for these two when Willow’s spell went horribly wrong and Buffy and Spike said that they were getting married.  When Spike got the chip in his head, he was no longer able to hurt anyone, but this became even more complicated for him when he became infatuated with Buffy.  Spike’s feelings for Buffy started out somewhat stalker-like, as he would wait outside her window and even steal her panties here and there.  However, Spike revealed true potential and friendship when he sat next to Buffy on her porch after she learned that her mother was very sick.  Buffy and Spike remained here in silence and Spike awkwardly patted her back, letting her know that he was truly there for her.

Later on in the series after Buffy came back from the dead, she was desperately trying to feel something and her and Spike shared an epic kiss at the end of the episode, “Once More, With Feeling,” leaving fans completely shocked.  Buffy started a dark relationship with Spike, as she tapped into her desires, keeping her relationship with him a secret at first.  Later on, their relationship got even more complicated when Spike attacked Buffy sexually, which was extremely difficult to watch.  Spike left town, horrified by his actions, and ended up earning his soul, which gave him a real chance to redeem himself.  Even though Buffy and Spike did not get a chance to truly work out, Buffy did appreciate everything he did for her and Spike truly became a man because of her.  There’s something to be said about true love redeeming someone who started out so evil.  Spike became a hero one could be truly proud of, performing selfless acts because of his unconditional love for Buffy, which sparked the humanity within his vampire soul.

2

Willow & Tara

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Tara:  Even when I’m at my worst, you make me feel special.  How do you do that?

Willow:  Magic. (Family, season 5, episode 6)

While I always shipped Willow and Oz, I felt so incredibly heartbroken when Oz left town.  I was beginning to wonder if Willow would ever find true love and we were all lucky enough to witness the beautiful love and friendship between Willow and Tara.  Willow and Tara met in Wicca club and quickly discovered that they were the only two members of the group to have any real powers.  Willow was very interested in experimenting with witchcraft and magic and she shared so many intimate things with Tara, as their friendship blossomed into something more.  Willow and Tara have always had such a pure and magical love.  Tara’s heart had always belonged to Willow and she was even willing to let her be happy when Oz returned, but Willow could not deny where her heart belonged now.  When her and Tara blew out the candle together, they were ready to fully explore their feelings for one another.  In a tragic moment later on in the series, Tara was shot and killed in front of Willow.  Her lifeless body collapsed in Willow’s arms, as Willow’s grief escalated into pure darkness and vengeance, as her dark magic consumed her.  Even though Willow got another chance at potential love later on in the series, nothing can compare to her love with Tara, which is something so transcendent and beautiful.

Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one ship are:

  • Willow & Oz
  • Spike & Drusilla
  • Xander & Cordelia
  • Spike & Harmony
  • Buffy & Riley

 

1

Buffy & Angel

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Angel:  Are you still my girl?

Buffy:  Always. (Enemies, season 3 episode 17)

My number one ship has to go to Buffy and Angel.  Giles got it right when he said, “A vampire in love with a Slayer.  It’s rather poetic.”  There is something so completely romantic about these two together. It’s almost like we are trapped within a dark fairy-tale, as we witness the emotional roller coaster ride between them.  Ever since Angel first saw Buffy, he loved her and wanted to help her.  Buffy gave Angel a true sense of purpose, as he did not know how to live with his soul previously.  Buffy and Angel’s love has always been complicated, however.  They have some unbelievably romantic moments together and some hot and steamy ones as well.  After Buffy and Angel make love for the first time, the unthinkable happens when Angel experienced a moment of “true happiness” and lost his soul, as the monster, Angelus, returned.  Angelus began tormenting Buffy and her friends, which was so cruel and heartbreaking.  I remember crying along with Buffy so many times after witnessing what she had to go through.  To make matters even worse, Angel’s soul was returned right at the moment that Buffy needed to kill him to prevent a demon from swallowing the world.  Buffy made the ultimate sacrifice when she told Angel to “close his eyes” and kiss her, right before she stabbed him with her sword.  Buffy left town after this, as she could not bear to handle it, but Angel soon returned from hell, as his purpose was not over.

Buffy and Angel tried out being friends, but learned that they could really never be just friends, as Spike pointed out.  They both desperately want to be close to one another, but knew that they could never have a true chance at a real life together.  Angel wanted Buffy to have a normal life, rather than keeping her hidden in the shadows, and ended up leaving town.  Before Angel left, he surprised Buffy at the prom and the dance between them was so beautiful and romantic, as the rest of the world seemed to just fade away, leaving only Buffy and Angel together.  Even though Buffy and Angel do not end up together, their love is so powerful and undeniable.  Buffy and Angel will always love one another and I will always continue to ship them.  Their love is beyond messy, but there is something truly perfect about it as well, reminding us that epic love is never easy, but there is really nothing like it in the world.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own comments and thoughts about your favorite ships on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**I would love it if you would take a moment to check out my Whizbuzz Book page via the link below for everything you need to know about my new book, The Search for Alice, including my author bio page and links to my website and social media sites!  Thank you!

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Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

When Kallie Bennett, a jaded teenage girl plagued by her alcoholic mother and her peers molded out of sheer bubble gum perfection, chases after Alice in Wonderland herself, she ends up lost in her own version of Wonderland, which forces her to face her utmost fears and introduces her to familiar characters with a dark twist. Among these characters is Ches, a gorgeous vampire with a conflicted conscience, who becomes Kallie’s guide and blossoming love interest. She also crosses paths with Queen Hartley, a manipulative witch who has the power to strip away one’s memories and imagination, which brings a bone chilling new meaning to “off with their heads.” In The Search for Alice, Kallie starts to realize that her Wonderland is just as frightening as her own reality and that she cannot always run away from her problems. She must figure out a way to defeat Queen Hartley and return home before it is too late, but she soon learns that escaping Wonderland means leaving Ches behind forever.

Want to read more?  You can click the link directly below for a free preview.  Thanks for your support!

Free Instant Preview of The Search for Alice is available here!

The Search for Alice is available here!

The Search for Alice Cover

Ranking the top 5 spin-off television series of all time: Can a spin-off surpass an original?

Is it possible for a spin-off series to surpass the original?  Perhaps not in most cases, but that doesn’t mean that the spin-off can’t branch out into something entertaining and epic on its own.  Creating a spin-off series is always a gamble.  You are relying on the fans from the original series to follow the show and create a fan base with its own separate identity as well.  While many spin-off series have failed to capture this difficult standard, there have been some that are so memorable that you almost forget that there was an original series that started it all.  This really got me thinking about my own favorite spin-off series and why they stand out above the rest.  My top 5 favorite spin-off television series of all time are:

5

The Originals.  This show is a spin-off series of the CW’s successful hit, The Vampire Diaries.  Klaus Mikaelson and his family of original vampires are introduced as dangerous and worthy villains, but their history is so rich and intriguing, not leaving The Vampire Diaries much room to explore it among its own plot.  The Originals is set in New Orleans and fans were pleased to see the Mikaelson family as the center of it all, while introducing new characters as well with just as much complexity.  The Originals does not shy away from its roots and all fans know where it started, however; it takes a darker and more historical approach to vampires, allowing viewers to see the full picture of how everything started.  After years of watching both series, I came to ultimately prefer The Originals because it was fresher and explored darker elements.  Klaus, who was previously shown as a ruthless killer with no remorse, now shows a glimmer of a soul and reveals to us how he became so broken in the midst of family and romantic betrayals.

4

Melrose Place.  This show is a spin-off series of one of my all time favorites, Beverly Hills, 90210.  90210 was such a success and targeted a teenage audience who craved a drama with more depth and complication than your average soap opera.  Some fans don’t remember that the very entertaining Melrose Place was actually a spin-off of 90210.  Jake is introduced as an old friend of Dylan’s and has a fleeting romantic moment with Kelly, only to decide to ride his motorcycle off to a new town to discover a life of his own.  The opening episodes of Melrose Place even feature Kelly coming to find him to see why he had broken their relationship off, strategically hooking in viewers from 90210.  While a lot of the love triangles, betrayals, and outrageous plots seem familiar to 90210, Melrose Place did a good job of capturing an old generation of viewers as well, breaking out of the mold of a high school drama and paving the way for many more shows to come.

3

Angel.   A spin-off of the hit TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon recognized that Buffy and Angel’s story was over…or at least put on pause, leaving fans wondering where Angel would go after Buffy graduated and went off to college.  Lucky for us, Angel was not done with his destiny just yet, traveling to LA with fan-favorite, Cordelia, to help innocents along the way and even start his own business while doing so, taking on one evil lawyer at a time.  In Buffy, Angel’s back story is briefly explored, but his own show allows us to truly see and understand every aspect of his origin.  Also, Angel was not able to shine as much in Buffy since he was obviously not the center of the show.  Angel’s personality and potential were often stifled in Buffy because the focus was on more of the romantic relationship between them, rather than who Angel truly was or meant to be.  This spin-off series did have a strong following and it was lined up right after Buffy on the same night of airings, but Angel did have its own identity and voice, proving that a supporting character could become a principal hero after all.

2

Better Call Saul A spin-off of the hit series, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul is a prequel to the beloved series, focusing primarily on our favorite scheming lawyer, Saul Goodman.  This spin-off is one of the most successful ones I have watched and I adore both series.  What’s so great about the show is that it introduces important elements and characters that fans recognize from Breaking Bad, giving us a chance to further dive into how everything started in Breaking Bad.  However, this does not outshine the incredible acting by Bob Odenkirk who does an excellent job at truly embracing his character.  While fans are pleased with his wit and schemes along the way, we begin to fully learn about his past life and what lead him to the decisions he made later in Breaking Bad.  Saul demonstrates his work ethic and how much he wanted to be a lawyer and prove to his brother and girlfriend that he is capable of being a good man.  This becomes difficult to maintain later on, but it is clear that Saul’s character is deeper and more complex than anyone could have imagined on Breaking Bad, creating something unique and separate from the series it came from.

1

Xena:  Warrior Princess.  Who could forget the fabulous and beautiful Xena, played by the brilliant and gorgeous, Lucy Lawless?  While fans remember that it is a spin-off of Hercules, this series surpasses it in my opinion.  Xena paved the way for strong female leads such as Buffy, proving that a female warrior can be just as dangerous as any man.  Xena fights warriors and gods along the way, refusing to back down.  Her iconic battle cry is still memorable along with her heart-warming and controversial friendship with her side-kick, Gabrielle.  While Xena did air directly after Hercules in the lineup, fans became more excited and hooked by Xena.  I did watch both shows and have to admit that once Xena came on, all bets were off.  While the show was darker and more violent than Hercules, it was the character of Xena that drew me in.  She wasn’t just a hero; she was jaded, and searching for forgiveness.  She masked her vulnerability and weakness behind her sword, but the humanity in her provided viewers with a true connection to her character.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your thoughts and comments below along with some of your favorite spin-off television series of all time.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

Ranking the top 5 television series based on movies: “If the apocalypse comes, beep me.”

So I’ve noticed that more and more remakes and adaptations from film are making their way to the smaller screen, which got me thinking about some of my favorites and how they compare to the originals.  While some television series go in a completely different direction, others attempt to be closer to the original but sometimes fail to capture the same allure, leaving fans disappointed or searching for more.  To me, what makes a television series truly stand out is if it takes on its own life and branches out into a new world of characters and stories.  Whether it is considered a prequel or another chapter, the series has to capture the interest of the viewer who tuned in and keep it.  Sounds like a difficult task especially when you add in an original film that the series is based on.  Some of the shows below do an excellent job of staying true to the original and respecting where the series comes from in terms of history and context.  At the same time, they are able to continue on with the story or shift into a new one without skipping a beat, keeping the original fans happy and bringing in new ones at the same time.  My top 5 television series based on movies are:

5) Teen Wolf.  Based upon the 1985 film of the same name starring Michael J. Fox, the series was created in 2011 on MTV.  Already this was a risky move, as the audience MTV was targeting might not have necessarily seen the original movie, although I hope so.  While the movie has a cheesy humor-like quality, the series follows the same premise of a teenage-boy realizing that he is transforming into a werewolf, only it embraces more of a horror genre approach.  Both characters are named Scott, only with different last names and have to deal with the consequences of being bitten by a werewolf while dealing with everyday teenage drama.  While the series is based on the movie, it really becomes something completely new and different, advancing the plot into something darker with touches of romance and terror, delving much deeper into the story.

4) Hannibal.  Based upon the films, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon, the series is a psychological thriller that dives into the relationship between FBI agent, Will Graham and Dr. Hannibal Lecter who will later become his nemesis.  While the television series had a lot to live up to from the books and films it was based upon, it proves to be a contender with excellent performances and a detailed plot, which keeps the viewer active and involved.  As a result, the audience becomes hooked and drawn to every horrible reveal.  While the films attempt to stay true to the books and showcase a simpler approach, the series is not afraid to break into new developments and jump head first into the darkness and insanity that is at the core of these characters.

3) Ash vs Evil Dead.  Based upon the franchise films, The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness, the series once again stars the very funny and brilliant Bruce Campbell as Ash or “Ashy Slashy” as fans know him by.  What is so great about this series is it is a true continuation of the films.  Bruce Campbell is once again the star bringing fans back to the originals.  Bruce Campbell has a true talent for bringing the campy horror-like genre a life of its own and I would have been disappointed if anyone had been casted in his place.  Once again, Bruce and his chainsaw arm need to fight the forces of evil and he recruits some new and fun characters to help along the way.  Lucy Lawless also joins the cast who did work with Bruce previously on Xena and fits in perfectly.  The series stays true to the campy-horror genre while keeping the comedy going strong.

2) Bates Motel.  Based upon the classic film, Psycho, the prequel follows the life of Norman Bates as a teenager and also introduces his mother, Norma Bates.  The acting in the series is so real and powerful, as each actor reveals to the audience vulnerability blended with insanity, hypnotizing us into wanting to watch more and more.  What’s truly impressive about the series is that the viewer becomes attached and fully invested into both Norman and Norma.  As Norman is losing control, you do feel bad for him and see that there are moments of goodness that do truly exist in him.  His unusual attachment to his mother seems harmless at first, but grows into something more and more dangerous, however.  The series does an excellent job of allowing viewers to see the man behind the monster and to understand that although darkness wins in the end, there is a grey area that exists, making it not so easy to merely write Norman off as a killer without a conscience.

1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Based upon the film of the same name, this television series is at the top of my list because it takes a superficial campy premise and turns it into something epic and memorable.  In the film, Buffy is very superficial and materialistic which creates some laughs and fun along the way, but there is nothing substantial about her character that makes her stand out.  When Joss Whedon decided to turn his movie into a television series, Buffy had now become a character that teenage girls could truly look up to.  She is a strong female who makes some bad decisions along the way, but this shows that she is human and she has to sacrifice a lot in order to save the world, growing up fast as a result.  The humor remains but is more subtle and witty in the series, embracing more of a romantic and darker idea about the world of vampires and truly recognizing that this is a lot of pressure to put on one teenage girl to fight them all and repeatedly save the world.  The series has the perfect blend of drama, action, comedy, and horror with terrific acting and entertaining villains along the way.  It has truly surpassed the film, but it’s fun to take a look back at the movie from time to time.

 

I hope you enjoyed the list.  Feel free to post your comments below on your favorite television series based on films.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Ranking the top 5 episodes of the series

Happy Friday TV fans!  I was somewhat uninspired by the shows that aired last night so I decided to return to an old favorite, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Over the years, Buffy still holds up for me as one of my top shows of all time.  Buffy first aired when I was in high school and in desperate need of a female lead to look up to that was strong, resilient, smart, and selfless.  Plus Sarah Michelle Gellar’s wardrobe as Buffy helped my fashion sense tremendously.  Watching Buffy helped shape me into the person I am today and while I have not re-watched the show in several years, the episodes are still fresh in my mind.  I have to say that out of all my top 5 rankings, this was the most difficult show to narrow down my selections.  I adore making lists so when I was brainstorming last night about which episodes I wanted to include, I found myself scratching off some and adding others repeatedly.  There were some that I really wanted to include but I thought it was only fair to pick 5.  I think that goes to show that there are so many amazing episodes of Buffy.  Good job Joss Whedon! My five top episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer for are:

5

“Hush” (season 4, episode 10).  

I have to admit that I still have nightmares about “The Gentlemen” from this episode.  They are so well crafted and creepy, that even Freddy and Jason cannot compare.  “The Gentlemen” travel to Sunnydale to collect hearts and steal the voices of everyone so that no one can hear you scream.  I was in college when this episode first came out and I remember being very hesitant to open my dorm-room door after a knock because of this.  Sure that is a little extreme, but that’s how truly scary these demons were.  What really makes this episode stand out is that Buffy and the Scoobies have to find a way to defeat them and communicate with one another without their voices.  This leads to some great comedy along the way balanced with sheer terror.

4

“Fool for Love” (season 5, episode 7).

In this episode, Buffy comes very close to dying and is looking for a way to learn from her mistakes and stay alive.  She decides to go to the vampire, Spike, for help.  She knows that over his lifetime, he has killed two slayers and she wants to know how.  For me, Spike has always been one of my favorite characters.  The development of his back-story was so interesting and necessary to the show.  What really grabs the viewer is when he tells Buffy that “he’s always been bad,” only to flash back to a scene where he is dressed in a dusty suit, reciting poetry.  Who would have thought that one of the most dangerous vampires of all time had a romantic side?  We find out through the episode that he was nicknamed “William the Bloody” because of his “bloody awful poetry.”  While it is interesting to see how Spike is turned into a vampire and how he defeated the other two slayers, what really stands out is his love for Cecily.  He had been crafting his poetry for her and pouring his heart out, only for her to reject him and say that he is “beneath her.”  This moment is what drags Spike’s vulnerability to the surface and comes back to haunt him when Buffy later says the same thing to him.  For me, the end of this episode always stands the test of time.  Spike goes off to kill Buffy for making a fool of him and he sees her crying on her porch steps after she has learned that her mother is very ill.  He goes to sit with her and comfort her in what I think is the purest and most beautiful moment between them.  At this moment, Spike doesn’t have a soul.  Sure, he has a chip in his brain preventing him from hurting others, but he is able to show true compassion and friendship here, which is really beautiful.

3

“The Gift” (season 5, episode 22).  

This is a very powerful season finale and I often thought that the series would end here.  It wasn’t until the UPN network picked up Buffy for seasons 6 and 7 that it continued on.  A lot goes on in this episode and a catastrophic portal opens that can only be closed by the blood of the key, Buffy’s sister Dawn.  Buffy makes the ultimate sacrifice, choosing to jump into the portal to sacrifice herself to save her sister and the world.  A flash-back reveals Buffy reminding Dawn that their blood is the same, which brought tears to my eyes.  Buffy tells Dawn that “the hardest thing in this world is to live in it.  Be brave.  Live.  For me.”   As if this moment couldn’t have been tragic enough, Spike’s reaction to Buffy’s death is so heart-wrenching and real.  He does truly care for her and feels he let her down.

2

“The Zeppo” (season 3, episode 13).  

You may be wondering why I included this episode and why it is ranked so high on my list.  “The Zeppo” is the funniest episode of the entire series, following a series of events through Xander’s perspective.  In the beginning of the episode, Cordelia talks about how everyone in the Scoobies has something to contribute except for him.  He’s like “Jimmy Olsen” or “The Zeppo.”  Xander gets into a never-ending adventure where Buffy and the rest of the gang are simply background noise.  Xander’s reaction to each new challenge is hilarious and the music is spot on, which makes this episode stand out for me as one of my all-time favorites.

Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one episode of Buffy are:

  • “School Hard”
  • “Halloween”
  • “Innocence”
  • “Passion”
  • “I Only Have Eyes For You”
  • “Homecoming”
  • “Lovers Walk”
  • “The Wish”
  • “The Prom”
  • “Living Conditions”
  • “Something Blue”
  • “Who Are You?”
  • “Buffy vs. Dracula”
  • “Triangle”
  • “The Body”
  • “Life Serial”
  • “Once More, With Feeling”
  • “Tabula Rasa”
  • “Conversations with Dead People”
  • “Lies My Parents Told Me”
  • “Chosen”

1

“Becoming Part 2” (season 2, episode 22).  

This has always been my absolute favorite episode of the series.  While the episode has a lot going on, the last moments are what make it so powerful.  Angel has lost his soul and became the evil Angelus and Buffy is fully prepared to put a stop to him, recognizing that the man she fell in love with no longer exists within this soulless demon.  Angelus is opening the mouth of a demon that will swallow the world hold, unleashing hell upon earth.  Just as Buffy is about to strike him down with a sword and save the day, Willow’s spell takes effect, and his soul has now been returned.  Angel doesn’t remember what has happened or where he is.  The damage is done; however, as the demon’s mouth has already been opened and Buffy must destroy the love of her life to close the portal.  Buffy reveals her selflessness again to save the world, losing her true love in the process.  Once the tragic task is completed, Buffy leaves Sunnydale, unable to deal with the tragic consequences.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to comment on some of your own favorite episodes.  Happy viewing and have a wonderful weekend!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl