Angel Review – “Conviction”

The new season of Angel started last night, and it’s
full of familiar faces.

Cast

David
Boreanez
as
Angel

Alexis
Denisof
as
Wesley Wyndham-Pryce

J. August
Richards

as Charles Gunn

Amy
Acker
as Fred
Burkle

Andy
Hallett
as
Lorne

James
Marsters
as
Spike

Original Airdate

Conviction originally aired on October 1, 2003.

Synopsis

The core of Angel Investigations tries to cope with their
responsibilities running the Los Angeles branch of Wolfram and
Hart.

High Point

The first Wolfram and Hart scene. Not only is that one of the
longest
tracking shots I’ve ever seen on television, but it had some
extremely
well written conversation, particularly between Wesley and Fred.

Low Point

Jumping along the rooftops in the teaser. Man, that looked
unconvincing.

The Review

The score for originality will be high this time around,
as
they’ve almost completely rewritten the premise for the show.
They’re
going in some very new directions, and I like it. I give it 6 out of
6.

The effects later in the episode were very good, but
those
first couple were almost painful. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is a nice set-up, acting almost like a pilot
episode given the amount of redesigning the show has had. The
plotline this week was well-written, but not terribly complicated,
presumably as a result of all the character work in the episode. I
give it 4 out of 6.

The acting was excellent from Alexis Denisof and
Amy Acker,
as usual. David Boreanaz has never been terribly convincing, in
my
opinion, but he’s doing a decent job. J. August Richards had a
well-used opportunity to play things as his character has never
been
played before. The guest actors were good on the whole. I give
it 5
out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was fairly
strong. I
laughed out loud on several occasions, and I felt as
uncomfortable as
they did with the clients they’ll have to help with. I give it 5 out
of 6.

The production was excellent. I say again: it started
with
one of the longest tracking shots I’ve ever seen on television.
The
coordination among both actors and extras has to be incredible
to pull
that off in that type of scene. The rest was the normal Mutant
Enemy
standard. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a solid opening to a new season worth of
episodes. The cliff-hanger ending begs all sorts of questions that
I
can’t wait to see resolved next week. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Conviction receives 34 out of 42.

9 replies on “Angel Review – “Conviction””

  1. Dave says:

    My low point …
    … the darn commercials, and/or the opening credits.

    They could’ve had a killer ending to this episode, but they had to plug the hell outta “the return of Spike,” and put him in the opening credits of the show.

    And it came pretty close to false advertising anyway — technically he was there, but basically just for the cliffhanger. (Did he even speak, other than that “ouch, I’ve been cooped up inside a Tyvek padded envelope since the May sweeps” scream?)

    And I really doubt they picked up too many new viewers from the whole stunt anyway. Random passers-by that see “the return of Spike,” unless they’re already familiar with the show, will just say “Spike who?” and go back to watching Road Rage or Road Rules or whatever that one show is on MTV.

    • jdarksun says:

      Re: My low point …
      Blasphemer! The opening theme has to be the best.theme.ever! :)

      I take it you’re not a fan of Spike? He’s my favorite character in the series, though Broody McBrood has made a pretty good showing of himself on Angel.

      I also don’t think that James Marsters/Spike is the hook intended to bring aboard new viewers – I think he’s there to try and bring as much of the Buffy audience as possible. It’s the new direction the show is taking (and its incredibly talented cast and crew) that is supposed to draw new viewers in… though I haven’t seen an Angel promo in a new location.

      I’ve got to say, though, that this episode was absolutely fantastic.

  2. MrChris says:

    A few problems but on the whole a good start.
    I can accept the funky glass, and the cars with it installed, but how did Angel get from the car to the building – they cant all have underground parking lots!

    I’m actually a bit dubious of the Spike thing, it seems a bit gimiky to me, but it’s far too early to tell how they are going to use him so I’ll reserve judgement.

    Fred getting angry… nice.

    Lorne… pretty pointless the whole episode.

    Wesley… see above (really did he do anything but run around paniced?)

    Gunn, nice idea, we’ll have to see how they play it – Law & Order in the buffy verse perhaps?

    Harmony… well, she’s not in the opening credits so hopefully we won’t have to put up with her too much.

    I guess I’m still wallowing in the glory of last season, I just want this season to remain ‘dark’ in both senses.

    Still too early for any far reaching conclusions though.
    Look forward to next week.

    Oh and with this and Smallville, did anyone catch Enterprise and… whatever else it was they were playing on the other side?!

    • Babbster says:

      Re: A few problems but on the whole a good start.

      Harmony… well, she’s not in the opening credits so hopefully we won’t have to put up with her too much.

      This may mark me as a simpleton but I’m a Harmony fan. She’s made me laugh every time she’s appeared since being vamped. After my parents watched season two (I loaned them the DVDs after they were apathetic about Buffy – they’re not fans of teen angst), she was the first character they mentioned liking, even before Lorne (who they also liked quite a lot).

      The beauty part of having Harmony on the show is that no matter how dark and evil things inevitably get as this season moves along, she can still be unrepentently perky because a) somehow she’s stayed fundamentally Harmony even after getting demonized and b) she’s evil (no annoying soul) and so can be at least indifferent, if not amused, by the tragedy of others.

      Besides, she taught us that a touch of otter can make pig’s blood delicious. That’s priceless on its own.

  3. UncleJam says:

    New direction

    I wasn’t sure about this new direction last season when they introduced it, and I can’t say that last night’s premiere made me feel any different.

    Why oh why, did the firm liaison have to be a new character? Putting Lilah in there would make it so much more interesting. So what if she’s dead, she came back for the finale last season. That new character, Eve, just annoyed me.

    I hate Harmony. Always have, always will. I grew to hate Spike over on Buffy, especially in the last two seasons. I hated it when Harmony and Spike were a couple. So, of course Joss has to bring both of those characters to Angel.

    In fact, why did he have to bring any Buffy characters over? Angel was doing a fine job of standing on its own for the last several years and it had developed a wonderful cast and its own interesting side of the Buffyverse. They could have gotten along just fine without Spike or any other Buffy people. Though I would tolerate an occasional guest appearance, even from the dreadful Spike.

    Gunn’s new abilities are interesting and I can’t wait to see what the catch is. Lorne had basically nothing to do. Wesley annoyed as always. Fred needs to shut up.

    I toally agree about the cheesy roof-jumping effects. For a second I thought I was watching an episode of Birds of Prey.

    Hmm, I had a lot more to say last night. Guess I should have posted then, huh?

    • fiziko says:

      Re: New direction

      Hmm, I had a lot more to say last night. Guess I should have
      posted then, huh?

      This wasn’t up last night. I have a Film Studies lab on Campus at 6:30,
      so I don’t usually make it home until after 9pm. I watch the 10pm
      Angel from the west coast feed (after taping the east coast
      Smallville and Angel as backup) and then
      review them the next morning. I try to post it in the early morning,
      though; I’m one time zone east (later) than the server we use, so add
      an hour to the timestamp on the article to see when I’m posting them in
      local time. (They take about 20 minutes to write, too.)

  4. joeshabazz says:

    How they’re gonna use spike
    Somebody said they don’t know how they’re going to use spike, let’s think back, WAYYYYY back. Something along the lines of the world will be saved or destoryed by a vampire with a soul which could only be angel right….. oh shit right…. Spike got a soul….. huh….. nahhhh that can’t be it. Although it does make an awful lot of sence though don’t it. Just my best guess

  5. enloop says:

    Likes, Don’t Likes
    Liked it. Well done transition to the new environment. We got to see Fred and Gun begin to settle in; Wesley never settles in anywhere; Angel got to beat up on some folks but needs a different kind of conflict to stay interesting. (The guy with the green skin was busy, but I don’t have much use for him.)

    I like Eve. She reeks of unknown motivations and secret knowledge.

    Don’t like Harmony. An annoying twit. But…annoying twits sometimes undergo a metamorphisis in Joshland.

    Didn’t think we’d see Spike until the last minute. Should be interesting to see him play off Angel. Marsters gets second billing, so will be seeing him a l-o-t. Hope they let his character develop more than it did his last two years on Buffy.

    • babasyzygy says:

      Re: Likes, Don’t Likes

      Wesley never settles in anywhere;

      Of course not — he’s a rogue demon hunter.

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