You know that a pop culture staple has gone far beyond the normal range of fandom and reached saturation when serious academic studies relating to the psychology, philosophy, and morality of show and of its characters are being published.
While I don't have any interest in attending said conferences, I admit to having a fascination for non-fiction commentary and analysis of the fictional stories from film and television concerning content and subtexts, and even the cinematic styles used. Until just a couple years ago, my library only contained collections about westerns, film noir, and the works of Kurosawa, before collections on The Matrix, Buffy, and The Lord of the Rings started showing up on bookstore shelves.
Five Seasons of Angel will make a fine addition to that section of my library.
This collection contains essays from well-known science fiction and fantasy writers, as well as a renowned sex therapist. While I may not agree with some of the opinions expressed in some of these essays, as a whole, this is a fun read for a die-hard fan of the Buffyverse.
My favorites of the bunch are "It's a Stupid Curse" by Marguerite Krause, who thinks that Angel is getting the raw end of Angelus' punishment; "Jasmine: Scariest Villian Ever" by Steven Harper, "Parting Gifts" by Sherrilyn Kenyon, on the the deeper impact the loss of Doyle had on the series; "Why We Love Lindsey" by Michelle Sagara West, and "There's My Boy..." by Dr Joy Davidson, on the complicated relations and relationships of Angel's undead life.
The funniest essay hands-down is "Angel By The Numbers" by Dan Kerns, who was on the crew of Angel all five seasons as Best Boy and Gaffer, and counts down all the milestones from his time behind the scenes. The most interesting analysis is in "An Identity Crisis" by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, where she posits that Angel's character and behavior as displayed on his show makes him seem more like the classic werewolf than the classic vampire. The best angry venting takes place in "The Assassination of Cordelia Chase" by Jennifer Crusie, who is offended at the "surprise" behind Cordelia's behavior in season 4, and doesn't hold anything back while telling us why (I have my own opinions that S4 of Angel suffered from the same problem as S6 of Buffy, but that's for another discussion).
All in all, I'd recommend this collection for any Buffyverse fan.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Five Seasons of Angel edited by Glenn Yeffeth
Published by: BenBella Books