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Episode 79 - Reunion / Redefinition (feat. Sarah Kosheff)

May 3rd, 2022

Welcome back, Dead People! [Insert excuses for another delay between episodes here] Friend and fellow genre nerd Sarah Kosheff joins me for the first time on the ‘cast, and she brought a couple of her very favorite Angel episodes with her. 210, “Reunion” shows us the aftermath of last episode’s shocking cliffhanger; the darkness that has been threatening to settle over our hero all season finally takes root; Angel makes a truly horrifying choice; and I do my very best to mire us in the ephemera of Whedonverse Vampire Cosmology. Again. Then, in 211, “Redefinition,” a line of demarcation is drawn in the status quo of the series, beginning and ending in fire; Angel smokes a cigarette; we say goodbye to Drusilla; and I question if the voice-over was really necessary.

 

And by the way, I agree with Cordy: Tequila is the REAL evil.

 

NEXT: 212, “Blood Money, 213, “Happy Anniversary,” and 214, “The Thin Dead Line.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:08:50  -  Main Topic

01:29:46  -  Outro / Next

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“We Are the Champions” by Queen, News of the World (1977)

Episode 78 - Darla / The Shroud of Rahmon / The Trial (feat. Wesley Mead)

February 28th, 2022

“Darla” is an absolutely brilliant directorial debut by Tim Minear, which acts as a companion piece to Buffy’s “Fool for Love,” but also stands flawlessly on its own to deepen our understanding of the Fearsome Foursome vampire coterie. “The Shroud of Rahmon” is equal parts engaging (noir homages; character death misdirects; foreshadowing Angel’s coming darkness) and forgettable (the McGuffin itself; stock, cliche goons).  And “The Trial” showcases some genuinely heartbreaking performances in the midst of one of the most shocking, jaw-dropping final scenes of the series.

 

Joining me to talk about it all, he’s flown in from England for literally every episode of this podcast since the very beginning just to read the intro, but this time I decide to let him stay on mic and chat, the voice of the “Listeners Council” himself, Wesley “Wezzo” Mead.

 

NEXT: fan and friend Sarah Kosheff makes her premiere on the podcast, discussing episodes 210, “Reunion” and 211, “Redefinition.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:04:54  -  Main Topic

01:20:15 -  Outro / Next

 

 

LINKS

Wesley Mead on the Internets

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Ill Wind (You’re Blowing Me No Good)” by Ella Fitzgerald, Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Harold Arlen Songbook (1961)

Episode 77 - Untouched / Dear Boy / Guise Will Be Guise (feat. Michael Holland)

February 8th, 2022

Conversations with Dead People is back, and with hardly any time at all between episodes! Seriously, for all you could tell I recorded this episode the same night as our last one. Seamless!

 

Hollywood hotshot Michael Holland is here and we share a few words about the Apple TV+ series The Afterparty, which debuted recently and for which Michael served as Post-Production Supervisor, before continuing our journey through Angel Season 2. “Untouched” introduces us to writer Mere Smith, who will go on to pen some of the finest episodes of the series, and here considers sexual agency and trauma from the angle of two different Wolfram & Hart “special projects.” Then, in “Dear Boy,” the Boreanaz and Benz chemistry boils through the subterranean convent roof. And lastly, “Guise Will Be Guise” as Angel goes to therapy and Wesley bluffs his way into Virginia.

 

NEXT: our very own voice of the Watcher Council, the exceedingly British Wesley “Wezzo” Mead joins me to talk about episodes 207, “Darla,” 208, “The Shroud of Rahmon,” and 209, “The Trial.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:21:41  -  Main Topic

01:33:22  -  Outro / Next

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Everybody Have Fun Tonight” by Wang Chung, Mosaic (1986)

Episode 76 - Judgment / Are You Now or Have You Ever Been / First Impressions (feat. Melanie Scala)

September 20th, 2021

Melanie Scala joins me for her first Angel outing, picking up the pieces left in the aftermath of the Season 1 finale as we discuss a slightly uneven but ultimately pretty great three-episode launch for Season 2. Episode 201, titled (appropriately) “Judgment,” and episode 203, titled (also appropriately) “First Impressions,” lay down the important themes of recognizing our prejudices and not making assumptions about people, or demons. The former also introduces two of the most important things in all of the Angel canon: the yet-to-be-named Lorne, known as The Host, and the song “Mandy.” The latter introduces… not really much of consequence.

 

But of course the REAL treasure here is episode 202, “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been,” with its homages to Classic Hollywood, and the truly haunting evocation of HUAC and the McCarthy era.

 

BONUS: Your humble host is mercilessly called out for his hypocrisy. Good times.

 

NEXT: Speaking of Classic Hollywood, Michael Holland is back! We’ll be discussing episodes 204, “Untouched,” 205, “Dear Boy,” and 206, “Guise Will Be Guise.” Should be ACTUAL good times.

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:06:43  -  Main Topic

01:26:30  -  Outro / Next

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Mandy” by Barry Manilow, Barry Manilow II (1974)

 

Episode 75 - War Zone / Blind Date / To Shanshu in L.A. (feat. Elizabeth Rambo)

August 21st, 2021

“Don’t believe everything you’re foretold.”  ~Angel

 

The prophecy is finally fulfilled as author, scholar, and friend Elizabeth Rambo makes her Angel conversations debut, just in time for the explosive final episodes of the first season. While the previous two Faith-centric episodes are a hard act to follow, “War Zone” steps up to the plate big time with the introduction of Charles Gunn. It also gives us the fantastic David Nabbitt, and it’s not this episode’s fault that the series going forward fumbles the ball with that character. Next up, “Blind Date” looks like (see what I did there?) it totally wastes it’s monster-of-the-week antagonist, the blind assassin Vanessa, but it’s not really about that. (Hello, Holland Manners!) And the season goes out with a literal bang in “To Shanshu in L.A.,” where we are introduced to the multi-tool of ancient relics in the Scroll of Aberjian, the fiery death of the Angel Investigations offices, and the return of...the thing in the box!

 

NEXT: Melanie Scala joins me to kick off season two with episodes 201, “Judgment,” 202, “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been,” and 203, “First Impressions.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:06:38  -  Main Topic

01:27:57  -  Outro / Next

 

 

LIBRARY

Buffy Goes Dark: Essays on the Final Two Season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Television, edited by Lynne Y. Edwards, Elizabeth Rambo, and James B. South

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Explosion in Your Soul” by The Soul Survivors, When the Whistle Blows Anything Goes (1967)

Episode 74 - Five by Five / Sanctuary (feat. Eric Sipple)

August 14th, 2021

“Help me.”  ~Faith

 

After a good-not-great season one so far, Angel finds its feet properly, giving one of the best characters from across the Whedonverse one of the best moments of character development from across the Whedonverse. Or that’s my opinion at least. Fortunately, my good friend, Broken Magic author Eric Sipple agrees with me, so I let him come back on the show. Together we discuss the blossoming of the Angel/Lindsey rivalry, the overwhelming power of THAT rain-soaked alley scene, and how it’s not about you, Buffy! 

 

NEXT: Author, scholar, and friend of the show Elizabeth Rambo makes her triumphant return, her first time joining me since we wrapped up Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to lead us through the final three episodes of Angel season one. We’ll be discussing 120, “War Zone,” 121, “Blind Date,” and 122, “To Shanshu in L.A.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:05:13  -  Main Topic

01:39:35  -  Outro / Next

 

 

LIBRARY

Broken Magic, by Eric Sipple

The Deli Counter of Justice, by Paul Smith, Eric Sipple & Arlo Wiley

 

 

LINKS

Eric’s Website - A Beautiful Rain of Frogs

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Why Does It Always Rain on Me?” by Anakelly, Timeless (Piano & Vocal) (2016)

Episode 73 - The Ring / Eternity (feat. Michael Holland)

July 23rd, 2021

Two episodes that likely don’t feature on anyone’s Top 10 lists. “The Ring” features our heroes releasing a bunch of murderous demons into the city. “Eternity” posits that anyone could have roofied Angel at any time to release Angelus. Both setups draw a fair amount of fan criticism. But Classic Hollywood connoisseur and CWDP repeat offender Michael Holland joins me to find the positives hidden deep within the two texts. For example, “The Ring” introduces the divinely sinister Lilah Morgan, who makes a very significant offer to our vampire with a soul that will prove prescient to the series as a whole. And “Eternity” raises genuinely interesting questions of the metaphysics of drug-induced happiness. And perhaps most importantly, to me at least, both episodes feature further hints of the depths of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce’s seemingly still waters.

 

NEXT: my good friend and Deli Counter of Justice co-author Eric Sipple is back, baby! Best of all, he’s back to share my love of the next two episodes of Angel, arguably among the best episodes of the series, 118, “Five by Five” and 119, “Sanctuary.” I literally cannot wait!

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:07:25  -  Main Topic

01:35:00  -  Outro / Next

 

 

LINKS

Michael’s Blog - Holland Imaginarium

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash, Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash (1963)

Episode 72 - She / I’ve Got You Under My Skin / The Prodigal (feat. Stacey Abbott)

June 4th, 2021

“Cagey little brutes, aren’t they?”

 

The Mother of Angel Studies, author and vampire queen Stacey Abbott is back! This week we discuss the somewhat strained metaphor and textual subtext of episode 113, “She,” which for years I’ve remembered as unutterably terrible, but on this rewatch I find myself being a bit kinder to. If nothing else, the episode gives us some of the greatest comedic moments from all of this first season, possibly the series. Alexis Denisof deserves a pratfall Oscar!

 

Also on tap, 114, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” makes good use of a classic Hollywood horror trope, as well as providing the first tantalizing hint at darker depths to Wesley. And 115, “The Prodigal,” where the Whedonverse continues its focused, brutal assault on the notions of fatherhood.

 

NEXT: Post-Production Supervisor and Hollywood man-about-town Michael Holland is back to help me look over episodes 116, “The Ring” and 117, “Eternity.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:02:40  -  Main Topic

01:11:17  -  Outro / Next

 

 

LIBRARY

Celluloid Vampires: Life After Death in the Modern World, by Stacey Abbott

Reading Angel: The TV Spin-off With a Soul, edited by Stacey Abbott

Angel (TV Milestones Series) by Stacey Abbott

Near Dark (BFI Film Classics), by Stacey Abbott

Global TV Horror, edited by Stacey Abbott and Lorna Jowett

 

 

LINKS

Monstrum: A Peer-Reviewed Journal of Studies in Horror

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“I’ve Got You Under My Skin” by Frank Sinatra, Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (1956)

Episode 71 - Parting Gifts / Somnambulist / Expecting (feat. Johny Ho)

May 17th, 2021

“Wherever evil lurks, wherever the forces of darkness threaten humanity, that’s where I’ll be.”

 

Johny Ho is back! Wesley Wyndam-Pryce is back! Johny Ho is back to talk to me about how awesome it is that Wesley Wyndam-Pryce is back! In 110, “Parting Gifts,” Angel Investigations get their very own rogue demon hunter, as well as a shiny new tagline. 111, “Somnambulist” gives us Baby Hawkeye as a vampire, and Kate is finally in on the big secret. And 112, “Expecting” features the first of many mystical pregnancies, plus Ken freaking Marino!

 

Seriously though, all that matters is Wesley Wyndam-Pryce is here and everything will be okay from now on. 

 

NEXT: the saint of Angel studies, author Stacey Abbott joins me to discuss what some may or may not consider to be the low point of Season One, episodes 113, “She,” 114, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and 115, “The Prodigal.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:06:27  -  Main Topic

01:10:48  -  Outro / Next

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Rogue Hunter” by Vin Mott, Rogue Hunter (2019)

Episode 70 - I Will Remember You / Hero (feat. Matthieu Cravatte)

April 7th, 2021

“Is that it? Am I done?”

 

It’s taken much longer than I would’ve liked to get this episode edited and out to y’all, and I was way off what I will laughingly refer to as my game, but hey...our rats are low at least. This time around I’m joined by America’s favorite philosophizing Frenchman Matthieu Cravatte as we discuss the pain and heartbreak of network-mandated crossovers, the inspirational value of heroes, the lack of Nazi subtelty, and the first of many genuinely traumatic sacrifices made by characters on this series as we sob our way through episodes 108, “I Will Remember You” and 109, “Hero.”

 

NEXT: a rogue demon hunter joins the cast and we get some momentary relief from the pain (Cordy doesn’t, but we do) with episodes 110, “Parting Gifts,” 111, “Somnambulist,” and 112, “Expecting.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:05:00  -  Main Topic

01:13:55  -  Outro / Next

 

 

MUSIC

“Conversations (feat. Wesley Mead)” by Azura (2017)

“Hero” by Lissie, My Wild West (2016)

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