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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)

Episode 69 - Sense & Sensitivity / Bachelor Party (feat. Michael Holland)

March 1st, 2021

Hollywood bigshot and industry insider Michael Holland welcomes us to HIS turf as we continue our transition from the cemeteries of Sunnydale to the morgues of LA. The conversation this time covers two episodes often dismissed as early-series filler, but which we argue actually have important things to say about the characters and the developing themes of the show. In 106, “Sense & Sensitivity,” we get some needed background on Det. Kate Lockley, including a genuinely marvelous emotional performance by Elisabeth Röhm, and insight into the interpersonal dynamics between our heroes. (Bonus: Angel as Magnum P.I.!) And in 107, “Bachelor Party,” Allen Francis Doyle gets a powerfully humanizing (or rather half-humanizing) storyline that makes the most of what will turn out to be the very limited time we get with the character, fleshing him out more in one episode than many shows give their cast in a full season.

 

NEXT: philosopher Frenchman Matthieu Cravatte joins me to probably get really sad as we discuss episodes 108, “I Will Remember You” and 109, “Hero.” Bring your own tissues.

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:14:57  -  Main Topic

01:38:43  -  Outro / Next

 

 

LINKS

Michael’s Blog  -  Holland Imaginarium

 

 

MUSIC

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

“Too Sensitive” by Op Ed, Satellite (2018)

Episode 68 - In the Dark / I Fall to Pieces / Rm w/a Vu (feat. Dale Guffey)

February 21st, 2021

Can we get back to Angel? Please?! *sobs*

 

My dear friend, author, and hot chick with superpowers Dale Guffey has stayed over from last week to help me get back into the swing of things. As avowed and unapologetic Spike fans, we bask in the glorious, bleach blonde silver lining that is that opening voiceover of the otherwise basic 103, “In the Dark.” As avowed and unapologetic Doyle fans, we savor every single hilarious and touching moment we get with him in 104, “I Fall to Pieces.” And in 105, “Rm w/a Vu” I mourn the Phantom Dennis spin-off we never got.

 

NEXT: recurring guest and friend of the show Michael Holland is back, and with the move from Sunnydale to LA we’re finally on HIS turf. He joins me to speak with Angelino authority on episodes 106, “Sense & Sensitivity” and 107, “Bachelor Party.”

 

 

BREAKDOWN

00:00:55  -  Intro / Guest

00:04:00  -  Main Topic

01:50:12  -  Outro / Next

 

 

LIBRARY

Faith and Choice in the Works of Joss Whedon, by K. Dale Koontz

Reading Joss Whedon, edited by Rhonda V.. Wilcox, Tanya R. Cochran, Cynthea Masson, and David Lavery

 

 

MUSIC

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

“I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline, Showcase (1961)

Episode 67 - A Very Special Episode of Conversations with Dead People (feat. Nikki Stafford and Dale Guffey)

February 13th, 2021

Where do we go from here? That question has perhaps never been as relevant or as painful within the Whedony community as it is right now. It’s a difficult time to be a fan, as the recent and continuing alegations and revelations about the man that has, so far, given this entire fandom its name, force us to reckon with some hard truths. I thought this podcast could continue with perhaps just a passing mention of the controversy, but it quickly became clear that I, and thankfully some much smarter people than myself, would have to address this head on. And so I welcome you to this Very Special Episode of Conversations with Dead People. I ramble on uselessly, as usual, but two of my very favoritest people in the world, let alone the field of Whedon Studies, Nikki Stafford and Dale Guffey join me to talk about how and why all of this feels so much more personal than similar fallen pop culture icons; what, if anything, I should do with this podcast going forward; and what we think this might all mean for the Whedon Studies Association. It’s a horribly unpleasant topic of conversation, made so much more enjoyable by having it with such wonderful people.

 

NEXT: Dale is sticking around to record the podcast we’d PLANNED to record this week. We’ll be continuing our journey through Angel: The Series with episodes 103, “In the Dark,” 104, “I Fall to Pieces,” and 105, “Rm w/a Vu.”

 

 

LIBRARY

Bite Me!: The Unofficial Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Seven Seasons One Book), by Nikki Stafford

Once Bitten: An Unofficial Guide to the World of Angel, by Nikki Stafford

Faith and Choice in the Works of Joss Whedon, by K. Dale Koontz

Reading Joss Whedon, edited by Rhonda V.. Wilcox, Tanya R. Cochran, Cynthea Masson, and David Lavery

A Dream Given Form: The Unofficial Guide to the Universe of Bablyon 5, by Dale Guffey and Ensley F. Guffey

 

 

LINKS

https://timesupnow.org/

 

 

MUSIC

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

“Mad Woman” by Taylor Swift, folklore (2020)

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