Shiny Shelf

Angel: Heartthrob

By Mark Clapham on 15 May 2002

Angel’s back – and, even better, he’s back on form. After the ill conceived excursion to another dimension that ended season three, the third series kicks off back on home ground in LA with a familiar mix of contemporary crime and historical flashbacks. It’s business as usual at Angel Investigations, only more so, with the same formula of ludicrous jokes and brutal violence amped up even further than before. David Boreanaz is on top form – fighting demon monks in Sri Lanka (don’t ask), bickering with Cordelia, working through his grief over Buffy’s death, and even doing a fairly decent Irish accent in the flashbacks – while the rest of the cast are as good as ever. Season openers don’t tend to be the strong point of Joss Whedon’s twin series; they tend to be transitional, character based stories, as opposed to full on crowd pleasers. ‘Heartthrob’ manages a good mix of carrying through the fallout from last season, while setting up enough new elements to promise a good year ahead. If the core plot – Angel kills the female half of a vampire couple he used to know, and her boyfriend sets out for revenge – is a little weak, then the glimpses of new nemesis Holtz in the flashbacks, and the beginning of a startling new Darla plotline, make up for any deficiencies. Last year saw ‘Angel’ really find it’s feet – on this evidence the show could be about to take flight.

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By Mark Clapham

Mark Clapham is a Devon-based writer and editor. You can find out more about him at the egotistically named

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