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Angel: The Casefiles volume one
Nancy Holder, Jeff Marionette and Maryelizabeth Hart
Pocket paperback £12.99
review by Donald Morefield
It's not often that a spinoff TV show grows to become just as successful as the original series but, with Angel, creators Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt prove that not only does lightning strike twice, it's possible to bottle it without losing voltage. As proverbial lightning in a bottle, Angel takes the genre themes of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, and turns the good versus evil battle on its head by having the lead character the opposite of Buffy in almost every way. This companion book to Angel's first two seasons examines almost every aspect of producing this fantasy, comedy, horror and drama series from the apt perspective of a detective's pseudo 'case files'.
Each episode gets a plot synopsis and basic credits, supported by sundry background info, continuity details, quotable dialogue (of which there's no end), bits and pieces of demonology, pop culture references (some useful revelations for non-American viewers), and plenty of fascinating trivia - including script changes. Interview material is scattered throughout the book, and here many of the cast and crew get their say about various elements of the production, from acting to writing, and behind-the-scenes particulars. Photos are mostly in black and white, but there are also 32 glossy pages of stills, with a mix of publicity portraits, group shots, candid backstage pictures, plus artwork and prosthetic makeup images showing stages of the meticulous work that goes into making the TV show's monsters.
A guide to the characters and profiles of the actors bookend the main text and, at over 400 pages, this intensely researched, neatly designed and surprisingly readable book is very well written by the typically mediocre standards of such nonfiction media tie-ins. Guaranteed to please all keen fans of Angel, this is a must-have if you watch the show regularly, and is certain to enhance your enjoyment of it.
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