Angel on DVD, Season 1 – 5 [****-]

Now to be straight, this is not a review of the show, this is a review of the packaging and distribution of the episodes. The show IMHO gets 5 stars and the networks get NONE for yet again failing to allow a vision from Joss Whedon to reach full fruition. Hopefully he hasn’t been completely jaded by the pricks in black suits that make Wolfram & Hart look like the Muppet show. At this time there are currently two pressings of the series, the older pressings cost about $60+ per season and come in large boxes. The newer pressings cost anywhere from $20 to $40 per season. Now I could have gotten them all on-line for less than the $37 per box I paid but damnit, I wanted it NOW.

Like I said, the boxes are smaller than older DVD distributions, and each set contains a full 22 episodes from each season of the show in 3 individual slim cases containing two DVD discs with 4 episodes each. Season one is full screen, seasons 2 through 5 are wide screen. Also, I find the individual slim cases easier to manage than other distributions which rely on custom fold-out binders which arrange the discs in a way only understood by the person who set them up.

Now it’s pretty hard to screw up a DVD distribution, especially a 2nd pressing, but I find the menu configuration completely ridiculous. At first load you get an intro trailer for the disc (not unique, same intro for each disc in a season), then you get an episode listing. Nowhere on the menu is the option to play all – a feature that I’ve learned to enjoy from my Smallville collection.

Play all would allow the viewer to select one option, and each episode will play in succession until the disc is complete. At the end of each Angel episode you’re sent back to the episode menu, and for the next episode you must back out of that menu, select a new episode, then play it from its own menu. It’s un-necessarily complicated. I may just dupe these discs and customize them myself.

Beside the quirks, the collection is complete and the cases are an attractive addition to any library. If you plan to pick it up, make sure to get the slim cases, as the ‘fat’ cases cost more, and for some odd reason are placed right next to the slim ones.

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