(Editor’s Note: We put out a call for folks outside of Between the Lines Studios to review episodes of Angel Between the Lines. The first episode is reviewed by Haunt. If you’re interested in writing a review please let us know – betweenthelinesstudios-at-gmail.com.)
I’ve been an extremely vocal defender of Angel: The Series since it’s premier 10 years ago. It tends to be treated like something of the red-headed stepchild of the Jossverse, often ignored and left off of the ubiquitous “Best of” and “Favorites” lists that flood the internet. In my opinion it was, in many ways, better than it’s parent series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Let that comment serve as a fair warning…)
Having never listened to any of the previous Between the Lines productions I didn’t really know what to expect. I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. The writers, cast and crew clearly know the material… naturally. But they also understand and respect the characters. The story fits perfectly into the space between seasons, and the production quality is pretty good. It will take a lot of getting used to, hearing other actors give voice to my favorite characters, but they did a great job.
The audio drama medium enjoys the same advantage that certain other tie-in formats such as comics share. Namely that they’re not limited by a television production budget or special effects capabilities. This story feels perfectly in line with what the Mutant Enemy writers might have done, but likely avoided because of the cheesiness of seeing miniaturized actors either blue-screened or interacting with oversized styrofoam set pieces. And while I would certainly love to see a “real life” giant Blue Sun Chinese food carton, it’s an effect probably best served by our imaginations rather than a props department. (Loved that little touch, btw… Blue Sun… heh.)
A few of my favorite bits (besides the Firefly/Serenity shout out)…
– The letter from Fred to Willow.
– Phantom Dennis is not forgotten. Yay!
– Gunn’s snarky nicknames for Connor. “Short Round”… nice. 🙂
– Lorne’s phone home message.
– Angel’s hallucinatory argument with Spike.
– “Fine. Cavemen win.”
Keep up the great work gang. I look forward to future episodes. And thanks for loving these otherwise neglected characters.