Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Man With No Name

Episodes I've Seen So Far: (Season Two: "Over the Rainbow", "There's No Place Like Plrtz Girb". All of Season Three. Season Four: Deep Down and Ground State.)

I stumbled across a post recently at Keith Topping's highly entertaining From the North, where he mentions a couple of Angel favorites; David Boreanaz in the Bones series (not by name) and Alexis (of course, otherwise I wouldn't even be mentioning this.)

About Boreanaz, "The Big Hunky One Who Can't Act", I was happy to see that Keith feels
"...he actually can act (and very nicely, thank-you-very-much), putting in another great straight-man performance in a hilarious tale of high achievement versus good old common sense".
I agree. I think David's a wonderful actor who might not have been shown off to his best advantage in Angel. I have more to say about Boreanaz in a future post, but suffice it to say that as I watch more episodes of the series, the more impressed I am with his performances.

And what does Topping say about Alexis Denisof?
I should also offer this blog's collective and sincere congratulations to Alyson and her husband, Alexis Denisof - see, there's another one - on the recent birth of their first child. It's to be hoped that a TV producer somewhere spots this item in the papers and thinks 'Ah, Alexis Denisof. He was pure-dead brilliant in Angel. Why isn't he on TV more often? I think I'll hire him.' It could happen.
"...pure-dead brilliant...." Here, here! I can't think of a more fitting way to describe Denisof's performance as the (sometimes) rogue demon-slayer Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. I've often thought the movie industry needed some sort of benevolent dictator who makes sure great actors are not only working, but performing in roles that they truly deserve.

I'm now in the beginning of Season 4, as you can tell by my post opening, and what a trying season it's turning out to be! Let's see. The Angel producers took the lovable Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, slit his throat, alienated him from all of his friends, turned him into a bitter Clint Eastwood "Man With No Name" clone, relegated his part to a few brief scenes in each episode, demoted him in the opening credits, introduced the annoying Connor the Perpetually Evil Son, pushed aside the valuable comic-relief character of Groo, refused to get rid of the "Why is She Here?" Justine, then took away the Cordelia whom we knew and loved (and, as far as I know, never allowed her to fully return as her old character for very long).

The only consolation for me (and I admit it's a great consolation prize) is the chance to enjoy Wesley's naked torso at regular intervals as he performs his steamy love scenes with Lilah. Which brings me to my biggest problem. With the Angel Investigations team being in so much turmoil, I have little to look forward to in the show except for Wes and Lilah's love scenes. It's a tremendous burden for me to watch two hours of programming every day, so what do I end up doing? On the initial screening, I scan through most of the episodes, stopping only to watch Wes and Lilah make out. Only afterwards will I watch the complete episodes, which are pretty anticlimactic for me since I've already seen them at double speed. I try not to, but I find that even during my formal screenings, I can't seem to keep my thumb off of the "Fast Forward" button.

Don't get me wrong on my thoughts of Wes and his Lone Wolf "Man With No Name" persona. Alexis of course pulls off each scene brilliantly, always subtly and coolly staying in control despite any cracks of vulnerably we might be able to spot. I just hope I'll get a chance to see him expand his acting range a little bit more in future episodes.

I can only compliment the producers and other creators of the Angel series for creating so many characters that I truly care about, allowing me to continue watching the show even in these trying times.

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