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September 08, 2004 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-08

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 8, 2004 - 13

'Angel' bites back in fourth-season DVD

By Adam Rottenberg
Daily Arts Editor
Drw
The darkest season of "Angel" arrives on DVD
in a package quite similar to the series's previous
releases. In the finale of the third season, Angel's
(David Boreanaz) son Connor (Vincent Kartheiser)
betrays him by burying him at the bottom of the
sea, leaving Angel Investigations in shambles.
What follows is an engrossing season-long story
arc that moves these characters into places that fans
would have never predicted.
"Season 4" proved to be quite divisive amongst
the most ardent followers of the show. Some pro-

Curtefapy com

Eat your heart out "Halo."

claimed it to be "Angel's" cre-
ative peak, while others were
too bitter about the drastic
changes many of the show's
core characters undertook. Fan
favorites like Cordelia (Cha-
risma Carpenter) and Wesley

Angel:
Season 4
20th Century Fox

Capeom releases retro
Mega Man' collection

By Brian Stephens
Daily Arts Writer

In celebration of the blue bomber's
15th birthday, Capcom re-released the
original "Mega Man" and its sequels
through "Mega Man 8" in one disc. For
those who have
played old Ninten-
do games, "Mega Mega Man:
Man: Anniver- Anniversary
sary Collection" Collection
will undoubtedly PS2 and
evoke a sense of GameCube
nostalgia. The Capcom
most interesting
aspect of this game
doesn't lie with the new anime sequenc-
es or the unreleased "Mega Man" titles
from Japan; rather, this game, with its
outdated graphics, is just as fun as any
other game shelved in your favorite vid-
eogame store.
Capcom lauds this compilation as a
"tribute to "Mega Man," but that isn't
exactly accurate. "Mega Man: Anni-
versary Collection" is a tacit salute to
a unique kind of game design that has
been lost to the annals of time. In an age

when games can require up to 10 but-
tons to play, there is something inescap-
ably elegant, yet austere that one can
play this compilation with merely two
buttons and the directional keys. Those
who have bitterly complained about the
complexity of the newer, sleeker video-
games might find solace in this collec-
tion of old "Mega Man" titles.
With new, remixed music tracks
and unlockable bonus materials,
"Mega Man: Anniversary Collection"
is able to retain a remarkable sense of
newness while still keeping true to its
fast-paced, side-scrolling roots. Since
the games are perfect reproductions,
they are just as difficult and addicting
as you remember them; in fact, if you
are so inclined, using those cheats and
codes from old Nintendo Power maga-
zines will work just like they used to.
Eight games, plus two unreleased
titles, for the price of $29.95 is a steal.
Dating back to 1987, "Mega Man" is
one of the oldest-running series and
arguably the best 2-D platform game
ever to be released. It may be Mega
Man's 15th birthday, but we're the
ones receiving the gifts.

(Alexis Denisof) became so drastically different
than they were in previous seasons that they were
hardly recognizable. Additionally, the Connor
character grew to be increasingly unlikable, both
in Kartheiser's performance and in the character's
actions.
In spite of these claims, the story arc that propels
"Season 4" is great. The team must come together
to fight not only the evil law firm of Wolfram and
Hart, but also face an oncoming apocalypse. Few
shows dare to even tell stories that go beyond one
episode, yet "Angel" tells a single story over the
course of 22.
This season takes an even more somber tone
than other years, but still maintains the requisite
witty dialogue that followers of writer/director Joss
Whedon have come to expect. It is this levity that
makes "Angel" a hybrid of genres. The episode
"Spin the Bottle" epitomizes how the series can
jump from comedy to drama even in the middle of
a single show. However, the comedy is secondary
to the drama in "Season 4" because of the serious
themes that weave through the story. What unfolds
tears at the very fiber of the characters and is only
redeemable through a deus ex machina that turns
the series on its head in the climactic finale.
"Season 4" also reunites "Angel" with its sis-
ter show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" by relying
on a couple of crossovers from Sunnydale to help
Angel and friends avert the impending crisis. This
reunion of the two series comes at a welcome time
as "Angel" proved that it could stand on its own
with "Season 3," but it's done in a way that ties
the "Buffy"/"Angel" universe together believably
and makes the threat seem that much more dire.

Come closer... we don't bite...

The return of characters like Willow (Alyson Han-
nigan) and Faith (Eliza Dushku) creates an added
sense of urgency to the crisis.
The DVD set comes complete with the standard
features found on the other "Angel" season releases.
There are multiple featurettes and selected episode
commentaries. The best of the commentaries are
those by Whedon, who seems to truly care about
the characters and the storylines.
FOX also kept the widescreen aspect ratio,
uncommon for most TV series, which helps give
the show a more theatrical look. The series has
extremely high production values, which become
obvious not only in the elaborate costumes and
make-up, but also in the special effects. The demons
that populate this world look even more fanciful on
DVD than they did in their original broadcasts.
"Angel" was a unique show that challenged con-
ventional TV practices. "Season 4" shows the series
at its strongest, whether or not the viewer agrees
with the depictions of the characters.
Show: ****
Picture/Sound: ****
Features: ***

* Oil business, soap opera collide in prime time television classic 'Dallas'

The 29 episodes revolve around the
exploits of the Ewings, a dysfunction-
al family in the independent oil busi-
ness, where corruption, greed and lust
is the name of the game. The patri-
arch of the family, Jock (Jim Davis),
has stepped aside to give control of
Ewing Oil to his son, J.R. (Larry
Hagman), a guy everyone loves to
hate, because of his womanizing,
cockiness and never-ending manipu-
lation. J .R.'s younger, more-adored
brother Bobby (Patrick Duffy) tries to
keep J.R. in check, both in the family
business and at the Ewing household.
Much to J.R.'s chagrin, Bobby has
married the headstrong, no-nonsense
Pamela Barnes (Victoria Principal),
the daughter of Jock's enemy and for-
mer partner Digger Barnes.
Very few of the episodes use the
cliffhanger style the show was later
famous for. Most of the storylines

are resolved within hour-long tales,
and some are a little too silly. Too
often, the show would focus on a far-
fetched story involving Jock's rebel-
lious grand-daughter Lucy or ranch
foreman Ray, two characters who,
when compared to J.R. and Bobby,
are too weak. Fortunately, the show
picks up when J.R.'s wife Sue Ellen
(Linda Gray), upset at her husband's
cheating ways, has an affair with

Pamela's brother (and natural enemy
of J.R.) Cliff, creating a "Who's the
father?" storyline that showcased the
show's tremendous potential.
The set is neatly packaged and
the episodes have transferred well
to DVD. Unfortunately, the extras
on the five discs are sparse. Hagman
and the show's writers provide com-
mentary on only three episodes, and
the only other feature is a reunion

on SoapNet. Still, the episodes are
enough to carry the set, if only to see
the beginning of the tremendous J.R.
character and the first signs of "Dal-
las" becoming a staple of entertain-
ing television in the 1980s.
Show: ***
Picture/Sound: ***
Features: **

Friday, Se ptember 17th

start somewhere. While not exactly
groundbreaking, the first two seasons dation for the seasons that cemented
serve as a fine introduction to the the show as one of the most popular
characters and provide a solid foun- of all time.

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