One of the disadvantages of this season’s intensely serialised storytelling is that the show has lost much of its variety. The few forrays outside the realm of apocalyptic epic (e.g. the Gunn and Sparky caper) have felt more distracting than refreshing. “Shiny Happy People” proves that Angel can still colour outside the lines, even ones it drew itself. I won’t say that I’d become desensitised to all the doom and gloom, the series has done a good job preventing that, but the time was still right to change gears. Rather than trying to top the Apocalypse thus far, Jasmine takes us in the opposite direction and the effect is satisfyingly creepy. All the peace and happiness makes for a new kind of dread and Fred is an inspired choice to serve as the audience’s surrogate. Continue reading
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