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From Thefutoncritic.com


An Angel fan wins the futon critic’s Save Our Show contest

Saturday 3 May 2003, by Webmaster

The results are in for our Third Annual Save Our Show contest. 3,931 kind folks wrote in to tell us about their favorite series and we’re happy to be running some of them this week. Many also suggested we publish the results to see which series had the most prolific fans. Well, we’ve decided to take it one step further and count down the 10 most written about series (two each day) and feature "the best" letter from each show. So without any more of my yammering, here’s it is: the top two most written about series.

2. why you should save "the agency" (631 letters) by maria manalang

I am joining this contest in order to support my favorite show "The Agency." I have never been a television addict before but ever since watching The Agency last September 2001, I have become obsessed with it. I just enjoy watching the show every Saturday (or previously Thursday). I make it a point to be at home before 10 p.m. so that I can program my VCR to tape the show and at the same time watch it with my family. It has definitely changed my viewing habits.

What do I like about "The Agency?" Since high school I have always loved reading novels and watching movies or documentaries that have an action-oriented or spy theme. I have been interested in the inner world and intricacies of the C.I.A.. When I learned that "The Agency" is about the C.I.A., I decided to tune in to watch it. I was not disappointed. From what I have read, the show’s plots and portroyals are very close to reality.

The cast is wonderful. The ensemble is made up of powerhouse veteran actors such as Beau Bridges, David Benzala and Will Patton and the addition of Jason O’Mara was a fantastic decision. David Clennon’s humor creates a balance in an otherwise serious situation. The love story between the two main characters Stiles and Terri, played admirably by O’Mara and Paige Turco, is also a great addition because it shows the personal or human side of the agents. More than it being a way to attract female audiences, I feel that showing a little romance adds to the excitement and drama. It gives the show another dimension, thus, giving it depth.

It is not full of flash, fanfare or fantasy. The realism and the timeliness of the plots show great appreciation and sensitivity to current world situations. The stories that the writers come up with week after week are also excellent. I love the writing styles of past and present writers, Michael Frost Beckner, Melissa Rosenberg, Shaun Cassidy, Doris Egan and Eric Oleson. The latter particularly, as he wrote my favorite episodes, "Unholy Alliances" and "Debbie Does Djakartha."

CBS has a winning show in its hands. I just hope that they would decide to renew the show and see it for what it is really worth. It may not be as popular as its other shows but I can assure them that there are many loyal viewers out there who always stay tune on Saturdays to watch it. And these loyal viewers will definitely be devastated if "The Agency" doesn’t get its chance to shine again for its third season.

1. why you should save "angel" (759 letters) by an "angel" fan

Note: The person who wrote this letter forgot to sign their name. If they would contact us we would be more than happy to provide credit to them.

I avoided "Angel" for a very long time. From the commercials I caught, it struck me as hokey, clichéd, melodramatic, and overdone. A vampire? Saving the world? What could this show possibly offer me? As improbable as it may seem, a show about vampires, demons, and those who fight against all the evils of human mythology has given me hours of entertainment. That’s not what makes me fiercely loyal and defensive of "Angel," though. What I love is the way that this fantastical world addresses the most realistic of issues. Good and evil are only the beginning, and answers are rarely clear cut. The heroes at Angel Investigations have dealt with their own darker sides. They’ve wrestled with love, hate, greed, envy, revenge, anger, and betrayal. They haven’t always triumphed. Wesley may have kidnapped Angel’s son with good intentions, but Angel reacted with rage and violence. Months and nearly a full season later, the tension is only now fading away into forgiveness and acceptance. In the interim, Wesley has had to learn how to function without his friends while remaining true to himself. He has had to learn where his own personal line lies. He made bad decisions, and he made good ones. Who hasn’t dealt with something similar, if slightly less tragic? Hard decisions in our world may be less about life and death, but a friend’s betrayal is no less painful. Picking up the pieces after a bad decision are no easier.

The rest of the characters on "Angel" have all had similarly difficult struggles. Connor can’t decide which father figure to trust, and he’s been lied to and manipulated all of his life. Gunn crossed a line for the woman he loved and is trying to deal with the consequences. Fred has had to figure out how to function in a world that can be scary, when what she really wanted was to stay locked in her room scribbling on the walls. Angel has a very real inner demon that doesn’t always stay at bay just because he’s got a soul. Cordelia has transformed herself from bitchy prom queen to a caring hero, and recent developments have sent her down the evil path. While we may not be able to identify with the specifics of "Angel," the emotions, relationships, and decisions often hit close to home. The biggest problems the folks of "Angel" deal with are rarely the demons they fight.

I never know how this show is going to end. It surprises me over and over again. I can count the number of times that I’ve anticipated the plot twists on one hand. It’s a joy to watch as a mystery, it’s heart-wrenching as a drama, and quite often it’s hilariously comedic. The writing is spot-on, and the actors give such life to the characters that I never stop to ponder the absurdity of the "world" they are creating. The writers weave a thick tapestry that is beautiful to anyone who just happens to glance for an episode or two, but that’s downright breathtaking to those of us who obsessively memorize details of earlier seasons. Everything fits together, and I often find clues in the most innocent details when I rewatch episodes. All of these things constantly draw me back to "Angel."

Most importantly, though, I love how those creating the storylines are never afraid to tackle the big questions and how they use their characters to do so. Free will, redemption, choice, good and evil, repentance… They’re as real in our world as they are in the universe of "Angel," and this show has given thousands of fans across the world a way to discuss them passionately. The community that has formed around the subject of "Angel" is nearly as intoxicating as the show itself. I can’t imagine losing "Angel" and all that comes with it.

What more can you ask of a show?