I'd kept meaning to try Angel, but had not seen more than glimpses (maybe a little more than one episode total) of it, as opposed to Buffy, of which I'd seen the fourth season finale and several episodes of Season Five. I was already interested in Joss Whedon (and, to be honest, his fondness for fetching casts) and following how he and his fellow writer-producers did their shows, and I'd read how since Buffy and Angel aired back-to-back, they'd make sure that if one program was heavy, the other'd be lighter. And "The Body" was about as heavy as Buffy could get. Whedon had said something like "They're so going to need this" as his team prepped Angel's "Epiphany." So I read that, knew "The Body" would be tough, and thought Oh, okay, Angel will be a breather.
It would've been kind of sort of a breather if I'd known what the hell was going on, which I didn't. My 2001 self made it about 15 minutes into "Epiphany" (as far as Angel's heart-to-heart with Lorne the karaoke demon) and had thought thoughts like Okay, so apparently Angel had sex and shouldn't have and something bad should have happened but it didn't, and he's confused and that other vampire Darla is confused and, well, okay, I'm confused. I didn't pick up on the storylines, or why Angel-having-sex was significant (I hadn't seen the relevant eps of Buffy either), so I gave up; I probably didn't watch a full Angel episode until the first airing of "Smile Time," the hilarious and disturbing puppet episode, and that was three years later. (And I had a MUCH easier time "getting" "Smile Time," interestingly enough.)
Since I've had more time than money lately, I've been watching Angel on DVD, and I've kept having the thought Now I get it. I've reached Season Two, which for my money got to a much more certain start than Season One did. I'm really powering through this season: I picked up the Season Two DVD set from the library this weekend and I've already finished Episode 16. (I had more trouble getting into Season One, to the point that I ran out of time (only seeing halfway through the season in three weeks) and had to borrow it a second time.) It's working pretty well for me, though I thought (f'r'instance) the time-stopping story "Happy Anniversary" only about half-worked, with stuff that didn't work seeming like it was written by first-time Angel writers and not showrunners Whedon and David Greenwalt. But that ep gets points for having its antagonist being misguided, but not evil, and realizing how big a mistake he made and apologizing for it after Angel rescues him. Okay, I seem to be able to go into critical mode now better than last night... ;-)
So. Angel has become a good viewing experience for me. I was hoping that'd happen.