I was organizing my DVD collection a few weeks ago and came upon Angels in America and watched it again. It's still quite weird at times, but you make excellent points.
"Angels in America" holds a special place in my heart for several reasons, although I actually don't think it's all that great. The acting in the HBO mini-series was marvelous (Emma Thompson also did a great job, and I also have the DVDs), but I could never really get into the script.
One reason is my very first boyfriend took me to see it performed live in Seattle in 1995. In a marathon 1-day performance (it more typically is staged over 2 nights, because of its length). I had only come out a couple of months earlier, I really couldn't grasp a lot of the gay references & messages. Plus if you thought the TV mini-series was weird at times, this particular Seattle staging left me completely puzzled.
Then the HBO TV version was aired in late 2003. My partner and I watched it together as it was shown over several weeks. He was already exhibiting symptoms that I feared meant he was developing AIDS himself, a theme in the story. But despite my taking him to doctors several times a month, because I was becoming alarmed, they kept assuring me he was fine, couldn't find anything wrong.
It turned out I was right, they were wrong. I knew my man better than they did. But at the time he still didn't have his fatal diagnosis. So we'd watch "Angels in America" together on the sofa, holding hands, and I kept telling myself he was gonna survive his HIV, just like the Angels character "Prior Walter" does.
My partner was dead 2 months later of AIDS-related PML. My only personal consolation was that once he had contracted this HIV opportunistic disease, likely at least a year earlier, there was nothing anyone could have done for him anyway, always 100% fatal to this day.
So that I did nothing wrong, I didn't fail him. I just wish I had been told sooner, so I could have prepared both of us for it better, because I knew inside me something was wrong, but the doctors wouldn't listen.
So watching "Angels in America" is very emotional for me, on a personal basis. It was part of my initial introduction to gay life, and my introduction to gay death. I don't watch the DVDs very often today.