What if you had a perfect life, but your guardian angel appeared and messed everything up? This is the premise for the new CBS show “Angel From Hell,” arriving late this fall, and I am thrilled to see this type of show center stage on a national television station.
This is a show with two female leads, which is rare — right now all I can think of are Rizzoli & Isles (TNT) and 2 Broke Girls (another CBS show). Both Jane Lynch and Maggie Lawson can hold their own, and the odd-couple relationship between the uptight human and the free spirited angel (a stereotype reversal!) is sure to elicit a lot of laughs.
Jane Lynch plays a wild, crass, messy angel, which builds on the free-spirited personality stereotype reversal. She’s not afraid to say what she thinks and feels, she can be gentle and abrasive by turns, and she’s awkward, weird, and endearing. This full-fledged three dimensional characterization brings zest and pizzazz to what could have been a sappy Touched By An Angel type show.
Another thing about Angel From Hell to appreciate is that it isn’t preachy. Amy (Dr. Allison’s guardian angel) doesn’t want her to ‘be a better person’ — she’s already an overachieving doctor with smarts and kindness to spare. What she needs is to let go of what she thought was a perfect life (turns out, it isn’t) and to embrace the reckless abandon of her own pursuit of happiness. This is an interesting look at how we often do good for others but rarely take the time for self-care, a vital part of healthy, happy living.
I also love that Jane Lynch’s character calls Maggie Lawson’s character Dr. Allison. She has a title, and her guardian angel uses it. There have been so many times that people drop a powerful female’s title, using only their first names (not even having the courtesy to use a prefix or surname), which can be a subtle, sometimes unconscious nod to a patriarchal view of women, a disrespectful lack of acknowledgement of their dedication and skill.
My interest in Angel From Hell is piqued by the guardian angel and her determination to prevent Dr. Allison from going down a dangerous path. Technically she’s not supposed to intervene, so who will be checking in on her, and to what lengths will she go to protect her charge?
Directed by Don Scardino (30 Rock), written by Tad Quill (Bent, Scrubs, Spin City), with Jane Lynch as Co-Executive Producer, Kevin Pollack (That Thing You Do, Grumpy Old Men, A Few Good Men) and Kyle Bornheimer (Chuck, Agent Carter and Brooklyn Nine-Nine) as Dr. Allison’s father and brother, this fantasy comedy is shaping up to be full of a lot of fun and a lot of heart.
You can watch the First Look on CBS’ YouTube channel, although be warned, “First Look” is a quick run-through of the entire pilot. Watch at your own risk. That being said, it was worth it to see Jane Lynch’s line delivery (“Wow, It’s Tuesday already! Man, space and time!”) and interactions with Dr. Allison, her brother, and boyfriend.
Angel From Hell brings together our questions about the connection between life and the divine, asking the question: “Do you believe there’s a force in this world that wants nothing more than for you to be happy? And if there were such a force, do you think it could be manifested in a person whose mission is to safeguard your journey through this world?”Image Credits: CBS