TV Review: ‘Angel From Hell’

'Angel from Hell' is not exactly

Angel from Hell” does a remarkable thing: It makes the viewer want to avoid spending time with Jane Lynch and Maggie Lawson, both of whom are very appealing and talented performers. Lynch’s character, Amy, who describes herself as a guardian angel, tries repeatedly to insert herself into the humdrum life of Allison (Lawson), and there’s a similar dynamic at work in this grating show, which aims at whimsy and misses the target. The CBS comedy labors mightily to make its premise worthy of the considerable array of talent expended on it, but never quite makes its central ideas work. In her more frustrated moments, Allison considers taking out a restraining order against Amy, who is either a divine emissary or an unhinged woman with a drinking problem. Viewers don’t necessarily have to take legal action against the comedy, which is amiable and generally harmless, but it might be wise to avoid “Angel” unless it develops into something less desperate and insistent.

Why Amy turns up in Allison’s life at this particular point in time is never really clearly established, but the general idea, according to Amy, is that Allison doesn’t have enough fun, and needs to take better care of herself. (Of course, it goes without saying that the life of a well-to-do L.A. dermatologist is uniquely challenging and full of trials.) Many sustainable comedies have been built on similar ideas involving an unpredictable live wire getting a tightly wound adult to loosen up, but “Angel’s” attempts at spontaneity feel as forced and loud as the clown costume Amy wears in the second episode.

“Angel’s” cast is very good, and to the extent that any moment in the comedy works, it’s the result of their unrelenting efforts. Kevin Pollack and Kyle Bornheimer, who play Allison’s father and brother, offer up very deft work in their limited roles, but the fact that the entire cast has to try this hard to create angelic magic is a problem. It’s not quite believable that Allison would let this woman in her life because she is lonely and needs “a weird friend,” but that concept would be easier to accept if the comedic payoffs were plentiful. They are not.

All things considered, Allison puts it best: “The line between stalker and angel seems very thin.” It does, and the fact that this talented group of professionals couldn’t consistently find the right side of that boundary is perhaps an indication that the whole enterprise was not divinely inspired.

TV Review: 'Angel From Hell'

Series: CBS, Thurs. Jan. 7, 9:30 p.m.

Production

Shot in Los Angeles by CBS Television Studios.

Crew

Executive producers, Tad Quill, Don Scardino; director, Scardino; writer, Quill; director of photography, Matthew Clark; production designer, Vaughan Edwards; editor, Scott James Wallace; music, Gabriel Mann, Rebecca Kneubuhl; casting, Dorian Frankel, Sibby Kirchgessner. 30 MIN

Cast

Jane Lynch, Maggie Lawson, Kevin Pollack, Kyle Bornheimer

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  1. Dale Wright says:

    I totally disagree with this review. I found the series to be a very light hearted FANTASY comedy.

  2. James says:

    I completely disagree with this review. My wife and I find this show very funny and entertaining. It is fast-paced and quick-witted. In fact, you have to pay close attention to catch all the jokes. It is perfectly cast — the four main lead actors are perfect in their roles.

    I’m curious what people want these days? More “Two Broke Girls”? That base humor seems to be what America wants — “Girls” will be on seven or eight seasons. #SMH. “Angel” is refreshing. We love it.

  3. LouAnn says:

    This show is so white it makes Friends lol ethnic because at least they had one black person on one season not to mention brunettes. Seriously blonde on blonde on blonde even the ex boyfriend /brother is blonde and then the one whitewash token asian girl barely makes it onto the screen. CBS really dropped the ball on this they could have cast someone of color here and it would have made not only the plot richer but it would have made them seem like less casting bigots. You would think they would take a hint from some of the better shows on TV like how to get away with murder and scandal but they refused to move from the fifties all white cast mentality.

  4. M says:

    Total garbage! Hope it doesn’t air, and if it does, nobody watches it, except for mindless idiots.

  5. nancy says:

    Lighten up already. It’s a comedy!!!!!

  6. nancy hauser says:

    I totally disagree, as I usually do with reviewers’ of movies. I think your goal is to find something wrong with the items you review. Whose going to read what you say if it is a favorable review!

  7. Christopher says:

    This sounded like a loser from the get-go. Lynch, like Jason Alexander and many others, is wonderful in an ensemble cast, but not as star.

  8. taffy says:

    Jane Lynch always plays Jane Lynch. Boring.

  9. Evil angels cannot come from the fires of Hell. God is the fires of Hell to an evil angel. God is light to the saved. That light takes darkness away forever.

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