Angels: The Mysterious Messengers

Greystone Communications, one of the two companies that handed down the "Ancient Prophecies" spec, returns with another look into the beyond. Here the subject's even less focused, as host Patty Duke and writers look at ill-defined angels ranging from life protectors to comforting ushers who guide arrivals into death's chambers. For the susceptible, it's a must.

With:
Host: Patty Duke.

Greystone Communications, one of the two companies that handed down the “Ancient Prophecies” spec, returns with another look into the beyond. Here the subject’s even less focused, as host Patty Duke and writers look at ill-defined angels ranging from life protectors to comforting ushers who guide arrivals into death’s chambers. For the susceptible, it’s a must.

Program has been slickly, handsomely produced, with camerawork properly enhanced by uncredited special effects. Spec, whose second hour may suffer because of Part 2 of CBS’ Menendez foray beginning at 9 p.m., dramatizes cases in which people have brushes with guardian angels who save them from grim deaths.

Stories vary significantly, and the writers do mention good and bad angels — the latter led by Lucifer after the fall — but pinning down an angel isn’t easy , as the spec makes plain. A girl dies willingly in an auto crash after weeks of apparent visits from a good (or bad?) angel; the girl, who’d been acting far too happy before her death, leaves an angel-shaped cookie in the kitchen. Her parents, giving up their own work, open an angel boutique.

After many samples of supposed angelic visits, the spec changes gears: Scientists, generally nixing white-light-in-the-long-tunnel reports from those who’ve gone to death’s door, have other ideas. Such thoughts may have been planted in childhood. One doctor suggests endorphins may be involved, which rocks foundations for many who may be planning spectral reunions.

Some hazy, ectoplasmic forms occasionally surround objects, and an addict who becomes an artist when he dumps drugs draws small, basic angels he saw coming off a high. The kernel of the occasion is the personal encounter. Spec notes that 69% of Americans believe in angels.

Few if any of the involved subjects profess religious affiliations or beliefs , an interesting point, though all major religions harbor forms of angels. Somehow those angels who visited Abraham and Lot, wrestled with Jacob, guided Tobit, announced the Incarnation to Mary or stood by the empty tomb to announce the Resurrection don’t seem in the same league with these soothing spirits who warn of accidents, indicate everything’s going jake or sponsor boutique shops.

One factor does suggest a hefty audience for “Angels”: Everyone’s hoping for hope, which is exactly what the pretty if shallow program’s about.

Angels: The Mysterious Messengers

(Tues. (24), 8-10 p.m., NBC)

Production: Filmed in L.A. and various locales around U.S. by American Artists Prods. and Greystone Communications Inc. Exec producers, Craig Haffner, Donna E. Lusitana; co-exec producers, Steven D. Brown, Vivian Walker Jones; supervising producer, Robert Kirk; producer, Rex Hauck; co-producer, Steven Lewis; directors, Hauck, Kirk, Lusitana; seg directors, Lisa Bourgoujian, Dennie Gordon, Noab Morowitz, Scott Paddor, Laura Verklan; writers, Hauck, Kirk, Haffner, Lusitana.

Crew: Camera, Don McCuaig; editors, Michael W. Andrews, Steve Pomerantz, Peter White; sound, Ken Willingham; music, Chris Stone; production designer, Henry L. Cota.

Cast: Host: Patty Duke.

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