×

TV Review: ‘Angel From Hell’

With:
Jane Lynch, Maggie Lawson, Kevin Pollack, Kyle Bornheimer

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

More TV

  • Game of Thrones Finale

    Why the 'Game of Thrones' Finale Couldn't Have Satisfied Everyone

    The “Game of Thrones” finale may have achieved a strange feat: Aiming for fan service while being constrained, by its very nature, to the reality that it would end up pleasing only very few. The episode was larded with character touches designed for devotees — from a title, at long last, for fan favorite Bronn, [...]

  • Game of Thrones Finale

    'Game of Thrones'' Celebrity Fans Weigh in on Series Finale: 'It Was Perfect'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not keep reading if you have not seen the series finale of “Game of Thrones,” titled “The Iron Throne.”  The series finale of “Game of Thrones” was one for the history books, whether you loved it or hated it. Fans the world over took to Twitter to share their thoughts about the [...]

  • ‘Game of Thrones’: 8 Shocking Moments

    ‘Game of Thrones’: 8 Shocking Moments From the Finale

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not keep reading if you have not seen the finale of “Game of Thrones.” Well, that’s it. After the “Game of Thrones” finale, many of us will likely emulate Jon Snow and just retire North of the Wall. It was billed as one of the biggest events in TV history, and showrunners [...]

  • Front row: CBS THIS MORNING co-hosts

    CBS Hurls New Anchor Team Into TV's Morning-News Wars

    News Team: Assemble. CBS News plans to hurl a new anchor squad into TV’s morning-news wars Monday when a different trio – Gayle King, Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil –  takes the helm at “CBS This Morning.” The A.M. effort that has won critical plaudits by focusing on harder news topics, like international affairs and [...]

  • Dutch FilmWorks Moves into International Sales

    Dutch Film Works Moves into International Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    A major new international sales outfit is coming to market. Dutch Film Works (DFW), one of the largest movie distributors in the Benelux region, is moving into film and TV sales. DFW general manager Angela Pruijssers will spearhead the sales effort alongside Charlotte Henskens, who will join from Amsterdam-based Fortissimo Films, where she is director [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Series Finale Details

    'Game of Thrones' Series Finale Details Reportedly Leak Online

    Who will survive the finale of “Game of Thrones”? Some savvy watchers of the HBO series might have a clue heading into Sunday night’s episode after a detailed description of the final installment reportedly leaked online. [Note: This post does not contain any “Game of Thrones” spoilers.] A spokesperson said HBO had no comment. While [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content