Wednesday, January 06, 2016

CBS Mid-Season Pilot Review: Angel from Hell - Premieres Thursday, Jan. 7; Netflix Comedy Series Love Launches Feb. 19

Angel from Hell

Angel from Hell - Thursdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Thursday, January 7, 2016 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Todd

Angel from Hell is a single-camera comedy about Amy, a colorful, brassy woman who insinuates herself into the life of an organized and seemingly perfect young woman, Allison, claiming to be her “guardian angel.” Allison is an intense, driven doctor who is sure that Amy is just an inebriated, outspoken nut, until every one of her warnings proves true. Cautioned by Amy not tell anyone about her, Allison can’t discuss this over-the-top oddball with her father and business partner, Marv, a doctor who shares an office with Allison, or her younger brother, Brad, a sales rep who lives in a guest room over her garage. As Allison tries to push Amy away, Amy makes her final pitch: her sole mission is to provide Allison with helpful guidance that nudges her in the right direction in life – and it’s her final chance to prove herself as an angel. With that, Allison agrees to this unlikely relationship because maybe a weird friend is exactly what she needs… and what if Amy really is her “guardian angel”?

Cast Details:

Jane Lynch as Amy
Maggie Lawson as Allison
Kevin Pollak as Marv
Kyle Bornheimer as Brad

Jane Lynch (Amy) is best known for her role as Sue Sylvester in Glee. She won both an Emmy and Golden Globe Award for the role. She won a second Emmy for her role as host of Hollywood Game Night. Some of her other television guest appearances include Party Down, The L Word, Desperate Housewives, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Criminal Minds and Two and a Half Men.

Maggie Lawson (Allison) is best known for her role as Detective Juliet "Jules" O'Hara in Psych. She has starred in the sitcoms Inside Schwartz, It's All Relative, Crumbs and Back in the Game. Most recently she was seen as Ms. McMartin in the twelfth and final season of Two and Half Men.

Kevin Pollak (Marv) has appeared in sitcoms such as Mom, Work with Me, The Drew Carey Show and Morton & Hayes. He had a recurring role in Shark. His film credits include The Usual Suspects, A Few Good Men, Casino, Avalon, Willow, The Whole Nine Yards and Grumpy Old Men.

Kyle Bornheimer (Brad) has starred in Worst Week, Romantically Challenged, Perfect Couples and Family Tools. His guest appearances include How I Met Your Mother, Will and Grace, The Office, Better Off Ted, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Playing House.

Pilot Plot:

The first two episodes were available for review.

"Pilot" (Airs January 7 at 9:30PM ET)

Allison (Maggie Lawson), a successful, driven doctor, runs into Amy (Jane Lynch), a larger than life, eccentric woman who claims to be her “guardian angel,” and whose mission is to help Allison loosen up and see her life from a new perspective.
Written by Tad Quill
Directed by Don Scardino
Guest Stars: David Denman as Evan, Liza Lapira as Jill, Andrea Rosen as Jill, Kevin Christy as Neighbor, Peter Banifaz as Berry Guy, B.J. Tanner as Kid

"Face Your Fears" (Airs January 14 at 9:30PM ET)

Allison asks New Kids on the Block favorite Joey McIntyre to help her patch up a relationship with an old friend as part of a lesson Amy’s trying to teach her about facing her fears.
Written by Jim Brandon and Brian Singleton
Directed by Clark Mathis
Guest Stars: David Denman as Evan, Jon Dore as Hank, Ginger Gonzaga as Kelly, Rodney J. Hobbs as Manager, Joey McIntyre as himself, Debra Cardona as Bus Driver

Analysis:

Angel from Hell was originally scheduled to premiere on November 5, 2015, but it was pushed back to January 7, 2016. The series is created by Tad Quill (Samantha Who?, Scrubs). Tad Quill and Emmy Award winner Don Scardino (30 Rock) are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. The pilot was directed by Don Scardino.

Angel from Hell is an enjoyable show. The pilot is fast-paced, slickly produced and entertaining. They provide the necessary introductions to the characters and set up the premise of the show in an interesting way. Quite a bit of background information is covered in just 21 minutes. There aren't many laugh-out-loud moments, but it has nice mix of comedy and drama. Jane Lynch has quite a few funny one-liners and provides some good physical comedy. She has a great comic delivery. There are some touching, poignant moments in the episodes, especially in the closing scenes. There's an emotional and surprising video montage that Allison views at the end of the pilot episode that may give you goosebumps. Some short music cues by the composers Gabriel Mann and Rebecca Kneubuhl really stood out. There was also a great song at the end of the pilot.

The talented and charming cast is filled with comedy veterans. Jane Lynch didn't have to wait very long for another TV series after Glee ended its successful run last year. Maggie Lawson and Kyle Bornheimer have starred in a string of short-lived comedies, so maybe they will have a longer run with this series. Kevin Pollak may not be a household name, but he has appeared in many movies and series and always does a fine job. David Denman, who played Roy Anderson in The Office, gives a good performance as Allison's boyfriend, Evan, in the first two episodes. Guest star Joey McIntrye has some funny moments playing himself in the second episode.

Conclusion:

The guardian angel theme has done before in many other television series and films, but Angel from Hell presents a modern spin on it. The strength of the show is its talented and likable cast. Lynch and Lawson have natural charisma and chemistry together. Allison's best friend was her late mother. Amy and Allison have almost a mother-daughter relationship. It will be fun to see how it continues to develop in future episodes. The first two episodes feature many scenes with just the two main characters, so it will be interesting to see the sparks fly when Amy eventually meets Allison's family members.

CBS hasn't had much success with their single camera comedies in recent seasons. It was a bit surprising that they delayed it from the fall when it was being heavily promoted. They also had an opportunity to promote it during the Super Bowl, but it feels like they almost rushed to get it on the air now. It doesn't completely fit with their hit multi-camera sitcoms, but it could be able to develop an audience if given the chance. It's an unique pairing with Allison Janney's character on Mom being a recovering alcoholic and Jane Lynch's character an alcoholic. Maybe they could meet each other in a cross-over episode. The series should do well with women and an older demo, but it probably won't have much mainstream or family appeal. Angel from Hell is a feel-good comedy with lots of heart worth checking out on Thursdays.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3.5/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, January 6, 2016 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Angel from Hell Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • On Friday, February 19, Netflix will debut all 10 half-hour episodes of the all-new Judd Apatow comedy series, Love. Created, written and executive produced by Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin, Love follows nice guy Gus (Rust) and brazen wild-child Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) as they navigate the exhilarations and humiliations of intimacy, commitment, love and other things they were hoping to avoid. Love is an unflinching, hilarious and excruciatingly honest take on modern relationships. Brent Forrester and Dean Holland also serve as executive producers of Love. 10 episodes will air this year and an additional 12 next year. Check out your first look trailer:


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January)

    American Dad! - Volume 11 Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One

    12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
    12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
    12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season
    01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
    01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
    01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
    01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
    01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
    01/24 - Hooperman - Season One
    01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two
    01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Thursday, January 19

    The Big Bang Theory - "The Romance Calibration" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    When Penny feels that Leonard is taking her for granted, she decides to go on a spa weekend with Amy. Also, Wolowitz and Koothrappali try to fix a squeaky floorboard in the baby’s room.

    The Great Indoors - "Mason Blows Up" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Jack tries to reassert his dominance as a reporter after Mason scores an investigative coup that turns him into an overnight celebrity. Also, Clark’s low self-esteem causes him to give Emma relationship advice about other guys instead of asking her out himself

    Mom - "Good Karma and the Big Weird" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Bonnie encourages Christy to pursue Marjorie’s charming nephew, Nick, despite the fact that he’s been declared off limits. Chris Pratt, husband of MOM star Anna Faris, guest stars as Nick, Marjorie’s nephew.

    Life in Pieces - "Tailgate Spiral Souvenir Seating" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    When Colleen and Matt host the family tailgate party at the L.A. Rams game, they invite former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner to spice up their so far dismal event. Also, Tim’s in danger of missing the game when Sophia makes him take her to the restroom and they get sidetracked returning to their seats; Joan and Jen try to sneak into seats closer to the field; and Greg wins a chance to participate in a halftime contest involving a football toss.

    The Good Place - "Mindy St. Claire" / "Michael's Gambit" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    With the help of Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Tahani (Jameela Jamil), Michael (Ted Danson) faces his biggest challenge yet. Meanwhile, Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Jianyu (Manny Jacinto) and Janet (D'Arcy Carden) are faced with a monumental decision.

    Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and her friends contemplate their fates in the Good Place.

    Baskets - "Freaks" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Chip has to decide between a tarp and snacks.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 16)

    Friday, January 20

    • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Catch Anthony on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - JoAnna visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
    • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela drops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He also appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Nicole Byer (Loosely, Exactly Nicole) - Nicole appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Joe Jonas (Jonas L.A.) - Joe guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Bernadette Peters (Mozart in the Jungle/All's Fair) - Bernadette is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah is a guest on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Andrew Dice Clay (Bless This House/Hitz) - Andrew stops by Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    • Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory/Roseanne - Johnny discusses his role in the new film, Rings, and dishes on this season of The Big Bang Theory on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.