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:


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    • Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life on Deck/The Suite Life of Zack & Cody/Grace Under Fire) - Watch Cole on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
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