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:


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Saturday, June 6

    none scheduled

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 1)

    Friday, June 5

    • Lisa Kudrow (Space Force/The Comeback/Web Therapy/Friends) - Watch Lisa on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Maria Bamford (Lady Dynamite) - Maria is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Yvonne Orji (Insecure) - Yvonne will be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Ricky Gervais (After Life/The Office) - Ricky is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Retta will be on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Matt Fraser (Meet the Frasers) - Matt appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Annie Murphy (Schitt's Creek) - Annie is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/CafĂ© Americain/Sydney/One Day at a Time) - Valerie makes spicy feta dip on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Joel McHale (Community/The Great Indoors) - Joel talks about Becky on People Now at 1pm.
    • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Mayor/The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette talks about Crossing Swords and The Big Fib on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Josie Bissett (The Hogan Family) - Josie talks about Wedding March 5: My Boyfriend's Back on a repeat of Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Kevin is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March/April/May/June)

    Martin - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season

    02/04 - Martin - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
    02/11 - Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season (WBShop.com)
    02/18 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    02/25 - Better Things - The Complete Third Season
    03/17 - Crashing - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    04/07 - Cheers - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
    04/14 - Police Squad! - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    04/14 - The Righteous Gemstones - The Complete First Season
    04/21 - Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season (WBShop.com)
    05/05 - Kidding - Season 2
    05/19 - The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season
    05/19 - The Good Place - The Complete Series - Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)
    05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
    05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Series
    06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
    06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
    06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
    06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
    06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    06/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Roku Adds Over 100 Linear Channels; Remembering Mary Pat Gleason and Peggy Pope
    06/05 - Fri-Yay: Space Force on Netflix Thoughts; BET+ Comedy Gets Binge Premiere
    06/04 - Antenna TV's Coach Father's Day Marathon; The CW Acquires Patrick Dempsey Thriller for Fall 2020
    06/03 - HBO Max Comedy Starts Strong; Alexa & Katie Returns in June for Final Episodes
    06/02 - Ted Lasso Coming Soon to Apple TV+; Quibi Picks Up 2nd Season of Dishmantled
    06/01 - Disney+ Orders Second Season of Diary of a Future President; Young Sheldon Streaming on HBO Max
    05/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 1, 2020)
    05/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: HBO Max Acquires Young Sheldon; Simpsons Now Available in Original Aspect Ratio on Disney+
    05/29 - Fri-Yay: Brooklyn Nine-Nine Continues to Delight and Improve; Remembering Richard Herd of Seinfeld
    05/28 - Apple TV+ to Reboot Fraggle Rock as Series; Virtual Table Read for Bless the Harts on June 1
    05/27 - 2021 Programming Set for FX; Hollywood Game Night Returns for 5 Episodes
    05/26 - FX Orders 3rd Season of Comedy; Adult Swim Brings Back Haddish and Wong Series
    05/25 - Memorial Day 2020 TV Marathons
    05/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 25, 2020)
    05/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: ABC Fall Lineup Looking to Include Fewer Sitcoms; Head of the Class Arrives on DVD
    05/22 - Fri-Yay: Will HBO Max Work?; ABC Announces 2020-21 Season Programming
    05/21 - Freeform Announces 2020-21 Slate; Fox Brings Back Last Man Standing, Prodigal Son and The Resident for 2021
    05/20 - Summer of Me Returns June 1 on MeTV; FXX Orders More Dave
    05/19 - CBS Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; Remembering Ken Osmond of Leave it to Beaver
    05/18 - Pop TV Slates Date for One Day at a Time Animated Episode; Remembering Fred Willard of Modern Family, Everybody Loves Raymond and Fernwood 2 Night
    05/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 18, 2020)
    05/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Renewals and Cancellations of 2019-2020 (So Far); Soaps Running Out of Episodes
    05/15 - The CW Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; Fri-Yay: Quarantine Reunions - An Emerging Trend
    05/14 - Dads Documentary to Premiere on Apple TV+ on June 19; Amazon Picks Up 2nd Season of Upload
    05/13 - COZI TV Slates The Office "Best of Jim" Stunt; AFV Slates at Home Special, Extends Season Thru June 14
    05/12 - Remembering Jerry Stiller of Seinfeld and The King of Queens; HBO Max Announces Santa Inc.
    05/11 - Fox Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; CBS Orders Three New Series for 2020-21
    05/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 11, 2020)
    05/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: At Home Version of America's Funniest Home Videos; Younger Spinoff in the Works
    05/08 - Fri-Yay: What Effect Will the Coronavirus Have on TV Sitcoms?; Freeform Orders Coronavirus Comedy
    05/07 - CBS Announces 23 Series Renewed for 2020-21, Fall Schedule to Be Announced May 19; Robbie Premieres on Comedy Central
    05/06 - TBS and truTV Present I'm Sorry Mother's Day Marathon; HBO Max Orders Comedy with Jean Smart