Monday, January 11, 2016

Pilot in Review: Angel from Hell

Angel from Hell (CBS)
Premiered January 7 at 9:30pm

I’ve been a big fan of Maggie Lawson since before her career-making role on “Psych” as the most sensible character around, Jules, who had a soft spot for fake psychic Shawn. In 2006, Lawson starred on “Crumbs” with Fred Savage and William Devane, who are both currently starring together once again as son and father on “The Grinder.” Since “Psych” ended, Lawson appeared on “Justified” in a killer guest spot, and tried her hand at network comedy with “Back in the Game” on ABC opposite James Caan. Now, she’s back on TV again with another small screen legend, Jane Lynch, who won an Emmy for “Glee” and is surely searching for a role that allows her to be just as crazy. She’s found it as a guardian angel who dresses sloppily and loves practical jokes, intent on meddling in the life of the person she is charged with protecting even though she’s absolutely forbidden to do so. The premise of this show leaves much to be desired, but theoretically Lynch and Lawson are both capable and should play well off each other. Lynch’s Amy breaking the news to Lawson’s Allison that her boyfriend was cheating on her with her best friend was a crucial first step, and finding Amy in a picture from her childhood confirmed to Allison that something strange is going on. I like having Kevin Pollak and Kyle Bornheimer in the supporting cast as Allison’s father and brother, respectively, and I wonder if we’ll see former “Traffic Light” costars David Denman and Liza Lapira again now that their romance has been busted. I’m determined to give this show at least another chance because I saw so many ads for the pilot and think that it has the potential to grow into something different with time. I’m not going to commit anything just yet, but I want to see where it goes in the short term.

How will it work as a series? That’s the big question. Can this show evolve from being a sappy, dumb story about a woman with no prospects at happiness bonding with her one friend, her foul-mouthed guardian angel? I’m not sure it can, but it’s possible that it can become something altogether different.
How long will it last? It’s hard to tell. The premiere numbers were okay but CBS is notoriously strict and demanding when it comes to the performance of its shows. I think poor reviews and so-so ratings will lead to this being pulled from the air before we get too far into the spring.

Pilot grade: C-

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