Monday, July 13, 2015

Take Me To The Pilots '15: CBS' 'Angel From Hell'

[You know the drill, and I will continue to mention it in each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews may be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show: "Angel From Hell" (CBS)
The Pitch: "She's the original angel from hell!" "You mean Lucifer?" "No. That's on FOX. This is more like 'Cupid' only with guardian angels."
Quick Response: I talked about "The Grinder" as a pilot-y pilot, but "Angel From Hell" makes "The Grinder" look structurally relaxed and easily repeatable. The 22-minute running time of "Angel From Hell" is about justifying why, on even the lowest level, Type-A dermatologist Allison (Maggie Lawson) would believe that alcoholic farmer's market busker Amy (Jane Lynch) might conceivably be less a loud, grating stalker and more a benign guardian angel breaking some sort of karmic edict for some reason to directly intervene in her life. Confession: I can't really distinguish between a guardian angel and a fairy godmother, but I'm not sure "Angel From Hell" can either, but it's making it up as it goes along and repeating certain things -- Allison thinks Amy is a stalker, Amy likes creme de menthe, something about safeguarding journeys through worlds -- almost as a distraction mechanism. Allison's incredulity has to be eased with a pilot plotline that generates a much-desired "Traffic Light" reunion, but also features two characters who, at least so far as I know, may never return again. That's not a great decision, because it leaves all of the other characters either really broadly sketched or negligible. Eventually, Lynch's Amy may make the necessary transition from irritating to fought-around-the-edges-potential-spiritual-guardian, but that doesn't happen in the pilot. And as much as I like Maggie Lawson -- "Back in the Game" is one of the most peculiar not-given-a-shot cancellations in recent years -- she's just playing "workaholic girl who doesn't know how to have fun" here. The couple details people mention about Kyle Bornheimer's character have seemingly no connection to what he's playing. It's frustratingly inevitable, because the premise is indefensible in literal terms, but they have to lay the foundation for it anyway and you know that Allison's going to semi-accept Amy, but the way it goes down is perfunctory and laugh-less. I'm not a fan of premise pilots that are like inoculations: "You might be a little sore, but at least we don't have to go through this again." When you get a pilot like "Angel From Hell" or "The Grinder," I almost wish the networks would put them online, but never air them and skip straight to Episode 2. Like, "Look, you don't really care how we got here, but if you do... Go online and watch the original pilot as background information, but otherwise you can just assume what happened and get into the series." Pilots like this are useless. They get you where you had to go anyway, but they do it without enough amusement to be worth even the 22 minutes.
Desire To Watch Again: I'm perfectly game to watch Episode 2. The pilot was pointless, but not painful. Or if it was briefly painful, at least it passed fast. Now give me the show. I almost can't give an opinion based only on this one episode. Is "Be better next week" an opinion? There you go. This sure won't hook anybody, but it has talented people, so maybe the real show will be good? Just me being an optimist, as usual.

Take Me To The Pilots '15: ABC's ' 'Quantico'
Take Me To The Pilots '15: NBC's ' 'The Player'
Take Me To The Pilots '15: FOX's ' 'The Grinder' 
Take Me To The Pilots '15: CBS' 'Supergirl'
All of my 2014 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2013 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2012 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2011 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries


  1. Ricardo3:27 PM

    Hi Dan! Do you accept requests now? I'd love to see a reaction to this completely misguided post on Deadline - - about "reverse sexism". I think it'd give a good rant! Unless you plan to apply for Deadline. In that case, don't do it.

    I understand if you're too busy watching Seinfield.

    1. On a weekly basis, with admirable consistency, Bart & Flemming's conversations waffle between clueless, out-of-touch and cluelessly out-of-touch, but to isolate one week just honors their obliviousness.

      The dumbest part of the article isn't just that it's blatantly wrong, which it is, but that it's wrong and also four or five years behind the curve.


    2. Is this some sort of bizarre Internet performance art, or are they serious?


    3. This comment has been removed by the author.