A Rocky Start for Angel From Hell
Thursday night Jane Lynch graced our screens once again in a new comedy pilot from CBS called Angel From Hell. Created and written by Tad Quil (Scrubs, Samantha Who?), Angel From Hell opened on a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49 with 8 million viewers. The best thing about Angel From Hell is Jane Lynch (Glee, Two and a Half Men) and that’s only because her character, Amy, is actually a three dimensional character with potential for growth.
For those of you who are as yet unaware of Angel From Hell, as was the case with my writing partner, Angel from Hell is a comedy in which an alcoholic guardian angel, Amy (Lynch) reveals herself to Allison (Maggie Lawson), her charge, and the stalker-ish behaviour commences as Amy continues to “bump” into Allison. Amy is convinced something big and horrible is about to happen in Allison’s life.
As Hollywood Reporter rightfully questioned, what is so wrong with Allison’s life that she needs a guardian angel to step in now? She has a great job, a new house, good looks and a friendly personality. Her life doesn’t look so bad from where I’m sitting. Yet the threat of her boyfriend cheating on her is enough to force her guardian angel out of the shadows? Really? I’m not buying it. Allison would need to fall hard and splitting up with her cheating boyfriend does not do it. To make that premise work, the entire show would need to flip. Forget Allison needing help; it would have to be Amy who has far more room to grow.
The pilot set up what could be a great drama filled story. However, Angel From Hell labels itself a comedy. A comedy which, thankfully, chose to differentiate itself from the typical comedy slate by forgoing the stereotypical laugh track. However, failed dry humour and overtly over the top remarks aside, Angel from Hell delivers a drama tainted with a flavour of unbelievable absurdity.
While we can appreciate that the writers are giving Lynch unrestrained freedom to roam, what we are left with in the end is a 30 minute piece of drama masquerading as a comedy while Lynch delivers lines lacking a Ryan Murphy finesse. As a result, the final product feels forced and unpolished.
The best thing about Angel From Hell is Jane Lynch and, unfortunately, Lynch is not enough of a draw to talk me out of an additional 390 minutes. 390 minutes that could be spent watching reruns of Melissa & Joey or Rules of Engagement.
It is worth noting that CBS released two episodes of the show to the media ahead of its release. It’s possible that CBS were aware that the pilot would not secure the show a fanbase on its own merit.