Angel From Hell follows an uptight woman named Allison (Maggie Lawson) and her relationship with the eccentric Amy (Lynch), a woman claiming to be her guardian angel who she meets right as her life is falling apart. In short, Angel From Hell is about a weirdo rescuing a non-weirdo from the monotony of everyday life. It’s not the most original premise, not at all — and that’s okay, because an original premise is not and has never been everything when it comes to the success of a television show.
Take Hulu’s Casual, for example. It’s a show about a few family members navigating the dating world. That description makes it sound completely redundant and totally unnecessary in this ever-expanding landscape of good TV. Aren’t there enough shows about dating? But watch the show, and you discover that it’s full of powerful performances, sharp writing, and gorgeous cinematography. Oh, and to add to that: It just got nominated for a Golden Globe.
Now, Angel From Hell isn’t on a show like Casual’s level, at least not yet. But the point remains that premise isn’t everything, especially in a comedy with a lead as strong as Lynch, who turns even the lamest jokes into laugh-worthy punchlines (most of the time). Between her irresistible spark, her chemistry with Lawson, and the seed planted in the first episode about Allison’s mother dying just a year earlier, there’s hope that this can get better.
That seed has potential to take this from a show simply about opposites attracting to a show about opposites attracting because grief makes things complicated, something that would make the difference between “show you watch when there’s nothing else on” and “show you watch because you want to.” Its future is hinted at when Allison’s boyfriend (played by David Denman, who you might remember as Roy from The Office) expresses his annoyance at how much she’s been working recently. At first glance, he’s calling her a workaholic, and it seems like the shoe probably fits. She’s always on her phone, always at the office. Classic work junkie.
But knowing that her mom died so recently adds an extra layer to that. Of course she’s working a lot. She just lost her mom — who, thanks to Amy’s supernatural abilities, we know was her best friend — and she is trying to distract herself from that pain. She doesn’t know how to deal with it, and her boyfriend is too thickheaded to put two and two together.
Could this end up being a shallow show about a wild child showing a straight-laced doctor the booze-fueled life she’s been missing out on? Definitely. It’s more likely, though, that it will turn into something deeper than that — a look at what happens when you lose someone and the ways you recover from that.
The first episode isn’t special. It has its fun and funny moments, plus a strong cast of both characters and actors (Kyle Bornheimer and Kevin Pollak also star), yes, but it’s not something you would see and immediately recommend to everyone you know. What it is, though, is promising, a comedy with a possibly bright future ahead — and we don’t even need a supernaturally gifted guardian angel to tell us that.
Watch Angel From Hell when it airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS.