Touched by an Angel is a CBS network drama first aired in September, 1994. It
was created by John Masius.
For its intended audience, the show has done immensely well; hundreds of fansites have been
created devoted to this show. Its intended audience, however, is apparently not people like
Each episode follows the same formula of:
1.) Introduce crisis
2.) Introduce at least one angsty character who has a problem with the idea of angels
3.) Resolve crisis within 45 minutes
Cast and Characters
The show's core cast consists of:
Tess is the matron of the show, a tough "no-nonsense" lady who is often responsible
for keeping the other angels out of trouble. Her dialogue is fairly cheesy; she often gets
to say the stuff that sounds like a PSA. But her speeches are less saccharine in general than
those of the other characters.
Monica is the show's "leading lady", so to speak. She probably does the most
talking, and looks up to Tess as something of a motherly, teacher figure. She has a lot
of direct contact with the humans that appear in each episode.
Andrew was a later addition to the show, and some suspect that he might have
been an attempt to put some sort of a "hunk" factor into the show in order to increase
female viewership. (Though I suspect that this show has a predominantly female viewership
in the first place.) Andrew is always around when a character is near-death or actually
going to die. His role is to help escort people to Heaven. He often seems to have something
of a flat affect; either dealing with so much death has made him jaded, or he needs to take
a class in passionate acting.
Gloria, Valerie Bertinelli's character, is sort of the Jan Brady of the series.
She seems like a middle child, getting less airtime than the other characters, and often
having to go to them for guidance.
The Critics Comment
My boyfriend's mom watches this show practically every night, and I've sat through enough
of them myself simply due to morbid fascination. The dialogue on this show is probably some
of the worst I've ever heard. I have the utmost respect for my boyfriend's mom, but I cannot
see what she sees in this particular TV show. I mean, come on. One episode chronicled the
manslaughter trial of a sixteen year old who had purposely run down a pedestrian with his
car. The reason? The kid was "addicted to video games". He said he was certain that the
pedestrian was a "hooker", and therefore her life wasn't worth anything. Melodrama, melodrama...
can you say melodrama? Good. Tess, one of the angels, advises parents to give their kids
a "Big fat dose of Vitamin NO" when they ask if they can play violent games.
Sounds like some kind of PSA slogan belted out by Hulk Hogan.
The characters use cookie cutter dialogue. I swear, on every single episode some puppy-
eyed child gazes up at one of the angels, looking eerily like a Precious Moments figurine,
and asks, "Is my (insert Mommy/dog/cat/goldfish) OK?"
To which the Angel replies, "Of course, sweetie. They're in heaven with God. They love
you, and are looking down on you this very minute."
I have no problem with spirituality. I DO have a problem with poorly thought out and
repetitive dialogue. Can't they think of a more creative way to express what they want to
express? I guess they don't really need to, considering the show is immensely popular even
after 200 formulaic episodes. It does make me think that people really ought to expect more
out of their entertainment. But they're probably not going to.
Some fundamentalists take issue with Touched by an Angel, claiming that it "preaches
Universalism!" (as in, it does not insist that only one conservative Christian doctrine is
the be-all end-all of existence.) I found a rather scary web site authored by an unnamed
person from "Let Us Reason Ministries". This document claims that, among the other faults
of the show, a major issue is that Touched by an Angel does not portray the God of the
Christian Bible as "jealous". So these "Let Us Reason" folks think that all TV shows
should be about Old Testament God charging around smiting all those who disagree? While
this might be an iota more exciting and intriguing to watch than Touched by an Angel in
its current sickly-sweet format, it would be bizarre and would alienate many mainstream