The devil has made more than a few memorable appearances on TV shows throughout the medium’s history. Turnabout is fair play or what’s good for the goose is great for the gander. Something like that anyway. What I mean is that a flip through the history of TV results in the revelation of angels in our midst. They are all around us. Word of warning, however: they generally don’t tend to look anything like what you see in Renaissance paintings. And they don’t always behave like the angels we hear about in Sunday school, either!
When it comes to memorable angels that do not behave like angels as we think we known them, the Weeping Angels of the episode “Blink” wins hands down. In fact, the Weeping Angels in their initial appearance would almost likely qualify as the single most memorable appearance by angels in TV history if that memory had not been corrupted by the crassly commercial decision to bring them back in subsequent episodes that each robbed them of their mystique a little more. What’s so memorable about the Weeping Angels of “Doctor Who” anyway? If you take your eyes off them for even the few milliseconds it takes to blink, they can move. And you don’t want Weeping Angels to move.
At the other end of the spectrum is the angel played by Carl Reiner in the short-lived sitcom “Good Heavens.” Looking more like an angel from the upscale neighborhood in Heaven inhabited by Mr. Jordan in the movies, Mr. Angel in this TV show acted more like a genie than an angel. But then again, that very statement presupposes that any of us know what angels act like. If they exist at all. Each week another lucky mortal was the beneficiary of Mr. Angel’s ability to grant one single wish that did involve asking for money. One assumes that other conditions applied as well to hold at bay some of the more unsavory desires of we foolish mortals.
Those looking to find angels on TV shows that conform more strictly to their religious upbringing should definitely check out an episode of “The X-Files” titled “All Souls.” The actual plot of the episode is far too complex to get into here, but what is important is the fact that this episode seeks to intelligently introduce established angelic figures like Seraphim and Nephalim into the proceedings. And although the episode does not really touch on the fact, another Biblical angel is also essential to the plot of “All Souls.” Fella goes by several names including Lucifer and Satan.
The Littlest Angel
They used to show this every year around Christmas. Starring Jody Whittaker who was enjoying fame on “Family Affair” it is, in retrospect, a somewhat creepy TV-movie about an eight year old who falls to his death but midway through transforms into an angel. Adding to the sense of the distinctly disturbing concept of a little kid dying and not understanding what’s going on is the fact that the kid’s guardian angel is played by the same guy who played Herman Munster and the intrusive cinematic device of having pretty much every scene shot in front of a green screen. Jody Whittaker is amazing, however.