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Touched by an Angel

Touched by an Angel is an American drama television series that chronicles the missions of a group of angels sent by God. Created by John Masius and produced by Martha Williamson , it ran on CBS for nine seasons, from September 21, 1994 to April 27, 2003, and aired in many countries all around the world. Regular production was based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The show's premise was based heavily on non-denominational Christian concepts. During its run, it was one of the highest-rated shows on CBS, and acquired a substantial fan base.

While John Masius is credited with creating "Touched by an Angel," the series as produced was substantially different from the pilot Masius wrote, which never aired. Masius' script emphasized human suffering, and the angel Monica confides that God toys with humans for sport. CBS fired Masius early in the first season when Masius refused to write a more life-affirming story. He was replaced as executive producer by Martha Williamson, a Christian writer and producer who made the show what it eventually became.

Plot

The show usually revolves around a person or group of people who come to a crossroad in their lives, such as a big problem or a tough decision. Then angels enter the scene, bringing messages directly from God and helping people in their problems. Monica, the main angel character, is always learning how to assist humans with their needs and questions.

In the series premiere, bold supervisor Tess (played by Gospel singer, actress and pastor Della Reese) guides Monica (played by Roma Downey) on her first assignment as a case worker after being promoted from search and rescue.

The series finale shows Monica, who is up for promotion, defending Zack, an innocent drifter accused of blowing up a school full of children. The prosecutor is actually the Devil, played by David Ogden Stiers. Despite Monica's best efforts, Zack is convicted.

Visiting him in the prison, Monica offers herself to be his guardian angel for the rest of his life, protecting him from the dangers of the federal prison.

Later the citizens find out the truth: it was the prosecutor who blew up the school and framed Zack. Monica makes the citizens see that there's still hope to rebuild the life in the town and helps them to free themselves of the anger.

Before Zack can be sent to jail, however, he disappears. Monica then finds out that Zack was actually God. Defending Him was a test, and she succeeds: according to His words, "There's no greater love than to give your life away for someone else." This has been considered the most explicit Gospel message of all the series, since it almost directly quotes Jesus' words ("Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.") in John 15:13. Monica is finally promoted.

Episodes

List of Touched by an Angel Episodes

Cast

Regular Cast and Character Descriptions

Monica (Roma Downey): Monica is the main character of the show. Sweet and tender, she was promoted from the Search and Rescue department to become a caseworker, with Tess, to help people, delivering them a message of hope from God. She also has a weakness for coffee, especially mocha lattes. Downey's natural accent is Irish. She was born in Derry, Northern Ireland.

Tess (Della Reese): Tess is the second protagonist of the show and Monica's angelic supervisor. Sometimes tough but always compassionate, she would eventually brighten everyone's spirits by singing with her melodic voice. A car and a dog were both given to her, both of which she values dearly, and an iguana, from a dying boy, which she tolerates. She is very frank and honest about the truth and usually tells people what they have to hear, not what they want to hear. She constantly refers to Monica as "Angel Girl" and "Ms. Wings." She also refers to Andrew as "Angel Boy."

Andrew (John Dye, 1996-2003, seasons 2-9): Andrew became an all-episode character in the third season. He is an Angel of Death, that is, one of the angels that takes people who die to their eternal fate, heaven or hell. Andrew was a caseworker before he was promoted. He still helps the other angels, esp. Monica & Tess, in their casework. He hates being stereotyped as a Grim Reaper.

Gloria (Valerie Bertinelli, 2001-2003, seasons 8-9): Gloria is an inexperienced angel, because she was created by God during one of Monica's assignments (in the seventh season). But she's highly intelligent and constantly learns new things, like human strength and weakness. She's good with technology as well. Although initially shy, she adds a lot of humor to the show.

Occasional Cast

  • Alexis Cruz - Rafael (16 episodes), one of the "specialty angels" called in from time to time
  • Paul Winfield - Sam (13 episodes), a senior supervisor at a rank above Tess
  • Charles Rocket - Adam (10 episodes), the first featured angel of death, too tender-hearted to kill a Thanksgiving turkey, and who makes regular appearances in season one and occasionally later in the series.
  • Hudson Leick - Celeste (2 episodes), featured in Angel of Death.
  • Tara Reid - Jamie (2 episodes), cast as a virginal skating star, Reid played to type and perfectly embodied the young girl.
  • Jasmine Guy - Kathleen, Monica's arch-nemesis, an angel and former cohort of Monica's who had turned to the side of the Devil. Kathleen's assignments usually involved trying to somehow derail Monica's assignments, but although she came dangerously close to succeeding more than once, Monica always triumphed in the end. Eventually Kathleen was "demoted" for failing in that mission one too many times, and Monica invited her to return to the side of God.
  • Chris Burke - Taylor (2 episodes), an angel with apparent Down Syndrome
  • Scott Wilkinson - D.A. John Tipton / Surgeon / others (8 episodes)
  • Randy Travis - Wayne / Jed Winslow (7 episodes)
  • Wynonna Judd - Audrey (3 episodes)

The show featured different guest actors in each episode.

Music

As the show's resident songbird, Della Reese performed the theme song to Touched By An Angel, "Walk With You." A full-length version of "Walk With You," recorded with the Verity All-Stars, was included on the show's soundtrack album, which was released in November 1998 and went platinum. The album came out on the heels of the episode Psalm 151, broadcast November 15, 1998, which starred Wynonna Judd as the mother of a terminally ill boy and featured a guest performance by Celine Dion of "Love Can Move Mountains" (the boy's best friend, played by Mika Boorem, was a huge fan of Dion's and even nicknamed herself Celine). Dion recorded a new version of "Love Can Move Mountains" (originally a #36 Pop hit in 1993 from her self-titled second English album) with gospel group God's Property for the soundtrack. The song Wynonna's character performed at the end of the episode, "Testify To Love," was also featured on the soundtrack album, as was Wynonna's cover of Whitney Houston's "You Were Loved" (from Houston's movie The Preacher's Wife). "Testify To Love" was also a Contemporary Christian radio hit for the group Avalon.

The soundtrack album was comprised of other songs featured on the show that season, including tracks by Shawn Colvin, Bob Dylan, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Amy Grant, and Jaci Velasquez. One other track from the album, "Somebody's Out There Watching," was a moderate country hit for The Kinleys, and Amanda Marshall's "Believe In You" was a hit on Canadian adult contemporary radio.

In popular culture

MADtv aired a sketch titled "Touched by an Atheist" (featuring well-known atheist George Carlin) that showed the angels and Carlin disputing the existence of God at a dying man's bedside. The sketch also poked fun at the well-publicized salary discrepancy between Reese and Downey.

The show was also mentioned by Drew Carey on Whose Line is it Anyway?, during which he said he had a new show that was a cross between Touched by an Angel, King of Queens and Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, called "I was Touched by Two Queens in a Pizza Place". It was also satirized in the beginning of an episode of The Simpsons, in which Bart writes repeatedly on a chalkboard "I was not touched 'there' by an angel;" similarly Family Guy created a courtroom scene in which a child points at an angel saying he was "touched" by him,the angel is seen fighting the allegation. The scene was aired when the episode was syndicated on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block.

DVD Releases

CBS Home Entertainment has released the first 4 seasons of Touched by an Angel on DVD for the very first time. Seasons 3 & 4 have been split into 2 volumes because of multiple Promised Land crossovers; with Season 4, Vol 2 being released on December 4, 2007.

Besides the DVD releases, the series will be aired on the Hallmark Channel again starting Jan. 2, 2008- Monday- Friday at 12 PM. (According to the official Touched By an Angel Website)

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
The Complete 1st Season 13 August 31, 2004
The Complete 2nd Season 22 May 3, 2005
The 3rd Season, Vol 1 16 February 7 2006
The 3rd Season, Vol 2 14 November 28, 2006
The 4th Season, Vol 1 13 March 27, 2007
The 4th Season, Vol 2 13 December 4, 2007

Special guest stars

See also

References

External links

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