"Angel From Hell," a comedy creator Tad Quill described as an "updated, grounded, really edgy" version of the 1960s comedies "Bewitched" and "I Dream of Jeannie," premieres at 9:30 p.m. tonight on CBS.
The series stars Jane Lynch as a brassy woman who insinuates herself into the life of an organized and seemingly perfect doctor (Maggie Lawson), claiming to be her guardian angel.
Lawson’s character, Allison, thinks Lynch’s character, Amy, is just an inebriated, outspoken nut, until every one of her warnings proves true. Allison tries to push Amy away when she tells her her sole mission is to provide Allison with helpful guidance that nudges her in the right direction in life. It’s her final chance to prove herself as an angel, Amy says.
Quill said at this summer’s Television Critics Association press tour that the idea for the series came about because he was thinking about shows with supernatural elements like "Bewitched" and "I Dream of Jeannie" and what their updated versions would be like.
Each episode of "Angel From Hell" will provide "compelling evidence" that both Amy is a guardian angel or nuts "and it will be up to audience to decide," said Quill, who had been a producer on "Scrubs," "Spin City," "Dirty Sexy Money," "Samantha Who?" "Perfect Couples" and the current version of "The Odd Couple."
The cast also includes Kevin Pollak as Allison’s father and business partner and Kyle Bornheimer as her younger brother, a real estate agent who lives in a guest room over her garage.
Quill had originally written the series for two women the same age, but made the change when Lynch, an Emmy winner for her portrayal of cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on the Fox high school musical comedy "Glee," showed interest in it.
"The minute I read it, I called my agent (Joe Vance) and said, ‘Let’s get the ball rolling and see if we can’t nail this thing for me,"’ Lynch said. "I love the relationships. I love who Amy is. I love what a mess she is … and she has no shame around any of her alcoholism or the fact that she lives in her car."
Quill told City News Service he then met with Lynch for about 90 minutes over coffee to "see if we jibe personally" and discuss "where the show is going."
"She went back, thought about it and decided she wanted to do it," Quill said.
Quill said there was what he described as great difficulty casting what would become Lynch’s role "because it is so unique."
"You have this bull in a china shop," Quill said. "We have her doing some very edgy, potentially unlikable things. Jane can do horrific things and you still root for her. She’s just innately loveable."