Touched by an Angel is an American supernatural drama television series that premiered on CBS on September 21, 1994, and ran for 211 episodes and nine seasons until its conclusion on April 27, 2003. Created by John Masius and produced by Martha Williamson, the series stars Roma Downey, as an angel named Monica, and Della Reese, as her supervisor Tess. Throughout the series, Monica is tasked with bringing guidance and messages from God to various people who are at a crossroads in their lives. From season three on, they are frequently joined by Andrew (John Dye), the angel of death (who first appeared as a recurring character in season two). The series went into syndication in 1998, and has been shown on Ion Television (formerly PAX-TV), Hallmark Channel, and Up.
Production information Edit
- Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural, Drama
- Number of episodes produced: 212
- Original network(s): CBS
- Original air-dates: September 21, 1994 – April 27, 2003
- Created by: John Masius
- Executive Producers: David Giella, Luke Schelhaas, Robert Visciglia Jr.
- Producer: Martha Williamson
- Location(s): Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
- Production company: Moon Water Productions, CBS Entertainment Productions (1994), CBS Productions (1995–2003), Caroline Productions
- Running time: 48 minutes
- Distributor: CBS Television Distribution
- Music by: Marc Lichtman
The episodes of the series generally revolved around the "cases" of Monica (played by Roma Downey), a young angel recently promoted from the "search and rescue" division, who works under the guidance of Tess (played by Della Reese), a sarcastic boss who showed greater respect as an authority figure of her employee. Monica in one episode outlines that she started in the choir then annunciations, followed by search and rescue and then case work. Most cases involve a single person or a group of people who are at a crossroad in their lives and facing a large problem or tough decision. Monica and Tess bring them messages of hope from God and help give them guidance towards making their decision. During their first episode, the pair receive a red 1972 Cadillac Eldorado convertible as a gift; they use it for transportation throughout the rest of the series while in the human world, with Tess doing the driving. As the series progresses, Monica continues gaining experience as a case worker and, during some cases having to learn lessons of her own.
During the series pilot, an angel of death named Adam is introduced. In the season two premiere, "Interview with an Angel", the Angel of Death is introduced as Henry. In the season two episode entitled, "The One That Got Away" Andrew (played by John Dye) is introduced as the Angel of Death. (Initially a recurring character, he becomes a main character in season three, making him the permanent Angel of Death for the remainder of the series.)
During season seven, a new angel, Gloria, is sent by God during one of Monica's assignments, who becomes a regular character for seasons eight and nine, as a trainee under Monica and Tess's guidance. In the series finale, Monica is up for promotion to supervisor, pending the outcome of a difficult case in which she must defend Zack (Scott Bairstow), an innocent drifter accused of causing a boiler explosion at a school two years ago in the small town of Ascension, Colorado. The explosion killed most of the children, leaving the citizens devastated. During the case, Monica sees many familiar faces, including Joey Machulis (Paul Wittenburg), one of Monica's previous assignments who is a witness to the events, his brother Wayne (Randy Travis), who is now sheriff, Sophie (Marion Ross), a formerly homeless acquaintance, and Mike (Patrick Duffy), a lawyer Monica saved during her search and rescue days who is now the Mayor. An out of town developer claims Zack is the perpetrator and despite the lack of evidence, Zack is put on trial. Monica does all she can to help him, including asking Mike to represent him, but the prosecutor in the case, Jones, is really Satan in disguise, and Zack is eventually convicted.
After the trial, Monica is able to help the citizens realize their mistake and to see that Zack's return to the town had helped them finally start living again. They begin going back to church, welcomed by the pastor they had once abandoned. Their change of heart, however, cannot free Zack, so Monica visits him in jail and reveals that she is an angel. She then promises him that she will become his guardian angel, forgoing all future assignments and the coveted promotion, to protect him from harm in prison. When she returns in the morning, however, the cell is empty. The citizens decide not to search for him, and it is revealed that Joey inadvertently caused the explosion after the devil tricked him into turning the boiler too high to warm some kittens he'd found.
The perplexed Monica returns to the desert to find Tess and Zack. There, she learns that Zack was actually God, and that her defending him was a test, which she passed by being willing to sacrifice herself for him. Monica is promoted to supervisor. As she leaves, she says her goodbyes to Gloria, and to Andrew, who gives her a pocket watch to remember their friendship by. Before parting, Tess gives Monica the keys to the Cadillac, as she is leaving her job to sit at God's feet. Monica is last shown driving away as the camera pans out over the desert.
Cast and Characters Edit
- Roma Downey as Monica
- Della Resse as Tess
- John Dye as Andrew (1996–2003)
- Valerie Bertinelli as Gloria (2001–2003)
- Alexis Cruz as Rafael (16 episodes)
- Paul Winfield as Sam, an archangel (13 episodes)
- Charles Rocket as Adam, an angel of death (10 episodes)
- Randy Travis as Wayne Machulis (7 episodes)
- Wendy Phillips as Claire Green (6 episodes), also as Ruth Ann Russell (1 episode)
- Gerald McRaney as Russell Greene (6 episodes), also as Dr. Joe Patcherik (1 episode)
- Eddie Karr as Nathaniel Greene (6 episodes)
- Paul Wittenburg as Joey Machulis (5 episodes)
- Cloris Leachman as Ruth, an archangel (4 episodes)
- Ossie Davis as Erasmus Jones (3 episodes) and as Gabriel (2 episodes)
- Jasmine Guy as Kathleen (3 episodes)
- John Schneider as Joshua Winslow / Satan (3 episodes)
- Main article: Episode Guide
|Season||Episodes||First air date||Last air date||Network|
|1||11||September 21, 1994||March 4, 1995||CBS|
|2||24||September 23, 1995||May 18, 1996|
|3||28||September 15, 1996||May 18, 1997|
|4||24||September 21, 1997||May 17, 1998|
|5||24||September 20, 1998||May 23, 1999|
|6||25||September 26, 1999||May 21, 2000|
|7||24||October 15, 2000||May 20, 2001|
|8||24||September 29, 2001||May 11, 2002|
|9||22||September 28, 2002||April 27, 2003|
Touched by an Angel was produced by CBS and Moon Water Productions. Most episodes of the series were produced in Salt Lake City, Utah. According to New York Times reviewer Caryn James, John Masius created the first pilot episode for the series, but it was a darker, less hopeful story than the producers wanted. It cost the studio $2 million to produce the episode. Masius wrote the show as a reflection of his spiritual anger at the time at his two children being born disabled Martha Williamson was approached to be the series executive producer in early 1994. She described the pilot she received as "upsetting" as it "portrayed angels as recycled dead people with power over life and death". She initially declined the position, but during a lunch with Andy Hill, then President of CBS, she mentioned the show and suggested he find a producer who would create a show with "loving, joyful" angels that the audience would have to believe in.
Williamson stated that she could not stop thinking about the show after that meeting, and eventually called to ask if the position was still open. Though getting the position was no longer a sure thing, she passed up a more lucrative position directing a court drama and went in for an interview with CBS in June 1994. During her interview, she states she emphasized that she was a Christian and could only do a show that depicted angels in a way she felt was true to her view of angels and that was respectful towards God. She also indicated that the pilot should be redone from the beginning, keeping only the characters Monica and Tess, reworked. The studio agreed with her remarks and hired her. Williamson herself wrote a new script for the pilot episode, while also working on hiring the remaining staff for the series, which was due to premiere in September. The pilot was filmed in Salt Lake City, Utah and the show was ready on schedule. The first episode aired on September 14, 1994.
U.S. television ratings Edit
Touched by an Angel became one of CBS's highest-rated series during season three and continued through season six, when it was the ninth most watched network series, with 17,190,000 viewers that amounted to a 15% share of the market as determined by Nielsen Media Research. In season eight, after the series moved from its Sunday time slot to a Saturday one, it dropped to 79th place, with 8.3 million viewers.
DVD Released Edit
CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) has released all nine seasons on DVD in Region 1. Seasons 1, 2, 5-9 were released as single season box sets, while seasons 3 & 4 were released as two volume sets. On February 9, 2016, CBS DVD released Touched by an Angel: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1. Four themed sets, each containing four episodes, have also been released. The first two, "The Inspiration Collection: Holiday" and "The Inspiration Collection: Hope" were released on November 10, 2009, "The Inspiration Collection: Faith" and "The Inspiration Collection: Love" were released January 26, 2010.
In Region 4, Shock Records has released five volumes of episodes from the series, each containing nine episodes and a set containing all five volumes together.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|The First Season||11||August 31, 2004|
|The Second Season||22||May 3, 2005|
|The Third Season (Volume 1)||16||February 7, 2006|
|The Third Season (Volume 2)||13||November 28, 2006|
|The Fourth Season (Volume 1)||13||March 27, 2007|
|The Fourth Season (Volume 2)||14||December 4, 2007|
|The Fifth Season||26||July 24, 2012|
|The Sixth Season||26||September 30, 2012|
|The Seventh Season||25||April 23, 2013|
|The Eighth Season||22||July 30, 2013|
|The Ninth Season||22||November 9, 2016|
|The Complete Series (DVD Box-set)||211||February 9, 2016|