Courtesy of CBS Entertainment (Angel of Hell). Courtesy of Amazon Studios (Hand of God).
This season, two new series feature characters with a direct line to the hereafter: one in the form of a woman whose blotto guardian angel is played by Jane Lynch (CBS's Angel From Hell), another via Ron Perlman as a born-again judge who claims he's answering to a higher power (Amazon's Hand of God). We weigh their deeds before the pearly culture gates.
Angel From Hell The Epiphany: Dermatologist Allison (Maggie Lawson) is confronted by her celestial protector, Amy (Lynch), a surly, drunk Guy Fieri-type who wouldn't be out of place hawking turquoise jewelry from a roadside stand in Tucson. The Disciples: Lynch carries the show on her oddball wings. The Miracles: Amy can produce advice, baseball gloves, flasks, and taquitos out of thin air, making her indispensable in most emergency situations. Alternate Interpretations: Amy is not, in fact, a guardian angel. Just a homeless alcoholic. The Judgment: Heaven. Even though the rest of the actors are sinfully basic, we'll watch any show that lets us bask in Lynch's sublime glory.
Hand of God The Epiphany: After his son's suicide attempt, Pernell Harris (Perlman) vanishes for three days, gets a $50,000 baptism from an ex-soap star, and appears naked in a fountain chanting in tongues. The Disciples: The holy trinity of random guests: Hunter Parrish, Lance Bass, and Erykah Badu(!) The Miracles: Judge Harris sees trails of blood that lead him to bad guys; a generous shot of a cop's bare ass you could only expect from premium programming Alternate Interpretations: Perlman has no idea he's on a TV show. An entire cast, crew, and town have all agreed to participate in an elaborate ruse. The Judgment: Purgatory. Why does Judge Harris's hooker keep bringing him printed articles from the Internet? Something seems off. Still, it's all weirdly homoerotic. Plus: Badu!
Angel From Hell premieres November 5 at 9:30 p.m. ET. Hand of God premieres in September.