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Touched by an Angel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Touched by an Angel
Touched by an Angel (logo).jpg
Created byJohn Masius
Theme music composerMarc Lichtman
Opening theme"Walk with You"
Performed by Della Reese
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons9
No. of episodes211 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • R.J. Colleary
  • Burt Pearl
  • Jon Andersen
  • Robert Visciglia Jr.
Production locationsSalt Lake City, Utah
Running time48 minutes
Production companies
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Original networkCBS
Original releaseSeptember 21, 1994 (1994-09-21) –
April 27, 2003 (2003-04-27)
Related showsPromised Land
External links

Touched by an Angel is an American fantasy drama television series that premiered on CBS on September 21, 1994, and ran for 211 episodes over nine seasons[1] until its conclusion on April 27, 2003. Created by John Masius and executive 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 onward, they are frequently joined by Andrew (John Dye), the angel of death (who first appeared as a recurring character in season two).


The episodes of the series generally revolved around the "cases" of Monica (played by Roma Downey), an angel recently promoted from the "search and rescue" division, who works under the guidance of Tess (played by Della Reese), a sarcastic boss who is sometimes hard on her young colleague, but is more of a surrogate mother than a mentor.

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 crossroads in their lives and facing a large problem or tough decision. Monica and Tess bring them messages of hope from God and give them guidance to help make decisions. 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 must 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", a new Angel of Death named Henry is introduced. Then 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. The original angel of death, Adam, continued to appear in guest appearances over the next few seasons.

In Season 4, a new angel is introduced named Rafael (Alexis Cruz), who appears throughout the series on a recurring basis, often assisting the main trio (Monica, Tess, and Andrew) in their cases. Rafael is a younger looking angel than the others and thus is occasionally involved in situations involving teenagers and young adults so they can relate to each other. Towards the end of the seventh season, a new angel, Gloria (Valerie Bertinelli), is created by God during one of Monica's assignments, designed to adapt to life on Earth in the 21st century. She 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 Zach (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 Zach is the perpetrator and despite the lack of evidence, Zach 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 Zach is eventually convicted.

After the trial, Monica is able to help the citizens realize their mistake and to see that Zach'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 Zach, 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 Zach. There, she learns that Zach was actually Jesus,[2] 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.[3]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedRankRatingTied with
First airedLast aired
111September 21, 1994 (1994-09-21)March 4, 1995 (1995-03-04)81 [4]8.9 [5]N/A
224September 23, 1995 (1995-09-23)May 18, 1996 (1996-05-18)34 [6]11.1 [7]N/A
328September 15, 1996 (1996-09-15)May 18, 1997 (1997-05-18)1013.6N/A
427September 21, 1997 (1997-09-21)May 17, 1998 (1998-05-17)614.2N/A
526September 20, 1998 (1998-09-20)May 23, 1999 (1999-05-23)813.1N/A
626September 26, 1999 (1999-09-26)May 21, 2000 (2000-05-21)1011.6N/A
725October 15, 2000 (2000-10-15)May 20, 2001 (2001-05-20)229.7N/A
822September 29, 2001 (2001-09-29)May 11, 2002 (2002-05-11)68 [8]TBAN/A
922September 28, 2002 (2002-09-28)April 27, 2003 (2003-04-27)88 [9]5.1 [10]N/A

Cast and characters


  • Roma Downey as Monica, Tess's kind-hearted angel in her teenage years, who is sent town-to-town to encourage people. She's the show's main protagonist. She appears in all but two episodes.
  • Della Reese as Tess, a tough and sarcastic, but loving supervisor who plays a key role in every one of Monica's cases. She acts like Monica's mother and is also the show's main protagonist. She appears in all but three episodes.
  • John Dye as Andrew (main, seasons 3–9; recurring, season 2), known as "the Angel of Death".
  • Valerie Bertinelli as Gloria (main, seasons 8–9; guest, season 7), an accident prone intelligent angel made to understand the way of life in the 21st century. She acts like Monica's older sister, all while having little to no understanding of the human condition making her seem childlike in her innocence.


Notable guest stars

The show also featured early appearances by Jack Black, James Marsden, Shia LaBeouf, Brie Larson, Kirsten Dunst, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Justin Timberlake (as a member of NSYNC) and Bryan Cranston.[11]


Touched by an Angel was produced by CBS and Moon Water Productions.[12] 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.[13][14] It cost the studio $2 million to produce the episode. Masius wrote the show as a reflection of his spiritual anger at the time due to his two children being born disabled.[15] 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.[16]

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.[16] 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.[16]

Theme song

The lyrics to the show's theme song, "Walk with You", are sung at the beginning of each episode by Della Reese.


In 1996, Promised Land was launched as a spin-off series, following the Greene family whom Monica had met during one of her cases, as they travel the United States helping those in need. Four crossover episodes aired during Promised Land's three-season run.

Broadcast and syndication

The series went into syndication in 1998, and has aired on PAX-TV, Hallmark Channel, CBS Drama, Up, MeTV and Start TV.[17] It has also aired on Hallmark Drama.[18]

Home media

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.[19]

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;[20] "The Inspiration Collection: Faith" and "The Inspiration Collection: Love" were released January 26, 2010.[21]

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.[22]

DVD name Ep # Release date
The Complete First Season 13 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 25, 2012
The Seventh Season 25 April 23, 2013
The Eighth Season 22 July 30, 2013
The Ninth Season 22 November 19, 2013
The Complete Series 211 February 9, 2016



Touched by an Angel received negative to mixed reviews from critics but positive reception from audiences. A negative review came from David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun, who opined that it was "the worst new series of the TV season [...] there's absolutely nothing divine about it." The same review noted several scenes in the first episode where Monica's bare feet are shown, with Zurawik remarking "I'm not sure what that's all about unless CBS has research showing a large audience of foot fetishists waiting for a reason not to watch ABC's Roseanne.[23] In his column for Religious Dispatchers titled "Mauled by an Angel", W. Scott Poole stated that Downey and Reese "served up a syrupy but powerful advertisement for a greeting-card brand of religious faith with little theological definition, but a healthy serving of "chicken soup for the soul" (a franchise that itself became popular in the same era)" and even the show "seemed to suggest that God was deeply concerned but mostly unable or unwilling to get directly involved, sending along his messengers to patch things up with and for humanity (or select portions of it), now and again".[24] Earlier reviews were skeptical of the show's first season, with Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly saying that it "succeeds in being so unpretentiously, innocently pure-minded—this is the Forrest Gump of fall ’94—that it’s possible to feel sympathy for its ratings plight."[25] Common Sense Media reviewer Emily Ashby gave the series 3 out of 5 stars, who said that "this uplifting, inspirational show is steeped in strong moral messages, life lessons, and Christian overtones that include multiple references to "God," "Lord," and the "Father."[26] Conversely, the Parents Television Council picked it as one of the best shows for family viewing for several years [27] while during its run, it was either #1 or #2 on its "best" list of the "Best and Worst Shows on Network TV".[28][29][30][31][32][33][34]


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.[35] 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.[36]

Season Episodes Time slot (ET) Season premiere Season finale Season
(in millions)
1 1994–1995 11 Wednesday at 9:00 pm (Episodes 1–8)
Sunday at 8:00 pm (Episode 9)
Saturday at 9:00 pm (Episodes 10–11)
September 21, 1994 March 4, 1995 #78 8.90
2 1995–1996 26 Saturday at 9:00 pm September 23, 1995 May 18, 1996 #34 11.10
3 1996–1997 29 Sunday at 8:00 pm September 15, 1996 May 18, 1997 #10 13.19[37]
4 1997–1998 26 Sunday at 8:00 pm (Episodes 1-25)
Sunday at 9:00 pm (Episode 26)
September 21, 1997 May 17, 1998 #5 21.80[38]
5 1998–1999 27 Sunday at 8:00 pm September 20, 1998 May 23, 1999 #6 19.50 [39]
6 1999–2000 26 September 26, 1999 May 21, 2000 #9 17.19[40]
7 2000–2001 25 October 15, 2000 May 20, 2001 #25 14.00[41]
8 2001–2002 22 Saturday at 8:00 pm (Episodes 1-10, 12–20, 22)
Sunday at 8:00 pm (Episodes 11, 21)
September 29, 2001 May 11, 2002 #79 8.30[42]
9 2002–2003 22 Saturday at 8:00 pm (Episodes 1-21)
Sunday at 8:00 pm (Episode 22)
September 28, 2002 April 27, 2003 #91 7.60[43]


The series was nominated for eleven Primetime Emmy Awards between 1997 and 2000, including two nominations each for Downey and Reese in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series categories, respectively.[44][45] It was also nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, two in 1998 and 1999 for Downey for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Drama, and one in 1998 for Reese for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series[46][47] even though the series was never able to secure either award. Marc Lichtman was awarded five BMI Film and Television Awards for "Television Music" in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 for his work as the series composer.[48][49][50][51][52]

Email controversy

A 1999 variation of the "Madalyn Murray O'Hair petition" urban legend, which claims to seek a ban on religious programming, mentioned the show and appeared via e-mail chains despite O'Hair being deceased since 1995 and her original actual religious programming petition to the FCC being rejected in 1975.[53]

In popular culture

Maria Bamford imitated Monica on the track "Touched by an Angel" on her Burning Tours album.[54][55]

It was also spoofed on MadTV as "Touched by an Atheist" guest starring comedian George Carlin.[56]

It was also spoofed on the Family Guy episode "Ready, Willing and Disabled" except they show where the angel in court touched the child.[57]

Weird Al Yankovic's take of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" called "Couch Potato" changed the title to Touched by an Uncle.[58]

In other media

A book on the series, Touched by an Angel, was published by Zondervan in November 1997. Written by Williams and Robin Sheets, it contains background information on some of the stories featured, series production information, basic details on the first fifty episodes and profiles of Downey, Reese and Dye. It also has short story versions of four episodes: "Interview with an Angel", "There, but for the Grace of God", "An Unexpected Snow" and "Jacob's Ladder".[59] A second book, In the Words of Angels: Twenty Inspiring Stories from Touched by an Angel, was published by Fireside Books on August 28, 2001. Also written by Williams, it collects twenty short stories based on episodes from the series.[60]

An audio soundtrack, Touched by an Angel: The Album, was released on November 3, 1998. The 15-track CD includes a full-length version of the series theme song, "Walk with You", performed by Della Reese and songs by Céline Dion, Shawn Colvin, Bob Dylan, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Amy Grant, Jaci Velasquez, The Kinleys, Wynonna and Amanda Marshall.[61] The soundtrack went platinum.[62] A second album, Touched by an Angel: Christmas Album, was released on November 9, 1999, with 13 tracks of Christmas music. In addition to having tracks performed by Reese and Downey, it features songs from Randy Travis, Keb' Mo', Charlotte Church, Kirk Franklin, Collin Raye, Amy Grant and Donna Summer.[63] Both albums were released by Sony Music Entertainment, the successor to the former record division of CBS.

See also



  1. ^ Touched by an Angel|TIME| Picks the Top 10 On-Screen Depictions of Heaven|
  2. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (pg.1414)
  3. ^ Williamson, Martha. "Episode 922: "I Will Walk With You" Part Two".
  4. ^ 1994-95 Ratings History - The TV Ratings Guide
  5. ^ 1994-95 Ratings History - The TV Ratings Guide
  6. ^ 1994-95 Ratings History - The TV Ratings Guide
  7. ^ 1994-95 Ratings History - The TV Ratings Guide
  8. ^ 2001-02 Ratings History - The TV Ratings Guide
  9. ^ 2002-03 Ratings History - The TV Ratings Guide
  10. ^ 2002-03 Ratings History - The TV Ratings Guide
  11. ^ 12 celebrities who were 'Touched by an Angel' before they were stars - MeTV
  12. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". CBS. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  13. ^ 5 Family Movies and TV Shows That Were Almost Insanely Dark|
  14. ^ James, Caryn (January 8, 1999). "Sure, Mom May Be Dead, But That Won't Stop Her". The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  15. ^ Elber, Lynn. "Teenager turns reluctant grim reaper in Showtime's 'Dead Like Me'". Online Athens. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  16. ^ a b c Williamson, Martha (1996). "TV Is Touched by an Angel". Guideposts, as reprinted at Touched.Net. CBS. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  17. ^ Start TV
  18. ^ Hallmark Drama
  19. ^ CBS/Paramount Announces a First-Ever Release of 'The Complete Series' Archived 2015-11-19 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "Touched by an Angel - 'Inspiration Collection' Releases Bring the Best Hope and Holiday Episodes to DVD". Archived from the original on 2010-05-13.
  21. ^ "Touched by an Angel - Update About Love and Faith DVDs: New Extras, Box Art, More!". Archived from the original on 2010-01-09.
  22. ^ "Touched by an Angel". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  23. ^ 'Touched by an Angel' doesn't have a prayer - tribunedigital-baltimoresun
  24. ^ Mauled by an Angel: Why Do Americans Need "God’s Secret Agents"?-Religion Dispatches
  25. ^ Show Review: 'Touched By An Angel'
  26. ^ Touched by an Angel TV Review
  27. ^ Parents Tv Council Picks `Touched By An Angel' As Best Of The Best
  28. ^ Baker, Brent (June 7, 1996). "CyberAlert, Vol 1, No. 28". Media Research Center. Archived from the original on October 26, 2004.
  29. ^ "Top 10 Best & Worst Family Shows on Network Television, 1996-97 season". Parents Television Council. June 9, 1997. Archived from the original on February 18, 1999.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  30. ^ "Top 10 Best & Worst Family Shows on Network Television, 1998-99 season". Parents Television Council. June 7, 1999.
  31. ^ "Top 10 Best & Worst Family Shows on Network Television, 1999-2000 season". Parents Television Council. June 2000.
  32. ^ "Top 10 Best & Worst Family Shows on Network Television, 2000-01 season". Parents Television Council. June 2001.
  33. ^ "Top 10 Best & Worst Family Shows on Network Television, 2001-02 season". Parents Television Council. June 2002.
  34. ^ "Top 10 Best & Worst Family Shows on Network Television, 2002-03 season". Parents Television Council. June 2003.
  35. ^ "Top TV Shows For 1999-2000 Season". Variety. August 6, 2000. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  36. ^ "How did your favorite show rate?". USA Today. May 28, 2002. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  37. ^ " TV Ratings > 1990's". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  38. ^ "The Final Countdown". Entertainment Weekly. May 29, 1998.
  39. ^ "Final ratings for the 1998-1999 TV season". Archived from the original on October 29, 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2014.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  40. ^ "'Elv1s,' in 2nd week, rolls over Stones disc". Variety.
  41. ^ "The Bitter End". Entertainment Weekly. June 1, 2001.
  42. ^ "How did your favorite show rate?". USA Today. May 28, 2002.
  43. ^ "Rank And File". Entertainment Weekly. June 6, 2003.
  44. ^ Sowa, Carol Baass (February 12, 2010). "Martha Williamson and 'Touched by An Angel' still touching lives". Retrieved March 26, 2010.
  45. ^ Martin, Deanna L. (September 12, 1997). "Emmy Which Way". Entertainment Weekly. No. 396.
  46. ^ "Nominations for the 55th Golden Globe Awards". BBC. January 17, 1998. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
  47. ^ "On the way to Oscar, Golden Globes will offer hints". CNN. January 22, 1999. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
  48. ^ "Patrick Williams Earns Career Nod At Film, TV Awards". Billboard. Vol. 109 no. 21. May 24, 1997. p. 99. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
  49. ^ "Menken Honored at Film, TV Awards". Billboard. Vol. 110 no. 21. May 23, 1998. p. 96. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
  50. ^ "BMI Film/TV Awards: 1999". Broadcast Music Incorporated. January 1, 1999. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
  51. ^ "BMI Honors Top Film and TV Composers". Broadcast Music Incorporated. May 15, 2000. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
  52. ^ "TV and Film Composers Score at BMI Awards". Broadcast Music Incorporated. May 16, 2001. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
  53. ^ FACT CHECK: Petition to Ban Religious
  54. ^ Touched By An Angel by Maria Bamford on YouTube
  55. ^ The Burning Bridges Tour-Maria Bamford|AllMusic
  56. ^ George Carlin on MAD TV Touched by an Atheist by MicrocebusRufus1-YouTube
  57. ^ "Family Guy" Ready, Willing and Disabled (TV Episode 2001)-Connections-IMDb
  58. ^ Couch Potato (Parody of "Lose Yourself" by Eminem) posted at alyankovic on YouTube
  59. ^ Williamson, Martha; Sheets, Robin (October 1997). In the Words of Angels: Twenty Inspiring Stories from Touched By An Angel. ISBN 0310221595.
  60. ^ In the Words of Angels: Twenty Inspiring Stories from Touched By An Angel. ISBN 0743203682.
  61. ^ "Touched by an Angel: The Album [Soundtrack]". Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  62. ^ "Touched By An Angel" - The Album Certified Platinum, Will Be Featured in Valentine's Day Episode Of CBS Television Series.-Free Library
  63. ^ "Touched By an Angel: Christmas Album [Soundtrack]". Retrieved March 22, 2010.

External links

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