Fallen Angels (TV series)
Fallen Angels is an American neo-noir anthology television series that ran from 1993 to 1995 on the Showtime pay cable station and was produced by Propaganda Films. No first-run episodes were shown in 1994.
|Developed by||Steve Golin|
|Presented by||Lynette Walden (season 1)|
|Narrated by||Miguel Ferrer (season 2)|
|Opening theme||Elmer Bernstein|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||15 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Sydney Pollack|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Propaganda Films|
|Original release||August 1, 1993 –|
The episodes, although filmed in color, mimicked what had been done by Hollywood filmmakers during the film noir era of the 1940s and 1950s in terms of tone, look, and story content.
The television program was produced using top-notch directors, well-known hard-boiled fiction writers, experienced screenplay writers, inventive cinematographers (who recreated the film noir images), and actors. The art direction gave the series the ambiance and historical look required of a show devoted to noir set in Los Angeles.
Each episode in season 1 begins with a cool and restrained jazz score as the sultry character Fay Friendly (Lynette Walden) explained to the audience what would develop in the episode. each episode in season 2 begins with a prologue voiced by Miguel Ferrer which explained to the audience the episode's events and who the main character's were.
Her words are wistful, melancholic and foreshadowed the pain to come.
Neo-noir novelist James Ellroy said of the show: "It's a role call of tormented souls confronting their monsters within; it's a picaresque look at Los Angeles back in the forties. It's the world of pulp on celluloid, pure translations that augment the stark power of great short fiction."
- List of Fallen Angels episodes and original story sources
Directors of Fallen Angels episodes included:
Writers of Fallen Angels episodes included:
Among the many guest stars on the show were:
First Season (1993)
- Gary Oldman, Gabrielle Anwar, Dan Hedaya, Wayne Knight and Meg Tilly
- Tom Hanks, Marg Helgenberger, Jon Polito and Bruno Kirby
- Joe Mantegna, Vinessa Shaw, Patrick Breen, J.E. Freeman, Kathy Kinney, Peter Gallagher and Bonnie Bedelia
- Peter Gallagher, Nancy Travis, John C. Reilly and Isabella Rossellini
- Laura Dern, Alan Rickman, Robin Bartlett, Michael Vartan and Diane Lane
- Gary Busey, Tim Matheson, Aimee Graham, Dick Miller, Elaine Hendrix, Ken Lerner and James Woods
Second Season (1995)
- Mädchen Amick, Johnathon Schaech, Danny Trejo, Edward Bunker and Kiefer Sutherland
- Brendan Fraser, Bruce Ramsay and Peter Coyote
- Eric Stoltz, Richard Portnow, Estelle Harris and Jennifer Grey
- Dana Delany, Marcia Gay Harden, William Petersen, Adam Baldwin and Benicio del Toro
- Bill Pullman, Dan Hedaya, Kim Coates, Jon Favreau, Dean Norris, Jack Nance, Bert Remsen, Grace Zabriskie and Heather Graham
- Miguel Ferrer, Grace Zabriskie, Lucinda Jenney, Peter Dobson and Peter Berg
- Michael Rooker, Laura San Giacomo, Peter Berg, Arnold Vosloo, Kristin Minter, Darren McGavin and Christopher Lloyd
- Danny Glover, Kelly Lynch, Ron Rifkin, Dan Hedaya, Miguel Sandoval and Valeria Golino
- Bill Nunn, Giancarlo Esposito, Cynda Williams and Roger Guenveur Smith
When it debuted, Fallen Angels received mixed to critical notices. In his review for the Associated Press, Scott Williams wrote, 'We're asking a lot of TV to deliver entertainment about that stylish, moral abyss. Fallen Angels delivers. It lets us look over the edge and measure our souls against the darkness". The Chicago Sun-Times gave the series two out of four stars and Ginny Holbert wrote, "Part of the problem is the series' arch, self-conscious obsession with style. Instead of a '90s interpretation of film noir, "Fallen Angels" offers contrived, full-color cliche noir, replete with cocked fedoras, plumes of curling smoke and harsh sunlight sliced by venetian blinds". In his review for The New York Times, John J. O'Connor called it, "uneven but diverting, even when just hovering around film-school level". In his review for the Houston Chronicle, Louis B. Parks wrote, "The big problem with film noir homages is they usually overdo the ingredients, with none of the subtlety of the great originals. Fallen Angels has a touch of that. But the directors and actors play straight, and the adaptations, taken from the real McCoy writers, are pretty good stuff". In his review for the Washington Post, Tom Shales wrote, "Creating period pieces out of their period seems to be fairly easy now for the gifted artisans of Hollywood. Even by today's commonplace high standards, however, the look and feel of the six Fallen Angels films seem transportingly authentic and sensuous, stylized in ways that evoke the milieu without spoofing it. Occasionally, the films veer into the arch and ridiculous, but overall, they at least look darn good". Newsweek magazine's David Gates wrote, "no show this summer will do a better job of whisking you away from the increasingly unacceptable '90s. These half hours are all too short". Entertainment Weekly magazine's Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote, "One unintended result of all this happy, naughty cigarette-puffing, however, is that, at their weakest, these films look like the work of boys (and don't be fooled, this is a boys' fantasy production) dressed up in their dads' big suits".
In the United States the first season was released in a two volume VHS set. The second season was released in Europe (DVD region 2) in 1999 and Australia (DVD region 4) under the title Perfect Crimes.
Grove Press released a companion book, Six Noir Tales Told for Television, (1993) with all the original stories and the screenplays from the first season. A soundtrack was also released.
- Williams, Scott (July 30, 1993). "Call It "Cable Noir"". Associated Press.
- Holbert, Ginny (July 30, 1993). "Showtime's Angels Loses on Style Points". Chicago Sun-Times.
- O'Connor, John J (July 30, 1993). "Noir for 90's Made From Spice Old Ingredients". The New York Times.
- Parks, Louis B (August 1, 1993). "Showtime's anthology series looks at the dark side". Houston Chronicle.
- Shales, Tom (August 1, 1993). "Angels With Dirty Faces". Washington Post.
- Gates, David (August 2, 1993). "Angels With Very Shady Faces". Newsweek.
- Schwarzbaum, Lisa (July 30, 1993). "Fallen Angels". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2011-07-11.