Fallen Angels (TV series)

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Fallen Angels
FallenAngels1.jpg
Video Cover
Genre Anthology
Neo-noir
Developed by Steve Golin
Presented by Lynette Walden
Opening theme Elmer Bernstein
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 15 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Sydney Pollack
Producer(s) Steve Golin
William Horberg
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel Showtime
Picture format 35mm
Original run August 1, 1993 – December 1995

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.

The series was executive produced by Sydney Pollack and produced by Steve Golin and others. The theme song was written by Elmer Bernstein and the original music was written by Peter Bernstein.

Period torch songs by performers like Patti Page and Billie Holiday were used periodically.

In Europe, the show is known as Perfect Crimes and shown in France on Canal +, and in England.

Series overview[edit]

The series is set in somber Los Angeles right after World War II and before the election of American president John F. Kennedy.

The episodes have a gorgeous look and, 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.

A few known actors went behind the camera to direct a few episodes. They include: Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, and Kiefer Sutherland.

The ensemble group of craftsmen took a turn at the helm each week to produce episodes that produced a visually interesting series.

Each episode 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.

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.

See also[edit]

Directors[edit]

Directors of Fallen Angels episodes included:

Guest stars[edit]

Among the many guest stars on the show were:

First Season (1993)

Second Season (1995)

Response[edit]

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".[1] 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".[2] 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".[3] 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".[4] 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".[5] 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".[6] 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".[7]

Releases[edit]

In the United States the first season was released in a two volume VHS set. The second season was only released in Europe (DVD region 2) in 1999 and Australia (DVD region 4) under the title Perfect Crimes (three DVDs).

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Williams, Scott (July 30, 1993). "Call It "Cable Noir"". Associated Press. 
  2. ^ Holbert, Ginny (July 30, 1993). "Showtime's Angels Loses on Style Points". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  3. ^ O'Connor, John J (July 30, 1993). "Noir for 90's Made From Spice Old Ingredients". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Parks, Louis B (August 1, 1993). "Showtime's anthology series looks at the dark side". Houston Chronicle. 
  5. ^ Shales, Tom (August 1, 1993). "Angels With Dirty Faces". Washington Post. 
  6. ^ Gates, David (August 2, 1993). "Angels With Very Shady Faces". Newsweek. 
  7. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (July 30, 1993). "Fallen Angels". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2011-07-11. 

External links[edit]