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Fallen Angels (TV series)

Fallen Angels (TV series)

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Fallen Angels was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 neo-noir
Neo-noir
Neo-noir is a style often seen in modern motion pictures and other forms that prominently utilize elements of film noir, but with updated themes, content, style, visual elements or media that were absent in films noir of the 1940s and 1950s.-History:The term Film Noir was coined by...

 anthology television series that ran from 1993 to 1995 on the Showtime pay cable station and was produced by Propaganda Films
Propaganda Films
Propaganda Films was a prolific and successful music video and film production company founded in 1983 by producers Steve Golin and Sigurjón Sighvatsson and directors David Fincher, Nigel Dick, Greg Gold and Dominic Sena...

. No first-run episodes were shown in 1994.

The series was executive produced by Sydney Pollack
Sydney Pollack
Sydney Irwin Pollack was an American film director, producer and actor. Pollack studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, where he later taught acting...

 and produced by Steve Golin
Steve Golin
Steve Golin is the founder and CEO of Anonymous Content LLP, a multimedia development, production and talent management company and co-founder and former CEO of Propaganda Films.-Propaganda Films:...

 and others. The theme song was written by Elmer Bernstein
Elmer Bernstein
Elmer Bernstein was an American composer and conductor best known for his many film scores. In a career which spanned fifty years, he composed music for hundreds of film and television productions...

 and the original music was written by Peter Bernstein.

Period torch song
Torch song
A torch song is a sentimental love song, typically one in which the singer laments an unrequited or lost love, either where one party is oblivious to the existence of the other, where one party has moved on, or where a romantic affair has affected the relationship...

s by performers like Patti Page
Patti Page
Clara Ann Fowler , known by her professional name Patti Page, is an American singer, one of the best-known female artists in traditional pop music. She was the best-selling female artist of the 1950s, and has sold over 100 million records...

 and Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing...

 were used periodically.

In Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, the show was known as Perfect Crimes and shown in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 on Canal +, and in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

.

Series overview


The series was set in somber Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

 right after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and before the election of American president John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

.

The episodes had a gorgeous look and, although filmed in color, mimicked what had been done by Hollywood filmmakers during the film noir
Film noir
Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s...

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
Art director
The art director is a person who supervise the creative process of a design.The term 'art director' is a blanket title for a variety of similar job functions in advertising, publishing, film and television, the Internet, and video games....

 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 Cruise
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

, Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks
Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks worked in television and family-friendly comedies, gaining wide notice in 1988's Big, before achieving success as a dramatic actor in several notable roles, including Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the title...

, and Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland is an English-born Canadian actor, producer and director, best known for his portrayal of Jack Bauer on the Fox thriller drama series 24 for which he has won an Emmy Award , a Golden Globe award , two Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Satellite...

.

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

Each episode began with a cool and restrained jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 score as the sultry character Fay Friendly (Lynette Walden) explained to the audience what would develop in the episode.

Her words were wistful, melancholic and foreshadowed the pain to come.

Neo-noir novelist James Ellroy
James Ellroy
Lee Earle "James" Ellroy is an American crime fiction writer and essayist. Ellroy has become known for a so-called "telegraphic" prose style in his most recent work, wherein he frequently omits connecting words and uses only short, staccato sentences, and in particular for the novels The Black...

 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.

Directors


Some of the directors in the series were:
  • Tom Cruise
    Tom Cruise
    Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

  • Alfonso Cuarón
    Alfonso Cuarón
    Alfonso Cuarón Orozco is a Mexican film director, screenwriter and film producer, best known for his films Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Y tu mamá también, and A Little Princess.- Early life :...

  • Peter Bogdanovich
    Peter Bogdanovich
    Peter Bogdanovich is an American film historian, director, writer, actor, producer, and critic. He was part of the wave of "New Hollywood" directors, which included William Friedkin, Brian De Palma, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Michael Cimino, and Francis Ford Coppola...

  • John Dahl
    John Dahl
    John Dahl is an American film director and screenwriter, best known for his work in the neo-noir genre.-Life and career:John Dahl was born in Billings, Montana, the second of four children . Dahl spent his young life in and around Montana all the way up through his college years...

  • Agnieska Holland
  • Steven Soderbergh
    Steven Soderbergh
    Steven Andrew Soderbergh is an American film producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, and an Academy Award-winning film director. He is best known for directing commercial Hollywood films like Erin Brockovich, Traffic, and the remake of Ocean's Eleven, but he has also directed smaller less...

  • Tom Hanks
    Tom Hanks
    Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks worked in television and family-friendly comedies, gaining wide notice in 1988's Big, before achieving success as a dramatic actor in several notable roles, including Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the title...


Guest stars


Among the many guest stars on the show were:

First Season (1993)
  • Gary Oldman
    Gary Oldman
    Gary Leonard Oldman is an English actor, voice actor, filmmaker and musician.A member of the 1980s Brit Pack, Oldman came to prominence via starring roles in British films Meantime , Sid and Nancy and Prick Up Your Ears , with his performance in the latter bringing him his first BAFTA Award...

    , Gabrielle Anwar
    Gabrielle Anwar
    Gabrielle Anwar is an English actress. She is known for her role as Margaret Tudor on The Tudors, for dancing the tango with Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman and for her current role as Fiona Glenanne on USA's Burn Notice.- Early life :...

    , Dan Hedaya
    Dan Hedaya
    Daniel G. “Dan” Hedaya is an American character actor. He often plays sleazy villains or uptight, wisecracking individuals; three of his best-known roles are as Italian Mafia boss Tony Costello in Wise Guys, a cuckolded husband in the Coen brothers' crime thriller Blood Simple, and the scheming...

    , Wayne Knight
    Wayne Knight
    Wayne Eliot Knight is an American actor, comedian, and voice actor perhaps best known for his role as Newman in the TV sitcom Seinfeld...

     and Meg Tilly
  • Tom Hanks
    Tom Hanks
    Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks worked in television and family-friendly comedies, gaining wide notice in 1988's Big, before achieving success as a dramatic actor in several notable roles, including Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the title...

    , Marg Helgenberger
    Marg Helgenberger
    Mary Marg Helgenberger is an American film and television actress known for her roles as Catherine Willows in the CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and as K.C...

     and Bruno Kirby
    Bruno Kirby
    Bruno Kirby was an American film and television actor. He was perhaps best known for his roles in the Hollywood films City Slickers, When Harry Met Sally..., Good Morning, Vietnam, The Godfather Part II and Donnie Brasco.-Early life:Kirby was born Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu, Jr. in New York City,...

  • Joe Mantegna
    Joe Mantegna
    Joseph Anthony "Joe" Mantegna, Jr. is an American actor, producer, writer,director, and voice actor. He is best known for his roles in box office hits such as Three Amigos , The Godfather Part III , Forget Paris , and Up Close & Personal...

     and Bonnie Bedelia
    Bonnie Bedelia
    Bonnie Bedelia Culkin is an American actress best known for her supporting roles in the action film Die Hard and the courtroom drama Presumed Innocent...

  • Peter Gallagher
    Peter Gallagher
    Peter Killian Gallagher is an American actor, musician and writer. Since 1980, Gallagher has played many roles in numerous Hollywood films. He starred as Sandy Cohen in the television drama series The O.C. from 2003 to 2007...

    , Nancy Travis
    Nancy Travis
    Nancy Ann Travis is an American actress. She is known for her roles in films Three Men and a Baby and its sequel, Three Men and a Little Lady , Married to the Mob , Air America , Internal Affairs , So I Married an Axe Murderer , Greedy , and Fluke...

     and Isabella Rossellini
    Isabella Rossellini
    Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini is an Italian actress, filmmaker, author, philanthropist, and model. Rossellini is noted for her 14-year tenure as a Lancôme model, and for her roles in films such as Blue Velvet and Death Becomes Her.-Background and early life:Rossellini is a...

  • Laura Dern
    Laura Dern
    Laura Elizabeth Dern is an American actress, film director and producer. Dern has acted in such films as Smooth Talk , Blue Velvet , Fat Man and Little Boy , Wild at Heart , Jurassic Park and October Sky...

    , Alan Rickman
    Alan Rickman
    Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman is an English actor and theatre director. He is a renowned stage actor in modern and classical productions and a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company...

     and Diane Lane
    Diane Lane
    Diane Lane is an American film actress.Born and raised in New York City, Lane made her screen debut at the age of 13 in George Roy Hill's 1979 film A Little Romance, starring opposite Sir Laurence Olivier. Soon after, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine...

  • Gary Busey
    Gary Busey
    William Gary Busey , best known as Gary Busey, is an American film and stage actor and artist. He has appeared in a large variety of films, as well as making regular appearances on Gunsmoke, Walker, Texas Ranger, Law & Order, and Entourage...

    , Tim Matheson
    Tim Matheson
    Tim Matheson is an American actor, director and producer. He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of the smooth-talking Eric 'Otter' Stratton in the 1978 comedy National Lampoon's Animal House and has had a variety of other well-known roles, including providing the voice of the lead character...

     and James Woods
    James Woods
    James Howard Woods is an American film, stage and television actor. Woods is known for starring in critically acclaimed films such as Once Upon a Time in America, Salvador, Nixon, Ghosts of Mississippi, Casino, and in the television legal drama Shark. He has won three Emmy Awards, and has gained...



Second Season (1995)
  • Mädchen Amick
    Mädchen Amick
    Mädchen Amick is an American actress best known for playing Shelly Johnson on the cult television series Twin Peaks and its 1992 prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.-Early life:...

     and Kiefer Sutherland
    Kiefer Sutherland
    Kiefer Sutherland is an English-born Canadian actor, producer and director, best known for his portrayal of Jack Bauer on the Fox thriller drama series 24 for which he has won an Emmy Award , a Golden Globe award , two Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Satellite...

  • Brendan Fraser
    Brendan Fraser
    Brendan James Fraser is a Canadian-American film and stage actor. Fraser portrayed Rick O'Connell in the three-part Mummy film series , and is known for his comedic and fantasy film leading roles in major Hollywood films, including Encino Man , George of the Jungle , Dudley Do-Right , Monkeybone ,...

     and Peter Coyote
    Peter Coyote
    Peter Coyote is an American actor, author, director, screenwriter and narrator of films, theatre, television and audio books. His voice work includes narrating the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics and Apple's iPad campaign. He has also served as on-camera co-host of the 2000 Oscar...

  • Eric Stoltz
    Eric Stoltz
    Eric Hamilton Stoltz is an American actor, director and producer. He is widely known for playing the role of Rocky Dennis in the biographical drama film Mask, which earned him the nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture...

  • Dana Delany
    Dana Delany
    Dana Welles Delany is an American film, stage, and television actress, producer, host and health activist.After various roles in the early career, Delany garnered her first leading role in 1987 in the short-lived NBC sitcom Sweet Surrender and achieved wider fame in 1988–1991 as Colleen McMurphy...

     and Benicio del Toro
    Benicio del Toro
    Benicio Monserrate Rafael del Toro Sánchez is a Puerto Rican and Spanish actor and film producer. He won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a BAFTA Award for his role as Javier Rodríguez in Traffic . He is also known for his roles as Fred Fenster in The Usual...

  • Bill Pullman
    Bill Pullman
    William James "Bill" Pullman is an American film, television, and stage actor. Pullman made his film debut in the supporting role of Earl Mott in the 1986 film Ruthless People. He has since gone on to star in other films, including Spaceballs, Independence Day, Lost Highway, Casper and Scary Movie 4...

     and Heather Graham
  • Miguel Ferrer
    Miguel Ferrer
    Miguel José Ferrer is an American actor and voice actor who is often cast as a villain. His notable roles include Bob Morton, a supporting character in RoboCop , the short tempered FBI agent Albert Rosenfield in Twin Peaks, and Dr...

     and Peter Berg
    Peter Berg
    Peter Berg is an American actor, film director, producer and writer. He is known for directing films such as Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom, The Rundown, Hancock and Battleship. He also developed the television series Friday Night Lights, which was adapted from the film he directed. As an actor...

  • Michael Rooker
    Michael Rooker
    Michael Rooker is an American actor.-Early life:Rooker, who has eight brothers and sisters, was born in Jasper, Alabama and studied at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago, where he moved with his mother and siblings at the age of thirteen, after his parents divorced.-Movie career:He made his...

     and Christopher Lloyd
    Christopher Lloyd
    Christopher Allen Lloyd is an American actor. He is best known for playing Emmett Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy, Uncle Fester in The Addams Family and Addams Family Values, and Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He played Reverend Jim Ignatowski in the television series Taxi and more...

  • Danny Glover
    Danny Glover
    Danny Lebern Glover is an American actor, film director, and political activist. Glover is perhaps best known for his role as Detective Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon film franchise.-Early life:...

     and Valeria Golino
    Valeria Golino
    Valeria Golino is an Italian-Greek film and television actress. She is best known to English language audiences for the 1988 film Rain Man, and the Hot Shots! films...

  • Bill Nunn
    Bill Nunn
    -Early life:Nunn was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of William G. Nunn, Jr., a well-known journalist and editor at the Pittsburgh Courier, as well as an NFL scout. Nunn's paternal grandfather was the first African American football player at George Westinghouse High School.Nunn was a...

    , Giancarlo Esposito
    Giancarlo Esposito
    Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito is a Danish-born American film and television actor and director.-Early life:Esposito was born in Copenhagen, Denmark to an Italian father and African-American mother. His mother was an opera and nightclub singer from Alabama, who once appeared on the same...

     and Cynda Williams
    Cynda Williams
    Cynda Williams is an American television and film actress.-Early life:Born in Chicago, Illinois as Cynthia Williams, she was known by her birth name of Cindy Williams until she started her film career...


Response


When it debuted, Fallen Angels received mixed to critical notices. In his review for the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

, 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
Chicago Sun-Times
The Chicago Sun-Times is an American daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group.-History:The Chicago Sun-Times is the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the city...

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
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, John J. O'Connor called it, "uneven but diverting, even when just hovering around film-school level". In his review for the Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
The Houston Chronicle is the largest daily newspaper in Texas, USA, headquartered in the Houston Chronicle Building in Downtown Houston. , it is the ninth-largest newspaper by circulation in the United States...

, 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
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

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
Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly is an American magazine, published by the Time division of Time Warner, that covers film, television, music, broadway theatre, books and popular culture...

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".

Releases


In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 the first season was released in a two volume VHS
VHS
The Video Home System is a consumer-level analog recording videocassette standard developed by Victor Company of Japan ....

 set. The second season was only released in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 (DVD region 2
DVD region code
DVD region codes are a digital-rights management technique designed to allow film distributors to control aspects of a release, including content, release date, and price, according to the region...

) in 1999 and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 (DVD region 4
DVD region code
DVD region codes are a digital-rights management technique designed to allow film distributors to control aspects of a release, including content, release date, and price, according to the region...

) under the title Perfect Crimes (three DVDs).

Grove Press released a companion book, Six Noir Tales Told for Television
Fallen Angels: Six Noir Tales Told for Television (book)
Fallen Angels: Six Noir Tales Told for Television is a 1993 anthology, published by Grove Press as a tie-in to the Showtime television series Fallen Angels that appeared in the fall of 1993....

,
(1993) with all the original stories and the screenplays from the first season. A soundtrack was also released.

External links

.
  • Fallen Angels at Thrilling Detective Guide
  • Fallen Angels cinamatography article at Entertainment Weekly
    Entertainment Weekly
    Entertainment Weekly is an American magazine, published by the Time division of Time Warner, that covers film, television, music, broadway theatre, books and popular culture...

  • Fallen Angels film clip at You Tube ("Dead End for Delia" segment)