Let’s get the main problem surrounding CMT’s new show Angels Among Us, which premiered last night, out of the way: It airs on Country Music Television, yet makes absolutely NO reference to the classic Alabama song “Angels Among Us.” What’s up with that?!

Elisabeth Hasselbeck hosts the re-enactment series, which highlights those who believe their lives were saved because of divine intervention by angels. The View co-host only appeared in the premiere episode for a total of about two minutes, but she struck a very odd tone during her brief segments. (For the record, I really do like Hasselbeck. In a sea of daytime hosts that are all too willing to smile and nod with any statement that sounds nice, she’s willing to confront people face-to-face.)

Hasselbeck, with her overly affected presentation style and serious stare, seemed like she was playing dress-up as a news anchor — especially in front of the evening news-ish green screen. I would have thought she’d try to strike a tone somewhere between the sly “Believe it” omniscience of Ripley‘s host Dean Cain and the hopeful candor (recent comments notwithstanding) of The 700 Club‘s Pat Robertson. She instead came off as an uptight mixture of Anderson Cooper and Ann Curry. Perhaps she was trying to maintain a solemn attitude — after all, the premiere episode focused on stories surrounding 9/11. One followed a man who was guided by an angel to run down three flights of fiery stairs to escape the World Trade Center while another depicted a woman who was buried beneath the rubble at Ground Zero for 27 hours before being rescued. The final clip showcased a Pentagon worker who crawled out of the inferno to survival.

Unfortunately, the re-enactment sequences only managed to cheapen the series and the stories. With cheesy dialogue and shoddy effects — and an obnoxiously maudlin chime noise used to signify every angel that appears — the re-enactments hardly managed to move, despite the triumphant nature of these people’s survival.

The show also skirts an ambiguous line of religiosity. Though it’s inherently about angels, and people talk about praying to God, each of last night’s three vignettes avoided making any kind of statement about religion, and instead concluded with more universal themes of marriage, family, and the joy of a pleasant suburban existence where you can go golfing during your free time. Those things are all well and good, but it seems odd to use the word “angels” as a drawing point when the show hardly addresses religion itself.

What did you think of the premiere episode of Angels Among Us? How about Hasselbeck as host?

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