In the United States about 80% of people consider themselves to be members of a religion. 70% of those believe that angels and demons exist, and that these supernatural entities take an active role in everyday life. Hence 56% of Americans believe in guardian angels, wings and all.
So it is no surprise that American television networks churn out quite a few shows that exploit this statistic. A GIFTED MAN, starring Patrick Wilson and Jennifer Ehle, is the most recent of these.
I was reluctant to watch it. I did so only because Julie Benz, one of my favourite vampires from Buffy, was a main character and I wanted to see how she fared in the show. (She has been demoted from regular cast member to occasional visitor.)
I don’t know why but this show works. It has persuaded me to watch two episodes when I only intended to watch one (I missed the pilot). Patrick Wilson is a charming combination of cynicism and naivete. His dead ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle) is sort of a soul rash, persistent and irritating, with which he has been afflicted. She did not drown, but her hair always looks like it just came in out of the rain. This will be hard to correct. How exactly does a ghost get a new hairdo?
As a comment on the ridiculous medical system in the United States, this show works. It doesn’t preach, but it gets the point across that for many Americans, health care is a bit of an indulgence. Doctors and hospitals are, for the most part, out of economic reach.
As Friday night entertainment, the show also works. The writing is solid and the pace is swift. The show has timing. The pathos is not overdone. There is just enough comedy.
This show may last.