I have fond memories of Sunday evenings spent watching Voyager and Deep Space Nine with the family growing up. My wife’s home was more restrictive in regards to Sabbath day media, but that paradigm has been adopted by our own home as I’m gradually realizing the benefits of being more intentional and explicitly devotional for Sunday night movie night in terms of helping set the mood of the sabbath as the day dedicated to God.
Lately we’ve been going through Touched by an Angel which is now free on Amazon Prime. TBAA can err on the side of being a little saccharine at times, but I’m willing to put up with a little syrup for media that at least takes a chance at trying to create something profound and moving even if they slightly miss, as opposed to just giving into the nihilistic cynicism that has become ubiquitous in any film that tries to be more artistic than a Marvel superhero reboot. Additionally, TBAA threaded the partisan needle in a way that is hard to pull off nowadays. It had obvious appeal to conservative Christian types, while being ecumenical enough to incorporate non-Christian religious perspectives, and having highly diverse casting and narratives back before diversity was just another parameter to adjust in pursuit of an Emmy.
I churned through the different episodes while cleaning (there are lot), and was able to select the particularly moving and profound ones for Sunday movie night that I thought would be good for my kids. Of course, there are a lot of other great episodes; the formulaic scene at the end when the angel reveals himself/herself as a divine agent often brings moisture to my eyes, but the ones below are what I would consider to be the top most well done and moving episodes.
Season 2, Episode 1: Interview with an Angel
As an aside, the plotline here (person killed family members of the only doctor who can save them) is uncannily similar to the plot of a The West Wing episode.
Season 2, Episode 15: Out of the Darkness
Speaking of The West Wing, “Monica is assigned to help a man [played by Bradley Whitford, who plays Josh Lyman in The West Wing] who has been in a coma for five years face the fact that the circumstances of his life are irrevocably changed”
Season 2, Episode 17: Dear God
“Monica becomes a postal worker to help a bitter concentration camp survivor, whose entire family was murdered during the Holocaust, find his lost faith.”
Season 3, Episode 14: The Violin Lesson
“At Christmastime, Monica finds herself apprentice to Jordan Du Bois (guest star Peter Michael Goetz), a violin maker and family man who turns his back on his beloved son when he finds out that the younger man is dying of AIDS”
Season 4, Episode 3: Great Expectations
“Their marriage is thrown into turmoil when expectant parents learn that their unborn child has Down syndrome, and the husband favors the test that will allow them the option to terminate the pregnancy.”
Season 4, Episode 25: Elijah
“A slumlord is sentenced to live in his own decrepit building — and hopefully regain the faith he lost one Passover many years earlier.”
Season 8, Episode 6: Famous Last Words
“With Monica’s assistance, a man on death row seeks forgiveness.”
Season 9, Episode 21: I Will Walk With You (Part I and II)
The two-part series finale. It’s good but not great throughout, but the last ten minutes provides a perfect coda to the series.