I've gone on about my favorite TBAA episodes enough,
methinks. I even filled out a bracket about it
at one point. So this is NOT a favorite episodes
list. Instead, this is a list of the episodes
that, I feel, most impacted JABB's evolution. In
fact, I don't think it's a stretch to say that,
without some of these episodes, JABB would have
wrapped up a good, long time ago. So, without
further adieu, here are the TBAA episodes I think have
most influenced my work on JABB:
1. "Netherlands"- Yep! Shocker, huh?
As much as this episode makes me want to pull out my
hair at points, as far as molding the Dyeland
storyline, this episode is pretty key for me.
For one, it brought us Arthur who was inspired by the
Mike character. For another, dealing with the
Monica angst bought me time while I was still trying
to build original characters. If everything had
seemed just dandy between Monica and her fellow
angels... what would I have written about while
finding my footing? Anything? Maybe
nothing? So... wait for it... Yay for
2. "As It Is In Heaven"- Without Jesse, I'm not
sure there would be a Belle. Seeing Kelly and
Jesse together and knowing that, in the TBAA world,
God allowed an angel to adopt a child... well, that
really opened things up for me as far as what I could
and couldn't do with Andrew. It wasn't terribly
long after this episode aired that I decided that,
somehow, Andrew would wind up with a kid. How he
got said kid changed several times through the years
(friend died and left the kid, found and rescued kid
on his own, kid was dropped on his doorstep,
assignment asked him to raise their kid after their
death, and so on) but Jesse and Kelly inspired me to
decide that, one way or another, Andrew would wind up
as someone's dad.
3. "Birthmarks"- Okay, while it's not a huge
theme in either TBAA or the Dyeland stories, the idea
of a life before birth has been really influential in
my own life. So when Monica assured Whit and
Penny that their lil one had time with his daddy in
Eternity... I knew I wanted to stay in TBAA's
worldview for as long as possible. Still
there. No plans to leave.
4. "Two Sides to Every Angel"- Andrew was just
so sad... And I know he was plenty sad in other
episodes but, for whatever reason, his sadness really
got to me in that one. It was during a viewing
of this episode that I decided some of the original
Dyeland characters had to grow up and function more as
helpmates and equal friends as opposed to overly
dramatic, quirky sidekicks.
5. "The Face of God"/"Angel of Death"- Gloria's
and Celeste's existences in the TBAA canon made me
feel secure about creating Violeta... who I now love
and want to adopt but that's a whole other list ("Top
Ten Signs You Are Waaaay too Emotionally Wrapped Up in
Your Characters"). I just really liked the idea
that God is still creating angels but probably
wouldn't have pursued it in Dyeland stories if TBAA
had put the kibosh on the idea.
6. "Remembering Me," "Amazing Grace," "Trust,"
"Seek and Ye Shall Find," "The Spirit of Liberty
Moon," "Jacob's Ladder" and likely others not
immediately springing to mind- I always assumed angels
couldn't be harmed or get sick. And, really, I
still suspect that's true in the real world. But
I dunno. Regardless, they could be harmed in
TBAA's world and without that "Abide With Me" wouldn't
have happened. And that would have meant no Max,
no Badriya, and no supernatural dream sequences.
I would have really missed all of that. I also
feel like just the mere idea of "immortal, not
invincible" really drives the drama. If we
always knew the angels would come out totally okay...
would we still watch/read/write? Maybe not.
7. "Face on the Barroom Floor"- Oh the
continuity! While TBAA had its continuity issues
in several episodes, this one was the most egregious
offender. And because of it, I try really,
really hard to maintain continuity with JABB. I
know I don't always succeed but this episode sure
makes me try my best to.
8. "An Unexpected Snow"- Adam's featured in my
stories a lot more than is probably warranted by his
limited TBAA screentime. But when I first saw
this episode, and it was one of the first TBAA
episodes I ever saw, he won me over with his devotion
to Alexander. While I certainly like Adam in
other episodes, I think it was this one which won him
a place in Dyeland... with his turkey entourage.
9. "The Journalist"/"The Violin Lesson"- All
Andrew-Monica-Tess angst in my stories basically
traces back to Monica failing to trust Andrew in "The
Journalist" and Tess chewing him out in "The Violin
Lesson." While I may have overplayed "woe is
Andrew" a lil too much, that theme kept me going
during the early post-TBAA years. I'm really
quite glad to be over it but I also recognize that,
without it, I probably wouldn't have kept writing.
10. "I Will Walk with You"- Where to
begin... This episode really captured so much of
what bothered me about TBAA. Don't get me
wrong. I 90% love and adore TBAA. But
there's a 10% that gets me really riled...
Things that rile me about this finale: nonsensical
inclusion of incarnate God, God's seeming preference
for Monica, God just plain not being very warm or
appealing, and a downer ending. If TBAA had left
me feeling upbeat, I'm not sure I would have felt the
need to spend the 11 years following it writing
stories about these characters. But because I
was irritated that God was allegedly visibly present
at a make-believe school explosion and yet no mention
was made of His being so present in Auschwitz...
Joshua was at the death camps in Europe in
"Chava." Because "Zack" decided to announce
Monica's promotion himself while leaving it up to Sam
to tell Andrew... I've tried to hint at Joshua's
direct involvement in all of the angels' work.
Because they're his kids and he loves them.
Duh. Whereas "Zack" seemed stiff and chilly to
me... Joshua hugs, kisses, dances, and clings.
And that downer ending... I'll grant that
Andrew, Gloria, Monica, and Tess really did go their
own ways. But they dealt with some interpersonal
issues and now they all hang out again. And, so
help me God, Dyeland will not end on a downbeat
note. So, yep, I was really inspired by that
two-parter... just maybe not in the way
This newsletter is dedicated to
John Dye whose portrayal of Andrew consistently
encouraged us to try to be better, more patient,
more compassionate people. I know that his
influence will be felt for years and years to come.
(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from Touched
by an Angel
and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline
Productions, and Moon Water Productions. They are not being used
to seek profit.)