|"History has its eyes on you."
~~Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
I hope everyone's doing well!
I knocked this one out pretty quickly so please excuse any typos!
So the world of TBAA and the Dyeland stories have a lot of
crossover but also a lot of differences. I thought it
might be interesting to lay the differences out. However,
I'm focusing on areas that both the show and the stories share
and yet diverge on. This isn't about the super obvious
differences like different setting, different characters,
etc. It's more about what I see as the underlying
philosophies. So here goes...
Ten Differences Between TBAA and Dyeland
10. I try to keep the Dyeland stories as consistent as
possible. That being said, I'm one person with a faulty
memory. I don't have a team of writers or even actors to
remind me "But hey... that doesn't make sense with what happened
in such and such episode..." TBAA had that... but didn't
seem inclined to care. Probably the biggest continuity
error is when Monica and Andrew met. Was it in "The One
That Got Away" or "The Face on the Barroom Floor"? Both
seemingly. And that makes zero sense. So in the
Dyelandverse, "Barroom" simply never happened. In the
Dyeland stories, I think I have thus far avoided having the same
characters meet for the first time twice. Although there
have been a handful of incidents where characters did meet
earlier but didn't realize it because 1. one party was too young
to remember (JenniAnn with Eli and sort of Ibrahim with Joshua),
2. both parties were young when they met and had physically
changed enough that, when they met again, they looked very
different (JenniAnn and Max), 3. aliases were used (JenniAnn was
going by Psyche when she met lil Max), or 4. the original
meeting happened online (Logan and Zelda). I go to a lot
of trouble to maintain continuity as best as I can and wouldn't
deliberately sacrifice it for a story line so was always baffled
when TBAA seemed not to care about it.
9. The Dyeland stories can be darker in tone than TBAA
could. And I don't mean that in a condescending way.
TBAA was marketed as a family-friendly show... and one which a
slew of people relied on for their livelihood. They also
had a network to please. So, of course, they couldn't take
big risks. Plus, we need stuff that almost everyone can
8. With the exception of biblical folks, I tend to shy
away from writing stories about historical figures while TBAA
featured several: Mark Twain, Charles Lindberg, Albert Einstein,
the Lincolns, etc. Part of that is I often don't have the
time or inclination to read and research enough to feel like I
have a solid grasp on a real person. Another is the whole
"problematic person" issue. Like I'm glad Monica helped
Charles Lindberg... but maybe she coulda spared 5 minutes to
tell him to stop being so horribly anti-Semitic. I think
especially at this moment in time, one has to be very careful
about cherry-picking what aspects of a person one
highlights. And that can really be too big of a task for a
7. Nothing ever happens for ratings in Dyeland because
there are no ratings! Admittedly, I'm writing from a much
more privileged place than the TBAA writers. I don't have
to do stunt casting or "very special episodes" or anything as a
ratings grab in order to keep my people employed. I have
no people! So I can write things strictly based on how it
flows with the over-arching themes of the Dyeland stories.
Meanwhile, TBAA did have a dip in the ratings which prompted
them to introduce the character of Gloria in a bid to attract
younger viewers with a technologically astute, younger-seeming
angel. Setting aside the fact that I was in my late
teens/early twenties at the time, already a fan, and found that
mildly offensive (note: yes, a lot of us loved our computers...
but we also knew the Holocaust was real)... it's just not the
sort of decision I would ever need to make.
6. I don't mean to turn this into an anti-Gloria thing
but... Her introduction was, for me, a problem because I
felt like when she came along, TBAA's God became a lot more...
lackadaisical. I expect God to be a better parent than
human parents. But with Gloria... God seemed so
hands off and bordered on negligent. There was having her
first introduction to the Holocaust coming from skinheads to
making her think she was going to have to strip on live TV to
having her be someone's date for his reunion. This was
weird for me as a viewer who had seen her being created not even
a full year before and, thus, couldn't see her as an adult even
though she was in an adult body... but it also made God seem
careless. So I try to avoid anything that seems like it
might be a fun or interesting plot point but would reflect badly
on God. God asks for difficult things from all of us,
that's for sure. But I don't think He means for children
to be put in compromising positions. And, yes, maybe it
was my mistake in thinking of Gloria as a child... but if they
didn't want me to do that then 1. don't show me her birth and 2.
don't get quoted in articles about how she's meant to parallel
5. I think my idea of the purpose of angels and TBAA's
idea of the purpose of angels is different. And I will
fully admit that I am probably in the minority with this one
but... I believe God loves angels as much as He loves humans as
much as He loves dogs as much as He loves cats as much...
I believe that if something is born with the capacity to love
and the desire to be loved, God loves that creation as much as
He loves anything. Because God is limitless and so is His
love. It's not like He's up there rationing His time and
attention because He only has so much to go around. That's
a creature thing to do... not a Creator thing to do. So
sometimes TBAA seemed to suggest, at least to me, that God loves
humans above angels and I just don't follow that line of
thought. So I try to write in a way that shows God working
towards the good for ALL of the characters, not the humans at
the expense of the angels or the angels at the expense of the
humans. Angels and humans both go through rough times,
sometimes for the sake of the other, but always for a purpose
and mutual good. And I actually think, as a whole, TBAA
expressed that idea because we do see the angels advancing and
becoming more self-actualized and fulfilled. There was
just occasionally some dialogue that I felt undermined that a
4. TBAA definitely integrated music a lot more than I
do. Granted, it's a lot easier to integrate music into a
TV show which is a visual and audio medium whereas the Dyeland
stories are just text. But I used to do a much better job
of making playlists for stories and writing musical cues into
the stories. I miss that and hope to get back to it.
3. Whereas TBAA had to be more generally spiritual in
order to appeal to the largest possible audience so as to stay
on the air, the Dyeland stories have no such issue.
Therefore, especially in recent years, they've become much more
2. And the above means Joshua can have a MUCH bigger part
in the stories than Zack had on TBAA. The latter only
showed up at the very end while Joshua's been popping up in
stories for a number of years now and likely will until the
1. The entire human/angel anam cara thing is a pretty
significant departure from TBAA but... also inspired by
it. More than once Monica seemed quite drawn to an
assignment and that reached it zenith with Mike in
"Netherlands." I felt like that was significant. For
her to have been at all tempted by a future with Mike, there
must have been some genuine desire in her for some sort of
relationship beyond what she had with God and the other
angels. So between that, the following C.S. Lewis quote,
and the writings of John O'Donohue, the anam cara theory was
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this
world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we
were made for another world.”
My twist on that was if Monica found in herself a desire that
her life as a caseworker angel didn't satisfy... maybe she was
made for something else in addition to that. Something
beyond marriage, though. Because the Bible specifically
says that angels don't marry. So... enter anam
caras. And, of course, I was going to give one to Andrew
since he's my favorite. And then, eventually, I gave
Monica's back to her in the form of Arthur. Yay!
Thoughts While Watching Hamilton
In an ideal world, I would have the time and energy to write a
ficlet about Andrew and family watching Hamilton but,
alas, I have neither. So instead you get this accumulation
of things Andrew would have been overheard to say whilst
watching... in order. Unfortunately, it makes pretty much
zero sense if you've not seen the show so you may want to skip
it. Bonus: You can probably tell which member of the company
I ended up with a lil crush on.
"No. I actually never met either Hamilton or Burr. And
I still haven't. No... that doesn't mean they're not in
Heaven. It just means Heaven has lots of people and I
haven't had the honor yet."
"'I mean 'talk less, smile more' isn't necessarily bad advice..."
"Yes, Violeta, I'm sure that one year Shelby and Belle will agree
to dress up with you as the Schuyler sisters for Halloween."
"No. Never met King George III, either. But he's right
about one thing... Oceans rise and empires fall. I've
seen a lot of both..."
"Yes, Laja... George Washington is very handsome in this."
"No, I've never met Lin-Manuel Miranda, either. I
wish... But, I mean, not in my official capacity, of
::whispered to JenniAnn:: "So we have a solid two weeks of
Violeta flitting around the castle singing 'Helpless' now, don't
::to himself:: "I feel for ya, Angelica! I don't think
I could have given a toast if Laja had married Eliot."
"No, Max. I was never in a duel. I don't think God
would allow that. I do think a handful of angels served as
seconds, though. Obviously, they always tried to resolve the
disagreement before anyone took a shot. That didn't always
work. Free will, ya know..."
::sniffling as "Dear Theodosia" starts:: "Come here, Avi
Boy. Daddy just wants to hold you for a little while."
"Okay, I did briefly meet Thomas Jefferson. He wasn't at all
like this. Pretty reserved, actually. But wow...
What a performance!"
"Laja, why are you giggling? Oh right... Washington.
What else has that guy been in? Not sure I want you watching
any of it..." ::chuckling::
"Oooh boy.... Cue the Reynolds Pamphlet. Yeah...
I've read it. Yikes."
"'It must be nice... It must be nice... to have Washington
on your side.' That really gets stuck in your head, doesn't
"It's all right, Laja... You'll see Washington again at the
curtain call at least. But, seriously... this song packs an
emotional punch, doesn't it? I can remember when his
farewell address came out... "
"And there's the pamphlet... Poor Eliza."
"Definitely poor Eliza."
"Max, I love you. I trust you... But I would
absolutely never let you have my gun... if I even had a gun.
Which I don't."
"Belle... Belle... come sit with Daddy.
Please..." ::covering her ears:: "That scream...
Too familiar to me... I'll be all right, Laja."
"Laja... come here... It'll be all right."
::sniffles:: "Where's my handkerchief???"
"Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius..."
And one can assume that JenniAnn was equally emotional and that
she and Andrew probably danced for a while after getting the kids
to bed and discussed the last few seconds of the show at great
This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for
his work in "The Sign of the Dove" and "Beautiful Dreamer" which
are still among my favorite TBAA episodes and gave me patriotic
feels a la Hamilton.
(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.)