Picks and Pans Review: In Search of Angels

updated 08/22/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/22/1994 01:00AM

PBS (Wed., Aug. 17, 8 p.m. ET)

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Angels are enjoying quite a renaissance, being celebrated in song, stage and screen. In most hip bookstores they've got their own section. Small wonder. It is estimated that nearly 70 percent of the American public believes in these celestial beings.

The point of this special, narrated by Debra Winger, is to argue that they've always been with us. The program ponders the ways that angels have been depicted and comprehended through the ages in religion and art. The first half hour glibly focuses on modern pop culture, so there are lots of film clips (a surprising number of them featuring James Mason) and even rock videos (e.g., R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion"). Things take a turn for the metaphysical in the slower second half.

Thanks to a remarkable stream of paintings and statues of seraphim, cherubim and archangels, the special is never less than lovely to look upon.

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