Series / Highway To Heaven

Highway to Heaven, spiritual predecessor to Touched by an Angel, ran from 1984 to 1989 on NBC, and told the story of a probationary angel named Jonathan (played by Michael Landon, who also created the series, was executive producer, and directed most of the episodes in addition to writing several of 'em) and his human companion, a bitter, retired ex-cop named Mark (played by Victor French). They travel the country as itinerant workers, receiving assignments from an entity known as "The Boss", whom only the angel Jonathan can hear, with their mission being to deliver love, understanding, and humility to those they encounter. Typical episodes stressed moral, Christian themes; though many episodes dealt with common human failings, such as egotism, bitterness and greed; some shows addressed such topics as racism and cancer.

This series contains examples of:

  • Benevolent Boss: "The Boss" is portrayed as one.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In "The Squeaky Wheel", Mark points out Michael Landon's star on the Walk of Fame to Jonathan. Puzzled at Jonathan's not knowing the actor's name he says, "You know...Little Joe...Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie..... Or, that's right, I forgot, you've been dead for 40 years."
  • Drugs Are Bad:
    • The opening of "For the Love of Larry," which also features a thoroughly hilarious sting operation.
    • In "As Difficult As ABC," where Jonathan and Mark pretend (briefly) to be drug dealers.
  • Halloween Episode: One Halloween Mark makes a deal with one of the Devil's minions to give up his soul in exchange for a sick child getting better, confident that his friend the angel can get him out of it before it is time to collect. Too bad angels and demons cancel each other out....
  • Mundane Utility: Sometimes Jonathan used his powers for simple things. Mark would sometimes lampshade this and call out Jonathan for showing off.
  • Never Learned to Read: In "As Difficult As ABC," a basketball player has to drop out of college because he can't read.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Angels look just like humans, and sometimes are dead humans as well. They do have supernatural knowledge and are implied to be able to teleport, use telekinesis, and grant wishes.
  • Swapped Roles: In at least two episodes, Mark has —or think he has — the 'stuff'.
  • Twist Ending: One episode featured a dog, named Boomer, that was desperate to get help for his family after they are trapped in their car after crashing in the woods. After the standard amount of drama, Boomer is finally able to lead Jonathan and Mark to the site of the crash. When Jonathan mentions how Boomer helped lead the way, the father mentions that there's no way that could have happened; the dog was Dead All Along. Adding to the Wham factor is that Jonathan is as utterly shocked as Mark is; cut to the heavens where we see an angelic Boomer looking down on his owners.
  • Walking the Earth
  • Woobie of the Week: Show premise.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: Jonathan and Mark reform a crooked used-car dealer in an episode called "Another Song for Christmas."
  • You Look Familiar: in one episode, Pa Cartwright is an old actor who swears he saw God in the audience of his play.