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ABC Family’s original movie, “Fallen” which aired last night (Sunday) and promised all sorts of exciting enchantments–prophecies, redemption, destinies revealed, and the lore of fallen angels–fell far short of my hopes for movie magic. In fact, rather than a movie, “Fallen”– starring Paul Wesley as Aaron Corbett, a boy who wakes up on his 18th birthday to discover that he is half-angel, half-human, called a Nephilim–feels more like a series pilot than a movie that brings closure to its storyline.

The story begins with myth, narrated with images and a voiceover by Aaron who explains to viewers:

When God created man, jealous Lucier mounted a great rebellion in heaven. His army of angels was defeated and forever banished from Paradise. These angels, The Fallen, abandoned Lucifer, choosing to live on Earth among the pleasures of humans. They took more wives and fathered abominations–Children called Nephilim, with the power of angels, but the souls of men. Angry, the Creator flooded the Earth, killing the Nephilim and driving The Fallen into hiding. He sent The Powers, fierce warrior angels to hunt those that survived the flood. But there was hope for The Fallen in a prophecy. A Nephilim would be born who would redeem them and return them to Paradise. So the Fallen watched…and waited….

Of course, Aaron turns out to be the Nephilim prophesized as the redeemer. A large part of the plot involves Aaron discovering this unwanted destiny that will take him away from the family that loves him and put him in the treacherous path of The Powers who want to destroy him. Without the promise of deeper storyline development, however, “Fallen” feels thin on plot and unfortunately comic at moments, since a lot of the dialogue is conducted between Aaron and his dog Gabriel (yes Gabriel, like the angel). The dog-speak is finessed by the fact that Aaron, as the redeemer-Nephilim, can understand all languages including those of the animals, though it was a campy choice for a movie that takes itself very seriously.

Apparently it’s not a coincidence that I felt I was watching a pilot episode rather than a fully developed film, since ABC Family plans to air a six-hour sequel mini-series next summer. So viewers have not seen the last of “Fallen,” though why ABC would decide to air such an open-ended, “to be continued” story a full year before revealing more is a mystery to me.

And I can’t help wondering: What came first, the BBC’s “Hex” or ABC’s “Fallen”? I only ask because “Hex’s” story arc revolves entirely around the Nephilim as well. I’m not sure television has room for two Nephilim-centered stories. One seems enough to me.

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