Highway to Heaven

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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) 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.

Tropes used in Highway to Heaven include:
  • Benevolent Boss
  • Brick Joke: See Parking Payback below.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Arguably a case of Cast Full Of Directors, as the only regular cast members were Michael Landon and Victor French - who between them directed all but five episodes of the entire run (French did 12, Landon 94).
  • Drugs Are Bad: The opening of "For the Love of Larry," which also features a thoroughly hilarious sting operation. Also in As Easy as ABC where Jonathan and Mark pretend (briefly) to be drug dealers.
  • Heaven On Earth: One episode had this trope's name. Mark was deeply shaken after a 5-year-old girl he just met died in a drunk-driving accident, and his grief is further fueled when he accidentally causes a fire at a bed-and-breakfast, where an 11-year-old girl is trapped in her room (she is rescued and suffers only minor burns); Mark -- trying to rescue the girl -- is overcome by smoke, passes out and has a dream about his "Heaven on Earth" vision (inspired after he had made several offhand remarks when he became annoyed at things). Jonathan helps Mark realize things aren't always rosy and that sometimes innocent people die because of the careless actions of others.
  • Mundane Utility: Sometimes Jonathan used his powers for simple things.
  • 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.
  • Parking Payback: In one episode Jonathan upbraids a gang of teens for parking in a handicapped spot. When they ask him if he's going to do anything about it, he looks skyward before shaking his head and saying "No". However, later in the episode Jonathan passes by the same parking spot, to find the teens' car has been flipped upside-down, it is implied by direct divine intervention.
  • Walking the Earth
  • Woobie of the Week: Show premise.
  • Written by Cast Member: Michael Landon penned numerous episodes.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol
  • Never Learned to Read: In As Difficult as ABC, a basketball player has to drop out of college because he can't read.