Charlie's Angels - 1.01, "Angel with a Broken Wing" (2011)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How many of you remember the cheesy seventies-era Charlie’s Angels? Or perhaps the more accurate question: are there any of you who watch the show through re-runs or the DVD sets? I can admit that I do own all four available seasons of the sappy show – and I love it. There are many things about it that bring on eye-rolling and groans, but above all it is cute, which is why when I learned producers were re-booting the series for the 2011 TV season, I was thrilled to pieces – that is exactly what the show needed: an updated outlook. In fact, I was so anxious about the re-make that I broke the standard “rule” at my house (to watch no TV show during its airing on television) and tuned in to the pilot episode. I’ve decided to share my early thoughts on the millennium version of a now iconic television show.

Everyone deserves a second chance – even thieves and cops who get in over their heads. The elusive Charles Townsend runs one of the most successful detective agencies in Miami. All three of his detectives are women – they are Charlie’s Angels. Charlie’s criteria is very specific when it comes to his employees – all of them must be in need of redemption. The three women currently working for the Townsend Agency each deserved a second chance to make things right but more importantly: he wanted to save them from themselves. Wealthier than most 20-somethings her age Abby Sampson (Rachael Taylor) had anything she wanted. She was a spoiled Park Avenue princess bored with her life… so instead of picking up a hobby or two, she became trained as a world-class thief… a thief who had never been caught until Charlie learned of her. Then he finds Kate (Annie Ilonzeh). Kate was a Miami detective who had it all including a wonderful fiancé who adored her… until she became a detective on the take. Rounding out the trio is Gloria – a former Army lieutenant whose specialty is explosives. Following a seemingly routine case, Gloria dies forcing Charlie to convince the girls to find Gloria’s close childhood friend Eve (Minka Kelley) in order to assist them in bringing down the guy who murdered Gloria. Needless to say things get off to a rough start between the three very different girls.

Eve is a tough street-wise racer whose own muddied past follows through with Charlie’s cause. With the help of fellow detective Bosley (Ramon Rodriquez), their thirty-something Townsend associate, the girls eventually reach a tentative agreement. It is one that includes finding out the truth about Gloria’s death, no matter the cost and even though they barely know each other, when things take a turn for the worse, they stick up for each other.

I am not going to lie; I had very high expectations for this show… and the premiere wasn’t totally up to par. Don’t get me wrong, it is darn entertaining but there isn’t that “spark” that convinces me it will get the go-ahead and a multi season renewal. I am willing to overlook many of the shows flaws because I have begun far too many others only to merely “like” the pilot before the show turns into a very impressive, heart-pounding, well-produced and -acted hour of entertainment – that is my optimism speaking… but still. Unfortunately, the acting was just so-so while the gadgets were, as usual really high-tech. All three of the actresses are attractive without making it impossible to believe they would chose the life they did, but Minka doesn’t jive with being a tough tomboy. Her face and voice are way too sweet “good-girl” persona while Rachael fits a rich-kid and Annie makes a credible ex-cop.

Neither one of the developers – Alfred Gough and Miler Millar are very experienced when it comes to television writing but they do have a number of episodes under their belt thanks to a popular teen series, Smallville. (Star of the feature film and its sequel, Drew Barrymore also is a producer on this.) What was so comical about the now-dated Aaron Spelling-produced show was how laughable many of its production qualities and/or acting was. I am sure back some thirty years ago, it was impressive. I cannot tell you the number of times the girls would go through some harrowing situation or another and come out looking exactly the same – like a beauty queen! And, really who can cry their eyes out and come away with still-prefect mascara!? Or look like they are handling nothing but a toy gun and yell “freeze!” – I mean, really did the “Angels” expect whatever scumbag they were chasing to listen to someone who looked about as threatening as a stuffed animal? One of my biggest concerns for the show was that it’d be too flashy… too tacky… too sexy… too… 2011, and it does meet those expectations, but there is a happy medium. By today’s standards, the show finally got most things right. No longer do the girls always look runway-perfect, instead they are tough, leading females who actually look the part of detective – and can handle a gun to boot!

In a move that might hurt or assist the show, there are reflections of its source. The original creator (Ivan Goff) gets a leading credit in the opening credits while both the theme music and opening is much the same, albeit modernized. For my two cents, I don’t want to be too harsh because, to be fair these are just first impressions of something that I’ve kind of built-up to be some kind of “great” modern-day entertainment. The little petty issues I may have had with this premiere are offset by the camaraderie and the fact that the action sequences actually look credible. Unfortunately, I think the script tried a little too hard to be witty and the dialogue suffers as a result. The wardrobe is “very 2011,” but there were some pieces that were attractive. As one of TVGuide’s top ten most anticipated shows, and with a healthy dose of promotion, I have no doubt that the show will garner a decent following for a couple of weeks (its premiere garnered 8.6 million viewers, the most for its time slot since 2009) – but the real question is: will it be enough? That will be answered in the weeks to come. For me, I am willing to give it leeway and am going to root for its survival; the DVD release will be a source of excitement at my house… even if it won’t be until next summer!

What do you think? Did this even enter your TV-watching radar? What is some of your highly anticipated TV of 2011? Do share below – I’d love to read everyone else’s thoughts!


  1. I'm afraid this one's not on my radar - but glad to hear that you enjoyed it, even if it didn't "quite" live up to your expectations. Here's to improvement! ;)

  2. Because I have so much on my plate, I held off on this one for the same reason I held off on the Hawaii 5-0 reboot; I get afraid that it will be too sexed up, too 2011, as you say......but I hope it does fare better for you!

    Loved reading your thoughts about it!

  3. Ruth - I think most people have kind of brushed this one aside. I will certainly be hoping the season gets more intricate. A lot of the shows I watch did so, which gives me "hope." =D

    Ella - I know what you mean about watching too many shows (or maybe just being too busy with life in general). The pilot wasn't too terrible in those regards, but it is something I'll look out for when I get the set on DVD.

    As for "Hawaii Five-O," I cannot wait to see that show!! I am expecting it in the mail either today or tomorrow and wil no doubt, have a review once I watch the set - it looks SO good!

  4. Hmm, never heard of it, and I actually don't really watch tv (I'd rather be blogging)that much.
    Interesting thoughts though :) I enjoyed it!

  5. Growing up, my family watched very little TV either, Rebekah. But, we now have SEVERAL favorites... so instead of sitting in front of the TV for two+ hours every night, we await the DVD sets. However, since I watch the 70's version (very corny) of this show, I broke the "rule" and tuned in to the pilot.

    Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts - they are always welcome.

    PS: I tried to comment on your blog earlier tonight and something wasn't working - I am guessing it has something to do with our blogs being set up differently and Blogger didn't like me trying to comment... or something! =)

  6. I knew I forgot something. I'll try and catch this next week, although to be honest it's not really my thing right now.

    "Hawaii Five-O," on the other hand, is fantastic.

    Al and Miles. Oh, dear. Not two of my favorite people, since they managed to tick me off year after year on "Smallville" with their seeming unending addiction to Clark/Lana. =P

  7. Hey Rissi,
    That is funny, I have had trouble commenting on a few blogs myself!
    When I try to post the comment, it just disapears and I have to retype it, but then it happens again! Very annoying.
    Is that what happens to you too?
    Are you only having trouble commenting on my blog? Just curious! I hope it works to comment later (i love comments) ;)

  8. Charity - despite all my negative thoughts, I really enjoyed "Charlie's Angels" for the light-hearted entertainment is was, but I have high expectations as it furthers.

    "Hawaii Five-O": cannot wait to get started on that. It looks/sounds great. Oh, dear! I hope the writers bad turns on "Smallville" won't be telling on "Charlie's Angels."

    Rebekah - as you no doubt know, I can FINALLY comment on your blog again. YAY! I upgraded to Google Chrome after an update to IE, and then, it was all good.

    But, no, to answer your question, yours wasn't the only blog that wouldn't let me comment - some I could, others, I couldn't. Ah! The joys of technology.


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