I don’t know why they bothered in the first place, but ABC attempted to get their hit 70’s show Charlie’s Angels back on the air every week. With all the recent remake activity it seemed inevitable. There were already two Charlie’s Angels films starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu that were hits. The actual quality of them….well that’s questionable.
So I guess ABC saw that as a sign to bring the Angels back to the tube.
Don’t get too attached. After only airing four episodes, ABC cancelled the show and threw it onto the growing heap of failed remake attempts by the networks, which NBC graciously added The Bionic Woman and Knight Rider to it not too long ago. Apparently the new Angels got an unmerciful drubbing by television critics and no one was tuning in to watch.
Well, not exactly no one….
I had zero interest in a remake of Charlie’s Angels and I wasn’t the first in line to see those Drew Barrymore movies either. As soon as I heard about this new show my eyes immediately rolled. I had no plans to ever watch it. It just seemed like another tired retread of a once popular show that would inevitably be yet another example of a televised bad idea.
However, when I heard Minka Kelly was one of the new Angels my ears perked up – admittedly just because I think she’s really hot.
Anyway, that still didn’t seem enough to tune into what I fully expected to be a terrible show. So I figured I’ll just look at the pretty advertisements of her in her stylish dresses and get my Minka fix that way. At least then I didn’t have to waste an hour of tv time sifting through a lot of badly scripted scenes to ogle at her.
That was until I saw they were going to remake the classic Angels In Chains episode!
For those unfamiliar, Angels In Chains was the popular episode from the original series that sent Kate, Farrah and Jaclyn to a women’s prison. The show capitalized on the fact that beautiful women behind bars, getting into catfights, working on a chain gang and planning escape attempts in the showers is just plain sexy!
It was probably the most memorable episode from the original show and now it would be getting a 2011 update. So I decided to fold and tune in to see this new version of the Angels.
(I find it funny how they’re not only remaking a television series but now remaking the actual episodes)
Things started out promising when I saw that Erica Durance was guest starring. Smoking Lois from Smallville! The eye candy factor just went up a few more points!
So, I sat, I watched and was in shock at how bad the show was. I wouldn’t expect the show to offer up anything revolutionary, just be a fun, entertaining television romp. And it didn’t deliver on even the lowest levels of it. I kept thinking to myself – “how could they screw this up so badly? Beautiful women catching bad guys….what’s so complicated?”
The new Charlie’s Angels is pretty embarrassing. Not only is the acting wooden, the characters flat and the writing awful, it didn’t even make use of the most obvious shallow selling point of the show and made it sexy.
The original series gave birth to the whole idea of ‘jiggle TV’. The makers, the actors and the audience knew why it was so popular. If there was a scene of expository dialogue, they would just film it by a pool so the Angels could be in bathing suits. Of course now that’s a very politically incorrect way of thinking and they can’t do that anymore.
I know what the 1970’s Charlie’s Angels were about. Back then seeing pretty women solve crimes and catch bad guys was something new and fresh. Since then we’ve seen that countless times. So….what exactly makes Charile’s Angel’s 2011 so special???
This new crop of Angels were so one-dimensional is was staggering. We have the brunette girl, the blonde girl and the black girl. That’s about it. At least the old Angels tried to individualize the characters a bit more – the smart one, the sexy one, the charming one. The new version doesn’t even get that complicated.
None of them appear to possess any special qualities that would make Charlie feel they would be asset to send out on these cases. I think each of the Angels are supposed to be specialists in some area – a street racer, a thief, a former cop. It doesn’t matter who is supposed to be what, they’re all interchangeable.
Plus, none of these actresses have that star power or charisma that would make me want to tune back in to see them again and there is no chemistry between these women. The casting of this show is as bland as can be.
Then we got Bosley. Previously, Boz played by David Doyle was mainly the funny desk man who was off to the side for most of the episodes. He was a supporting player and let the Angels have the spotlight. Here they wanted to revamp the character of Bosley and made him into some kind of buffed up military man with the required five o’clock shadow. Great, another boring pretty face in the show.
For some reason he took up the majority of screen time in this Chains episode. We learn about his cliched past relationship to this CIA chick played by Durance and watch as he manages to save the Angels. Yeah, they don’t seem too capable on their own.
What the heck am I watching….
If they wanted to change things up with the character of Bosley, why not change HIM into a HER! That seems like the new easy way to radicalize male characters of the past – a little snip-snip here and bingo we’re suddenly updated! At least that would have been a bit more of an interesting change than what they did with Bosley here. He doesn’t even provide any comedy relief! Why try to play things so ultra serious and try to lighten things up a bit.
One hip update the series does do is the nifty shaky cam shots. Along with off center framing of the actors cutting off half their faces. I suppose this is supposed to make the show look visually interesting. The only thing I thought it did was make it even more annoying. If an actor is speaking I kind of would like to see their full faces.
While in this Cuban prison the Angels learn the American women are being mistreated and used as prostitues. Or this shows idea of prostitution. When the Angels find themselves victims in this nefarious scheme they are forced to put on pretty dresses and laugh at anonymous guys jokes. That’s it. It sounds like something hot chicks do anyway.
The funniest part of this party scene is how obvious there is no real acting to any of it. The scenes just come in with the Angels laughing or drinking with these guys and it’s painfully clear there really wasn’t anything spoken before the camera starts to roll and they just have to get to the part when the Angels whisper to each other “we have to get out of here”. There’s really no method acting here.
In the end the Angels save the girl who they were meant to save. She’s no character either, just a quivering basket case who we’re supposed to feel sorry for. Things don’t look good for Minka who’s left behind with the bad guy and looks like he’s about to start some major interrogating bad guy stuff. When the Boz and the other Angels get to speak to her while she’s still being held hostage, Minka proves she’s a tough cookie. With some strategically placed blood on her face she’s able to muster enough strength to dramatically ask them – “What are you still doing here?”.
Wowzers! Was this bad! And we’re supposed to take this serious. They might as well have had her say “Go on without me!”. Maybe Minka is supposed to be the strong girl.
Now I’ve only seen this one episode and maybe the ones I’ve missed are really top notch entertainment. But this Angels in Chains episode….is dreadful.
Since announcing the cancellation, ABC is supposedly going to just go ahead and air the remainder of the episodes they filmed because…..eh why not I guess. I’m tempted to tune back in just to see what else they were ready to dish out to the television audience.
If you love bad television this show would have definitely been for you and you probably could have appreciated how appalling the execution to all this was. With the shows cancellation and disappearance from televisions everywhere, it will most likely become another example of how not to remake a popular show. So we’ll all have to live the rest of our life’s never getting to know the 2011 Charlie’s Angels.