‘Charlie’s Angels’ Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by

Rachael Taylor Minka Kelly Annie Ilonzeh Charlies Angels ABC Charlie’s Angels Series Premiere Review & Discussion

The faceless voice leading a group female crime fighters is back in ABC’s three-peat of the inexplicably popular Charlie’s Angels franchise. This time, as opposed to the physics-defying camp that was the McG series of films, Charlie’s Angels is more reminiscent of the aspects that launched the franchise some 35 years ago.

That’s not to say ABC wasn’t interested in bringing a little more of the films’ high-octane action to this version, however. What the audience gets is a rather nostalgic mash-up of a little action and a little drama with a heavy dose of exposition. While one could say this is a much-needed bit of fun and action to be paired with the sometimes-heavy melodrama of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, why does this series premiere leave the viewer with such a feeling of ambivalence?

The pilot starts off promisingly enough with Angels Kate (Annie Ilonzeh), Gloria (Nadine Velazquez) and Abby (Rachael Taylor) rescuing a young girl from a ring of human traffickers – the sequence even throws the audience a bit of a curve ball with the absence of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood star Minka Kelly in the opening Angel introductions – leaving one to wonder how she will finally figure into the story.

All of that is explored soon enough as Gloria falls victim to a car bomb – setting off the chain of events that will lead to Eve French (Kelly) becoming her replacement.

This means going after the person responsible for Gloria’s murder – a man known only as Pajaro. Of course, Eve knows he is also a wealthy Miami developer by the name of Rodrigo, as their paths have crossed before. Coincidentally enough, Pajaro is also responsible for the human trafficking the Angels were sent in to clean up in the first place. Talk about two birds with one stone.

The rest of the episode plays out as a sort of crash course on each of the Angels – though none of them really have that complex a backstory or motive. Each scene becomes a chance to put a particular Angel’s skill set on display – for instance, the highly advanced safe that Gloria had stashed underneath a fake tray of kitty litter. No problem for socialite-turned-cat-burglar Abby – she cracks it like she’s opening a can of soda.

Rachael Taylor Minka Kelly Annie Ilonzeh ABC Charlies Angels reboot Charlie’s Angels Series Premiere Review & Discussion

And so without too much ado, the Angels manage to bring justice to their fallen comrade and Eve gets her wings… so to speak.

Even though this new iteration of Charlie’s Angels comes from Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the series lacks all of the charm that came with those first few seasons of the adventures of a young Clark Kent. Perhaps it is because this Charlie’s Angels carries with it a heavy dose of been-there-done-that, which not only makes the show feel old from the get-go, but also makes the rather lengthy exposition of the pilot episode all the more burdensome.

Sure, Angels hits all the right beats, but in the effort to not shortchange any one Angel, the episode moves at such a pace that for all the beats it manages to hit, it never stays with any of them long enough for it to matter. Conflict erupts in a heartbeat, but is extinguished just as quickly. It’s as though the show is reluctant to pursue any real sense of danger for fear of getting bogged down by it.

The only moment that seems to carry any weight is Gloria’s untimely demise – and even that is more or less forgotten as soon as Minka Kelly is introduced.

The audience already knows everything about Charlie’s Angels – and quite frankly – there’s nothing spectacular enough about any of the women that they need to have their story told at the same time. The origins of each Angel would have been better served later on in the season (perhaps an episode dedicated to each), as the pilot sort of became the unofficial origin story for Eve French.

Full Throttle Charlie’s Angels Series Premiere Review & Discussion

A decidedly different take on 'Charlie's Angels'

Ultimately, what it comes down to is that Charlie’s Angels wasn’t screaming for a reboot – in fact, this isn’t a reboot at all, it is just another version. It’s like a chain restaurant: essentially it’s different, but you’ll still be ordering off the same menu. One would think that with the popularity of reboots, there would be some change to go along with it – something original that wasn’t said before that would justify a series this old to find its way to television once more.

Sadly, for this incarnation, the only things new are the faces. The least Gough and Millar could have done is change Charlie’s gender – which would have been the smallest gesture possible to warrant this show, but a gesture nonetheless. At the end of the day, it feels like Charlie’s Angels is on television again because no one could think of anything better to put on – not because there was an incredible new take on the concept.

Still, this is only the pilot episode, and Charlie’s Angels may yet have some tricks up its sleeve. It would be too easy to write off a series that has existed for so long – and has proven popular on both television and in film. With any luck, some aspect  will develop on this show that will single it out – and the 2011 version of Charlie’s Angles won’t simply be remembered as a show based on a show.

Charlie’s Angels airs Thursdays @8pm on ABC.

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  1. I bet this show tanks horribly.

  2. WHY IS EVERYONE DOGGING THESE SHOWS, First Wonder Woman which NEVER had a chance. Now CHARLIES ANGELS, granted the pilot episode was decent but HEY it’s only the first episode give it some time. Wouldn’t it be a suprise if this becomes another SMALLVILLE. EVERYONE said it wouldn’t last and what was it 10-12 seasons. Frankly this Fall television seeason hasn’t impressed me at all. X-FACTOR what is that just another AMERICAN IDOL X 2.

  3. I was a huge fan of original and very disappointed in the film versions. I understand the need to modernize the franchise. So, my thoughts… Generally speaking good start. I heard rumors hours before premiere that Victor Garber was in as Charlie (true that…good call). I am not so sure if some of the choppiness was from script – could be editing that occurs as a result of pilot test screenings. Enjoyed the music and incorporation of the original theme. What I did not like: no explanation why/how Charlie gets his assignments for the angels, Abby constant references to Prada this and that (the Sex and the City stuff needs to go, the multi screen stuff is ok but way over done (don’t use it for action — use it for transitions only, high tech incorporation was good, but over the top ( a satellite image into hotel room? Tracing a cell phone to an exact room? I know Charlie is rich, but these are government only technologies!), drop all these references of we’re angels crude – we know who you are!, stop touch your ears on coms! – your undercover, everyone can see you are undercover. Bottom line, this is only a pilot! Let’s give them a chance to tweak before sending the angels to hell!

  4. There’s an old saying that goes: THERE’S NOTHING LIKE THE ORGINAL. This is (so) true with the 2011 version of “Charlie’s Angels”. All in all the premier episode was alright – but it will NEVER become as p[opular as the one from 1976. The main reason for the original’s success was of course Farrah Fawcett. Nobody will ever be able to replace her. She was one in a million – now wait, make that one in a billion. Rachael Taylor doesn’t even come close.

    I will still watch the show however -but- it will NEVER be like the original angels. Sorry Charlie!

  5. What an amature acting, screen writing and everything else!

  6. WOW, what a DISAPPOINTMENT! Amateur acting, stupid storyline (an Angel blows up – they solve it in 2 minutes, a girl gets kidnapped- they return her 4 minutes later, etc.! It’s like it was filmed for people with A.D.D.!! ) And the WORST it continuity! In the beginning of the show, they fly in on a G-IV (pronounced “G 4″), but they say they flew in on a “G-VI” (pronounced “G 6″)!! Not only Gulfstream is NOT releasing the G-VI to the market until 2012, but it also will be a G-650, skipping the G-VI model!

  7. Nothing will ever match the longetivity and greatness of Smallville

  8. Attractive women in a weak, boring show. I smell half season.