Charlie’s Angels – Pilot Review

This could either be viewed as either relaunching the 1970s television show, or as bringing the 2000 film to the small screen. There’s a lot of potential in the idea – the new version of Hawaii Five-0 has been a big hit, everyone’s crying out for strong female characters on television and pretty girls driving fast cars, kicking bad guys and playing with guns is a safe bet with the demographics.

Unfortunately what you need is the same thing that you need for anything – good writing. The dialogue on this is truly some of the worst I’ve ever heard. In addition to the awfulness in the above trailer, here’s a couple of choice soundbites:

  • “Please tell me she’s not really gone, and that I’m just gonna wake up and see her again”
  • “You know I never knew my heart could hurt this much.”
  • “Abby put the cat into cat burglar”

On top of the dialogue we have some pretty crappy character design – it’s hard to relate to these women who get through half a dozen designer outfits in a single episode, drive sports cars and sip champagne on an obscenely large yacht. C. Orlando at TV Fanatic makes the excellent point that it’s extremely difficult to like these characters given they’re all introduced as various types of criminal, who now seem to be living the life of luxury entirely because of their criminal pasts. It doesn’t really work. It’s a shame, because I think the cast is probably pretty good (Minka Kelly and Rachael Taylor certainly did better work on Friday Night Lights and Grey’s Anatomy respectively) when not saddled with trying to emote their way through this stilted mess.

The plot of the episode itself was equally painful. A supposed international mastermind was outwitted by flirting and cheap threats. Not that it was explained what happened to the bad guy at the end, it’s not like there was anything that could be taken to the police – that was just left hanging. Meanwhile we’re using an ipad to hack phone networks, a satellite camera to look into hotel rooms, cracking biometric scanners in ten seconds flat and for some reason the one that irritated me most – instantly drying, perfectly styled hair after a swim in the ocean.

I was hoping this was going to be cheesy fun like the film, but instead it’s just mindless stupidity. If I were in the mood to get on my high-horse about things I might even make a case for it being offensively gratuitous in the amount of wealth that’s on display and patronisingly sexist in the fact that the ‘strong’ women all have to be beautiful and wear skimpy outfits. Frankly I think that level of analysis is unnecessary though when it’s terribleness as a piece of enjoyable television is already clearly displayed.

Other reviews:
CliqueClack – I’m not saying that Charlie’s Angels is going to be a great show. Neither the original nor the movies were Shakespeare, and only a fool would imply that this incarnation is going to be anything better. It has had a rough start, but it is going to get better … I promise.

TV Fanatic – I’m torn because I want to like this remake. Yes, it is cheesy and predictable, but so was the original and I have fond memories. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the love for these characters and I’m not feeling enough of the fun. Maybe that will come with time. We’ll see. We’ll hope.

AOL TV didn’t review it, but listed it as one ofThe 10 Least Promising Shows – Was the clunky script for ‘Charlie’s Angels’ also dug up from some ’70s vault? It contains more than a few leaden lines, and any show that asks me to accept Minka Kelly (Lyla from ‘Friday Night Lights’) as an orphan who grew up to be a tough car thief is asking too much.

Charlie’s Angels will broadcast on E4 in November

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  1. May 16th, 2012
  2. September 4th, 2012
  3. September 15th, 2013
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