Reviewing a show cancelled after four episodes might seem useless. However, there are a couple of reasons to look at Charlie’s Angels. It just started showing in the UK, so here it’s relevant. More importantly, forgetting the mistakes of the past leaves means they’ll be made again. Charlie’s Angels cannot be repeated, not because it was awful, though it was, but because it was a waste.
Objectively, Charlie’s Angels should have been a pretty good TV revival target. People have heard of it. It’s simple. More than that, the premise – Charlie, the three agent ladies- has been remembered while the specifics were forgotten. Unlike the A-Team movie, they were remaking a TV show into a TV show, so there was space to work. The rebooters could make it whatever they wanted in the security of a built in part-ironic-part-nostalgic audience.
They could have gone pastiche. Set it in the seventies, upped the camp, it would have written itself. Or make it a modern comedy, have sleek style and gadgets; more difficult but achievable. Or the opposite; a dark, gritty reinvention where they’re proper spies and Charlie is menacing, mysterious and untrusted.
Instead they made this dull, badly written, badly acted, bland mess.
To give it credit, the opening segment almost made it look clever. Be warned, there are spoilers ahead.
The team along with their young, sexy Bosley (at least they did avoid pretending he was unattractive because he could work a computer), are on a mission to rescue a kidnapped girl. It’s all very shiny and sleek and after they’re successful, there’s a bit of banter between the three angels.
Then, unceremoniously, one of them gets blown up.
It was pretty dang shocking- she’d been included in the opening and everything- and seemed like the start to a dark deconstruction of the tone set by the light hearted first mission. Especially when Bosley told us that Charlie was “devastated”. Why hadn’t Charlie said anything himself? Had he killed her? Would the rest of the series follow the gradual discovery of a web of lies and intrigue? Were the angels going to have to fight their super-powered disembodied boss?
No. Charlie was “devastated” not devastated because of bad writing, the same as one of the angels remarking she’d found evidence “according to [a suspect’s] twitter feed” rather than something he’d said on twitter. The death did nothing more than open the cast up for a newcomer point-of-view character. Why not just leave the three originals? At least they had a different dynamic from the new kid and the pros cliché that everything needs to have. In the end the tone it went for was ‘nothing’, just another mainly-drama-with-some-jokes cop show.
This show was lazy. It was stupid. It was boring. It wasn’t even distinct enough to hate, and will be forgotten now forever. But that’s wrong too, Charlie’s Angels must be remembered for the tripe it was, because otherwise in ten years they’ll reboot Ugly Betty or Veronica Mars.