First Impressions

Charlie's Angels (2011)

Aired on: ABC

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            “Once upon a time, there were three little girls in the Police Academy and they were each assigned very hazardous duties.  But I took them away from all that and now they work for me.  My name is Charlie.”  So was the opening narration of my favorite show when I was a kid.  Charlie’s Angels began its run in 1976 starring Jacklyn Smith (Kelly Garrett), Kate Jackson (Sabrina Duncan) and Farrah Fawcett (Jill Munroe).  The undercover detective agency featuring three beautiful female detectives working for a man they never actually get to see known as Charlie Townsend (John Forsythe) and a handler named John Bosley (David Doyle).  I loved this show and would always pretend I was Kelly Garrett.  I had the dolls, the trading cards and even a die-cast miniature Charlie’s Angels van

            When the Charlie’s Angels movies, starring Drew Barrymore, came out, I was angry that they had turned my favorite childhood television drama series into a comedy/action film.  But when they announced that a new Charlie’s Angels television series was coming to ABC, I was really annoyed.  Especially when I learned that the Angels were all going to be ex-cons and that Bosley was going to be a young, easy on the eyes Latino ex-con, all given a second chance by the mysterious Charlie Townsend.  I vowed not to watch the series altogether.  But, in the interest of the readers, I found myself seated in front of the television on Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 8PM EST to watch the premiere episode of Charlie’s Angels (2011).

            In the premiere episode, we meet our three angels: Kate Prince (Annie Ilonzeh), a former Miami Police Officer whose involvement in corruption causes her to lose her job and her fiancée; Abby Sampson (Rachel Taylor), former socialite turned cat burglar and Gloria Morales (Nadine Velazquez), a disgraced Marine with a knack for blowing things up.  Mysterious millionaire Charlie Townsend (Victor Garber) offers them all a second chance and they work for him in his detective agency.  Their handler is John Bosley (Ramon Rodriguez), a hacker whose money embezzlement scheme caused him to do time for tax evasion.  By the time we meet our Angels, they have already been working at the agency for some time when an explosion takes the life of Gloria Morales.

            What?!  An Angel killed in the premiere episode?  Yup, but this makes way for the real third Angel, Eve French (Minka Kelly) a former carjacker, street racer and childhood friend of Gloria.  It seems that Eve and Gloria had been working on the side to track down a man responsible for murder and trafficking of underage girls.   They first met the man known as Pajaro (Carlos Bernard) as young orphans in El Salvador and witnessed his brutality firsthand.  Having barely escaped, they vowed to bring him to justice.  Unfortunately, he caught on to Gloria and had her murdered.  Although they barely trust each other, the two remaining Angels and Eve unite in their cause to bring Pajaro to justice for his crimes and the murder of their mutual friend.

            What the hell is this crap?!  First of all, the original Charlie’s Angels, with the exception of Julie Rogers, were all cops fed up with the crappy assignments given to female police officers.  They joined Charlie’s agency with the hopes of fighting crime and bringing criminals to justice the way they had always dreamed.  Now, granted, this new version is set in a different time period and female cops are given much more meaningful and demanding roles in the police force, but to offer up this new criminally tarnished Angel…it bothers me.  The show is definitely taking a stand for giving someone a second chance, but I just find it completely against what the original show was all about.  Then there’s Ramon Rodriguez as John Bosley, an obvious play to attract young women to the show - ridiculous.

            There are some nods to the original series.  Although this series is set in Miami, the number of the address of the Charles Townsend Agency just happens to be 1976, the year in which the original series made its debut.  Also, there are bits and pieces of the old interlude music thrown in here and there.  And then there are the campy costumes the characters are forced to wear while undercover in a party scene.  They made me laugh as I remembered some of the funky undercover outfit’s the Angels of old used to be forced to wear.

            However, the series as a whole is rather unbelievable.  While Abby’s cat burglar skills add a new dimension to the series and it’s fun to see her scale things you never thought could be climbed, I found the scene in which she enters a high tech bio scan safe in a matter of seconds to be highly improbable.  Also, the fight scene between Pajaro’s thugs and Kate and Bosley - did we have to speed up the film in hopes of making the scene look more exciting.  All it did was make me laugh at the super fast movements of the characters.  It was just too obviously done to make anything but a comedic impression.  And, by the way, a criminal named Pajaro?  Seriously, you have a horrific human trafficker and murderer whose name in Spanish means parrot?  You couldn't think of something more in the predator vein?  Come on!

            Fans of the old series, I warn you: this is not the Charlie’s Angels you fell in love with all those years ago.  Fans of action and intrigue will get some of what they want, as long as they don’t mind whether or not what they are watching is realistic.  Fans of good looking people will get exactly what they want, so long as they are not looking for a highly intelligent script, well thought out cases and enjoyable dialogue.  To me, Charlie’s Angels (2011) is an all-out flop that never should have been made.


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