Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Charlie's Angels is an "Angel With a Broken Wing"

    ABC has rebooted Charlie's Angels. In the first episode, "Angel With a Broken Wing," one of the Angels, Gloria (Nadine Velazquez, My Name is Earl, The League) is killed. The remaining two, Abby (Rachael Taylor, Grey's Anatomy) and Kate (Annie Ilonzeh, General Hospital), must team with Gloria's childhood friend, Eve (Minka Kelly, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights), to take down the man that killed her (Carlos Bernard, 24). A man that wants Eve dead, too, and doesn't mind if other Angels end up as collateral.

     This series is a popcorn drama, pure and simple. There are plenty of action packed fight sequences, and hot girls wearing sexy outfits. Even Bosley (Ramon Rodriguez, The Wire) has been made younger and much more attractive in this newest version. Considering no incarnation of Charlie's Angels is high brow drama, this works just fine. It's an updated version that stays true to the spirit of its origins. On that level, the show works pretty well, and fans should not be disappointed.

     Too bad that's really the only level it has. Taylor, Ilonzeh, and Rodriguez are very decent actors, and Kelly is no slouch. Add to that that Victor Garber (Eli Stone, Web Therapy, Alias) is Charlie, a last minute addition, and there is potential here for something really great. Just because a show is remade doesn't mean it needs to confine itself to limits of the source material. With the ingredients present, a much more delicious, satisfying recipe could come out. But it doesn't. That's not to say that Charlie's Angels isn't worth watching. It's light fair, but it's still tasty. It's just regrettable that it doesn't go the extra mile that it could. It doesn't even keep the cheeky humor of the film versions that made them work so well.

     That being said, the pilot is pretty decent. Kudos to the show for not naming the first episode "Pilot," like almost every other series. Having a title is more interesting. Add to that a nice little origin story of how Eve gets to join the team, and a great guest villain played by Bernard, and it's an entertaining hour of television. There is a definite feel that Charlie's Angels will soon settle into a boring formula. However, given that it airs on ABC instead of CBS, hopefully the writers will embrace some ongoing arcs for the characters.

     Honestly, the best thing for Charlie's Angels would be a swift cancellation, allowing Taylor to return to Grey's Anatomy and the others to seek more worthwhile employment. It's not what's in the show that doesn't work, but what isn't.

     Charlie's Angels airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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