Thursday, July 4, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Charlie's Angels - The 2011 Series

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Grew into an enjoyable show
Cons: Pilot understandably turned off most viewers
The Bottom Line
Yes, the pilot stank
But show got better each week
Still, it was cut short

Pilot Sank What Could Have Been an Enjoyable Show

One of the shows I was looking forward to during the 2011-2012 TV season was the reboot of Charlie's Angels.  Unfortunately, it crashed and burned spectacularly.  Honestly, it's hard to believe the pilot episode got approved, although it did get much better from there.

As with the classic show, the show focuses on three female private detectives who work for the mysterious Charles Townsend (voiced by Victor Garber).  But this time the ladies have less than stellar pasts.  Kate (Annie Ilonez) is a former dirty cop.  Eve (Minka Kelly) has been arrested for car theft.  Rounding out the group is cat burglar Abby (Rachael Taylor).  Even the much younger Bosley (Ramon Rodriguez) is a hacker.  The other big change?  The show is now set in Miami (where their headquarters has an address of 1976 in honor of the original series, which premiered that year).

But these three ladies still take on tough criminals.  In the pilot, they take down a child slavery ring which just killed an Angel.  They search for an investigative journalist who disappeared on a cruise ship.  They attempt to rescue a kidnapped family.  And they have to clear Bosley when he is framed for the kidnapping of a painter.  There's even an homage to the original series when the Angels get themselves arrested to break someone out of prison.

Now, the developers of this incarnation have said they were aiming for a more realistic tone than the original with more emotionally grounded angels.  And that's probably why the pilot focused on a story that involved the death of someone that all the characters knew.  But man did they blow that opportunity.

Frankly, I can't blame those who gave up on the show after the pilot.  The writing was stiff when it wasn't corny.  I mean, some of the dialog was laughably bad.  Unfortunately, the acting sunk to the level of the writing.  It was truly cringe worthy.

But I'm a stubborn man, and rarely do I give up on a show after the pilot.  I decided to give the show another chance.  Somewhere between the pilot and the next episode, things got straightened out.  I'm not going to say that the writing was outstanding and the acting flawless, but it was more believable and not painful.

So I kept watching.  As the writers and actors got a better feel for the characters, they began to truly gel.  They found the right mix of realism and fun that made the show truly work.  If they had this tone for the pilot, the show might not have crashed and burned so badly.  It truly became what I always expected it to be, a guilty pleasure.  But by then, no one was watching and the show was canceled, which is disappointing because I want to know more about the mysterious past of Charlie they were hinting at.

This show has been released as a Movie on Demand release, which means it will only be available on line and will be made when you order it.  Several sites are selling it, most notably Amazon.  There were 8 episodes, and they are on two discs in wide screen and full surround with no extras.

No, the pilot of this show was far from perfect, but the 2011 remake of Charlie's Angels was getting better as it went along.  I may be alone, but I'm sorry it wasn't given a chance to fully take flight.

1. Angel with a Broken Wing
2. Runway Angel
3. Bon Voyage, Angels
4. Angels in Chains
5. Angels in Paradise
6. Black Hat Angels
7. Royal Angels
8. They're Not Saints (aka Angels Never Forget)

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