Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Charlie's Angels 2011

This year ABC brought back one of their classic TV series form the 70s/80s, and one that Entertainment Weekly included in their Top 100 TV Shows of All Time list—albeit in the “Guilty Pleasure” section: Charlie’s Angels. Charlie’s Angels gets a bad rap. It is not a show devoid of plot and only good for watching beautiful women walk around in fashionable (or skimpy) outfits. Sure, it was often quite stupid, and the quality varied from season to season. However, at its best it was a detective show with suspense, mystery and action. It also did about as much to address women’s issues as it admittedly tended to objectified them.

Now, 30+ years and a whole bunch of empowered women heroes later, how does the new series measure up? It is hard to say with only a pilot behind us, but things do not look so good. On the plus side, we started things out in the middle—not with the beginning of the team. We also treat car explosions and the danger the Angels face more seriously than the original series. How many car explosions did Kelly survive over the years? Also, the characters seem solid—there was some worry about the fact that they accentuated their “flawed” pasts so much in the promo material. This “second chance” line looks like a good idea.

However, in an age of very intelligent TV writing, the show looks like it is aiming for mindless and even nonsensical action over mystery and smart case work. That is not what one looks for in detective stories. Action is not bad, but the mystery should trump everything and the action should make sense for the plot—not dictate it.

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