September 22, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Disclaimer:  Network pilots now in circulation are not necessarily in the form that will air in the Fall.  Pilots are often reedited and rescored, and in some cases even recast or reshot.  So these critiques shouldn’t be taken as full reviews, but rather as a guide to the general style and content of the new shows coming your way.
CHARLIE’S ANGELS – Thursday 8PM on ABC:  If Nothing Else Is On…

ABC isn’t exactly aiming high with its reboot of CHARLIE’S ANGELS; it wants to be nothing more than mindless eye candy, and at that it more or less succeeds.  The concept is exactly the same in as the original series and feature films:  a faceless, fabulously wealthy man of mystery named Charlie (presumably a celebrity voice will be on the other end of the phone by Fall) employs 3 gorgeous women (here they’re Rachael Taylor, Minka Kelly and Annie Ilonzeh) to solve crimes and put bad people behind bars, helped only by Charlie’s assistant Bosley (Ramon Rodriguez).   

Has there really been longing out there for another version of this tale?  The movie sequel wasn’t much of a hit, and that was only 8 years ago.  Drew Barrymore’s production company is involved in this go-round too (she gets an Executive Producer credit), but the tone of the new series doesn’t follow the campy humor of the movies–even Bosley, a reliable source of laughs in both the original show and movies, is minimized into a hunky young guy.  There are no new regular characters, and the script by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, while hardly gritty (it makes The CW’s Nikita seem like The French Connection), is a standard cop show rather than a spoof, although of course while most TV cop shows mix beautiful women into a somewhat heterogenous team, here the hot girls are the team.

The pilot is an origin story for Minka Kelly’s character, who joins the team during the course of the episode (she’s an ex-car thief, Taylor is a socialite-turned-cat-burglar, Ilonzeh was once a cop), but none of the actresses are particularly challenged to, you know, act, and since we know from Friday Night Lights and Parenthood that Kelly has talent (and Rachael Taylor has been doing more than decently as a guest star this year on Grey’s Anatomy), it’s too bad that no one felt the urge to push for something beyond utter blandness.  The pilot is directed by Marcos Siega, who helmed the pilot for The Vampire Diaries; it all looks slick enough (we get some split screens), but there’s nothing new or exciting about the style. 

In an undemanding timeslot, Charlie’s Angels might be a reasonable way to waste an hour, but Thursday 8PM is hardly that spot:  it’ll be competing with Big Bang Theory, X Factor, Community/Parks & Recreation and Vampire Diaries, and it may well be the weakest of them.  With those kinds of adversaries, ABC’s angels may be on their way to heavenly rest a lot quicker than their network was hoping.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."