Charlie’s Angels

The original Charlie’s Angels was about three capable women (at a time) who strengths had been overlooked due to their femininity, who were hired by a warm-voiced mystery man and aided by his capable-but-unhip assistant.

It would be hard to get this concept to work today simply because of the advances, incomplete though they may be, in the women’s place in America since the 1970s. (I had some interesting discussions with respected creative folks recently about how we would rework Remington Steele, if given the chance, to work in the new era due to similar problems.)

So for the new version, instead of their perceived Achilles heel being their gender, it’s their backgrounds; they’ve each done something wrong. Which would be fine if this were about redemption, but it’s not; it’s about people who were basically good still being good… so they’re all good looking females because…? Oh, and Bosley’s also got the same kind of past, and now he’s all hip and one of the agents, but he’s clearly separate from the female crew, because… umm… And Charlie himself is hard, cold, and robotic, so everyone follows him because… ummmm….

Look, I don’t have some great nostalgic love for the original show; I must’ve seen a few episodes back in the day, because I did have a “favorite Angel” (Kate Jackson, the smart one, and maybe it was slightly groundbreaking to have someone sexy in their smartness.) But I’m not going to declare this some sort of violation of something sacred. But it’s mix of melodramatic darkness and ligthhearted goofiness doesn’t gel. There are a few cute moments, but nothing that leaves me needing to watch more… not even Minka Kelly. And I like me some Minka Kelly; with a track record of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, she comes with many fine associations, and she is still purty, but cannot conquer the material.


Published in: on September 25, 2011 at 4:22 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. I’m intrigued by your parenthetical comment regarding how one might revamp Remington Steele — a show I’ve studied carefully in the past few months from a number a different angles and which I have great respect for.

    You may have already encountered this cogent analysis by Jaime Weinman — He discusses the way the central tension of the show hinged on role playing and hidden secrets.

    Laura’s secret invention of “Remington Steele” is key to the premise and the tension, but the literal reason Laura offers for that invention — that a female P.I. couldn’t get decent work — is deepened over time in the series more of Laura’s backstory and psychology are revealed. It became more personal — Laura Holt needed to invent this flashy front man, but perhaps another woman, with a different backstory and psychology would not have done so. That tension, I believe, could still work in a modern setting, even with the changes in gender roles over the past 30 years.

    I’m happy to discuss this further if you are still working on the project.

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