Despite the wretched fates of recent Knight Rider and Bionic Woman remakes, tenacious TV execs keep attempting to revamp old shows for a millennial audience. In Charlie's Angels, the latest rebirth (premiering Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC), actresses Minka Kelly, Rachel Taylor, and Annie Ilonzeh step into the butt-kicking, private-investigator shoes of Farrah Fawcett and Co. By most accounts, it doesn't go well: Critics are already proclaiming the straightforward series "offensively bland" and "DOA (dumb on arrival)." Is Charlie's Angels doomed to suffer the TV remake curse?
Yep. Especially with writing this bad: The new crimefighting trio is burdened by "comically bad writing," says David Hinckley at the New York Daily News. When a perceptive kidnap victim remarks, "You don't look like cops," the girls respond: "We're not. We're Angels." This stiffly delivered repartee is better suited for a "dialogue balloon in a comic book" than a primetime series.
Plus, the show doesn't offer anything new: In the decades since the original Angels signed off, "hot girls kicking butt" have multiplied like bacteria, becoming ubiquitous from Alias to Buffy to Nikita, says Andrea Reiher at Zap2it. The Charlie's Angels reboot needed to "offer something else in order to work… and it doesn't." If the show hoped to succeed, perhaps it should have switched tones completely, scrapping the super-seriousness and going "full-on camp and humor."
"Charlie's Angels review: An unnecessary reboot"
And it may have been doomed from the start: Most TV remakes can exploit untapped audience nostalgia for the original series, says Chris Conaton at Pop Matters. Here, the relatively recent big-screen Angels reboots had already done that. The producers tried to follow the successful Hawaii Five-O formula, and turn-out a generic cop drama with a nostalgic name. No dice. Charlie's Angels' intrinsically light source material "prevents it from becoming a 'gritty' crime show" in the vein of CSI.
"Hollywood continues to resurrect the familiar with Charlie's Angels"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why baseball is America's most dangerous spectator sport
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 9 Harvard dropouts who became fabulously successful
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- The impossibility of the night shift
Subscribe to the Week