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
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- Republicans love this new health care plan. Too bad it's basically a tax cut for the rich.
- In defense of Gwyneth Paltrow
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- 8 tricks to surviving the holidays without gaining weight or being grouchy
- Don't blame Chuck Hagel: Obama's foreign policy has been a disaster from end to end
- 17 old proverbs we should use more often
Subscribe to the Week