Thursday, September 22, 2011
Review - Charlie's Angels
Wow. I mean ... wow. There is bad TV and then there's ... this. I had heard about the retooling. I had heard about rewrites and other problems. But I thought, Drew Barrymore is involved and I actually liked the movies. They were fun, delightfully silly, the cast didn't take themselves too seriously and embraced suspension of disbelief with over-the-top fervor, and it worked. They were escapist entertaining. Also, this show is by the same guys that did the long-running, excellent Smallville. So I went in to this pilot thinking, "How bad could it really be?"
Oh, dear ...
More often than not, remakes of old series haven't worked - The Bionic Woman, Knight Rider. Sometimes it's done with stellar execution - Hawaii Five-0. Charlie's Angels is definitely of the former. Where do I even start? Okay, let's go with the cast. Acting this bad should be illegal. Rachael Taylor (Grey's Anatomy - she bothered me on that show, too) is by far the worst. It's like every line delivery, ever look, every gesture has been premeditated and calculated and comes off not at all natural or likable. In fact, these are some of the most unlikable characters I've seen in a long time. The other Angels are Annie Ilonzeh (Melrose Place) and Minka Kelly (Parenthood). There is zero chemistry between these actresses and they just don't make you care what happens to their characters (Abby, Kate and Eve, respectively), a crucial component of a show necessary to make you want to come back watch them week after week.
We're supposed to believe these gals are like sisters to each other, yet, when one of the trio introduced in the teaser is killed off in the teaser, I felt nothing. I couldn't have cared less. And despite the tears and declarations of "I didn't think my heart could hurt this much" (yep, that's just a sample of the dialogue, but we'll come back to that in a moment), it's so painfully unbelievable, I actually cringed. Hell, I cringed throughout the whole, agonizing thing. These women are supposed to be tough, bad-ass, but I wanted to laugh every time they got in someone's face or spoke with the intention to intimidate. I would have laughed too, if it weren't so damn sad.
And to believe these women would work for a man they'd never see? "All Angels get zero face time with the boss," Bosley (The Wire's Ramon Rodriguez - the once father-figure character is now a young, hot Latino and is more like a fourth Angel) instructs new recruit Eve. The gimmick worked in the original series because of the era and the campiness and in the films because, again, it played into the absurdity (and you had John Forsythe's smarmy, velvet delivery in both cases). Here? This show clearly wants us to take it seriously as a drama, so the unseen big-man-boss-thing just doesn't fly. And not five minutes after Bosley's telling of Rule #1, the Angels playfully coo "Any chance you'll be dropping in on the party, Charlie?" Gag. Robert Wagner was originally cast to be Charlie but had to bow out. Wise choice, sir. The new Charlie is more of a presence in this series, collaborating with his Angels (via a futuristic looking speaker) whereas before he just bookmarked each episode's beginning and end. Like his cast mates, when he delivers the line post Angel-death, "Thank God you're okay," it's so flat, so emotionless. He doesn't seem to care either.
Guess this is as good a time as any to tackle the dialogue. I think I'll just share a few choice lines and let it set:
"Gloria waved goodbye to that life when she enlisted with Uncle Sam."
"Ding ding! Love a catfight, but ladies, please, back to your corners."
"Abby puts the cat in cat burglar."
"We're Angels, not saints."
Now for the action ... well, let me say this. You want action sequences and fight scenes that are amazing and breathtaking and have you on the edge of your seat? Tune into Hawaii Five-0. It's perfection. And Grace Park could kick these ladies' asses with her arms tied behind her back. More strong women who are believable kicking butt? Check out Piper Perabo on USA's Covert Affairs or Maggie Q on the CW's Nikita. Or go back and watch Jennifer Garner on Alias or Sarah Michelle Gellar's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. These ladies? Not even in the same universe.
I could go on but frankly, I've wasted enough time on this dismal, awful show. Every commercial break featured a Drew Barrymore Cover Girl ad and I just had to ask her "Why, Drew? What happened?" For innocent campy fun, check out the original series or the films - those chicks had chemistry in spades.
Bottom line: Pray for a quick series demise for these Angels.