Friday, September 23, 2011

Pilot Review: Charlie's Angels

Charlie's Angels (Thursdays at 8:00 on ABC)

I'm going to make this easy for you: don't watch this show. Don't even think about it. You might see it listed on the On Demand menu and think, "Well I have an hour until the next load of laundry goes in, so why not?" but find something else to do. There are infinite possibilities for more entertaining ways to spend an hour, but watching this reboot of Charlie's Angels is absolutely not one of them.

I think we all know the general gist of Charlie's Angels, though this update gives it a new spin: instead of ex-police officers escaping sexism, these angels are ex-cons getting a second chance. There's the black one, the blonde one and the brunette. I don't remember their names or much of what they did, other than kick doors in and take themselves way too seriously. I'm sure they defeated the bad guy (which had something to do with smuggling orphans, I think); I'm sure they used impossible technology to get the upper hand (with the help of Bosley, now a chiseled Latino computer hacker); and I'm sure they did it all with perfect hair.

There's something so obviously campy about Charlie's Angels, which the recent films capitalized on. They were funny because they were extremely self-aware, but this incarnation is the exact opposite. Writer/Producer Alfred Gough has stated in interviews that this project was greenlit under the assumption that it would be taken seriously and avoid all camp. That's well and good if the show were done well, but there are so many moments screaming for tongue-in-cheekiness. Rachael Taylor is the blonde angel and is given some of the most cringeworthy dialogue of the entire episode, delivered with a straight face: "I didn't know my heart could hurt this much" - "We're angels, not saints" - etc. How you can say things like that without a hint of self-awareness and comedy is beyond me. It makes the performances come across like adult film stars in something on Cinemax at 1:00am.

Everything about this show is just a complete mess. The performances are shockingly terrible all around; clearly these women were cast based more on looks than on acting ability. The script is utterly stupid and boring. And it just looks cheap and ugly. I hardly made it through the first episode without falling asleep, which would have been a blissful reprieve from this crap. Nothing is worth recommending; it's TV hell.

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