Image from source, Wikipedia
The past few weeks, having depleted my Joss Whedon DVDs (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) I have been watching season one of Charlie's Angels. I was inspired to buy the box set by Farrah Fawcett's Farrah's Story documentary. Since that time, Farrah has regrettably become an actual angel, and I've enjoyed (very much) watching her in her prime.
Charlie's Angels was criticised in its day for being "jiggle TV." The Moral Majority® crusaders heaped much abuse upon what is now seen as fairly tame. The show promised much more than it delivered when it comes to titillation. What it did provide is a nice little enjoyable 70s detective show, which while completely unbelievable, was also very entertaining. And the three stars, Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith, managed to make the show something more than the sum of its parts. Shortly after buying the box set, I found the movie versions, both at steep discounts. So, I bought them.
When they made the movies based on the series, they missed the mark entirely. OK, maybe not entirely. Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz did have something of the same chemistry and camaraderie as the original three. But the feel of the show, the very premise, was discarded. John Forsythe was still there, amazingly still able to pull the gravitas at his very advanced age, to be believable as their never-seen boss. There were two Bosleys, Bill Murray--apparently the same character as the late David Doyle--and Bernie Mac, as Murray's adoptive brother.
But the movie version was vastly different in concept. In McG's Charlie's Angels, the girls were like elite special forces operatives, akin to James Bond or Tom Cruise's character in Mission Impossible. Gone were the ordinary human women who would alternatively kick butt and become damsels in distress. The movie Angels were able to defy the laws of physics, while fighting crime on an international and almost supernatural scale.
There isn't a thing in the movie versions of Charlie's Angels that can be believed as "real world." Your suspension of disbelief must be put on absolute ignore. That said, both Charlie's Angels and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle are still a hoot. The girls have such enthusiasm, and are so entertaining, that I can't outright condemn their efforts. And major kudos to scoring a cameo by Smith, in character as original angel Kelly Garrett. The show and the movies may have very little in common, but the acknowledgement of what came before was appreciated.
And a little trivia: as unlikely as it might seem, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle was the very first Blu-ray disc issued. And Smith was the only TV angel to appear in every episode of the series, not to mention one out of two of the movies.
Charlie's Angels Season One: Highly Recommended (if you like 70s TV)
Charlie's Angels the movie: Recommended
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle: If you liked part one, Recommended. If not, no.