Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Charlie's Angels: Is it really that bad?

No-one seems to have anything positive to say about Charlie's Angels, which is a bit of a shame if you like mediocre but undemanding candy-floss drama buckling under the weight of a slightly lame, exposition-heavy script.

This Miami-set, up-to-date remake - oh look the characters all have iPads - has not lasted very long.

Based on the famous mid-70s US detective show about three female private detectives with immaculate hair and groovy clothes and managed by a mysterious and unseen boss called Charlie, the new show was pulled in the US after only four of its eight episodes, and then cancelled.

Here in the UK, it seems far more at home on digital channel E4, so we might get to see all eight (although so far only five have been scheduled).

Which, depending on your view, is either a good thing or a bad thing.

Tv-ooh is in somewhere in between - despite its creator claiming he didn't want to create a 'camp' show, any action/detective show with three female leads with immaculate hair and groovy clothes, and an unlikely man-boy sidekick with muscles ('Bosley'), or where the leads regularly go undercover as cocktail waitresses or fashion models, is going to be in that sort of ball-park.

Angel Eve undercover in a casino: Not camp at all, no no no
If the dialogue wasn't so frequently excruciating, it might have stood a slighter stronger chance of being a bit better - however, if nothing else, it looks good; the acting isn't that bad; and the producers even managed to rustle up a large crowd of extras to add a bit of urgency and chaos to a scene where the Russian First Lady was about to be shot for some unclear reason involving criminals with eastern European accents.

Away from the fighty action sequences and nonsense 'intelligence-sharing' info-dump scenes involving huge touch-screens and that job-lot of iPads, and a split-screen technique which suggests the producers enjoyed watching a Spooks DVD box set quite recently, it's the clunky attempts of dialogue masquerading as characterisation where it really falls down.

"I never thought my heart could hurt this much," says angel Abby, after fellow angel Gloria is blown up in episode one. You see, she feels pain.

"You are angels of justice, not angels of vengeance," comforts Charlie, via conference call. You see, he is a good leader.

And Bosley, a 'security expert' who was about to go down for 20 years for a tax scam, until Charlie offered him 'a second change', offers this advice before the team go off on a job: "Remember what Charlie said. Guys, just be careful. For me."

Fellow angel Kate's response? "Yeah, we're angels. Not saints." You see. She is determined but she also says it how it is.

So at what point, exactly, did US network ABC know they had a bit of a clunker? Did anyone read the scripts? And then did they air the show anyway and hope for the best? Or hope no-one would notice?

Despite everything, it shows you can never truly predict a hit show - or a flop one.

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