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REMAKES often fail because it is, to put it bluntly, too mammoth a task for the makers to resurrect a classic TV series.
We have seen the reimaginings of Knight Rider, Melrose Place and, to some extent, 90210, wallow in mediocrity. Sometimes, you wonder if it would have been best just to leave certain legacies to collect dust on the shelf rather than taint their success with a diluted carbon copy. And that is exactly what ‘Charlie’s Angels’ is.
Forget the kickass movie versions or the original TV series starring Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Jaclyn Smith – this modern TV interpretation is an unsalvageable embarrassment.
Executive producer Leonard Goldberg explains the birth of the remake: “Well, you know, once we did the Charlie’s Angels series, and very happily we thought that was it. And then we did the movies, and the movies were very successful. How this came about was Sony called and said: ‘What about doing a new Charlie’s Angels series. ABC is very interested and would love to do it.’
And between Sony and ABC’s enthusiasm, I got involved and then Drew [Barrymore] got involved, and then we tried for a year to entice Al [Alfred Gough] and Miles [Millar] – the co-executive producers and writers – to get involved. They were a hard sell, but we finally got them to do it.”
‘Charlie’s Angels’ has, sadly, fallen prey to a litany of balls-ups. Let’s start with the casting. Pretty isn’t tantamount to talent… and the leads – Annie Ilonzeh (Kate Prince), Minka Kelly (Eve French) and Rachel Taylor (Abby Sampson) – are just pretty awful. Their ham-fisted acting only slightly distracted from their feeble lines. And don’t get me started on the cringe-worthy action scenes, wafer-thin plots or last Thursday’s episode in which the Angels dived into the harbour dodging serious fire-power, only to emerge unscathed, far from frazzled, with their mascara and make-up still flawless. Really? Talk about defying logic!
Heck, even She Spies was more believable than this drivel.
Gough continues: “What we wanted to bring to the table was to make it [the series] more grounded. To make these women feel real, give them back stories because, again, if you’re going to launch into a TV series which you all know, you want there to be something to come back to every week. “
On Bosley being of Latin descent in the series, actor Ramon Rodriquez explains: “There will be a lot of the backstory revealed as the season progresses. We’re going to find out who Bosley is, what he’s about. And I think a lot of that is going to come through Charlie.”
That the new Angels lack the special agent slickness of their predecessors is a grating point for fans. Although Annie Ilonzeh, cast as former Miami cop Kate Prince, feels differently.
“I watched the originals a lot, and the movies as well. And I think the biggest commonality we have is the fact that there is so much camaraderie. We’re a huge family. And there are four Angels, which is slightly different. Bosley is considered another Angel.
But the biggest similarity is the family-based relationships we all share. So that’s what is going to make it relatable to our audience.”
Of course, if the series ticked all the boxes, as the cast and producers allege, it wouldn’t have been canned. And that was an act deemed merciful by viewers who squirmed their way through episode one.
‘Charlie’s Angels’ airs on M-Net Series (DStv channel 110) on Thursday at 7.30pm.