Fall TV Preview

Does Charlie's Angels Earn Its Wings? Our Fall TV First Impression

The broadcast networks have more than 30 shows debuting this fall, including 2 Broke Girls and one New Girl, splashy returns for Sarah Michelle Gellar and Rachel Bilson, and a pair of series set in the ’60s. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions based on the not-for-review pilots. Next on our list is…

THE SHOW | ABC’s Charlie’s Angels (Thursdays at 8/7c, premiering Sept. 22)

THE COMPETITION | CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, Fox’s The X Factor results show (new), NBC’s Community, and The CW’s The Vampire Diaries

THE CAST | Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights), Rachael Taylor (Grey’s Anatomy), Annie Ilonzeh (General Hospital) and Ramon Rodriguez (Transformers 2)

THE SET-UP | Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the police academy… except in this instance, two of the them didn’t. Eve (played by Kelly) is a street racer, Abby (Taylor) is a former cat burglar, and Kate was, yes, a cop, but a dirty-ish one. But Charlie Townsend took them away from all that, and now they work for him, as detectives — with a young, swarthy Bosley acting as his proxy.

More of TVLine’s First Impressions: NBC’s Up All Night and The Playboy Club, Fox’s Terra Nova and New Girl, ABC’s Once Upon a Time, The CW’s The Secret Circle and Ringer, CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and Person of Interest

THE GOOD | Look to your right — that’s my Charlie’s Angels T-shirt circa 1976. I was, to put it lightly, a fan. No, the iconic original series wasn’t great TV — nor were the movies fronted by Drew Barrymore (an EP on this new take) fine cinema. Still, if you’re going to adopt the title, do right by it, especially in this age of honorable Becketts, butt-kicking Sarah Walkers and Nikitas, and deductive Kalindas. Now if you were to say that, at the very least, the original Angels was crazy telegenic, ABC’s reboot has done well with the casting of its titular trio. Among them, Taylor easily “pops” the most, if only because she seems to be having fun, perhaps entertaining an inner monologue that’s saying, “Dude, I’m one of Charlie’s Angels!” The relocation to Miami offers the show a brighter, fresher, Burn Notice-ier feel than your typical L.A.-based procedural. Fun to see 24‘s Carlos Bernard as a villain here. There’s an updated riff on the memorable theme music.

THE… COULD-BE-BETTER | Kelly tries hard but is perhaps not the most natural fit as the grittiest Angel; it could’ve been interesting to see what, for example, fellow FNL alum Adrienne Palicki did with the role (had she not instead been lassoed by, shudder, Wonder Woman). Ilonzeh barely registers, if only because the pilot doesn’t assign Kate a single personality trait. I get what they tried to do with Bosley by going hunky and making him the team’s hacker, but Rodriguez reads a bit too youthful, and I didn’t feel a single spark ‘tween him and any of the gals — and you know that’s a card they’ll one day want to play. The first pick to voice Charlie, Robert Wagner (Hart to Hart), isn’t heard in the pilot nor will he continue with the series; recasting’s underway.

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THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Angels will undoubtedly fly high with its premiere, if only because of nostalgic lookiloos like myself. But up against TV’s most watched comedy and X Factor‘s results night, it’ll need to be more than a pretty face. It’s going to also need clever scripts and convincing, visceral action sequences.

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Watch a video preview for Charlie’s Angels, then vote in our poll below.