Monday, September 26, 2011

Everything Old Is New Again

Unless you have been living in a cave (or never watch tv), you know the premise...three women (recently coined "gorgeous babes" by the Comcast marketing department) graduate from the Los Angeles police academy only to find themselves relegated to desk jobs and directing traffic. They are hired by a never-before-seen-head of a detective agency, get their orders weekly via a speaker phone and solve high action crime cases parading in a variety of non-feminist roles from roller derby girl to beauty pageant contestant. 

The Original Cast
The wildly successful series (1976-1981) launched the careers of Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith and paved the way for future angels Cheryl Ladd, Revlon model Shelly Hack and model Tanya Roberts as eventual replacements. (Only Smith remained on cast for the five year run). Actors John Forsythe of Dynasty fame played Charlie Townsend, head of the agency while David Doyle played the trusty liaison "Bos."
The show was a huge phenomenon and the women appeared on everything from the cover of Time Magazine to dorm-room posters and lunch boxes. While critics and feminists hated the show, ratings went through the roof as female audiences loved to see women embracing their power while the men loved the "T&A" aspect. What can I say, it was the seventies.

Original cast with Cheryl Ladd (center)
In a classic case of everything old is new again, the Angels made it to the silver screen not  once but twice in 2000 (aptly named Charlie's Angels) and 2003 (Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle). This time around Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz portrayed the celestial trio with Bill Murray as Bosley (and the late Bernie Mac as Bosley in part two).

Liu, Diaz and Barrymore above and below

ABC resurrected the series (with executive producer Drew Barrymore at the helm so be on the lookout for lots of Cover Girl ads) as part of their new fall lineup. The show gets a bit of a revamp as the girls are edgier from the original version (a socialite turned thief, a cop on the take and a street racer) and marks the first African American angel in the franchise.

Shot in various resorts and yachts with Miami as a backdrop, the girls essentially kick butt in Manolos and Prada and it's pretty much a complete hour of escapism with great clothes. Think of it as a remake of a remake of a remake and while we are not talking Masterpiece Theatre here, the premiere made me want to take a second look.

Actresses Rachael Taylor, Minka Kell and Annie Ilonzeh 

Ramon Rodriquez as a much younger and sexier Bosley

Victor Garber as the voice of the conference call - you know him from Broadway and Alias
Charlie's Angels airs on ABC Thursday nights at 8/7 central.

And a special thanks for set decorator and interior designer Lydia Marks (Sex and the City fame) for the nice Cinema Style mention. You can read her blog Marks and Frantz with business partner Lisa Frantz here.

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