Remake with Minka Kelly and company takes itself far too seriously
No one ever confused the original "Charlie's Angels" with great television. It was what it was - what Jerry Krupnick, my predecessor on The Star-Ledger's TV beat, liked to call "supertrash," a formula show that was entertaining despite its lack of ambition - and never apologized for it. It was an excuse for three terrifically attractive women to run around in tight outfits in service of perfunctory detective stories, and it was a huge hit.
It was also very much of its time (it was considered shocking, for instance, that the Angels were so often clearly bra-less), and modern remakes have had to figure out a new approach to the material. The first "Charlie's Angels" film, directed by McG and produced by star Drew Barrymore, was a cheeky, self-aware action comedy; it was greeted with reviews that were almost surprised by how good it was.
The new ABC series version - also produced by Barrymore, but mainly run by "Smallville" alums Alfred Gough and Miles Millar - on the other hand, has gone the opposite route, deciding that the key to unlocking "Charlie's Angels" in 2011 is to take the concept, and the Angels, very, very, deathly seriously.
And it's a much bigger mess than '70s critics ever accused the original of being.