Charlie’s Angels: The Complete First Season (review)

Their release is designed to cash in on Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, but these 24 episodes of the 70s TV series aren’t likely to captivate a teenage audience: The car-chasing, gun-toting action is slower moving than we’ve become used to, and the productions are typically cheesy. But there’s a lot of camp appeal for 30somethings who recall the Aaron Spelling jigglefest as more about female empowerment than cheesecake. Sabrina (Kate Jackson), the brainy one; Kelly (Jaclyn Smith), the streetwise one; and Jill (Farrah Fawcett-Majors), the braless one, go undercover as missing heiresses, lady stock-car racers, girl journalists, centerfold models, hookers, rich widows, Vegas showgirls, and disco dance instructors in the seedy worlds of women’s prison farms, roller derbies, massage parlors, and the porno film industry. And it’s loaded with laughable sexual innuendo — particularly in the verbal byplay with their mysterious boss Charlie, no more than a horndog voice on the speakerphone, from the time when speakerphones were sexy and cool. But if it was titillating at the time, now it’s just innocently, discreetly sleazy. It’s nowhere near as exciting as the bland featurette — in which nameless fans gush while we’re serenaded with clips — would have you believe, but surprise appearances by will-be stars like Tom Selleck, Tommy Lee Jones, and Julie from The Love Boat, and lots of polyester, flare legs, flip hairdos, and collars wide enough to put someone’s eye out sure do make it a hoot to revisit the adventures of these chicks with guns.

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