Miami is the new city of angels — at least the city of Charlie’s Angels.
ABC is jumping into the reboot game this fall with an updated version of the classic series that kicks off the network’s Thursday night prime-time lineup. Moving its setting and production from Los Angeles to South Florida, the new show gets a fresh start in a new city.
The remake tries to distance itself from the camp of the 1970s version, striving to be a more grounded action series. The first episode begins with two Angels — a former thief played by Rachael Taylor and a disgraced police officer played by Annie Ilonzeh — seeing the third member of their team killed during a mission.
Their boss Charlie Townsend and his assistant Bosley — played by Ramon Rodriguez — persuade the survivors to recruit a new Angel, a street racer played by Minka Kelly.
With Drew Barrymore — an Angel in the 2000 and 2003 films — serving as an executive producer, the show was developed by Al Gough and Miles Millar, the duo behind the hit WB show Smallville, which followed the exploits of a young, pre-Superman Clark Kent. ABC had been planning to bring back Charlie’s Angels for several years when Gough and Millar got involved last spring.
They acknowledge that fans have certain expectations and will scream if they aren’t met. The original Charlie’s Angels was a cultural phenomenon when it debuted in 1976, making stars of Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith. Fawcett proved particularly popular, with boys posting her iconic poster in their rooms and girls copying her feathered hair.
“When you say you’re going to reboot Charlie’s Angels, you certainly are just hanging a big target on your back,” Gough said. “What you want to do ideally is reconnect with an audience that loved the show when they were younger and also bring new fans to it.”
But the new show starts fresh: These Angels aren’t saints. In the original, the women had all trained to become L.A. police officers but sexism in the department had left them relegated to menial positions, so Charlie recruited them to be real detectives. In the new series, the Angels all have sketchy pasts. Charlie recruits them to give them a second chance, using the skills they developed as criminals to do good.
“They’re sort of Angels with dirty faces,” Gough said.
Taylor said she and her co-stars are looking forward to putting a modern twist on the mythology.
“Even though they were extremely cool and successful, we just want to do our own version,” Taylor said.
The first episode of the new Charlie’s Angels is scheduled to air at 7 p.m. ET Thursday on CTV, the 35th anniversary of the original’s premiere.