Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the Police Academy; and they were each assigned very hazardous duties.
But I took them away from all that, and now they work for me. My name is Charlie.
1976-1981 ABC TV series about three female private eyes, who would receive their briefings from The Voice, "Charlie".The SeriesThree women, the Angels (originally Kate Jackson, the late Farrah Fawcett-Majors, and Jaclyn Smith), graduated from the Los Angeles police academy only to be assigned such duties as handling switchboards and directing traffic. They quit and were hired to work for the Charles Townsend Agency as private investigators. Their boss, Charlie (voiced by John Forsythe), is never seen full face (in some episodes the viewer gets to see the back of his head and his arms, talking through a phone while surrounded by beautiful women) assigning cases to the Angels and his liaison, Bosley (played by David Doyle), via a speaker phone.Charlie's Angels is episodic in nature, as opposed to serial, thus each episode shows the Angels finding themselves in new situations in which they would go undercover to investigate. The undercover aspect of the show creates much of the plot interest and tension. In the early seasons of the show, the Angels, under their assumed identities, use a combination of sexual wiles and knowledge learned for the situation in which they are being placed, but by the third and fourth seasons, the writing has a tendency to stray from the sex appeal and focus more on the case at hand. The fact that those women changed so often is purely irrelevant.The MoviesRevived in the 2000's as a pair of theatrical films, set several years after the series, with a new set of Angels. It is worth noting that the movie series is not a Continuity Reboot of the series, but a continuation. These movies star Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore as the angels, with John Forsythe returning as the voice of Charlie. The first movie opened in the United States on October 22 2000. It grossed more than $125 million at the U.S. box office and grossed over $260 million worldwide. The sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle opened in the United States on June 27, 2003, and was number one at the box office for that weekend and made a worldwide total of more than $259 million.Movie now has a character sheetThe Series (again)Brought back to television in The New Tens, the series uses the same premise as the original, with Annie Ilonzeh, Minka Kelly, and Rachael Taylor as the Angels, and Ramón Rodriguez as Bosley. With the passing of John Forsythe (Charlie), executive producer Leonard Goldberg is the only constant across all three iterations of the franchise. Where the original Angels were all frustrated policewomen, the new Angels are all convicts getting a second chance from Charlie.Cancelled after four episodes (of eight produced).
Berserk Button: The normally calm and docile Bosley completely loses it when he witnesses Kelly being shot in the head in the final episode of the series.
Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: This was what they originally intended; however, Jaclyn Smith was able to change their minds during her audition. They finally got there when Tanya Roberts joined in the last season.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In the pilot movie, Bosley has an assistant named Woodville (played by David Ogden Stiers, who would wind up at the 4077th MASH a year later). The character was eliminated without explanation when the series proper began.
Four Temperament Ensemble: Although the cast of angels has changed drastically, the replacement characters still fit their respective temperaments for the most part despite their personality differences. Sabrina/Tiffany/Julie are choleric, Jill/Kris are sanguine, Kelly is melancholic, and Bosley is just about as phlegmatic as they come.
Girls Behind Bars: "Angels in Chains" and "Caged Angel". "Angels in Chains" also featured Chained Heat, with the three angels chained together while trying to escape from the prison warden.
Grilling the Newbie: New girl Tiffany is grilled by Kelly & Kris when they learn that she's actually met Charlie.
Multiple Demographic Appeal: Depending on who you ask, the show was either a landmark step forward for feminism by showing smart, tough women defying the traditional roles of wife/secretary/housekeeper, or a slightly sexist Jiggle Show which consisted solely of hot women running around in bathing suits. They're kinda both right. (Even Farrah Fawcett once said that when the show reached #3 in the ratings, she thought it was because of their acting ability. When it reached #1, she admitted it was probably because they didn't wear bras.)
Unique Pilot Title Sequence: The TV movie that served as a pilot has a different opening, as well as different bumpers showing the three Angels standing side by side.
What Could Have Been: Reportedly it was Ayn Rand's favourite show and Farrah Fawcett was her top choice for the role of Dagny Taggart if Atlas Shrugged was ever turned into a movie.note Unfortunately the movie version arrived two years after Miss Fawcett passed away.
In the first film, the house in which the two kids are playing a videogame when a naked Dylan comes knocking is the same house from ET The Extra Terrestrial.
Jason (played by Matt LeBlanc) is an actor and a bit of a ditz. Sound familiar?
Adorkable: Eric Knox is a "warm, fuzzy" kind of guy. It's all an act.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: It is somewhat of a Running Gag throughout the movies that Dylan always falls for the bad guy. Example: Eric Knox (who she sleeps with, although this is before she knows that he's the Big Bad) and the Thin Man (who was originally going to kiss Alex, according to the filmmakers, but they changed it to Dylan, in keeping with her lust for bad boys). In the second film, she also lusts after one of the villainous henchmen, and it is later revealed that, in her past, she was in a relationship with Seamus O'Grady.
The Cameo: In the second movie, rapper Eve and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen make cameo appearances (presumably as themselves) in Dylan's imagination (in which she imagines a future with an ever-changing Angel line-up). Other celebrities, playing different characters, also pop up for cameo appearances.
Car Skiing: The first movie shows a flashback in which Natalie pulls one off during her driving exam.
Continuity Nod: Kelly Garrett from the original series appears in the second movie, still being played by Jaclyn Smith.
Double Entendre: Natalie loves these (although she seems to make them unintentionally).
Also, this exchange between Alex and Corwin (who thinks she's a masseuse):
Corwin: You're very good... with your hands. I could use someone like you on my staff. Alex: Thanks for the offer, but my hands aren't going anywhere near your staff.
The Dragon: The Thin Man is this for Eric Knox in the first movie.
Dramatic Shattering: When Dylan encounters Seamus again for the first time in years, she drops the champagne bottle she's holding in shock and fear, causing it to shatter to pieces.
Embarrassing First Name: Well, sort of — more like the entire name is embarrassing: in the second movie, it is revealed that Dylan Sanders used to be named Helen Zass (just say it out loud...), but had to change it after being placed in the Witness Protection Program.
Endangered Soufflé: Lucy Liu tries to maintain a souffle while bad guys riddle her trailer with bullets. She fails.
Lethal Chef: Alex. Her blueberry muffins are so rock hard that one of them ends up embedded in a door.
Made of Explodium: Every bike that gets shot or falls over in the second film's dirt bike race scene.
Male Gaze: The movies never shy away from booty focus. So much that the cast actually spoofed it in this video.
The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Averted. Pete and Jason still stay with with Natalie and Alex respectively in spite of them having to constantly disappear on missions. By the time of the second film, both Pete and Jason are fully aware of their girlfriends' real jobs.
No Name Given: The Thin Man is only ever referred to as this (either that, or "Creepy Thin Man") for the first movie - the second movie, however, reveals that his real name is Anthony (his surname is not given, however).
The Pollyanna: Natalie. The first film's DVD commentary explicitly describes her as such.
Precision F-Strike: When Natalie finds out that Vivian Wood is trying to kill the Angels, she calls her "an all-around bitch''. While there is plenty of mild swearing throughout the movie, having this particular one come out of Natalie's mouth shows just how shocked and angry she is. (The director even admits to wanting to tone it down to "brat".)
Rare Guns: Handguns in both movies are Desert Eagles rather than not, including one that Bosley carves from a block of soap with his teeth in the first movie (never mind the Desert Eagle being more than twice as large as any piece of soap out there). Oh, and Madison has got twogold-plated ones.
Redemption Equals Death: The Thin Man in the second movie (although, given what he was able to survive in the first movie, there is a lot of speculation that he may actually still be alive).
Rule of Cool / Rule of Funny: Generally the tone of both films. Also, it's the only reason Bosley is able to make a gun out of soap.
Sequel Non-Entity: Bosley is conspiciously absent (save for a photo on his family's wall) in the sequel, having been replaced by his adoptive brother. Despite the fact that Bosley appeared to be beloved by the Angels in the first film, here they never seem to miss him for even a moment — nor is his absence (and current whereabouts) ever explained.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Although initial rumors persisted of Bill Murray not returning because of his friction with Lucy Liu during the first film, he actually turned the film down in favor of filming Lost in Translation.
Also, when Dylan falls into the garden of the house where two kids are playing games, it is actually the same house from ET The Extra Terrestrial, which starred a very young Drew Barrymore. Not only that, but an E.T. poster can also be found in this scene.
Additionally in the second movie, Natalie's boyfriend, Pete, attended his high school reunion. At Rydell High.
When the Angels visit the abbey in the second movie, "The Lonely Goatherd" from The Sound of Music can be heard in the background.
The Speechless: The Thin Man doesn't speak a word throughout the movie series. In the second film, it is revealed that he has been a mute since childhood (it is implied to be due to the trauma of losing his parents at a young age). He does make a valiant attempt to speak later on, but he doesn't manage to get the words out... and is stabbed before Dylan (and the audience) get to find out if he can.
You Killed My Father: In the first movie, Eric Knox wants to kill Charlie, as he (mistakenly) believes him to have killed his father.
Adaptational Attractiveness: Some reviewers wondered if this might not lead to a major plot hole. In the original series, where Bosley was older and out of shape, it made sense for him to stay at headquarters and let the Angels to the work, but when the new series made Bosley young, buff, and handsome, it would look odd. Eventually averted as Bosley did do a lot of work in the field this time around.
The Alcatraz: The prison in "Angels in Chains". Oddly for this trope, the Angels don't actually manage to escape and are instead caught during their escape attempt.
Bilingual Dialogue: In "Angels in Chains" when Bosley in disguise talks in English to a Cuban National Revolutionary Police Force (Policía Nacional Revolucionaria) officer, who replied to the former in Spanish.
California Doubling: While the series is shot in Florida, there were some places (e.g. Cuba, some of the islands near Florida) that were shot in the state.
Mythology Gag: The Townsend Agency's signage notes that it was founded in 1976.
Same thing with the safe deposit box as it had the same numbers too.
The Pete Best or The Other Marty: Robert Wagner was set to be the voice of Charlie (replacing the late John Forsythe) but was prevented by scheduling conflicts; ultimately Victor Garber supplied Charlie's voice.
Shout Out: In the episode "Angel with a Broken Wing", the Angels mention Call of Duty after they find a disassembled sniper rifle.
Why We Can't Have Nice Things: In "Bon Voyage, Angels", the Angels meet with Scott Foster. They all "like him", until Bosley tells them that he's engaged.