Mill Creek Entertainment adds to its awesome TV Land catalog, which already includes CS DVD sets of series such as "Coach" and "Mad About You," with a pair of November 19, 2019 releases. MCE couples the (reviewed) CS DVD set of the CBS Monday-night sitcom "The King of Queens" with a single CS Blu-ray set of both "Charlie's Angels" (1976-81) AND the 2011 TNG series from Drew Barrymore. This roughly coincides with the November 15, 2019 release of the latest big-screen adventures of that trio of gorgeous female detectives with mad skills.
The miracle as to this set is how MCE can keep the cost reasonable while remastering in top-quality Blu-ray and having each disc cradled in its own slot on its own "page."
This mother of all sexploitation series more than a decade before "Baywatch" aptly is from '70s lowest-common-denominator producer Aaron Spelling. As the opening narration explains, the titular owner of the Townsend Agency "rescues" the original police academy graduates from demeaning sexist duties. Their salvation has them go undercover as every fantasy known to man.
A bonus element of this pure escapist fun that is tailor-made for our winters of discontent is that these employees never meet their boss, who only communicates via the high-tech. means of a '70s-era telephone with an auxiliary speaker. The free-wheeling sexual innuendo as to the exploits of the boss are a highlight of those scenes and the similar epilogues after the women get their man.
Related fun comes via the numerous times that the angels come very close to seeing their employer.
The broadest (no pun intended) cultural impact of "Angels" is that it arguably is the first fully liberated series on network television, The plots constantly call for Team Charlie to dress in skimpy and tight clothing, such as bathing suits and tennis outfits. A prime early example of this is a case that has them go (barely) undercover at the Playboy Club like Feline Club.
Prominent enduring pop culture contributions begin with the poster of Farrah Fawcett, who leaves early on in search of greater fame and fortune, in a red bathing suit. We also get the classic pose with guns that is a silhouette that serves as a bumper. This is not to mention MASSIVE product placement in the form of Ford Mustangs that extends to promotional material at car showrooms.
The TV-movie that starts it all is a classic Lifetime plot that has Kelly Garrett (Jaclyn Smith) portraying the long-lost daughter of a missing vineyard owner. The mission, which the agency has chosen to accept, is to uncover the truth in time to prevent a gold-digging trophy wife and her partners-in-crime from inheriting the wine before their time.
Smith is notable for being the only original angel to stick it out for all five seasons of a series with regular cast changes. The "new girls" include Cheryl Ladd (who plays the sister of Fawcett's Jill Munroe) and one-season wonders Shelley Hack and Bond girl Tanya Roberts. Fawcett returning in S3 for three episodes is one of many series highlights.
The classic S1 episode "Angels in Chains" is a highlight of that season, Investigating the fate of a young woman who uncharacteristically is convicted of a crime and sentenced to a small-town jail leads to our heroines following her path. A tough and cruel matron in the mold of Hope Emerson of the classic babes-behind-bars movie "Caged" greets the fresh fish with an order to strip before hosing them down. This adventure going from the big house to the cat house is part of what makes it stand out.
Spelling stays very true both to the style of '70s television and to his desire to amass great wealth by creating a cross-over episode between "Angels" and the Spelling classic "The Love Boat." That one has our gumshoes in stilettos board the titular cruise ship to catch a thief. This S4 premiere is the first adventure for Hack.
This wonderful campy fun gets an edgy 21st-century update in the 2011 "Angels" series that MCE includes as an awesome bonus. The action moves from Los Angeles to Miami, and the highly stylized look of every aspect of this incarnation further give the still beautiful OS a world-class makeover.
The behind-the-scenes pedigree of this series includes Drew Barrymore of the "Angels" film franchise as a producer. Her colleagues include OS producer Leonard Goldberg, OS creator Ivan Goff, This is not to mention Alfred Gough and Miles Millar of "Smallville" fame.
Charlie remains unseen, but middle-aged middle-manager uptight handler John Bosley now is a 30-something stud who sees as much action as his girls. An early episode provides the first reveal as to the personal history between this former embezzler/hacker and his current boss.
The theme of redemption extends to the heiress-turned-expert-cat-burglar-turned-angel, the former dirty cop who turns out to be less filthy than generally believed, "and the rest" whom Charlie gives a second chance. The episodes that allow each character to put his or her past to rest shows that the motivations for their career changes include a desire to put right what once went wrong. (Yes, the MCE catalog includes a very strong (reviewed) CS BD set of the Scott Bakula sci-fi series "Quantum Leap.")
Aside from keeping Charlie as a voice on the telephone, the new kids on the block most honor the original by making their own "Angels in Chains" episode. This version has the adventure begin with the angels having cocaine (sadly, not angel dust) planted in their suitcase on arriving at a Havana estate.
We also get a high-seas adventure in the form of a cruise to the Bahamas that becomes more of an "Island of Dr. Moreau" exploit.
The movies and the new series support the theory that the appeal of the OS is timeless; expertly helping keep this important part of television history in the public consciousness shows that MCE understands (and values) these classics.