• Charlies Angels: The Complete Series (Mill Creek Entertainment) Blu-ray Review



    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Released on: November 19th, 2019.
    Director: Various
    Cast: Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack, Tanya Roberts, David Doyle
    Year: 1976 - 1981
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    Charlie’s Angels: The Complete Series – Movie Review:

    Charlie’s Angels ran for five seasons from September 22, 1976 to June 24, 1981 on ABC. Since then, it’s inspired another TV show in 2011 and a film franchise, helping the series retain and even grow its following over the years. Produced by TV titan Aaron Spelling and created by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts, the series follows three beautiful young women - Sabrina Duncan (Kate Jackson), Jill Munroe (Farrah Fawcett) and Kelly Garrett (Jaclyn Smith), each having recently graduated from the Los Angeles Police Academy. Upset that they were assigned lame jobs like meter maid, they wind up taking work at a private investigation firm called the Charles Townsend Agency. Townsend (voiced by John Fortsythe) dubs them his angels, and with some help from his assistant John Bosley (David Doyle), wound find a new adventure each week for the three foxy ladies to get involved with.

    Of course, the show famously suffered from high-profile replacement problems. In season two, Kris Munroe (Cheryl Ladd) would replace her sister Jill (who would still show up in guest star roles in seasons three and four) and in season four, Tiffany Welles (Shelley Hack) would come onboard (in a crossover episode with The Love Boat, no less!) to replace Sabrina Duncan. In the final season, Julie Rogers (Tanya Roberts) is brought into the show to replace Welles, who only lasted for the one season. Smith’s Kelley Garrett was the only angel to make it through the entire series!

    A big part of the appeal of seventies-era prime time TV shows was always the guest stars, and few shows did guest stars as well as Charlie’s Angels did. Kim Basinger, Ed Begley Jr., Michael Bell, Dirk Benedict, Barbi Benton, Sonny Bono, Barry Bostwick, Kim Cattrall, Scatman Crothers, Jamie Lee Curtis, Timothy Dalton, Robert Davi, Sammy Davis Jr., Patrick Duffy, Robert Englund, Antonio Fargas, Norman Fell, Christpher George, Frank Gorshin, Dan Haggerty, Bo Hopkins, Tab Hunter, Tommy Lee Jones, Casey Kasem, Martin Kove, Sir Christopher Lee, Robert Loggia, Ida Lupino, Richard Lynch, Dean Martin, Ray Milland, Vic Morrow, Craig T. Nelson, Cesar Romero, Dick Sargent, Tom Selleck, Robert Urich, Lye Waggoner, Mary Woronov and Nicholas Worth are just a few of the guest starts that populate the series – and we get Hopkins, Jones and Woronov in just the feature length premiere episode alone!

    The show is, in a word, fun. Yes, it is very much a product of its time and the show takes every opportunity it can to show off its leading ladies but at the same time, it also offers some strong female characters. The Angels are not to be trifled with, they kick plenty of male ass throughout the series. The earlier episodes are better as they tend to give the Angels actual undercover work to do, while the later part of the series plays out like the more typical weekly cop series you’ve all seen before.

    In regards to the 2011 series, it only lasted eight episodes and it doesn’t have the same appeal as the seventies original. Kate Prince (Annie Ilonzeh) was once a Miami cop., Eve French (Minka Kelly) used to be a street racer. Abby Simpson (Rachael Taylor) was previously a professional thief. Now, they're Charlies Angels – you get the idea. They bust up a slave trading ring, go undercover at a fashion show to stop models from being kidnapped, the go after a missing journalist, they rescue yet more kidnapped victims – it’s pretty formulaic. The acting isn’t good, the scripting is messy and the whole thing feels very rushed and put together quickly, with little regard for the style or the fun that the original series had going for it. It’s nice to have it here for completists, but it’s hard to imagine anyone bothering to go back to this more than once, whereas the early seasons of the original run very much hold up to repeat viewings.

    Charlie’s Angels: The Complete Series – Blu-ray Review:

    Mill Creek Entertainment brings Charlie’s Angels: The Complete Series to Blu-ray spread across 19 50GB discs with the original series properly framed at 1.33.1 in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and for the most part it looks pretty good. There are noticeable instances of macroblocking noticeable from time to time but thankfully it isn’t a constant problem, even if compression could certainly have been better. Occasionally we see some larger instances of print damage but this happens in frequently. Minor print damage, however – like small white specks and the like – is more common. Still, detail is pretty good here and colors look quite nice. The image is quite sharp and naturally grainy, never looking to have been overly processed. Black levels are pretty solid here too, and skin tones look quite good.

    The 2011 series is framed at 1.78.1 widescreen, also in AVC encoded 1080p, and here the compression artifacts and macroblocking are a more noticeable problem. It’s watchable enough but it’s clear that a whole lot of content was squeezed onto the one disc for this short-lived series and it shows.

    The original series gets English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono tracks. The 2011 series gets DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio tracks. English subtitles are provided across the board. Both series sound fine, if never remarkable. The original series is obviously limited in range but the tracks are well balanced, clean and clear. The 5.1 track for the 2011 run doesn’t pack quite the punch you might hope for but it does offer some decent surround activity. There aren’t any issues with any hiss or distortion here to note.

    There are no extras on any of the discs, though menus offer episode selection on each disc.

    Charlie’s Angels: The Complete Series – The Final Word:

    Mill Creek’s release of Charlie’s Angels: The Complete Series offers a lot of bang for your buck and the opportunity to have the entire run of the original show and the 2011 comeback in high definition all in one set. The presentation is imperfect, but noticeably better than the old DVD releases in every way. The series itself? The first three or four seasons of the original series are a blast – if it tails off from there, well, such is life. The 2011 series doesn’t offer the same appeal, unfortunately, but it has its moments as well. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized Charlie’s Angels: The Complete Series Blu-ray screen caps!