Cancellation of Charlie’s Angels Should Remind Networks We’re in 21st Century
October 18, 2011
Last week ABC cancelled Charlie’s Angels to which the response was: “there was a remake of Charlie’s Angels?” Other than the scathing reviews, the only time anyone heard about the show was when a crew member, perhaps assuming because ABC was making a sexist TV show it was okay to act like it was the 1970s again, slapped one of the show’s actresses, Minka Kelly, on the butt.
The cancellation of Charlie’s Angels as well as The Playboy Club should prove to network executives that it’s not enough to have “hot women on TV doing stuff.” You need good writing. You need a good story. Those males ages 18-35 whom advertisers are looking for (ignoring women as well as anyone outside of that narrow age range) can look at hot women anywhere. And a show that was a remake of a show whose only selling point 35 years ago was called “jiggle TV” didn’t really have a rich, literary history from which to create strong, interesting characters.
This should start hitting TV executives on their Neanderthal-slow-to-evolve-heads that for network television to survive its standards for writing need to go UP not DOWN. Back in 1976 when the first Charlie’s Angels premiered it was also hit with bad reviews, but the show survived. Why? How about the fact that there were only three networks, very limited cable shows and no online pornography? If you were a teenage boy or a young man, let’s say your “access” to “jiggle” was limited.
Not to glorify a slower age, but the number of screens for entertainment was also pretty much limited to the TV. Computer games did experience some growth in this period, (as in going from zero to some) but the seminal Apple IIe wouldn’t be released until 1983, nor the Commodore 64 until 1982. So in 1976 for most young men, the only thing competing for their free time besides television was…real life.
Does the Women’s Media Center even need to list the number of other screens besides network television anyone might be looking at in 2011 on Thursday at 8 pm? If the only appeal of a show is the good looking women why would anyone want to waste their time when there’s so much better TV out there, even on network, let alone cable (or via Netflix or Hulu or DVDs). If audiences can watch shows like Mad Men, or Project Runway or even a show with real nudity like True Blood, why would they need to watch a show that was called “offensive to every actor and writer currently out of work.”
For networks to be able to compete they should be raising their game, not trying to narrowcast like it’s 1976 to a male population that doesn’t need network TV to get their “jiggle” anymore. Maybe the continued trends of fast cancellations of bad 70s and 80s throwbacks will remind Hollywood to respect women viewers like it's the 21st century...even if the shows are set in the 20th.