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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Charlie's Angels: The Complete Second Season (1976)

"Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the police academy..."
- Charles Townsend (John Forsythe)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: April 28, 2004

Stars: Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith, Cheryl Ladd, David Doyle, John Forsythe
Other Stars: Don Ho, Norman Fell, Phil Silvers, Jim Backus, Sammy Davis Jr., Buddy Joe Hooker, Barry Bostwick, Dirk Benedict
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 21h:17m:07s
Release Date: April 06, 2004
UPC: 043396034082
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B-A-A- D+

DVD Review

After teaming up in the early 1970s, Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldman became kings of network television. Their coproductions in the 1970s would include Starsky and Hutch, S.W.A.T., Fantasy Island, Hart to Hart, Family and Vega$, but none would have the success awarded their 1976 offering, Charlie's Angels. The story of three female former police officers, removed from the force to work as private investigators at the Charles Townsend Detective Agency, would dominate the ratings chart from its premiere. Casting Kate Jackson, who had starred in the Spelling/Goldberg's first TV series, The Rookies, as the brainy Sabrina Duncan; Jaclyn Smith as the streetwise Kelly Garrett; and the first season's star attraction, Farah Fawcett-Majors, whose swimsuit poster would make her the sex symbol for the 1970s. Rounding out the cast are David Doyle as John Bosley, Charlie's right-hand man, and John Forsythe, the voice of their enigmatic boss.

As one of the first to portray women in previously male dominated roles, Charlie's Angels was a dichotomy in terms of its gender treatment. On one hand, there is the empowerment of three independent women righting wrongs and taking care of business on their own; on the other, there is plenty of sexist content, with the most obvious being Charlie, a wealthy womanizer, always with a different girl at his service. The series also made sure to exploit the sexuality of its stars, with every episode finding some opportunity to dress them down or present them in titilating situations.

Each week, Charlie (who is never seen) assigns the girls a new case by speakerphone, and they end up undercover in order to solve the mystery, each girl utilizing her own special talents. The result was more often than not a campy ride, punctuated by some well-timed humor, bizarre characters, and plenty of ogle fodder. While the formula remained the same, with the second season came major changes, the biggest being Fawcett's abandoning the show against her contract, to spend more time with her hubby, Six Million Dollar Man,'s Lee Majors. Finding a replacement for the most popular Angel, and one of Hollywood's hottest properties, was no easy task, but the producers finally convinced Cheryl Ladd (who had costarred with Jackson in Spelling's 1973 TV movie, Satan's School for Girls) to take the part of Kris Munroe, Jill's younger sister. The second change was a shift to an earlier timeslot, which allowed more access to a younger demographic.

The second season gets off to a good start with a pair of two-hour movies, presented here as individual episodes. Angels in Paradise ship the girls off to Hawaii, where their mysterious boss has been kidnapped. New girl Kris gets a quick introduction, and the premiere wastes no time stripping her down to a bikini and then sending her to a nudist camp, just to prove that things haven't changed that much. Hawaiian icon Don Ho and Three's Company's Norman Fell make guest appearances. Angels on Ice ups the ante, with a ridiculous story about a professional figure skating show being sabotaged before opening night, with Phil Silvers guesting. Things take a nose dive pretty quickly though, with the girls posing as beauty pagent contestants in Pretty Angels All in a Row, and newcomer Kris is downright painful to watch as a broadway actress in a dreamy Phantom of the Opera send up in Angels in the Wings. Sammy Davis Jr. gets the spotlight in dual roles as a bungled kidnap victim in the original Sammy Davis Jr. Kidnap Caper.

The girls come into all sorts of situations, from infiltrating various sporting organizations (Game, Set, Death, Angels in the Backfield), becoming radio and stage personalities (Angels on the Air, Angels in the Wings), prostitutes (Little Angels of the Night), joining the circus (Circus of Terror) or posing as visitors to a deadly dude ranch (Angels on Horseback) where bikinis are required. Sabrina has her heart broken in Angel in Love, and we get a glimpse at the girls outside of work in The Sandcastle Murders.

On many levels, the show survived the loss of one of its biggest draws, but it took a hit in the quality of its writing and direction in the process. The chemistry and comraderie between the Angels just isn't the same here, and there are obvious lapses in the tightness and flow of these episodes that wasn't apparent in the earlier season. Reactions seem forced, shots linger a little too long, and continuity is often out the window. The stories continue to be imaginitive, but the younger target audience seems more apparent in the way the exposition is handled, more often delt with earlier in the episode than the wrap ups seen previously. The humor is still prevalent, if a little off key at times, and there is no shortage of action, but any attempt at remaining a serious crime drama have been abandoned. Still entertaining, but not as good as the debut season, enjoy the eye candy as the Angels kick butt and battle the bad guys.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Overall the image quality is an improvement over Season One. Colors are vibrant, and black levels solid for the most part. Grain is well-rendered, and detail level is very good. There are plenty of minor print flaws, the worst of which are yellow blotches in a number of outdoor shots throughout the set. There is some shimmer in places, but compression problems are virtually nonexistent.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is well-presented with obvious technical shortcomings. Dialogue is very easy to discern and not overly sibilant. Tonally, things are well-balanced without any overemphasis in any one frequency range. Understandably, the bottom end is a little light, but not glaringly.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 26 cues and remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Charlie's Angels, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
Packaging: Book Gatefold
Picture Disc
6 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Episode guide
Extras Review: Nothing much in the way of extras, other than trailers for the theatrical Charlie’s Angels and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle as well as their standard commercials for Columbia television product with classic comedy (including All in the Family, Good Times, Sanford and Son, Married With Children, The Jeffersons, The Larry Sanders Show, Mad About You) and more contemporary TV (including Married With Children, Designing Women, The King of Queens, The Best of The Steve Harvey Show, Dawson's Creek)

Chapter points are available within the episodes.

The packaging is completely different from the first season, with the discs now in a fan out Digipak book. The insert provides an episode guide and production details, but there is no accomodation for its storage in the set, so it will tend to fall out every time the package is opened.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

The second season of Charlie's Angels doesn't quite live up to the first, but still provides the formula that made the original such a hit. Aside from some age-related issues, Columbia's presentation does the show justice.


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