Main title card
|Created by||Ivan Goff
|Theme music composer||Jack Elliott
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||110 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Aaron Spelling
|Running time||48–50 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Spelling/Goldberg Productions|
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Picture format||4:3 SDTV
|Original run||September 22, 1976– June 24, 1981|
Charlie's Angels is an American crime drama television series about three women who work for a private investigation agency, and is one of the first shows to showcase women in roles traditionally reserved for men. The series stars Kate Jackson; Farrah Fawcett-Majors; Jaclyn Smith; Cheryl Ladd; Shelley Hack; Tanya Roberts; David Doyle; and John Forsythe as the voice of Charles Townsend, also known as "Charlie" (the Angels' boss). The series was broadcast in the USA on the ABC Television Network from 1976 to 1981 and was one of the most successful series of the 1970s. Charlie's Angels was created by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts and produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg.
Three women, the Angels (originally Kate Jackson, 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 a few episodes the viewer sees the back of his head and his arms, and he is often surrounded by beautiful women.) Charlie assigns cases to the Angels and his liaison, Bosley (David Doyle), via a speaker phone. Fawcett-Majors and Jackson eventually left the series during its run. Fawcett-Majors was replaced by Cheryl Ladd as Kris Munroe, Jill's sister and a former police officer from San Francisco. Jackson was replaced by Shelley Hack as Tiffany Welles, a former police officer from Boston. In the final season, Tanya Roberts replaced Hack as Julie Rogers, a former model. Jaclyn Smith was the only original female cast member to remain with the series during its entire five-year run.
Like other American TV crime shows of the 1970s, Charlie's Angels was generally formatted in the way of a procedural drama. Most episodes followed a regular structure whereby a crime is committed, the Angels are given the case details by Charlie and Bosley at the Townsend office and the trio go undercover, usually involving something skimpy to wear for Kelly and Jill (later Kris). Towards the end of the episode one of them is uncovered and it is a race against time for the others to rescue their friend before they meet some horrible fate. Inevitably, the final scene would be back at the Townsend office with Charlie offering his congratulations for a job well done.
Jiggle TV 
The show became known as "Jiggle television" and "T&A TV" (or "Tits & Ass Television") by critics who believed that the show had no intelligence or substance and that the scantily or provocatively dressed Angels—generally as part of their undercover character—e.g., roller derby girl, beauty pageant contestant, maid, female prisoner, or just bikini-clad—did so to showcase the figures and/or sexuality of the actresses as a sole means of attracting viewers. Farrah Fawcett-Majors once attributed the show's success to this fact: "When the show was number three, I figured it was our acting. When it got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra."
Conception and casting 
The original proposed title for the show was The Alley Cats. Kate Jackson did not have to audition and was immediately selected for one of the roles during the early pre-production stages. She had proven very popular with viewers in another police television drama, The Rookies. Not quite excited by the name of the show, Jackson relayed to producers that the leads should be called "angels" instead of "alley cats". Jackson then came up with the idea that the identity of their boss should remain a mystery, both to the characters and the viewers, and that they should receive their cases over a speakerphone or squawk box. Producers incorporated these ideas into the show, which proved to be very popular. The Angels' boss was originally to be named Harry, but the title Harry's Angels was dropped from consideration as not to conflict with another television series, Harry O. Producers came up with the name Charlie. Jackson was initially cast as Kelly Garrett, but was more attracted to the role of Sabrina Duncan, and her request to switch roles was granted. Thus, the early part of the pilot focuses heavily on Jaclyn Smith as Kelly Garrett (the role Jackson originally had) as the casting change had been made too late to make further rewrites.
Farrah Fawcett was the next actress to be selected for a role after Jackson. Fawcett, too, did not have to audition. She had done small acting parts up to this point such as commercials and sitcom appearances. A producer of Charlie's Angels saw the actress in a small role in the film Logan's Run and wanted her to be one of the female leads in the show. A casting call was then put out for the final lead role, and Jaclyn Smith was chosen from among hundreds of actresses. Smith had done limited acting as well up to that point, having appeared in several commercials.
|Actress/Actor||Character||Seasons||Year||No. of Episodes||Notes|
|Kate Jackson||Sabrina Duncan||1–3||1976–1979||69 episodes||Charlie's Angels was created in her favor, and many of her ideas were incorporated into the series. She was given the choice of which role she wanted to play, and she chose Sabrina Duncan, a police graduate from Los Angeles.|
|Farrah Fawcett||Jill Munroe||1||1976–1977||29 episodes||A police graduate from Los Angeles. She left after season one, but returned for a few guest star appearances during seasons 3 and 4 due to contractual obligations.|
|Jaclyn Smith||Kelly Garrett||1–5||1976–1981||110 episodes||A police graduate from Los Angeles. She was the only "Angel" to remain with the series during its entire five-year run. (Although in late 1980, Smith announced she would be leaving the show; the series was cancelled before this could happen.).|
|Cheryl Ladd||Kris Munroe||2–5||1977–1981||87 episodes||Replaced Farrah Fawcett-Majors (Jill Munroe), as Jill's younger sister, Kris Munroe, a police graduate from San Francisco. Ladd had the second-longest stint of the "Angels" on the series (four seasons), after Jaclyn Smith (five seasons).|
|Shelley Hack||Tiffany Welles||4||1979–1980||25 episodes||Replaced Kate Jackson (Sabrina Duncan), playing classy Tiffany Welles, a police graduate from Boston.|
|Tanya Roberts||Julie Rogers||5||1980–1981||16 episodes||Replaced Shelley Hack (Tiffany Welles) in the fifth and final season, playing Julie Rogers, a street-wise model from The Bronx.|
|David Doyle||John Bosley||1–5||1976–1981||110 episodes||He works for Charlie and, along with Charlie, provides the Angels with their assignment. On occasion he assists the Angels, and unlike them, he routinely sees and works with Charlie.|
|John Forsythe (voice)||Charles "Charlie" Townsend||1–5||1976–1981||109 episodes||The owner of the detective agency and the Angels' and Bosley's boss, he was never seen full-face in any episode. His role is primarily the voice over a speakerphone.|
Notable guest stars 
Charlie's Angels played host to a number of well-known faces during its five seasons. Some of those individuals were long-established stars of film and television; others would find considerable fame and recognition many years after appearing in the program. Notable appearances of celebrities (whether famous then or later) include those of:
Ratings history 
The series proved a runaway hit in the 1976–1977 ratings, finishing at #5 for the season and a great deal of attention was centered on the three leads (Jackson would later comment that this first few months was like being in the eye of a storm). Suddenly all three lead actresses were propelled into big time stardom with Fawcett proving hugely popular, so much so that she was branded a phenomenon. However, the situation off screen was not so happy. The long working hours on set, combined with numerous calls for photo shoots, wardrobe fittings, and promotional interviews, were taking their toll on the trio. Jackson was especially unhappy as she felt the quality of scripts was declining and the format was now more "cop story of the week" rather than classy undercover drama, which had been the intention with the pilot film.
With the departure of Fawcett, the series remained in the top five but lost nearly eight-hundred thousand viewers. With the comeback of Fawcett in the third season (1978–1979), the show's viewership rose but had fallen out of the top ten. With the absence of Jackson in the show's fourth season, Charlie's Angels fell to #20 for the season with the introduction of Shelley Hack. Trying to regain its success by replacing Hack with Tanya Roberts, in the 1980–1981 television season, Charlie's Angels changed from timeslot to timeslot during its fifth year and finished off its run at #47 in the ratings. Smith, the last remaining original Angel, announced partway through season 5 that she would be leaving the show, but with a severe decline in the show's viewership by the end of 1981, ABC cancelled Charlie's Angels after five seasons and 110 episodes.
Nielsen ratings/Broadcast history 
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Charlie's Angels on ABC.
The highest average rating for the series is in italic text.
|1||Wednesday 10:00 P.M.||September 22, 1976||May 4, 1977||#5||25.8|
|2||Wednesday 9:00 P.M.||September 14, 1977||May 10, 1978||#4 (tie)||24.4|
|3||September 13, 1978||May 16, 1979||#12|
|4||September 12, 1979||May 7, 1980||#20 (tie)||20.9|
|5||Sunday 8:00 P.M. (November 30, 1980 – January 11, 1981)
Saturday 8:00 P.M. (January 24, 1981 – February 28, 1981)
Wednesday 8:00 P.M. (June 3, 1981 – June 24, 1981)
|November 30, 1980||June 24, 1981||#47||N/A|
DVD releases 
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released all five seasons of Charlie's Angels on DVD in Region 1, and the first three seasons in Regions 2 and 4. The fifth and final season was released in Region 1 on January 1, 2013. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Amazon.com & WBShop.com and only in the US.
|Season||Ep #||Release dates||Notes|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1||23||May 27, 2003||June 23, 2003||September 29, 2010||Includes 90-minute pilot tele-film|
|2||24||April 6, 2004||February 19, 2007||January 13, 2011||The two-hour episodes "Angels in Paradise" and "Angels on Ice" appear as syndicated versions|
|3||22||July 4, 2006||April 20, 2009||March 2, 2011||The two-hour episodes "Angels in Vegas" and "Terror on Skis" appear as syndicated versions|
|4||25||July 21, 2009||TBA||TBA||The two-hour episode "Love Boat Angels" appears as the syndicated version|
|5||16||January 1, 2013||TBA||TBA|
|Complete Series||110||September 25, 2012||TBA||TBA|
Note: Episode count is based on the format in which episodes originally aired. Two-hour episodes are counted as one episode.
ABC attempted to create a spin-off for Charlie's Angels in 1980 called Toni's Boys. The show was essentially a gender reversal of Charlie's Angels, and starred Barbara Stanwyck as Antonia "Toni" Blake, a wealthy widow and friend of Charlie's who ran a detective agency. The agency was staffed by three good looking male detectives who took direction from Toni, and solved crimes in a manner similar to the Angels. The show aired as a backdoor pilot during the fourth season of Charlie's Angels, but was not picked up as a regular series for the following season.
Although there was a crossover with Vega$, a pilot episode had already aired, so it was not strictly a spin-off.
As of September 2011 all five seasons of the show can be purchased in the USA on iTunes, and some episodes of the show can be streamed for free in the US on IMDB, Hulu, with Minisodes and full episodes available on Crackle. The show previously aired in syndication on various network affiliates and on TV Land and ION. Following the death of Farrah Fawcett in June 2009, WGN America aired a week of marathons of the show. As of 2009 the series is still available for syndication to local television stations in the United States. It is currently airing on the upper tier pay channel Cloo, as well as the UNIVERSAL HD digital cable channel twice daily with a few marathons weekly.
Other versions 
The series has inspired many remakes and reinterpretations throughout the years and in different countries. It has also been featured in various other media.
Alternate versions 
Four women were selected to be in a show called Angels '88, which was to serve as an updated version of the show. The show was later named Angels '89 after production delays, but the project was abandoned before notice was taken. From 1998–1999, Telemundo and Sony produced a show called Ángeles. The weekly hour format did not catch on with Hispanic viewers, who are accustomed to watching telenovelas nightly and the series was soon canceled. In 2002, a German version of Charlie's Angels, Wilde Engel, was produced by the German channel RTL. The show was known as Anges de choc in French-speaking countries, and as Three Wild Angels in English-speaking ones.
In 2004, a television movie entitled Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie's Angels aired on NBC.
In November 2009, ABC announced that it was considering a television revival of Charlie's Angels, with Josh Friedman handling both writing and executive producing duties, and Drew Barrymore and Leonard Goldberg sharing co-production duties. On May 13, 2011, ABC announced a 13-episode order for the series. However, after only four episodes, ABC canceled the Charlie's Angels reboot. The rest of the show aired as planned though.
Influences on pop culture and later media 
The series inspired two feature films from Flower Films production company: Charlie's Angels (2000) and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003), with John Forsythe returning to voice Charlie. Whereas most movie remakes of 1970s TV shows, like Starsky and Hutch, are actually remakes, the Charlie's Angels films are set in a different time and thus closer to a film revival. The mythology goes that whenever an Angel leaves, she is replaced so there are always three. The second film had more nods to the TV series than the first film, with Jaclyn Smith making a brief cameo as Kelly Garrett.
The series has also inspired more shows and films, including:
- The 1979 film Angels Revenge, featuring a similar concept featuring seven women joining to stop a drug operation. This film was poorly received and viewed by many as little more than a cheap knockoff and was even mocked in a 1995 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- The animated series Totally Spies!, about three young girls similarly working as undercover agents.
- The Dexter's Laboratory episode "G.I.R.L. Squad" parodies Charlie's Angels.
- Another animated series, Codename: Kids Next Door, featuring five ten year old children who are undercover agents. This series is notable for its title card, which was inspired by that of Charlie's Angels.
- The syndicated series V.I.P. and She Spies.
- In 2000, the show was remade in India with the title of C.A.T.S. (starring Nafisa Joseph, Kuljeet Randhawa and Malini Sharma produced by Sony Entertainment Television Asia. It gave credit to Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts and also to Columbia Pictures.
Subsequent Angels 
- Connie Bates (1988–1989), played by Claire Yarlett, Angels '89
- Pam Ryan (1988–1989), played by Sandra Canning, Angels '89
- Trisha Lawrence (1988–1989), played by Karen Kopins, Angels '89
- Bernie Colter (1988–1989), played by Téa Leoni, Angels '89
- Adriana Vega (1998–1999), played by Patricia Manterola, Ángeles
- Elena Sanchez (1998–1999), played by Sandra Vidal, Ángeles
- Gina Navarro (1998–1999), played by Magali Caicedo, Ángeles
- Natalie Cook (2000–2003), played by Cameron Diaz, Charlie's Angels & Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
- Dylan Sanders (2000–2003), played by Drew Barrymore, Charlie's Angels & Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
- Alex Munday (2000–2003), played by Lucy Liu, Charlie's Angels & Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
- Madison Lee (2003), played by Demi Moore, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
- Kate Prince (2011), played by Annie Ilonzeh, Charlie's Angels (2011).
- Eve French (2011), played by Minka Kelly, Charlie's Angels (2011).
- Abby Simpson (2011), Played by Rachael Taylor, Charlie's Angels (2011).
- Gloria Martinez (2011), Played by Nadine Velazquez, Charlie's Angels (2011).
Collectible items 
During the show's run, a countless variety of collectible items were produced, including two versions of dolls, boardgames, several posters, several sets of trading cards, notebooks, a lunchbox & thermos, Charlie's Angels van, children's beauty products and even record albums.
Even though it was not directly part of the show, Farrah Fawcett also released a poster of her sporting a red bathing suit that became the biggest selling poster in history with 12 million copies sold. This poster also helped the burgeoning popularity of the series.
Two British comic strip versions were produced. The first appeared in the Polystyle publication Target in April 1978, drawn by John Canning. Target was a sister title to the long-running TV Comic aimed at older children and featuring TV action and crime shows of the day. Proving unpopular, it folded in August and merged back into TV Comic where Canning's Angels strip continued until October 1979. The second strip was printed in Junior TV Times Look-in, debuting in November 1979 (as soon as Polystyle's deal expired), written by Angus Allan and drawn by Jim Baikie and Bill Titcombe.
In the on-line comic Erfworld, one side in The Battle for Gobwin Knob hires three glowing, flying female combatants from an unseen "Charlie". One is blond and two are dark-haired. They first appear in silhouette in page 42 of the comic and in the final frame of page 69, after dispensing with some "Dwagons" of the opposing side, once again take up the iconic pose of Charlie's Angels. They are referred to as "Charlie's Archons". In Gnosticism, an archon occupies a role similar to the angels of the Old Testament.
Angel's "Proper" Charlies was a British comic strip published in the weekly Jackpot. It first appeared in 1979, drawn by Trevor Metcalfe. Angel was a beautiful teenage girl who was worshiped by three not-so-very-mature boys called the Charlies. Angel's beauty hid a conniving mind, in that she took advantage of the love-struck trio in order to get her own way, such as slipping into parties and concerts and attracting the attention of more suitable boyfriends, while the Charlies ended up bruised and battered as a result of their efforts to impress her (in vain).
Brelan de dames (Three Queens of a Kind), a Belgian comic strip by artist Renaud Denauw and writer Jean-Luc Vernal, was also about a trio of action women, though in this case they came from various countries and racial backgrounds and, after a short stint in the secret service, became independent operators. Again, one is blond and the others are dark-haired. Their adventures were published in the 1980s in Tintin magazine.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comics, Issue #152 has a reference to "Charlie's Angels" called "Sonic's Angels".
Video games 
In July 2003, three Charlie's Angels games were released on three different gaming platforms: Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and the mobile phone. The versions released on both the GameCube and PlayStation 2 were virtually the same, each given the same title: Charlie's Angels. The version released for the mobile phone was fundamentally toned down to fit the technical restrictions of the platform, and was titled Charlie's Angels: Road Cyclone.
In April 2008, Ojom announced a new Charlie's Angels mobile phone game entitled Charlie's Angels: Hellfire. The game is now available on operator portals across Europe.
Angel appearances 
This is a chronological list of appearances that two or more Angels have made together in support of Charlie's Angels.
- 1976: Jackson, Fawcett, and Smith are featured in the cover story of Time magazine, which analyzes the impact of the show on popular culture.
- 1976: Jackson, Fawcett, and Smith appear on the cover of TV Guide.
- 1976: Jackson, Fawcett, and Smith appear on the cover of People Magazine.
- 1976: Jackson, Fawcett, and Smith appear on an ABC TV special wearing outfits similar to those in their Time magazine cover.
- 1976: Jackson, Fawcett, and Smith guest star on The Captain & Tennille TV variety series.
- 1977: Jackson, Smith, Ladd, and Doyle appear on the cover of People Magazine.
- 1977: Jackson, Smith, and Ladd guest star on the new TV show The San Pedro Beach Bums.
- 1978: Jackson, Smith, and Ladd appear on ABC's Silver Anniversary Celebration: 25 and Still the One TV special.
- 1978: Jackson, Smith, and Ladd appear on the cover of TV Guide.
- 1979: Smith, Ladd, and Hack appear on the cover of TV Guide.
- 1986: Jackson, Fawcett, and Smith appear on the cover of People magazine in a shot from the Time cover shoot, contrasted with then-current insets, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the series.
- 1992: Jackson, Smith, and Ladd appear together to pay tribute to Aaron Spelling on The 18th People's Choice Awards.
- 1994: Jackson, Fawcett, and Smith appear in the 20th Anniversary edition of People Magazine; the Angels are pictured in the top corner of the cover, and the article includes a pull-out poster. The same issue was released in Australia with the three on the cover.
- 1998: Jackson, Fawcett, and Smith pre-record a reunion segment for the TV special ABC's Tribute to Aaron Spelling.
- 2006: Jackson, Fawcett, and Smith appear together on stage at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards, to pay tribute to Charlie's Angels executive producer Aaron Spelling.
- 2008: Jackson and Smith appear on the show Shear Genius, hosted by Smith, for a Charlie's Angels–themed episode where the contestants styled models' hair in an updated version of the original three Angels' iconic hairstyles.
- 2009: Jackson and Smith each visit Fawcett during her battle with cancer in Fawcett's documentary Farrah's Story, aired on NBC and related networks.
- 2010: Smith and Ladd appeared together at the 8th Annual TV Land Awards where Charlie's Angels received the Pop-Culture Award. Smith acknowledged Jackson, Hack, and Roberts. Both honored deceased co-stars Farrah Fawcett, David Doyle, John Forsythe and deceased executive producer Aaron Spelling. The presentation also featured a tribute to Farrah Fawcett. Smith and Ladd also gave exclusive interviews with Good Morning America and Extra to promote their appearance on the award show.
See also 
Notes and references 
- "Charlie's timeless angels: Women who transformed television". Independent.co.uk. 2006-08-30. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- Weiner, Ed; Editors of TV Guide (1992). The TV Guide TV Book: 40 Years of the All-Time Greatest Television Facts, Fads, Hits, and History. New York: Harper Collins. p. 174. ISBN 0-06-096914-8.
- Dalton's character (Damien Roth) in "Fallen Angel" (Season 4, episode 5) is described by Doyle's Bosley as "almost James Bond-ian" some eight years before Dalton played that very role in the 1987 film The Living Daylights.
- Brooks, Tim; Earle Marsh (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows (1946—Present): Ninth Edition. United States: Ballantine Books. pp. 1688–1689. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
- Angels '88. Hilly Blue. June 2010.
- "Ángeles" (1999) at the Internet Movie Database.
- "Wilde Engel" (2003) at the Internet Movie Database.
- ABC Planning "Charlie's Angels" Remake, America Online, November 13, 2009
- Schneider, Michael (2009-11-12). ""ABC closing in on 'Charlie's Angels'" from Variety (November 13, 2009)". Variety. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- Gorman, Bill (May 13, 2011). "ABC Picks Up 3 Sitcoms, 7 Dramas Including 'Charlie's Angels,' 'Good Christian Belles' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
- "Shows A-Z - charlie's angels on abc". The Futon Critic. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- Goodbye girls! ABC cancels 'Charlie's Angels', Entertainment Weekly, October 14, 2011
- Angels of the "Angels '88" or "Angels '89" from the much-hyped but never-aired show of the late 1980s. Angels 1988/Angelic Heaven- a fan site.
- Charlie's Angels Actresses - UGO.com
- Angels from the "Angeles" TV show from the 1998-99 Spanish-language version on Telemundo. 
- A character in the Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle movie with "retcon" involving her being a former Angel
- Jeffrey, Morgan (January 20, 2011). "Annie Ilonzeh joins 'Charlie's Angels'". Digital Spy. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- Hibberd, James (January 28, 2011). "'Charlie's Angels': Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor officially cast (pic)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
- Erfworld. Page 42. Giantitp.com.
- Erfworld Page 69. Giantitp.
- "Fleetway St - Angel's "Proper" Charlies". Toonhound.com. 1979-05-05. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- "Brelan de dames - BD, informations, cotes". Bedetheque.com. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Charlie's Angels|
|Wikinews has related news: Prolific television producer Aaron Spelling dies at 83|
- Charlie's Angels at the Internet Movie Database
- Charlie's Angels at TV.com
- Behind the Camera: The Charlie's Angels Story at the Internet Movie Database
- Full Filming Location Guide & Illustrated Episode Guide