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Charlie's Angels is a 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 was broadcast in the USAmarker 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. In pre-production, the original proposed title was The Alley Cats. Another title considered was Harry's Angels, but was changed to "Charlie's Angels" as not to conflict with another television series Harry O.


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 some episodes the viewer gets to see the back of his head and his arms, talking through a phone while surrounded by beautiful women — assigning cases to the Angels and his liaison, Bosley (played by David Doyle), via a speaker phone. As the show progressed, Majors and Jackson both eventually left the show for other projects. Fawcett 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 turned detective.

Charlie's Angels is episodic in nature, as opposed to serial, thus each episode shows the Angels finding themselves in new situations in which they would go undercover to investigate. The undercover aspect of the show creates much of the plot interest and tension. In the early seasons of the show, the Angels, under their assumed identities, use a combination of sexual wiles and knowledge learned for the situation in which they are being placed, but by the third and fourth seasons, the writing has a tendency to stray from the sex appeal and focus more on the case at hand.

Cast and crew

Main stars

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:


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.


ABC is reportedly considering a television remake of Charlie's Angels.


As "Jiggle TV"

The show became known as "Jiggle TV" 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."However, Kate Jackson never wore a bathing suit or a bikini during her three years on the show.

Nielsen ratings/ABC broadcast history

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Charlie's Angels on ABC.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps. All times listed are North American Eastern Time.

Season Time slot Premiere Finale TV Season Season
1 Wednesday 10:00 P.M. September 22, 1976 May 4, 1977 1976-1977 #5 18.4
2 Wednesday 9:00 P.M. September 14, 1977 May 10, 1978 1977-1978 #4 17.8
3 September 13, 1978 May 16, 1979 1978-1979 #12 18.2
4 September 12, 1979 May 7, 1980 1979-1980 #20 15.9
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 1980-1981 Below Top 20
Denotes tie in year-end rank.

DVD releases

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released Seasons 1-4 of Charlie's Angels on DVD in Regions 1 and 2.
Season Ep # Discs Release dates Notes
Region 1 Region 2
1 23 5 May 27, 2003 June 23, 2003 Includes 90-minute pilot tele-film
2 24 6 April 6, 2004 February 19, 2007 The two-hour episodes "Angels in Paradise" and "Angels on Ice" appear as syndicated versions
3 22 6 July 4, 2006 April 20, 2009 The two-hour episodes "Angels in Vegas" and "Terror on Skis" appear as syndicated versions
4 25 6 July 21, 2009 TBA 2 Hour Episodes: Love Boat Angels, One Love...Two Angels
Note: Episode count is based on the format in which episodes originally aired. Two-hour episodes are counted as one episode.


As of February 2009, the first and third seasons of the show can be purchased 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.

Pop culture impact

Film and television remakes and reinterpretations

The series has inspired many remakes and reinterpretations throughout the years and in different countries.

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 show ultimately never aired. 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.

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.

In 2004, a television movie entitled Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie's Angels aired on NBC.

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
  • Madison Lee (2003), played by Demi Moore, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
  • 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
  • Franziska (2002), played by Susann Uplegger,Wilde Engel
  • Lena (2002), played by Eva Habermann,Wilde Engel
  • Raven (2002), played by Birgit Stauber,Wilde Engel
  • Rebecca (2003), played by Vanessa Petruo, Wilde Engel
  • Ida (2003), played by Tanja Wenzel, Wilde Engel
  • Aiko (2003), played by Zora Holt, Wilde Engel
  • Richard Voss (2003), played by Udo Kier, Wilde Engel


It's been suggested that Brenda, Dee Dee and Taffy, the three girls of the cartoon series Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels were inspired by Charlie's Angels.

An episode of Dexter's Laboratory titled G.I.R.L. Squad parodies Charlie's Angels, as well as the show's title card.

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.

April 2008 - Ojom announced a new Charlie's Angels mobile phone game titled: Charlie's Angels: Hellfire. The game is now available on operator portals across Europe.

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 worshipped 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 Ladies 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.


  • The syndicated series Hee Haw had a parody titled "Archie's Angels", in which Archie Campbell gave his three ladies assignments but somehow never perform them, since they tend to spend most of their time sitting around trying to figure them out.

  • The show was parodied in the third series of BBC Two sketch show Goodness Gracious Me (episode five). The sketch, called "Channa's Angels", was about three Asian girls who graduated from police academy, but were then employed by a man who believed that sort of activity to be culturally inappropriate.

  • Another parody exists in the 2009 Chick-fil-A calendar "The Bovines in Blue" where the show in October was referred to as Chuckie's Heifers.

  • The "Vice Academy" feature films which aired on USA Network were another parody of the show. The six films aired from 1990-1997. Ex-porn star Ginger Lynn and horror movie scream queen Linnea Quigley played the two leads. Created by Rick Sloane of Hobgoblins fame, the farcical plots often involved the girls going undercover as strippers, hookers or porn stars.

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.

Notes and references

  1. 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.
  2. ABC Planning "Charlie's Angels" Remake, America Online, November 13, 2009
  3. Charlie's timeless angels: Women who transformed television
  5. "Ángeles" (1999)
  6. "Wilde Engel" (2003)
  7. Angels of the "Angels '88" or "Angels '89" from the much-hyped but never-aired show of the late 1980s. [1]
  8. A character in the Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle movie with "retcon" involving her being a former Angel
  9. Angels from the "Angeles" TV show from the 1998-99 Spanish-language version on Telemundo. [2]
  10. Don Markstein's Toonopedia - Captain Caveman

External links

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