Thirty-six years ago this month Charlie's Angels hit the scene and became a national phenomenon. I'm sure it's difficult for a generation weaned on the internet and a constant gazillion-channel multi-media onslaught to imagine the impact a little show on network TV could have. But believe me, at the time, it was huge.
The pilot aired on March 21, 1976. I was nine years old--and was instantly hooked.
The ratings soared, so the show was picked up by the network and premiered that September. It aired on Wednesday nights, an immediate top ten sensation.
Though Cheryl Ladd's debut in the two-hour second season premiere was the best episode of the series' entire run, the first season remains its best overall season--due in large part to the chemistry between the three original Angels.
Kate Jackson.Farrah Fawcett-Majors.
To me, these were the most beautiful women on the planet. Jaclyn Smith was always my favorite--but all three of them epitomized the ideal woman.
Beautiful. Classy. Intelligent. Resourceful. Independent. And incredibly sexy--without being trashy in any sort of way.
The term "jiggle TV" was coined because of this show, which was criticized at the time for its overt sexuality. What's funny is that by today's standards the show is absolutely tame, G-rated material.
Sure, I'll be the first to admit that the quality of the show's stories was erratic at best, taking a major dip in later seasons. Shakespeare it ain't. Nor was it ever intended to be. But overall Charlie's Angels remains fun, wholesome entertainment.
I also think the Angels were great role models--and still are. They paved the way for such shows as Cagney and Lacey, which featured strong female characters in leading roles.
For me, watching Charlie's Angels brings back some fond childhood memories of magical, more innocent days gone by. Silly, I know. But I don't care.
Cheers to the Angels!