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'Charlie's Angels - The Complete Third Season'
(Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / (1976) 2006 / Sony Pictures)

Overview: 'Charlie's Angels' was a TV series about a wealthy mystery-man who runs a detective agency via a speaker-phone and his personal assistant, Bosley. His detectives are three beautiful women, who end up in a variety of difficult situations. The cast changed substantially over the life of this show, as actresses left for various movie, TV, and modeling deals. This is the show's third season for the first time ow on DVD!

DVD Verdict: The third season of 'Charlie's Angels', which aired on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC from September 1978 through May 1979, had a lot going for it, as well as a lot to live up to. The first season exploded onto television and immediately became a Nielsen ratings champ. Thanks to tweaked writing and a better timeslot, the second season was an even greater success, despite losing the angel who became a cultural phenomenon, Farrah Fawcett's "Jill Munroe." One unique aspect of the third season is that it has the distinction of being the first (and only) season to have all three angels returning from the previous one-Cheryl Ladd as "Kris Munroe" who replaced Farrah, in addition to original angels "Sabrina Duncan" and "Kelley Garret," played by Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith respectively. Additionally, Farrah's contractual return for three episodes this season was another asset for the returning show. Her Townsend Associates homecoming alone caused enough media hype to potentially catapult the ratings even higher than before as everyone was curious to see how the former angel would come back into the fold with her younger sister and former colleagues. Not to mention that this season was filled with plenty of guest appearances including Dean Martin, Dick Sargent, Nancy Parsons, Anne Francis, Casey Kasem, and an up-and-coming young actress by the name of Jamie Lee Curtis. So with all of these factors going for it, this season should have been nothing less than stellar. Well, that wasn't quite the case. I think that the actresses, along with faithful sidekick "Bosley," played perfectly by the late David Doyle, performed to the best of their abilities, given the material. The real problem is that by the time the third season began, the producers/creators thought that the show was infallible given its immense popularity and record-setting ratings, and this arrogance on their behalf lead to a creative decline mostly due to inferior writing. One particular writer became quite lazy with his scripts, and a pattern begins to emerge in his scripted episodes: they lack any real depth and tend to be built around one good central idea that isn't fleshed out enough for an entire episode. Examples of these episodes include: ANGELS BELONG IN HEAVEN, ANGELS ON VACATION, MARATHON ANGELS, ANGEL ON HIGH, and TERROR ON SKIS, the latter of which he admittedly wrote because his wife wanted to go on a skiing vacation!?! The initial ideas for these episodes are good, but the episodes as a whole don't match the calibur of earlier Angel outings. Since Charlie's Angels is more episodic (meaning that the storylines are limited to the duration of an episode) than serial (where storylines last several episodes or even an entire season), it's better to have a diverse mix of writers and directors so that they can bring their own creativity to the show, thus giving it a fresh, ever-evolving feel. Consequently, the season's highlights are when guest writers contributed scripts: COUNTERFEIT ANGELS is an original episode that uses Charlie's anonymity against him when a man disguises his voice to impersonate Charlie and send his "evil angels" out to do his bidding; Jill's return in ANGEL COME HOME has a well-developed story that naturally involves all 4 angels as they work together to discover who sent the phony emergency cablegram that brought Jill back from racing in Europe; and another bright spot in the season, and series, is the classic ANGELS IN SPRINGTIME where the Angels infiltrate a women's spa to solve the murder of a famous actress and find her missing memoirs. This episode is loaded with fun, from short shorts to frigid adversaries to faking hypnotism, and this episode boasts one of the best villains: Zora the hefty physical therapist who uses her might against little Kris during a rough confrontation. I love the Angels, through thick and thin, and even though this season has its flaws, I'm thrilled to add it to my Angel DVD collection. It's just a shame that a season that could have been spectacular as a whole was 24 third season episodes on 6 discs, and comes the Special Features of only an English Language Track.