How 'Charlie's Angels' went from 'worst show ever' in 1976 to a cult classic that spawned a mega franchise over 43 years

In its first incarnation, 'Charlie's Angels' was just another detective TV show with a girl-power twist. Granted, it starred some big names, but no one really expected the show to become this massive.


                            How 'Charlie's Angels' went from 'worst show ever' in 1976  to a cult classic that spawned a mega franchise over 43 years

It's been a hell of a ride for Charlie Townsend and his team of Angels. 'Charlie's Angels' is one of the most popular franchises in the world, with a global fanbase and multiple massive stars like Drew Barrymore and Farrah Fawcett associated with the series. 

However, when we look at 'Charlie's Angels' now as a cultural phenomenon, it's hard to accept the (relatively) humble origins of the franchise. Everything grows over the years, even franchises and the Angels are the biggest evidence of this fact. In its first incarnation, 'Charlie's Angels' was just another detective TV show with a girl-power twist. Granted, it starred some big names, but no one really expected the show to become this massive.

In fact, the way the show was first conceived was an extremely campy mess that was more than a little sexist. In the earliest development stages, the show was called 'The Alley Cats' and was supposed to feature three women who live in an alley and wear whips and chains like some strange mix of BDSM, 'Sesame Street', and 'Honey West'. Oh, and the women were to be named Allison, Lee, and Catherine so that their names would make up the title, which (as much as we love puns) is just downright ridiculous.

Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, and Jaclyn Smith in the original Charlie's Angels show (IMDb)

Thankfully, this idea was scrapped at the insistence of Kate Jackson, who had some creative control over the show in addition to being one of the stars. If they had gone ahead with that concept, there's a pretty good chance it would never have gotten past the pilot but now 'Charlie's Angels' is on the cusp of transforming into an international spy story on the lines of the 'James Bond' and 'Kingsmen' franchises with its upcoming movie that is due to hit theaters very soon. 

And to think, when the pilot for the show was first filmed, the ABC thought it was the worst idea for a TV show that anyone had ever come up with. According to Sunday Post, the network was so shocked by the pilot's ratings that they actually aired it a second time to make sure. In all honesty, the fact that the show starred three beautiful women in sexy clothing certainly helped 'Charlie's Angels' hit the number one spot but since then, the franchise has definitely evolved. 

Now after over 40 years, the Angels are going international in the upcoming movie starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska. The new 'Charlie's Angels' will be continuing the story of 'Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle' (2003), with the organization having expanded to have multiple teams of Angels working all over the world. That's a long way to come from where this story began and we can't wait to see how the future pans out.

'Charlie's Angels' will hit theaters on November 15.

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