The “Charlie’s Angels” reboot promises plenty of heart to go along with the ass-kicking

What might be the best way to describe the new Charlie’s Angels series? According to actress Rachael Taylor, you add one part tough action series to being a woman in the 21st century or, as she said, the new series is what would happen if 24’s Jack Bauer and Sex And The City’s Carrie had a kid.

Taylor, last seen on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, is now jumping from loose hospital scrubs to form-fitting designer outfits (and a gun; what’s sexier than that, right?) in the reboot of the 70s classic that originally starred Farrah Fawcett-Majors, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith. However, one thing the Australian actress explained during Sunday’s panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour was that she didn’t venture to the past to watch the DVDs featuring the then-shocking nipple-popping fashions of the original Angels when she was cast.

“I haven’t seen the original show but … I think it’s important to respect the incredible legacy of Charlie’s Angels. You know, obviously it’s quite an iconic label, that I take with gratitude, and I take the passing of the baton quite seriously. But I also think, for actors, it’s always important to do something fresh. I think it’s important to do an incarnation of Charlie’s Angels that is appropriate and befitting of this time. So I didn’t want to get into the pattern of trying to repeat anything tonally because we’re doing something that’s kind of original and fresh.”

Rachael Taylor, Minka Kelly and Annie Ilonzeh

Taylor’s co-star, General Hospital alum Annie Ilonzeh, took the opposite approach but, regardless of whether audience members have seen the TV or film versions or not, she stressed there is one common thread. 

“I watched the originals a lot, and the movies as well. And I think just the biggest commonality that we have is the fact that there’s so much camaraderie and family. We’re a huge family. And there are four Angels, which is slightly different. Bosley (played by Ramon Rodriguez) is considered another Angel. But the biggest similarity in the originals, as well as the movies, is there’s a huge family based relationship that we all share. So that’s what’s going to make it relatable, I feel like, to our viewers and our audience.”

Last but never least, Minka Kelly, best known for her role on the acclaimed Friday Night Lights series, predicted viewers will find as much to relate to in the characters as she does with the one she plays.

“Well, the thing about Eve is that because she was an orphan and she was on her own her entire life and she had to fight for herself and fend for herself and sort of survive, I think I have a lot in common with her on that aspect. I am an only child and I was raised by a single mother and we moved around a lot. And I understand what that’s about, and I also understand what it is to create your own family. I’m really attracted to that aspect of the show, as far as making these girls and Bosley my family. And I think that I’m not alone in that. I think there’s a lot of people in the world — a lot of girls and guys out there — that have that in common with myself and Eve.”

Kelly became a little emotional talking about the journey she’s taken but added, “I’m very touched by this subject. I think it’s made me a great person. I think I’ve lived a lot more than maybe people my age have and seen a lot more. And so I think, hopefully, that will help bring a lot of depth to this character and give her a lot of layers and … I’m a little verklempt.”

There was also much love to go around between the three women during the panel as Taylor explained why viewers would connect with all the elements of the show.

“That’s one of the most important things, I think, about the show, and it’s the piece that I’m the most proud of. I love the action stuff and certainly it’s high octane and it’s exciting and I think viewers will be satisfied on all of those levels. But I think there is a genuine chemistry and genuine warmth between the four of us. And you can’t really fake that. I think it kind of bleeds onto the screen. And that’s why I think we’re a part of something really special, because we like each other.”

While Ilonzeh smiled and nodded in agreement, Kelly said, “We love each other” to which Taylor reiterated, “We love each other.”

The 2000 film and 2003 sequel also featured themes of female empowerment, working together to fight evil, female camaraderie and also happened to star and be executive produced by actress Drew Barrymore. Since she’s has the same producer title, how much will Drew be involved with the series? Executive Producer Al Gough explained, “Drew’s sort of the archangel of Charlie’s Angels and obviously she’s busy. She’s prepping movies. But she and her company (Flower Films) are involved. They read the scripts. They give notes. She sends emails of encouragement. So she’s been great.”

Also, while the original series depicted the Angels as accomplished professionals in various arms of the law enforcement field, the reboot series takes its cue from the movies , in which the Angels (especially Drew’s character) had troubled pasts and were given a chance to turn their lives around. Gough further explained:

“What we sort of wanted to bring to the table was making it more grounded, making these women feel real, giving them back stories because, again, if you’re going to launch into a television series … you want there to be something to come back to every week. So we gave them each a past and the show’s really about Charlie giving them a second chance and it’s about kind of redemption.”

Check out the promo clip for Charlie’s Angels below:

Charlie’s Angels premieresThursday, September 22 on ABC.