Sunday, October 4, 2015

One Love, Two Angels

An ad sans Shelley for "One Love, Two Angels Part 2"
a Charlie's Angels episode aired in 1980

In 1979, Shelley joined the cast of one of the biggest hits on TV, Charlie's Angels, joining incumbent Angels Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd. But a year later, she was out. So much was said and written about her while she was on the show. That she didn't fit in, that she wasn't good enough, that she couldn't act; but none of them were true. She did fit in, she was good enough and she could act. And by the last episode, when she was given so much to say and do, she proved it all.

screen captures of Shelley (with Jaclyn Smith, Cheryl Ladd and David Doyle)
from the Charlie's Angels episode "One Love, Two Angels Part 1"

Shelley's character Angel Tiffany Welles was so under-used during the first part of the season (except on the "Angels Go Truckin' episode) that it was easy for critics to dismiss her as a flash-in-the-pan star who couldn't act. But her potential could already be seen as early as the show's second episode where she showed how well she  got along with her co-stars and how well she could handle the material. By the third episode however, it seemed she was suddenly left in the sidelines and was given little to do or say. Why? Then by mid-season, she had more lines and again showed she could handle the material. And by her final episode, she showed viewers why she was chosen to fill-in for Kate Jackson - but it was too late. If she had been given a chance to shine during the early part of the season, when the interest in her was at an all-time high, the series could have ended at the top of the Nielsens at the end of that TV season.

screen captures of Shelley (with Jaclyn Smith, Cheryl Ladd and David Doyle)
from the Charlie's Angels episode "One Love, Two Angels Part 2"

In "One Love, Two Angels", parts 1 and 2, Shelley was finally given a chance to shine as an Angel. She was comfortable with the camera and fit in very well with Jaclyn, Cheryl and David. The rapport she had with her co-stars wasn't the same as it was with Sabrina Duncan/Kate Jackson, but that was okay because she was a different character. The dynamic between them was different. She was more like the big sister Angel who looked after her fellow Angels. Detective-wise, she was great as well, she knew how to do the detective bit. But more importantly, she showed that she could play the group leader, just like Sabrina did. As group leader, her lines, her delivery, her performance were all on the dot. More episodes with her like this one could have saved the season and the show. I really don't understand why they blamed her for the ratings decline when they didn't give her a chance to prove herself until the very last episode she did for the series.