Thursday TV: ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ ‘Person of Interest,’ ‘Whitney’ and ‘Prime Suspect’
By Hank Stuever,
● Charlie’s Angels (8 p.m., ABC) This lousy, third-generation retread of the 1970s original is suitably DOA (dumb on arrival) but also diluted by present-day TV’s cookie-cutter hustle and flow. Three ex-cons (a well-to-do blond jewel thief, a black detective caught in a sting and a Latina car thief) are hired as private investigators by the ne’er-seen Charlie Townsend, who now speaks to them from a decidedly upgraded speakerphone. The show’s real duds are the Angels themselves — Rachael Taylor, Annie Ilonzeh and Minka Kelly — who come off as interchangeable affirmative-action figures.
●Person of Interest (9 p.m., CBS) From producer J.J. Abrams’s busy hive mind, this procedural has a paranoid pop and snap to it, making use of the frightening idea that all that security footage and monitoring of everyday consumer transactions can form an intelligence web that supersedes human deductive powers.
Michael Emerson (“Lost”) is the mysterious creator of a post-9/11 computer network that knows all and sees all. He now hacks into the system so he can prevent violent crime and recruits a former CIA special agent (Jim Caviezel of “The Passion of the Christ”) to do the dirty work. It’s a whole lot of techno-hooey, relying on screenwriter-friendly leaps of logic.
●Whitney (9:30 p.m., NBC) NBC dares you to warm up to this loudmouth snark-attack contained within a by-the-book sitcom. After all the hype, this is the vanguard humor of comedian Whitney Cummings? Surprisingly enough, there’s an adequate sequence of laughs lurking in the middle of the first episode — such as when Whitney, to spice up her relationship with her live-in boyfriend, Alex (Chris D’Elia), dresses up as a sexy nurse and . . . hands him a stack of insurance forms to fill out.
● Prime Suspect (10 p.m., NBC) Just what nobody wanted: an unnecessary redo of the great British miniseries. Maria Bello was persuaded to star as Det. Jane Timoney, and she bravely attempts to make up for a so-so script by donning a fedora and laying things on about 10 times too thick.
— Hank Stuever
6For reviews of all the new fall shows, go to wapost/falltv2011.