There's plenty of truth hidden in the glitz of this CA origin story. Some series pilots can have terrible preview screenings, but then go onto great success as this one did. Other shows, without an influential producer, will be killed by mediocre or bad test screenings. The time was right in'76 for CA, and Spelling knew it. However, the world wasn't ready for reality shows then (with many classic comedy and drama shows still in their primes) and green lighting them then was unthinkable. The underlying theme of this movie is every series, and every idea for a series, has a certain time window when it can be launched successfully. As shown in the movie, one of the CA writers later created Cagney and Lacey. C & L probably could not have existed without CA paving the way for it.
As for the Angels themselves, Jaclyn Smith is portrayed as the shy, conservative young woman she was. She was the most demure of the bunch, but ironically Jaclyn became the biggest television star (of the 3) after CA ended. She was in a huge number of highly rated made-for-tv movies. Kate was the most ambitious, but the key to playing her is capturing that distinctive voice. When I recall the show, her voice is impossible to forget. Kate had no idea this would be a "jiggle" show, and it still broke barriers as an hour of television devoted to the weekly adventures of 3 smart women. That concept, for 1976, was revolutionary. Also, Kate came from the "The Rookies," another series that had pushed the envelope, although from a racial aspect. Farrah was raised as a very conservative Texas girl who always put her man, and his needs, first. She practically polled Lee daily to see if he was tolerating her stardom. As Lee self-righteously pointed out, he was making much more money per episode than his wife. Later, perhaps a year or two after the first season of CA had ended, Farrah realized that her upbringing taught her subservience to men, but life had more to offer than that. She became a successful dramatic actress. This movie is very accurate in its details and is well worth seeing.
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