I know that there has been a lot of drama and back and forth surrounding the Charmed reboot, but before we get into that I want to tell you a little story. Once upon a time, there was a young girl who happened upon a Charmed marathon on TNT one Superbowl Sunday. Immediately she was enthralled by this tale of the sister witches and was gutted when her father made her change the channel to watch the game. It was on this day that this young girl, let’s call her Alyssa, made it her mission to see every episode of Charmed. This is the origin story of a TV addict.
Young Alyssa discovered Charmed at a time when TNT was airing the show during a two hour morning block and a two-hour afternoon block. She loved the show so much that she wanted to be able to rewatch her favorite episodes at her leisure, but this was before the show was released on DVD and streaming on Netflix was still a few years away. So, looking to her older sister for guidance, she decided to record the episodes that aired chronologically on TNT on a machine called a VCR so she could always have Charmed by her side. (If you wondering, the answer is yes, I have S1-S4 in CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, on VHS tapes at my parent’s house. I will get photographic evidence for this at my next visit!)
I loved Charmed so much. I would sit and daydream about what it would be like to be a charmed one living in that gorgeous San Fransisco house. I wanted Piper and Prue to be my older sisters SO BAD. But this desire was complicated by my desire to make out with Phoebe because I thought that is what good friends did, but I knew sisters did not. So how could I be sisters with two Halliwell’s but not the other! It was too much for my in-the-closet self to compute. I sobbed my eyes out when Prue died, and then again when Phoebe had to kill Cole (the second time out of a billion). The show was campy, ridiculous and insane, but it was MY campy, ridiculous and insane show!
Fast-forward to 2018, twelve years after the original series ended, and the CW has released the first trailer for the new Charmed reboot with the creator’s of Jane the Virgin at the helm. I had been apprehensive about how to approach this new reboot. The cast and crew of the original have been outspoken regarding how they were neither consulted nor informed about the reboot before the news was released. The initial promotion of the reboot was admittedly problematic with the press release reading:
“This fierce, funny, feminist reboot of the original series centers on three sisters in a college town who discover they are witches. Between vanquishing supernatural demons, tearing down the patriarchy, and maintaining familial bonds, a witch’s work is never done.”
Are they implying the original wasn’t feminist, because it most definitely was. The hurt and disappointment from the original cast, many of whom became producers in later seasons, is understandable, but I would like to think that it had more to do with The CW’s press strategy than the actual show. After watching the first trailer for the Charmed reboot, I stand more firmly on that assumption.
The 3 minute and 56-second promo for The CW’s Charmed makes it clear that while this reboot will be telling a different story than the original, the underlying themes and building blocks of the show stay the same. The Vera sisters’ magic abilities are unbound after their mother Marisol dies in a horrific accident, and a long-lost sister shows up at their door. This pulls a bit from the original series by using themes from both the pilot and the introduction of Paige in Season 4. Two-thirds of the girls’ powers are the same as well. Like Prue, Macy the oldest sister has telekinetic powers, Mel, the middle sister, can freeze time. It is the youngest Vera girl whose powers are different from the original series: where Phoebe saw premonitions into the future, Maggie can read people’s minds. This is a smart decision to give Maggie a more active power and I am interested to see how she is able to control and subdue these voices in her head. Other similarities include Whitelighter Harry Greenwood, who I assume won’t have an epic love story with Mel as it has been rumored she will be a lesbian.
The major difference between the original Charmed and the reboot lays in the central plot of the initial season. The original series first season focused mainly on the Halliwell sisters coming to terms with being witches, and coming to terms with the power of three. There was no plot, no central storyline or goal that was being pursued, but instead, it was about three sisters fighting the demon of the week. The CW’s Charmed reboot comes packaged with central mystery, “How did their mother die?” And I guess we will have to tune into the CW every Sunday at 9:00 to find out.