Charmed, I’m Sure: Is the new “Power of Three” Too Free?
GRACE KIRK // DECEMBER 14, 2018
For all my fellow Wiccans out there, growing up in the Charmed life was nothing short of perfection. The series premiered in 1998, starring three sisters in San Francisco who find out they are witches. I can honestly say that Season 2 Prue, the eldest of the original sisters, rocked my bi-curious world, and when she left the fictitious one in season 3, we all mourned. However, the Power of Three carried on with the introduction of their half-sister Paige, allowing the original show to continue until 2006. That is until the show’s title was picked up by the CW and rebooted in 2018.
Born again on the CW, Charmed premiered on Sunday, October 14. With interest in witchcraft and the occult making a revival in the mainstream, one would think the comeback of easily the most iconic female-dominated show of the ’90s would be a welcome kind of nostalgia.
But alas, even the original three sisters -- Shannen Doherty as Prue, Holly Marie Combs as Piper, and Alyssa Milano as Phoebe -- have spoken out about their issues with the reboot.
Combs pointed out that the original cast was not brought in to consult on the new show. Although it is meant to pay homage to the original not as a remake but simply as a Charmed-inspired show, the reboot is eerily similar to the original, and not in a good way.
Really, the only thing the pilot episode of the reboot got right is the diverse cast. The new sisters -- - Mel, Macy, and Maggie -- - are played by Madeleine Mantock, Melonie Diaz and Sarah Jeffery, respectively. Even though the sisters may now be women of color, the show’s attempt at diversity becomes an afterthought in an overstuffed first episode. In a mere 40 minutes, the show crams the death of their mother, a period of mourning, the breakup of Mel and her girlfriend, the beginning of Maggie’s first year at the local college, the introduction and eventual acceptance of both a new sister and their white lighter (guardian angels for good witches), and a fight with a baddie.
While the concept of the Power of Three -- the three powerful sister witches -- is something that inspired generations of women, the introduction of the third sister as a secret half-sister, the repetition of the same first-letter names, and the untimely death of the mother - who, you guessed it, kept the girls’ powers and heritage secret - are just three more parallels between the two shows that are too speedily introduced to the show and end up thinning out the storyline.
The consensus is that the cheap reboot lacks any of the original charm of three women coming into their own power and realizing the importance of their sisterly bond in a patriarchal world.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, this shabby attempt at creating a feminism-centered show is a backhanded endeavor at best. The sisters’ triumph over the pilot’s villain, a predatory demon/professor at the local college who both killed the girls’ mother and assaulted another character,may be the manifestation of many women’s dreams in the current climate; however, the script turns this momentous dialogue into a tawdry joke, using language that laughs at current feminist movements rather than utilizing them to expand the show’s effectiveness, ultimately negating the whole purpose of pursuing a “woke” plot.
Although lacking diversity, the original Charmed show carried all of the charm the reboot missed. With sassy sisters, relatable struggles, and an abundance of bewitching love interests, our favorite trio of San Franciscan sisters put a spell on all their viewers. Freshman and fellow Charmed enthusiast Alex Thompson stated, in all its former glory, Charmed, “is all about the sisterhood! The episodes all have their own thing, but you get attached to the characters and that's why you stay with the show. You want to go through their lives with them; through all of the cute sister moments and all the heartbreak because they become your family.”
On the other hand, the new show is still sassy but lacks any sense of sisterhood apart from DNA. The only thing keeping Mel, Macy, and Maggie together is the lost hope of a dead mother that they might fulfill a destiny they know too little about to make an informed decision to accept it. The reboot ends up too loose and the storyline too free to make any coherent point.
Ultimately, reader, rather than wasting time trying to develop feelings for a crummy new show, reboot your love of Charmed by having a night in with your old favorite 90’s show, available on Netflix.