Monday, October 22, 2018

Charmed - Pilot

After only being off the air for a little more than a decade, The CW has rebooted Charmed. I can almost hear George Carlin asking "How can you possibly be nostalgic about a concept like a little while ago?" The new series uses the same basic concept of having three sisters discover they are the world's most powerful witches and will need to use these gifts in order to save the world and vanquish various demons of the week. There are some changes to the original formula. First, the girls' mother is killed during the "Pilot" episode. Second, the third sister, unknown to the other two young women, is introduced helping to kick-off of the plot. And third, rather than discovering their powers for themselves, the aggressive Mel (Melonie Diaz), the shallow Maggie (Sarah Jeffery), and the bland Macy (Madeleine Mantock) get their powers and purpose mansplained to them by their whitelighter (Rupert Evans).

Going back and re-watching the original series pilot episode there are some other major distinctions between it and the new show. The writers try really hard to give lip service to female empowerment the second time around (the demon even sexually harasses students on campus), but the protagonists are far from the strong female characters of the original. And although the police were baffled by witchcraft-related killings before, in the new series they seem incredibly incompetent (take a hard look at that attic and figure out how the girls' mother "accidentally" jumped up and threw herself out that window). The most glaring distinction is the Halliwell sisters, for all their foibles, were instantly likable (even the prickly Pru). Look, the original Charmed was far from a perfect show, and dragged out long past its prime, but offered fun to be had to both fans and the casual observer. Sadly, the new version lacks the magic of the original.

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