Most fantasy series tend to focus on the broader context of worldly implications while paying minimal attention to the characters’ personal intentions and daily lives. However, Constance M. Burge’s television series Charmed, which aired the pilot in 1998, pulled off precisely that. It was a show about three sisters who discover that they’re the most powerful witches ever to exist. As such, they have to fight back against demons and warlocks while dealing with their regular college life while dodging police and FBI investigations.
The show lasted eight seasons and served as an excellent inspiration for women’s empowerment. It won over the target audience by reflecting their persona in either the sisters or any of the support characters, who were just as relevant to drive the plot forward despite occupying less screen time.
That show caught the eye of CBS, who announced that they were rebooting the series in 2013. But, the first episode would air in 2018, the first of many indicators that it would not hold a candle to the original. While most people like to blame toxic feminism and the SJW movement, there were far more fundamental issues that resulted in its early cancellation.
With any TV show, you don’t have the budget to create bombastic setpieces or film an action scene. So, engaging the audience with a well-defined storyline and great dialog among the characters is imperative. That’s something that the 2018 reboot failed to do, which is surprising considering the writers for the show were the ones who wrote Hope & Faith and Gilmore Girls.
One notable example is the trio meeting at Harry’s house, who is the whitelighter and guide for the trio. He tried to explain the concept of telekinesis to Macy, to which she kept insisting that there was a scientific explanation for how she was able to throw a globe across the room with her mind. Sure, the reason is that she was a witch, something that could hold its roots in science, which the show projects in later episodes.
The plot of the 2018 reboot could be more coherent and consistent as well. The original did a fine job of establishing the stakes and limitations of their powers, letting them grow organically as both regular girls and defenders against the dark forces. In the reboot, the girls’ behavior barely has any subtlety, especially for those they’re supposed to care about.
Some events don’t make sense, more so when considering the show’s context. In the reboot, Macy is the long-lost sister who was given up for adoption after being revived from stillbirth using necromancy. She shows up at Maggie and Mel’s home, displays a photo, and becomes closely bonded by the end of the episode. There is no suspicion or tension within the group. It would at least be interesting for Maggie to question whether the photo is doctored and why their mother had no evidence of a third child.
The original Charmed series aired in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Thus, the CGI was dodgy at best. That’s why the show went to great lengths to use it as sparingly as possible, letting the characters shine out in every scene.
There is no such excuse for the 2018 reboot, where the CGI is terrible even by contemporary standards. One notable example is the archdemon Taydeus at the end of the first episode. His cold presence and attacks do not affect the environment other than a mild fog. The editors even forgot to animate damage to the walls as they got hit with his ice shards.
Introducing time manipulation in any media is problematic to the story’s logic. The best one to by far do it is Tenet, in which events from both the past and future are dependent on a causal loop. In the original series, Phoebe only had the power to look into the past and future, managing her current course of action to affect the latter.
In the case of the reboot, Mel can not only freeze time but also send herself or resources in the past to change events. That instantly breaks the plot as she can go back in time to see whether her mother was murdered, reunite with Macy sooner, and tie up other loose ends within the timeline. That also makes all her battles unlosable as she can rewind any mistakes to keep the tide in her favor.
Can Charmed still redeem itself?
While CW has announced no further plans for the franchise (and is busy canceling other shows), there is still some potential with Charmed. It would be nice to see the rights transferred to other competent production companies, which can input new life into the show and make it more relevant to the audience in the digital age.
Tell us what's wrong with this post? How could we improve it? :)
Let us improve this post!