One of my favorite shows growing up was Charmed. It was a fun series about badass women with superhpowers that I could watch with my older sister. It had angels, demons, supernatural conspiracies and plenty of engaging storylines to follow week after week. It was by no means the gold standard of television or even, if I’m being perfectly honest, all that great in the first place. But I loved it and hardly went a weekday without watching whatever new or rerun episode was on TV.
Looking back on it, though, it really was never all that great of a show. The pilot was absolutely atrocious, the dynamic between the characters (especially early on) was horrendously inconsistent, the episode plots were typical and rushed, characters were replaced for no substantive narrative reason, romances were forced and it was painfully obvious from the word “go” that it was simply working its way through the series week by week with no real idea of where it was going to end up.
It was, in short, a product of its time and its medium: a pretty typical late 90s / early 2000s network action-drama. It eventually found its footing in its narrative and coasted through that for longer than it really had a right to. And say what you will about its righting, but it had a far better cast than anybody seems to give it credit for. That being said, however, regardless of the fond memories I have watching that after school with my sister and working through the storylines and characters while I was still at the right age to be entranced by them, I can’t see any reason why it should — and in fact is — being rebooted more than a decade after it was canceled.
I’m not one of those curmudgeons who are abjectly against the very idea of remakes and reboots. Some ideas never quite land properly on their first go-around and others never coalesced the talent needed to pull off the project. Classics can and are reinterpreted for new generations all of the time and I’m always eager to see how a new director or writer or cast or studio handles tried-and-true material. It’s a tool, like any other, for generating worthwhile stories for new and eager audiences.
What I question is the need to remake this particular franchise. As fun as it is, there’s simply nothing there that really warrants the extra attention. The premise was never so great and its potential never so high that there are untapped depths in the franchise just waiting to draw out. In fact, supernatural series in its vein are pretty played out by now (and, to be clear, they were never that fresh when this series started to begin with). Whatever cast they manage to assemble for it won’t hold a candle to its original set of actors and I can’t possibly think of any new spin they can put on the original material to make it any more worthwhile than it was two decades ago.
This is a perfect example of a network retooling a series simply because they already own the rights to it, plus a massive back-catalog of easily repurposed content for it, making it a safe and relatively cheap thing to plug into whatever programming gap that their lineup is experiencing. It’s a practical, if somewhat cynical, movie. However, I cannot help but think that we would all be better served — network executives included — by them investing the time, talent and capital that they plan on dumping into a needless reboot into fresh and original programming: if not something groundbreaking, than some new idea in the same vein that would actually add something to the catalog of programming we, as consumers, have to choose from This is exactly how innocuous new shows become breakout hits: shows like Charmed was decades ago.
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