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The New Charmed Reboot: Is it Worth Watching?

As a huge fan of the original WB’s Charmed, I went into the new CW’s Charmed very cautiously. I had serious doubts. Not to mention, I was seriously irritated that the new Charmed was being hailed as a “feminist reboot.” What does that even mean? The original Charmed was already extremely feminist and a positive show about sisters.

So, I went into the new Charmed with low expectations. And, unfortunately, my original setbacks turned out to be true. Instead of the mature feminist subtlety of the original scripts, we were treated to a heavy-handed all men are demons script. It was so over the top and ridiculous. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As I wanted to be objective as possible and see the new Charmed as a separate entity, I decided to watch a few more episodes before giving it a verdict. Thankfully, I can say, Charmed is improving though I seriously doubt it will ever be as beloved as the original. The new sisters (and their love interests) just don’t compare to Prue, Piper, Phoebe, and Paige.

Charmed – The New and Familiar Story

Charmed 2018 Review
Melonie Diaz as Mel Vera, Sarah Jeffery as Maggie Vera, and Madeleine Mantock as Macy Vaughn.

Charmed has definite similarities to the original. The story follows three sisters who discover that they’re witches and the Charmed Ones. The power of three is back, but this time, the show begins with a Paige like twist. You see, the eldest, Macy, never knew her mother. She was given up for adoption. So, when she realizes her birth mother is dead she decides to go see her sisters for the first time.

Now, not only are Mel and Maggie dealing with the tragic loss of their mother (instead of Grams), but they have to come to terms they have a new sister and the three of them are witches! Macy has Prue’s telekinetic power, while Mel freezes time. Meanwhile, the youngest, Maggie is an empath that can read minds. This makes for a drastic change to the storytelling of the series. Several of the stories unfolded through Phoebe’s visions. How they will continue forward without this gift should prove interesting.

In the first episode, the newfound sisters are kidnapped (yes, seriously) and tied up by their Whitelighter Harry who mansplains to them that they are witches. Sadly, unlike the original, the sisters don’t get the chance to figure out their identities on their own, but rather must rely on Harry for information. Ironic in a feminist reboot that the original is actually more feminist. Here, a man does all the work. It’s strange to say the least. I suppose they wanted to combine Charmed with Buffy? Harry really feels like a combo between Leo and Giles although he isn’t as successful as either.

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Harry, played by Rupert Evans (period drama fans will recognize his familiar face), should be unlikable. Indeed, he’s bossing the girls around all the time. However, because the actor is good (and because later episodes throw in a lot of characterization), I personally feel like he’s the most interesting character. I would love to see him get a romance (either with a new character or with Macy as the other two sisters won’t work [one’s a lesbian and the other way too young]). I miss my Leo/Piper Whitelighter forbidden romance. At this point though, I’m not sure I’m going to get one.

Once the girls become more accustomed to their witchy powers, the sisters must then defeat their first demon. Of course, he also just so happens to be a professor accused of sexual misconduct. The whole thing’s a bit cringy and funny because Harry does all the figuring out while Mel rants against the patriarchy. How the writers miss this is beyond me…

By the end of the first episode, Macy moves in with her new sisters. And yes, they live in a Victorian mansion. (However, no familiar has shown up yet. Sadly.) They also decide to solve the mystery of their mother’s death. Who tried to kill her and why? Why did she never tell them they were witches? And, why did she give Macy up for adoption?

The Sisters and The Power of Three

Charmed 2018 Review
Madeleine Mantock plays the rational sister Macy Vaughn

While the actresses don’t have amazing chemistry as sisters, they are correcting the lack of chemistry in later episodes. So far, Macy works best as a character. I understand her rational scientist behavior and her coldness. She has a lot of protective walls and that makes her interesting. As for Maggie, I get her. She’s the modern sorority girl that loves social media and just wants to fit in. I don’t relate but other younger girls will.

The character that I like least is Mel. She’s too much of a stereotypical angry feminist barking at everyone. Mel can be so over the top that her behavior can be cringe-worthy. Thankfully, she started toning down in episode four so I hope that continues in the same direction. The writers need to make her feel more like a real person (they’re getting there in episode four) and less like a representation of a political viewpoint. A little tweaking can improve the show tenfold. But so far, Mel is no Piper.

The Charmed Mythology

Charmed 2018 Review Harry
Rupert Evans as Whitelighter Harry

In the original, the magic mythology slowly unfolded while the sisters learned more about magic, demons, and evil. At first, Piper didn’t know Leo was a Whitelighter. And, the Charmed Ones didn’t know about the Elders right away. They also didn’t have control of their newfound powers. The sisters worked for everything SLOWLY.

As for the reboot, everything gets handed to the new power of three (and the audience) on a silver platter. Harry reveals his identity in the first episode. By episode four, the first Elder arrived. Furthermore, the sisters all seem to have a good handle on their powers. Mel uses her freezing power with ease and a wave of the hand. No big deal.

On a different note, the tone of the show feels drastically different. Original Charmed started out as a campy urban fantasy with detectives (Andy you’re still missed!) solving strange murders. Except for episode four, the detectives do everything off-screen. Again, this is another huge misfire because we feel less invested in the story. Plus, the vanquishing of demons is so much less fun.

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At least the writers are attempting to make the show feel new I suppose. The mythology of Whitelighters and the Elders feel particularly foreign. The titles are the same but everything else thus far diverges from the original mythology  Indeed, the girls’ mother was an Elder and an Elder that arrives in episode four is very much in the human world. There’s nothing about angels and more an essence of Witch Hierarchy which I’m on the fence about. But that could just be because I’m comparing the two.

On a fabulous note, at the end of episode 4, the always fantastic Craig Parker (Reign and Legend of the Seeker fans rejoice) arrives on the scene as a mysterious demon. Can he be the new Cole? Pretty please? I kind of have this theory that since the girls’ mother had the power of prophecy (Phoebe’s gift) that perhaps in the past he loved her. And now he’s on a Byronic mission of revenge…Okay, so I’m totally just putting my wishes into this because of the actor. I can’t help myself, but that would be pretty awesome, right?

The Romance

Speaking of romance, I loved many of the swoony romances in the original Charmed. Andy and Prue, Piper and Leo, and Phoebe and Cole were my personal favorites. These were love stories that kept us invested because they were epic. In the reboot,  I feel nothing and root for no one. The love interests so far are snores with blank personalities. I mean, how does Niko (she’s a cop) compare to Andy? She doesn’t because we don’t know much about her. And I don’t even know Macy’s lab partner’s name or the two names of Maggie’s 2 college guys so far. The second seems a little better than the first?

That all being said, it’s very possible my initial response and rating will change a few more episodes into the series. Romance needs time to build and bloom. Hopefully, everything will come together in the end. But, as of right now, the romances are fails. Everything just seems hollow, empty and rushed.

Overall Thoughts

As a huge fan of urban fantasy, I’m willing to continue watching the reboot because the genre itself rarely gets time to grow before cancellation. Plus, Charmed does have potential even if it doesn’t compare to the fun witchy show we loved before. I’m at least in this for Craig Parker. I’m curious to see how his character will play out…

What are your thoughts on the new Charmed? Sound off below… 


Photo Credits: CW

OVERALL RATING

three corset rating

“Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce

me. Aren’t you?”

ROMANCE RATING

(room for improvement)

two heart rating

“I have not the pleasure of

understanding you.”

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By on November 12th, 2018

About Autumn Topping

In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely blog and works as a YA Librarian.

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9 thoughts on “The New Charmed Reboot: Is it Worth Watching?”

  1. Nope the new charmed is not worth watching, unless you want your eyes to bleed. The acting and the chemistry between the actresses is absolutely beyond horrible. It’s so uncomfortable to watch . I was an advid fan of the original. I was watching both of them on Netflix yesterday and the new one just doesn’t have what it takes. It changed its night to Friday nights and according to some people I know, it’s in 1am in the morning in the UK… It needs to be cancelled cause it’s just embarrassing to watch.

    Reply
    • Well, it did improve though still not nearly as good as the original because the romances are terrible and the Charmed Ones are not nearly as likable. However, I really like the Whitelighter in this new one. Harry is by far what keeps me tuning in. I’m also hopeful for next season because new showrunners are taking over. The showrunners are previously from “Salvation” which I really liked. So, crossing fingers for improvement. Losing the wimpy demon Cole wannabe would be the first on my list to cut!

      Reply
    • I just want to say thank you. Those were my exact thoughts when watching the first episode, like a faux feminism slog. But I seen a character recently that interests me and reminds me of the good old days. I was hesitant to watch further but I think I’ll give it a try after reading this. Hopefully it improves as you mentioned from the first episode.

      Reply
  2. I have been watching the new Charmed on Netflix, as a Huge fan of the original I have tried to watch with an open mind. I will admit the draw for me was the big Demon badie Alastor Caine played by Craig Parker. I loved him on Reign and heard he was on Charmed.
    My biggest issue so far with the new Charmed is as follows: The original Charmed was about 3 sisters who find out they are witches and how to navigate in their new world, and how to use their new powers. The new Charmed is more about 3 witches who happen to be sisters. In the original the Power of 3 was emphasized I mean even Pipers club was named after it. In the new Charmed the sisters rarely do vanquishes together, each seems to pretty much follow their own paths and happen to live in the same house, because of this I don’t feel the chemistry between the sisters at all. I continue to watch because I am hoping it improves but so far I am less than impressed.

    Reply
    • Yeah, I think one of the greatest things about season one was Craig Parker. He’s always fantastic. And I agree with your assessment. Thankfully, they’ve almost completely rebooted Charmed for season 2. They replaced the writers, moved the location, and the sisters’ bond seems stronger. While it’s nothing like the original Charmed, it’s now at least an entertaining urban fantasy series. Season one just wasn’t good. Season two is a fun watch so far, in my opinion – especially since they’re doing better with the romance and mythology.

      Reply
  3. I realize I will probably catch alot of flak for this but someone needs to say it.. many shows nowadays are reboots. They just take an older successful show and try to adapt it to “fit modern standards”. Basically, from what I’ve seen that means, has to be “ethnic”, have one bi-racial cast member and one homosexual. Let me say I have no problem with any of that but forcing that formula on every show makes it a situation of tokens and it’s not natural or entertaining in that context. Shows should be about whats entertaining. Not just what fills the blanks. Every new show, we watch for the tokens that we expect in every show.. and always find them. Please start focusing on storyline and not just what checks all the marks on a list. Please understand that I just want an interesting story on its own. Not one built solely to showcase trending topics. I’m here to be entertained.

    Reply
  4. I just started watching it (peeked at it last year and wasn’t interested) and find I love it now! They keep saying this year is a lot different from last season so I’d give it another shot! There’s an interesting Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde thing going on with Harry and feelings between he and Macy which some fans recognized last year but which really come to the forefront this season. Wasn’t a huge fan of the original (found it pretty campy, sorry) so my expectations were not high, but I’m really enjoying this one!

    Reply
    • While I don’t like it as much as the original series, I think season two has improved the series a lot. And I enjoy it a lot now. It’s a fun show and I’m enjoying the Harry/Macy romance. 🙂

      Reply

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