Charmed (2018) Pilot Review + Fan Theory

Sisters Mel and Maggie arrive home to find their lives have been turned upside down with the death of their mother. Things become even more complicated when a girl, Macy, shows up on their doorstep claiming to be their long lost sister. With emotions running high the trio soon find they have a destiny as powerful witches. They are the Charmed Ones.

Charmed is a 2018 remake of the 1998 series that started Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, Shannon Doherty and later Rose McGowan as the titular Charmed ones.

I grew up with the original Charmed watching it, for the most part, from start to finish and even checking out the Zenoscope comics that continued the series after the TV series ended in 2006. It’s safe to say that I was a big fan of the original series, with its theme of sisterhood and demon ass-kicking.

So, I was totally on board when there were rumours about a new Charmed series being on the horizon. I have to admit, like everyone else I did think that it would be a continuation of the original story. Maybe something that followed Piper and Leo’s children Wyatt, Chris and Melinda along with Phoebe and Paige’s but it wasn’t. It was meant to be a whole new Charmed with a new cast, a new story. It was a reboot. I was intrigued, I was interested and yet I was weary. Reboots don’t tend to have the best reputation nowadays do they? So, I decided to be cautious.

The big PINK Witchy Elephant

First, let me talk about the elephant in the room. The amount of hate that this series has gotten from the fans of the original. I get they wanted to continue the story of the Halliwells, I would have loved that too, but the series was continued as a comic book and that series is pretty damn good. The Halliwells’ story was already told, it was about the sisters, not about Piper’s sons or the other children they had. It was about three women who were in their mid-twenties growing up and dealing with all the issues of relationships, heart break and motherhood, while kicking demon ass. As far as I’m concern their stories were told and it was told beautifully. There is no more story to tell. It wouldn’t have been Charmed if it followed the children of the Halliwells’ because the children weren’t Charmed, the sisters were.

And then there was a whole issue of what was going on behind the scenes. From Prue’s actress Shannon Doherty leaving due to issues happening behind the screens with production to the Charmed set being fraught with drama and feuds between the lead actresses. Things haven’t exactly been at its best. Granted I’m glad they brought my favourite show to life, but that kind of toxicity has boiled to the new show and to actresses who had NOTHING to do with the drama that went before them. I can totally understand why the network would want to forgo contacting the OG cast and start fresh with a completely new cast. And to be honest anything the Network did would never live up the legacy that was the Original, there would still be fault, there would still be issues and the OG casts’ behaviour (sans Alyssa Milano) towards the new show kind of made it worse.

Do I believe that all the hate is justified? No, I personally don’t think so. It’s a new series with a new continuity for not only the older fans but mostly for a new audience. It’s a new story with a new line of witches who are under the Charmed mantle, who were given the opportunity to carry on the amazing Charmed name. As a fan of the original I am grateful to even have another Charmed on my screen, it was something that I never thought would never happen.  That being said, I hope they bring the original actresses back to at least have cameos because that would be awesome. Maybe even use it to deepen the lore of Charmed if they can get the actresses on set long enough to not want to tears chucks out each other.

Something Wicca This Way Comes …Again

So let’s get onto the review. There is so much to talk about, I could honestly talk for days about this pilot.

What did I like? I liked the characters I liked that there was no real magical reason behind Macy (played by Madeleine Mantock) coming back to the town where she was born, it wasn’t a spell that brought her there, it was a bit of that great friend that helps everyone out, nepotism (it is hinted that their mother wanted them all to meet but never got a chance to do that) and that’s always good in my book. The mystery behind Macy is why her mother gave her away, I can’t wait to find out why. It might be because it was safer for her or she thought it was a better life for her. Whatever the reason I like the character. Macy is clearly the scientist of the group, she seems to believe that there has to be a scientific reasoning behind what is happening with her. I also like that, because it’s something new that was never actually touched on in the original series. Using science to come up with solutions for a supernatural problem. Piper did have a moment after finding out that she was a witch when she had a kind of conflict of faith and she thought she would be struck down by God for touching the handle of a church door, but that was it. It was never fully explored beyond that. I hope with Macy being a scientist they can pushed further with this story point showing that there are two ways to deal with a problem and use her to come up with interesting new solutions to defeat evil.

Middle sister Mel (played by Melanie Diaz) is hard as nails, she straight punched a guy in the face (he deserved it). She is part of the LGBTQ community and when her mother dies she doubles down on what she knows best, Women’s rights. I like that Mel thinks that her mother was murdered and the reason was this scandal that was going with one of the teachers at the university and she use that, albeit in an unhealthy way, to cope with her mom’s passing by throwing herself into something that her mother was a part of. I liked Mel, she’s angry and the fact that her powers only work when she isn’t angry and when she feels the need to control things is hilarious to me. You powers are indeed judging you, Mel. That being said, some of Mel’s characteristics do rub me the wrong way a bit, the fact that she is on the extreme side of being an SJW (social justice warrior) and damn near close to be a feminazi. However, I feel like this is a flaw that will allow Mel to grow as a person, allow her to be vulnerable and open up more as a character, especially when it comes to the only male she interacts with, Harry Greenwood their whitelighter.

Maggie (played by Sarah Jeffery) is the baby of the trio. She just started college and really wants to be part of a sorority, whether it’s the need to belong to something bigger than her or because she thinks it something cool is yet to be seen. I just know that Mel’s powers aren’t the only one judging her. She also feels that she is the one to blame for her mother’s death because she ignored a text from her mom which asked Mel and Maggie to return to the house immediately, a regret that she still holds. Mel’s powers are the biggest change, its telepathy instead of premonitions like in the original, and that brings us to their powers. Mel at the moment for me is the least developed of the sisters, in that regard she is very much like the OG character she is based on. I hope she gets a lot more development in the future, and we will see what she can really do. As far as I can see Macy is the brain, Mel is the brawn and … Maggie? I don’t actually know what Maggie is right now. All I know is that she cares very much about other people think of her, and she really wants to be accepted by her sorority sisters.

Telekinesis, Freezing Time…and…Telepathy?

I loved the powers from the original, especially they started to grow and develop, although I always thought that Phoebe got shafted in the powers department. Everyone else’s were active and Phoebe had to learn to fight as a way to defend herself, she, in my opinion, remained the least powerful Charmed one for a long time until she got Empathy then her powers became more active. In this series, they started right out the gate by giving all sisters an active power, and they work differently to the OG Charmed. During the OG series, I got the impression that Prue, Piper and Phoebe inherited their powers from their mother, Patty, who seemed to have all three (the ability to freeze time, telekinesis and premonitions). Here their powers are more based on who they are as people. Macy has telekinesis, this is because as a scientist and her mind is her strength. Mel has control issues so when she feels helpless she feels the need to control a situation (it’s just that it manifests itself as freezing time) and Maggie just wants to be accepted by everyone, she cares a lot about what others think of her, hence telepathy. I like this about a new Charmed. The powers are their representation as people.

A New Whitelighter and He’s British…

Another thing that is completely different and that I love is Harry Greenwood (played by Rupert Evans). Along with Phoebe’s powers, I thought at the beginning Leo was kind of weak whitelighter. Over time he grew, yes, but you never felt the OG girls really respected him much, especially after he got married to Piper. I get that his whole story was falling in love with his charge and being a father and then later on it was abandonment issues with Chris (his son). While that’s all well and good as a whitelighter, Ehh Leo was not that great.

He pretty much existed to be a mysterious and to heal the girls whenever they got themselves in trouble. Just like the new Charmed Ones, the OG Sisters were new to their craft and well, Leo was meant to teach them but he barely did that, hell they hardly ever listened to him. That is where Leo and Harry differ. You get the sense that Harry not only takes his job seriously but he wants them to take it seriously. Harry is instantly more proactive going as far as to kidnap the girls and tie them down so he can make sure he has their attention. It was Harry who explained who they were and what they meant to do as well as what was expected of them. Harry also seems to be a lot more proactive and a lot strict, not afraid to snarky or put the girls in their place when needed. The person he buttheads with the most is Mel, because of her head strong, feminazi thing she has going on. It will be interesting to see the way things work out. Also, they are trying really hard to say ‘these two are never going to get together’. Yeah, Charmed I get it, I mean you did make her a lesbian, I don’t think she would ever go, ‘Oh my god, I am suddenly in love with my whitelighter’.

What’s not to like?

So, are there any negatives? Yes, there are. The gender politics stuff can get a little grating at time, particularly when it comes to Mel. Look, I get it, she’s an ultimate badass feminist. I get that’s part of her character but I can’t help but roll my eyes every time, she spouts some gendered targeted insults. It is annoying and please don’t let it stay in the show forever! I get there was a point behind it

 

It was a part of the pilot a kind of #MeToo reference. A student accuses a teacher of sexual harassment and ends up in a coma  and the girls’ mother was the one who convinced her to talk. I get that it was being topical, and part of Mel’s charm is that is she a very strong willed feminist, and thankfully after the first episode that point is dropped since we were catching it at the end of the saga. It wasn’t a huge negative but it was still a negative none the less.

 

Overall I enjoyed the pilot for the new Charmed, I am a fan of this one, I enjoyed everything about the original and now, finally, after years of not having Charmed on our screens again, It’s back and I love it. It might not following on from the story but it feels like Charmed and I can’t get enough. It feels like Charmed but has its own thing, going off in its own direction, and but that I hope it’s around for another eight years.

The Theory

I have a little theory, I don’t know if it makes sense, but I’d like to know if it does.  Looking back at the OG series, I can’t help but wonder about what if there were different Charmed Ones? Just give me a moment to explain. What if the Charmed Ones is name given to three powerful witches, who are siblings who have the ability to wield the Power of Three? They aren’t one set of Charmed Ones but are multiples but some just aren’t active yet.  There are a chosen family who have three witches born to a powerful witch one who has the gift of foresight. When one family completes the task they were activated for, they are allowed to give up their powers and live a normal life, giving up their duty as the Charmed ones to another family. Because the OG mom foresaw the death of Prue, she had another child, Paige, knowing that their Charmed Ones battles weren’t finished. She then gave Paige away to keep her existence a secret from evil so she wouldn’t be targeted. In the end since the Halliwell Charmed Ones have completed the ultimate battle given to them they were rewarded with a normal life able to have children and continue on without the fear of demons coming after them meaning that they gave up the titled as Charmed Ones and the duty moves onto another family, this time the Veras.  Just a thought.

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