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On October 7, 1998 no one knew a show about three sisters finding out they were Witches would be the second highest rated show on the WB—now The CW—(behind 7th Heaven). And no one knew how impactful this show would be for not only Pop Culture but for the entire history of television!
Charmed survived eight seasons putting out 178 episodes, making it the second longest running show featuring a female lead cast—Desperate Housewives knocked them into second place in 2012 with 180 episodes.
The show followed three sisters Prue (played by Shannen Doherty), Piper (played by Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe Halliwell (played by Alyssa Milano) as they live in their family house located in San Francisco. Six months after the death of their grandmother, Phoebe returns home from New York City, a decision which causes the eldest sister Prue to grow bitter. Phoebe was the youngest sibling and of course considered the "screw up." But Phoebe finds the magical "Book Of Shadows," reads the inscription unaware it's actually a spell, and as soon as all three sisters are under the same roof in their family home, their powers are awakened, causing them to find out they are a powerful trio of Witches named "The Charmed Ones"! They are gifted with their abilities in hopes of protecting all Mortals AKA Innocents, from Demons, Warlocks and Evil Beings who want to harm not only the Innocents but also steal the powers of The Charmed Ones!
The series depicted each sister dealing with several issues (like Love, Careers, Death, saving Innocents, repairing their house which is always getting destroyed, and of course, surviving Spells they always seem to be put under from time to time) but one issue that always plagued them was the idea of what their lives would truly be like if they were never Witches.
Meet the sisters:
Prue is the eldest sister of the Halliwell siblings.
She possessed the power of Telekinesis, Empathy (for a short amount of time), and Astral Projection.
She always looked out for her sisters and it was revealed many times throughout the series that when her mother, Patty, was murdered by a Water Demon, she stepped up and helped raise her sisters because their father, Victor (a Mortal) wasn't present throughout much of their childhood.
Prue had one stable relationship with a Detective named Andy. He was a friend who had been in the sisters' lives when they were young.
At the end of Season 3, Prue and Piper's lives hang in the balance as they are attacked by a very powerful Demon named Shax, but it's revealed in the season 4 premiere that Prue died during the attack.
Her death changed the direction of the show for the next five seasons but she will still remain my second favorite Halliwell Witch.
Being the middle child is never an easy thing.
Piper was always stuck in the middle of bickering Prue and Phoebe at times but she always found her voice and footing.
With the power to freeze time—later she is able to blow things up as well—she uses her powers to save those who need to be saved, but it's not as easy as it looks.
Piper ends up falling head over heels with the Halliwell's White Lighter, Leo, and it's a relationship the Elders—council for Magical Beings—don't approve of (until later on). During her relationship with Leo she is seen trying to prove to the Elders she is capable of being in a relationship and still remaining one third of the Charmed Ones.
Eventually, she and Leo marry but before they can enjoy their honeymoon the death of Prue turns her life upside down.
This causes Piper to go from the middle child to the eldest and her attitude shifts drastically. She becomes more vocal and sarcastic as time passes by, she is able to control her abilities—it's not easy wanting to freeze someone but then you accidentally blow them up—and when she gets pregnant with her first child, magic definitely begins to plague Piper's life in ways she couldn't imagine.
And it's never surprising to see Piper Halliwell on various lists of the "Greatest," "Powerful," or "Amazing Witches" from time to time, either from Buzzfeed, Rotten Tomatoes, or other various sites.
And yes, she is my favorite Halliwell Witch.
Let me start off by saying how Phoebe didn't get the greatest powers on Earth!
Her powers were Premonitions (which could only be activated when she touches something concerning that crime or murder) and even that power wasn't enough because the Tribunals end up taking her powers of Premonitions away (in season 6 episode 19) because she would try to force her visions by touching items. They are restored the next season though.
Another power she receives is Levitation, which causes her to fly up to a certain height, and Empathy which causes her to feel the emotions of others.
Because of her lack of defensive powers, she starts to learn Martial Arts—a trait that Prue takes up too off screen.
Her love life hasn't been too great as well.
She has some dates that come and go and aren't even worthy of remembering names, but she ends up falling for D.A Cole Turner (I won't spoil anything about him for those who haven't seen this series.) But she does end up questioning love a lot!
Paige had big shoes to fill when Prue died... well, less Paige and more of McGowan and the writers.
When Paige was added we didn't know if she would fit with the chemistry Milano and Combs already established in the three previous seasons, but she fit right in. Paige, on the other hand, had a lot to prove to Piper—who wasn't so welcoming as Phoebe was.
Paige is revealed to be the youngest Halliwell sister but she is Matthews because of her adoptive parents. Paige is half Witch and half White Lighter.
She has the ability to Orb (teleport), a gift the Halliwells do not possess because they're from her White Lighter father. She also has the ability of Telekinesis like Prue, but unlike the eldest Halliwell, Paige has to call out the name of the item and swing her arm in the direction she wants it to go to which it does in blue orbs.
It should be noted that Paige goes through various hair colors throughout her five seasons (brunette, red and short, blonde, and back to brunette) and there are jokes about it every time it changes. This was noted by McGowan last year who said:
"There was an edict from the studio that none of us was allowed to cut or colour her hair without permission from the studio president. I thought that was some serious bullsh**. As I was about to return for my second season on the show, I dyed my hair red without asking permission. Oooh. The studio got wind of it and flipped out, of course."
Charmed for me will always remain my all time favorite Witch show. The second will be Sabrina The Teenage Witch and although I'm 28-years-old, I can proudly say I've watched a few episodes of Bewitched and I didn't hate it.
This show made it possible to portray strong female characters in a way that humanized them instead of sexualizing them. These sisters didn't bicker over a guy and sure they fought with one another—even by using their powers—but they managed to always save the day and forgive each other.
The writers weren't shy from having these ladies go toe to toe with various male antagonists as well. Sure, no Charmed episode is complete without the sisters getting flung across the room like rag dolls, but in the 90s seeing a modern woman—regardless of being a Mortal or Witc—standing her ground and showing her strength was a huge deal and it's inspired many men and women today.
Of course, when I heard the CW was in talks to bring back Charmed I thought, just like everyone else, we would be getting a spin off featuring the Halliwell children... but when I saw it was going to feature three all new sisters named Mel, Maggie, and Macy I lost it!
Not only was it unnecessary to reboot a show that is still in syndication (Charmed reruns can be seen on POP!, TNT, and even on Netflix). But also any Charmed fan would know the last sisters we dealt with who had the letter "M" were the evil Mabel, Mitzy, and Margo Stillman:
I also thought it was weird for the CW to advertise the reboot as "Latina Witches" when the original Charmed never dealt with race and none of the actresses in the reboot are Latinas.
I did watch the pilot of the reboot and within 15 minutes I gave up on the show.
Call me "old" but I'd rather enjoy the original show, which by the way dealt with the same themes the CW is saying their reboot is dealing with. The original dealt with feminism (many times), there were some Gay characters that popped in and out at times (there should've been more because it was set in San Francisco), and family.
The original show is getting some love from the toy company Mego Corp who produced all three sisters as dolls and released them a few months ago!
These dolls are exclusively and only sold on Target.com. I got Piper and Phoebe in store but Prue I got online after the site said she wasn't available in stores.
Each doll is about $11.99 (I got Prue on sale for Christmas). They each come with a tiny Book Of Shadows! Paige was advertised on Piper's box so we might get a Paige doll soon, Mego Corp hasn't said anything, but Prue's doll surprised me because Doherty hasn't given any other figure making company the rights to her likeness.
The sisters do have other figures but they're not as easy to find and if they are, they are very expensive!
Charmed is even kicking butt in the comic world as Zenescope Entertainment created season 9 and 10 as full on comic books/graphic novels. This series even brought back Prue in a very interesting way!
With Holly Marie Combs (Piper) and Brian Krause (Leo) still attending various Comic Conventions to this day, it isn't shocking that Charmed will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
Maybe it was the magic, the actresses, the stories, the action, the drama or the jokes, Charmed was a show that kept all of our interests and is still enjoyable on weekends when we just want to binge watch something.
And sure this show had its flaws—like killing Prue, fixing Phoebe up with various men that lacked any real chemistry, the quick change of Chris' storyline (I omitted him from this article because of major spoilers), or the addition of Witch Billie (played by The Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco. Seriously she wasn't a character I cared for and in the series finale, her crying scene was awful!) Charmed showed that no matter what happens in life, we always need a little bit of Magic to make it better.
So if you enjoy Netflix's The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and have never watched Charmed, then go stream it on Netflix. You will definitely find something to love in it!
Now I leave you with something we hardly see anymore in shows: theme songs! Charmed's theme song to be exact. Enjoy the nostalgia!