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So the first four episodes of the new Charmed reboot have aired and I’m ready to start forming some solid opinions.
My first thought when I watched the Pilot episode was of how different it was, my second was about all the similarities. And there are many similarities. Three sisters, all with names starting with the same letter (this time 'M’ instead of ‘P’), one is only a half-sister (this time the oldest, not the youngest), discover they’re witches after the death of a matriarch (their mother, not Grams). Even the order of their powers is the same, the oldest has telekinesis, the middle sister can freeze time and the youngest can read minds (not getting into the inconsistencies and lack of continuity of Phoebe’s powers).
The differences are plentiful too of course, and this is definitely a show that’s been updated for the more modern times. Including the fact that the middle sister, Mel played by Melonie Diaz, is gay, the oldest sister, Macey played by Madeleine Mantock, is mixed race, and none of them is white, including the youngest sister, Maggie played by Sarah Jeffery. But at its core, it’s still a show about sisterhood and totally awesome powers and saving the day from evil.
Of course, you can compare the two shows all you like, but as with all things, I think this new Charmed deserves to be judged on its own merits and not on how well it stacks up against its predecessor.
I know that the fact is a lot of fans of an original will never be okay with a remake, but I’m not one of those people. The fact that I do like the new Charmed doesn’t lessen the place that the original has in my heart. Really this series is just giving a new audience the chance to see this story play out.
The problem here is that in this new day of television, shows are being cancelled more quickly and more ruthlessly than ever, and I’m just not sure that this new Charmed will be safe from the axe. The original show ran for eight seasons with a total of 178 episodes, and I just don’t think the current climate of television is going to allow for that kind of longevity. But I do like to be proven wrong about these things, so maybe we’ll see.
It’s possible the show is self-aware enough to know that they really have to grip and excite their audience because they definitely haven’t eased into things at all. Straight away we were told that the Charmed Ones were the key to defeating the Source of All Evil (you’ll remember the Source from the original show) and stopping the apocalypse, really just jumping right into it. Although it has led to some witty commentary on the current state of the political climate in America, which I enjoy immensely.
Still, it says a lot about our current culture of streaming services and instant gratification that this new Charmed has to dive right into the action just to keep us interested in coming back for more. Because no show is safe and any dip in ratings will be enough to see a new show ended before it really has a chance to prove itself.
We can only hope that this is one new show that will be given the chance to grow into itself and really let us get to know these new witches and the world they live in. Because I for one am excited to see where this is going.