Charmed Series Premiere Review: Warm, But Promising

I’ll be the first to say that I wasn’t overly excited about this show. No, that’s a lie — I wasn’t excited at all. The original Charmed was my baby, one of the most important shows of my life, and when I heard they were making a new one, I was livid. How dare they mess with my favorite show?

And then, to make matters worse, they promoted this reboot as a “feminist, current version” of the original with latinx witches taking centerfold. Excuse me? A feminist version? As if OG Charmed wasn’t one of the few female led shows of the late 90s/early 2000s, that gave young girls, like me at the time, a notion of what female empowerment looked like and how badass it is to be a strong, independent woman who knows what she’s fighting for. I mean, what the hell kind of promotion is that? You don’t shit where you eat, TPTB. And as Sidney Prescott once said, “first rule of remakes, don’t fuck with the original”.

So it’s safe to say that I wasn’t thrilled. I went in yesterday ready to hate it, I’ll admit to that. But you know what?

It’s not that bad.

Trust me, no one was more surprised than me. It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be. There is definitely a lot of room for improvement — especially acting-wise — but it was fun! I caught myself laughing out loud several times and just generally had a good time.

Who would have ever thought?

The story is kind of similar to the Halliwells, once Paige joined in. There are two sisters, Mel and Maggie Vera, and their mother dies mysteriously one night, apparently falling out of their attic window in a freak accident. The thing is, their mother knew something was coming for her and, before she died, she unbound her daughters’ powers and called for her third child (and firstborn, whom she had never told anyone about) to come back to town, so they could all be reunited and accept their destiny as The Charmed Ones.

The power of three

I liked all three sisters. Mel was probably the most well developed character in the pilot, but Maggie was still my favorite. It’s impossible not to compare to the OG Charmed Ones, but I liked what they did with their personalities and quirks, obviously drawing from the original characters, but also making it their own versions.

I was surprised that Mel was the one who was super into being a witch, because she seemed to be a rule follower and strict and a very not-coloring-outside-the-lines kind of character. But since her mother’s death, she was convinced that it hadn’t been an accident and apparently witchcraft makes total sense when you can’t explain the unexplainable in her book.

Her power to freeze time is really different from Piper’s in the original. For one, it already seems to be much stronger than Piper’s was initially. And what I was really surprised was that the sisters’ powers work on each other. Maggie can hear her sisters’ thoughts and Macy can use her telekinesis on her younger siblings as well. That was a departure and I’m definitely wondering where they are going with it.

I loved Maggie. As the youngest, I thought she was funny and lighthearted and I actually really loved that they gave her the power to read thoughts instead of premonitions. She was the one that I was expecting to be all over this being a witch thing, but she surprised me by completely rejecting it and being the last one to accept their destiny.

As for Macy, it’s too soon to tell. But I love that she’s a woman of science and that she wants to scientifically explain everything, including magic.

The Charmed Ones of 2018

I really enjoyed how they incorporated modern technology into the show. Texting wasn’t really a thing when the original first aired, and neither was social media, so I loved that this was seamlessly incorporated into the narrative.

Current events also made it in and I laughed out loud when Harry said that Trump being elected was the first sign that the apocalypse was coming. That and the fact that Mel is an advocate for women’s rights and equality only endeared the show to me. I loved that she drilled into Maggie’s head that you can change your mind about consent at any time, and that the youngest actually used it to fight off a demon.

Latinx representation, my ass

Look, I get it that it was a smart move to play the representation card. While I was pissed off about the “feminist spin” part, I actually had really liked the fact that they were going for a full latinx family of witches. That would open doors to so many incredible stories and it would mean the world for latinx viewers, such as myself, to see three kickass witches on my screen that were like me. That was the one thing I was happy about when it came to this reboot.

They promoted the hell out of this, even going as far as stating on record that this was really happening and that latinx characters would be front and center on the show. But then, they go and cast only one latinx actress out of the three leads.

I mean, what the hell?

I’m sure it wasn’t for a lack of latinx talent on the market, so why, WHY would you do this? Why promote your show with a latinx representation flag when you didn’t even have the decency to cast latinx actors?

You had a lot of good things going for you, Charmed. But this is unacceptable.

Final thoughts

  • I kind of love and hate that they tried to pay homage to the original. It felt like a little too on the nose sometimes and, if you’re trying to do something different, then do something different. The house, for instance, is so similar to the Halliwell manor that it just made me miss the original even more. The demon plot was also very similar to the original pilot and don’t even get me started on that vanquishing scene, that looked almost identical to the OG show. So yeah, have I mentioned I have very conflicting feelings about this?
  • What the hell is up with that Whitelighter? One, I don’t trust him. Two, I really hope he’s a demon posing as a whitelighter, because if he’s not, then I absolutely hate what they did to the whitelighter mythology. Why doesn’t he orb? What the hell kind of power was that? Why was he so quick to introduce himself as a whitelighter? Why is he so obnoxious?
  • If this reboot is completely unrelated to the original story, then why was Melinda Warren on the first page of the Book of Shadows? If the Vera sisters are descendants of the Warren line, what does that mean for the OG Charmed Ones? I thought there could only be one trio of witches.

Anyway, the verdict is that I kind of like it. I am cautiously optimistic that this might be a good show, after all. But, please, PLEASE, don’t mess with the original.

Charmed airs on Sundays at 9/8C on The CW.

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Luciana Mangas

30-something Brazilian journalist. Crazy about TV. Currently in love with DC and Marvel superheroes, that tattooed lady from NBC, clone conspiracies and dystopian futures. You can reach her at @lucianamangas on Twitter and talk about how much you love TV as well. Or puppies. Puppies are cool too.

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