As a teenager growing up, no two shows were more special to me than Charmed and Gilmore Girls. Charmed premiered on the WB in October 1998 and I’ve been an OG fan for almost twenty years. I still watch the reruns on Netflix (which I hate because I can tell where they replaced the music they no longer have the licenses for), have the limited edition DVD sets even boxes of VHS tapes from a pre-Internet life where you couldn’t download or stream the next day… I genuinely love this show. It’s always been a big part of my life. We’ve been #blessed to finally have the Gilmore Girls revival this past November and now it seems another blast from the past is back. Here’s the thing though: the headlines are saying “Charmed reboot” but the fine print is saying “re-imagining” of the original series. I have complicated feelings about this reboot because it seems like a scam and publicity grab.
This isn’t the first time a Charmed spinoff/reboot/revival has been in the works. During the series’ original run, two projects had been discussed: a spinoff starring Kaley Cuoco’s character the atrociously annoying Billie Jenkins and another featuring Piper’s grown up sons – Wyatt and Chris. The Charmed Sons spinoff got the axe for being too close to another content on the CW, Supernatural (which YES is STILL on the air) and Kaley passed on the project and landed the Big Bang Theory (which is also STILL on the air). Somewhere in there EP and noted mountain troll Brad Kern tried to sell a show to the then WB about mermaids. Three years ago, CBS also tried to rework another pilot that never even got a pickup order. Charmed premiered in 1998, so almost two decades later it seems this version of a reboot might actually go somewhere. Half of the Charmed Ones have already given their input, which doesn’t really read as excitement or approval.
Per TVLine’s Ausiello, the reboot is being penned by Jane The Virgin EP, Jennie Urman. Anyone who’s watched the adventures of Jane Villanueva knows that Urman is competent at crafting fulfilling stories of well rounded female characters.
The original run of Charmed was a lot of white people. The new pilot will feature one of the main three leads being an African American character called Tina, with an unofficial character spec reading a watered out version of Phoebe, I guess she’s the ~bad girl~ of the trio.
Tina: African American. Whip-smart, Tina is one dissertation (and one dissertation advisor) away from a PhD. She can be reserved, even standoffish, in uncomfortable situations, but she picks up on
everything and she’s definitely making quick, accurate judgments about you.
Again per Ausiello: “the potential series revolves around three witches who are brought together to fight evil in a small New England town circa 1976.”. This is not Charmed. Any Charmed stan knows that in the 1970s, Prue, Piper and Phoebe were toddlers and Paige had already been adopted by the Matthews family unbeknownst to her half-sisters. Depending on how far into the 1970s they start the reboot, Patty Halliwell could very well be already dead. The original series was set in San Francisco. There was even an entire episode about the Charmed Ones traveling back to the 1970s, aptly titled: That 70’s episode where Phoebe meets her mother for the first time
A prequel to Charmed in the same timeline the original four already exist and set in a completely different state? More and more this seems like a separate entity with literally nothing in common with the original. According to the spec released today, the three leads aren’t even sisters, which as Constance Burge (creator of the original series) maintained the credo of the show is that it’s based on sisters who are witches, the sisterhood came first. There doesn’t even seem to be any correlation to the family tree of the original series, no connection to Melinda Warren or anyone in the Halliwell line.
One of the characters is called Paige. This makes no sense to me cause the name Paige is not even proprietorial to the Halliwell line, Paige was named by the nun that Patty and Sam left her with after her birth. The names Prudence, Penelope, Patricia, Melinda, Astrid, Helena, Laura and Grace are the names of the witches in the Halliwell-Warren timeline. (Bonus points to anyone who knew exactly what spell does names came from ;-))
The character description makes her sound like Rose Nylund. Which is…. not what I want tbh. I’m assuming they want this to be their Piper-esque character but she has barely anything in common with the original.
Paige: Caucasian Cheerful, curvy, wholesome and as all-American as the apple pie she can’t wait to serve to the husband she has yet to marry. Paige’s main goal in life is to marry a rich doctor and be a wife and mother.
And just to round out the third lead Annie, which reads like a budget version of Prue:
Annie: Caucasian. Intense, smart, and quick to anger. She dresses neutrally, though she could give two s–ts if you like her outfit, so stop wondering what “neutral” means. But under that tough façade, well… there is a fragility. A person desperate to be loved, and love.
It doesn’t seem to have any involvement with anyone from the original. A reboot of a cult classic usually acknowledges the original that came before it, especially with the CW which heavily featured original cast members for their reboots of Melrose Place (Heather Locklear), 90210 (Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling) and most recently The Flash (John Wesley Shipp, Mark Hamill). You can’t call this Charmed without Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano or Rose McGowan. It’s just unacceptable.
If you were ever going to do a Charmed prequel, it should have something to with the original. Why isn’t this about a twentysomething Penny Halliwell? Penny Halliwell married literally eight times, was extremely powerful and hilarious af. It could very well be a series based on Penny and her early days as a witch with supporting characters as diverse casting. Penelope Halliwell is the HBIC. I mean exhibits A -Z:
This show seems a lot like false advertising and trying to manufacture buzz to compensate on nostalgia. I’m not too keen on that kind of fraudulence. It’s baiting the fanbase on an already established entity to push a completely different show. Even fast-forwarding the prequel route, Phoebe Halliwell ended the series having three daughters, Piper had three kids, Paige had two twin daughters and a son. Why not honour the show with its actual mythos? It’s lazy to capitalize on source material that you’re not even honoring. The show on its own is probably gonna be great but don’t call it what it isn’t. It’s not a show about sisters or a generational prophecy… It’s most definitely not Charmed.