I was all set to hate the Charmed reboot. The original wasn’t a brilliant show by any means, but it was one of my favorite supernatural dramas growing up. Obviously, that means I was wary of the show getting rebooted just so the CW could cash in on a known IP. But strangely enough, this pilot works really well.
The best thing about this hour is that it focuses on the bond between our trio of sisters despite the fact that they’re witches. Their bond takes precedence over everything else, and that supplies this debut with a whole lot of heart. All three actresses are terrific (Melonie Diaz as Mel is my favorite at the moment), and share an easy chemistry from the start. The script is also very timely with its Donald Trump references and a whole lot of #MeToo (definitely an appropriate choice with the female empowerment nature of the show).
Of course the CGI isn’t great (funny, that the original also suffered from cheap effects back in the day), but the empowering essence of the show’s premise is effectively recreated. Surprisingly the reboot even improves on some elements. Harry, the girls’ Whitelighter, is already infinitely more amusing than Leo ever was. Brian Krause never really had much to work with in the original – he was always so vanilla. Harry, on the other hand, gets a lot of the pilot’s best lines, and there’s the ominous layer of him potentially hiding some secret. Nice!
I could lose interest very soon if the show becomes too monster-of-the-week, but for now, I’m on board!
Potions & Pieces
– The original Charmed wasn’t terribly progressive. Now one of the sisters, Mel, is a lesbian. She’s dating Nico, a cop (another nod to the original with Prue dating Andy). Kind of a cliché dynamic though.
– Hilarious moment with Mel flapping her hands about trying to freeze Harry. It felt like a nod to Piper’s freezing gesture.
– The demon dog. What a visual!
– So why were the names changed from Piper, Prue and Phoebe to Mel, Macy and Maggie? I liked the Ps.
– I kind of like the fact that Phoebe’s premonitions were changed to telepathy for Maggie. This power’s a ton more fun.
– The only truly terrible moment in this pilot: Maggie saying the cringeworthy “consent” line to her friend-turned-demon. It’s extremely forced.
– How adorable is it that Mel feels left out that she couldn’t use her powers and kick ass with her sisters?
– The fact that Macy never met her slain mother is a great nod to Paige joining the show in season four and meeting her sisters.
– Not much of a surprise with the demon being the sleazy professor who was reinstated after the sexual assault charges. Also, why did he transform into the Night King from Game of Thrones?
– The ending with Harry being potentially evil is definitely a fake-out right?
Harry: I read your article in Critical Inquiry. Very well-written, if a bit hostile. Reading it made me feel as if my penis had been torn from my body.
Mel: Untie us right now, or else –
Harry: No “or else” necessary. Let me get those for you. I know, it’s all so extreme with the grabbing and the binding. Believe me, I’d love to have just sent out a group text.
Macy: Then again, it did fly across the room And there has to be a scientific explanation.
Harry: Uh, yes, there is, it’s called molecular witch-etics.
Macy: You’re not funny.
Harry: Particle witch-ology?
Maggie: So this means I really was reading minds?
Harry: A testament to your innate sensitivity, or desperate insecurity.
Mel: Was Mom a witch?
Harry: Bingo. And part of my speech.
Harry: The Ancient Oracles predicted three signs of apocalypse. The first, “When the weakest of men “reaches ill-gotten glory”, “and,” oh, God, this goes on and on. The language is far too flowery for my taste. But suffice to say, it’s your current president.
Harry: Bad news, looks like something in the underworld knows you three had your powers activated. I was wrong.
Maggie: If you’re wrong, what’s the point of calling you?
Harry: A paradox for another day.
Maggie: Is he?
Harry: Dead? Yes.
Mel: Why didn’t he disappear, then?
Harry: Oh, no. This must be the kind of demon where you have to do one last thing to get him to disappear. Crack the neck, remove the eyeballs, eat the intestine. (He explodes) Only kidding. Sometimes it just takes a minute.
With a witty script and “charming” performances, this reboot is off to a shockingly good start.