Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Modern Classic: Charmed (1998)

Two years after Sabrina, the Teenage Witch had conquered primetime, the WB network decided to jump into the fire, if you will. However, their idea was to do a fantasy/crime drama, which served pretty well for 8 seasons.

Charmed, created by writer Constance Burge and produced by Aaron Spelling's production company, was bounced all over the dial during its 8 year run, and continues today on cable (WE-Women's Entertainment-is one of the rights holders), which would explain CBS' boneheaded decision last week to commission a new version of the series, cashing in on the success of current fantasy series, such as FX's American Horror Story: Coven. 7 years have passed since we said goodbye to the Halliwell sisters, as far as first-run episodes go, but that doesn't seem to matter, apparently, considering that Hollywood is almost totally bankrupt from a creative standpoint.

Charmed started with three very familiar stars: Holly Marie Combs (ex-Picket Fences) as Piper, Alyssa Milano (ex-Who's The Boss) as Phoebe, and Shannen Doherty (ex-Beverly Hills 90210) as Prue. The sisters possessed the "Power of Three", which they needed pretty often to turn back supernatural menaces. Prue was killed off at the end of season 3, leading to half-sister Paige (Rose McGowan) replacing Doherty, though she's included in the modified open we'll see shortly. The ladies owned a nightclub in San Francisco, and had ties to certain of the SFPD. The series did attract some interesting guest stars, including Robert Englund, who guest-starred in season 4. There was also a crossover of a sort with World Championship Wrestling, which sent grapplers Scott Steiner, Marcus Bagwell, & Booker T to make a guest appearance as villains in season 3. Of the three, Bagwell had the most acting experience, having made some low budget films while with WCW.

Love Spit Love recorded the show's theme song. Lead vocalist Richard Butler had previously been with the 80's band, the Psychadelic Furs:

One other note. After leaving the series, Doherty went on to be the first host of SyFy's Scare Tactics, and Julian McNamara (Cole/Balthazor) left to work on FX's Nip/Tuck, then got back into the fantasy business in the 2005 "Fantastic Four" movie.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

This show was (and to a degree still is) a fave of mine!

According to sources, Charmed is one of the most popular shows downloaded on Netflix! It has a fan following long since going out of production.

I'd been watching from day one and the first 3-4 seasons were best. Of course I stayed to the bitter end and that meant a LOT of drek! Most Charmed fans blame the show's downfall on producer and co-writer, Brad Kern who became showrunner after series creator, Connie Burge was pushed out. Word has it he's a bit of a misogynist and it was due to his influence that Prue was killed (SD and AM were not on good terms during Season 3 and allegedly there was heard the old threat, "Either she goes, or I do!") and the series became unrecognizable from the earlier seasons.

Though far from perfect, the series was entertaining - even when it was going downhill.

BTW - Cole was played by Julian McMahon. He actually left this show BEFORE getting cast on Nip/Tuck - he was tired of the repetitive plots given to the character. He took a risk but it paid off.

Shannen Doherty unfortunately seems all over the place - most recently, she did a commercial for "Education Connection" - an earn a degree online program. She's also done some voice work for a cartoon series called, "Mari/Kari" which is about a pair of twin sisters (she voices both).

I'd heard about the reboot and my thoughts are mixed. It's obvious Hollywood is out of original ideas, but it's a bit soon to reboot this show. I and other fans wanted a sequel series - starring Chris & Wyatt (Piper's sons) set decades in the future. Unfortunately, no one picked up - some suspect it's because of the current series, "Supernatural".

I might tune in just to see what they will do with it.

hobbyfan said...

I made note of Julian McMahon leaving for Nip/Tuck in the first post. Trust me, that was a good move; doing FF wasn't.

I think you may be right about a sequel being left out because of Supernatural---although if it were a Spelling/CBS Entertainment (nee Paramount/Viacom) property, that would've been a better choice than Supernatural----and that they could wait a few more years before dusting this off. Your notation about Netflix may help explain the alleged "need" for a reboot, though.