I decided it was about time I got back to my TV reviews. This time for all you lovely followers its Charmed, otherwise known as one of my favourite TV shows ever. Yet again this is a supernatural show, I don’t know what it is I’m just drawn to it so much because of the fantasy elements and the presence of magic, plus three strong female characters which is always a plus in my book. Running for a successful eight seasons, here is my review of the debut season which bristles with promising charm, thrills and magic. Be warned people, spoilers will follow in my overview of this debut season.
The three Halliwell sisters; strong-willed Prue(Shannen Doherty), sensitive Piper(Holly Marie Combs) and rebellious Phoebe(Alyssa Milano) have all inherited their Grandmother’s Manor in San Francisco. Prue and Piper first move in, later followed by Phoebe who isn’t on the best terms with Prue. Upon moving into the old Manor in which they grew up, a set of mysterious and unusual events leads Phoebe to the attic of the Manor. In it she finds a Book of Shadows, a bound volume for witchcraft. Curious she reads the first incantation in the book, that speaks of the Power of Three. Prue and Piper are skeptical about Phoebe’s claims that the sisters are in fact powerful witches, known as The Charmed Ones and that they descend from a long powerful line of witches. That is until they discover that they each have inherited a power from the spell Phoebe cast; Prue can move objects with her mind, Piper can freeze time and Phoebe receives premonitions of the future and the past. The book says that they must face a world of demons and evil beings in order to protect innocent people and stop the spread of demonic power on Earth. While trying to adjust to life as witches with incredible power, the sisters must also deal with not getting their powers exposed to the outside world( such as Prue’s inspector boyfriend Andy Trudeau( T. W. King) and his superior Darryl Morris(Dorian Gregory) while taking down the evils that they must rid the world of in order to protect many innocent people. As the season goes on, their powers continue to grow and we watch how the sisters must learn to control them and use them for the greater good, and not for their own personal gain. Throughout Season 1 we follow the Halliwell sisters as they navigate their way through battling demons as The Power of Three, personal lives and a whole load of other things, whilst being bound together as the most powerful witches in the world.
The main focus of this season is Prue’s tragic relationship with Andy, Piper adjusting to her powers and falling for Leo(Brian Krause) a seemingly normal handyman who is actually a magical being called a Whitelighter sent to watch over the sisters and Phoebe’s rebellious attitude to magic which often lands her in supernatural trouble. Humour is provided throughout Charmed in the many attempts that the sisters make to ensure that their Wiccan secret is not exposed to anyone. The romantic entanglements of the girls often brings about unexpected consequences, especially Piper falling in love with Leo, despite the powers that be forbidding such a union. Leo may leave for a while to contemplate the relationship and what his magical superiors will say, but the seed has already been sown for his return and what will become one of the romantic touchstones of the show as we later see in the future the love that they share for one another. Prue’s relationship with Andy also gives this season a certain emotional resonance, especially the outcome of the relationship and its effects. After finally revealing that she is a witch and Andy coming around to the idea, he is tragically killed by a demon, which devastates Prue. Prue gets even by vanquishing the demon in question, but the loss of Andy deeply affects her as he was her true love who she will never forget.
People may say that the show is predictable and goofy at times, but it’s extremely entertaining watching the sisters take down the powers of evil on a daily basis. And I mean just look at some of the demons these girls take down; psychopathic hell bitches, sight stealing Grimlocks and a mystical beast called a Wendigo that temporarily transforms Piper into a beast just like it after attacking her. To say it isn’t a blast seeing them kick evil’s ass is a blatant lie. It’s also great when the sisters delve into their past; literally at one point travelling back to when they were children and realizing why their powerful Grams bound their powers. Plus, there’s an excellent opening credits sequence of explosive action and magical paraphernalia of candles, spells and demons . The most prominent enemies in this first season are Rex and Hannah, two demons masquerading as Prue’s smarmy bosses at an auction house and Rodriguez, a vicious demon who will stop at nothing to kill the sisters and ends up providing Season 1 with a tragic ending as he is the one who kills Andy.
The series is given an emotional undercurrent as we witness that bond that the sisters share and how above it all, they are sisters who happen to be witches rather than the other way around. This is further helped by the chemistry between the three main actresses who really gel together to make this a believable trio. Shannen Doherty successfully exhibits tough strength, hard determination and an inner vulnerability as the eldest sister Prue, who aside from battling literal demons has other personal ones to deal with. The main things are the relationship with Andy and how she tries to hide her secret from him and the wounded memories of her father leaving her when she was younger, plus her sense of loneliness that arises from her mother’s mysterious death. Holly Marie Combs embodies the caring and sensitive personality of the middle sister Piper, who is often mediator between her two other sisters when they are engaged in a disagreement or skirmish. Out of the three, Piper is the one who we are shown to feel sympathy for as she does crave a normal life once again. Although this could have made the character become whiny, because of Holly Marie Combs performance it becomes sympathetic and very human. Rounding out the trio is Alyssa Milano, who provides humour, playfulness and charm as the youngest sister Phoebe. Many of the hi jinks that the sisters find themselves in this season somehow relate to Phoebe as she learns about not abusing magic. Being the youngest, Phoebe’s free-spirited attitude is often a cause for magical concern because of the way she attempts to use it trying to help others, but the result backfiring. Out of the sisters, Phoebe is the one who embraces their destiny the most, even if it puts her at odds with her other sisters.
T. W. King plays Andy very well and provides an outsiders suspicion of the sisters, especially Prue who he deeply cares about but is not sure what to make of her as she keeps popping up in many unexplained cases. I must say that his death really is tragic and is the first major one we see committed by a demon on someone the girls care for. Andy is character whose death really hits the viewer hard as he’s basically a nice guy trying to do his job, who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time trying to protect the woman he cares about. Dorian Gregory is wryly humorous and curious as Andy’s partner Darryl Morris, while Brian Krause gives warmth and tender strength to the role of Leo, the girl’s guardian angel for lack of a better word who falls deeply in love with Piper.
And now starting with this review for TV, I will feature a rating for each of the episodes in the season, from A to F.
- Something Wicca This Way Comes – A+
- I’ve Got You Under My Skin – B
- Thank You For Not Morphing – C-
- Dead Man Dating – B+
- Dream Sorcerer – A
- The Wedding from Hell – F
- The Fourth Sister – C-
- The Truth is Out There and It Hurts – B+
- The Witch is Back – A-
- Wicca Envy – A
- Feats of Clay – D
- The Wendigo – A
- From Fear to Eternity – A
- Secrets and Guys – B
- Is There a Woogy in the House? – B+
- Which Prue is It, Anyway? – B-
- That ’70s Episode – A
- When Bad Warlocks Turn Good – B
- Out of Sight – A+
- The Power of Two – C
- Love Hurts – B+
- Déjà Vu All Over Again – A+
Watching the first season of Charmed once again and it bringing so many great memories back to me, I really look forward to what Season 2 has to offer.