By T. Mack
Anyone young and impressionable in the 90’s who was into television knew who Aaron Spelling was. The man made TV magic. He would gather groups of beautiful people together, turn them into intriguing characters with interesting problems and put it all on screen for the rest of us to watch and enjoy. Following his success with shows such as Beverly HIlls 90210 and Melrose Place, he gave us something new in 1998. Created by Candace M. Burge and produced by Spelling, Charmed told the story of a group of young, sister witches. The women promptly cast a spell over audiences and continued to charm them for eight seasons until 2006. Here are a few of the reasons this show was so bewitching:
Charmed was a show about sisters who were witches. So there was magic. Lots of it. From spells to potions to the Book of Shadows to Magic School (which wasn’t quite Hogwarts but was still pretty cool). On top of all that, there were also magical and mythical creatures around every turn. And as much as my Baptist minister father wishes it wasn’t so, I do love good tales filled with magic. He grieves for my soul and prays for me because of my love of Harry Potter. I haven’t told him about this show. I dread to think what he might say if he knew that I own the entire series on DVD and binge-watch it twice yearly.
2. SISTER LOVE
The creators of Charmed very intentionally made it a show that wasn’t about three witches who were sisters, but instead about three sisters who happened to be witches. Because of this, it was the relationship and love between the sisters that was the foundation and heart of the show. It drove everything they did. And after three seasons, that foundation was shaken. The dynamic between the sisters completely changed, turning the fourth season into a refreshing renewal for the series. It was like a different version of the same show, with almost everything you loved about the original with just enough change to stir things up.
3. GIRL POWER
The sisters of Charmed were the incredibly powerful witches destined to fight the most formidable forces of evil that ever existed. And they did so not only with their powers, but with their minds, their sheer determination and a butt-load of badass. The character of Phoebe even studied martial arts through most of the series and would battle the big bads in hand-to-hand combat even when she had no active powers with which to fight.
The sisters of Charmed were not the hags from Macbeth. They were young, hot, single ladies living in San Francisco, California in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Because of this, they saw plenty of action not only in their war on evil, but in their personal lives as well. Each had her own string of romances, heartbreaks and missteps in love. Some relationships lasted only a single episode. Others lasted seasons. And one in particular lasted from nearly the beginning of the series until the very end. It was a romance that set the standard for all others on the show. It was the one that all the fans spent nearly a decade rooting for. It’s the one we root for still when we find ourselves curled on couches re-watching this series on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Which brings me to…
5. PIPER & LEO
That romance that helped define and shape Charmed through eight whole seasons was the one between Piper and Leo. It showed the complete and total evolution of a relationship from first glances and shy flirtations to marriage to children to counseling to separation to loss to renewal. All the things that happen in the course of regular relationships happened in the course of this one. And while there were magical problems that sometimes cropped up, what made this relationship so great was that the vast majority of the issues, disputes, arguments and problems within it were the normal kind. Even in a world filled with magic, married people bicker over money and fight about the kids and slam doors on each other. This relationship somehow managed to add a certain magic all it’s own to the entire show.
6. MAN CANDY
With three young and available sisters trying to find their way through love in the modern age, there were bound to be men around. However, this show’s casting director made certain that the parade of men were all healthy and attractive. These girls were 9s and 10s and they didn’t date down. Which was good for them and us.
Who says you can’t kick butt and look fabulous doing it? Not the creators of this show, that’s for sure. Beginning some time in the second season, the sisters shed normal necklines and full sleeves for ample cleavage and tops that held onto them by nothing more than thin straps. Shoulders, backs, bellies and breasts were on display in a major way. And that was just their everyday wear. That doesn’t even count the many costumes. Yet somehow, even with all that hanging out, the ladies managed to look stylish as opposed to trashy. How? I dunno. It’s magic, I guess.
Speaking of costumes, let’s talk about all the times these characters were turned into something besides themselves. They were goddesses, superheroes and Valkyries, though not in that order. Piper once became a Windego, Phoebe turned into a mermaid, a banchee and a genie, Paige was a nymph and a vampire and Pru became a man and a dog. That’s just off the top of my head. There were more. Each of these incarnations let us see a different side to the characters, allowed the actresses playing the roles to branch out and show their range and gave us cool costumes at which to gawk (and sometimes laugh).
One of the fun things about watching Charmed was the mythology of it all. There were rules to the magic and mythology behind all the creatures. When a creature would circle back around later in the series, the established mythology was respected. All series involving magical creatures don’t have that kind of consistency.
10. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
The characters we meet at the beginning of this series (or at the beginning of the fourth season) are very different from the ones we must say goodbye to at the end of the show’s run. They have grown, matured, developed and changed. They walk, talk, think and act in ways that reflect what the characters have been through over the years. After taking the journey of eight seasons with them, it’s really satisfying to see these changes. It helps the audience feel as though we have grown and matured with them over time.
Charmed is a great show, even now. If you’ve never watched it, I recommend checking it out. If you have watched it, I recommend you take a couple weeks to binge-watch it again. There’s still more magic to be discovered. I guarantee it!
Have you watched Charmed? Do you love it, too? Tell us your reasons in the comments.