by T. Mack
If you know me, you probably know I love, love, and love me some Charmed, the WB/CW show from the late 90’s about 3 sister-witches who fought the forces of evil. I own the entire series (a complete 8-season set) on DVD and watch it at least twice a year. I have featured the Halliwell sisters here on the site in a stand-alone article and as part of a piece about fictional witches. In the latter, the lesson that I advise you to take away from the group is that you should not be defined by your powers (skills, knowledge, or talents). Instead decide who you will be and use your powers to show the world who you are. The show was (and still is) so good that you can pull wonderful nuggets like that out of it even while you enjoy the outlandish costumes, cheesy dialogue, dramatic sibling rivalry, outdated special effects, and wonderful late-90’s/early-00’s tropes.
After years of rumors, deliberation, and false starts, the CW network has decided to move forward with a reboot of the series. And I am NOT here for it. Here’s my case against the Charmed reboot:
Despite airing from 1998-2006 and being off the air more than a decade, the original Charmed series still has a devoted and outspoken fan base. We enjoy the show to this day, revel in any opportunity to talk about it, and adore all four of the actresses who brought the Halliwell sisters to life. When the CW first began rumblings about rebooting the show several years ago, we were vocal about our desire that they NOT take that action. The series was wonderful as is and we frankly have little to no confidence that they can do it justice, make any improvement upon it, or even give it the respect it is due. So instead of seeing them butcher the legacy of the series, we asked again and again for them to abandon the idea of a reboot altogether. For years our wishes were granted and the project stalled. However, in May of 2018 it was announced that the network had finally developed a new version of the series that they were satisfied with and they would move forward with the series reboot for the 2018-2019 TV season. We fans are less than thrilled.
Too Many Remakes
Since we’re on the subject of this reboot, let’s talk briefly about the fact that there are far too many remakes and reboots these days in general. McGyver, One Day at a Time, Lost in Space, Queer Eye, and Dynasty are just a few out right now. To be honest, I watch at least two of those and I like them, but I think most of us can agree that TV (and movies) are relying a bit too heavily of remakes and reboots these days and losing some of the fine art of original content-making. Even when we like the remakes, reboots, and revivals, it’s kind of a shame that such a large percentage of our current entertainment seems to be turning us into mindless cattle chewing on our regurgitated cud.
Do Reboots Right, Please
While there are too many remakes, they’re not all bad by any means. The best of them honor their source material and the people who made that material great. Given our choice, fans would have wanted any Charmed reboot, remake, or revival to launch from the characters and story established during the eight years of episodes that we’ve watched and loved for 20 years. The CW has chosen to completely ignore that entire foundation, though, and simply regurgitate the premise without honoring that source within the story. While that’s bad enough, they’ve also remained completely unattached and separated from anyone and everyone who was involved in any way with the original series, despite the fact that those people are still around and working in the industry. There are no writers, producers, crew, or cast from the original show involved in the reboot at all. So essentially, the CW has taken the hard work of the people who came before and without crediting them in any way, represented it as their own. Yes, the network does own the rights to the show, its logo, and its premise, so what they’ve done is legal. However, it’s also disrespectful and rude. To top it off, the trailer came out last week and showed us a series that is taking shortcuts to establish what the original series took the time to earn. Without acknowledging the other series, it’s stealing the premise and stomping all over it at the same time. It’s kind of like the way DC tried to emulate Marvel in setting up superhero movies, but took a shortcut and dumped everyone into a rushed film without taking the time to properly set the characters up in their own movies first. And the entire enterprise suffered for it. It looks like this new Charmed endeavor is heading the same direction. There had to have been a better way to make this reboot happen so that fans and previous cast and staff might not have felt so disrespected by the process and the result.
Original Cast Outcry & Disrespect
The first time the CW spoke out about rebooting Charmed, the concept was a spin-off prequel of the original show that would be set decades before the events of the original series. This meant that the original cast could not have been involved but at least their story would have been recognized as part of the overall lore of the world represented by the new series. The cast from the first series was rather quiet, but did offer their well-wishes to the project. However, the spin-off never saw the light of day. For years, rumors circulated about the possibility of a remake. It seemed that every pilot season brought renewed interest in the project. In January of 2018, however, things looked different. This time, it wasn’t just rumors. The network was definitely trying a reboot again. They had a new concept and a new script that was completely removed from the original show. They announced the new show as “fierce, funny, and feminist” in a description that seemed to suggest the original series had not been those things. In case you were wondering, it definitely was! The original cast was pissed. Holly Marie Combs, who played Piper for all eight seasons of the original series, took to Twitter and let it be known in no uncertain terms that she did not approve. Shannen Doherty, who was featured on the show as Pru for the first three seasons, also commented on the “offensive” description. Both ladies have clarified, however, that they wish the production well. However, it seems pretty clear that they, like the fans, do not have very high expectations that this new iteration can stand up to the caliber of the original.
We BEGGED for Another Show!
I’m especially hurt over Charmed being picked up for the new TV season by CW because while fans of the original series asked them repeatedly not to make the show if it was going to be disconnected from the original, they chose to make it anyway and pass on the series for which we’ve been begging for 5 years now!!! The long-running CW sci-fi series, Supernatural, has outlived it’s intended lifespan by 8-going-on-9 seasons (it was supposed to end after season 5 but season 14 begins this Fall). For several of those extra years, the fans have been requesting a spin-off featuring some of our favorite ladies from the show. We asked for a #WaywardDaughters show, named for the Kansas song, Carry on My Wayward Son, which is heavily featured on the show. The network seemed to listen to us and began discussing plans in 2017 to give us our series. They called it Wayward Sisters and we “squeeeeeed” with delight. They built a back-door pilot into the 13th season of Supernatural and we all tuned in. We were ecstatic to see the whole team of 5 badass ladies come together and set up what we thought was going to be our favorite new show of the 2018-2019 TV season. We were ready. We even had merch up on Etsy.com! Then, earlier this month, the CW pulled the rug out from under us and announced that they would pass on Wayward Sisters. But good news, they were greenlighting Charmed! And we all went…
WHAT? THE? ACTUAL? MOTHERF—ING HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!?!?!?!
The level of rage is such that it’s actually unreasonable to have for a television series. And yet, I have it. It’s real. And I’m not the only one. My fellow fans are enraged with me. And we are still campaigning to #SAVEWAYWARDSISTERS!
And in the meantime, I also have to battle my feelings regarding the atrocity that I believe is coming in the form of the Charmed reboot.
The Bottom Line
The original Charmed series was great. I don’t believe the new show can or will do justice or respect to the source material. The preview for the new series looks and feels (to me) like a piss-poor substitute trying hard to fill shoes it should have left alone. It’s possible I’m wrong. But even if I am, why toss out the show we’ve spent years begging for while giving us the show we asked you not to make? None of it makes sense and I don’t appreciate it at all.
All that being said, though, I have to encourage everyone, including myself, to give the new show a chance. The new series creates jobs. Yay! It allows a new generation to (hopefully) fall in love with the concept that had such a profound impact on many of us starting 20 years ago. And maybe, just maybe, it will surprise us all by being just as magical as its predecessor. I doubt it. I actually don’t think so at all. But miracles sometimes happen. At any rate, I guess it deserves the chance to try. So when it premieres this Fall, I’ll begrudgingly give it a shot and watch the pilot episode. Because I believe if new witches came to town, the Halliwell sisters would give them a chance to show us what they were all about. So I suppose I’ll do the same.
Did you watch the original Charmed series? Are you upset or excited about the new show? Do you think fans are overreacting about the new reboot? Tell me your thoughts on these questions and regarding the trailer in the comments below.