Charmed

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Charmed
a dark blue triquetra over a darker blue background that fades to black near the edges with the word "charmed" in capital letters across the center using a light-blue, medium-sized font
GenreSupernatural drama
Horror
Fantasy
Action
FormatSerial drama
Created byConstance M. Burge
StarringHolly Marie Combs
Alyssa Milano
Rose McGowan
Shannen Doherty
Brian Krause
Dorian Gregory
Julian McMahon
Drew Fuller
T.W. King
Kaley Cuoco
Greg Vaughan
Karis Paige Bryant
Opening theme"How Soon Is Now?" by Love Spit Love
Composer(s)J. Peter Robinson
and others
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes178 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Brad Kern
Constance M. Burge
Aaron Spelling
E. Duke Vincent
Camera setupPanavision, Single-camera
Running time40–45 minutes
Production company(s)Spelling Television
Worldvision Enterprises, Inc.
Broadcast
Original channelThe WB
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Audio formatDolby Digital
Original runOctober 7, 1998 (1998-10-07) – May 21, 2006 (2006-05-21)
External links
Website
 
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Charmed
a dark blue triquetra over a darker blue background that fades to black near the edges with the word "charmed" in capital letters across the center using a light-blue, medium-sized font
GenreSupernatural drama
Horror
Fantasy
Action
FormatSerial drama
Created byConstance M. Burge
StarringHolly Marie Combs
Alyssa Milano
Rose McGowan
Shannen Doherty
Brian Krause
Dorian Gregory
Julian McMahon
Drew Fuller
T.W. King
Kaley Cuoco
Greg Vaughan
Karis Paige Bryant
Opening theme"How Soon Is Now?" by Love Spit Love
Composer(s)J. Peter Robinson
and others
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes178 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Brad Kern
Constance M. Burge
Aaron Spelling
E. Duke Vincent
Camera setupPanavision, Single-camera
Running time40–45 minutes
Production company(s)Spelling Television
Worldvision Enterprises, Inc.
Broadcast
Original channelThe WB
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Audio formatDolby Digital
Original runOctober 7, 1998 (1998-10-07) – May 21, 2006 (2006-05-21)
External links
Website

Charmed is an American television series created by writer Constance M. Burge and produced by Aaron Spelling and his production company Spelling Television, with writer-director Brad Kern serving as showrunner. The series was originally broadcast by The WB Television Network for eight seasons from October 7, 1998, until May 21, 2006.[1]

The series narrative follows three sisters, known as the Charmed Ones, the most powerful good witches of all time, whose prophesied destiny is to protect innocent lives from evil beings such as demons and warlocks. Each sister possesses unique magical powers that grow and evolve, while they attempt to maintain normal lives in modern day San Francisco. Keeping their supernatural identities separate and secret from their ordinary lives often becomes a challenge for them, with the exposure of magic having far-reaching consequences on their various relationships and resulting in a number of police and FBI investigations throughout the series. The first three seasons of Charmed focus on the three Halliwell sisters, Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano). Following the death of Prue in the third season finale, their long-lost half sister, Paige Matthews (Rose McGowan), assumes her place within "The Power of Three" from season four onwards.

Charmed achieved both critical and popular acclaim,[2][3][4] with its first episode, "Something Wicca This Way Comes", garnering 7.7 million viewers, breaking the record for the highest-rated debut episode for The WB.[5] During its fifth season, the series became the highest-rated Sunday night program in network history.[6][7] The series finale, "Forever Charmed", ended with a season high of 4.5 million viewers,[8] after becoming the second-longest drama broadcast by The WB. In January 2006, Charmed was declared the longest running hour-long television series featuring all female leads.[9][10][11] The series also received numerous awards and nominations throughout its run and, in 2010, The Huffington Post and AOL TV ranked Charmed within the their joint list of the 'Top Magic/Supernatural Shows Of All Time'.[12] Throughout 2012, six years after it ceased broadcasting, Charmed was the second-most watched television series on subscription video-on-demand services, including Amazon Instant Video and Netflix.[13][14]

The franchise, or "Charmed universe", has been developed into other media, including literature, a video game, and a graphic novel series which, from June 2010, has continued the narrative through Charmed: Season 9, commencing eighteen months after the end of the television series. In October 2013, it was announced that a new re-imagined version of Charmed is in development at CBS.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In 1998, when the Warner Bros. Television Network began looking for new drama series for the 1998–99 season, they approached Spelling Television (which had produced the network's most successful series 7th Heaven) to create it. Expanding on the popularity of supernatural-themed dramas such as the WB's own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the production company explored different forms of mythology to find characters they could realize with contemporary storytelling.[15]

Constance Burge was hired to create the series as she was under contract with 20th Century Fox and Spelling Television after conceiving the drama series Savannah.[15] When the theme of witchcraft was first pitched to her, she was aware of stereotypes of witches (flying brooms, black cats, and warts). After Wicca research, she changed her perspective[16] and aimed at telling a story of good witches who looked and acted like ordinary people. With this, her initial concept was a series set in Boston, Massachusetts[16] about three friends and roommates who were all witches.[15] However, executive producer E. Duke Vincent lacked confidence, asking "Why would anybody want to watch a show about three witches?" He proposed that the series focus on family values and developed the series-long mantra of it being about "three sisters who happen to be witches, not three witches who happen to be sisters." Spelling warmed to Burge's ideas and, after the concept was re-crafted to be a series about three sisters (now living in San Francisco) descended from a line of witches,[16] it was pitched to the Warner Brothers' Susanne Daniels, who liked it, allowing the series to begin development.[15]

The series was titled Charmed after Spelling's suggestion of House of Sisters was dropped. Burge wrote the pilot's script. They filmed a 28-minute version (the "unaired pilot", never aired on network television) with which the series was picked up by The WB. Upon its debut, Charmed received the largest audience for a series premiere in the network's three-year history.[5] The first season of twenty-two episodes was picked up by The WB network after two shows aired.

Casting[edit]

The primary cast members of Charmed are all female, portraying the four Charmed Ones, sisters Prue, Piper, and Phoebe Halliwell, and Paige Matthews. When the series was in its earliest development stages, Shannen Doherty, who previously appeared in a preceding Spelling Television series, Beverly Hills, 90210, originally auditioned for the role of Piper, while Doherty's best friend and former Picket Fences actress Holly Marie Combs auditioned for the role of Prue. When the roles were officially cast, however, the actresses had been assigned each other's characters; in the 28-minute unaired pilot episode, Doherty played the role of Prue, Combs portrayed Piper, and Lori Rom was cast as the third sister, Phoebe. Rom subsequently quit the series, and a new pilot episode was filmed, reusing some scenes from the original pilot, and recasting former Who's the Boss actress Alyssa Milano in the role of Phoebe.[17] Similarly, the character of Andy Trudeau was recast from Chris Boyd in the unaired pilot, to T.W. King, and Dorian Gregory was cast as his detective partner, Darryl Morris.

In May 2001, it was officially announced that Doherty would be departing from the series. The producers originally considered recasting the role with a different actress. Spelling even approached actresses Tiffani Thiessen, who replaced Doherty on his previous series Beverly Hills, 90210, and Jennifer Love Hewitt to take on the role as Doherty's replacement.[18] Spelling revealed to Entertainment Weekly, "Tiffani was our first choice to take over for Shannen — even before we asked Jennifer [Love Hewitt], but Tiffani told us she wants to do a half-hour comedy."[18] Hewitt also declined the role. Producers then decided to kill off the character of Prue and replace her with a long-lost younger sister named Paige Matthews, played by film actress Rose McGowan, in favor of having "a fresh face" join Charmed.[18] Spelling stated, "[The character's] going to be the long-lost sister Alyssa and Holly never knew [they] had. And wait until you see what we came up with to explain why she's been lost: Nobody ever knew she even existed."[18]

Executive producers[edit]

Executive producers Aaron Spelling and Duke Vincent maintained their roles until the series ended. Burge became an executive producer when she was hired to create the series and write the pilot. After the short "unaired pilot" was shown to the WB and the series was picked up by the network, Kern was recruited as the fourth executive producer and as the show runner in order to decipher how the series would develop over the course of its run. While Kern remained with the show until its end, between the second and third seasons Burge was not an executive producer. She remained as executive consultant until the end of season four when she left Charmed.

Writing and format[edit]

Scripting was done by a large number of writers. Kern did the most writing, with a total of 26 episodes, as well as directing one of them. The writers with the most writing credits other than Kern include Daniel Cerone, Curtis Kheel, Zack Estrin, Chris Levinson, Krista Vernoff, Sheryl J. Anderson, Monica Breen, Alison Schapker, Cameron Litvack, and Jeannine Renshaw.[19] Burge wrote seven episodes for the first and second seasons before leaving her position as executive producer. Scripting was carried out after group brainstorms took place, discussing the events of the episodes, the emotions of the characters, and the mythology involved. Robert Masello, an executive story editor for the series, credits himself as the only demonologist hired for a series, in order to add his experience to the storyline.[20]

Charmed is the only show that has a licensed fully bonded demonologist, which is me, on staff and as a result because I've written books about demonology and the occult of witchcraft, I'm there to answer questions about how a demon would behave.

However, as Combs revealed in The Women of Charmed documentary, the series aimed at following a mythology created by fantasy, and not adhering to Wiccan rules too closely, for fear of coming under criticism for either not being "technically correct enough" or missing the truth completely.[20] Between the second and the third season, Burge left, leaving her former position to executive producer Kern. Burge remained as creative consultant until season four.[21] Burge's departure resulted in changes in the story structure of the show, from a "demon of the week" system to using third- or half-season-long story arcs. In addition, more importance was given to the protagonists' personal lives. The serial connection of episodes culminated in the second half of season four. Despite the ratings increasing during season four's final story arc from 4.19 to 4.21, Warner Brothers asked Kern to abandon the serial system. This led to the largely episodic structure of season five, and resulted in the two systems being balanced from the sixth season onwards.

Logo and symbols[edit]

A Triquetra, the series' logo as seen throughout the show.

During the show's run, the Warner Brothers Television Network used two official logos to represent the series. The first was used during the first and second seasons and featured the name Charmed underlined and with a triple-aspect symbol above it. The second logo was introduced at the start of the third season and remained until the series ended. It was written in a different font and is still underlined and sometimes featured a triquetra above the name. This logo was designed by Margo Chase. Although the second logo replaced the first in all promotional material by the Warner Brothers, such as posters and television adverts, the first remained to be used on official merchandise after the third season, including on the covers of the novel series, the DVDs, the official Charmed magazine and the Charmed Comics.

Theme song[edit]

The theme song for Charmed is American alternative rock band Love Spit Love's cover version of The Smiths' song "How Soon Is Now?".[22] The theme song was replaced by generic hard-rock instrumental music in the season eight DVD because the license for "How Soon Is Now?" expired and efforts to renew it in time for the Region 1 release failed.

This instrumental theme is used on all 8 Seasons on Netflix.

Plot[edit]

"Before Melinda was burned at the stake, she vowed that each generation of Warren witches would become increasingly stronger, culminating in the arrival of three sisters ... the most powerful witches the world has ever known - The Charmed Ones."

Phoebe Halliwell, "Something Wicca This Way Comes" (series premiere)
(Written by Constance M. Burge)

In 1998, after the three sisters' (Piper, Phoebe, Prue) grandmother dies, Phoebe moves from New York to the Halliwell Manor to live with her sisters. When Phoebe comes across the family's Book of Shadows (a family heirloom book containing centuries of knowledge, spells, and magic learned or created by the Halliwell matriarchs), Phoebe learns that she and her sisters are the most powerful witches ever known in the history of Witchcraft and the world, destined to protect both innocents and the world at large from demons, warlocks, and other evil creatures. Phoebe, reasonably thinking the book is a novelty, reads the book's initial inscription—an inscription which also happens to be the incantation which activates the Halliwells' "Charmed" powers once all of the sisters are back at the manor.

The fictional Halliwell Manor located at Carroll Avenue in Los Angeles, California. However, in Charmed, the manor is said to be set in San Francisco.

By the end of the first episode, each sister learns that she has a unique power and that they can each cast spells and brew potions. Prue, the eldest, had the power of telekinesis—(the ability to move objects with her mind), and in season two she develops the power of astral projection. Piper, the middle sister, has the power to effectively "freeze" people and objects. As she grows more proficient, she learns how to freeze only certain people or objects or body parts, as she wishes. In season three, her powers grow even more, as she is able to make molecules move so fast they explode. Phoebe, the youngest, initially possesses the power of premonition, which evolves into being able to receive visions of both the future and the past. She later picks up the powers of levitation in season three, and empathy in season six, the latter allowing her to sense and tap into others' emotions and sometimes, powers.

During the first two seasons, the sisters would face various evil beings from week to week. However, they discover in season three that their true enemy is The Underworld's ruler, the Source of All Evil. Prue is later killed in the season three finale by The Source's personal assassin, Shax. While grieving Prue's loss, Piper and Phoebe discover that they have a half-sister—Paige Matthews, who had been the secret love child of the sisters' witch mother and her guardian angel ("Whitelighter"), Sam Wilder. Paige's abilities represent her dual heritage as both a witch and Whitelighter; like Prue she possesses a form of telekinesis, but she has to verbally call for objects to teleport ("orb") them to their intended destination. As she learns to control the dual sides of her ancestry, Paige also learns how to orb herself and others, and eventually she receives her own Whitelighter charges to train and protect as they learn witchcraft. Paige, after falling in love with her future husband, develops the ability to heal others with the touch of her hand in season eight.

The Source, responsible for all of the attacks on the sisters, becomes the main villain during season four until he is finally vanquished. After The Source is vanquished, an annual season-long storyline and several antagonists were introduced in subsequent seasons (the "Big Bad" television format). These included Phoebe's ex-husband Cole Turner until mid-season five; the scheming, misguided Whitelighter Elder, Gideon, throughout season six; the Avatarsconsequentalist Utopia-advocating neutral beings— until mid-season seven; the demon Zankou, until the season seven finale; and in season eight, powerful sister witches Billie and Christy, who fall under the influence of the evil demonic Triad (who earlier featured as early-season three antagonists). On top of the supernatural issues in Charmed, the characters had to contend with serious issues in the day-to-day world of the mortals — such as relationships, careers, marriage, childbirth, illness and the deaths of their loved ones. The sisters also had to fight to prevent the exposure of the existence of magic to the community at large, contending with several police and FBI investigations.

The sisters also faced romantic storylines. Prue's featured love interest included Inspector Andy Trudeau, a childhood friend, who dies in the season one finale and a co worker, Jack Sheridan. Piper's central love interest throughout the series is the sisters' Whitelighter Leo; their early relationship was problematic due to the forbidden nature of witch-Whitelighter relationships, and so in season two a love triangle forms with Piper, Leo and her neighbor Dan Gordon. Eventually, the two manage to marry and consecrate their union in season three, and have two sons—Wyatt, in season five, and Chris, in season six. The couple separate due to supernatural circumstances at the end of the fifth season, and later reunite in the sixth; the final episode shows them to have a daughter, many grandchildren, and grow old together. Phoebe's relationship history involved many dates in the first two seasons, and a tortured relationship with half-demon Cole Turner in the show's third, fourth and fifth seasons; they had a turbulent marriage in the fourth, and in the fifth he played the role of an aggressive ex. Phoebe had a number of multi-episode mortal boyfriends in subsequent seasons before meeting a cupid, Coop, in the eighth season, whom she marries and has three children with in the finale episode flashforward. Paige, like Phoebe, had several multi-episode mortal boyfriends, as well as male witch and magic "addict" Richard Montana (season six) and unstable FBI agent-come-Whitelighter Kyle Brody (season seven). In the eighth season, she becomes committed to mortal parole officer Henry Mitchell, whom she marries and—in flashforwards—is shown to have three children with.

Characters[edit]

Shannen Doherty (left) portrayed the role of Prue Halliwell, and Holly Marie Combs (right) portrayed the role of Piper Halliwell.

Main characters[edit]

Alyssa Milano (left) portrayed the role of Phoebe Halliwell, and Rose McGowan (right) portrayed the role of Paige Matthews.

Supporting characters[edit]

Episodes[edit]

The series began its first season on October 7, 1998 and aired for eight years until its finale on May 21, 2006. During its eight seasons, 178 episodes were aired, making Charmed the longest running hour-long television series with all female leads.[23] The series ended following the merger of The WB into the competing UPN network, creating The CW. Each season consists of 22 episodes with the exclusion of the fifth and sixth seasons which contain 23 episodes, including their double-episode premiers and double-episode finales.

Specific Charmed episodes are detailed in the following by-season articles:

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Critical reception of Charmed has been generally favorable and positive. The Entertainment Weekly critic Karyn L. Barr, in her retrospective review of the first season, argued that "for seven seasons, the Halliwell sisters have charmed the pants off audiences with their wonderful Wiccan ways", labelling it as a "crafty cult classic":[24]

Magically delicious the 1st, 3rd, and even 20th time ... this supernatural Spelling series remains spellbinding thanks to its proper balance of quirky humor [and] drama ... die-hard and not-so-die-hard fans will still be charmed, I'm sure.

Entertainment Weekly, January 31, 2005

During the first season, EW writer Ken Tucker, speaking on the comparisons between Charmed and rival series, argued: "spike-heeled where Buffy is fleet-footed, Charmed is Charlie's Angels with a Ouija board". As well as the show's action sequences—describing the Halliwells as "superheroes"—he notes that the series "plays up the stars' separate-but-equal charms" and admires both its "casting and pop-culture timing".[25] The Guardian agrees with Alyssa Milano's description of Charmed as "perfect post-feminist girl-power", praising the balance between action and emotion as the "three sibling sorceresses know mischief, but are accessibly feminine".[26] EW critic Gillian Flynn states that "the charm of Charmed is that it knows what it is: a guilty-pleasure fantasy", and gave credit to its mythology as well as the grounded characterisations of the sisters: "they call otherworldly beings 'dude' and get peeved over wondrous inconveniences".[27]

During the third season, PopMatters' Michael Abernethy credited it as "more enjoyable than most shows in the good vs evil genre" largely due to the strength of the performers. He also recognized the use of humor in creating "unexpected turns in stock storylines [which are] more interesting than one might expect". The monster of the week format is frequent during the early-half of the series, however Abernethy states that, despite this, "the writers tend to explore the sibling dynamics to keep the show from growing redundant".[28] Christel Loar, also of PopMatters, agrees that "episodes go beyond the demon-of-the-week formula to tap into the relationships of the characters and their ... flaws. Charmed... succeeded by combining sisterhood with the supernatural". She also claims that the Halliwells' struggle for normal lives, "stability, and a sense of self is one of the reasons Charmed strikes such a chord with its viewers".[29] Leigh H. Edwards, during the fourth season, asserts that the show effectively "explores some big questions (free will ... who is running the universe)", whilst paying attention to domestic issues including sibling rivalry, absent parents and love troubles.[30]

Reviewing the final season, EW's Aubry D'Arminio asserted "A FITTING FINALE? ... There's nothing like watching our witchy sisters kick evil's tail once and for all". She also described the lack of bonus features on the DVDs as "criminal considering it was TV's longest-running [all-female lead] show".[31] In PopMatters' conclusion of the last season, Jon Langmead argued that the series' run had many appealing elements including "smart casting", and "an attention to relationship drama that was smarter and more nuanced than it ever received credit for":[32]

Largely because of its Aaron Spelling-pedigree, Charmed rarely got notice for, more often than not, being smarter and more entertaining than much of its competition. It never got the critical nods ... but Charmed had plenty to offer and was often much better than it needed to be.

PopMatters, December 4, 2007

Ever since the end of the series in 2006, academics have appropriated its content and released essays and articles pointing out to the fact that Charmed is again more than meets the eye. It has been the subject of several collective books such as "Investigating Charmed: the magic power of TV" edited by Karin and Stan Beeler (I.B.Tauris, 2007) which adopts a gender perspective to carry out an in-depth analysis of third-wave feminism as shown in the series. In 2012, French professor and essayist Alexis Pichard delivered a lecture about intertextuality and postmodernism in Charmed at the Université de Rouen (France).[33]

American ratings[edit]

SeasonSeason premiereSeason finaleTV seasonViewer rank (#)Network rank (#)Viewers (in millions)
1October 7, 1998May 26, 19991998–99118[34]25.5
2September 30, 1999May 18, 20001999–2000120[35]34.7
3October 5, 2000May 17, 20012000–01117[36]24.9
4October 4, 2001May 16, 20022001–02129[37]24.2
5September 22, 2002May 11, 20032002–03128[38]34.5
6September 28, 2003May 16, 20042003–04154[39]24.3
7September 12, 2004May 22, 20052004–05132[40]33.4
8September 25, 2005May 21, 20062005–06132[41]23.5
1–8October 7, 1998May 21, 20061998–200612824.4

Awards and accolades[edit]

Charmed has gathered several awards and nominations.[42] The series was nominated for four Saturn Awards during its run, including Best Network Television Series for its first season and two nominations for lead actress Shannen Doherty. Rose McGowan won a Family Television Award in 2005 for Favourite Sister, whilst co-star Alyssa Milano has been nominated for a Kids' Choice Award, Teen Choice Award and Spacey Award. McGowan, after having also appeared in feature film Grindhouse, won a Spike Award for Femme Fatale in 2007. Holly Marie Combs has been nominated for three Best Lead Actress in a Science Fiction Series RATTY awards, having won once in 2003. Charmed has also received recognition for its young actors, having been nominated for five Young Artist Awards, with guest star Alex Black winning once for his role in the fourth season episode "Lost and Bound".

As well as the success of its cast, Charmed has accumulated awards for its production. The series won two ASCAP Awards for its music composers, Tim Truman and Jay Gruska, and a Hollywood Post Alliance Award for Outstanding Audio Post in Television for its final season. The Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild nominated the episode "The Devil's Music" for Best Contemporary Hair Styling in 2000. Directors of the series have also been acknowledged, including John T. Kretchmer who was nominated for a RATTY Award for the series premier "Something Wicca This Way Comes".[43] NAACP Image Awards, which honors African-Americans, nominated Janice Cooke Leonard for an Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series award in 2006. The series has also received further nominations from the International Horror Guild, TV Guide Awards, Teen Choice Awards, amongst others, for best television series.

The series also received a Certificate of Merit from the Entertainment Industries Council's EDGE Awards which recognizes media that promote firearm safety and discourage gun violence.[44] Charmed has been acknowledged internationally, having being nominated for a Spanish TP de Oro and having won a Cable Guide Award in the United Kingdom for Favourite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series in 2001. Executive producer Aaron Spelling has also won several awards for his contribution to television, including a BAFTA for Excellence in Television, and a Producers Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award.[45]

In 2006, Spelling Television and producer Brad Kern declared that, following the January 22 broadcast of "Payback's a Witch", Charmed became the longest running hour-long series in American television history featuring all female leads.[9][46][47][48] The accolade applies to hour-long television series with multiple female leads (both Murder She Wrote and The Facts of Life ran for longer than Charmed, though the former had only a singular female protagonist and the latter was a 30 minute sitcom).[9] Executive producer and show runner, Brad Kern, stated that "it's a remarkable accomplishment ... It's something we're all immensely proud of",[9] whilst lead actress Rose McGowan described it as "a huge achievement".[49]

In 2000, Cult TV Awards placed Charmed within its top 100 cult television series of the century at number forty-four.[50] The depiction of witchcraft in Charmed has also had a significant impact on popular culture. In 2008, the religious organisation Beliefnet accounted the Charmed Ones as the eighth most significant fictional witches in history, behind the Weird Sisters from William Shakespeare's Macbeth and the Biblical Witch of Endor. Beliefnet praised the cultural image of Charmed for its female empowerment, mythology and how the sisters "managed to solve their cases" week-on-week.[51] The previous year, AOL Television ranked each Charmed One within its top fifteen of the greatest witches in television history — Paige twelfth, Prue ninth, Phoebe seventh and Piper third.[52]

Impact on television[edit]

"It isn't enough anymore for a show to just reveal "woohoo, she has some powers!" That's where shows such as Buffy and Charmed really have had an influence. They've spoiled us. Anyone who has watched those shows expects there to be some powers, some magic, some supernatural twist. What really needs to get moving to catch our attention is the character development."

—Nancy Amazon of Kissing Fingertips.[53]

Charmed was "television's first primetime show to focus on a coven of witches."[54] Several post-Charmed television shows involving witchcraft, such as Hex, Merlin, The Secret Circle, American Horror Story: Coven and Witches of East End, have been compared to the series. Mehera Bonner of Wetpaint Entertainment described The Secret Circle as "much darker than Charmed, and more insular."[54] Kristina Adams of Heart of Glass magazine felt that the reason The Secret Circle drew comparisons to Charmed was "because it focused as much on the Wiccan side of things as it did on the magic and the relationships of the characters."[55] TV Equal's Amie noted that there were "certain elements" in Merlin that reminded her of Charmed.[56] Tanner Stransky of Entertainment Weekly described Hex as "the UK's edgier, oversexed response to Charmed."[57] The Huffington Post's Chris Jancelewicz wrote that the episode "Boy Parts" of American Horror Story: Coven felt like "an episode of Charmed."[58]

Several critics noted similarities between Charmed and Witches of East End. Rob Owen of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote that it has "got a bit of a Charmed vibe," while Samantha Highfill of Entertainment Weekly felt that the show "wanted to be a new Charmed."[59][60] Jason Hughes of The Huffington Post described Witches of East End as "one part Charmed, one part Desperate Housewives."[61] Geoffrey Berkshire of Variety magazine noted that Witches of East End resembles Charmed "with its mix of light horror, heavy romance and sisterly squabbling."[62] Hollywood.com's Christian Cintron noted the show's red Victorian house looked similar to the house in Charmed, writing that "the image of a creepily similar house keeps the ghost of Charmed alive."[63] Robert Christie of HNGN wrote that in Witches of East End, "family of witches with unknown superpower potential and a secret book of spells just screamed Charmed."[64]

Maggie Friedman, the showrunner and executive producer of both Eastwick and Witches of East End has explicitly cited Charmed as an influence on her writing of both series, stating that "I remember watching Charmed when it was on and thinking, 'Well, now I can’t write a show about witches, it’s been done.' But the audience has become hungry for more".[65]

Alyssa Milano believes Charmed paved the way for the current popularity of witch dramas, American Horror Story: Coven, Witches of East End and The Originals.[66] She told E! Online:

"I think, really, it's due to the success of Charmed and the fact that it had so much success even after it was done, meaning that people looked for it, people searched it out and watched those episodes over and over. The Charmed fans are the greatest fans on the planet and the most loyal fans on the planet. I feel like networks are trying to replicate that."[66]

Impact in popular culture[edit]

Charmed has been referenced in television shows and films. The series was mentioned in two episodes of the second season of Popular.[67][68] In the 2002 teen comedy film Big Fat Liar, 14-year old Kaylee (Amanda Bynes) recalls watching an episode of Charmed where Phoebe cast a spell on Cole.[69] Charmed was referenced several times in the Australian soap opera Neighbours. The first was in a 2003 episode when teens Serena Bishop (Lara Sacher) and Erin Perry (Talia Zucker) had a conversation about whether they preferred Prue or Paige.[70] Another reference was in a 2005 episode, when teen Bree Timmins (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) talks about The O.C. and says that it is the best show on television since Charmed.[71] In the True Blood season four episode "Me and the Devil", main protagonist Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) tells a witch named Marnie Stonebrook (Fiona Shaw), that one of her favorite television shows she watched as a child was Charmed.[72] In the episode "Boy Parts" of American Horror Story: Coven, a witch named Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) mentioned that she grew up watching Charmed.[73]

In literature, the show is mentioned in the first novel of the Abyssal Sanctuary series, Abyssal Sanctuary: Remnants of the Damned by main character Justin Rutherford after his boyfriend is kidnapped by a monster and says he will watch his Charmed box sets while he is home alone. His mother states that he would always watch that show.

Distribution[edit]

Syndication[edit]

United States[edit]

Ever since the show ended on The WB, TNT airs two episodes every weekday morning at 7 am and 8 am Eastern. For many years, it aired a third episode at 10 am Eastern, but this ended around 2009. Starting in June 2010, WE tv began airing two episodes each weeknight at 6 pm and 7 pm.

International syndication[edit]

Other countries where Charmed airs include the following:

Online[edit]

TNT has released full episodes of Charmed for viewing with their "DramaVision" video player on the network website.[102] Similarly, Netflix released the full series, via their Instant Streaming, from July 1, 2011.

Multimedia[edit]

Magazines[edit]

Games[edit]

Expanded universe[edit]

External to the television series, the Charmed franchise has been officially expanded and elaborated, by authors and artists, within the so-called "Charmed universe", or "Charmedverse". This has been through literature, comic books, magazines, and a video game, alongside other media.

Literature[edit]

Charmed novels have been released since 1999 by publisher Simon Spotlight Entertainment. The first, Eliza Willard's "The Power of Three", was a novelization of the series premier episode "Something Wicca This Way Comes". All other novels, apart from "Charmed Again" which documents the events of the two-part episode of the same name, are original stories revolving around the four Charmed Ones and their allies.

The novels follow no strict continuity with the television series or each other, and are sometimes considered to be non-canon by fans. This is due to there being a period of roughly a year between the original idea for a novel and the finalized product, causing difficulties for authors who are unaware of how the television series will develop and change during the writing process.[103] Despite this, however, editors function as the medium between the author and the production company, specifically creator Constance M. Burge. Therefore, the television producers have final approval of everything in the novels,[103] which could indicate that the literature conforms to the established canon of the series and the so-called "Charmed universe".

Forty three novels have been written in the Charmed series thus far. Ten include Prue and the original line-up of Charmed Ones, whilst the remaining thirty three feature Piper, Phoebe and Paige. Two of the novels, "Seasons of the Witch" and "The Warren Witches", are anthologies of short stories. Most focus on the Charmed Ones, however some of the stories in "The Warren Witches" place greater emphasis on the sisters' ancestors, the Warren line of witches, whilst the novel "Leo Rising" features Leo Wyatt and his sons Wyatt and Chris Halliwell as protagonists. Writers of the series include Hugo Award-winner Diana G. Gallagher, Paul Ruditis, and Laura J. Burns.

Along with the television series, Charmed literature is also subject to study as part of Charmed academia.[104]

Mermaid[edit]

Charmed's executive producers Brad Kern, Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent developed a one-hour pilot episode for The WB Television Network in early 2005, entitled Mermaid. It was written by Kern and filmed in Miami during Charmed's seventh season, at the same time as "Something Wicca This Way Goes?".[105][106]

As work progressed on the fifth season's double-episode premiere, "A Witch's Tail", the theme of mermaids was recognized to have potential for its own series,[107] even though the episode was never meant to be a backdoor pilot for a television spin-off.

The series plot[108][109] is centered on a mermaid, Nikki, who is rescued by a young man when she washes ashore in Miami. Her savior, Matt Johnson, is a lawyer living with a roommate and engaged to the daughter of his boss. Initially, he is in utter disbelief of Nikki's nature, until it is proven true. According to the series mythology, mermaids are a race of creatures whose evolution took place underwater. The mermaids originate from a sunken city and have supernatural abilities, including superhuman strength and agility, as well as being able to see in the dark, read emotions and have a connection with other sea creatures. However, another race of creatures who began their existence underwater, but have since adapted onto dry land, include Luger who is hunting Nikki. Nikki, meanwhile, attempts to enact a normal life by working as a waitress at a local restaurant while living with Matt and his roommate. She begins assisting Matt in his attempts to help people: as the villainous Luger assesses, mermaids are drawn to protecting the innocent, it's "in their blood".

During the casting process, Kern "looked in London and New York and New Zealand, Hollywood, Florida, Melbourne and Sydney" and, after interviewing around 300 people, discovered "a fresh new face" in Australian Nathalie Kelley who played the lead role of Nikki. Geoff Stults was then cast as Matt, and Roger Daltrey as principal antagonist Eric Luger.[110] Brandon Quinn, who later went on to play Homeland Security Agent Murphy in Charmed's eighth season, played Matt's "goofy best friend" in Mermaid.[111] He spoke of his roles in both series:

[In Mermaid] I was the party man ... in the pilot, I had no job; I was a permanent bachelor. And when Brad [Kern] told me about [Agent Murphy], he was, like, 'He's a Homeland Security agent, he's 180 degrees opposite from what you played in my pilot this year, but I really think you could do it.' And I was, like, 'Wow, thanks for trusting me with Agent Murphy.'

Additionally cast in main roles were Ana Ortiz[112] (who went on to star in Ugly Betty) and Beatrice Rosen[113] who, along with Quinn, developed a recurring role in Charmed's eighth season as Maya Holmes, an innocent whose image Piper Halliwell inadvertently uses as her false identity 'Jenny Bennett'.

The pilot was considered to have a good chance of being picked up, but when The WB and UPN merged into The CW, the resulting network passed on the show. Speaking on the failure of the series to be picked up, Kern also revealed that 20th Century Fox and Fox Entertainment Group "decided at the last second to cut the budget in half", which resulted in the number of shooting days to be reduced, thus decreasing the quality of the pilot in being able to "'sell' the concept".[114]

Video game[edit]

In-Fusio, DC Studios and Fox Interactive developed an action, platform video game based on the television series, entitled Charmed. The game was released by In-Fusion in Europe and China in January 2003, and in North America in September 2004.[115][116] Players take the role of one of the Charmed Ones and must rescue the other two sisters from the first on-screen incarnation of The Source of All Evil. It is set during the first half of the series' fourth season, following Paige Matthew's introduction between "Charmed Again" and "Hell Hath No Fury", and prior to the Source's vanquish in "Charmed and Dangerous".

Comics[edit]

On March 15, 2010, Zenescope Entertainment announced that it had acquired the rights, from CBS Consumer Products, to publish comic books and graphic novels based on Charmed.[117][118][119] The first comic book series, Charmed: Season 9, serves as a continuation set eighteen months after the events of the televised show's final episode, "Forever Charmed". The first publication, Issue #0, was released on June 16, 2010 and served as a "prequel to the comic book series and [a] catch up on the Charmed universe."[120] The first proper issue, Issue #1, premiered at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2010.[117] Author Paul Ruditis was the lead writer of the series and Zenescope veteran Raven Gregory helped him co-write the first three issues.[117] The series finale, Issue #24, was released on October 3, 2012.

Reboot[edit]

On October 25, 2013, it was announced that a reboot of Charmed is in development at CBS (who own all of Spelling Television's properties).[121] Party of Five co-creator Christopher Keyser and Sydney Sidner are writing the script for CBS Television Studios and The Tannenbaum Company, who will executive produce alongside Keyser and Sidner.[121][122] The reboot has been described as a "re-imagining of the original series centered around four sisters who discover their destiny – to battle against the forces of evil using their witchcraft".[123] CBS have only ordered a script for a pilot, however; no commitment to filming has been made.[124]

The original cast of Charmed shared their opinions of a reboot through Twitter. Rose McGowan tweeted, "They really are running out of ideas in Hollywood," followed up by another tweet, "lame lame lame lamertons."[124] Alyssa Milano tweeted, "The thing about them doing a #charmed reboot is ... it just ... it feels like yesterday. It feels too close."[125] Holly Marie Combs tweeted, "Here's the thing. Everything is a reboot. If you think otherwise you haven't read enough Shakespeare yet. At least they had the decency to call it what it is. Instead of ripping it off and then pretending to not be ripping it off."[126] She then tweeted that fans should "reserve judgement" on the reboot, "Watch it. Or don't. Then if you don't have anything nice to say ... Come sit by me. ;)."[126] Shannen Doherty tweeted to a fan, "I don't know yet. It's strange to think about a reboot. I guess I'm still processing the idea."[126]

Potential film[edit]

On October 30, 2013, five days after news of a reboot broke, Milano revealed that she would be interested in working on a Charmed film, and asked her former co-stars if they would consider the possibility.[127] She tweeted, "I would definitely do a #charmed movie. Would you, @H_Combs @rosemcgowan and @DohertyShannen?."[127] Doherty replied, "yep I would. Enough was left undone to address and make a good movie."[127] Doherty also retweeted a message from a fan suggesting the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to fund the film.[128]

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External links[edit]