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Charmed or cursed?
Charmed - The Complete Season 1 (DVD)
Member Name: cha97mw
Charmed - The Complete Season 1 (DVD)
Advantages: this always makes me think of time spent with my sister
Disadvantages: has dated quite a bit in 14 years.
I am going to just let myself out of the closet, I know it is not cool in the slightest, but I am quite a fan of the TV show Charmed. It came out in 1998 which was when I was living away at University, but it is something I fell into watching when I was at home with my youngest sister, and it was harmless fun that we both enjoyed spending that time together. Then it was shown on channel 4, before being moved to channel 5 for some of the later series.
I watched all 8 series while on maternity leave, and this past couple of weeks I have just rewatched it as we just took out a netflix subscription and they had all 8 series available for streaming. Even though I have seen it before, I am really enjoying working my way through again.
What is Charmed?
The show is made by Spelling Television, and produced by Aaron Spelling, famous for other popular shows such as Dynasty, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Hart to Hart, The Colbys, Starsky and Hutch to reel off a few of his hits over the years. I had been a fan myself of the original 90210, and Melrose Place while living at home as a teenager, so when I saw Shannen Doherty was in this, that was one of the things that originally attracted my attention to the show as I had liked her as 'Brenda' in 90210.
The plot of the show, set in San Fransisco, revolves around 3 strong female lead characters. Upon the death of their Grams, they all return to live in the family home they grew up in to prevent it from being sold off. The 3 sisters were brought up by their grandmother after their mother died many years before. They are a bit estranged, but when they re-unite, they find a ouija board which directs them to go look in the attic. Up there is an unusual book. One of the sisters reads from the book, and it causes them to gain magical powers.
The eldest sister, Pru Halliwell (Shannen Doherty) finds that she has now got the power of telekinesis and can move objects with her mind.
The middle sister, Piper Halliwell, played by Holly Marie Combs, who often finds herself in the role of peace maker in the family now has the ability to freeze time.
The youngest sister, Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) has been living a bit of a wild life in New York, and is returning home broke and without purpose. She suddenly has the gift of premonition. She discovers when she tries to predict the winning lottery numbers that she can only use this gift to help others, and not to have a personal gain.
I loved this show from the start because I really related to the family dynamics. I am one of 3 sisters myself, and as well as looking at the 'Wicca' world, a lot of the focus is on the relationship between the sisters, and how they relate to the other characters in the show. I have to say, I think the Wicca side of it is almost of secondary importance to me compared to the relationship side to the show.
These ladies are all physically very attractive, so they get a lot of male attention. They also have a lot of hang ups from the family background of being brought up by Grams after their mother died and their father left them. Pru had to act as mum, and it has had a negative effect on Phoebe. She makes references to wanting a sister, not a mother.
There is a lot of interaction with male characters.
Pru has an on/off relationship with Insector Andy Trudeau. He is a childhood sweetheart. The fact Pru is hiding a big secret really has an impact on her relationship with him. He can't quite get his head around why all these strange things keep happening, and Pru and her sisters are always on the fringe of it.
Piper is a very sensitive character. She starts the series finding out that her boyfriend Jeremy is in fact a Warlock trying to kill her and her sisters. This kind of puts her off men for a while, but in episode 3 we are introduced to Leo Wyatt (Brian Krause) who is a bit character in this series playing the handyman/secret Guardian Angel of the sisters. He realises he is falling in love with Piper so ends up leaving so he does not break any Whitelighter rules. Krause ends up in all 8 series of Charmed, so he is a really significant character.
Phoebe is a very flirty person, and she often attracts the attention of men when she is working at one of her many part time jobs or going to the restaurant/bar 'Quake' that Piper manages. You get the idea that as the youngest, she is still forming her ideas and opinions in life. Basically a good person, she is very easily led and resents the protective way that Pru treats her at times. She is seen as the weakest link in the 'Power of Three' that the sisters have, and a few evil demons try to take advantage through her and the love that the sisters have for each other. She has the potential to turn good or bad, something she admits herself by the second half of this series after she opens the nexus in the basement of the house.
My first view through of this show, I was a teenager still, but only just. I was probably a little older than the intended audience, but it did feel fresh to me, and I enjoyed watching it. Even 4 years ago watching it, it was a nice trip down memory lane. In 2012, this show is now 14 years old and beginning to date in my opinion. I still enjoyed it as I like the show, but someone new to it would probably think it a bit laughable and dated.
The clothes worn remind me of that era - this is when the Spice Girls were at their peak, so Phoebe is often wearing clothes that show off her tummy like Sporty Spice. I laughed at a reference to dating in the 1990s when they are constantly being interupted by a mobile phone ringing. The mobile phone was probably really just out then. I got my first one at that time.
The show took the format that every week, a different problem which mostly took the form of a mystical demon, and the girls get 45 minutes of the episode to solve the problem using their magical talents and the mystical 'Book of Shadows' which is a spell book handed down through their female family ancestory.
Watching some of these episodes now, the special effects and costumes are pretty funny. There is one episode where Piper turns into a hairy beast called a Wendigo. The transformation had me chuckling away as it is like watching Dr Who from the 60s almost. No wobbly sets, but the technology of special effects has moved on a lot between now and then.
I would only recommend the series now to people who are already fans of the show and fancy a trip down memory lane. I really enjoyed watching some favourite episodes again, such as the pilot 'Something Wicca This Way Comes', 'Dead Man Dating' and 'Is There a Woogy in the House?'
I do think I prefer the more mature plotlines that come in the later series, and when the girls get stronger powers. This one is obviously essential though to establish the plot and the main characters who will be seen in the following series.
Summary: An interesting family dynamic amongst 3 sisters who happen to be witches.
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