'Charmed' is a television series which was aired between 1999 and 2005. Created by Aaron Spelling, set in San Francisco, and aired in the UK firstly on channel 4 and then on channel 5, it was something that I followed intermittently when I was at home from University.
The series features three sisters, Prue, Piper and Phoebe Halliwell, who are from a long line of woman who were all witches. Their magical powers were only given to them when their grandmother died, but by series 3, they are now rather competent at using them, and this allows them chance to have a bit more of a personal life in this series.
Prue (Shannen Doherty) is now working as a photographer for a magazine, Piper (Holly Marie Combs) is still successfully running her nightclub P3, and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) is studying for a degree. This series allows 2 of the sisters to form deep relationships with men. From episode one of this series, there is a new addition to the cast that takes the show to a new level. Julian McMahon, the Australian actor who was once in Home and Away, joined the cast as a District Attorney, Cole Turner, who has a dark secret. From first meeting Phoebe at a crime scene, he is really drawn to her. The pair have great chemistry on screen and this relationship is tested so many times in this series, but love can smooth many ills.
Brian Krause, who plays Leo the Whitelighter, who is a guardian angel for the 3 sisters, is also a big presence in this series. He has had an on/off relationship with middle sister, Piper, since series one. Here, they really want to be together, and make plans to get married, but they feel like there is always something getting in the way of their plans, and it is not supported by the Elders who control good forces.
In this series we get to finally see the place where the mysterious 'Elders' live when the girls all go up there to kill a demon in the episode 'Blinded by a Whitelighter.' I felt this was an important episode in understanding a bit more of the bigger picture in the battle of good versus evil.
There are cheeky nods to some pop culture of the time. Piper's school reunion episode, 'Coyote Piper' refers to the film Coyote Ugly, with dancing on the bar. 'Sleuthing with the enemy' refers to the film, Sleeping with the Enemy. The authors also came up with some great original episode names such as 'Just Harried' and 'Sin Fransisco' for when a demon infects good citizens with the 7 deadly sins.
This series is strong in terms of relationships. We get to see the girls reform bonds with both parents, and be influenced by their grandmother. The sisters also flourish with love, and the bond between them is stronger than ever.
I didn't like the fact that they all suddenly seemed to go a bit 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.' In series 2 we saw Phoebe gain the power to levitate, and also she took some kick-boxing lessons to make her powers more active, but here, all 3 sisters are suddenly very acrobatic, and you get to see the running up wall type ninja fighting skills that just reminds me of this other series. While it doesn't really offend me or anything, I feel in terms of continuity, there should be some reference to where they learned these skills.
I did like when Piper gained a new power towards the end of the series. It provided some humour while she was mastering it and walking round with oven gloves on her hands to stop her using it, but it also added a new interest to the battle scenes which were starting to get a bit more repetitive.
I felt in this series, we were moving away from the format of a 'demon a week' to kill and do battle with. Here, you see some continuity throughout the whole series, with the introduction of more characters in the Evil side thanks to Cole's character. The Triad are one group the girls have to deal with early in the series, and they even get to know about the Source. As I said about the 'good side' earlier, there is some sense of wow, as you get to see the bigger picture.
Death is also a big thing in this series. There have been many occasions in all 3 series where the girls have been badly injured but Leo has managed to heal them and bring them back to full health. In this series, one of the girls can see the Angel of Death, and her name is next on his list. She avoids him that time, but will all 3 of them learn their lessons and survive the series? The final episode of the series sees them battling against the Source's hitman, and he is the biggest threat they have ever come across. Series 3 ends on a huge cliffhanger, and I found it a shocking one.
Fans of Charmed will love this series. I was left holding my breath several times to see what would happen, and it was usually not what I was expecting. I highly recommend it to all fans of this type of supernatural work.
Season Three of Charmed heralds the end of the road for one of the cast members. However, it is a full cast up until the end of the season, so runs pretty much the same as the previous two. Season three allows more romance to blossom for two of the sisters, and also introduces more of a story-arc than the previous two had had. This season ran from October 5th 2000 until May 17th 2001.
The following six characters appeared in the title sequence, unless (in the case of the male role's) they were not appearing in the specific episode:
Prue Halliwell - Shannen Doherty
Piper Halliwell - Holly Marie Combs
Phoebe Halliwell - Alyssa Milano
Detective Darryl Morris - Dorian Gregory
Leo Wyatt - Brian Krause
Cole Turner - Julian McMahon
Other reoccurring guest characters included:
-Patty Halliwell (played by Finola Hughes) - the Charmed One's mother.
-Penny 'Grams' Halliwell (played by Jennifer Rhodes) - the Charmed One's grandmother, who had taken care of them after their mother died, until she died of a stroke 6 months before the first episode of Charmed is set.
-Victor Bennett (played by James Read) - the Charmed One's estranged father, who slowly becomes a part of their lives again, after leaving when they were young due to mainly his aversion to his daughters growing up purely as witches and not having a 'normal' childhood.
-Inspector Reece Davidson (played by Keith Diamond) - the ill-fated police officer who was investigating the disappearance of Cole, determined that Phoebe was involved.
The Honeymoon's Over - At Piper's request, Leo took her to visit the Elders and his life 'up there' among the other whitelighters. However, they have now been gone a month, leaving Prue & Phoebe down one sister as they come up against Guardians, demons who possess criminals, causing them to murder innocents so that they can go free. Phoebe's powers finally develop naturally, giving her the power of levitation (which causes comical incidents at first), and it is here we meet the assistant District Attorney Cole Turner, who Phoebe is instantly attracted to.
Magic Hour - It is up to the sister's to help a man who becomes an owl during the day, and his girlfriend who becomes a wolf by night, a curse placed upon them by a warlock who wanted the girl to love him, and will only break once she gives into him, or there is 'a night within a day'. Piper & Leo try and find a way to marry before the Elders find out, so they can be together, but with dire consequences.
Once Upon A Time - Whilst Piper is on strike against the Elders, Prue & Phoebe try to help a young girl named Kate protect a fairy princess (Thistle) that she carries round from the evil trolls, who only come out in 'tweens' (between places, such as doorways, shadows, midnight). The only problem is they cannot see either Thistle or the trolls, and need to persuade Piper to help them before they loose both Thistle and Kate. A mysterious demon also makes an attempt on the book, but is he as mysterious as it seems.
All Halliwell's Eve - The sister's are sent back in time to help ensure the safe delivery of their ancestor, Melinda Warren. Arriving in the 1700's, the sister's must learn how to use magic without having active powers, face witch-hunters and rescue Melinda's mother Charlotte from an evil witch, and her mysterious counterpart, Cole (who only the viewer discovers the truth of). Meanwhile, in present day, Leo and Darryl are left fighting the Grimlocks, who have managed to return to face the sister's once more.
Sight Unseen - After a series of events, including a couple of break-in's at the manor, broken mirrors and Prue's belongings disappear, Prue becomes obsessed that the evil Triad are behind this, and tries to hunt them down. However, Piper, Phoebe and Darryl think that these sinister happenings could be the work of a human rather than just a demon.
Primrose Empath - After unwittingly following signs laid out by Cole, Prue discovers a shut-in, who fears going out in the world as he has the power of empathy (which is the ability to sense the feelings of all those around them). Full of sympathy, Prue casts a spell to release him of his burden; by doing this she both transfers the power to herself, and releases the man, who is in fact an unstoppable demon who had been cursed with the power. Prue has to gain control of the power before it destroys her, and before the demon kills the man who had cursed him.
Power Outage - Facing execution by the Triad for both his failed attempts on the Charmed Ones, and his love affair with Phoebe, Cole recruits Andras the demon of rage. He infects the sisters with rage so that trivial bickering becomes arguments and culminates in them using their powers against each other - and breaking the power of three, loosing their powers. The sister's must make up before the demons take advantage of their lack of powers. However, his love for Phoebe proves stronger, and although Piper manages to wound him, Cole-Balthazor instead takes out the Triad.
Sleuthing with the Enemy - Bounty hunters are sent after Cole for his destruction of the Triad, and as he was wounded by Piper & cannot heal, he is unable to outrun them for long. The sister's meanwhile team up with the bounty hunter once they realise they are after the same demon, and slowly piece together that Cole is in fact the demon who has been hunting them. Phoebe is 'kidnapped' by Cole, but instead of vanquishing him, she fakes his death and allows him to go into hiding.
Coyote Piper - A wilful demon spirit (Terra) escapes from her creator in a bid to remain alive, and possess Piper in her attempt to use a powerful witch to vanquish her creator - and any chance of getting her out of her host without killing them. Until Prue & Phoebe realise Piper is possessed, Terra enjoys her time in her new body, including by making Piper table dance at her school reunion. It is then left to Leo to help the sister's remove Terra and save Piper's life.
We All Scream For Ice-Cream - A mysterious ice-cream van with a catchy tune is stalking the streets and seemingly kidnapping children. When Prue & Phoebe investigate, they find that the children are not all they seem, but not before they have released them, and the ice-cream man has been taken by 'The Nothing' inside the van. Phoebe gets a premonition that young Prue had been in the van before, but had been rescued by their father, Victor. To get the demons back in the van, Prue must put aside her hatred of her father and work with him to save the day.
Blinded by the Whitelighter - The Charmed Ones face a powerful warlock who seems to be attacking throughout time at seemingly random intervals, and sucking the powers out of the witches he attacks. Natalie, a fellow whitelighter of Leo's, who does everything "by the book" (and therefore disapproves of Leo & Piper), is sent to help the Charmed Ones to defeat this warlock. At first they rebel against Natalie's rules, but after Leo points out to Piper she could cause the end of their relationship, and the Charmed Ones loose an innocent, they decide it is time to play by the rules - with a little twist of course.
Wrestling with Demons - Following a series of seemingly random attacks on people appearing in the newspaper, the sister's run into an old classmate of Prue's - who is also one kill away from becoming a demon. They uncover a businessman, working for the Source of All Evil by running a Demon Training Academy for mortals. To find the classmate & the Academy (and their mother's ring which Leo had lost), the sister's use a Lost & Found Spell that Phoebe had written (initially to find Cole) with amusing consequences. To save Prue's classmate, and themselves, the sister's must fight in the demon wrestling ring, which is the moment Phoebe uses to admit that she never killed Cole. Although they win the match, the Charmed Ones can only defeat the businessman by getting one of his 'students' to turn against him, so lay an ingenious trap.
Bride and Gloom - An evil priestess teams up with a shape-shifting demon in her bid to gain the Book of Shadows, and his bid to marry Prue to turn her and the Charmed Ones evil, essentially having them under his control. Using a potion made by the priestess, and Prue's desire for an 'exciting' boyfriend, the demon achieves his marriage. As the Charmed Ones turn evil and gain Warlock powers, the priestess manages to steal the Book of Shadows. Can the sister's regain their goodness, and grant Prue a divorce? Cole also reappears in this episode, determined to show Phoebe he can be good.
The Good, The Bad and the Cursed - When visiting an abandoned Wild West village with her father, Phoebe becomes psychically linked with a Native American who had been murdered, resulting in a time-loop, repeating until the injustice is prevented. However, when Phoebe starts to show the same injuries as the victim, Prue teams up with Cole to go back and try and save both lives, and release the town from its loop.
Just Harried - Piper and Leo's wedding day looms, along with an unexpected pleasant visitor. Determined to have a perfect wedding, Piper swears if anything goes wrong it means she shouldn't be marrying Leo. However, Prue's astral self escapes when she sleeps, desperate to live out her 'wild' side, and becoming entwined in a murder investigation - as the main suspect. Can Phoebe pull Prue together (literally) and persuade Piper that she and Leo really are meant to be
Death Takes A Halliwell - Prue spots a shadow following two different people, but she is the only one who can see it. Thinking it is a ghost she sets out to help it, before finding out that both these people have died, making the shadow seem far more sinister. Meanwhile, Inspector Davidson is investigating the death of Cole's former landlady, who turns out to have been murdered by a pair of Seekers, who bite victims to reach their brainstems and find out what they know. Prue comes face to face with Death, and learns to accept that some innocents just cannot be saved.
Pre-Witched - A familiar who betrayed his witch to become human needs to shed all his nine lives to become an immortal demon - so seeks out the Charmed Ones to help him achieve his goal. Once the sister's realise what his aim is, they desperately try to stop killing him, whilst he threatens the lives of innocents. Entwined with this storyline is Piper moving out with Leo to a marital home, and flashbacks to the past, just before Grams dies, where she is deciding whether to strip the sisters of their powers forever.
Sin Francisco - A demon wielding the seven deadly sins infects the sisters and Leo, alongside a priest a business man and a police officer. Being possessed by these sins leads to self-destruction and the demon gains the innocent's soul. The sister's must carry out a selfless act to rid themselves of the sin, and defeat the demon.
The Demon Who Came In From the Cold - Phoebe kills a demon to protect an innocent, a demon who incidentally was Cole's brother; a member of a brotherhood of demon's set up by the Source. The only option to find out why they have surfaced is to send Cole undercover - leaving him to explain why he had killed the Triad. As he goes deeper undercover, can Cole continue to help the sister's whilst avoiding any suspicion arising from his old mentor, Raynor.
Exit Strategy - Phoebe gets increasingly worried about Cole, especially when he informs her he is supposed to recover two halves of an amulet - and kill the witches who carry them. However, if he kills the witches, he will loose Phoebe, and become evil again, but if he doesn't, Raynor will know that Cole is a double agent and kill him, which is why he set the task in the first place. Meanwhile, Piper gains a new power in the middle of the passport office - the power of molecular combustion (an ability to blow people/demons and objects up with her hands, the opposite of her freezing power).
Look Who's Barking - A Banshee is stalking the streets of San Francisco, her screeching cry bursting the blood vessels of people who are heartbroken. However, the Banshee's cry turns witches into Banshee's themselves. In this case, Phoebe becomes one, as she is heartbroken over Cole. Piper & Prue find a spell to track a Banshee, which turns Prue into a dog. With both her sister's 'out of action', Piper resorts to desperate measures to get them both back - calling Cole.
All Hell Breaks Loose - Whilst the sister's attempt to protect a doctor from Shax, the Source's assassin, they inadvertently use their powers in front of the media, sparking a huge frenzy. Trapped inside the house with camera's and fanatic's outside, Prue and Piper decide to contact Tempus, to turn time back, as both good and evil has been exposed. Phoebe is already in the Underworld trying to save Cole, so Leo goes down to them to contact Tempus. Meanwhile Piper is mortally wounded, leaving Phoebe to make a deal with the Source: turn back time and she'll stay in the underworld, leaving her sister's to deal with Shax alone, unaware she isn't there.
The DVD box set of this season contains 6 discs and all 22 episodes. As with the previous two seasons, the DVDs do not contain anything other than episodes. The ongoing story-arches change slightly as new characters become entwined into the Charmed One's lives (Phoebe becomes determined that Cole can be good; whilst Piper & Leo continue to prove their relationship can work, even when she struggles with her powers and the events of the series), keeping them fresh and involved with the episode plots. Cole is the only new character this season, but as his story is so involved I believe this is a good thing. Also, the Charmed One's parents and Grams begin to make more appearances, bulking out the cast and story dimensions again. As the third season of Charmed, I feel that it hasn't lost any of it's appeal, the storyline's still continue to be fresh and original, whilst Cole's battle between his two halves add quite a major story-arch, keeping the viewer from just watching the same set episode pattern every time.
Here, we see the three witches we've come to love return to the small screen for a third season. The "Charmed ones", made up of sisters; Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) are beginning to get to know themselves as witches and understand their powers. This is my favourite season that Prue is in to be honest, as her character didn't annoy me so much! This is possibly, bar season 8, is my favourite season.
This compelling season begins with the episode "The honeymoon's over", where we see Phoebe and Prue working together to save the innocent from 'guardian' demons without their sister, Piper, who is away with Leo, and has been for a while. When Piper and Leo return, they are unaware of the time they have been away because time moves differently in the heavens and we see conflict between Piper and Phoebe at first. But all is well and they manage to save Darryl (the cop) from further danger, as well as defeating the demons.
In the second episode, "Magic Hour", Piper and Leo attempt to marry against the warning of the elders (the magical bosses so-to-speak) and are caught in the process, and so Leo is taken away from Piper. In the next episode, "Once upon a Time", the sisters try to save a young girl from trolls. However, due to the loss of Leo, Piper refuses to help and so the young girl is put in grave danger, however, she gives in and helps save the day.
Piper is finally reunited with Leo and we see the girls traveling back in time on all hallows eve (Halloween) in the episode "All Halliwell's Eve", where they must save one of their ancestors from evil and help her be born, otherwise they would cease to exist.
In this season, Phoebe's relationship with lawyer Cole , who is actually a demon that has been sent by the triad to destroy the sisters, blossoms. He sends a demon that harvests anger to create tension between them and succeeds in the episode entitled "Power Outage". He then has the perfect opportunity to kill Phoebe when she is most vulnerable, however he cannot. In the following episode, "Sleuthing with the enemy", Piper and Prue team up with a bounty hunter (demon) in order to destroy Balthazar (Cole's demon form) and discover the truth about Cole. It is up to Phoebe to then decide whether she saves Cole or allows him to escape, and so she chooses to save him.
This season sees Piper being possessed by an evil essence, Prue facing her issues with her father who left them when they were younger (In the episode "we all scream for ice cream"), Leo being replaced by a high-maintenance white-lighter and Prue and Piper discovering that Cole is still alive.
Cole returns and teams up with Prue in order to save Phoebe when she is shot due to a mental link she has with a male from the past who's whole town is stuck in a curse. Piper and Leo also get married, despite Prue ruining the wedding and they face the seven deadly sins.
After Phoebe becomes a banchee and faces her issues with a now-evil Cole (who was tricked by an old mentor of his to kill a witch, causing Phoebe to loose her faith in him), the season goes out with a HUGE bang!!
In the final episode, "All hell breaks loose", Piper and Prue are caught practicing magic on tape and are exposed. Piper is killed and so they must find a way to reverse the events of the day.They get Cole to go to the Source (of all evil) and plead for the assistance of Tempus, who can turn back time. He agrees, but double crosses them and Piper and Prue are left to die from Shaks' (The source's right hand man) attack as Phoebe and Leo are in the underworld and do not know what is going on, leaving this fantastic season ends with a massive cliff-hanger!!!
The third season of Charmed sees the action and drama step it up a notch, providing edge of the seat episodes. It also sees the comedy go up a level as well, grounfing the series and making it all the more watchable. The combination of tragedy and comedy works very well in every season, but it is perhaps this one, the third, which is the link between establishing itself as a top series and taking it to another level and letting the skill flow.
Charmed features three sisters, Pru, Piper and Phoebe Halliwell, as the Charmed Ones, witches for fight for the good against the paranormal and supernatural evils that befall the world. They have to balance their evil-fighting lives with their private lives and everyday living, and are never allowed to use their powers for personal gain, or bad things will happen. This explains, then, why they all work a ridiculous amount of hours to make ends meet as opposed to using their powers.
Pru, Piper and Phoebe are played by Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano respectively, and all three actresses have really come into their own as these characters over the three series. Their roles take further dramatic turns as we see Piper defying the powers that be to marry elicitly, Phoebe fall in love with her greatest enemy, and Pru face the ultimate sacrifice. Leo (Brian Krause) and Cole (Julian McMahon) play the men in their lives, and are constantly involved in their highs and lows. Both act exceptionally in all episodes.
This third series sadly sees the last of Shannen Doherty as Pru. Reports are that she was constantly arguing with directors and producers about one thing or another, and in the fourth series she was to be replaced by a half-sister of theirs. As for how she bows out of the series, I'll let you see that for yourselves, wouldn't want to spoil it. All I will say is that the series ending sees a ripple effect of events mean they face an enemy far more dangerous than ever before which could have dramatic consequences for all the sisters. It left things hung in the balance between the third and fourth series, and is hailed as the best season finale of Charmed ever. I am inclined to agree.
This series sees the enemies get stronger, the plot strains that are a constant get more complicated, and the sisters' powers increase. I welcomed the improvement and the openness of the creators and writers to constantly try new things, and I would recommend getting this series of Charmed, as well as all the other. It truly is a great drama series.
Currently, the DVD for season 3 of Charmed is available second hand from amazon.co.uk from £10. Brand new copies retail at £45 or thereabouts, but you will find most shops will sell them at a lot cheaper than this.
Charmed was created by Constance M.Burge and produced by the late Aaron Spelling and follows the story of the three beautiful Halliwell sisters. Witches by birthright they are destined to unite as 'The Power Of Three' and fight off the forces of evil. Prue [Shannen Doherty] has the ability to astral project and telekinsis, Piper [Holly Marie Combs] can freeze time and Phoebe [Alyssa Milano] has the power of premonition.
I was and still am a huge fan of the show even after the departure of Shannen Doherty at the end of this season but in my personal opinion this was the show at its strongest. The six discs contained in this box set are as good a demonstration as you're going to get as to
why this show lasted for eight years and attracted a huge following.
Julian Mcmahon [who later went on to star in Nip Tuck] joined the girls for the third season and at times stole the spotlight away from them. His character Cole Turner became Phoebe's first major love interest on the show but behind his good lucks and jobs as a defence attorney he was actually a half demon known as Belthazar sent by the mysterious Triad to kill the sisters.
Charmed had indeed struggled in the first two seasons to come up with plausible, lasting villains often relying on perfectly written stand alone episodes to get it by but this season sees a show that has found itself and pulls out all the stops to make sure every episode is a winner.
All 3 leading ladies bounce off each other perfectly and take whatever is thrown at them be it romance, comedy or tragedy [as well as a few dozen energy balls along the way!]. Whilst Belthazar/Cole spends the first half of the season making pointless attempts on the girls lives, he eventually falls in love with Phoebe and their epic love story begins.
Here the relationship is nice and fresh and not worn out as it becomes in later seasons and both actors have an astounding chemistry and I relished every scene they had together. Eventually Cole attempts to make amends for his past evil and has his own story arc of trying to overcome his dark side and truly be good for the woman he loves.
For Piper, her relationship with Leo [the girl's whitelighter played by Brian Krause] sees them trying to defy the Powers That Be to get married.
The writers have created a truly special bond her between the two characters and no matter how many times it seems their relationship is falling apart it never gets boring and they do eventually tie the knot in 'Just Harried' though as usual in the Charmed universe things never run smoothly.
As for Prue, her love life is on the downside as she continues her neverending struggle to balance her work [now a photographer], her wicca duties and also try and have some form of a social life in the process.
Personal highlights of the season include 'Once Upon A Time' in which the sisters try to save a fairy princess from some trolls. Whilst that may sound tame the scene in which Prue and Phoebe cast a spell to be able to see the fairies and behave like children is hilarious.
'All Halliwells Eve' sees the sisters transported back in time to deliver a magical baby whilst 'Sleuthing With The Enemy' finally uncovers Belthazar's deception with great acting from McMahon and Milano.
'Sin Fransisco' and 'Look Who's Barking' whilst not adding much to the continuing story arc of the season are great stand alone episodes and two of the best I have watched as the girls and Leo become infected with the seven deadly sins in 'Sin City' and a banshee causes Prue to be turned into a dog and Phoebe to become one herself in 'Look Who's Barking'.
As the season draws to a close its clear that Doherty is leaving as she is the only one able to see the Angel Of Death in 'Death Takes A Halliwell' and her scenes with Milano become less frequent as well as Piper's powers developing so she is able to speed up molecules [blow them up] as well as freeze them, thus putting her in the position to have an active power that can be used against demons.
The season finale sees the sisters exposed as witches and all hell certainly breaks loose. Whilst Milano's part in this episode is very small both Shannen and Holly produce some of the best moments of Charmed particulary when Piper is shot [it's definately not for the faint hearted].
So after packing punch after punch the season ends with Prue and Piper left for dead and Phoebe trapped in the underworld though the show was never quite the same again after Doherty's departure it made sure she would always be remembered.
I am now on the Season 3 DVD box set of this terrific series created by Constance M. Burge, produced by the late Aaron Spelling and written by the likes of Zack Estrin, who has gone on to create Prison Break.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with the concept, Charmed is the story of the three twenty-something Halliwell sisters who come from San Francisco. They are called Prudence (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano). They were raised by their grandmother or 'Grams' after their mother was killed and their father left.
After the death of their beloved 'Grams', the girls discover a family secret that changes their lives forever. They come from a long line of good witches who practice Wicca or Witchcraft.
According to an ancient prophecy, the power of the Halliwell line culminates in three sisters who will become the most powerful good witches of all time - The Charmed Ones, who have individual powers that combine to form the Power of Three. Prue has the power of telekinesis (moving things with her mind), Piper can freeze time and Phoebe has the power of premonition.
With the help of the Halliwell Book of Shadows (a demonic dictionary) and Leo (their Whitelighter guardian angel played by Brian Krause), their destiny is to protect the innocent from various evil nasties.
This third series sees the sisters well settled in their roles as superwitches. Together, they have battled many demons and warlocks, whilst dealing with the normal trials and tribulations of young women.
Before I chat away about the box set, here is a little bit of background info. Charmed began way back in 1998 and has just finished showing its eighth season. Sadly, the show has announced that it won't be back for anymore and the grand finale was shown here in the UK recently. However, the show has broken records and become the longest running TV show with all female leads.
Season 3 was first aired in 2000 and is one of my all time favourites, because it contains a great mix of drama, suspense, comedy, special effects and some absolutely brilliant episodes. The series had really found its niche by this season and become well established. The acting is very strong and the writing has become more imaginative. Flying high after the success of the previous two seasons, the budget was also big enough for the addition of a new permanent character, Cole Turner (played by the marvelous Julian McMahon), bringing a new dimension to the program.
Ok, ok, onto the product! The box set itself is a grey-blue colour with a picture of the three sisters dressed in black looking very witchy. Inside the outer sleeve is a plastic 'book' with all 6 discs on a different 'page'. There is a different picture of the sisters on the front. Inside the first 'page' is a thin booklet with a very brief description of each episode. This is easily the best booklet so far, because it has six pages and pictures from various scenes in the season. It looks more professional than previous booklets.
Right, now for the episodes. As with my other reviews, if you don't want a brief taster, scroll past this section. I am also going to give a featured music track from each episode too.
#1. The Honeymoon's Over
Piper is missing after disappearing with Leo at the end of last season, so Prue and Phoebe are left to battle a Guardian demon without her. They meet handsome assistant district attorney, Cole Turner, who offers to help.
A great season opener and introduction to the new character. 10/10
Featured track: Pinch me - Barenaked Ladies
#2. Magic Hour
When Kit, the Halliwell's cat brings in an owl that is more than it appears to be, the sisters must race against time to save two innocents.
This episode is well written with some good morphing effects. 10/10
Featured track: Delicious Surprise - Beth Hart
#3. Once Upon A Time
Prue and Phoebe rediscover their childhoods when they have to save a little girl, who is protecting a fairy.
A sweet little tale about the magic of childhood. 9/10
Featured track: Tell Me Why - Paul Van Dyke
#4. All Halliwell's Eve
The sisters dress up for Halloween, but things go awry when they are transported back to a witch's coven in the 1600's.
This was a good episode with plenty of period costume that Charmed loves so much! 9/10
Featured track: You And Your Friend - Snake River Conspiracy
#5. Sight Unseen
The girls learn that a powerful demon called Balthazar is after them, but is there more to the story?
A tense episode with some good twists. 8/10
Featured track: Cold as Hell - Marvelous 3
#6. Primrose Empath
When Prue is infected with the power of Empathy by a demon, Piper and Phoebe must find a way to save her before she has a complete breakdown.
This is an excellent episode - very well written and acted. Being able to feel things so acutely slowly sends Prue into deep despair, making her unable to function. I think this is a subtle parallel with what it is like to suffer some sort of mental distress or depression - feeling so much that it becomes to difficult to face the outside world. 10/10
Featured track: Shameless - Idol
#7. Power Outage
The demon of anger infects the sisters to make them vulnerable with explosive results.
I enjoyed this episode very much. I liked the way anger was personified by a demon and the comic results it caused. 10/10
Featured track: You're an ocean - Fastball
#8. Sleuthing With The Enemy
Prue and Piper join forces with a bounty-hunter demon to destroy Balthazar, which leads to a dilemma for Phoebe.
A strong episode where we learn a lot more. 9/10
Featured track: None
#9. Coyote Piper
An evil life essence possesses Piper, endangering her life and causing much trouble for the sisters.
This is one of my favourite episodes of the season. It is well written and Holly Combs does a terrific job of acting possessed. 10/10
Featured track: Unbelievable - EMF
#10. We All Scram For Ice Cream
When an Ice Cream van seems to be connected to the disappearance of children, Prue and Phoebe have to enlist the help of their long-lost father to solve the mystery.
An imaginative episode where we found out more about the issues between the girls and their father. 10/10
Featured track: Skin - Collective Soul
#11. Blinded By The Whitelighter
A bossy whitelighter friend of Leo's is assigned to the Charmed Ones to help them fight a powerful Darklighter.
An amusing episode. 8/10
Featured track: None
#12. Wrestling With Demons
Prue, Piper and Phoebe must put personal differences aside to save an old boyfriend of Prue's.
Although the wrestling element in this was a bit daft, I liked the way the writers used another aspect of US popular culture and gave it a demonic twist. 8/10
Featured track: None
#13.Bride And Gloom
An evil priestess intent on stealing the Book of Shadows, tricks Prue into marrying a warlock. Can her sisters save her?
An entertaining and quite dark episode. 9/10
Featured track: None
#14. The Good, The Bad And The Cursed
Phoebe visits a Ghostown and has a violent premonition of the horrors that were committed there. Prue and Cole have to travel to another plane to unravel the mystery.
This is another of my fave episodes. It is full of appropriate western costume and has an interesting story. The episode was directed by Shannen Doherty, which always results in great acting, excellent direction and plenty of stunts. Brilliant! 10/10
Featured track: None
#15. Just Harried
The day of Piper and Leo's wedding finally arrives, but will it go according to plan?
A great episode with a nice mix of drama, comedy and romance. 10/10
Featured track: Heaven and Hot Rods - Stone Temple Pilots
#16. Death Takes A Halliwell
The sisters face the Angel of Death whilst trying to protect an innocent.
This thoughtful episode takes a novel view of death, sparking painful memories of the sisters own private loss. 8/10
Featured track: None
A witch's familiar turns to the dark side, causing a very tricky problem for The Charmed Ones. Piper battles with her decision to move out of the manor with Leo.
A sisterly episode with plenty of flashbacks. 9/10
Featured track: None
#18. Sin Francisco
The sisters face a demon that is infecting people with the 7 deadly sins. Will the sisters be able to fight their own sins and defeat the demon?
This terrific episode has an imaginative and well written storyline. I thought the use of the sins was a great idea and worked well. 10/10
Featured track: Opticon - Orgy
#19. The Demon Who Came In From The Cold
Phoebe's trust is put to the test when Cole has to go undercover to face his past.
This is a strong episode with plenty of double crossing! 10/10
Featured track: Planets of the Universe - Stevie Nicks
#20. Exit Strategy
Piper struggles to control her new power, while Cole finds himself in serious trouble when a witch is killed.
A dramatic episode with some good special effects. 10/10
Featured track: None
#21. Look Who's Barking
The sisters battle a Banshee who feeds on pain. They cast a spell to track her, which backfires with hilarious results, until Phoebe is attacked.
This is another of my favourites, which shows how versatile Alyssa Milano is as an actress. 10/10
Featured track: Give me a reason - The Corrs
#22. All Hell Breaks Loose
A demonic hitman called Shax causes Prue and Piper to be exposed as witches and sets off a disastrous trail of events that puts the Power of 3 in grave danger.
This explosive season finale is one of the all time greatest episodes. Directed by Shannen Doherty herself, the episode contains terrific stunts, drama, suspense, some horror, strong sisterly relationships and a cliffhanger ending. The acting and storyline are at their very best. 10/10
Featured track: Dream on - Depeche Mode
That's the episodes done - take an eye break!
This season is extremely enjoyable and provides a nice bit of escapism and entertainment. It is also darker and contains some bloody horror, so it has been given a 15 certificate.
The third season sees the sisters' well-crafted characters evolve as they become older and wiser. Prue, the perfectionist in previous seasons, is learning that she must balance her life a little better if she is to find personal happiness. Piper is learning to be less of a doormat and stand up for herself and what she wants. Phoebe has matured from a rebellious, impulsive spirit, into a college graduate with purpose. The sisterly bond has become very strong, not without its ups and downs, but with a growing understanding of each others personalities. Another lovely aspect is the obvious awe the girls feel towards their departed mother, which is beautifully demonstrated in the episode of Piper's wedding.
The addition of Cole Turner was an inspired move that injected new life into the series. Without giving too much away, Julian McMahon plays the tortured Cole extremely well and adds some eye candy for us girlies too!
As in previous seasons, the combination of magic and special effects, with characters people can relate to, gives Charmed its mass appeal. Here are just some of the situations covered in this third series: standing up to authority, being abandoned by a parent, reuniting with that parent, depression/breakdown, high school problems, grief at the loss of a parent, dealing with anger, love-life issues (such as family not liking the partner), facing your dark side and dealing with something that makes you different. The high quality episodes usually have a lesson or moral to the story. For the full benefit, though, I recommend starting with the first season, to really understand the characters.
Once again, the soundtrack to this season is very strong, with Piper's club P3 providing the ideal platform for band appearances. Sadly, as always, the DVD box set does not provide a music guide.
This season is definitely worth owning, but as before, I can only rate the DVD box set as satisfactory in the value for money stakes.
This is because there are no special features or extras, apart from showing un-edited versions of the episodes, which is a positive. There are Audio Options, which include subtitles in 9 languages as well as English plus the chance to watch in English, German, Spanish, Italian and French, but these do not count as good extras in my book. The box set is currently available to buy new for £35.99 and at this price; there should be something extra for the fans.
In fact, it is interesting to note that many fans have complained to the WB about the lack of extras, so my message to the manufacturers is this:
"Use the MAGIC of imagination and give the people what they want!"
Till next time,
Thecharmedones : )
Debuting in 1998, the Aaron Spelling-produced television series 'Charmed' follows the adventures of three modern-day witches juggling their supernatural abilities with the demands of everyday life. The Halliwell sisters (Alyssa Milano, Shannon Doherty, and Hollie Marie Combs) use their magical powers to protect innocent people from evil demons, who, in turn, attempt to steal the sister's powers for their own purposes. In order to shield the world from darkness, Piper, Phoebe, and Prudence must protect their own powers from the lords of the underworld, and also rise above the childish bickering of sisterhood to work together as a team. This collection features all 22 episodes of the series' third season, which was Doherty's last.