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I was a big fan of Charmed while it was being aired on televison between 1998 and 2005 on channels 4 and 5. I have recently been watching this show again through an online subscription to Netflix, and my opinion of the show has been altered slightly, as watching the episodes in quicker succession over a period of weeks rather than months and years, it hilights more the shows strengths and weaknesses.
Charmed it still a great show for me. I really loved the whole concept of three sisters who have to battle evil while trying to live a semi-normal life and have relationships, get married and have kids. The 3 main leads in this series are great actresses, and by the time they were in the later series, the two original sisters, Piper Halliwell (Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe Halliwell (Alyssa Milano) were also working in the production of the show. I did find that although the concept was great, and I really enjoyed watching series one to five this time, series 6-8 were starting to get really repetitive and a bit dull as a viewer. There were still some great episodes now and again which reminded me why I was watching, but I had to sit through some dross to find it.
Series 8 is really the series that probably should not have been. It followed on from a cracking end of season finale of series 7 which would have been a fantastic point to end the show on a great high. The sisters had just been involved in a huge good versus evil battle in which the house they lived in exploded with them trapped inside. The sisters had actually learned to use the technique of astral projection which was a skill there elder sister Prue (Shannon Docherty played Prue in Series 1-3) used. This saved them from dying, and they made a decision to go into a sort of witness protection, by magically altering their appearance and allowing all their friends to think that they were dead.
However, the Charmed sisters are not destined for a life of retirement. They find that because they have been so absorbed in their work over the past 7 years, they cannot actually relax. Paige (Rose McGowan) has the biggest problem with it because her Whitelighter genes are still causing her to hear people crying for help.
The series starts off ok, with the girls attending their own funeral and trying to establish a normal life again. In the very first episode though, we see a new character, Billie. Billie (played by Kaley Cuoco, who is also in 8 Simple Rules and the Big Bang Theory) is a young woman who is coming in to her powers of Witchcraft. She is clearly a powerful woman, but inexperienced, and it is Paige's job to try and protect her from harm and teach her the craft.
Cuoco was a great addition to the cast, as she provides a breath of fresh air in this series. You get to see some of the sparkle of the earlier series back, like when the other sisters first picked up the craft. Cuoco is very much in the Buffy school of demon fighting, with lots of martial art type moves, and acrobatic moves.
Billie is a driving force in moving the plot forward in this series. As well as seeing her skills develop, we also see that she is having flashbacks to her childhood and her sister being abducted by a demon.
The thing that jades this series for me, is that they directly repeat the plot of series 6 and 7 with evil threatening to corrupt the children's powers, and with some big mysterious threat simmering in the background.
As the series comes to the end, there are some pretty explosive scenes, with the biggest special effects I have seen in any of the series. It kind of makes up for the really shoddy effects on the blue screen where Billie is in some sort of Lewis Carroll spoof in the 2nd episode of the series, Malice in Wonderland, and the awful episode where she suddenly dons a superhero belt and goes all anti-men in Battle of the Hexes.
There is a good use of some characters we have seen in earlier series. Paige gets to make amends a little with her father, Sam Wilder in an episode that sees one of his own whitelighter charge's re-appearing after being a missing person for 50 years.
We also see Victor, the 3 eldest sister's dad who is taking a big role in looking after the boys in this series. He appears more in this series than in any other, and is always there for his girls.
Their dead mother and grandmother have to appear from the past to help them undo some magic that has gone horribly wrong. They also time travel to the future and see future versions of themselves, and the future versions of Piper's sons, Wyatt and Chris appear as well to lend a hand.
Relationships are also a big player in this series. The sisters are viewed as a little bit selfish for focussing on their own lives for a bit. Piper is trying to protect her husband Leo from the Angel of Death, and the only way she can do so is through making a deal with the Angel of Destiny to win the big fight that is coming.
Phoebe finally manages to move out of home into her own place. She is also sent her very own Cupid, known as Coop, who will help her find true love and conceive the child she has been wanting since her demon baby with her husband Cole in series 4.
Paige meets parole officer Henry, and also gets married and moves out.
Billie is driven by trying to find her sister that has been missing for the past 12 years, and trying to rebuild her relationship with her parents.
Overall, this is a busy series, with lots of new things going on, and the lovely dynamic added through Billie's character, but there was too much repetition left in and it sometimes felt a little unoriginal. My final verdict is that while it is lovely to have a lot of loose ends tied up a bit and see the sisters all in a position where they can be happy, from a drama point of view, the series 7 finale was better television, and would have perhaps been the better place to end leaving you imaging more yourself what the future held rather than having it all displayed for you.
If you are a fan anyway and you have watched series 1-7, then you might as well see the rest, but if you just dipped in and out, it is probably not that worth bothering with.
I am just finishing watching the final episode of season 8, and of Charmed itself (although by the time you are reading this I will probably have finished the episode!). I tend to watch this series out of a feeling that I should watch it, and there is the occasional moment that I enjoy. Other than that I rather dislike season 8 for reasons which will perhaps rapidly become clear.
So. As pretty much usual, season 8 begins at the end of a bit of a cliff-hanger; although as the season 7 finale was meant to be the end of Charmed it wasn't too much of a cliff-hanger. We return to a manor with a few changes; Victor (the girls' father) has moved in; Darryl, the friendly police-officer, has moved away; and the Charmed Ones (as well as Leo) are nowhere to be seen. Add a few pesky demons and a reckless young witch named Billie and you have yourself a season.
Although we are still following the usual plot structure for an episode, with an added bonus of an annoying Billie, it still seems like fresh storylines are being used; even fresh 'bad guys' are used, although some from previous seasons are recycled. However, other TV shows that were perhaps popular at the time of writing influence the portrayal/plotline of the episode, such as Desperate Housewives and Sex in the City. In this season there is a mini-overarching storyline continuing from the end of season 7 till about halfway through season 8. There is also a main overarching storyline, climaxing in the final double episode. I feel that the whole season felt a little rushed (as were a couple of minor storylines), with so much build-up and climaxing in the last four episodes - it felt a bit like the writers suddenly realised that they needed to get to the point as the season was about to end.
As usual with a new season we have a few exits and arrivals. Unusually this includes the titles for the season for which the theme music has changed due to budget cuts. This shouldn't annoy me as much as it does, but that can't be helped. One exit, as I have mentioned previously, is Darryl. This was a bit of a shame as I enjoyed the humour and non-magic side that he brought to the show, but to be honest I didn't find I missed him too much as his role was (or seemed) smaller and a little irritating during the previous season. I won't say who the second departure is as this will spoil a large portion of the plot, but I'm pretty sure that both exits were due to budget cuts, paving the way for Billie and her sister Christy to join the Charmed world. These are two aggravating arrivals that I, and several of my friends, could and would have been much happier without. There are a couple of part-time arrivals which could perhaps spell happiness - or disaster - for at least two of the sisters, but I shan't go further than that.
As this is the final season, the DVD includes the (in my case) long-awaited bonus features. These are: The Making of Charmed; The story of Charmed: Genesis; The story of Charmed: Charmed again; To the Manor Born; and Forever Charmed. I normally enjoy some bonus features on a DVD but these, like the season, felt lacking and even rushed and left me feeling more disappointed than I would have been without any bonus features at all.
Overall, as with most seasons (both Charmed and otherwise), season 8 had its ups and downs. Unfortunately I felt that there were more downs and ups, and expected a lot more from the final season of a series I love so much. I think that Charmed was pushed a season too far and the climatic events at the end of season 8 would have been better at the end of season 7 (obviously with the correct 'bad guy'). But I will still have it in my collection, and I will still watch it for those odd 'up' moments that come along - and of course, I do need to have a complete collection!
Charmed. I am a BIG fan. I own all the series and although they are cheesy I still love the storyline. 3 witches, who are sisters, fight evil everyday to protect innocents who are usually mortal and have no idea that they are about to die. Sounds grim, but it is exciting and there every epidose has a different story to it, but the series' also follow a storyline of the witches lives. This means you can watch all the episodes in order and understand what is going on, or just watch one episode about one innocent and understand just that one episode. It is not like a soap, where you have to watch it every day to understand the plot. The eighth season is that final and does feel to soon, as I absolutely love it, but comes at a good time, as a lot have been made, since 1998 and there are plenty to keep you going. If you want to get into Charmed, Iwould recommending beginning at the start, with the first season, so you can follow the storyline properly.
Series 8 of charmed is a must see for any charmed fan, for those who were disappointed to learn the show was coming to an end you wont be disappointed in the way the producers wrapped it up. It also might just bring a few tears to your eyes. As usual the series is full of twists, turns, drama and challenges for the sisters to overcome throughout their regular and magical lives. This series is all about the build up and the battle with the 'ultimate power' and for this there are a few new faces added to the show mainly Billie who is a young witch in need of assistance, Paige finds herself drawn to her due to her own whitelighter instincts and Christie (Billies sister). The one down side to this series that I found was Christie. Although I loved the whole idea of the storyline I did not like the character of Christie she didn't seem quite right in the show and I found myself wishing her off the screen during her parts. I'm not sure if the reason was that the personality of the character was written to be this way or if the acting was bad on her part.
My favourite episodes in all the eight series of Charmed I would say would have to be the final two in series eight. The way charmed was finished could not be changed for the better. It wrapped everything up leaving no loose ends, the best word I can think of for the end is heart-warming. I would defiantly recommend this show to friends and family and have already managed to get a few friends hooked.
The series consists of 22 episodes here is a quick plot on the episodes:
Still Charmed and Kicking
Its the funeral of the charmed ones who are in hiding with new faces and identities. The sisters try to get used to the normal life that they have wished for so long. Paige also struggles with her whitelighter duties which leads her to Billie.
Malice in Wonderland
Billie is in over her head when she takes on a demon who has an aim to take over the underworld.
Run Piper Run
Pipers new identity causes more problems for the sisters when she is arrested for a murder she didn't commit.
Piper is made to feel inadequate bringing up Wyatt as another Mum at school always steps in to fix any problems for him and Wyatts powers are used to bring back the source.
Will the sisters finally be able to be themselves after a careless mistake is noticed by Homeland security?
Kill Billie: Vol. 1
When Billie comes across a demon who brings back some painful memories she has to confide in the charmed ones about a sister kidnapped during her childhood.
The Lost Picture Show
The girls come up against a demon who holds his victims in a collage of photos when JD escapes. Paige battles her own demons when her father returns asking for help.
Battle Of The Hexes
Phoebe and Billie get to work on a Homeland security case and Billie finds herself stuck in a belt which gives her super powers that she finds in one of the boxes. Paige has a new charge who is in trouble.
The girls come up against the krychek demon and Billie gets infected by a government made virus.
Vaya Con Leos
Billie searches for her long lost sister while Piper fights for Leo when she finds out the angel of death is after him.
Mr and Mrs Witch
During a visit from her parents Billie accidentally changes them into assassins.
Paybacks a Witch
There are fun and games when Wyatt turns some of his toys into real people at his birthday party. Paiges whitelighter powers grow while she is being held hostage.
The sisters find themselves trapped in a dolls house version of the manor as demons take their places.
12 Angry Zen
Piper gets a message from Lo-Pan the keeper of a Buddhist staff with the power of influence.
The Last Temptation Of Christie
Billie finds her sister Christie. Meanwhile Paige is hassled by a magical suitor battling Henry for her heart.
Engaged and Confused
Paige struggles with her cold feet over her engagement, will the party end in disaster? The charmed ones discover they have to come up against the triad again. Phoebe finds herself being followed.
Leos past students turn up for Pipers help with a couple of demons.
The Torn Identity
Can Christie create a gap between her sister and the charmed ones so they can follow their destiny?
The Jung and The Restless
Christie traps the charmed ones in dreams to help her make Billie see they only have selfish motives.
Gone With The Witches
Billie takes on her destiny and help force the charmed ones somewhere they thought they would never end up hiding for safety, the underworld!
Kill Billie: Vol. 2
The final battle commences between the charmed ones and the ultimate power. Who will be victorious?
There are blasts from the past all over the place as Charmed gets wrapped up and we say a teary goodbye to the show in its final episode.
Special features include The making of charmed, to the manor born, 2part documentary the story of charmed, forever charmed (I haven't watched the special features so I cant comment on them).
This box set can be found online at various stockist for under £20.
This review can also be found on ciao under the same name.
Charmed is one of my all time favourite television shows, its one of the few programmes I can watch over and over again.
While season 8 is not one of the best seasons of charmed, it does bring to an end the story of the charmed ones with the same great drama, comedy and gusto we have all come to love and expect.
The season picks up at the 'funeral' of the 3 charmed sisters Piper, Phoebe and Paige who had been forced to fake their own deaths at the end of season 7. We learn that they are disguised as 3 cousins of the sisters and this charade is carried through the first few episodes until they reveal to the world that they are still alive and we once again see the Halliwells back where they belong.
We are introduced to the new character of Billie, another witch who Paige takes under the sisters' wing. Not only does she aid the Halliwells with the usual demon hunting while learning how to control and develop her own powers, she has a story arch all of her own with her search for her sister Christie who had been kidnapped by a demon as a child. Billie brings some fresh talent to this series and is central to the entire season and most importantly the finale. Although Christie is also a necessary character to a certain extent she is quite wooden and extremely annoying to watch.
Season 8 sees the sisters discover they must fight the ultimate power and follows as they attempt to uncover who it is they must fight and finally leads us to their ultimate battle, which doesn't disappoint.
We also see a return of the triad and the hollow during this season and throught the 22 episodes the individual stories of each sister is tied up leading to the season finale where everyone's happy endings are brought to life.
All in all not the best season of Charmed but nowhere near as bad as some reviewers would have you believe, it successfully brings to an end the Charmed story and ties up all the loose ends of each sisters life.
I personally feel that this is the best season of charmed yet, despite hearing mixed reviews about it. I began watching this series around the time season 6 first aired on Tv, and so had to get the boxsets to catch up.
This season is based mainly on the piper's struggles to get her husband, Leo back. It soon unfolds that in order to do so, they must face the 'ultimate power'. This season is filled with the girls vanquishing many possible 'ultimate powers', only to find that it consists of the young witch, Billie, they have taken under their wing, and her long lost sister, Christie.
Although I love this series, I must admit that Christie's character was one of great annoyance and I felt that she could have been featured less in the earlier episodes of the season.
As ever, I think that Alyssa Milano (Phoebe), Holly Marie Coombs (Piper) and Rose McGowan (Paige) do a fantastic job in this series, although I was slightly disheartened by the frequent absence of Brian Krause (Leo). I also thought that both Ivan Sergei (Henry) and victor Webster (Coop) brought a little something to the show. I thought that Paige's relationship with Henry brought some light-hearted comedy to the show, something I felt was lacking with the script as far as the girl's were concerned.
I found the last couple of episodes especially gripping, as the whole war with the ultimate power reached it's heights. I think it was greatly done, on both the part of the writers and actors. However, I felt that seeing as Julian McMahon had been brought back for every season, despite being killed many times, it would have been more fitting to see him somewhere, and I felt it would have brought some comedy to the season. And, although I was not the biggest fan of Prue (Shannen Doherty), I felt extremely disappointed that she was not brought back for the final episode, even if it had been only in a photograph.
Despite that, My favourite all-time episode is the final one, which I thought put perfect closure on the whole show, going into the future to do so!
All in all, this is a fantastic final season and I would recommend any charmed fan should purchase this!
When it comes to the final season of a lot of big shows, the end result can either be disastrous or fantastic. It's always hard to place everybody as no matter which ending you decide to opt for as a writer, you'll find that someone, somewhere will be displeased by it.
With that little sentiment aside, I turn my attention to the final DVD in the Charmed series. Charmed began airing in 1998 originally with Shannen Doherty. Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano making up the main cast. After Doherty's controversial and abrupt departure at the end of season three, Rose McGowan took over as half sister Paige Matthews for the rest of the show's run. Based on the lives and trials of three modern day witches living in San Francisco, the show gathered a huge and dedicated fan base and after watching Charmed's final season, it's clear to me that this is a season that will appeal only to them and is full of the thing they'd probably want to see.
As of such, it's a rather lazy end to the show on the writer's behalf. It seems as if things are wrapped up far too quickly in order to give everybody a happy ending. The season begins with the sisters in hiding after the events of the previous year. With new identities which make them appear different to the outside world [but still the same to us], the farcical and boring storylines begin! It's very unrealistic that the three sisters would die and three replacements would move into their house and live their lives in the exact same manner such as adopting their jobs and what not. The introduction of Kaley Cuoco as trainee witch Billie Jenkins also adds more annoyance to the show. Whilst Billie's character is crucial to the plot of the season, I have never liked Kaley Cuoco and found that she ruined a lot of the episodes she was in with her over the top, cheery manner of acting. She gets very tiresome and has far too much screen time dedicated to her, especially when she finds her sister, the extremely disturbed and unhinged Christie.
The season explores more than ever the bond of family and in particular the Charmed ones, Piper again has to struggle without Leo when he is taken away from her by the Angel of Death. It's a repetitive plot device that has been used many times over and just fails to capture my interest this time around. Phoebe's endless quest for love also becomes rather daunting as it feels like we're seeing the same season of Charmed over and over again but with a few minor tweaks here and there. However, this time around she does find herself falling head over heels for a Cupid known as Coop. Paige on the otherhand, continues her struggle to find a balance between magic and normality, something that is helped by her marriage to mortal Henry. It's a nice ending for the character and gives her a sense of closure though like much of the developments, it seems to happen far too quickly for my taste and doesn't seem plausible enough.
The individual episodes are also lacking a spark as they seem to be very inconsistant and the opponents the Charmed ones must face don't seem as convincing as before. It's not even worth mentioning a lot of the episodes as they just seem to be filler whilst weaving little snippets of the larger season arc delicately into each one. 'Malice in Wonderland' is a very simple, yet effective idea, if not just for the demons plot than the storyline itself.
Things get interesting from 'Engaged and Confused' as we learn that the demonic Triad are still alive and are manipulating the events of the season using Christy and unwittingly Billie as pawns in a dangerous chess game that they hope will destroy the Charmed ones once and for all...
The chemistry between the three sisters is as brilliant and flawless as ever. Their comic timing and acting skills are still on top form even if you feel at times that their hearts aren't really in it anymore. The various recurring characters running around don't seem to blend in with that bond as well as they usually would and the absence of Brian Krause as Leo for much of the season also presents a feeling of unfamilarity and makes the show appear as very wooden and fake.
The final few episodes are definitely worth sticking around for though as it seem as if the writers have saved all the best stuff for the gripping climax. It's a shame that Shannen Doherty and not even Julian Mcmahon who played Cole, didn't return for the finale but the episode that unfolds works magically even without their presence.
As well as all 22 season eight episodes spread across six discs, the fact that Charmed Season 8 also contains special features makes it a worthwhile purchase. Never before have any of the Charmed DVDs divulged in such a treat and there's nothing to write home about here except one or two interesting documentaries into the history of the show and the infamous manor, complete with interviews with the various people who have strived to make the show so good over the past eight years and the three sisters themselves.
Charmed may have descended into farce over the years but it found a mission statement and it used that to great effect. A lot of the episodes here are merely shadows of the show's greater moments but the final episodes are certainly a reminder as to why this show lasted as long as it did and why it has such a dedicated fanbase even now. The writing is lacking severely in places but the strength of the actors and the harrowing threat the sisters face in the so called 'ultimate power' prove that with a lot of thought, Charmed can still be as amazing as it was when it first started all those years ago. I wouldn't reccomend purchasing this unless you're a hardcore fan as you'll find yourself lost with certain plot developments and probably very bored as much of the season consists of filler that lacks that magical spark.