Now I’m not unaware there was a lot of negative noise about this show when it was first announced. I don’t plan to address that at all, because all the negative energy came well before the show aired. I’m not comparing the two shows in this post, which have some similarities but are not the same. I don’t personally consider this a reboot of the show and it is definitely not a sequel. Personally, I very much loved the 90s Charmed and watched it every week. I’ve forgotten almost everything about it besides 3 sisters, giant house, and a white lighter I thought was cute. So, if you want a comparison, this ain’t the post.
The Feminism of Charmed
When the show was first announced, the biggest pushback was how they expressly stated it was feminist. Show don’t tell, was the consensus. And I definitely think the show does both. I can see where some would say it’s too preachy or too on the nose, but that’s actually something I like about it. This is because they dive into nuanced topics about prejudice (race, gender, age and class), so it’s helpful to have it so on the nose for viewers who haven’t directly experienced it themselves. Some are super blatant, and some are wrapped into the plot.
For example, early on Maggie touches Macy’s hair (Macy’s dad is black; all the girls share a mom who appears white but practices Santeria so may be Latina? I’m still unclear on that). Maggie’s character would do something like this because she’s the empath and a very tactile person. Her personal boundaries aren’t related to physical touch but emotional space. In the scene, Macy swats her hand away and says, “We talked about this.” Maggie apologizes. It has no plot relevance at all. The writers simply wanted to include this microaggression.
But in a recent week’s episode with Medusa, they realize that frat guys are slut shaming girls for giving blow jobs by posting their in-the-act photos online. This is what has triggered Medusa into existence. And Macy realizes that Medusa only petrifies people who are looking away from her, because she herself was a victim of rape and shaming (literally turned into a monster) back in ancient Greek days. She was made into something no one could see without dying. So Macy looks at her, and says, “I see you.” Maybe that is too preachy for some, but it was really powerful for me.
One of my favorite things this season is how in depth each character is developed and portrayed. This includes the characters of the key relationships that the sisters are involved in. Oftentimes, especially in CW shows, characters end or start relationships for seemingly no reason at all. This is so frustrating as a viewer because it’s such lazy writing. It feels disjointed and like the character doesn’t really know who they are.
In Charmed, decisions are always explained, even if the rationale is really emotionally-driven. By the time we get to this point though, we already know the characters well enough to believe their choices. Yes, Macy is very logical and scientific, but when it comes to abandonment issues from her mom leaving her as a baby, she’s not a rational thinker at all. Sure, Maggie gets that a lot of things are grey areas, but when a male in her life betrays her, it triggers the feelings about her father’s betrayal. She can only see black and white in these scenarios.
I really love how much backstory we get in pieces as the series unfolds. It feels natural that we would learn certain character background things when we do, and not like it is a cheap plot device. I’ve really enjoyed this element of the series, and I’m hoping they can keep up this level of writing and performance into season 2. We don’t need super demon action sequences to care, we need deep characters who feel real.
For me, the demons in the story are comedic relief more than anything. Some of them are creepy af, for sure. But the episodic ones (who are vanquished by the end of the show, that is) are just overall fun and silliness. There are a few “main demons” that aren’t comedic at all, but I’m good with that because it means we have a clear antagonist. Otherwise it’s a bit of joy to see what fun ideas they’ll use each week.
CW Actor Pool
Speaking of fun, Charmed is a great example of the “recasting CW actors in new CW shows” trend. Even one of the sisters was on Tomorrowpeople! Each episode is a fun little game of Name The Show They Were On. I’m just glad Natalie Hall is back because I LOVE HER! She was so excellent in the best ever cancelled show Star-Crossed.
All in all, Charmed is worth the watch. I highly encourage you to jump on the binge watch this summer to catch up for Season 2! The season finale is May 19th, so you’ll have plenty of time after that to get in on the fun.