Let's Watch: Charmed (The original, not the reboot (but maybe eventually the reboot))

#1

In honor of recently discovering that I am a witch (my power: random spikes of uncontrollable anxiety followed by periods of great productivity), I’m rewatching the original Charmed. I watched this show religiously as a kid, and luckily my mom didn’t think it made me gay (oops) so she let me watch it with her.

I’m not gonna lie though - 11 year old me was definitely experiencing a sexual awakening partially thanks to this show because, i mean…yeah.

But we’re not gonna talk about that anymore !!

We’re gonna talk about Charmed!! AKA The Craft The TV Show, But The Witches Are All Good Now!

Charmed is a 42 minute TV drama originally aired on the WB about three sisters who find out they are the latest in a long line of witches, passed down from mother to daughter since, like, witch-burning times. Unfortunately, this means that warlocks (bad witches (usually men)) are going to try and kill them now!! Also they ostensibly can only use their powers for “protecting the innocent,” but this is…flexible, as we’ll come to see.

Also they have a book (the book of shadows) that basically has all the demons and warlocks and whatnot in it, and how they can be vanquished. This was also passed down from mother to daughter! It is not explained why, if they knew how to vanquish demons and wrote it down in the book, they did not vanquish said demons! Charmed is not strong on logic!

The later seasons get real fucking wacky, but the first season is much more laid back than I remember. It’s a lot of boyfriend drama, work drama, sister drama, etc. In fact, most of the plots of the episodes boil down to “Find out what the demon is, read a spell from the book and call it a day.” The real meat is in the other stuff.

I’ve already watched 8 episodes so I’m just going to sum those up real quickly:

Episode 1: Something Wicca This Way Comes

We meet the three sisters. Piper is the overworked slightly neurotic motherly one, Prue is mean and career oriented, and Phoebe is a dang flake. Phoebe and Prue hate each other, sort of, but luckily this falls off in later episodes quickly.

I’m reading the summary of this and apparently Phoebe slept with Prue’s fiance, Roger!! This is never mentioned again to my knowledge!!!

Anyway, they read the book of shadows, become witches, figure out their powers, and become closer by using the Power of Three. Oh, and here are their powers:

Prue is telekinetic in whatever way is convenient for the episode, mostly throwing dudes around
Piper can freeze time locally for a brief moment (although the sisters can still move). She does not have to shout ZA WARUDOOOOO
Phoebe gets premonitions randomly, she hates it and thinks it’s boring.

Oh, also Piper was dating a warlock for 6 months before this and then they kill him. The end.

Episode count where half or more of the significant men in the episode were evil: 1 (Evil Warlock vs. Andy)

Episode 2: I’ve Got You Under My Skin

Prue is sleeping with Andy, a recurring character who is a detective, so you know that’s gonna be an issue when our girls start getting involved in solving crimes!!! What a drama!

Piper is afraid she’s going to hell, but she goes into a church near the end of the episode and does not burst into flames. This is actually a good arc for this episode.

Prue is hired as a, like…art historian…for an auction house? She identifies old shit and how much it’s worth. But her boss and his assistant…they are demons!!! But they don’t do anything meaningful this episode except reveal they are evil.

Phoebe buys a lottery ticket using her premonitions, but it fades away after she wins! No personal gain.

Oh, and there’s a demon who makes women old and they shoot lasers at him until he’s dead. The end.

Episode count where half or more of the significant men in the episode were evil: 2 (Prue’s new boss and Youth Stealing Demon vs. Andy)

Episode 3: Thank You For Not Morphing

I hate this one. The sisters’ dad shows up from out of nowhere. He tries to steal their powers “for their own good” because their mother dies because she was a witch. There are some shapeshifters and a “who’s the real dad” grift.

The guy playing the dad is just so sleazy, and this episode sucks. Looks like he doesn’t show up again until Season 2, thank god!

I guess this is the first episode where Leo shows up, but he gets very few lines so I’m not counting him for:

Episode count where half or more of the significant men in the episode were evil: 3 (Two shapeshifting men vs. Andy and Sleazedad)

Episode 4: Dead Man Dating

Oh my god it’s John Cho! He gets murdered and turns into a ghost. Piper basically falls in love with him, but he’s dead!! It’s honestly very sad.

Phoebe gets a job as a fortune teller using her powers - she wears a ridiculous pink outfit. She sees a dude getting hit by a car but he doesn’t believe her and she has to follow him around to save his life. Then she loses her job.

Also there’s, like, a Chinese death god. I am not going to look into this too hard because I don’t want to know how inaccurate or potentially racist it is.

This episode is the one that really drives home the “plot is secondary and only exists to move the relationship and character of the sisters forward” and I appreciate that very much.

Episode count where half or more of the significant men in the episode were evil: 3 (John Cho and Andy are both in it - only evil dude is the gang leader.)

Episode 5: Dream Sorcerer

Wait I skipped this one somehow??? Okay I’ll write about that one later. This is too much already so bye.

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#2

Did I miss you mentioning this had Shannon Doherty and/or Rose McGowan? Both had me draw upon latent 90s seeded affinities, as I came to age.

Never watched but you might’ve piqued me to throw some on. Also Fairuza in bulk: The Craft.

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#3

Oh dang I didn’t even mention the cast.

Shannon Doherty is really strong in this series, it’s a shame that she and Alyssa Milano couldn’t get along.

Holly Marie Combs is also really good. They’re all really good.

…well, Rose Mcgowan is not my favorite, but that’s more for IRL reasons than anything.

I’m going to put more pictures once I get to episodes that I haven’t already watched.

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#4

Teague from Baywatch Nights is a regular for a good chunk of the run too.

#5

Ohhh yeah I like him. I looked him up on the wiki and his quote was labelled as his last words, so I guess he dies. Thanks wiki.

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#6

Charmed was originally going to use as its theme song “A Charming Spell” by my favorite trip hop band, Splashdown:

Unfortunately, the deal fell through as part of a string of major failures by the band’s label, Capitol Records, who later refused to even release the band’s completely finished second album.

The song was later used in episode 18 of season 1 of Charmed.

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#7

Oh jeeze!

Also somehow I’ve actually seen that one. Did I watch this entire show and forget it?

#8

I’ve forgotten most of the individual episodes of this show, so it’s just the outlines of character directions and overarching plots etc. that remain in my mind

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#9

i loved this show in high school and watched it every day on TNT, ive probably seen the first three seasons like 5 times but weirdly enough never saw the episode where Prue dies/is written off the show i assume because it was a TV movie and/or double-length special that didn’t air in syndication

The main things i remember it for these days are 1) how it tied into my overall love of witch kitsch and pop-fantasy media which still influences my personality and identity today and 2) getting me into the Smiths

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#10

I always thought it was backwards that The Craft had that shitty How Soon is Now cover (was that Our Lady Peace somehow escaping Canadian content laws?), whereas a wack ass WB show got the Smiths.

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#11

Did the DVDs get saddled with a horrible soundalike song?

#12

Oh, it’s a cover, by some band called Love Spit Love, which is certainly a band’s name

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#13

It’s Richard Butler!?

#14

I watched some of this back in the day because my sister liked it. The girl on the left has the kind of face that made me just immediately dislike her and I don’t know why. It’s weird how that works. I liked Alyssa Milano and the show was pretty alright all in all! Just some days ago my girlfriend showed me the opening song and hey, it’s a cover of a Smiths song. I didn’t know about The Smiths when this originally aired so that was a nice surprise

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#15

I finally watched

Episode 5: Dream Sorcerer

This episode is about a man who murders women when they reject him after he casually and randomly asks them on dates.

His preferred method?

Throwing them off of a building, but in a dream. Because when you die in a dream, you die in real life. And also all of your bones break.

This episode is actually 3 different, mostly unconnected storylines.

Story 1: Prue (Doherty) is haunted by a dream sorcerer, who she rejected and now is hunting her in her dreams. The, um, nonconsent undertones are quite gross, but then he just tries to murder her. Not sure “Oh whew, it’s just murder” is a good sentence to be thinking, but it happens.

Nobody believes her, including her own sisters, who have by now encountered warlocks, demons, magic, shapeshifters, and ghosts.

She goes to work, drifts to sleep and gets haunted some more. Luckily the phone wakes her up. She wants to go home, so she tries not to fall asleep while she’s driving. She calls her sisters at home, who talk for a bit, but then a dude comes in and assaults them for some reason. She falls asleep and gets in a car crash.

At the hospital, the dream murderer tries to murder her in her dreams but she then murders the dream sorcerer in her own dreams using her powers. She throws him off a building.

Then she’s in a hospital recovering with her two sisters bringing her about 35 vases-worth of flowers. And Andy stops by to say “Good thing you didn’t break every bone in your body!”

“From the car crash, of course!”

The End

Story 2: Andy and his buddy-cop find a woman who has all of her bones broken, but she’s lying in her bed and all the doors and windows are locked from the inside! Buddy-cop is like “Probably just a real weird suicide if you ask me” and Andy’s like “No this is murder, I can tell” which, no shit.

Andy gets obsessed with this, finds 2 other similar cases, and tracks the first victim back to the dream sorcerer. As it turns out, the dude is in a wheelchair (it couldn’t have been him right???) but he also works at a “Dream Research Center” which is taken completely at face value. The other thing that is taken completely at face value: That he’s researching “Dream bridging” where he can enter other people’s dreams. Just like, no shock or anything. Almost completely glossed over.

Anyway, they don’t have any evidence so they go back to the police station, then later Andy is like “No, it’s definitely him” and they go back to arrest him but he’s in his dream machine. Andy also takes at face value that, when you die in a dream, you die in real life.

Anyway while he’s in his dream machine he suddenly has all his bones broken (that’s Prue). Then Andy visits Prue in the hospital and says “Good thing you didn’t break every bone in your body!”

“From the car crash, of course!”

The End

Story 3: Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) cast a love spell. They get caught in the act by Prue, who complains about a dude haunting her dreams, but they don’t believe her because that’s stupid.

Phoebe sleeps with an incredibly hot dude, Piper goes on a date with a very annoying dude. But Piper has her doubts and starts testing the guy - he likes everything about her, including her terrible flaws and all the farting she’s doing (the last part was not true but he would have liked it anyway, thanks to the spell!!!)

So Piper’s like “it’s not real love!” and then goes home to find like 35-vases worth of flowers. Phoebe shows up too and complains the super hot guy is too obsessed with her. Prue calls, says she needs to stay awake, and then the super hot guy comes in yelling at Phoebe for making him obsessed with her, he’s real angry, then he throws a vase and Piper freezes it. They lose Prue because she crashed her car.

Off screen, they reverse the spell.

They go to the hospital and visit Prue, and bring her about 35 vases-worth of flowers. (“It’s a long story” they say.) And Andy stops by to say “Good thing you didn’t break every bone in your body!”

“From the car crash, of course!”

Episode count where half or more of the significant men in the episode were evil: 3 (Remains the same at 4 good vs. 1 evil)

Various notes:

  • This is the first time that they have fought a strictly non-supernatural foe. Of course, his methods appear supernatural, but it’s just science, baby
  • Andy doesn’t talk to any of the sisters until there are only about 2 minutes left in the episode. This is, of course, the best way to experience Andy.
  • Nobody questions the “die in dreams, die in real life” thing. Was this just widely accepted in 1998?
  • Prue never finds anything out about who the sorcerer was, and knows nothing about her sisters’ very bad no good love spell.
  • Also! Having sex with somebody who is under a spell is not questioned at all!! It’s just erased with a line about how all the men forgot everything that happened to them in that timeframe. What the fuck!!
  • Also also! Who is putting these shitty spells in the book of shadows?? Halliwell ancestors: not the smartest.
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#16

i’m back

Episode 6: Wedding from hell

This woman with the powerful outfit (on the right):

She’s a demon who has to marry a mortal and then get pregnant (because even demons respect the sanctity of marriage). She does this every 100 years to give birth…to…herself…or something, I forget, I watched this forever ago and just skipped through it today to take some screenshots.

love that the demons in this are often just extremely rude

love her jacket

:notes: Priest with a knife, priest with a knife,

break me off a piece of that Priest with a Knife :notes:

love this ridiculous look as well.

anyway everything ends well and also Piper’s not pregnant?? that was the B plot I guess

okay next time we’ll talk about this goth girl

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#17

although i love the craft, i’ve never liked this show. this thread is good, though.

#18

The show is relatively bad, but I love monster of the week shows in a way that defies quality. Plus: witches

#19

i wonder how feasible it would be to edit together the willow and tara scenes from season 4 of buffy into a coherent gay witch miniseries?
maybe the magic shop scenes too

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#20

Very good thread so far.

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