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The Charmed Reboot Debate: "Charmed is Charmed"


THE CHARMED REBOOT DEBATE
By Gavin Hetherington


While the new Charmed has not been officially announced as a definite resident on the CW's upcoming 2018-19 schedule, SpoilerTV have recently reported on the CW's official Twitter accounts as noticed by the readers. It's typically a sign that a show has been ordered to series - meaning a lot of the original Charmed fans' nightmares have come to reality.

I love Charmed. It is my all-time favourite show. Readers of SpoilerTV will know this from the 10th anniversary reviews I did on every season leading up to the 10th anniversary of the series finale in 2016. Charmed was my go-to show, my saving grace during my turbulent years at high school. I cannot express how much I love this show, how many times I re-watch it or the amount of scenes and lines of dialogue I can still remember.

That's the thing - I can still remember, pretty much, everything. I remember episode-by-episode, season-by-season, spell-by-spell, there has not been enough time passed for Charmed to still revel in its legacy. The cult favourite has been plagued by rumours of reboots for years that it could never truly rest in peace. Charmed had a great eight-year run. Was it a perfect eight-year run? No. Nothing about the original is technically perfect, but it existed and it inspired people and it worked pretty damn hard to stay alive all that time. Charmed made a mark on television, it made a mark on The WB. Streaming deals did not exist then. The rise of DVR did not occur until after the show ended. MySpace and Facebook didn't even exist until nearing the end of the show's run. My point is - Charmed (and most television in those days) relied solely on those live results. Fans kept the show alive and it is reflected in its numbers, and even after the show show ended in 2006, its legacy has been fiercely fought for. Remember when it was one of Netflix's most-binged shows a couple of years back? New fans are still discovering the show every single day.

Now, I can understand why the CW would want a show like Charmed on their schedule - three kick-ass women fighting bad and vanquishing evil? In today's society, it's relevant. It tackles issues of the present day and it can no doubt have the power to inspire people. I don't have to mention what issues I'm referring to for people to understand what I mean, but in a world of sexual misconduct allegations, the Me Too movement, and so much more, there's no better time than the present to commission more shows of female empowerment.

You need only read the CW's earlier synopsis of the new Charmed to know that they intend to make these issues take front and centre. It is said to be a "fierce, funny and feminist reboot" with the main characters "tearing down the patriarchy". I'd like to see that.

But alas, when a show gets too political, it becomes really, really distracting. I'm a fan of the new Will and Grace revival on NBC (yes, revival, which is something I support for iconic shows), but it becomes really distracting when they forcefully showcase politics they don't agree with. Will and Grace has commented on politics a number of times, and a lot of the time it's pretty funny. I'm British so I don't live in Trump's America, but I see everything he does in the news. I don't like what he does, and I don't like Trump as a person, but when fictional shows continuously display a political agenda, it segregates the viewers. People tune in to escape from real life, not to be judged for any political affiliations they may have. I don't mind it when a show can do it in a clever way, but when it feels like a constant vilifying of a part of the audience, it's degrading. I hope the new Charmed won't vilify some of its potential audience, but the synopsis makes it look like it is going to be very political.

I want to see the patriarchy be torn down. I want to see equality and I'm a huge feminist. My all-time favourite shows are women-led (Charmed, Desperate Housewives, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), but don't try and sell us a faux-narrative about feminism in the synopsis. It reeks of commercial opportunism. Sisterhood and womanhood is in the DNA of the original Charmed. They did not forget to include female empowerment and equality in the eight years they were on air. By stating this is going to be a feminist reboot, it undermines the original. Charmed never had to state that it's feminist to sell it. The synopsis seems to try and discredit the show that came before it.

I'm not saying the new show can't be feminist and it can't tackle societal issues. It absolutely can. But if you have to tell me that it's going to do it, it doesn't make it effective. It dumbs us down. I can make my own judgement on whether something is feminist through actions, not words. I want to see the follow-through, not the talking-down-to.

Will I be watching the reboot? Short answer: absolutely.

I take more problem in the approach than the actual show that's very likely to debut this Fall. I don't like how the CW have tried to sell it. I don't like how they seem to want to gloss over the original and have this new show in the hopes that it will be bigger and better. This show can exist without having to piggy-back on the success of the original show or try to replace it.

I want a show LIKE Charmed. I don't want a show TO BE Charmed. Charmed is Charmed, you know - Prue, Piper, Phoebe, Paige. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will ever replace that. I just hate that now I'm going to have to call this the "new" Charmed. I hate that the show I love so much, that aired from 1998 to 2006, is going to now be called the "original" or the "old" Charmed. There shouldn't be any confusion.

Since the announcement, I've been wishing for a different name for this show. I support witch shows. I love witch shows! I've loved and lost so many over the years (special shout-outs to Eastwick, The Secret Circle, Witches of East End and Salem) and I am so ready for another one. That's the main reason why I'm going to tune in to the CW's Charmed. As I said, I want a show that is like Charmed, but I don't want a replacement. This feels like a replacement.

But I can't judge a show before even seeing it, try as I may. I don't like that Charmed is being dug up from its grave so that a new show can take what it wants from it, give it the same name and then ride the success the original made for itself; but I also want to give this a chance. There can be something good here. I am optimistic that this show can do something on its own. It's fine to take inspiration from Charmed because there's so much there, but I beg of the writers to make this show its own. Use your own imagination and creativity so that we can separate Charmed from Charmed.

There is no stopping this. At the time of posting this article, Charmed has not officially been placed on the CW schedule, but it's extremely likely. We can resent the new show, we can hate on it, call it names and kick up a fuss, or we can accept the fact that there's going to be a new Charmed. You don't have to watch it. You don't have to give it any publicity. I know it's hard to ignore because the original meant so much to so many of us, but no matter what, the original Charmed will always be there.

I'll watch the Pilot and make up my own mind about this show. It could be well-written and stand on its own two feet. Or it could be the worst thing we have ever seen. We really won't know until we watch it. My hope is that the CW are careful now to not piss off fans of the original with more details of the new show that discredits the original.

In a world of reboots, it's a true testament to the power of the original and the way it has resonated with fans. But please leave Buffy the Vampire Slayer alone.


How do you feel about the Charmed reboot? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
SpoilerTV Senior Staff Writer and award-winning author of the 'Abyssal Sanctuary' series. Gavin joined SpoilerTV in August 2014 and has reviewed Charmed, Desperate Housewives, Grey's AnatomyPretty Little LiarsSalem, 2 Broke Girls, Devious Maids, MistressesSleepy Hollow and more. You can contact him at gavin@spoilertv.com.
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